LouAnna Campbell, email@example.com
Beth Kennedy, a U.S. Air Force veteran who said she lived in Washington, D.C., when the sniper attacks were going on and during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., was just one of about 350 people attending the civilian response to active shooter events training Tuesday at Green Acres Baptist Church.
“I want to know the best thing to do to be prepared,” Kennedy said. “I was a little leery to come because of PTSD and I was worried about some of information triggering some emotions. With all the events going on in the world, I thought it was a good idea to come to this and learn what to do if something like this should happen.”
Smith County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Darrell Coslin led the training using humor and ordinary life events to lighten the mood, but still stress how to survive an active-shooter event.
“The average time for law enforcement to get to an active-shooter event is three minutes,” Coslin said. “It’s the fastest in the world. How long are you willing to fight for your family, your friends, your neighbors, your church? Let us (law enforcement) get there.”
Coslin showed videos of the 1999 Columbine High School shooing, a 2003 fire that destroyed a concert hall in Rhode Island and the 2008 Mumbai shooting. Coslin commented throughout the videos to tell people what was happening.
“Doing nothing is not an option,” he said “It’s your life. Work for it. Don’t make it easy for them. We take an active role in our survival. We’re not going to lay down and take it.”
Steve Callaway of Pollard United Methodist Church said he came to the event to find out what his church can do to keep the campus safe.
“We want to keep our congregation safe,” Callaway said. “When people come to church, they’re focused on being there for service. We have a security group and there are a lot of other members of our church here tonight to learn this.”
Coslin’s animated teaching kept the crowd entertained and engaged. He used the acronym ADD to teach the audience how to respond. The three steps people need to remember: avoid, deny and defend.
“We’re going to avoid the shooter and get out if we can.” he said. “We’re going to take an active role in denying the shooter entry to a room if we can’t get out. If the suspect gets in, we’re going to defend ourselves, our family and loved ones and fight back.”
Coslin showed the audience that holding down a shooter’s arm while others get involved to actively beat the shooter with whatever they can get their hands on is an option.
“I’m not telling you you’re not going to get hurt, but you’re going to fight” Coslin said. “You’re going to fight like you’re the third monkey lined up to get on Noah’s Ark. We have to be involved and we have to fight.”
Coslin will be teaching another active-shooter training class at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Evangelistic Temple, 3011 Loop 256, in Palestine.