Active-Shooter Drills Are The New Fire Drills

Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP Photo.
What's the best way to prepare children for mass shootings?

That shouldn't need to be a question at all, but there have been 161 school shootings in the United States since 2013, according to data from Everytown. Kids hear about these events on the news, from their parents — or they've experienced the tragedies firsthand.

And though the ideal situation would include preventing school shootings from happening, the reality is that mass shootings have begun to define the United States. After the shooting in San Bernardino, CA, one BBC News commentator said that the event marked "just another day in the United States."

People agree that thoughts and prayers aren't enough, and President Obama has said that he's tired of giving the same speech after every mass shooting. But until we can prevent mass shootings, people in the United States are understandably concerned about how to keep their children safe from armed assault at their schools.

One alarming suggestion came Tuesday morning on Fox & Friends, when the program featured a series of self-defense moves students can use against armed gunmen in the classroom. The segment was titled "Self-Defense Moves Your Teen Must Know," and it placed the burden on young victims to defend themselves — not on preventing would-be perpetrators from attacking. Fox's Elizabeth Hasselbeck interviewed Krav Maga experts, along with school-age children who had learned the techniques, about how children should disarm a gunman — and then stay to "take him out," rather than running away.
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Another video, published last month by Insider (a publication owned by Business Insider, Inc.), shows schoolchildren learning how to protect themselves from school shootings. The video explains how pupils in some schools are being taught self-defense mechanisms, which, again, places the burden on the victims, rather than on the shooters or on policymakers.
One of the most heartbreaking examples of all is the creation of the bulletproof blanket, which is designed to protect children during school shootings. Created by an Oklahoma company, the blanket is designed to shield children from gunshots as well as natural disasters, such as tornadoes.
While the intentions behind the self-defense initiatives are good, the reality is that the United States should be focusing on preventing tragedies such as school shootings from happening in the first place.
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