Random attacks difficult to stop

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Random attacks difficult to stop

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April 17, 2007
By IDA JAMSHIDI
Reporter
Government officials are calling it the deadliest rampage in the history of the United States.

Virginia Tech University was the site of a mass shooting Monday, leaving at least 33 people dead, including an unidentified gunman, whom police believed took his own life. Dozens were injured.

Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak said it is nearly impossible to predict an incident like the Virginia Tech shooting. But he said Baylor police regularly participate in structured drills so that officers are prepared for this type of event.

"We want to act swiftly. We want to be decisive with an active goal of neutralizing or killing the shooter," Doak said.

If a person is caught in the midst of a shooting, Doak said the best thing to do is look for a way out.

"Preferably, you're looking for an opening," he said. "If you have no way out, your best offense is to play dead. Drop to the floor and lay there motionless."

Doak said Baylor students should be aware of their surroundings and not hesitate to report suspicions.

"Awareness is the greatest ally of any student," he said. "Students don't normally think in terms of what's around the next corner."

The Baylor Police Department receives around 400 "suspicious person" calls every year, said Doak, while 20 years ago, they received only about 25 calls reporting suspicious behavior.

Dr. Susan Matlock-Hetzel, a psychologist at the Baylor Counseling Center, said that when people are caught in a dangerous situation, such as a shooting, they might do things they would not normally do.

"If people are placed in that kind of emotional, shocking event, our natural tendency is to go into that fight or flight response," she said. "Our mental capacities would go to surviving."

Matlock-Hetzel said that the trauma of the shooting will affect each student differently, and the university will have to decide what is best for the majority of the students.

"That community will be having multiple phases of responding to this event," Matlock-Hetzel said. "You have your crisis mode and then you have your more long-lasting clean-up."

Justin Brown, an Alexandria, Va., junior, has several friends who attend Virginia Tech. He said many of them have posted messages on Facebook and AOL Instant Messenger, writing, "I'm OK," or "I'm alive."

Brown said he still hasn't heard from all of his friends, but he is attempting to reach them.

"When something's going on around them, you want to make sure they're okay," Brown said.

In an e-mail sent out to Baylor faculty and staff from President John Lilley on Monday afternoon, he expressed his remorse for survivors and for the Virginia Tech campus.

"While preventing such an attack with 100 percent certainty is impossible, I want to reassure you that we do have systems in place to respond to emergencies, and to minimize harm to our students, staff and faculty," Lilley wrote.

He went on to describe that the Baylor campus has 24 fully trained police officers, an emergency public address system in all resident halls and some academic buildings, and a recently installed dual e-mail/voice mail system.

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Original Source: The Lariat
<a href="http://www.baylor.edu/Lariat/news.php?action=story&story=45273">http://www.baylor.edu/Lariat/news.php?action=story&story=45273</a>

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IDA JAMSHIDI

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Date

2008-02-05

Contributor

Kacey Beddoes

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Julie Freeman (Julie_Freeman@baylor.edu)

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eng

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IDA JAMSHIDI, "Random attacks difficult to stop," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1654, http://april16archive.org/items/show/1654 (accessed December 19, 2014).