Surviving a campus shooter

Cathy Lee Taylor

The frequency of college campus shootings has increased since 13 people lost their lives at the hands of a teenager shooter at Columbine High School in April 1999.
In April 2007, a student killed 32 people and wounded 15 others at Virginia Tech.
Three Delaware State University students were killed “execution style” in August 2007.
A freshman student at Delaware State University shot two students at a campus dining hall in September 2007.
On February 2008, a man opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University killing five students and wounding six others.
A former student shot three people in a computer lab at Southern Mountain Community College in July 2008.
Six people were shot at a community rally on the campus of Texas Southern University in July 2009.
And, in February 2010, a professor opened fire during a faculty meeting at the University of Alabama killing three and wounding three others.
Gavin De Becker, a specialist in security issues whose company develops threat-assessment systems for 25 University police departments, believes that developing a survival mindset is the best preparation for violent behavior.
According to De Becker’s New York Times bestseller book, “The Gift of Fear,” being prepared and knowing what to do when violence erupts can save your life.
After several decades in the security industry, De Becker concluded that, “the solution to violence in America is the acceptance of reality.”
A critical tool recommended by De Becker is for people to use their instinct. “Intuition is the cornerstone of safety.
“Intuition is always right in at least two important ways; it is always in response to something. It always has your best interest at heart.”
Strategies that have worked in past campus shootings include:
1.    Escaping if possible; running away from the shooter is always the best first option.
2.    Dial 911.
3.    Hide or barricade yourself in a room. Turn out lights, get on the floor and wait for help to arrive.
4.    Know your school’s lockdown procedure. Saddleback is developing this procedure and will be available soon.
5.    Fight as a last resort. Chances are you outnumber the shooter and have a chance of overwhelming him.
Any of these tactics could save your life. According to Wikipedia, when Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech went on a shooting spree in April 2007, he was unable to break through the door of room 205 where students had barricaded themselves in with a large table.  Other students locked into an office by a Professor were also unharmed.

Saddleback Emergency Procedures can be found here:

American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) – Active Shooter Resources

Information about Gavin De Becker’s MOSAIC protection plan for schools can be found here:

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