Active Shooter Crisis; How to Prepare


Caleb Buford, Messenger Reporter & Business Manager

Recently, I participated in an active shooter reenactment at the McCracken County Courthouse to help train the staff & the McCracken County Sheriff’s Department what to do in the case of an active shooter. I was there as an actor portraying a deputy that had been shot dead on the steps inside the front of the courthouse. Other students from McCracken County High School and Paducah Tilghman High School were also there portraying scared, injured, or dead citizens. During the reenactment, the men that played the shooters shot blanks to make the experience as real as possible. The screams from us, the actors, to the blank gunshots made the experience so intense, I was scared even though I was aware it was all a show. But, while this was all fake and was meant as training, these types of crimes happen much too often.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there were 160 active shootings with a total of 486 people killed and 557 wounded from 2000 to 2013. But, statistics aren’t the only thing that show this crisis. Just 2 months ago on October 1st, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada, 59 were killed and 527 were injured by a gunman shooting from a room in a high-rise hotel. These situations can be tense and being prepared is key. After the active shooter reenactment I participated in, they debriefed us on what was done right, wrong, and how to improve our reactions during this crisis. The Sheriff’s department told us that during an active shooter, there are three main reactions a person needs to have; Run. Hide. Fight.
Run. If you know that you are a good distance away from the shooter or know a safe way out, run to a safe place where you know you won’t be hurt. Don’t run away, always run to something, that way you’re focused on one goal. Once you reach a safe place, call 911 and inform them of the situation and where you are located.
Hide. This is one of the most common reactions and is taught in school systems as it is the safest way to ensure some safety. When hiding, lock all the doors, close all the shades, and turn out the lights. If need be, block the door with desks, chairs, or anything else that could prevent a shooter from coming in. Find a place where you can’t be seen from any window. Don’t clump together as that could make you an easy target of the shooter was to break into your room. Stay as quiet as possible and turn off your cell phones. Your goal is to not let the shooter know you are there.
Fight. This is the very last response you should have. If it comes to this point there is one thing you have to accept in your mind: fight or die. An active shooter’s main goal is to kill anyone in sight. There are multiple ways of fighting off a gunman such as tackling or hitting the shooter. Whatever it takes to survive.
I realize this is some serious content and can be hard to think that this is something that can happen to any of us but, in the world we are living in, we have to be prepared for anything. Some people may say this is not appropriate for some audiences but this is something that we should all be aware of. This is becoming an epidemic and if we aren’t prepared, we are risking our lives and the lives of generations after us.