Let us prepare for the worst

This could happen anywhere. It happened at Columbine High School in 1999. Two students entered the library, killed 12 students and one teacher, and injured many more. It is hard to imagine what this experience would be like. Yes, the chances of this happening are slim, but what would we do if it did happen?

The A.L.I.C.E training is supposed to teach us to fight back against armed gunmen, something which sounds extremely dangerous and against our better judgment. As part of the presentation shown to faculty, Prefect Council, Peer Support leaders, the sophomore class and The Chronicle editors, the security guards have shown a reenactment video of the Columbine shooting.

There is no doubt that the video is disturbing. Shown in black and white, through a security camera, the high-pitched screams from the students and the taunting voices of the shooters reverberate in the watcher’s ears for a long time after the video is over. Several students during the sophomore assembly cried or walked out of the room.

Despite all of this, the video is an excellent way to make sure that every student really understands the gravity of the situation and how defenseless the students were during lockdown at Columbine. The fact is, shooting could happen, and we would have no idea what to do. The school plan in the past has been to go into lockdown: all students would cower under desks, turn out the lights and lock the doors. After watching the Columbine video, no one would want to sit there complacently. The video makes it clear that going into lockdown puts all the power in the hands of the gunman. In some cases, lockdown may be the best way to deal with situations, but the video shows that if a gunman were to come onto campus for the sole purpose of shooting students, lockdown would not be effective or helpful in any way.

Showing the video to the sophomore class right after the pep rally on the last day of Fanatic Fest was definitely a mistake. The administration should have realized that this video is too disturbing to show to 250 pumped up sophomores, who were given no warning about what they were going to see.

Had the students been forewarned about the subject of the video, they would not have been quite so shocked, and maybe would have understood the significance of the video. After seeing the video ourselves, we feel more prepared for a similar scenario. In effect, just five minutes of our time could help save our lives.

This is real life. The video is awful, shocking and disturbing, but so is the situation, and it could happen. It could happen at school, at home, in the grocery store—anywhere—and we need to be  prepared.