There’s a guy out in Davis, CA named Bryan Malte, who runs an organization called the Hope and Heal Fund. Bryan has been in and around the gun-control movement for almost 30 years, and after a long stint with Brady, he and his wife moved back to California where he runs this important effort to help reduce gun violence in California, although what he does obviously has application just about everywhere else.
Last week Bryan published a very significant column on his website and on Medium about active shooting drills in schools. Since you already have a link to his website, here’s a link to the Medium piece as well. You might want to read his column on the Medium website, because if it gets enough traffic then it might become a featured piece which would get even more people to read what Bryan has to say.
What he has to say is that a whole industry has now grown up around the idea of ‘hardening’ our schools to protect the teachers and children from someone entering the building with the intention of shooting the whole place up. The active shooting industry’s target customer base goes far beyond education – hospitals, workplaces – anywhere that might attract some jerk with a gun will sooner or later get solicited by a salesperson selling them a program to help them get prepared. Or as one of the leading companies calls it, moving the customer from a ‘passive to proactive response.’
This is all pure, unadulterated crap and like the gun industry itself, what is being promoted is a response to fear. Bryan hits this one right out of the park when he notes that not only are schools about the safest places for kids and adults, but the active-shooter drills are themselves likely to cause fear. How do you think a bunch of schoolchildren are going to react when they witness a staged shooting “replete with fake blood and student-actors’ ‘bodies’ on the hallway floors?”
Were it the case that merchandising the fear of schoolchildren was only being done by a cadre of fast-buck private outfits I wouldn’t be so concerned. After all, since when has American ingenuity not found a way to make money off of fear? I don’t know if he’s still peddling freeze-dried food for your backyard bunker, but Glenn Beck has been touting moving your savings into gold and silver for at least the last ten years.
On the other hand, when the huckstering is done by the one professional group whom he would like to believe only gives us advice on what we really need, then something is seriously wrong. I am referring to a program called ‘Stop the Bleed,’ run by the American College of Surgeons with a shopping cart on their website where you can purchase anything from a Personal Bleeding Control Kit for $69, up to a wall-mounted Bleeding Control Station for $800, the latter product can probably be attached to the hooks which used to hold the fire extinguisher in the hall.
Along with the medical supplies a school district can also opt for training, which gives kids an opportunity to develop the same traumatic fears that might occur after they get done with the active shooting drill. Come to think of it, why not give the kids a dose of both? In the morning they can learn how to stand on a toilet seat so that the shooter won’t know if anyone’s in the john; after lunch they can see some pictures of how a person might bleed out unless they wrap a bandage around the injured arm.
In 2018, the American College of Surgeons donated $841,780 to Congressional candidates, with members of the GOP getting almost 60% of the total. So far for the 2020 election, the GOP candidates are again slightly ahead. Every, single one of these GOP recipients shamelessly votes the NRA line. And these surgeons want us to believe that selling their crummy, little medical kits to schoolkids will make a difference when someone walks into the classroom with an AR15?