AzCDL’s Membership Newsletter November 2021

Volume 2021, Issue 4 November 2021

FASTER Saves Lives!

FASTER—Faculty Administrator Safety Training Emergency Response—is a training program for teachers, administrators, and other school employees that teaches not only armed self-defense but emergency medical response. The fastest way to stop an armed assailant is an armed response but it’s also important to be able to provide immediate care for those that have been injured by that assailant. That’s what FASTER is all about.

Mathematics teacher and AzCDL Foundation board member Mark Zilinskas recently wrote about his experience with the FASTER program from a teacher’s perspective in a letter to local school boards. What follows is a condensed version of his letter.

Greetings! My name is Mark Zilinskas and I recently retired from the Indiana Area School District (Indiana, PA) and moved to Scottsdale, AZ. I have always had a deep passion for protecting our kids while they are in school and the main reason I got involved with AZCDL was to help bring FASTER <> training to school districts in AZ.

I believe teachers have a moral obligation to protect our students. Few school district plans are adequate and some, in my opinion, are dangerous.

Before I discuss the merits of having armed teachers and administrators, let me address the most common “concerns” which are based on hypothetical scenarios and/or talking points from politically motivated organizations. “Teachers who are having a bad day may just shoot a student who is misbehaving,” “Students will attack a teacher and take their gun to shoot others,” or “Teachers will shoot at the attacker and miss and hit innocent students.” These things just don’t happen! They have never occurred despite the thousands of teachers and administrators currently carrying concealed firearms in schools throughout the country.

Consider the following points.

Our schools are not secure or “gun free.” If signs worked we wouldn’t need armed security officers with metal detectors in court houses, state capitals, and other government buildings. A building cannot be secure without proper screening and the force needed to stop a perpetrator from entering. Most schools do not have the resources to provide armed security with metal detectors, so anyone can walk into our schools with a gun. We must face the fact that our children, unlike our politicians, are unprotected.

These attacks almost always occur in “gun free zones.” Attacks in “gun free zones” generally result in a large number of innocent lives being lost. These “zones” attract killers to our schools while an armed presence within the school will deter them. Attackers are interested in a high body count, the last thing they want is a fight with police or an armed citizen. They always stop and give up or commit suicide when they are confronted by people who are armed.

The killer(s) must be stopped ASAP and medical treatment must be provided immediately to minimize casualties and save lives.

Police and EMS simply cannot get to the scene fast enough. One of the “best case scenarios” for law enforcement and emergency medical services response was the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, during which 30 students were killed and 27 injured. The Emergency Response Team (ERT) was already on campus along with numerous other police officers from a number of departments. The ERT was less than one mile away and was already in their tactical gear after responding to a double homicide earlier that morning, Yet, it still took 2 minutes for the 911 call to reach the dispatcher, 1 minute for the teams to reach their cars, 3 minutes to reach Norris Hall, 5 minutes to assemble and make a plan to enter the building, 28 seconds to breach the only door that wasn’t chained from the inside and reach the second floor staircase on both ends of the building. Trapped, the killer then shot himself in the head. A total of 11 minutes elapsed with 32 dead and another 27 seriously injured. If two other murders had not taken place earlier in the day, the ERT team’s response time would have been about 1 hour and there may have been as few as 8 patrol officers arriving on the scene in a comparable time without any specialized gear and/or tactical training. Only one Tactical EMS paramedic entered the building to treat the wounded, the rest were attended to by police officers. It took ERT 15 minutes to reach room 211 and declare the “shooter was down.”

EMS will not enter the building until the police declare it safe. As at Virginia Tech, the police cannot rule out the possibility of other killers until they go through the entire building. They have to follow a protocol of cutting off escape routes and proceeding as if they are going into an ambush because they just don’t know if there are any other assailants.

A properly trained teacher and/or administrator can stop a killer and treat the wounded well before police and EMS arrive on the scene. I am a three-time graduate of the FASTER program, which has trained more than 1,000 teachers and administrators in 152 Ohio school districts. Part of the training is force-on-force scenarios in a school setting with real killing scenarios using role players with toy airsoft guns. Every teacher in my class of 22 was able to respond to a stimulus (blanks being fired to simulate gunshots) within a time frame of 40 seconds to 1 minute, 15 seconds and stop the “killer”. Every incident was ended before an average 911 call could be made and dispatchers notified that an attack was underway. No non-threat targets were hit in any of the scenarios. We also have real life examples of school personnel or students stopping attacks. A mass shooting was stopped by armed security at Arapahoe High in Colorado in 2013, a school shooting in Pearl Mississippi in 1998 ended after the principal got his firearm from his truck to stop the killer, an armed citizen ended a school shooting in Edinboro, PA in 1998, and two armed students stopped a killing spree at The Appalachian School of Law in 2002. In all four incidents the killers gave up and no additional
shots were fired. In all four incidents lives were saved as
a result of the quick response time.

There are many criminals carrying guns all over the country and in our schools. Laws and signs do not stop them from doing so.

Teachers and Administrators can and do get training that equals or exceeds what police receive and are held to a higher standard in their firearms qualification. Ohio requires police officers to obtain at least a score of 20 out of 25 “hits” on targets from varying distances with time
constraints. It is fairly common for some police officers
to fail this requirement and have to retake the test. The teachers had to make 3 additional shots while moving in addition to the standard 25 and had to obtain a score of 26 out of 28 hits in order to pass. Twenty out of 22 teachers passed in my class.

The Indiana University of PA police academy, which is responsible for training many of Pennsylvania’s police officers, provides 18 course modules (750 hours) of training but only one includes firearm training. The FASTER training (3 days, approximately 28 hours) focuses solely on addressing two major tasks—using a handgun to stop the killer and treating the injured until the police and EMS arrive. School personnel can and will fill in the time gap until help arrives just as we would if a fire started or a medical emergency occurred like a heart attack.

Experts in this field, like John Benner and Lt. Col. David Grossman, tell us it is an essential layer of security to have in place. At Sandy Hook two school administrators (Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach) ran toward the sound of gunfire empty handed. Both of them were murdered. Victoria Soto, a 27-year old first grade teacher, died while physically shielding her students from the murderer. All she had to protect and defend her students from the murderer was her body. How many first graders would still be alive if these brave people had the proper training and equipment to thwart the attack?

In the end, we all want to protect our kids. FASTER gives us the tools to do just that.

Step Up or Watch Us Fold

Your first contact with AzCDL was probably at a gun show or political event, speaking to a volunteer in an AzCDL shirt. Ever wonder where those volunteers come from? Or what makes them spend an entire weekend sitting behind a crowded table, speaking to people who ignore them, or worse, think we’re wasting their time and energy because “This is Arizona,” and red flag laws, gun registration, and gun confiscation, “can’t happen here”?

What it comes down to is that for the past 16 years, people understood that only a strong, organized group of individuals with the courage of their convictions, wielding their voices and votes in unison, could make a positive difference. They understood that to get the message to fall on sympathetic ears, they had to go where the people were, and for gun laws that meant gun shows. And they did.

From the Phoenix-Tucson axis, volunteers stepped up. Some crisscrossed the state, doing shows in every small town that featured one. From recruiting and training new volunteers and local volunteer coordinators to helping them find their voices, listening to their ideas of how we could do better, reach more people, more efficiently make our voice heard in the halls of power. Our volunteers, through their ‘missionary work’ are responsible for an organization boasting over 20,000 members – or in politicalspeak, a hell of a lot of votes.

If it wasn’t for those first volunteers who traveled between Tucson and Phoenix—giving up their weekends with family to stand at tables explaining to all and sundry what was wrong with Arizona gun laws and how they needed to be fixed, who worked to get pro-rights candidates to run for office and support them with time and cold, hard cash, who spent hours influencing the Legislature—Arizona’s gun laws could look a lot like our western neighbor’s.

That said, 16 years is a long time…and time has cost us many of our best volunteers. Some are old and tired, some have passed on to that big shooting range in the sky where your guns are always clean and you never run out of ammunition. We can appreciate all they’ve done, but if we truly want to honor them, if we want to continue their work making AzCDL the force behind dozens of pro-rights, gun-friendly laws—the standard for single-issue civil rights organizations—if we want to keep growing and wielding influence, we need you to step up, volunteer, and
continue to carry the torch to a new generation. With a
mere 20,000 members in a state with over 1,000,000 gun owners, we have a lot of room to grow!

Check the Arizona Gun Shows page on our website. Contact the coordinator of the next show near you. Give us 4 hours of “table time,” and we’ll get you in, we’ll trainyou at your own pace, get you up to speed and, when you think you’re ready, we’ll be there to back you up.

It’s your organization, it’s your voice in the legislature, it’s your choice to make us bigger, stronger and better.

– Duke Schechter

Celebrating Christmas

– Kim Bishop


Arizona’s 9th Annual

February 19, 2022
Capitol Lawn in Phoenix, Arizona
1700 W. Washington St.
10 am – 2 pm


RidersUSA, Celebrating the Second
Amendment since 2014

Attend the 2nd Amendment Rally in Phoenix, AZ on February 19, 2022!

This FREE event is located at the Arizona State Capitol, 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, AZ. Pedestrian friendly venue with free ample parking available on-site. Make your voice heard!Be part of history and help secure the Blessings of our Second Amendment for ourselves and for future generations.

Join with thousands of your fellow patriots to insist that Congress do their jobs ensuring that the guarantees of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights shall never be diminished or taken away. Be an integral part of the Second Amendment community in the fight to maintain the means to effectively defend yourself, family and property against any hostile group, government or individual before it’s too late!

Since the formation of RidersUSA, our organization has always been keenly aware of the importance and absolute necessity of maintaining the integrity of our Second Amendment. Citizens of this nation have the right to Keep and Bear Arms for purposes of defense against foreign invasion, the means to address a tyrannical government and to safeguard ourselves, families and property from the criminal element.

RidersUSA has been sponsoring these annual events since 2014 in a mission to maintain and promote awareness of these fundamental God Given rights. Open Carry is the Law in Arizona and at this Rally

Family Friendly, Vendors, Food, Raffles & More

As this is an educational and fun filled event please feel free to bring your families and friends. This event is designed not only for those who religiously tote their favorite firearm but for those who may be “on the fence” about guns and are simply seeking more information. There will be vendor booths set up to distribute educational materials as well as those selling Second Amendment related merchandise. No need to worry about lunch; food trucks will be available on site.


Shine your scoot, and attach some flags!

ATTENTION BIKERS: Here is a shout out to all of you 2nd Amendment loving Bikers! Please join us in our annual motorcycle procession from Encanto Park Sports Complex to the State Capitol for this event. This is a short but inspiring ride where hundreds of Rally-goers will meet and greet us as we ride to the State Capitol signaling the kick off to our Second Amendment Celebration! This is a ride you don’t want to miss. Please share this message with all of your biker friends.

Motorcycle Staging Information:

Encanto Park Sports Complex
2121 N. 15th Avenue, Phoenix 85007
(Parking lot south of Encanto Blvd.)
Staging time @ 8:30 A.M.
Kick Stands up @ 9:00 A.M!


Suggested donation, $10/ticket
1st Prize – Smith&Wesson M&P15
2nd Prize – Ruger LC9s
3rd Prize – Ruger 10/22 Carbine

Contacting AzCDL
P.O. Box 86256
Tucson, AZ 85754
(623) 242-9086