Last week’s mock active shooter exercise at Robert F. Munroe was a major eye-opener for me.
I’m glad that I was there to observe the exercise, but at the same time it was very unnerving.
The most unnerving part of all was the sounds of gunfire emanating from the school building and especially the sounds of the children’s screams.
It is hard to separate fact from fiction mentally when you hear those sounds and even though it was blanks being fired and the kids were acting (and did a great job by the way), the cold hard facts are those are the same sounds that were heard at the Sandy Hook
Elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
It is a shame that we live in such a society that something like this active shooter exercise would need to happen.
Personally, I thought it was a good idea. I believe that preparation for such an event is extremely important.
I also understand that there are those that may feel that such an event is unnecessary, that we are a rural community and things like that don’t happen here.
I beg to differ and the New London school explosion that I wrote about a couple of months ago is a prime example of why preparation is important.
Once that explosion happened many changes were made to keep it from happening again.
In the case of a school shooter, you may not be able to stop the person, but you can certainly put into place procedures to minimize the damage they can do.
I’m sure that each person involved in the mock exercise came away from the experience with a different perspective.
From mistakes that were made new procedures will develop. Things that were done correctly will be strengthened.
From all of this I came away with one burning unanswered question:
What would motivate someone to do such a thing as going to a school and shooting innocent children?
I did a little research into school shootings and found out it is not necessarily a new idea, dating back to the late 1700s.
In perspective, however, we learn that over the years and up until the late 1980s many of those shootings were isolated, and, although many of them occurred on a school campus, had very little to do with students.
The trend changes, however, as we grow closer to our current time frame.
In the 1990s the numbers skyrocketed and the 2000s are spasmodic.
School shootings are not a new thing and sadly neither are they going to stop.
It will be exercises like the one at RFM that will help better prepare us.
Hopefully we will never have to deal with such a tragedy as they did in West Paducah, Kentucky or Pearl, Mississippi or Springfield, Oregon.
“It's better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.” ~Jackie Joyner Kersee.