In the wake of the October 1 attack in the gun-free facilities of Umpqua Community College, the University of Maryland has released active shooter response guidelines that advise students to “run” and “hide.”
As a third but final option, students are told to “fight.”
According to Fox 5, a “campus wide safety message” was sent to students advising them to respond to an active shooter by running from the area under attack or by hiding where the gunman cannot see them. But University of Maryland Police Department Chief David Mitchell said students must be mentally prepared to fight for their lives, as well. Mitchell said, “If you are hiding and somebody tries to reach the door, tries to come in and you feel within your heart of hearts that they are about to harm you or try to take your life, we’re saying you have to fight.”
Securitas senior security adviser Terrance Gainer reiterated that fighting “is the last resort.” Gainer said, “The number one thing to do if you’re in that situation is to try to get out of the way. That’s where the run comes from. If that doesn’t work, then you hide.” If a student does have to fight a gunman, Gainer advised the student to bring as many fellow students with him as possible and “make a lot of noise.”
And if fighting back becomes a reality, Gainer also advises students to “use whatever weapons are handy.” One supposes the “weapons” available in a gun-free classroom setting would be books, erasers, pens, and pieces of chalk.
It seems the absurdity of forcing hundreds of law-abiding citizens in a given area of campus to “run” and “hide” from one armed criminal would cause university officials to rethink their ban on concealed carry on campus. Think of how the scenario would change if an armed criminal entered a classroom with plans to take his sweet time shooting defenseless students, only to have his world turned upside down by a female junior with a Glock 26 or a professor with a Smith & Wesson MP Shield in .40 caliber. No one would have to run and hide, and news outlets would not have to run a story about another mass shooting on school grounds.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at email@example.com.