A new crime fighting duo has joined the fight against gun violence in schools, and it’s not Batman and Robin – it’s Arpaio and Seagal.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County in Arizona, known for his tough, no-nonsense attitude is set to team up with none other than Hollywood legend Steven Seagal, better known for hit movies such as “Above the Law,” Under Siege” and “Out for Justice.” In an effort to avoid, or in the least thwart an incident like the Newtown, Conn., Sandy Hook school shooting, Seagal, a member of Sheriff Arpaio’s volunteer gun posse, and also deputized in Louisiana and Texas, will be training armed volunteers of over 3,500 members in handling multiple scenarios involving armed gunmen entering a school.
In a recent news release, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office briefly detailed a description of the type of training the volunteers will receive, stating; “Volunteers will learn operating procedures on how to handle one, two and three shooter scenarios as well as room entry tactics and hand to hand combat.”
During the training, to defend against potential shooters, the posse volunteers are set to be armed with semi-automatic rifles and handguns, prepared specifically for simulated training purposes. Playing the victims are about 40 teenage students between the ages of 14 and 18, with Maricopa County SWAT teams posing as the shooters. It is not known whether the students are simply to hide, or are also being trained to mentally and physically handle the scenario.
Preceding the announcement of training a volunteer posse to protect schools, in January, after a devastating December of school gun violence, Sheriff Arpaio began dispatching armed posse members to schools, directing them to patrol school perimeters and be on the lookout for potential armed suspects.
Some skeptics, such as The Arizona Republic's EJ Montini, says Sheriff Arpaio’s attempt to make schools safer and minimize shootings, is simply another one of his publicity stunts. Sheriff Arpaio was quick to dismiss this claim and poignantly stated; “I believe we should put police officers in school, in uniform, armed, but so far all the politicians do is talk, talk, talk, and so we’re out there doing something.”
It is difficult to speculate whether Sheriff Arpaio is offering his solution of curbing school gun violence as a publicity stunt, since the measure seems to be the only one on the table which makes sense and could potentially prove to be successful. So far, other offered solutions, such as arming teachers, don’t seem to be logical -- while local governments and Washington are not working hard enough to provide their own ideas on solving what looks like is becoming an epidemic. At least for now, trained and mentally capable armed volunteers sanctioned by local governments could be a step in the right direction.