Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Another school shooting

CLEVELAND (AP) - The mayor of Cleveland says three children were taken to a hospital after a gunman opened fire Wednesday at an alternative city school.

"We have no reason to believe there's more than one suspect," Mayor Frank Jackson told reporters gathered outside the SuccessTech Academy. He also said the school had been secured, but he offered no other details.

Ronnell Jackson, 15, said he saw a shooter running down a hall at SuccessTech Academy.

"He was about to shoot me but I got out just in time," he said. "He was aiming at me I got out just in time."

Another student, Doneisha LeVert, said she heard the principal say "Code Blue" over the public address system, and the students started running. She said she hid in a closet with some of her friends.

Tammy Mundy, 38, who has a son and daughter at the school, told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland that her daughter called when the shooting started.

"She said, 'Mom they're shooting in here, kids are running out, I'm hiding in the closet,'" Mundy told the newspaper.

Then she called her 18-year-old son, Darnell Rodgers, on his cell phone, and he told her he had been shot in the arm.

"He said, 'Mom I got shot,'" Mundy told the newspaper.

The small, alternative high school is in the center of downtown across from the FBI's offices and three blocks from where the Cleveland Browns play football. The school enrolls students grades nine through 12 and emphasizes technology education.

Some lessons. One, if you are in school and hear gunfire and run for the exit as fast as you can. Do not allow yourself to be "locked down" if you can possibly help it. When a shooter is working his way through a school a bunch of students locked in a classroom are like cattle in a slaughter house. The main reason for the lockdowns are to make things easier for responding law enforcement. Cops prefer to let the kids out of the school under controlled conditions so that they can be searched. This will, hopefully, prevent the shooter or one of the shooters from escaping by hiding among the other students. If a few more children get killed (or even a lot more children get killed), well them's the breaks. You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs after all.

Two, if you are a parent or just someone who cares about the lives of school children (or college students for that matter) lobby your state legislature, city counsel or county commission or whoever else you have to in order to get the law changed to allow responsible adults who possess concealed carry permits to carry on school property. School shootings have been stopped by some running out to their car and retrieving a firearm. If at least a few teachers, administrators, janitors and/or lunch ladies were likely to be carrying it would deter many school shootings and end others before more than one or two victims were killed or injured.

Three, if you are in a school, or anywhere else for that matter, and you are confronted with a shooter and you judge that you have little or no chance of running to safety then counterattack. It wasn't all that long ago that a school shooting was stopped almost before it began by a pair of students charging and tackling a fellow student who was wielding a rifle. People waving guns around don't expect their unarmed victims to fight back; if they do it can surprise them into inaction long enough for you to take them down.

If you are going to get shot anyway why not give yourself at least the chance of survival. This will work better if several people counterattack at the same time. Throw things at the bastard scream your defiance at him. If all you have are your personal weapons use all of them. What are your personal weapons? Your hands, feet, knees, elbows, and teeth. That's right, your teeth. Land on the man (or woman) who wants to murder you and do your best to claw his eyes out. Tear his throat out with your teeth. An ex-Marine I went to school with told me that his DI told him, "you are in the jungle, you don't care chew his crotch out" (this was during the Vietnam War). That DI was correct and advice for the jungle works just as well for a school or shopping mall.

What this all boils down to is that you need to take responsibility for yourself. Many individual police officers will put their own bodies between a murderer and his intended victim but the priorities of the police department will be first to protect the lives of police officers, second to catch the perpetrators and last to protect the students or shoppers or whatever. The top priority of the school administration, mall or movie theater management or whatever will be to avoid getting sued. Your priority needs to be yourself.