Del Mar College has been preparing for an active shooter for eight years by conducting training with faculty and staff.
In addition to any practical training completed, Lauren White, DMC’s interim chief of security, hopes more students prepare mentally for the event, even if the FBI says you have a higher chance of being killed by a lightning strike.
“You have to be prepared to take action,” said White, a former Corpus Christi Police Department officer. “The mindset of people committing these acts is to find and kill as many people as possible.”
White suggested that anyone caught in a mass-shooting event be prepared to take the next step as soon as you realize what’s happening.
According to White, in the San Bernardino and Virginia Tech mass shootings, victims who survived a greater percentage of the gunfire exchanges used their bodies to barricade doors. Those who simply hid, or didn’t have time to block the doors, died at a greater percentage. They had no real way to fight back.
In August 2017, the so-called Campus Carry law will go into effect, allowing concealed carry license holders to legally bring their firearms onto campus, including into classrooms.
Del Mar’s security detail consists of one armed officer, who is an off-duty member of CCPD, and three unarmed bike patrols. Their job during an active shooter event is to notify anyone at Del Mar and the police.
White said she hopes the public understands that the police will not arrive immediately.
“Three minutes before first response” is expected, White said. She emphasized that three minutes is actually a faster than average response time, but three minutes can feel like an eternity for someone trapped in a room, waiting for help.
“Three minutes is a lot of time for someone with a lot of firepower,” White said.
White said she doesn’t feel as if the campus carry law will make anyone less safe.
“There are probably already guns on campus. The person who is going to commit an active shooter event doesn’t care about the law anyway,” White said.
White said she worries more about untrained individuals having guns on campus.
“My bigger concern is whether they’ve gone through the mental preparation to use a weapon,” White said. “I’m concerned about the welfare of students and faculty as well. You have to take your own safety on as part of your responsibility now.”