Since January 1st 2018 there have been 18 shooting massacres. And for the public, this Florida High School shooting is a tragedy that seems all too familiar.
Nikolas Cruz planned the shooting so thoughtfully, by the time the shooting was over he walked out of the high school in line with the other students. Will something be done about this shooting? Will we continue on with our everyday lives and slowly forget and cope with the fact that mass shootings are occurring more now than ever? Until we increased gun control, will we fight for a plan, for stricter security in public areas?
The question is not if we should have a map with a route telling us where to walk and where to go, or even how to sit under a desk; but instead have a set plan for how to fight back intelligently and safely. Perhaps there should be a passageway in the back of classrooms, a rope to escape through a window. Perhaps its time we start to modify our threat list with school shooters at the top of it.
On February 15th, I was granted the opportunity to discuss the shooting in my Lifespan class. We discussed how high schools were run when it came to security procedures, and how we would escape if there were an active shooting during our class time. This discussion was scary because we realized just how easily an attacker could successfully execute his plan, and how we really wouldn’t have one and just how easily our lives could be taken away.
On the day of the lethal attack, Nikolas Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with a gas mask covering his face, armed with an automatic weapon. He proceeded to pull the fire alarm. As people fled into the hallways he unleashed his weapon ruthlessly on the student body and faculty. In a matter of minutes 17 students and faculty were brutally murdered and dozens injured. When the police arrived Cruz had taken off the mask and ditched the weapon, preceding out of the building as if he were a regular student.
We all know what to do when massive winds and hurricanes are on the loose. During a tornado drill we all know to cover our heads and flow into the hallways. For hurricanes and tornadoes we have a routine method, an escape plan for our safety, but what about for shooting attacks? How do you successfully fight off a Marjory High School or a Sandy Hook shooter? What if a shooter is on the loose inside of your high school or workplace or any public place; what is your routine?
Are buildings built such that doors are inaccessible for shooters to get in without a greeting. Do you have some type of bulletproof blanket stored in a classroom, a vest for the faculty? Does your school have a class where you can learn more about the signs of an attack?
Some may have answers but if it isn’t everyone, it is not enough.
This article simply raises the question, what do we do? How will we take action, both politically and individually?
For years I have been watching my mother go to school thanking God she chose not to be a cop or in the army, because I believed it was “too dangerous.” Instead she chose to be a principal, a pioneer for education. In the last few years my views have changed, I now fear for my mother and pray for her safety everyday; for me being a student, I see just how unsafe it could be.
I dare you to stand up in your school and workplace, and advocate for the need of a shooting drill and escape plan. It’s time we prepare for these events instead of settling, just appreciating that our lives were spared.