My cousin is still traumatized over the shooting that happened at his school. He still remembers the pale faces, door slams, and the sound of two bullets escaping the masked man’s Colt 45.
Actually, there wasn’t a shooting at my cousin’s school, but there might be and given the recent increase in school and workplace shootings, there might be one here, too. (Knock on wood).
Earthquake and fire drills have become commonplace at both schools and workplaces in California. We practice them yearly, even if the probability of an earthquake or fire is unlikely. Yet we’ve failed to implement drills that would prepare us in the event of a shooting, which, according to Harvard Research, have tripled since 2011.
Just a few months ago, fourteen people at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino were murdered in a mass shooting. They faced the same untimely fate as the children and staff members of Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. These events instill fear in almost everyone, sparking major debates on gun control.
While gun control is important, too much focus has been given to these heated debates, and too little time dedicated to things that are in our control, like drills. Gun sales won’t stop. In fact, mass shootings have only fueled gun purchases, but implementing school shooting drills will give us the sense of security gun owners covet.
Some schools have already begun to execute ALICE, the leading active shooter response program in the US.
¨Inside the library at Independences Pioneer Ridge Middle School, about 65 teachers and staff members assumed their positions under desks and crouched between rows of children’s books,¨ said Rick Montgomery of The Kansas City Star.
It was unnerving: the eerie setting caused heavy panic among the teachers and staff members. While the panic brought on by the drill is incomparable to that of a real shooting, it gave staff members an idea of what to expect and how to respond if need be.
It’s easy to brush off and ignore the idea that we will ever need to use ALICE. We think it’s impossible that a school shooter will ever come here, but we have to rid ourselves of those thoughts and take action. I bet you no one ever thought a shooter would stand in halls of Sandy Hook. I bet you no one thought that Adam Lanza would stand there and take the lives of twenty-six people. I bet you no parents thought that it was the last time they’d drop off their children at school, but it was.
Maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t have been the last time if teachers had known what to do to protect their lives and the lives of their students. I’m not saying that a drill will fully save us from such event. It will, however, prepare us and give us a sense of hope in the event that a school shooter reaches the halls of Bassett.