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University of Iowa is Training Students, Staff to Survive Violent Incidents

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February 25, 2011

University of Iowa is Training Students, Staff to Survive Violent Incidents

By David Maccar

by David Maccar

The University of Iowa Department of Public Safety has developed a training program for students and staff to prepare them to survive violent incidents on campus and teach alternatives to helplessness.

The program is designed to teach students available options during a dangerous incident, such as the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007.

About 1,000 faculty, staff and students have already gone through the two-hour class, learning five steps: alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate.

The students learn how to improvise and adapt in a given situation by using objects at hand, like tying a door closed with a belt to prevent a gunman from entering,

The students are also taught a technique called “the swarm,” in which, upon the entry of a gunman into a classroom, the students immediately pelt the person with anything at hand, books, bags, laptops (they use Styrofoam balls and rubber guns during the training course) to block his vision as much as possible and maybe injure the attacker, causing him to lower his gun for a moment. Then the group collectively brings the person to the ground while gaining control of the weapon.

It sounds dangerous, but it’s better than being fish in a barrel for a crazed gunman.

When I was in high school, we had “preparedness” training after the Columbine massacre in 1999 where we were basically instructed to block the door if we could and cower in the farthest corner. Our other option was to take a three-story leap out of a window. My friends and I talked about Columbine a lot after it happened, and we always said that if enough students had rushed the gunmen, they would have been overpowered and lives could have been saved. Turns out, we may not have been too far off the mark. Then again, when bullets are flying, collective reasoning kind of goes out the window for the average mass of terror-stricken citizens.

 

Check out the full story from The Daily Iowan here.

Thoughts?

Comments (16)

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from KNX wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

It's the Cogburn Principle. "You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him". Restated, it means that whatever advantage your enemy has is diminished in his mind if you refuse to see it as an advantage, and proceed as though it did not exist.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

The U of I had their own shooting incident a few years ago witha student gone haywire.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

Wow, I must be getting old. A few years ago was 1991.

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from buckhunter wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I feel the efforts to protect the staff and students commendable but telling them to throw a lap top at an armed intruder is laughable.

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from davycrockettfv wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

If they can actually work together like the training teaches, many lives can be saved. That's why the gunman in the Tucson shootings wasn't able to fire off every round in his magazine - several people, one of whom I knew in high school, rushed and subdued the guy. People were hurt, yes, but it could have been a lot worse if they hadn't acted. I hope more institutions do something like this.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from iron giant wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

Good idea, sort of. Throwing stuff at and swarming a gunman might save some lives, but lets face it he still has the upper hand with a gun. There was a school shooting in Israel in the 70's. After the incident teachers were permitted to carry concealed weapons. There hasn't been a single school shooting in Israel since. Let the good guys have guns, don't make them fight with pencils and notebooks.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

this is a good start but how about just letting trained individuals carry concealed so that anyone thinking about a rampage has to think about the consequences. that's why schools have always been so tempting. no guns to stop them.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from cmikles1 wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

When I'm sitting in class (not listening unfortunately), I play the 'what if' game. Like "What if a man with a gun came in, what would I do to stop him?" It's grim, but If the day ever comes where I have to do something, I've conditioned my mind to deal with it. Plus it's more interesting than accounting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I dunno! If you got whacked in the head by a heaved laptop, it could possibly "kill or maime"!! LOL!!!
There was another high school shooting where the kid came into a gym. One of the kids present had experience with the gun he was carrying, gathered a couple of friends and "went for it". They were able to disarm and restrain the offender even though the "main" attacker was wounded. It just proves there's strength in numbers.
Seems the shooter only got off one or two rounds, and that at the kids that jumped him.

Bubba

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Randy S. Breth wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I think "The Swarm" is a better idea than cowering under a desk - but it's too bad they aren't allowed to pelt a gunman with something more effective than laptops or books - I don't know, maybe like lead.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I am not saying the "swarm" is not a bad technique. What is funny is telling the students they are not allowed to carry a gun for self protection and suggesting they throw their laptops.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

Sounds like some crazy, far left alternatives to armed response. The Israelis got it right after the first time, as usual.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from johntalbott wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

sounds like a stupid idea to me. Many of these people kill themselves after going on a shooting spree, whether they plan on it or realize their limited options and then decide to kill themselves is debatable, but if someone came into my lawschool and started shooting, i doubt attempting to throw a 1500 page heavy book 35 or 45 feet would have much effect. i bet 500 ft/lbs of energy from my .40 would have a better chance of stopping a crazed shooter than a book being thrown from 35 feet. of course, in this state we cant carry in class or anywhere on campus for that matter

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dbetzner wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

Comeing from my perspective that its highly unlikely that students and teachers will be able to carry firearms legaly at school. So takeing that into consideration its hard to shoot with stuff flying at you, you make yourself a harder target. and swarming the gunman yes people WILL most likely die, however its highly unlikely that the gunman will get everyone before he is overpowered and possibly shot and killed by his would be victims. as someone above stated sure beats cowering in the corner thats certain death. only problem would be to actually get enough people to swarm the attacker.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from woodsmanj35 wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

well it's better than nothing, and although it may not be the best plan, it's really not that bad. It's hard to shoot people when 20 people are throwing crap at you.
i wonder though, if i throw my laptop at an intruder, will the school replace it???

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dbetzner wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

woodsmanj35, if you dont throw it they certainly cant replace your life...

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from iron giant wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

Good idea, sort of. Throwing stuff at and swarming a gunman might save some lives, but lets face it he still has the upper hand with a gun. There was a school shooting in Israel in the 70's. After the incident teachers were permitted to carry concealed weapons. There hasn't been a single school shooting in Israel since. Let the good guys have guns, don't make them fight with pencils and notebooks.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

this is a good start but how about just letting trained individuals carry concealed so that anyone thinking about a rampage has to think about the consequences. that's why schools have always been so tempting. no guns to stop them.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from KNX wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

It's the Cogburn Principle. "You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him". Restated, it means that whatever advantage your enemy has is diminished in his mind if you refuse to see it as an advantage, and proceed as though it did not exist.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Randy S. Breth wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I think "The Swarm" is a better idea than cowering under a desk - but it's too bad they aren't allowed to pelt a gunman with something more effective than laptops or books - I don't know, maybe like lead.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

The U of I had their own shooting incident a few years ago witha student gone haywire.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

Wow, I must be getting old. A few years ago was 1991.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I feel the efforts to protect the staff and students commendable but telling them to throw a lap top at an armed intruder is laughable.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from davycrockettfv wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

If they can actually work together like the training teaches, many lives can be saved. That's why the gunman in the Tucson shootings wasn't able to fire off every round in his magazine - several people, one of whom I knew in high school, rushed and subdued the guy. People were hurt, yes, but it could have been a lot worse if they hadn't acted. I hope more institutions do something like this.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cmikles1 wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

When I'm sitting in class (not listening unfortunately), I play the 'what if' game. Like "What if a man with a gun came in, what would I do to stop him?" It's grim, but If the day ever comes where I have to do something, I've conditioned my mind to deal with it. Plus it's more interesting than accounting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I dunno! If you got whacked in the head by a heaved laptop, it could possibly "kill or maime"!! LOL!!!
There was another high school shooting where the kid came into a gym. One of the kids present had experience with the gun he was carrying, gathered a couple of friends and "went for it". They were able to disarm and restrain the offender even though the "main" attacker was wounded. It just proves there's strength in numbers.
Seems the shooter only got off one or two rounds, and that at the kids that jumped him.

Bubba

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I am not saying the "swarm" is not a bad technique. What is funny is telling the students they are not allowed to carry a gun for self protection and suggesting they throw their laptops.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

Sounds like some crazy, far left alternatives to armed response. The Israelis got it right after the first time, as usual.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from johntalbott wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

sounds like a stupid idea to me. Many of these people kill themselves after going on a shooting spree, whether they plan on it or realize their limited options and then decide to kill themselves is debatable, but if someone came into my lawschool and started shooting, i doubt attempting to throw a 1500 page heavy book 35 or 45 feet would have much effect. i bet 500 ft/lbs of energy from my .40 would have a better chance of stopping a crazed shooter than a book being thrown from 35 feet. of course, in this state we cant carry in class or anywhere on campus for that matter

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dbetzner wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

Comeing from my perspective that its highly unlikely that students and teachers will be able to carry firearms legaly at school. So takeing that into consideration its hard to shoot with stuff flying at you, you make yourself a harder target. and swarming the gunman yes people WILL most likely die, however its highly unlikely that the gunman will get everyone before he is overpowered and possibly shot and killed by his would be victims. as someone above stated sure beats cowering in the corner thats certain death. only problem would be to actually get enough people to swarm the attacker.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from woodsmanj35 wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

well it's better than nothing, and although it may not be the best plan, it's really not that bad. It's hard to shoot people when 20 people are throwing crap at you.
i wonder though, if i throw my laptop at an intruder, will the school replace it???

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dbetzner wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

woodsmanj35, if you dont throw it they certainly cant replace your life...

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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