What the puck?? Can a piece of vulcanised rubber stop an active shooter?

This piece and a rebuttal both appeared on the Resilience Post Web site on December 6, 2018.

One of my favourite Monty Python skits (and I have tonnes of those!) is the one in which John Cleese plays a drill sergeant who is teaching a bunch of recruits how to defend themselves against an adversary armed with ….. a piece of fruit.  The officious military officer goes through bananas, passion fruit, raspberries, cherries (red AND black), etc. all the while killing those armed with such ‘dangerous’ weapons by either a) shooting them with a handgun; b) releasing a tiger; or c) dropping a 16-tonne weight on them.  A truly great sketch.

Is something Pythonesque happening at Oakland University in Detroit?  The uni’s police chief is arming students with hockey pucks to throw at active shooters.  I swear I am not making this up!  While the official policy in these instances is ‘run, hide, fight’, in that order I suppose, pucks are now an option. Here is Chief Gordon: “They have enough mass to cause injury, small enough to be thrown, (are) portable and they’re not considered a weapon.”   In response to that suggestion the head of the institution’s AAUP (American Association of University Professors) had this to say: “When Chief Gordon mentioned that a hockey puck was an appropriate tool to have at your disposal, we went back and saw how much they cost.  These things are relatively cheap.”  He added that the pucks should be “absolutely a last resort” and that “We hope and pray it never gets used for the purposes we may use it for.”

What to make of this?  Aside from the usual pathetic ‘thoughts and prayers’ line that gets dragged out whenever there is a mass shooting, is a hockey puck REALLY an effective weapon against a guy with a gun?  Will we now be hearing ‘never bring a puck to a gun fight’?  Is this not 100% bat shit crazy???

I suppose that having  a puck is better than not having anything, but if you REALLY want to stop a moron with an AR-15 what you should ensure is that you have a hockey stick to beat him with, and not a lousy composite but one of the old hickory shafts that won’t shatter on impact.  Or, better yet, make sure you are always beside a hockey player like Shea Weber, Zdeno Chara or Al McGinnis!  Their own players made sure to get the hell out the way when these guys wound up from the point!  An armed assassin would have no chance!

The sad truth to all this is that we are still talking about mass shootings in a country where they occur with disturbing regularity (the only other place this happens is in Afghanistan  – enough said).  Rather than debate the advantages of pucks over billiard balls when choosing what to throw at a crazed gunman maybe Americans should REALLY be talking about serious gun control.

Or is this a stupid pucking idea?

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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