Free-Range Kids

School Says Students Need to Hear What Madman's Gunfire Sounds Like

Chillingly fatalistic.


Sandy Hook
Wikimedia Commons

This local news announcement about a Champion, Ohio, school's upcoming shooting drill makes an insane idea—shooting blanks in the hallways of a middle and high school—sound almost festive:

The sounds of gunfire will ring through the halls of two Champion school buildings this afternoon.

Ah, the ringing sound of gunfire! Sort of like caroling except… chillingly fatalistic and completely at odds with the fact that school shootings, though horrific, remain exceedingly rare. Kids are safer than ever before, and schools are just about the safest environments for them.

Even so, many schools remain fascinated with the idea of holding practice shooting drills, as if learning to deal with an armed intruder is some essential rite of passage for kids.

But do these events really need a soundtrack to seem more real? From WFMJ:

According to a letter sent home to parents of students, police will be firing blanks from a gun at the high school and middle school so students can hear what gunshots sound like.

The exercise is part of A.L.I.C.E. training. A.L.I.C.E. stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.

(Side note: Does anyone, especially in a panic, remember what an obscure acronym stands for?)


The blanks will be fired in hallways or the office. The letter says that they will not be fired in spaces containing students. Elementary school students will also take part in the drill, but gunshots will not be fired, according to school superintendent Pamela Hood.

Champion School personnel have already received A.L.I.C.E. training from Training Consultants Inc., of Hubbard.

An A.L.I.C.E. drill will be conducted twice every school year to practice methods to deal with a dangerous intruder in a school building.

Ah, but how to deal with a dangerous idea intruding into a school building—the idea that students are in constant danger from madmen, but twice-a-year training with live, loud, fake ammo will keep them safe?

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  1. The same people who would throw a kid out of school for even writing the word “gun” are now going to terrorize their students with fake gunfire. These people are just hideous.

    1. Next up: Shooting kids in the ass in controlled conditions so they know what it feels like to be shot.

      1. “We’re just ‘wingin’ ’em, Mrs. Johnson….totally safe.”

      2. Hey, sure they had a 2% “death by complications” rate, but the other 98% are now weathered veterans.

        1. If it saves one child’s life, it’s completely worth it!!!

      3. Think of all the street cred the kids will earn…

        1. They just want them to know what the neighboring schools in Cleveland and Youngstown are like.

      4. Shotguns loaded with rock salt?

    2. John, the same people would happily send you to be worked to death in a camp where you were ostensibly being re-educated. It would be very unfortunate that 99 out of 100 people died within two years (and before they could be re-educated). They would feel very bad for a moment or two when that fact was mentioned.

    3. These people are just hideous.

      And, in the first comment, John expresses what should be the final word on these people.

    4. “The same people who would throw a kid out of school for even writing the word ‘gun’ are now going to terrorize their students with fake gunfire….”

      Why do you hate the children? Why?

      Seriously John, I found your observations cogent and would like to hope that most of the parents, school personnel, and law enforcement officers realize the same things you articulated before carrying out these “training” sessions.

      I would like to hope that….



    5. I hear, next week, they are going to start fires in barrels in the halls for their fire drills.

    6. They’re more “hideous” than you think. The entire premise of the school “lockdown” is designed around officer safety, at the expense of student lives.

      The school is the target, so the most logical thing to do is get out of the school. That’s messy though, and with everyone running around trying to escape, it’s more difficult for the responders to discern who the shooter is. They actually have to risk a “chance encounter” in a crowd of fleeing students.

      The idea of the lockdown puts everyone in a cowering fetal position behind a locked door. The responders know that a gunman can breach the locks, but it does ONE THING in that it clears the hallways FOR THEM. It makes it easier for a gunman to move methodically from room to room, which is bad for victims, but it also makes it easier for the responders to move from room to room, which is good for them.

      I taught my kids that if there’s ever a “lockdown” and actual gunfire anywhere, that they were to get the hell out of the building any way they can. The school is the X. Get off the fucking X.

  2. Alt-alt text: “Trigger warning!”

  3. Dunno – we TOTALLY used to pipe in “atomic blast” sounds and “Viet Cong shooting AK’s” into my elementary/middle schools during the 60’s/70’s when we faced the Rooskies and the Yellow Peril.

    I’ll never forget the smell of the smoke pots and gunpowder as we crawled on our little bellies through the halls to the Safe Zone in the gym….


    1. Wait, they simulated an attack and then had all of the students go to once central open location?

      No wonder this country is so fucked.

    2. … in the gym, where another gunman was waiting.

  4. Does it surprise anyone that the people who gravitate towards being the wardens and prison guards for children would get a hardon at the idea of terrifying them with mock gunfire?

    If you create positions of unaccountable power, the worst possible people for those positions will find their way into them. We see it everywhere now as more and more positions of unaccountable power are created.

    1. But don’t you DARE bring a plastic gun to school. That might SCARE someone!

      1. And don’t get me started on those terrifying breakfast pastries.

        1. Where’s my trigger warning? I just acted out due to your insensitive hate speech!

    2. That’s brilliant. Why didn’t I think of that? Combine schools and prisons.

      1. I think they already did. have you seen the fences and security around modern schools. take a picture of a school and a prison and show them to a person and ask them which is which. I did one and you could not tell the difference.

  5. The exercise is part of A.L.I.C.E. training.

    What’s next, the t-virus?

  6. and schools are just about the safest environments for them


    1. Kids are less likely to get shot in school than anywhere else.

  7. “Nothing bad has ever happened when blanks or fake rounds have been used. This is totally cool and good to go!”

    /director to Brandon Lee

    1. Hey, everybody watch this!

      /John Erik Hexum

      1. That was my favorite show on air and I was pissed off that the guy did something so stupid and ruined it all.

    2. So what happens if a student decides to go on a rampage during the drill and no one tries to leave?

      1. I was thinking this same thing too. If there was a real shooter ready to go on a rampage, wouldn’t a drill like this be the perfect time for them to go nuts?

        One thing for sure would be the fact that some cops would get killed. Instead of being able to safely shelter in place behind their cars, waiting for the killer(s) to kill themselves, they would accidentally be inside thinking it was all a drill.

        1. ^This. I worked briefly as a consultant at a state government building. One morning the fire alarm went off. Everyone gave a collective sigh. Most people eventually meandered out to the courtyard, although a fair number said they were too busy to stop what they were doing and kept working.

          Turns out there actually was a fire. Small one, but a real fire nonetheless. Because alarm drills teach people to not react with actual alarm to alarms, nobody believed it until they actually saw smoke.

          All this will do is teach kids to not get worried when they hear sporadic gunfire at school. It’ll just be a signal to gradually saunter out to the parking lot and mill around in a crowd. Which, of course, it the absolute last thing you’d really want if you were concerned about children’s safety. Having an active shooter in the hallway is one of those times you actually want kids to freak the fuck out and haul ass out of the building.

  8. I assume that there will be practice about what to do/drill. I’d love to see the student who’s taking notes for future reference… Nothing like watching practice to make it imperfect. In other words, your average introvert on the edge of going postal will watch the shit going on and adjust their fantasies/plans accordingly (the police will likely enter HERE, everyone will hide THERE etc etc).

    1. IF I was Swiss, I’d narrow my gaze at you.

      1. *stands for applause*

  9. (Side note: Does anyone, especially in a panic, remember what an obscure acronym stands for?)

    In the good old days we had much simpler aphorisms for our moral panics.

    “Duck and Cover!”

    Simple and direct. Who cares if it is useful?

    On a similar “dang, we are just too stupid to breed” note: Why do we remove kids from school if there is a scare in the community?

    We just had a manhunt for Eric Frein that saw area schools closed. So all of those parents had to make arrangements for child care. Thousands of hours of work missed. All so that there would be tens of thousands of kids running around in neighborhoods where a killer was on the loose. Instead of all in central, well-defended locations. Because moral panic trumps tactical thinking.

    1. I live in the area affected. The cops have been everywhere. Roadblocks, tanks, trespassing on private property without a warrant. It’s still going on. Ridiculous.

  10. Can I just say how perfect it is that this is being reported by WFMJ.

    That’s right up there with the statutory code cite for the Texas CCW law: Section 30.06.

    1. I noticed that on a sign the other day and thought “Well that lawmaker had a sense of humor.”

    2. Texans carry 30-06s as a CCW choice? Maybe everything is bigger in Texas!

  11. Who on earth thought this was a good idea, and why does anybody think it’s a good idea for that person to even be able to hold a pen?

  12. A.L.I.C.E? Who the fuck is A.L.I.C.E?

    1. In a civilized world, it would be the acronym for the first robot house-maid.

    2. All purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment?….._Equipment

    3. She guarded the entrance to The Hive with Spense Parks. She has the t-virus, but can be trusted and isn’t contagious.

    4. Go ask her.

    5. The one who can give you anything you want.

    6. A Large Ion Collider Experiment.

    7. Twenty-four years just waiting for a chance,
      To tell her how I’m feeling, maybe get a second glance,
      Now I’ve got to get used to not living next door to Alice…
      Alice, who the fuck is Alice?

  13. My mom is still disquited by the sound of large propeller-driven aircraft.

    Why? When she was a kid, they would do anti-nuclear war drills were they were told to get under their desks. Because she went to school under the approach path for the primary runway of a major air force base, the first few drills happened to coincidentally occur as B-39’s were landing. Her 6 year old mind didn’t understand that this was a drill, and she thought the bombers were Soviet bombers coming to vaporize them.

    What these assholes are doing is not teaching kids to function during an attack, but seeking to terrorize them; to scare them so badly they never touch a gun. Of course, this means that some percentage of the kids will get a nasty case of PTSD, but fuck it! Can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, right statists?

    1. Back when nuclear annihilation was a palpable fear, my third grade teacher told us that if the announcement came over the P.A. that the Russians had launched their missiles,even the kids who lived in town and walked to school wouldn’t have time to make it home to say goodbye to our parents.

      Even as a third grader I remember thinking that was as shitty thing to say to a bunch of third graders.

      1. My local paper once had a lengthy article on what would happen if a nuke hit our hometown. My Quaker school was all over that article, using it in a lengthy consciousness-raising session about nuclear war. Still better than class.

        1. Maybe TMI, but I had a bad acid trip involving a hallucination-ish sighting of a missile, which led me to study possible nuclear attacks and the effects, which led to another, much worse bad trip. Paranoia indeed strikes deep.

    2. “What these assholes are doing is not teaching kids to function during an attack, but seeking to terrorize them; to scare them so badly they never touch a gun. ”
      You win the “cut to the truth award” with this comment. The whole idea of these “mass shooting drills” has confused me because how do you drill for something that is the random actions of a crazy person? Of course, trying to figure out the logic is no way to understand liberal motivation. The whole point of these drills, which now take place in every school, is to provoke violent fear reactions in young people the to idea of guns. Thanks for crystallizing this idea for me.

  14. How many different guns & loads are they going to use?

    Police can’t even recognize the sound of gunfire reliably, you want to teach kids?

    1. Gunny Highway could teach the youngsters…

  15. ALICE is produced by a former SWAT nut. Excess far beyond common sense is to be expected.

  16. Kids ought to know what a gun sounds like. Doing it in the most terrifying and traumatic way possible seems like the smartest way to do it.

    1. It’s time to play dodgeball, school shooting style! Kids, line up on the wall, and officer friendly will get started!

      1. Dodgeball? You can’t play such a violent and dangerous game in school anymore.

    2. Good point. We wouldn’t the kids to ACTUALLY become familiar with firearms and learn to respect them



  18. And if the guy shooting off blanks in the school grabs the wrong magazine?

    Will the kids be issued hearing protection?

    This is silly.

    1. The cops don’t make mistakes like that, they are highly trained professionals, in fact the only ones qualified to handle a gun.

    2. If a cop grabs a mag with live ammo and tries to in a gun set up for blanks, he’ll be more of a danger to himself than anyone else.

      1. You really think these guys have blank guns? They’ll use their M-Forgeries, and maybe they’ll actually have blank firing adapters…maybe.

        The real problem with using blanks is that once they’re introduced into a training scenario, ALL LIVE AMMO must be removed from anyone participating in the scenario. That basically means that there shouldn’t be a single live round anywhere on the school grounds during the scenario. Anything else is shitty training, and an invitation to an accidental shooting.

  19. If a large majority of parents don’t hold their kids home on these days then I’ve truly lost hope (should be all, but we know that won’t happen). It’s a no-brainer as a parent.

    Boycott this nonsense and send a message, folks.

  20. At least they got a heads up (I assume due to all the special effects) about their lockdown drill. During my one year of teaching in the US, I can only assume the admins wanted to see the shocked and fearful expressions on our faces by not alerting the teachers to the drill.

    Also I wonder if the US is the only country that does fire drills, tornado drills, and shooting drills at school. I taught 1 year abroad and we never did any of that shit.

  21. OT, an article linked on the bottom of that page…..nt-license

    Nice to be able to get out of major felonies by promising to quit your job. I’m sure that would apply to any non-officer, right?

    1. It worked for Nixon.

  22. My office building had a fire drill last week. Days before, fire department and landlord sent out instructions on which stairways people were to use and where to congregate.

    Except on the day of the drill the fire bureaucracy decided to make it an “amped” up fire drill and “mock” closed a stairwell – signs were posted on stairway doors saying “Filled with smoke – use other stairway.”

    On ALL stairways.

    Fuck you, I’m getting out to “safety” as quickly and safely as I can, I don’t give a flying fuck about less-sfae “protocol” being followed to a T.

    Last drill, I got chastised by fire bureaucrat for taking out a bottle of water. I could spill it and cause an unsafe condition. Never mind the fact that there are sprinklers all over the place and in an actual fire they would be spewing water; no, my 12 ounces of water are “teh dangerous” as opposed the the thousands of gallons of “safe” water coming from the ceiling. Told the fire bureaucrat he was a stupid asshole right to his face.

  23. “police will be firing blanks from a gun at the high school and middle school so students can hear what gunshots sound like”

    Ah, you mean the girl students. Or is this one of those Amish schools where the boys don’t play video games?

    1. or watch TV

  24. If you were a nutjob and wanted to shoot up a school, wouldn’t the perfect time to do so be during a school shooting drill?

    1. “If you were a nutjob and wanted to shoot up a school, wouldn’t the perfect time to do so be during a school shooting drill?”

      There has never been an incident where an attack has occurred during any sort of training where the individuals and groups tasked with protecting Americans have been unsure whether said attack was part of the drill/training, and as a result of that uncertainty were not able to promptly and effectively respond to the very threat they were training for.

      Well, perhaps two or three….



    2. If you were a nutjob and wanted to shoot up a school, wouldn’t the perfect time to do so be during a school shooting drill?

      Won’t happen, because schools are gun-free drug-free zones. There’s a sign and everything!

  25. Way to foster the culture of fear!

  26. The stupidest thing about these active shooter drills is they are practically designed to ensure the highest possible body counts. Lets keep everyone passive, docile, and still so the madman can take his time and methodically work his way room to room

    1. It’s safer for the cops that way.

  27. A.L.I.C.E. stands for Alert, Lockdown, blah…

    I’m glad I went to school before they were junior prisons, and kids brought their rifles.

    The two are not a coincidence.

  28. Just one question:

    Do kids grow up -not- knowing what a gunshot sounds like?

    I mean, I grew up in both rural and urban areas. I knew what a gunshot sounded like from hearing them in both areas.

  29. OT: RFK Jr. (who I thought was dead) wants to imprison climate “traitors”

    They won’t be needing any masks anymore. This one has slipped off and fallen into the wood chipper.

  30. So, what does the “counter” mean in ALICE? And why does “evacuate” follow it? You’re to both counter the shooter and evacuate? Are the kids supposed to counter?

  31. (Side note: Does anyone, especially in a panic, remember what an obscure acronym stands for?)

    The only acronym you need-

  32. Lockdown, they’re installing locks on classroom doors now? Wouldn’t quietly training a few teachers and/or admin to conceal carry be rational, opps, said that word again. This smacks of dog and pony show educational grand standing. Yeah, we really did sumptin’ we’re oh so concerned for the kids.

    Better yet, bring NRA’s Eddie Eagle in if you have a geniune safety concern.

    1. The locks are to gaurantee that any kid in the hall will be shot or if the shooter is in a class room they can limit the kills to one class. I can see the talking points now “We were lucky to only loose one class room of students to the killer, just think how many more would have been hurt if the door was not locked” never mind that the kids could have escaped if it weren’t for the locked room. This of course brings me to a pet peeve of mine, school classrooms without operable windows, no wonder so many kids are sick these days they can’t get fresh air. I’m convinced air conditioning is the worse thing you can do to your health.

  33. Aaaand right on cue the fire alarm goes off in the building. I typically close my door because that damned thing is in the hallway right outside of my office and it’s annoying as hell, especially in the middle of a conference call.

    The alarm usually scares the shit out of a bunch of patients but no one on staff pays any attention.

    Regarding the topic of the story: These people need to have their annual digital rectal done with a running chainsaw.

  34. You know what, I think that children going to the beach should be required to undergo a briefing on how to handle a shark attack. I mean, it could happen, and knowing what to do could mean the difference between life and death.

    We’ll just gather the children around and say, “Hey, look. It’s a beautiful day, the water looks great, but, first, we need to tell you about what to do if a shark bites you.”

    Then, go into the details of trying to hit it, gouge its eyes, wave for help, and swim to shore. A few quick lessons on how to stop bleeding while waiting for the paramedics, etc.

    “OK, kids. Now, go out there and have fun!”

    And then watch as they all devote themselves to building sand castles.

    Our children deserve no less.

    1. Your drill has noo fake blood or fake body parts. Not up to snuff.

  35. How many kids will now have permanent ringing ear damage from this silliness. shooting blanks in a typical concrete and tiled school building will be far worse than at a range. If I had kids I wouldn’t let them go to school that day of course the teens will probably think its a fun goof off day.

  36. seems legit.

    no agenda here at all.

    nothing at all.


  37. There will be blood, right? At least fake blood?

  38. Are all cops stupid? Or just the ones we read about?

    1. All cops are stupid. Almost as stupid as high school teachers and administrators.

  39. “Duck & Cover”, anyone?

  40. They did this a year ago or so in the southern part of the state:…..13_web.pdf

    I recall reading a different article and seeing a newscast. It seemed at least as much about indoctrination as it was about training.

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