That’s why those resources are there

Published 8:06 pm Thursday, August 23, 2018

Five in Melcroft, Pennsylvania, in January. Seventeen in Parkland, Florida, in February. Three is Wadesboro, North Carolina, in March. Four in Asheville in April. Ten in Santa Fe, Texas, in May. Five in Orlando, Florida, in June. Five in Wilmington, Delaware, in July. Four in Clearlake, California, in August.

These incidents represent a fraction of deaths caused by mass shootings in the U.S. this year. While it’s the shootings in schools and in churches that seem to make the biggest impact on the public, shootings at these locations occur far less often than those that happen in offices, stores and restaurants.

It’s a point to consider.

At the Washington Daily News, it was a point that taken a bit more personally, when a man bearing a grudge against a newspaper walked into the Capital Gazette office in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 28, and killed five people. Until then, Daily News employees rarely considered retaliation of that sort — lives taken because a person was angry by a newspaper’s coverage of his criminal acts. But when five people lose their lives solely because they were doing their jobs, that’s a wake-up call.

We live in an era of gun violence. Sure, since the invention of gun powder and flintlocks, people have been shot and killed. Mass shootings aren’t an invention of this decade or the one before it, nor the one before that — reports of random mass shootings stretch back into the 1800s. However, they do happen more frequently, and the reason is that the person wielding the weapon has reached a tipping point of no return.

As a result of the Annapolis shooting, Washington Police and Fire Services Director Stacy Drakeford came to the Daily News to speak to the entire staff about the “what ifs” of an active shooter scenario. It was an hour and half well spent, as it helped this group of people who work together every day come up with a plan of action, individually and as a group, if or when a person bent on destruction comes walking in the door with a firearm.

While many organizations, government agencies and more have engaged in active shooter trainings for a long time, it wasn’t until someone shot up a newsroom that prompted the Daily News to do the same.

Fact is, these shootings take place in the most mundane places. Many of the people killed have no relation to the shooter. Their only “mistake” was to work in the same place as the targeted victim, or simply be caught near the intended victim at a hair salon, an insurance office, a retail store, a restaurant, a warehouse — the list goes on. And in each instance, survivors could not believe it happened.

If your door is open to the public, do yourself a favor and draw on local resources to come up with your own active shooter plan. That’s why those resources are there.