It’s a sad commentary on the state of affairs in this country when a small local hospital announces intent to conduct an active shooter drill and no one responds, “You have to be kidding!”
But worse, not only did Atlantic General Hospital’s news release about a desire to proceed with this training exercise fail to shock the public, it’s generally considered a good idea by anyone paying attention to national news.
So far this year, more than 200 mass shootings have occurred in the country, and their locations are so unpredictable and geographically disconnected that there is no way any population center or building or venue or institution can be considered immune to this frightening phenomenon.
This week’s major shooting was in Farmington, New Mexico, where six people were injured and three killed. Ten days earlier in Allen, Texas, seven people were injured and eight killed, and, skipping over several shootings for which there might be some kind of explanation, 32 people were shot and four people were killed at a dance studio in Alabama on April 15.
An outlet mall, a dance studio and the residential streets of a town of 46,000 — given the randomness of these circumstances, no one can say that AGH is doing anything more than being prudent by imagining the unimaginable and preparing for it.
After all, few people could have imagined that AGH would be the target of a cyber attack either, but the Jan. 29 incursion into its servers showed how plausible the implausible can be.
Again, it’s a sorry situation when these kinds of actions can be viewed as not so extraordinary. But that’s where we are for reasons that seem to defy explanation.
In AGH’s case, it doesn’t need to understand anything other than an active shooter scenario is no longer unthinkable. It’s a fact, and it’s a shame that being ready is now part of the training routine.