Test of elementary school readiness for gun attack narrowly avoids going horribly wrong

Thank heavens they weren’t “ready”


What could possibly go wrong???

Out in Halfway, Oregon, a group of teachers were meeting for an in-service training. Suddenly, two masked gunmen burst into the room and began firing handguns at the teachers, administrators, and trainers.

Two masked men wearing hoodies and wielding handguns burst into the Pine Eagle Charter School in this tiny rural community on Friday. Students were at home for an in-service day, so the gunmen headed into a meeting room full of teachers and opened fire.

It turns out that it was a drill being conducted by the local sheriff’s department to test the “readiness” of the school in case of an attack by someone with a gun. The “gunmen” were firing only blanks and nobody was hurt or ever in danger. The result, according the linked article, is that the teachers are now much more aware of how emotions can easily get in the way of them responding correctly and it appears that most of them came away from the drill feeling like they have a better sense of how to react in a situation like this.

However, I got to thinking about how this could have turned out much differently. Imagine that one or more of the teachers had been armed, a suggestion being proffered by many gun fetishists across the country. The “gunmen”, who were actually members of the school staff, would likely have ended up dead. In the heat of the moment, who knows how many stray bullets would have injured or claimed the lives of others in the room? As one teacher put it, “Emotion begets emotion,” and, once emotions take over, anything can happen.

The take-away message from this situation will be, for many, that teachers and school administrators need to be better prepared and to have a plan. I definitely don’t argue with that. There are many deranged people in possession of guns and anything can happen anywhere. School personnel need to be prepared for that, no matter where they are.

But my take-away message is that arming civilians with guns, particularly in an environment where there are children present, is decidedly a Bad Idea. The drill in Halfway, Oregon ended without incident. Had there been real guns in the hands of these teachers, however, two of their fellow employees may have ended up dead, the tragic result of misguided efforts to arm teachers.

["Perfectly safe situation" photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]

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