A piece of vulcanised rubber may not stop an active shooter, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea!

This is a response to “What the puck? Can a piece of vulcanised rubber stop an active shooter?” published by Phil Gurski on The Resilience Post on 06 December 2018.

Hey Phil! In my opinion, not only is prevention not a bad idea, a focus on preventing mass shootings rather than just dealing with them after they happen is by far the best approach. But…

As they continue to happen with increasing frequency and the active shooter attack remains our most distressing reality, one can make a strong argument in favor of Police Chief Mark Gordon’s active shooter program. I would therefore argue that there are some good reasons to like the puck:

“The puck can teach you”

Every one should come with a conversation, a five minute “prep talk”, that reinforces some key awareness conceptsOakland University plans to give out 2,500 of them at roughly a dollar apiece. Each act of handing a hockey puck -- 800 handoffs to staff and 1,700 to students-is a teachable moment. Every one should come with a conversation, a five minute “prep talk”, that reinforces some key awareness concepts.

We are built to spot patterns…don’t turn that instinct off when you are in a familiar place like your classroom” or “Look for exit signs when you are in a public place”. The puck itself could even be emblazoned with emergency phone numbers or preparedness phrases like “Run Hide Fight”.

“The puck can help you plan”

If you’re like most people, you spend your days hoping that this horrible thing would never happen to you. You don’t like to think about it. This is why you don’t (I call this phenomenon “the brick wall of hope”)

Because when it comes to active shooter situations, doing something is always better than doing nothingThe reason that this is a problem for you is that your ability to think clearly will evaporate the instant you hear the gunshots. So if you hadn’t ever thought through your first steps then, you are unlikely to have any bright ideas now. You are more likely to freeze, which is more likely to result in bad outcomes. Because when it comes to active shooter situations, doing something is always better than doing nothing

As odd as it sounds, the hockey puck could help you to plan for the worst. Its heft could allow some to engage their fear; its reality could help to bring the intangible from the deep recesses of the subconscious out into the real world. As the puck turns over and over in your hand, you could think it through; we call this “modeling your actions”. You could ask yourself “What would I do first…? What are my evacuation routes; where are the exits? Where could I shelter in place? Where are the lockable doors?”

“The puck could hurt”

As anybody that has been hit in the head with a hockey puck can tell you, as a last resort weapon, a hockey puck is definitely better than nothing. Especially if 20 students in a classroom all threw them at the same time. Heck, it could actually even work.

As anybody that has been hit in the head with a hockey puck can tell you, as a last resort weapon, a hockey puck is definitely better than nothing.

“Sometimes you just need a puck”

Finally, having an extra puck or two around could actually come in handy. Especially if you find yourself without one but out on the ice with stick and jonesin’ for a game!

This is a response to “What the puck? Can a piece of vulcanised rubber stop an active shooter?” published by Phil Gurski (The Resilience Post, 07 December 2018).

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