At some point in our lives we’ve all been forced to sit through a safety class.
Whether it was the ridiculous classes that encouraged us to put our heads under our desks in case of a tornado, or how to deal with a potential earthquake, most of these classes revolved around natural disasters, unavoidable hurdles that nature occasionally throws at us.
It falls to reason that as one grows up they’re gradually going to have more nuanced safety training for jobs and other such problems. Whether it’s training for how to deal with burglaries, robberies or some other criminal activity, if you’ve held a job you’ve probably heard it all by now.
Needless to say I wasn’t too surprised when I realized we would be having safety training for the Collegian. The interesting part of the training is that the opening section involved training in how to deal with mass shootings.
I have to admit the training itself caught me off guard. It’s not that it surprised me; looking at the past couple of years, its become clear that these kind of situations might come up whether you’re prepared for them or not. Regardless of what you attribute the shootings in America too — whether it be easily availability of guns, lack of mental health care, or a societal tendency towards violence — these kind of incidents do happen.
Unfortunately, most of the discussion on how to handle these incidents is done through media pundits and a strong attachment to our political beliefs. Very often the focus is taken away from how to actively prevent these incidents from happening and how to save lives and ends up focusing more on which political party is more at fault for whatever policy they have or haven’t put in place.
In fact, it struck me during this meeting that in 20 years of school now I had never once had a discussion with faculty, staff and other students about what the plan for shooting was were something like this to happen. One of the healthiest things that can be done to combat incidents like this is to discuss prevention methods and plans of action at a local level.
Whether it’s because schools have been afraid to discuss the possibility itself due to fear of backlash or some other reason, it’s refreshing to see that people are beginning to take this possibility more seriously.
It’s common in the face of tragedy for people to disconnect themselves from the incident, but especially in Colorado, several tragedies have occurred in such close proximity that it’s time programs like this are seen more throughout schools. Many shooting incidents all around the US have been preventable on that local level and with just a little bit of training and preparing people to look for warning signs.
So many of these incidents could’ve been easily prevented in a non-violent way. It doesn’t take arming everyone at a school to prevent these incidents. We’ve had plenty of time to learn from these incidents and identify just how it is they could’ve been avoided. At this point there is no excuse for schools to not prepare their students to identify and act on volatile situations.
This is not to say that these problems can be prevented entirely on the local level. The problem of mass shootings goes well beyond the influence of individual students and staff members. I could go on and talk people’s ear off about the societal problems at large that are the root of the problems we’re seeing in these mass shootings.
However, regardless of where the problem starts, we are not powerless to change the outcome. A strong focus on what the individual can do to change situations like this works not only to empower us, but to strengthen societal bonds.
The knowledge that the people around me are well educated and prepared to deal with these situations makes me feel much more secure about these incidents than whether or not they’re armed. Education and empathy is the greatest power we have to prevent incidents like this.
These shootings are never a product of a person who wasn’t reaching out for help. It’s time we start seriously looking at what we can do for the shooters, for ourselves, and the people around us to prevent these tragedies before they even occur.
Brian Fosdick is a senior JTC major with a minor in political science and enjoys when you send all of his hate mail/love confessions to firstname.lastname@example.org