Today, we experience yet another atrocity that happened at the University of California, Merced where a perpetrator came on the campus and stabbed 5 students before police arrived on scene and shot him.

I think the first question that comes to most people’s minds is; is this stabbing part of an alarming direction that these perpetrators are moving towards? Or is it an isolated incident? And clearly one also immediately considers the latest round of violence with the alarming number and regularity of attacks in Israel, that have been purposefully executed with a knife. Will there be copycats? Will this violence trickle over to our side of the world?

Historically there have been many of these stabbing incidents in China and other countries and more recently there was the University of Calgary incident, where another invited guest for no known reason fatally stabbed 5 students at a house party.

The problem: knives are easy to obtain and hide, harder to detect, and can more readily pass thru security checkpoints. Knives are sold all over and they come in an unlimited number of lengths and styles. Knives are unassuming, but make no mistake they are a deadly weapon.

In the United States, civilians can legally carry pocketknives. Each state in the U.S. has its own regulations for carrying a knife; usually the length of the blade and the type of knife regulates it.

Frequently knives are overlooked as a potential threat by most because they are so common. We use them everyday in the kitchen and for a variety of uses around the household and work. We see many people carrying pocketknives for a variety of purposes, which de-sensitizes most to their lethality and results in people overlooking the potential threat to their safety.

What can students do to mitigate the threat of a knife-wielding attacker?

Students have a part to play. They are the framework with which we can mitigate and most importantly prepare for this new kind of threat. Unlike an active shooter incident where the perpetrator is employing a gun to conduct mass murder and wherein a gun fires a projectile, a knife is a point of contact weapon, meaning face to face.

Students need to be aware of the presence of knives and other edged weapons to reduce the delay in their reaction times. They need to understand that unlike shooting a firearm, slashing and stabbing with a knife is a primitive action that the perpetrator can execute in ten seconds or less.

The students are the first responders and the first step starts with situational awareness. Once the threat has been identified, there must be a group or mass response when possible to incapacitate the attacker.

As students and people in society, we need to band together and adopt a “group reliance” mentality to help level the playing field in regards to these knife-wielding hostile intruders.

We need to raise consciousness as a student body to the importance of looking out for one another. We need to foster a “ready for anything” mindset that can only come about when all students are like-minded.

With a teamwork mentality, we build a fence that is stronger and more powerful than any individual link. It is better to fight and survive then to be slaughtered like sheep. If a fellow student is watching out for you, and you for them, we are more equipped to react to incapacitate the threat.

Let’s start now by planning to work together to mitigate this new potential threat to college life. Defense Coach University’s college safety prep and active shooter programs are designed to help students proactively and give them a comprehensive framework that is reactive. They are then better equipped to make fast critical decisions that could save their life and others.

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