Welcome to the NRA’s America, folks! When Missouri’s Lincoln County school district began hosting mass shooting drills to help police train for what seems like the inevitable “next time” someone decides it’s a good day to shoot up a school, it didn’t always use students–but times, they are a-changin’.
Originally, police would have teachers line up against the wall as a “shooter” popped off blanks but that felt kind of boring. “We figured, ‘we’re not really doing anything,’” says Lieutenant Andy Binder, one of those responsible for the coordination of the exercises. Since last September, the drills have become more spontaneous and police have enlisted the aid of students. After all, you can’t have a good old-fashioned school shooting without some kids!
Binder says that the drills help police, teachers, and students learn strategies in dealing with a shooter. “The first time…it took us about two and a half minutes to engage the shooter… Today it took 30 seconds,” he said. The drills have also helped to alert the school to some major issues. In one drill, teachers were told to call 911 from phones in their classrooms only to discover that they needed to dial “9” first.
Binder said that the students are learning some important strategies, as well–like where not to hide when someone decides to shoot up the school because he didn’t like the chicken soup Michelle Obama said he had to have for lunch. Freedom!
One student says that he is beginning to learn to leave his friends behind. “I start to think ‘I’m not going to try to save my best friend. I’m going to try to save myself,'” he said.
Some seem to be desensitized to the idea of a school shooting. One student jokes, “I just really wanna get shot.”
One teacher is having second thoughts about the value of the drills. “You want kids to feel like school is a safe place to be,” she told NBC News. “And I know those kids chose to be there, but for it to be that realistic, that’s almost too much. As a parent, I wouldn’t want that many kids being terrified, just knowing my own reaction to it.”
Many area residents have an issue with the drills as well. Wayne Johnson, a St. Louis firefighter and Afghanistan Veteran, tweeted “B/c this is a thing, we’ve failed, America.” Johnson says he would have an issue with these drills being conducted at his kids’ school. He understands that the drills may help prepare students better than anything else but questions the cost of such preparedness. Johnson fears that the drills may be traumatic for some and would serve to desensitize others to the horror of the real thing.
Kenneth Trump, president of National School safety and Security Services thinks a good compromise would be a classroom setting with PowerPoint presentations–but unfortunately, a new Missouri law requires a live simulation.
It is unfortunate that we have reached the point that our society is beginning to feel it necessary to plan for a school shooting just as much as it plans for a fire. It is even more unfortunate that the right-wing adamantly opposes any measures that would restrict firearm access to those who would actively attempt to do harm to our nation’s youth. The NRA says we need more guns in schools, but isn’t that the problem in the first place? Arming teachers seems like a great idea until a student breaks into teacher’s desk–but we know that never happens…right?
Watch this horrifying reality unfold before your eyes below: