Yesterday, Umpqua Community College in the small town of Roseburg, Oregon came face to face with an individual so heinous that we can only call him evil. It was then that an active shooter named Christopher Harper Mercer, walked into a classroom and began executing students one by one.

The shooter was armed with multiple firearms including five pistols and a rifle, wore body armor and had one thing on his mind: to kill and maim as many students as he could within a short time frame.

In the last decade alone, the world has bore witness to too many violent school-shooting incidents that resulted in the loss of our children. These senseless acts of violence continue to shake the very foundation of our nation, but more importantly have harmfully impacted the survivors and parents lives in a manner that no human being should ever feel.

Each time an active shooting incident has occurred, there is a cry for tighter gun control, and much talk about actively reducing response time for law enforcement.

Each time, there is considerable discussion about “why” this individual committed these despicable acts of violence on innocence, and how we prevent this from ever happening again. In my humble opinion, we need to certainly consider these questions however it is training and preparation, which must be a focal point.

Let’s take this tragedy in Roseburg as an example. From news media and live accounts, students complied with the shooters demands even after he demonstrated his intent to murder and maim without remorse.

This begs the Question “how could we have responded in this circumstance that could have saved lives”? People must first recognize that threats exist. They must accept that this is really happening to them. They must also understand that they are first responders in that situation.

Being that they are the first people on scene, they must be empowered with the preparation to avoid freezing and to know when compliance is not possible such as was the case at Umpqua Community College.

Training such as Defense Coach University’s College Safety Prep program teaches appropriate response where students learn to recognize threats and danger before they happen, avoid it when possible, evade when they cannot avoid and counter if there is no other choice.

The DCU RAEC program teaches present time consciousness of the situation, instructs when students can take action, and ensure responsibility for themselves and fellow students. It fosters a “teamwork” contact mentality wherein the “chain” is stronger than any individual link; thus they are stronger and more powerful when the circumstances demand it.

When faced with a sudden act of extreme violence, if one does not prepare, rehearse or train for it, they will always default to their prior training. If they have had no training, fear will overtake them rendering them inert, unable to respond.

DCU College Safety Prep Program helps students proactively and gives them a comprehensive adaptive planning framework that is reactive. They are then better equipped to make fast critical action-oriented decisions that could save their life and others.

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