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

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 concepts

Oakland 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 nothing

The 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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What the puck? Can a piece of vulcanised rubber stop an active shooter?

One of my favourite Monty Python skits (and I have tonnes of those!) is the one in which John Cleese plays a drill sergeant who is teaching a bunch of recruits how to defend themselves against an adversary armed with… a piece of fruit.

The officious military officer goes through bananas, passion fruit, raspberries, cherries (red AND black), all the while killing those armed with such ‘dangerous’ weapons by either a) shooting them with a handgun; b) releasing a tiger; or c) dropping a 16-tonne weight on them. A truly great sketch.

Is something Pythonesque happening at Oakland University in Detroit?Is something Pythonesque happening at Oakland University in Detroit? The uni’s police chief is arming students with hockey pucks to throw at active shooters. I swear I am not making this up! While the official policy in these instances is ‘run, hide, fight’, in that order I suppose, pucks are now an option.

Here is Chief Gordon: “They have enough mass to cause injury, small enough to be thrown, (are) portable and they’re not considered a weapon.” In response to that suggestion the head of the institution’s AAUP (American Association of University Professors) had this to say: “When Chief Gordon mentioned that a hockey puck was an appropriate tool to have at your disposal, we went back and saw how much they cost. These things are relatively cheap.

He added that the pucks should be “absolutely a last resort” and that “We hope and pray it never gets used for the purposes we may use it for.

What to make of this?

Aside from the usual pathetic ‘thoughts and prayers’ line that gets dragged out whenever there is a mass shooting, is a hockey puck REALLY an effective weapon against a guy with a gun? Will we now be hearing ‘never bring a puck to a gun fight’? Is this not 100% bat shit crazy???

I suppose that having a puck is better than not having anything, but if you REALLY want to stop a moron with an AR-15, what you should ensure is that you have a hockey stick to beat him with, and not a lousy composite but one of the old hickory shafts that won’t shatter on impact.

Or, better yet, make sure you are always beside a hockey player like Shea Weber, Zdeno Chara or Al McGinnis! Their own players made sure to get the hell out the way when these guys wound up from the point! An armed assassin would have no chance!

Is a hockey puck REALLY an effective weapon against a guy with a gun?
The sad truth to all this is that we are still talking about mass shootings in a country where they occur with disturbing regularity (the only other place this happens is in Afghanistan – enough said). Rather than debate the advantages of pucks over billiard balls when choosing what to throw at a crazed gunman maybe Americans should REALLY be talking about serious gun control.

Or is this a stupid pucking idea?