Why should active shooter safety training be requested?

Esme Galvan, News Editor

The procedures during drills were consistent throughout my life; turn off the lights, turn off the projectors, move away from windows, stay under a desk and away from the door. Ignore knocks on the doors and even the announcements on the overhead speaker saying it was an all-clear; you never knew if the principal themselves was being held at gunpoint. 

I was a student of the Irving Independent School District. Irving is about an hour and twenty minutes from Texas A&M University-Commerce. In Irving ISD, we had been doing lockdown/intruder and lock-in drills since I was in the first grade. 

We would wait for the police to officially open our door and tell us it was all-clear. 

But as tragedies got worse, and the violence reached more and more classrooms, the training got updated. It went from hiding under the desk to barricading the doors with chairs. It went from duck and cover to prepare to fight the intruder if it comes down to that. 

It’s an uncomfortable and awful reality to live in. But we live in it. 

One concern I’ve noticed since being at A&M-Commerce is that there are no intruder drills. Residents in the dorms have fire drills at least once per semester, but not active shooter training. 

Training to stay safe in a mass shooting situation shouldn’t be exclusive information that only University PD should know. 

Why should active shooter training have to be requested based on interest? It should not be exclusive or requested, or a band-aid reaction after a tragic event. Why isn’t it already required to know what to do in case of a shooting on campus?

The phrase that A&M-Commerce is a rural area away from the big city and has not had an issue of gun violence before Feb. 3 would be an excuse. There had been shootings and deaths on campus in dorms.

The campus has seen tragedy since the days it was known as East Texas State University. In January 1997, 39 shots were fired by three gunmen at the Memorial Student Center with 500 students inside for an event. 

A&M-Commerce is not the only rural campus that has dealt with gun violence. The 2007 Virginia Tech shooting began with two students in a residence hall getting murdered, and it was labelled as an isolated incident that might have been domestic violence. It wasn’t. 

It was the beginning of a massacre and became the deadliest mass shooting on a college campus in the United States, leaving 32 people dead. 

I hope there will never be another shooting. 

I really do. 

I hope that one day, the world will be safe enough that anyone can go anywhere and not worry about dying. But until that day comes, we need to be ready for anything. And the lack of personal security won’t go anywhere if a student doesn’t know what to do. 

If we treat fire drills with seriousness and obligation, why can’t we treat active shooter training in that regard too? 

We can’t live in ignorance and ignore the uncertainty that none of us really know what to do during an active shooting.

Ignorance isn’t bliss when ignorance could kill me.