Friday, December 14, 2012

What If?


This morning I was watching my student struggle with their final exam and I heard shouting and running on the floor above ours. I hadn't heard about Connecticut yet, but my first thought was, sadly enough, "if there was a gunman in the building, how could I block the door since it opens outward?"  I thought of a few options, the noises died down, and I went back to watching my students.... 

10 comments:

  1. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

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  2. I think we've all thought about that question now and then, at least since VA Tech. I don't know what the answer to the door conundrum is, especially since fire (or something else that requires a quick exit) is probably still a more likely danger in academic buildings than a shooter (and neither is all that likely). I'm pretty sure that adding more guns to the mix (whether wielded by me or by my students) won't improve matters, and that subtracting at least a few from the general mix of American society just might help, but beyond that, I've got nothin'. For me at least, the fact that today's shooter mowed down kindergartners just underlines the utter inexplicability of such acts, whoever the victims are (and whatever relationship the shooter imagines (s)he had with them).

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  3. I've taken our campus course on active shooters, but in a classroom with an un-lockable door and no closets, you would be fucked.

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  4. Harpy, what did this course cover?

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    1. The best film I've seen about this is "Run. Hide. Fight." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VcSwejU2D0

      But I agree with HH. My classroom has doors that lock only from the outside, and open outwards for fire safety. We raised this with our campus "risk management" person, who referred us to a film (not the one above), advised us to block the door (um, it opens out, remember?) and otherwise dodged the question.

      And I've often thought about how especially vulnerable my students in wheelchairs would be, unable to scramble under a desk quickly.

      My heart goes out to everyone in that town, and especially the families waiting in the fire station after all the safe kids were returned to their parents. . . that thought has been haunting me all day.

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    2. They said you could hear the wails from those parents down the street. I simply cannot imagine.

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  5. The real problem in America is a downgraded metal health system; if more people could be treated this kind of whacked-out violence would end. We treat mental illness like it either doesn't exist or (in the case of insurance) like it's cosmetic surgery. Not everybody needs help, but those that do need it desperately.

    As for the guns, mandatory insurance might be the trick. There's an argument for it here:

    http://prorev.com/idguns.html

    And my condolences to the families of the deceased.

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    1. Brilliant idea, Strelly. But I am a bit disappointed. From you I would have expected something like the call to make flamethrowers mandatory.

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  6. I didn't think I could make my classroom impenetrable, just difficult enough to get into that a shooter would go elsewhere for easier targets.... Gad.

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  7. My husband teaches at a high school. His classroom is the first room one comes to in the building. In his mind, his only option should something happen is to run into it and attempt to stop it.

    And how horrible is it that we've had this conversation. Not once, but several times. Every. Time. The unthinkable happens yet again.

    But this one is even more unfathomable. How do they move on? It seems like the only option is the raze the school and build another one, somewhere else. And even that won't be enough.

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