And, once again it has happened. As we are only days from Christmas, we hear the news from Newtown, Connecticut. A shooting occurred. It was at an elementary school. At least one dead. Shortly thereafter the news is worse. There are multiple deaths. Finally the worst case scenario. Twenty children have been killed. Twenty eight people killed. It is a massacre.
The suspect, Adam Lanza, had mental problems. He killed his mom and then walked into the Sandy Hook Elementary School and began shooting. At some point he either killed himself or was killed by police meaning we'll probably never know the motive.
Gun advocates and gun-control advocates will again pick up the argument on gun control. School security will come under scrutiny.
Already we have learned from the Columbine and Virginia Tech that efforts to prevent are nearly impossible. Short of reading minds, we are left with what we can control which is defense once an incident begins.
From Columbine, we learned that tactical response may be a half hour or maybe more away. Many police departments, including Sandy Springs Police train in shift tactical training so that first responders are equipped to immediatly enter the incident area and rapidly search for the threat. The theory is that if a gunman knows the cops are immediatly in the building and moving fast, he will focus on them instead of seeking out more victims.
At the same time, the thinking is that instead of hunkering down in locked rooms. Fear makes you freeze. You should do the opposite. Move. Occupants stand a better chance in creating exits, as in using whatever you can, chair, table, whatever, and create a hole in the window, then move out of a threat area. If you remember, many of the VT students killed were hiding in a room that had been locked. Once the lock was breached, they had no time to escape. They were shot and most killed.
Unfortunately, everything is designed on the reactive side. I wish there were more ways to anticipate. How much difference would stronger gun control make in this case? He legally bought the guns but why would a man who was willing to kill his mother and 27 other people, including 20 children, hesitate for a minute to steal a gun? Guns are stolen out of home burglaries and thefts from cars every single day. If you want your hands on one, you can obtain one. For now, there's no clear difinitive answer for either side.
More and more, police departments work with schools on emergency plans and unfortunately, we'll probably see more practice on active shooter scenarios. It's a step in the right direction but again, it's a reactive response.
There are parents, siblings, grandparents and friends, hundreds, grieving and who will be affected by this the rest of thier lives. So, maybe instead of burying yourself in front of the TV this weekend watching the games, and even though it's really cold outside, why don't you take the kids out for an ice cream or a movie or just hang out with them. Make this crazy world seem a little normal again.