20090417

17APR09, Monday will be 10 years...

10 years since Columbine High School was the scene of a horrific incident involving an active shooter.

I was in high school at the time, a junior to be exact. What amazes me is that a month prior, just before spring break, the Colorado Springs SWAT did a hostage rescue exercise at our high school. We practiced a 'Code Red' lock down drill, and were released for spring break on that March Friday afternoon.

The year prior we had a unique teacher at our school who if I recall correctly was the one who advised our school district on how to react to a school shooting and what to do. He told them to do a lock down. That teacher was our Associate Naval Science Instructor (ANSI) and one of my first military instructors in the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. He was a freshly retired US Navy SEAL Master Chief from Seal Team V. I understand very well why he ceased teaching us after only a year. After being a SEAL for so long, who would want to teach polish and starch drill and ceremonies to snot nosed high school students?

Well, he left a powerful and motivating legacy, and not just on our school, but with our state. Our district's administration passed on the lessons to the rest of the state which had largely ignored our 'paranoid' actions in providing our facility for use to the Colorado Springs SWAT while practicing the worst case scenario.

God only knows how many lives might have been saved if Columbine High School in Littleton Colorado had paid attention to Mesa Ridge High School in Widefield Colorado... But then, we were a blue collar/green collar school with a large military dependent population, and therefor a middle class joke to most of the fancy large city school districts centered around the affluent white collar neighborhoods of the Denver Metropolitan Area. They knew better than we did.

I thank God every day that I've had that life lesson of seeing what happened with that 'Code Red'. I'd joked like everyone else that a lockdown just left us in easy to kill positions. Now, after seeing Columbine, and having fought terrorists myself, I understand the wisdom of that drill extremely well. It kept us kids out of the way and compartmentalized so the SWAT or even a handful of first responding regular police officers could come in and clear our school and we'd be out of the way allowing them to engage an active shooter without collateral damage.

It was the last time I passed off the gut feeling I have about the 'worst cased scenario' and decide to stay prepared for ANYTHING no matter how far out it seemed despite any criticism of how paranoid it was to be ready.

Thanks Master Chief! Where every you are now, HOO-YAH!

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