08-09 active shooter class

PPD Detective Joseph Tinsley addresses a crowd of roughly 50 residents. Tinsley taught an active shooter response class at Palestine High School Thursday. The next class, free to the public, is Tuesday, 6 p.m. at Westwood High.

Last week's mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, leaving about 30 dead, exposed again the ugly face of a new world.

There's simply no totally safe place anymore: Get used to it.

But you don't have to be a victim. To let people know how they can avoid relinquishing their power, the Palestine Police Department is sponsoring two active shooter training sessions for local residents.

I attended the first one Thursday at the Palestine High School auditorium. From my decade of military service, I knew the more you train in peace, the less you bleed in war.

Most of those attending the two-hour session were – like me --- north of 40. Together, we watched grisly video footage of several tragedies, including a 2003 night-club fire; a terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008; and a shooting during a 2010 Florida school board meeting.

A re-creation of the infamous 1999 Columbine High School shooting – starring and produced by Columbine students – also was shown.

A common thread in these diverse films was victims who were not mentally prepared. As a result, people died.

“You are not powerless,” Detective Joseph Tinsley told us.

If you haven't taken this free class, you owe it to yourself, and your loved ones, to attend. PPD will sponsor another active shooter class at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Westwood High School. For more information, call 903-729-2254.

This training session is not about repetitive physical activity. It's about developing a habit of continual awareness and preparing yourself to survive.

Like soldiers, police officers are trained to respond to violence. Daily training and frequent combat exercises build muscle-memory for actual combat. Soldiers train to react, without thinking, and act with confidence.

By contrast, during a taped interview with a 2007 Virginia Tech survivor, the student recalled how everyone in her class simply sat there as the gunman went up and down the rows of desks, executing people. “They gave up their power because he had a gun,” Tinsley said. “Don't do that.

“Not giving up your power,” for instance, may simply mean running away. If you're at the grocery store with your kids, and you hear shots ring out several aisles away – get out.