Web Breakdown

This is already over the blogs, so you’ve probably already read about it. If not, make sure you check out this description before you read on. Contrary to what I was taught in High School journalism class, the reporter seems to have trouble reporting the How, What, Why, Where, and Whens of the story. So the timeline is a bit muddled. I will try to break down some essential bits of the story into bite size lessons.

1) Despite what your administrators, legislators, and law enforcement officials tell you, the guns are already on campus (and everywhere else you go).

An argument between Justin Macklin and former student Austin Morrow, 20, near the Business and Aerospace Building building resulted in Macklin shooting the other in the hand, according to police and an alert issued by the school.

This happened on a college campus in a state where it is illegal to carry a gun on campus, so right now you know that Macklin was breaking the law. Since we was the student and Morrow the former student, Macklin was likely breaking the law yesterday too, and the day before that. Which is to say, people are carrying guns on campus right now regardless of the law.

2) Your disarmed classmates (or coworkers) probably aren’t going to be much help.

Christopher Hamrick was heading into the student union building when he passed the two men causing a commotion, he said. “There was a slight argument between a tall, black fellow with plaid shirt and khakis jeans,” Hamrick said. “It just sound juvenile, high school.” He said he didn’t think much else about.

“I kept walking and heard a shot behind me,” said Hamrick.

Even if there are other people around you, they may not realize the seriousness of the situation. They may not even want to help. Or events may transpire so quickly that no one could intervene even if they had the desire and ability to help.

3) The police will come, but that won’t help if you are already under attack.

Police with high-powered guns rushed to campus.

I’m glad they left the .22 shorts at home and brought real guns. But that didn’t help Morrow who was already shot. No cops were there to act as his personal security detail. There aren’t enough details in the story, so it is also possible that Macklin was justified in shooting Morrow. If that is the case, then no cops were there to protect Macklin from Morrow either. You are on your own.

4) The police may not be rushing in to confront the attacker. You may have to deal with him yourself.

After the shooting, police said, Macklin tried to hide in a classroom building, but police surrounded the building and took him into custody when he tried to leave [by blending in with other students leaving the building]. The weapon, a .32-caliber revolver, along with two small bags of marijuana, were later found in the building.

The argument and shooting happened outside, then the suspect ran into a building with other students and faculty present. The cops then rushed in and immediately apprehended…oh wait… they surrounded the building and waited for the suspect to come out. This may be a sound tactical decision for the police, I am not a cop. But if Macklin had been an active shooter then several more people are getting shot while the police are outside waiting.

Since there is no timeline in the story I can’t say how long he was in there before coming out. No matter what, it takes several minutes for police to respond. The story says a SWAT team was there; that takes time to assemble too. However long it was, those people in there with him, while the police were waiting outside, were on their own. None of the people college students might expect to protect them where there.

5) Priorities: secure your immediate surroundings; harden your position.

Jamie Smith, 20, a pre-dental major, said she was in history class with 50 others when they received a text alert from the school saying there had been a shooting in their building. “Everybody just started running toward the windows to see what was happening,” she said.

Oh good grief. The proper response to being informed that someone has been shot in the building you are in is not to run to the windows. Windows are neither cover nor concealment. If the bad guy is out there and fights it out with the cops, you are now possibly down range in a gun fight.

The proper response in this case, especially if you are not armed, is to immediately secure all of the entrances to the room you are in. Don’t just lock the doors, but stuff like desks and bookcases in front of them. Next, arm yourself with whatever weapons you can find or make. Finally get down out of the window line. Preferably behind items that can act as cover (cover is something that will actually stop a bullet) and that give you sight lines to the room entrances. If you have a gun, make sure there are no other people between your cover position and the doors. If you don’t have a gun, make sure lots of people other than those you love are between you and the doors.


You must be ready to handle the situation yourself. Others are not likely to help and the police will take several minutes to arrive and when they get there they may not intervene immediately. When there is a reported shooter in your building you can either attempt to flee or stay in place. Both are valid options. If the cops are on the way or outside, you should probably stay and secure your position.

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