Protocols, training and persistence saved the lives of countless children at Rancho Tehama Elementary School in Corning, California. Another lunatic gunman began selecting seemingly random targets to kill in an apparent psychotic rage. He eventually set his sights on entering the elementary school at the Rancho Tehama Reserve but that attempt was thwarted by the simple yet effective decision to place the school on lockdown.
In the active shooter incident at Columbine High School, not a single locked door was penetrated by the shooters. Further proof that something so simple can be so effective during an active shooter incident. These gunmen typically come prepared to create the maximum amount of carnage with a large amount of ammunition and weaponry. However, they typically do not come prepared, physically or mentally, to breach locked or fortified doors. I often reiterate that these active shooters seek maximum carnage AND MINIMUM RESISTANCE. The gunman in this case met immediate resistance at the school and immediately chose another path for his rampage.
Faculty members reported hearing gunfire approximately a quarter mile away from the school and immediately took action. Their training and protocols instantly took over and allowed their brains to process the noise as gunfire instead of fireworks as is so often the case.
Many times our brains immediately try and process certain stimuli from our environment as something familiar and safe instead of processing it as something more sinister and unsafe. What allows our brains to process these things correctly is training and planning in advance. It is very difficult, if not almost impossible, for our brains to recall anything complicated during a critical incident. Simply put, our stress response won’t allow it. However, previous planning and training allows us to overcome several of our bodies’ stress responses during a traumatic event. This is exactly how police officers and soldiers are able to operate successfully in the most critical and traumatic situations. Many times they do not have time to think, they must simply respond to whatever they are faced with instantaneously with no time to process what they are seeing, hearing or feeling.
I cannot reiterate this enough: ALL schools, churches, and businesses need to have a plan to deal with critical incidents and potential intruders. Having a plan is a phenomenal start, however you must also PRACTICE that plan. The goal is to practice it enough that your brain and your body will both respond to an event instead of simply reacting. A response is typically pre-planned where a reaction is simply a moment in time reflection of what your brain is processing at that moment.
In today’s world of lunatic psychopaths gunning down multiple random victims, it is time to shift our focus. Instead of trying to predict the where and when of the next attack, we must focus on hardening potential targets as well as a implementing a planned response. We would all love to have a solution to stop the next mass casualty incident but we all know that is not the reality. These attacks will undoubtedly continue and we all have a responsibility to focus more on the safety and security of our schools, churches, homes and businesses.
To learn more about obtaining a security evaluation, training for a critical incident, or strengthening the security of your school, church, or business, please visit our website at www.defendsystems.com or give us a call at 615-236-6484. We are passionate about helping all organizations achieve real security.