UW-Milwaukee Police Officer Craig Rafferty, 19-year police veteran, held a presentation on “Dealing with an Active Shooter on Campus and the Implications” at the UW-Milwaukee campus this past week.
Rafferty refers to an “active shooter” as “any individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined or populated area. Their use of fire arms in random acts of violence are unpredictable and evolve quickly.”
Since the early 1990’s there has been over a 100 school shootings in the United States. The death toll is over 200 people, with many hundreds more being injured. The first recorded active shooter was in 1966 at the University of Texas, Austin.
Charles Whitman brought a sniper rifle up to clock tower and killed 16 innocent bystanders while injuring 37 others.
The number of shootings in past years will shock many people because only a handful of them were reported by national news sources. Many people feel helpless when it comes to school shootings because there is not much they can do when it comes to prevention.
Police officers cannot respond until the event has already began, and by than many lives are in danger. This is why it is important for people who could find themselves in a situation like this to know what to do.
“I would advise students to do three things, that is either run, hide, or fight,” said Officer Rafferty. “In an event of an active shooter you can either run out and get out as soon as you can to avoid the active shooter.
You can hide out if there is a safe place that you can hide and protect yourself, or if the active shooter is in your personal space than you have to fight and take the person out.”
There is no specific profile of an active shooter to look for. It could be anyone and anywhere. This makes it even more difficult to stop the event before it occurs, but it is possible to do.
There have been several instances where a concerned student or faculty member saw or heard something that did not seem right and stopped a potential attack.
“A lot of people will say they didn’t ‘fit the profile’,” said Officer Rafferty. “There is no profile. We have had white shooters, Asian shooters, black shooters, male, female, doesn’t matter. There is no profile. It could be you or me.”
September 2006 in Green Bay, WI, a teacher overheard a group of students talking about guns and ammunition. The police were notified and they confiscated a number of firearms. The best thing you can do to prevent a shooting from occurring is to listen. Listen for things that might be red flags, and notify the police if you hear anything suspicious. Even if it leads to nothing, it is better to let someone know before hand.
These types of shootings aren’t only happening in schools either.
Just last year in Milwaukee there was the Sikh Temple shooting in August which 7 people were killed. Shortly after, in October, a man went into a salon and shot 3 women.
Events such as these are different from the hundreds of other crimes that happen in Milwaukee every day for a couple of reasons. They involve innocent people; they are often random, unpredictable, and senseless acts of violence.