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[flagged] What Happens at a Firearms Training for Teachers (bostonreview.net)
27 points by huihuiilly 24 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 54 comments

"hollow points, rounds designed to swell upon impact to ensure maximum harm."

My understanding is that hollow points were designed to prevent over-penetration rather than to harm more. How does the author know it was designed to "ensure maximum harm"? I can't help but think it was intentional.

Edit: Of course now that I read the rest of the article after initially writing this comment, I see that quote is also highlighted in a text box (side note, what is that called when they do that?).

As others have said, hollow points do cause more harm, but it’s a physical side effect of trying to stop the round in the target.

If the energy of the round wasn’t expended into the target, it would simply shoot through and continue into the next target behind, which is the absolute worst case.

You may end up only injuring the intended target but killing an innocent behind it.

> side note, what is that called when they do that?

That's called a "pull quote".


Thank you.

They are absolutely designed to prevent over-penetration. That's how the FBI tests ammunition. They fire it into a block of ballistic gelatin and ammunition that penetrates far enough to have a high chance of incapacitating the target but not so far as to carry through completely gets the highest marks. The only real way to accomplish this is with hollow points. There's a reason every law enforcement agency in the country uses them.

Actually federal law enforcement has had a long preference for 10mm auto, and its shortened successor the .40 S&W. In particular the FBI HRT and SWAT still use it despite a history of over penetration.

I don't have a link, but I read a long article about the development process for the 10mm. Apparently, penetration was the reason they switched to 10 (and later 40). They were having difficulties with 9mm not penetrating windshields and other barriers.

Yes, in the late 80s/early 90s 10mm was chosen by the FBI because 9mm ammo at the time had a tendency to under-penetrate (not an issue in the present day, 9mm today performs significantly better than 9mm 25 years ago).

The story of the FBI's switch from revolvers to semi autos is pretty interesting. They decided on 10mm but some agents found it to be too "hot" and had trouble controlling it. So they put out a request for a modified 10mm round and Smith and Wesson came up with the .40S&W. They developed the round before they had a production gun to shoot it, though. Glock had "acquired" some of S&W's new ammunition at a trade show to study it and found that by making minor modifications to their existing Glock 17 they could fire S&W's new ammo. They submitted the new gun to the FBI who chose it as the standard issue firearm for all of their agents.

  minor modifications to their existing Glock 17
I'm guessing you meant the Glock 20.

The release of the Glock 22 predates the release of the Glock 20, but going by their naming convention the Glock 20 was patented first. It's possible they modified the 20 but I believe it was the 17, I would have to check the book where I read it (Glock: The Rise of America's Gun).

It’s both. They help with over penetration, and increase damage. Both aspects are routinely advertised by ammo manufacturers, and the terminal ballistics are often advertised as having enhanced “hydrostatic shock” and larger wound channels.

They're designed to prevent going straight through by expanding inside of soft tissues. One of the effects of that is increased tissue damage. So they maybe they weren't "designed to cause maximum harm" but that's certainly one of the effects over a full metal jacket round.

Yes, designed to expand in order to stop, not designed to expand in order to harm.

I do feel for the teacher; the situation is not ideal and I wouldn't want to have to shoot someone I'm supposed to take care of either.

I think it's good that this teacher sounds like someone who doesn't want to use his gun (not "trigger-happy"), I just hope in the unlikely situation where he would have to use it, that quality doesn't prevent him from stopping a threat before more harm is done.

Yes but ammunition manufacturers often advertise the enhanced lethality of their hollowpoints. It's pretty clear that it's seen as a benefit.

I should have been more clear. That was the point I was trying to make. Anyone I've talked to about using firearms for home defense likes hollow points because of the damage they do to a home invader, not how much safer the rounds are because they stop.

Well, over-penetration is definitely an important concern in a home defense situation. I remember reading a case about a man that shot an intruder with a .44 Mag, the round went through the robber, through his house, across the street to another house where it hit his neighbor.

Hollow points are intended to do maximum damage. It makes sense - you shouldn't be employing your weapon unless your life is in danger. If your life is in danger, you want to neutralize the threat as quickly and effectively as possible. If you don't need to do that, then you don't need your weapon at all. Shooting with the intent of wounding someone is a Hollywood-ism.

How do you increase stopping power? By having a bullet do greater damage to the target. That's what they are designed for. You can argue that there's a legitimate interest for doing so, but it doesn't change that it is about damage. They're banned by the hague conventions for warfare, seen as unnecessarily harmful, so they only see civilian use (although some military designs follow similar ideas, as far as I know none are exactly hollow point due to at least lip-service to these rules)

Also, the objective when shooting someone in self-defense vs shooting someone in war is often different. A wounded enemy is a huge burden - now they need medivac, and their fellows are concerned for their welfare. A dead enemy produces none of that overhead.

I edited "stop" to "prevent over-penetration" before I saw your reply. I meant about the bullet not going through anything and hitting someone unintentionally.

Ah, I misunderstood that. True, that might play a role in selecting them for use there.

> My understanding is that hollow points were designed to prevent over-penetration rather than to harm more

The reasons they were designed to prevent overpenetration is because:

(1) overpenetration means energy which could go into damaging the target is instead wasted doing something else, and,

(2) that “something else” is sometimes harming things that one doesn't mean to harm.

Is (1) a by-product of (2), or is (2) a by-product of (1)?

Some people are arguing that hollow points were designed for (1), causing the most damage, and that (2), stopping in the target, is just a side-effect of its true purpose.

> Is (1) a by-product of (2), or is (2) a by-product of (1)?

No, both are essential and important factors in what motivated the development of hollowpoints. The idea is both to maximize effectiveness against the intended target and minimize collateral damage; almost any time you have any justification to use a firearm the first is of central importance, and while the second may be less consistently important it is frequently important and overwhelmingly so when it is.

The hand-wringing by the author in this piece is off the charts. If they're this conflicted about carrying, they shouldn't do it. Carrying is a strictly voluntary practice, and I'm glad to see Ohio is enacting (IMHO sensible) legislation allowing it for teachers _who want to participate_.

Based on my experience, this sounds like someone who takes it seriously, but isn’t happy about feeling the need to carry. That doesn’t make them less effective or safe, it’s an internal struggle.

I carry every day, and have for over a decade now. It changes your mindset (for the better), and makes you confront your own feelings ahead of time.

Unless they train frequently I can't imagine this working well. When I was at military we did shooting exercises at targets. This was easy but as soon as there was an exercise where the situation is messy or you are under pressure things fall apart quickly. There were situations where our group would have killed each other instead of the attackers. You need a lot of training to do that right.

I don't know how things develop at a school shooting but I wouldn't be too surprised if people ended up shooting each other or the wrong people. I hope the organizers have thought this really through.

Great feedback, except for the part about the organizers, who obviously have not.

More guns is not the solution to problems with guns.

Improving access to medicine, economic stability and programs that help empower educators and students to build safer spaces may be though.

In my school all the kids knew who was having a hard time and who was isolated, it would be better to reach out to these students rather than shoot at them. Students are going to school to learn and we're teaching and modeling militarism and violence.

The reason, my guess - doesn't make headlines, isn't good for bottom line.

"In late fall, an anonymous threat of school violence is shared on social media. It is improbable, but all threats must be handled as emergencies. The staff reacts with practiced precision, preparing students to evacuate. I begin alerting parents and working with the police."


"Jason lays out the story, how he learned belatedly that some students in his class had planned to leave early that day for a party in the woods. Jason, who had thought they were his friends, had not been told. When Jason realized he had been left out, he gave in to anger and posted a threat, hoping to ruin the other students’ fun. It was irrational, as most teenage decisions are.

In minutes, our conversation is over, and I watch as he is handcuffed and stuffed into the back of a cruiser. The deputies try to hold back community members on the opposite sidewalk. Other policemen are already at the courthouse to obtain a warrant to search his family’s property. The married campers, I think as the cars pull away."

"But now it was no longer a theoretical question of protecting kids at any cost. The faceless target at the shooting range, so absurd in its proportions, had a face: Jason, whom I wanted so badly to help."

Yeah, I don't know. I feel that we shouldn't be training civilians in the psychological dehumanization necessary to kill someone. Especially students they know. We know this kind of mindset is damaging to the psyche. Also, has there ever been a case where a teacher successfully shot a school shooter before any innocents could be harmed? America has so many school shootings, we'd have data... such unfortunate data.

> has there ever been a case where a teacher successfully shot a school shooter before any innocents could be harmed?

I don't think there ever will be. I would probably not shoot a kid that I only suspect would shoot someone. I doubt a teacher would either.

(Also, is the kid a "school shooter" if he/she did not harm anyone?)

There has been a case where a principal got a gun from his car and stopped a school shooter though.

Could you link me the case? I'm pretty curious about it. The cases I've seen have been when the school shooter was already largely finished killing people.

I had to do an internet search. It was Pearl High School, and it looks like the principal only stopped the subject from leaving the school grounds. Who knows if the subject would have killed more elsewhere, the subject had already killed that day even before going to the school.

That's the thing, we'll never know how many shooting deaths were prevented by "a good guy with a gun", because we don't know if more people would have been shot and died if the shooter wasn't stopped.

>I don't think there ever will be. I would probably not shoot a kid that I only suspect would shoot someone. I doubt a teacher would either.

There have been interviews with bystanders who had firearms on their person during a mass shooting and they didn't use their firearm because they didn't want the police to think they were on the side of the attacker(s). The idea that life is like a video game where there are unambiguous and easily identified "good guys" and "bad guys" in a chaotic situation is very juvenile.

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

I think I agree with you: It is difficult to identify between good and bad guys. A kid with a gun might be a good person making a terrible mistake which is why I wouldn't want to shoot him/her, especially if that person hasn't harmed anyone.

Right, I was agreeing with you and adding additional information.

The USA is the only country where mass shootings happen regularly, I wonder what every other country in the world does differently?


Well in many other countries the mass shootings are done by the government, make these shootings pale in comparison and don't get reported in these kinds of anti-gun articles. Also...this list is nothing compared to the bombings worldwide that kill boatloads of people. It also only attempts to show one side of the coin; the other side being how many people in the world are saved by the responsible use of guns.

Kids in schools should not need to be saved by the responsible use of guns.

>the other side being how many people in the world are saved by the responsible use of guns

This is thoroughly refuted by the evidence:


>Guns can kill you in three ways: homicide, suicide, and by accident. Owning a gun or having one readily accessible makes all three more likely. One meta-analysis ”found strong evidence for increased odds of suicide among persons with access to firearms compared with those without access and moderate evidence for an attenuated increased odds of homicide victimization when persons with and without access to firearms were compared.” The latter finding is stronger for women, a reminder that guns are also a risk factor for domestic violence.


>There's been research showing that if you keep a gun in your home, that doesn't actually reduce your risk of gun violence. It actually makes you more likely to be a victim of crime or homicide or suicide.


>Individually, several studies have found that the presence of a gun in a home elevates the risk of death. A 2014 review of the research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, for instance, found that access to firearms was associated with a doubled risk for homicide and a tripled risk for suicide. A 2017 piece by Melinda Wenner Moyer in Scientific American also ran through the evidence, concluding that gun ownership was associated with a higher risk of homicide, suicide, and accidental shootings.

>People often think that guns will potentially protect them from a home invader. But these kinds of events are relatively rare (and even then, the presence of a firearm can make it more likely that such a situation will escalate into deadly violence) — while the chances that a gun could be used to fatal ends in a domestic dispute, suicide, or accidental shooting are much higher, as the research on individual risk demonstrates.


>But about 30 careful studies show more guns are linked to more crimes: murders, rapes, and others. Far less research shows that guns help.

> This is thoroughly refuted by the evidence:

You're answering a different question than the one that was asked, which was how many people in the world are saved by the responsible use of guns.

I don't understand the distinction you're making. In aggregate more people are harmed by owning guns than are saved by owning guns.

And you think you can do without comparing how many times guns save lives than how many times guns take lives? You really don't understand the question.

Uh, no it’s not. You think they happen less often in Russia? Syria? Venezuela?

> You think they happen less often in Russia? Syria? Venezuela?

"Mass Shootings", yes. "Shoot outs", no.

Venezuela, most shooting homicides are to cover up a crime, such as petty theft. These are inherently not "mass".

Syria is in active civil war, these are not "mass shootings" as much as battles. They're also more shootings to achieve a political end (not to create terror towards a political end) or for the personal vendettas of the shooter.

I don’t care why an innocent person is hurt. I only care that they are. The US is pretty good compared to most other countries on the metric of people getting hurt.

Mass is simply defined as three or more people getting shot.

I mean we can play semantics but the lone wolf shooter who shoots (many, many) people for no other reason than to shoot them is a problem almost entirely uniquely American.

But the lone wolf killer who kills many people for no other reason than to kill them is not.

They happen less in the UK.

They happen less in countries with similar political and economical environment like Europe.

Depends on the time frame - if we go back 100 years and include governmental killings the US seems much more peaceful.

I don't think that's relevant in a discussion about school shootings.

While there is valid critisism to be leveled here, the elitist, yet doom-filled language of the author does more to inflame than to inform, dispite the detail. I dislike the militarization of police. I think modern traning instills cowardace and shooting first and thinking later, and it condones murder in the line of duty. But to paint a voluntary action, that the author mentions nothing of fighting against as evil, is disingenous at best, and manipulative as I read it.

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