Event goes down amidst national debate on preparation/response methods to active shooter situations
VC Star/USA Today (November 14, 2019)
When sophomore Elijah Mims, 15, performed in an active shooter training video for a class project earlier this school year, the Santa Clarita native never thought he’d actually be running for his life.
“We were just preparing for the worst, but we never thought anything would occur in a suburb like Santa Clarita. It’s such a lovely place,” Mims told USA TODAY in a phone interview.
In the instructional video, Mims played the role of a “person who was hiding,” later demonstrating to students how they could safely escape an active shooter situation. On Thursday, Mims found himself a few feet away from an armed classmate. He sprinted into an empty classroom, where he huddled quietly with dozens of other students until police entered the room.
“The video helped me out since I reacted right away and was able to do what I needed,” Mims said.
The school shooting that killed two and injured at least three people at Saugus High School Thursday comes amid a national debate around how to prepare for and respond to active shooter situations, with some schools and policymakers advocating a range of tactics — from “bulletproof backpacks” to curved hallways.
Julius Wingham II Palm Beach Post (October 17, 2019)
Fears of an armed gunman led Town Center at Boca Raton to shut down Sunday afternoon. One person was injured in the rush to leave the mall.
BOCA RATON – Panic, confusion and the popping of not one balloon but two marked the first moments of what was thought to be an active gunman event at Town Center at Boca Raton on Sunday, according to 911 audio and video recordings city police released Thursday.
“I think there’s a shooting,” one woman calling from the Neiman Marcus store, just off the mall food court from where the booming sounds emanated, told city dispatchers.
“We’re in Boca Town Center mall, we don’t know what’s going on. . . . People are just running,” reported another woman calling from the Grand Lux Cafe, near an entrance on Town Center’s north side.
Authorities issue conflicting reports in wake of mass hysteria; Unusual Tweeted photo
BOCA POLICE (CBSMiami) – The Boca Police Department says a person hurt at Town Center Mall was not shot, and suffered a trauma wound, despite earlier reports that stated there was an active shooter at the mall.
Boca PD corrected an earlier tweet around 6:00 p.m. Sunday which said one person with a gunshot wound was transported to Delray Medical Center.
The corrected tweet says the person may have a “POSSIBLE gunshot wound,” and the Chief of Police told CBS4’s Amber Diaz that victim was not shot.
The militarization of law enforcement, sensationalized mass shooting events, and a creeping police state have merged in the now common “active shooter drills” that transpire in various public places, including schools.
Yet recent research suggests how such exercises do little in the way of preparing for mass casualty events, and instead needlessly traumatize children, in the process making an entire generation more acquiescent to state authority and control over their everyday lives.
Police officers outside of Dayton, Ohio, unsheathed their weapons and fired blanks in Franklin High School on Tuesday as part of a misguided effort to prepare students for a possible active shooter.
The planned drill unnecessarily ratcheted up the intensity of school lockdown procedures, which routinely require students and teachers to barricade themselves in their classrooms. That the exercise was potentially traumatizing was not lost on the officials who planned it, as they came equipped with “Social-Emotional Activities,” as well as counselors who could talk with any disturbed teens.
“There was a concern and it did cause some stress” among parents and students, Lt. Gerry Massey tells the Cincinnati Enquirer. Senior Samantha Earnhart, one such terrified student, said that she “became very emotional” and “started to cry” upon hearing the gunfire.
And for what? Regardless of the feverish rhetoric around school shootings, the phenomenon remains exceedingly rare.
Less rare, however, are these increasingly extreme active shooter drills.
Department of Homeland Security is finally, officially recognizing white supremacist terror as a major national security threat in the U.S. — a threat that’s coming from the inside.
Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Friday unveiled the department’s new counterterrorism strategy, which for the first time places major emphasis on countering the threat of white nationalism coming from inside the U.S.
The news will come as some relief for national security and extremism experts, who for years and with increasing urgency have sounded the alarm about the threat of white nationalist terror. After the Christchurch mosque attacks in March, President Donald Trump himself shrugged off the idea that white nationalist terror posed a major security threat. His administration has also defunded and dismantled DHS programs that were designed to counter violent extremism, including far-right extremism. At a House committee hearing earlier this week, experts stressed that the U.S. was woefully ill-equipped to counter the threat.
DHS was created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and since then its counterterrorism strategy has been largely focused on the threat posed by foreign groups, like ISIS and al Qaeda. Friday’s announcement and formal recognition of white supremacist terror marks a major turning point for the department.
A Champaign Illinois school district is allowing students to be excused from school to avoid experiencing “active shooter drills” held on school grounds.
“The Champaign Unit 4 Board of Education clarified how parents can opt their students out of active shooter drills” at a September 9 meeting, Illinois Public Media reports.
A new state law requires students participate in at least one active shooter drill during the first 90 days of the school year. The law allows school staff to exempt certain students from the drill at their discretion.
Unit 4 board members opted to take the advice of the district’s legal counsel, and allow parents to take their children out of school during the drills, exempt students who are already exempted from fire and tornado drills, and provide accommodations for students with individualized education plans.