‘Active Shooter’ Drills Spark Raft of Legal Complaints
Wall Street Journal on-line DENVER—When Michelle Meeker approached a strange man last October at the Colorado nursing home where she worked, the man flashed a gun and forced her into an empty room as she tearfully begged for her life, she said.
Unbeknown to Ms. Meeker, the gunman was a local police officer and the entire episode a drill, arranged by the retirement home’s management to prepare employees for an armed-intruder scenario.
A friend sent this to me this morning, asking what I thought of it. I spent a number of years participating in community emergency drills, was the emergency shelter nurse for a long time, and have spent a good part of the last ten years as a certified firearms and self defense instructor. I’ve been a professional educator for nursing a good part of my life besides, so I have a fair idea of how people learn, as well as how they respond to emergencies.
Unfortunately, this “drill” is pretty much the usual kind of “we can’t even admit the real problem” deal, so since they feel they MUST DOOOOO SOMETHING, they come up with what fits their preconceived ideas the best. The complaints of those who were terrorized in these “drills” are completely valid. Whether or not they “should have known” about the drill is impossible to judge from the report here, of course. But that doesn’t change the nature of the terror they endured – or the fact that it was totally unnecessary.
Let’s look at some things they seem to have neglected to consider:
1. Fear, chaos, confusion and random acts can’t prepare anyone to respond effectively in an emergency. Terror gives people no tools with which to react with clear heads and efficient actions.
Just as an example, firemen are not “trained” to respond to fires by being suddenly tossed into the middle of one, especially not tossed in naked… Swimmers are not “trained” to swim by being dumped into the ocean surrounded by sharks, even if they KNEW it was going to happen. You MIGHT learn some valuable things that way – if you survive, but it’s not going to be a generally successful program for most people.
2. We all should know that the real answer is two part…
A. The people entrusted with the care of children, the sick or elderly, must be free to use whatever strategy and tools they find necessary to defend their charges and themselves. There is no “one size fits all” threat model, and no formula is going to be effective – especially a formula that ignores or forbids rational responses and the tools necessary to carry them out.
B. It is insanity to congregate large numbers of helpless potential victims into small places, such as government schools, even when the caregivers are armed. Collecting hundreds or even thousands of tiny kids into a small area makes them vulnerable, no matter how hard the adults try to defend them.
So, a school or nursing home “drill” should be the same as for any other situation involving moderate to large numbers of otherwise helpless people:
1. Adults/caregivers armed and prepared for emergencies of all kinds. Able and willing to remain alert and evaluate/act on potential threats early. Serious situational and tactical training is available all over the country, and involves much more than just guns and shooting.
2. Rational proportion of alert, armed adults to helpless potential victims, regardless of the setting. There need to be enough caregivers to help the people being protected seek cover, as well as some to actually engage the threat. It would be very difficult to perform both functions at the same time, but every caregiver should ideally be ready to assume either role.
3. Appropriate settings to maximize both the purpose of the gathering and the ability of those present to defend themselves and others. Locks, barriers, walls, fences and gates, etc. can all be useful, but cannot replace armed, alert individuals.
If you think about it, the known presence of even a few well trained and motivated individuals in any setting would reduce the already small risk of attack to just about zero. Violent criminals have said many times that they fear the armed “citizen,” far more than they fear the police.
Storm troopers in ninja warrior or SWAT gear do not belong anywhere in a peaceful society, much less in a building full of frightened, helpless people. That’s certainly true whether the designated victims are “warned” ahead of time or not.
And “gun free” zones anywhere are a criminal’s dream come true – an invitation to indulge in whatever evil they have in mind, knowing there is likely nobody able to stop them.
The “gun control” psychopaths want us reduced to this old joke:
“STOP!! Or I’ll yell STOP again.”