“That will never happen here!”
It’s easy to find comfort in that statement when you are more than 2000 miles away from a crisis. But we can no longer hide behind such a disguise. Being from a smaller school or a family-like environment or even a close-knit community – it’s not enough. They were not exempt. We are not exempt.
Umpqua Community College is a community college very much like Black Hawk College. The victims and family members involved in the October 1st shooting are our sisters, our brothers, our colleagues, our acquaintances, our friends. We may not have met them or know them personally, but we are tied together by the bond of community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families involved in this terrible tragedy.
The best way we can support those affected by this and other school shootings is to remember the heroes who stepped up to reduce potential victims, and then arm ourselves with knowledge to prevent future attacks.
Army veteran Chris Mintz stepped up in true hero form, refusing to let the shooter in his classroom. “You’re not getting by me,” he boldly stated as he blocked entrance through the doorway. Mintz was struck seven times by the shooter, but everyone else in that classroom remained safe.
According to family members, Mintz has two broken legs, but no vital organs were affected. His cousin added, “His vital signs are OK. He’s going to have to learn to walk again, but he walked away with his life and that’s more than so many other people did.”
Treven Anspach lost his life during the attack that day, but his final heroic act is believed to be what saved the life of fellow student Lacey Scroggins. As the shooter moved from person to person asking whether or not they were Christians, students lay huddled on the floor hoping to be passed over.
Scroggins retold some of what happened, remembering one student identified by the shooter as “the lucky one” whose life was spared to deliver the flash drive carrying his message. The next sound she heard was gunfire striking the boy next to her.
Treven Anspach rolled toward Scroggins after he was hit by the bullet. “I felt Treven’s body as it moved over mine,” Scroggins stated. His body and his blood covering her led the shooter to move past her. Whether Anspach’s action was intentional as he took his last breath, or merely an effect of being shot is not specified in the article by ABC News – the truth can never be known, but to Lacey Scroggins and her family, he will always be a hero.
A.L.I.C.E. training has been used effectively to help teachers and students prepare for such tragedies. One of the key moves instructors and students are told is to block the door. Typically this should be done by using a large cabinet or table to block entrance into the classroom. In haste of the moment, Mintz took action, using himself to block the doorway to make sure other students weren’t injured. While he is still alive to tell the tale, this is not the recommended course of action.
In reaction to the Oregon shooting, Black Hawk College Police is holding A.L.I.C.E. training at both East and Quad-Cities campus. These trainings were announced on myBlackHawk, and were held prior to the printing of this issue. If you were unable to attend, or didn’t see the notification, contact the BHC Police Station in Building 3 to ask questions or share concerns.
In addition, Chieftain reporter Gayle Grundstrom reported on A.L.I.C.E. Training following a college shooting in North Carolina last Spring. A portion of that article will be reprinted here, but the full article is available online.
From May 2015 by Gayle Grundstrom:
If there is ever a situation like that at BHC, students and employees are supposed to follow the A.L.I.C.E. drill for any type of shooting incident. A.L.I.C.E. stands for: alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate.
Alert simply means that the police have been notified and everyone on campus is informed of the situation via word of mouth or from the PA system. At BHC, the PA system will alert students and employees of any emergency, even for events such as exposure to hazardous materials. At these times, we cannot stress enough that you are NOT to use the elevators.
Lockdown implies that the door to your classroom is locked and the lights are turned off – pretend no one is home. Under lockdown, you should be quiet and position yourself in the room strategically, avoiding the windows and doors.
Communication should still be flowing – silently if it must – to keep everyone notified of the current situation. Most students and employees have their phones on them; stay connected with other students on campus for the latest information.
If you or your classmates find yourself squared off with the gunman, the counter step of A.L.I.C.E. comes into action. You should not leave your classroom and try and hunt down the gunman; this step should only be utilized if he/she has come into contact with you and you need to defend yourself.
“The counter aspect of A.L.I.C.E. is a really smart option; otherwise you’re all sitting ducks in a room, huddled against a wall,” reasoned an anonymous BHC student.
The last step of A.L.I.C.E. is to evacuate – as long as it is safe, move to a different, more secure location.