I don’t want to shock or alarm anybody, but here in the United States of Freedom Land, we have a teency-weency little major problem with school shootings. Some might say we have a gun violence problem in general, but there’s really no argument that far too many shootings happen on school campuses here in the U.S.
Since the massacre at Columbine High School in Aurora, Colorado back in April of 1999, there have been dozens of school shootings. In 2012, 20 first graders were murdered in a spree killing at Sandy Hook Elementary. We just marked the one year anniversary of the Parkland, Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman-Douglas High School last week.
No matter where someone is on the political spectrum, it’s undeniable that the United States has more shooting incidents than any other industrialized nation. Last year, CNN reported that the U.S. sees a whopping 57 times more school shootings than comparable industrialized countries.
There have been at least 288 school shootings in the United States since January 1, 2009.That’s 57 times as many shootings as the other six G7 countries combined.
The only argument about school shootings in America seems to be over what steps we should — or shouldn’t — take to address them. Like it or not, given how many school shootings occur, “lock down” or “active shooter” training drills are a reality for kids currently in school. I had fire drills, and growing up in Big Bear, after the big quake up there, we had regular earthquake drills for awhile. I can’t imagine going to school in a culture where school shootings are so prevalent, we all did the same thing but for unhinged lunatics with guns, too.
Last month, a teacher with the Twitter handle @lareinavicc had a tweet-thread go super-viral because she discussed — in great detail — her “takeaways” from the active shooter training she received.
Whoever this person is, and wherever she teaches, her assessment of the gun violence epidemic in our schools couldn’t be more accurate, in my opinion. Mental health treatment is insanely underfunded in this country, and access to guns is being expanded in a lot of states. Guns — like drugs — if not properly secured by adults from minors can be found and used, and brought onto school campuses.
It seems nonsensical to believe that school shootings won’t continue to rise until one or both of those issues — mental health and access to guns — are addressed.
@lareinavicc’s thread broke down in great detail what she was taught, starting with the literal “ABC”s of active shootings. First — according to the information provided: Remember to get the hell out of there! @lareinavicc makes the case that since active shooters usally amass most of their murders in the first five minutes while waiting for police to arrive, it’s absolutely critical act and do things that increase the odds you’ll make it out alive.
If you simply cannot get out, the active shooter training suggested making a barricade. You can tell @lareinavicc is a teacher because of the subtle plug for science class embedded in the section on barricades. Once the barricade is built, and the door is as securely closed as you can possibly make it, the active shooting drill taught this teacher to turn off the lights, grab something that can be used as a weapon, and wait. One of the major points @lareinavicc makes is that under no circumstances should you cower underneath a desk or table. Shooters look for victims exactly in those places.
If you’re unfortunate to have the shooter attempt to breach the room you are in, it’s time to prepare for physical confrontation. Since you’re not huddled under a desk, @lareinavicc’s training says you’re the one with the upper hand, believe it or not. Basically, the advice is to stay alive and be unpredictable. I don’t know if it’s hilarious, frightening, or genuinely both that one of the absolutely real pieces of advice this teacher was given to survive a school shooting is to make confetti out of paper and throw it at the guy with the gun. I mean…I get it, but it does seem like an awful cartoon-y way to try to survive being at the business end of a gun.
Some advice is then given on how to try and disarm someone carrying a handgun. According to the active shooter training, most shooters carry handguns. This is, very truly, my favorite one in the thread. First of all “beat they ass” is the most solid advice you’re going to get if you find yourself in the situation where you’ve literally broken a shooter’s gun and you have a chance to subdue them. But if that blunt directive wasn’t funny enough, the fact that she warns you that you’ll be indicted if you kill the shooter, but that hopefully you’ll be let off because you’re the hero who stopped a school shooting, was the button on a great tweet. More advice you literally cannot argue against. Wait, maybe this is the funniest one. “Beat them with the grip of their broken gun.” Savage and hilarious. Not to mention, the extremely solid — especially if you’re a person of color — advice to not have a gun in your hand when the cops roll up. As if that wasn’t enough, then @lareinavicc even went into what to do if you or someone else near you is shot and they aren’t mortally wounded. Some new school essentials to keep in handy, perhaps, in the year 2019. It used to be glue sticks and crayons, now it’s sugar packets and feminine hygiene products in case somebody with a semiautomatic firearm attacks your little tyke’s kindergarten. Now that’s American freedom and American ingenuity, right there, making sweet, sweet freedom babies. At that point, she wrapped up the thread, and reiterated that there is only a five minute window of time you have during an active shooting incident to do these things and greatly increase your chances of survival. The thread closed with a somber mathematically-based argument for why active shooting drills, morose as they can feel, are entirely necessary right now.
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.