On Sunday, October 1, Jason Aldean was on tour in Las Vegas, Nevada. As his concert was taking place, a gunman opened fire on the crowd, killing 59 people and wounding over 527. This incident is now being discussed worldwide while innocent families grieve over the deadliest mass shooting in recent American history.
It is now known that the gunman, 64-year-old Stephan Paddock, fired his shots from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. When police found him, he was dead in his hotel room. Along with the gunman, the police also found twenty-three of his guns in the room and another nineteen at his house.
Jason Aldean, who was singing on stage when the gunfire began, posted on Instagram after the chaos, saying “Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew [SIC] are safe. My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night. #heartbroken #stopthehate” This shooting is being referred to as the “Las Vegas massacre.”
This shooting is being referred to as the “Las Vegas massacre.”
Seeing the hateful crimes that have been committed throughout our country sheds a light on the things that could happen to our school. If a gunman came into Beaver Local Schools, would you know what to do? Beaver Local’s staff was trained in ALICE crisis response which dictates what we would do if there was an active shooter in the building.
ALICE Training Institute teaches people to follow the following certain steps in the event of an active shooter. It may seem that you should follow these steps in order, but as every situation is different, you should think of these as decisions that you may have to make at different times.
Alert means that you should first recognize the danger and respond. Many people may first be in denial or be scared, but ALICE training teaches civilians to first be alert to the dangerous situation. You may learn about the danger in different ways. Maybe you will actually see the threat yourself. You may hear gunshots or even receive a text about the event. If possible, the district will make an announcement to let you know as much information as possible. But, every situation is different.
Evacuate means exactly what you may think it would. If at all possible and safe, you should try to get away from the dangerous situation. We are lucky to have such a large building; If the threat was in another part of the school, you should try to get out of the building and lockdown in a safe place like the stadium or the church just south of the district. If you are unable to safely leave the building, you should go into lockdown.
Lockdown means you should get to the nearest safe place. If you are already in a classroom and the threat is close by, you should lockdown in that safe place. One thing you could do in a classroom lockdown situation, for example, would be to barricade the doorway of the room you are in. If this were to happen, you would use anything in your classroom to stop someone from being able to enter. In addition, you would want to grab weapons such as scissors, pens, and any other sharp or heavy object in case you need to use them for self-defense if needed.
If you are in a hallway when a school goes into lockdown, you will want to run into the closest classroom, no matter what. Being locked in a classroom would always be safer than being exposed in an empty hallway.
If you happen to be in a restroom in a time of lockdown, and could not make it to a classroom, you would want to try to find the closest shelter. You NEVER want to stand on a toilet or stay in a bathroom stall during a lockdown. If you can get into a closet or a space with a door that can be locked, make your greatest attempt to get there.
Counter means that if you are in a life-or-death situation, you fight for your life. You work together with the people around you and you fight back. ALICE is not encouraging students to run toward danger or confront an attacker unless it is absolutely the last chance you have. The idea of locking down and hiding under desks and tables is an idea which stems from the threat of nuclear attacks in the cold war. As stated before, every situation is different, but ALICE training encourages you to fight back when necessary.
Inform means you should do you everything you can to inform others of the situation. If you are in a classroom situation, you should allow your teacher to do most of the communicating. We don’t want to overload the 911 servers. If you are alone, you need to communicate your location to someone via text or phone call. You need to stay calm and communicate as much information as possible.
Even though this topic is not largely discussed, we, as students, need to know what we should do if this were ever to occur in our school. In our community, no one would want something bad to happen to any student or staff member if this horrible act of violence was ever committed. The idea of training student responses in the event of a catastrophic event is not to scare students, but to help them prepare as much as possible. If you’re thinking about the threat and assessing the danger before an event happens, you will be more likely to respond in a life-saving manner.
In conclusion, the lives that were lost in Las Vegas will always be remembered. We are truly living in difficult and terrifying times. As a country, we should do our best to help the people in need. Donating blood is a good way to help with this tragedy (BLHS’s Blood Drive will be held on November 1st). Also, we need to come together as a school in order to allow everyone to know what they would have to do if this hateful crime were to be committed in our school’s environment.
Remember: love will always overpower hate.