OPINION: Taking on the active shooter drill alone


Photo credit: Bethany Wade

Bethany Wade

It’s one thing to watch an active shooter drill happen, but it’s another to be a part of it.

On April 25, Marywood held its first active shooter drill of the semester in the Liberal Arts Center. The drill began around 1:15 p.m. when an actor fired shots in the Rotunda. I was in an empty classroom on the first floor right wing to see what it was like to be in a classroom when he fired the first rounds.

In this instance where the shooter starts in the Rotunda, there are three directions the shooter can go, assuming the shooter isn’t going back outside. He can go down the left wing, the right wing or go straight back toward the Admissions office and the back stairwell. I waited to see which direction he went so I knew what move I could make. Each move he made would affect what options I had.

It may have been because it was a drill, but I went into analytical mode. I didn’t want to let my emotions get the best of me. In a situation like this, an emotional response will lead me to make a decision that could easily be the wrong one. In a real life situation, I doubt that I’ll be able to calm my emotions as much.

In an email sent out to campus, Chief of Campus Safety Mike Pasqualicchio explained there are three main options in an active shooter scenario: run, hide or attack. However, since this is a drill, attack was not an option. If the shooter was to go down my wing, my best option would be to stay hidden inside the classroom. If the shooter went toward the Admissions office and the stairwell or to the left wing, my best option would be to run toward Regina Hall and get out.

The classroom I was in had no lock on the door, so I knew I had to hide as best I could inside the classroom. I hid in an interior closet and tried to go underneath a shelf. I chose to hide first so that way I could be in a secure location and listen for a second shot to figure out where the shooter was. Once I knew that he did not go down my hallway and went in the other direction, I made my move to get out of the building.

In this fake scenario, I lived to tell the tale. But one important thing that Pasqualicchio said he wants everyone to remember is that this is only one specific situation.

“Just because you have the training doesn’t mean you’re going to be trained for the situation that happens,” said Pasqualicchio.

This drill is only one of many scenarios that could occur in just the Liberal Arts Center, let alone another building on campus. But what doesn’t change are the three main strategies. If you are involved in an active shooter situation, remember to run, hide or attack.

Contact the writer: [email protected]

Twitter: @BethanyWadeTWW