There wasn’t a sound in the room save for the audio from the computer.
A crowd of parents, school officials, and citizens sat silently as a re-enactment of the deadly Columbine shooting was displayed on a television screen, showing the chaos and deadly actions of two “active shooters” that stunned the nation in 1999.
The video was a sobering start to a seminar presented by Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Sgt. Steve Jones Tuesday at the Collins Middle School Auditorium, aimed at teaching civilians how to act, and react, should they face the deadly scenario of an “active shooter” in a school or business.
CISD trustee Barbara Kelley, herself a DART employee, sponsored the multi-media presentation, giving an in-depth look at the ways people tend to react in such situations, and how to overcome fear and shock and survive such a horrible event.
Jones, a career law enforcement officer, stressed the presentation shown Tuesday was not the “law enforcement version,” but rather an educational piece.
“It teaches you to plan ahead,” Jones said. The people who commit such violent acts do just that – plan far in advance all the details of their crime.
“The two boys that did the Columbine attack planned it out for over a year,” Jones said. He added that the gunman in the Newton school shooting earlier this year studied the actions of a gunman who killed over 70 students in Norway.
“They will be prepared,” he said. “That’s why we teach this.”
Three steps, Jones said, were key - avoid the shooter; deny him access to you; and defend yourself.
Most people give no advance thought to such scenarios in their everyday lives, he said.
Understanding how the mind works in stressful situations, and planning ahead for how a person should react to a shooter in a workplace, school, restaurant or other public place can mean the difference between surviving, or becoming part of “the body count,” Jones said.
“You need to make up your mind how you’ll act before it happens,” he said.
Many of the suggestions shared in the two-hour presentation could apply not only to a shooting incident, but for everyday security, Jones said.
“Every time you walk into a building, look around and find the exits,” he stressed. Knowing more than one way to escape – such as sitting near a kitchen entrance in a restaurant to have access to the restaurant’s rear door – is only one of many such tips shared.
He also suggested “breaking patterns” that people tend to fall in, such as always taking the same route to and from work, always using the same entry and exit points at the same time, and keeping a routine schedule.
While stress levels will likely run high, Jones talked about the importance of trying to keep calm, allowing the brain to be able to think decisively and follow that thinking with action.
And having a plan of what steps to take – again referencing the A-D-D approach of avoiding the perpetrator, denying him access, and defending yourself – is a big step in being more likely to get out of a bad situation alive.
Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner joined Jones in fielding questions from the audience. Tanner said after reviewing the DART presentation ahead of time, he felt it was vital to share the program with everyone.
“We need to get this out to the public,” Tanner said.
Tanner explained that the law enforcement approach is a coordinated effort.
“Every agency trains the same way, so they can react together,” Tanner explained, which allows an off-duty officer who may be at the scene of a shooting to be able to join responding officers in a tactical attack on a shooter.
“The world changed after 9-11,” Tanner said.
“These things are happening.”
Bob Belcher may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: email@example.com
There wasn’t a sound in the room save for the audio from the computer.
Three-peat: Blooming Grove's McGraw claims Grand Champion steer
It was a year of repeats for students entered in the 2014 Steer Show at the Navarro County Youth Expo.Lainie McGraw, 17, of Blooming Grove FFA, won the Grand Champion steer, as she did last year and the year before; and Noah Grounds, 15, of Blooming Grove/Barry 4-H won Grand Champion Showmanship, as he did last year. He also won the top prize for showmanship in the heifer show this year. He won reserve champion in that category last year.
Clagett takes top pen in Market Rabbits Division
Josiah Clagett of Corsicana FFA won Grand Champion in the Breeding Rabbits Division in 2010. It was his “rookie” year and first time to show.
Clagett came full circle this year to claim the other top rabbit title. He took home Grand Champion honors in the Market Rabbit Division Thursday at the 56th Annual Navarro County Youth Expo. The winning pen was the only one he entered.
Curl wins first leg of Commercial Heifers
Caleb Curl, 13, of Frost FFA, won grand champion of the commercial heifer show, the first leg of the commercial heifer overall prizes. Unlike a lot of the other animal categories, commercial heifers aren't show-things with smooth coats and stardust on their hooves. They're straight out of the pasture, a bit muddy and certainly not the lady-like, pampered creatures that will be led around the ring in the registered heifer show.
LIVE BLOG: College football signing day
Follow all the action on college football Signing Day with coverage from across the CNHI network as well as from the national sports media. Live coverage begins at 8 a.m. ET.
‘Annie Get Your Gun’ through Sunday at the Palace
It’s the big musical, the one that makes me think of ‘cast of thousands,’ or in our case, dozens at least, and it’s here only for a few short days. ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’ is Irving Berlin’s candy box treasure of a play about Annie Oakley, the sharpshooter in love with a showman.
It’s presented by the Warehouse Living Arts Center but because of its size is on stage at the Palace Theatre. Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee.
Short named Farmer of the Year
Agriculture businesses like farming and ranching are the backbone of Navarro County. Many farming families go back several generations.
Since at least 1965, the Corsicana Rotary Club (Wednesday club) has recognized and said “thank you” to the unsung heroes of the soil.
New clinic open
A new medical practice in partnership with Navarro Regional Hospital is now offering comprehensive occupational medicine services.
Purdon man sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for gun violations
Erik Willis, 31 of Purdon, was sentenced this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis to serve a total of 258 months in federal prison following his conviction at trial in July 2013 on three felony firearms offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Heat Advisory issued for North Texas
• Avoid the Heat. Stay out of the heat and indoors as much as possible. Spend time in an air conditioned space. Only two hours a day in an air-conditioned space can significantly reduce the risk of heat-related illness.
Corsicana’s Red Cross provides valuable assistance
Two weeks ago, when firefighters, oil field emergency crews and county crisis teams responded to a potential gas drilling disaster near Mildred there were also volunteers on the scene, serving cold water and Gatorade.
American Red Cross volunteers respond to a variety of situations, including fires, evacuations, tornadoes, and even bad car wrecks.
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- Three-peat: Blooming Grove's McGraw claims Grand Champion steer