Mass shooting training unfortunate but necessary

Do you know what you’d do in the case of a mass shooting?

As we approach the two-year anniversary of the Excel Shooting in February, Harvey County Emergency Management continues to try to bring the lessons learned that day and the months after to the community.

They’ve met with law enforcement, schools, and members of local government. They met with churches a few weeks ago to discuss dealing with such an event. They’re doing a talk to Newton Chamber members on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

This represents a good and effective use of government resources.

The training doesn’t represent lip service to make the public feel safe, as the duck and cover drills of the Cold War did.

It instead offers real, tested and active strategies to deal with a mass shooter. Such strategies involve determining when to hide, when to flee, and when to do something to fight back.

Such strategies replace some of the earlier shelter in place actions used in the education system over the last decade that a number of shootings have proven ineffective.

It’s training that could and probably will save lives sometime in the future.

There’s an entire other debate to be had about mass shootings, their relationship to mental health issues, and their relationship to the proclivity of high-capacity weapons capable of taking out huge amounts of people.

Over the past two decades as a country, we’ve proven incapable of accomplishing anything or stomaching anything to actually address the problem.

So that leaves many of us in the middle of the conversation to prepare.

And prepare we should.

We should be grateful that the county we live in has taken such measures to educate the public about dealing with mass shootings. It’s not necessarily in the county or emergency management’s job description. They don’t have to go around and do such talks.

They do so because they want to keep people safe. They do so because they’ve noticed a past event and tried to learn from it and pass on that understanding.

Such home-grown educational efforts represent what we should look for from leadership in the community. They are working to provide commonsense solutions to address a growing problem. It’s much more effective than what seems to be a larger national response of people just shrugging and going about their business.

The lessons and preparedness that came out of that horrible event nearly two years ago should provide a way of honoring all those who were victims.

It represents us as a community, saying that we’re going to do what we can to make sure we’re prepared and such events have a harder time happening in the future.

With more people receiving such training in Harvey County, we also hope more people will continue to be on the look out for factors that could contribute to someone committing a mass shooting.

That means all of us paying attention to those around us or our friends and family and not waiting until it’s too late to try to get them the help they need if we notice they’re having problems.

So, finally, we’d recommend to all business owners and employees to think or have a discussion on what exactly they would do in case of a mass shooting. It might just be time to seek out a little bit of training.

We’ve always lived in a terrifying world. The terrors change as the years do. And people have always prepared for and overcome such terrors—be they wolves, the plague, marauders or polio. We have every confidence we will continue to find ways of preparing for such things and eventually overcome them.

Harvey County Communications is doing their part in the preparation part, and we commend them and all the others who’ve put in such work to provide the training.