The frequency of planned-out, mass shootings in America has made us almost emotionally immune to their tragedy. This routine makes it difficult for us to consider the sobering possibility of an active shooter scenario at our university, bars, concert venues and other populated places.
Though this thought is unsettling, we should acknowledge that Temple isn’t particularly ready for such an event. And the sheer size of our university’s population increases the likelihood of being targeted.
The nature of Main Campus as a public space and the spread-out nature of its buildings in an urban environment makes for both easy access and escape. We have a large and effective campus police force, but they are not posted in the buildings students and faculty occupy for most hours of the day.
There are few members of the Temple community ready to place life-or-death trust in the services of the security company Allied Universal.
The Department of Homeland Security suggests victims either run, hide or attempt to fight back in the case of a shooter scenario. It also recommends an emergency action plan, among other precautions.
Students and faculty in classrooms and offices are the last line of defense against these types of shootings. Temple should work with the DHS to provide active shooter scenario training to members of the Temple community.
This type of education could take place in the form of seminars, drills or online classes similar to the drug and alcohol click-through training required of first-year students.
Some schools, like Pennsylvania State University and Lancaster County College, already hold some type of active shooter scenario training.
Victims of fatal shootings, at no fault of their own, aren’t trained to react to shooting scenarios in ways that might save lives. During the Orlando nightclub shooting, groups of people hid in the bathroom.
While understandable, reactions like this oppose the DHS’s shooter scenario recommendations and do little to protect victims. According to the DHS website, your place of hiding should “not trap you or restrict your options for movement.”
Of course, this training wouldn’t make students thoroughly prepared for danger. The goal is to build a foundation of subconscious knowledge, with the hope that — in the midst of chaos — one person might remember to act.
When you weigh the costs and benefits of this program, it is clear: If just one life was saved by the knowledge of this training, whatever monetary investment Temple made would be well-justified.
Austin Severns is a senior risk management and insurance major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @amseverns on Twitter.