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School Safety Training Program Founder On Preparing For A Shooting


Greg Crane has been taking in the news from Parkland. He's a former teacher and a former SWAT officer, now a consultant who trains schools in safety procedures. And he's on the line.

Good morning, sir.

GREG CRANE: Good morning.

INSKEEP: From what you've read, seen and heard, how did Stoneman Douglas High School do when confronted with this situation?

CRANE: Well, you know, what we see is a - you know, pretty much a common repetition of these events. You have one guy - you know, schools - typically, it is a member of, you know, that population - goes in with a weapon, you know, a lot of rounds. He shoots a lot of rounds. And then the outcomes, unfortunately, are similar. You have, you know, a lot of people hit. You know, you have high hit rates, which are - is really an anomaly. Of those hit rates, you have a fairly equal ratio between wounded and killed, which is another anomaly. And then usually, it's over, you know, as the police arrive. In this case, he walked away, but in many cases, you know, they end it themselves.

INSKEEP: I just want to underline a couple of things that you have just said. You said it's unusual that so many people would be hit because it's actually hard to hit somebody with a firearm. You usually miss.

CRANE: It - you know, it - but we...

INSKEEP: But you're saying, in many ways, this is a common thing. We need to think of this as a common thing - someone walking into a school with a high-powered weapon.

CRANE: Well, common as it happens. But actually, it's rare in the statistics. You know, the number of schools - you know, we had very few that had shootings yesterday. But it's the outcomes that bother me because one guy shouldn't be able to achieve, you know, these outcomes. And we don't know a lot of the details yet, but you look back at Virginia Tech, you had a similar event. You had one guy go in there, but he changed his magazine 17 times. I think we're going to find out yesterday, there were several magazine changes.

You know, the - we've got to get out of this mindset that people just need to hunker down and wait for the police to get there - some type of professional, armed response. You know, this is a very large school, upwards of 3,000 kids. They had a huge tactical advantage in that building. They had outstanding majority of numbers. Had we ever talked with them about how to use that to their advantage? Had we talked to them about, don't go sit in a corner; you got to get up and start moving? You cannot turn yourself into an easier target.

INSKEEP: Well, let me ask about that because they did effectively try to lock themselves down. Teachers, according to our reporter Greg Allen, made sure this classroom doors were locked. They turned off the lights. The students hid in closets or under desks. That sounds like a pretty common response. Are you saying that that's maybe not the wisest response?

CRANE: Sandy Hook was locked down. He shot his way in. Red Lake High School - the classroom was locked down. He shot his way in. You know, relying on a locked door to keep a determined killer out has proven in the past to not always be reliable. And I'm not against securing in place and barricading. The point is, a single response is not always going to be the right response or is not always going to be available to those people. You know...

INSKEEP: So if you have that advantage of numbers, are you saying that students and teachers should flee in every direction, or are you suggesting confronting the shooter in some way?

CRANE: I'm suggesting you teach them to do both, and you let them make that decision. You know, it - there's two ways you will survive these events if contact is made with a determined killer. You will either find a way to remove yourself from that danger area, or the good guys will take back control, and we will render the danger area no longer dangerous. It doesn't take a good guy with a gun to beat a bad guy with a gun. You know, I always point people to the Ronald Reagan assassination attempt. You had...

INSKEEP: Oh, sheer numbers grabbing John Warnock Hinckley Jr. in that instance, yeah.

CRANE: All those Secret Service agents, police officers - nobody fired a round back, and the event was over in three seconds.

INSKEEP: Mr. Crane, pleasure talking with you. Thank you very much.

CRANE: All right, have a good day.

INSKEEP: Greg Crane consults with schools on security. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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