Unfortunately, the armed guards at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, were not able to prevent the murder of 12 students and 1 faculty member that occurred at the hands of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. The guards probably saved many lives, however. As Daniel Foster notes at National Review Online,
It isn’t like the deputy was sitting around eating doughnuts during the Columbine massacre. He traded fire (that is, he drew fire) with Harris for an extended period of time, during which Harris’s gun jammed. The deputy and the backup he immediately called for exchanged fire with the shooters a second time and helped begin the evacuation of students, all before the SWAT teams and the rest of the cavalry arrived, and before Harris and Klebold killed themselves in the library. Harris and Klebold had an assault plan — a sloppy plan, but a plan nonetheless. They had dozens of IEDs, some of which detonated, others of which did not. And there were two of them. In this highly chaotic tactical environment, the deputy acted both bravely and prudently, and who knows how many lives he saved by engaging Harris.
Does anyone seriously believe the students and staff of Columbine High School would have been better off if the deputies hadn’t been armed?