There’s been a boom in the bad ideas market, as experts look for idiotic ideas to address school shootings since stricter gun control is apparently off the table. Luckily, the folks at Fox News have a new idea for responding to active shooter situations: blast holes through the walls of schools with water cannons to evacuate children.
Earlier this week defense specialist Allison Barrie, writing for Fox News, suggested police should roll up on schools being victimized by a shooter, line up a compressed air weapon called the BCB Wall Breaker, and shoot a big damn hole in the side of the school with a water bottle to allow students to crawl out to safety.
No, for real. That’s the whole idea.
The story, which reads like a borderline advertorial for BCB International’s cannon, suggests that an artillery weapon which uses water bottles as ammo is the perfect tool to minimize the loss of life during a school shooting. Here’s how Barrie suggests things would play out:
Imagine students barricaded in classrooms with no way to escape. The shooter is roaming the hallways. The only exit is the door to the hallway. If students tried to escape via the hallway, they could be greatly at risk.
Outside the school building, police could roll up these water cannons and quickly punch holes in the walls of every classroom providing large escape holes.
If students have been wounded, first responders can use the hole to accelerate access to medical care.
There’s... a whole lot going on there, but let’s start with the fact that, per the FBI, about 70 percent of active shooter incidents last just five minutes, and 67 percent of them ended before the police even arrive. So right out of the gate, there’s a pretty limited number of opportunities to use a cannon. In the few cases the cops could roll this thing out, they’d run into a number of challenges including identifying where to perform the blast and how to communicate with people inside to make sure they aren’t in the line of fire. You’re gonna scare the shit out of some already terrified children if you don’t let them know the blast is coming.
Don’t worry though, Fox News has some other uses for the Wall Breaker other than just performing search and rescue missions. In a “But wait, there’s more!” style turn, the article also suggests the cannon can be used for “perpetrator apprehension,” as well as a number of military uses:
An active shooter will expect law enforcement to intervene through doors and windows. With this cannon, law enforcement can fire the cannon at any wall to create their own “door.”
Similar to active shooter scenarios in schools, the cannon could be useful in the event of a large-scale Mumbai-style terrorist attack where civilians are hunted and held hostage.
It could be used against terrorists using vehicles as weapons to drive at civilians in the street.
For example, cannons could be positioned in advance to protect 4th of July crowds. If a terrorist drove at the crowd, the cannon could blast the water bottle that would tear through the vehicle and stop the attack.
Spend a couple minutes thinking through that scenario where someone shoots a car with a cannon to stop a terrorist attack (on the 4th of July, of course!) and try to resist the urge to walk into the ocean. But sure, whatever. A water bottle cannon, it turns out, is the perfect weapon for any situation. It slices, it dices, and makes julienne fries!
Look, this idea is fucking bonkers. Right off the bat, it concedes that school shootings are an inevitability, suggesting there is nothing to be done to prevent the actual act itself. If that’s something you want to surrender on, fine—and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging it’s currently a problem and seeking ideas that lessen harm—but the use cases for this thing are so minuscule as to accomplish next to nothing. Active shooter situations happen fast and are chaotic. Rolling up a cannon is not going to be something there’s a lot of time for, precisely when police don’t have a lot of it.
This is just the latest in a long line of ideas for addressing school shootings that are designed to avoid talking about gun control. Politicians have suggested violent video games are to blame for corrupting the youth (they aren’t), access to porn has deteriorated the family and led kids astray (nah), and there are too many doors in schools that allow shooters to get in (fucking what?). Americans own more guns per capita than anywhere else in the world and the US has the highest gun homicide rate of any developed country. Maybe that’s a place we can start.
Or we can shoot walls with water cannons.