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The Lessons We Learned.. and Forgot.. About Defending Our Schools

May 27, 2022

We saw two young men kill innocent people this last month. We’ve seen mass murder before. Determined men and women studied the murder of innocent victims. It isn’t easy to look death in the face but it is dangerous to look away and pretend it couldn’t happen again. Any responsible adult should be haunted by what we could have done and yet chose not to do. These are a few of the lessons we learned from mass murders in the US and around the world.

We learned that time is critical. The mass murderer will kill several people during the first minute. Then, the attack slows down as victims run for cover and become harder to kill. The exception is if the murderer can trap his victims where he is unopposed and can kill at will. The sooner we stop him the better. Every second counts.

It takes too long for the police to arrive. The first responders are those individuals in the building who are armed and trained to respond to a lethal threat. It doesn’t matter if it is a school, a church, or an office building, no one can order these volunteers to leave their office or classroom but most of them will go to help. They decided to move toward the sound of gunfire. They probably reached that decision as they were working through a training exercise on a weekend. There are no sure outcomes, but they could not let the children and colleagues in the next classroom be murdered while they sat still. They made that choice long before they heard the sounds of gunfire and alarms.

When they hear an attack, the responders remind their students where to hide. The responders grab a medical kit and go. Their door is already locked and they hear the door lock behind them as they move into the hallway.

The first responders see a stranger with a gun in his hand shooting down the hallway and then shooting into a classroom. The first responders present, aim, and fire until the stranger is down. Other responders come around the corner. They secure the attacker’s firearm.

The attacker is down but the emergency isn’t over. There is lots of work to do. Responders begin to summon help and to treat the injured. Many school staff converge on the wounded and work to stop the bleeding. They move the injured toward the Emergency Medical Services who are already on their way. The scene is strangely like the practice drills except the blood, the tears, and the crying are real this time.

trauma care training

The police will be there in about 5 minutes. The first law enforcement units to arrive form into a team and move into the building. The rule is to grab someone and go inside. Some of the arriving officers have trained with the school staff before. They know the layout of the school and where the identified attacker is located. They know that the first attacker is down.

The police and EMTs sweep through the school. The police are looking for other attackers. Emergency Medical Services move right behind them and take over treatment and transportation of the injured as the police advance.

Injured victims who can walk are directed toward the arriving EMS units outside. Some of the wounded are carried toward the parking lot so they can be transported while the rest of the building is still being searched and secured.

That is what best practice looks like. I can only tell you what the practice drills feel like because I’ve never felt the real thing. Even the practice exercises tear at your heart. That is why everyone trains so hard so that the real thing never happens.

Law enforcement and emergency medical organizations change slowly, but we’ve known best practice for decades. If your school, your church, your law enforcement, and your emergency medical services are not training this way then you need to know why. You need to ask them about their safety plan.

Who decided to ignore best practice? If your schools, church, and office don’t train like this then they are betting the lives of innocent people that a murderer will strike somewhere else. Who decided that their life wasn’t worth saving? You have the right to ask and to expect an answer.

Go. Move toward the problem. Like the first responders, you are responsible for making things better in your community.

If the school principal doesn’t have the right answers then replace the school principal. If the school board doesn’t have the right answers then replace the school board. Consider moving your children to another school. Ask the Sheriff and chief of police also, and replace the Sheriff and the Mayor if you have to. People don’t like to change but asking questions today lets us save lives tomorrow.

Grab someone and go forward.
~_~_

I gave you 800 words and a piece of my heart. Please share them with a friend. RM

Sources-

Ed Monk- Active Shooter Response- “https://www.facebook.com/Last-Resort-Firearms-Training-180316642038491/about/?ref=page_internal

FASTER Saves Lives- “https://fastersaveslives.org/

FASTER Colorado- “https://i2i.org/faster-training/

Outline of Common School Safety Plans- “https://www.schoolsafety.gov/foundational-elements-school-safety

Safety Plans for Secondary School Principals- “https://www.nassp.org/leading-success/module-11-safe-and-healthy-school-environments/activity-1-a-comprehensive-framework-for-safety-and-security-in-schools/

Security Plans for Churches- “https://fbsnamerica.com/

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