Dr. Helen

'Can Your Child Be Taught to Defeat a Gunman at Her School?'

That is the headline (note the “Her School,” not “His,” of course) at New York magazine in an article discussing the ALICE program:

The campus mass shooting at Umpqua Community College has left many people, including President Obama, feeling a bit hopeless. What can be done? Stricter gun control seems doomed, and the country doesn’t — for good reason — seem quite ready for Dr. Ben Carson’s shoot-from-the-hip, arm-the-teachers prescription. If this sort of occasional horror is now considered almost inevitable, is it time to start training students to defend themselves, guerrilla-warfare style, against what law enforcement calls “active shooters,” by creating barricades of desks and causing chaos with pencils and water bottles?

There are Facebook forums dedicated to offering DIY ideas for school staff when faced with an armed intruder. But Greg Crane, among others, is making money off the understandable sense of vulnerability.

“I’ve seen it going back to the Amish school shooting, Virginia Tech, and Aurora,” says Crane, a Texas police officer turned student-defense-strategy entrepreneur. “After every one of these events, we get more calls.” His company, called ALICE, charges $595 for a single teacher or law-enforcement official to become certified in their anti-armed-wacko protocols.

Naturally, ALICE is an acronym, which stands for “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.” These five words describe what to do in a terrible situation. Crane started ALICE with his wife, Lisa, an elementary-school principal at the time, after the 1999 Columbine High School tragedy.

“For years, the common teaching was ‘Be passive, be static, hold tight, and wait for police to rescue you,’” Crane tells Daily Intelligencer. But after Columbine, Greg Crane was frustrated with the idea that in the event of a gun-wielding misfit marauding murderously through the halls of his wife’s school, she and her students would have to sit passively and wait for help to arrive.

The article points out the naysayers of the program:

While many education professionals, like Dr. Stephen Brock of the National Association of School Psychologists, consider the training as “an overreaction and potentially dangerous,” it is gaining some traction…..

Crane says he doesn’t like to call these counter-strategies “fighting back,” but school security consultant Ken Trump says that it is most definitely just that — and it’s a bad idea.

“To think that schools are going to teach kids close-combat tactics in one 45-minute session is a high-liability proposition,” he says.

Trump suggests that businesses like ALICE are playing off people’s emotions. Historically, he says, if a classroom is properly locked, there should be no need for students to attack the intruder. In an analysis of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2013, Trump concluded that no one was harmed in rooms that had effectively locked their doors.

David Esquith, director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that his department doesn’t recommend students of any size or age fight shooters — even as a last resort.

“It’s not just a matter of how big someone is, there’s a great deal of judgment that goes into how to deal effectively as possible with this very, very complicated type of situation,” Esquith said.

So even as a last resort, no one should fight back or at least come up with a strategy of some sort? Because it’s better for children to be killed without reflection or options and this isn’t complicated? Really? In the face of imminent death, these paragons of passivity believe it better to do nothing than to make a fort in front of a door and try to save lives? Just because it’s easier for the school administration and the government to keep a passive populace around? Or so they won’t be held “liable”? Ultimately, that is what is meant by a “complicated situation.”

Do Civilians with Guns Ever Stop Mass Shootings?