school shootings

All posts tagged school shootings

By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

Imagine getting a phone call like this from your high school aged child.

“Mom, there’s been a shooting. I’m running.”

Those were the chilling words heard by a mom in Kentucky yesterday when her son was fleeing from a classmate who killed 2 students and injured 17 more. The two 15-year-olds died at the hands of another 15-year-old boy, who was later arrested.

Shocked students have described the terrifying moment the shooter opened fire before classes began, forcing nearly 100 children to run out of the school and seek safety.

‘He was determined. He knew what he was doing,’ a classmate said of the shooter.

‘It was one right after another – bang bang bang bang bang. You could see his arm jerking as he was pulling the trigger.’

Another student said: ‘No one screamed. It was almost completely silent as people just ran.

‘He just ran out of ammo and couldn’t do anything else. He took off running and tried to get away from the officers.’

…Mitchell Garland, who rushed outside of his business when he heard about the shooting, described seeing the students flee the school.

‘They was running and crying and screaming,’ he said. ‘They was just kids running down the highway. They were trying to get out of there.’ (source)

The scene was utter pandemonium.

It can happen anywhere.

No place is safe from the violence these days. This was the tiny town of Benton, Kentucky, population 4,531.

Would your child know what to do in the event of a school shooting?

There are a few important things to note in the story about this horrible incident. Four of the kids who were injured weren’t shot – they got hurt fleeing the scene. And secondly, first responders shut down all the exits, meaning the shooter – and kids who were still inside – couldn’t escape.

As horrific as it is to think through a scenario like this, doing so could save your child’s life. And this information isn’t just for kids in the school system. Even homeschooled kids can sometimes be in a situation where they are without a parent and a bad thing happens, like sports practice, church events, or other outings.

One thing to consider that could be pre-emptive is to teach your kids to be nice people. This shooting, like many others, is said to have been triggered by extreme bullying. I’m not blaming the victims who were shot, but we all bear the responsibility to treat others kindly.

Acceptance is the first step to surviving an attack.

In many of the descriptions of this shooting, students said they heard a “popping” noise and didn’t really grasp what was happening.

It’s the actions you take immediately upon the realization something awful is occurring that have the potential to save your life. And the first step to that is accepting that a terrible thing truly is happening. In an article called How to Survive Anything in Three Easy Steps, I wrote:

No matter what situation comes your way, the first step is to accept that whatever the event is, it really happened.  This is tougher than it sounds, because our minds are programmed to protect us from emotional trauma.  Cognitive dissonance means that when a reality is uncomfortable or doesn’t jive with a person’s beliefs, that person may opt to believe in something false just to assuage his desire for comfort. Psychologist Leon Festinger, who identified the principal of cognitive dissonance, suggested  “that a motivational state of inner tension is triggered by logically inconsistent ways of thinking.”

If you’re wondering exactly how powerful cognitive dissonance can be, check out Amanda Ripley’s book, The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why.  Ripley, a journalist, covered many disasters of immense scale: plane crashes, natural disasters, and 9/11.  She became curious about the difference between those who survived, and those who did not, wondering if it was dumb luck or if there was some other quality that made survival more likely. She interviewed hundreds of survivors and got her answer.  The ability toimmediatelyaccept what was occurring was the quality most of the survivors possessed.

The story that stands out in my mind the most was the one about the people in the World Trade Center on September 11. They described the last time they saw some of their coworkers.  There were many people who simply could not accept the fact that a plane had crashed into the building and that they must immediately evacuate. They gathered their belongs, tidied their desks, finished reports. They didn’t feel the same sense of urgency that those who survived did, because the situation was so horrible that they just couldn’t accept it. Their inability to accept the scope of the danger caused many of them to perish in a tragic incident that other people, who acted immediately, survived.

When disaster strikes, you can’t spend 5 minutes thinking, “This can’t actually be happening.”  It is happening, and moving past accepting that propels you through the first step into the second one.

The people who freeze in a mass shooting have done nothing but make themselves easier targets. Freezing is an innate reaction for some people, but you can train your way through that. Training in self-defense, first aid, and disaster preparedness can help to offset the brain’s neurobiological response that leaves some people paralyzed with fear.

Pat Henry of The Prepper Journal recommends action plan simulations to help you become more prepared for a sudden crisis. He wrote:

When you are out in public, try going for an hour without looking at your phone to start with. Instead, observe your surroundings. Who is near you and who is walking toward you? Does anything seem suspicious? If something were to happen, what would you do and where would you go. Do you know the quickest way to get out if needed? Can you access your concealed weapon if you need to? Imagine what you would do if you were out at a mall with your family and someone started shooting. Where would you take cover? What would be your escape route? What if that was blocked?

It isn’t fun to go through this exercise with your kids, but it could save their lives.

There are 4 courses of action

We can’t always predict when an attack is about to happen. There might be no indications in your immediate surroundings to alert you to the fact that something is going down. At school, your kids are in comfortable surroundings and they don’t have their guards up. They may be blithely unaware until the moment the first shot is fired.

If your child suddenly finds himself/herself in the midst of a school shooting, he/she needs to be ready to take one of the following courses of action:

1) Escape. Get as far away from the threat as possible. If you can do so safely, run for the doors and if you can’t get to a door, don’t be afraid to pick up a chair and smash out a window. This will take some forethought because most kids would need to get past the mental taboo of destroying school property. Teach kids to run in a zig zag pattern from cover to cover in order to be more difficult targets.

2) Take cover. If you can’t get away, get behind something solid and wait for your opportunity to either escape or fight back. Make sure your kids know the difference between cover and concealment. Many schools have thick concrete walls that will provide sturdy cover, but a wooden door or a desk will not.

3) Hide. If you are in another part of the building and you hear shots, your first choice should be to escape. But, if you aren’t in a place where you can safely do that, you may be able to quietly hide somewhere. Bathrooms aren’t ideal, but hiding quietly in a locked classroom with the lights out may keep you away from the shooter.

3) Fight back. This is absolutely a last resort. When you aren’t armed, you will be at a serious disadvantage against an armed opponent. The only possible advantage is the element of surprise. Most people with a gun don’t expect a direct challenge. If you have absolutely no other option, you should be prepared to fight for your life. Go in low to knock the shooter down, from behind if possible. A group of students will have a better chance of subduing the shooter than one student alone. Obviously, this is an action to be taken by older kids. Younger children would be unlikely to launch an effective attack.

Some security companies are now doing training with schools to help them respond more effectively in the event of a school shooting. As a parent, encourage your local school board to consider investing in such training.

Have you talked to your children about school shootings?

Have you had this uncomfortable discussion with your children? Do you have tips that weren’t included in this article? Please share them in the comments below.

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: Would Your Kids Know How to Survive a School Shooting?

About the author:

Daisy Luther

Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. Daisy is the publisher of The Cheapskate’s Guide to the Galaxy, a monthly frugality newsletter, and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. She is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find Daisy onFacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

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By Daisy Luther

There are many alarming trends throughout the American public school system, and one of the most unsettling relates to “terror drills.”

Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars wrote last week about “lockdown drills” run by the DHS:

The Department of Homeland Security is expanding its operations by running unannounced school lockdown drills, another sign of the federal agency’s encroachment into more areas of Americans’ lives.

“On Thursday, March 6, a team comprised of ten officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the NJ Department of Education’s Safety and Security Task Forces visited Glen Ridge High School to conduct an unannounced school lock-down drill,” reports Georgette Gilmore

While authorities justify school lockdown drills as necessary exercises to prepare for potential school shootings, the likelihood of one happening is miniscule. Critics have pointed to the fact that the drills achieve little else than traumatizing school children.

Some have also argued that teaching kids to “shelter in place” rather than evacuate the scene of a shooting is bad advice because it is likely to lead to more casualties. The process of having children submit to armed masked men during school lockdown drills is also contradictory in that it teaches them to behave exactly the same way towards an actual gunman.(source)

But a quick drill with guns pointed at children is not even the worst of the drills being performed. Another type of drill began occurring in 2012. These are called “evacuation drills” or “relocation drills” and the kids are put on a bus and taken to a location that is not disclosed to parents. Michael Snyder wrote:

All over the United States, school children are being taken out of their classrooms, put on buses and sent to “alternate locations” during terror drills…In the years since 9/11 and the Columbine school shootings, there has been a concerted effort to make school emergency drills much more “realistic” and much more intense.    Unfortunately, the fact that many of these drills are deeply traumatizing many children does not seem to bother too many people.  Do we really need to have “active shooter” drills where men point guns at our kids and fire blanks at them?  Do we really need to have “relocation drills” where kids are rapidly herded on to buses and told that they must surrender their cell phones because they will not be allowed to call anyone? (source)

During these drills kids are not allowed to phone their parents and parents are not even allowed to know where their children are in many cases.  In some incidences during which the school forewarns parents about the drill, the parents are told that they cannot pick up their children “for any reason” during the drill.  Many schools now boast of having supplies to keep children at the school for 48 hours in the event of an “emergency” during which time the children will not be released to their parents.

And it gets even worse. In the name of predictive programming, do you recall a “drill” during which the police took over a school and practiced fighting “angry parents”?  I’ve been plenty annoyed at different schools my daughter has attended, but in no way have I been compelled to attack the school, requiring SWAT teams to defend it against me and my band of likewise irate moms.

In fact, there’s only one scenario I can imagine in which parents would storm the school to take back their children.  Mac Slavo of SHTFplan wrote about it:

Let’s consider the circumstances that would have to occur for not one, but two or more parents to lay armed siege to a school.

There’s only one real scenario that comes to mind, and you’d more than likely have to be a prepper or conspiracy theorist to even contemplate the possibility.

The schools which our kids attend have “shelter-in-place” emergency procedures that would be enacted in the event of an emergency such as a nuclear, chemical or biological attack. During these emergencies schools are to be locked down with no unofficial access into the buildings until the all-clear has been given. It’s unclear based on district procedures just what the shelter-in-place order means and what steps parents would need to take to get their kids out of school – or whether they could even take their kids out of school based on the emergency.

But basically, it boils down to this: If there is a widespread emergency, and a school locks down and refuses parental access to children, then and only then could we envision a scenario where parents might take it upon themselves to evacuate their children by force.

The ‘event’ in question would likely need to be mass scale, or perceived as mass scale, in order for a parent to be so adamant about getting their child out of the school that they would take to armed violence to get them out.

Is this what police are training for?

Someone, somewhere obviously thinks there is a legitimate reason for this type of training simulation. (source)

So when you put all of this together, it’s easy to see the future. The picture this is painting is that one day, a unilateral decision could be made to put our children on a bus, take them to an undisclosed location, and keep them. (Dave Hodges wrote a chilling article about the role of FEMA in these scenarios – you can read it HERE.)

Should you teach your child to escape?

Maybe it’s time to teach your child how to bug out from school.

By no means am I suggesting that this is a legitimate course of action for every child.  Some kids are too young or too prone to panic and poor judgement to safely bug out. Some environments are too dangerous for a young person to take off on his or her own.  Parents have to consider the skills and mindset of their kids before making plans like this. It can definitely be risky, and you have to compare it to the alternative of having your child herded along.

I have a huge amount of faith in my child. So much so that we have performed some of our own drills.  She attends a part-day advanced science program at a school 13 miles from our home.  She’s a lot more “aware” of events going on in the world than most of her peers because we discuss things like government encroachment and tyranny on a regular basis. She knows that she is not to get on a bus without my prior knowledge and consent.

If, out of the blue, the teachers just tell students to get on a bus, and there is no compelling reason for them to be doing so, it might be time for your child to use his or her own judgement on whether boarding that conveyance is actually a good idea.

If you feel that a school bug-out plan is a good idea for your child, here are a few things to consider:

  • If there are younger siblings at the school, your older children will need to plan how to connect with them, and whether or not to abort the bug-out if they can’t connect with the younger ones.
  • You need to set up a primary and secondary rally point where you’ll meet your kids.  This should be within a couple of miles of the school, and it should be a place where your children can stay hidden from the main road. The plan should always be to go to the primary rally point, but if for some reason that is unsafe or unaccessible, there should be a secondary rally point that is reached by a different route.
  • Figure out the route your child will take to get to the rally point.  Practice getting there from the school.  If possible, for reasons of safety and stealth, develop a route that does not use the main road to take them there. Hike or walk this route with your child until they are completely comfortable with it.
  • There are some situations in which evacuation is actually necessary. For example, some places are prone to forest fires and you wouldn’t want your child out on foot in such a scenario.  If the school building were to collapse, it’s obvious the children would be relocated to a safe shelter. This is the point at which your child’s judgement comes into play. It is vital to discuss different scenarios in which evacuation is necessary.

It is also important that your child have the proper gear to take off on foot, as well as the ability to use all of it.  It’s important to practice things like filtering water in order for a young person to feel confident doing so.

  • A hiking pack (My daughter keeps this  Signpost Outdoor Packable Handy Backpack Foldable Lightweight Travel Bag Daypack – Green in the bottom of her school bag)
  • Comfortable weather-appropriate footwear (winter boots, sneakers, etc.)
  • Water filtration bottle (we use THIS ONE from Berkey)
  • At least one full water bottle, but preferably two
  • Snacks like granola bars or energy bars (Clif Bars are made with good ingredients and are very filling)
  • Weather appropriate clothing (snow gear, light hoodie, gloves, hat for sun or warmth)
  • Fire-starting flint
  • Space blanket
  • First aid kit (band-aids are a must forpotential blisters)
  • Extra socks

Most of the other gear that you’d prefer your child to have is going to be deemed “dangerous” by the school.  Things like multi-tools, matches or lighters, or self-defense items are frowned upon and can result in anything from suspension by a “zero-tolerance” school system that seems unable to differentiate between a tool and a threat, to felony charges by the overzealous “justice system.” These are things you must take into consideration when choosing items for the emergency kit, and you have to weigh the pros against the cons.

Will this work for you?

This is not a plan that will work for every family. Only you can judge whether or not your child or teen can keep a cool enough head to execute a similar plan and use their own judgement in a surprise situation. Only you can assess the immediate environment and decide if it is safer for your student to set out on their own or to go with the staff from the school.

Do any of you have a simliar plan for your kids? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.

NOTE: This is not a debate about whether children should be educated at home or via the public school system. This is about a specific situation that affects many families in America who have made the decision to send their children to school based on their own personal circumstances or the availability of special programs.

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: Should Your Kids Know How to Bug Out…from School?

About the author:

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca