Industry Focus

Taking Chance at School

There are very few movies that I enjoy watching, and even saying that I have to admit that the movies I enjoy most are those that are real, or have a realistic plot to them. Though I admit that Forrest Gump is my favorite flick, and there is nothing true about that movie.

One movie that I have to admit that I’ve watched several times is Taking Chance. The 2009 flick is a true story in which a Marine Lieutenant Colonel, played by Kevin Bacon, volunteers to accompany the deceased body of a fellow marine serving in the Middle East. I have a particular interest in this movie because the Marine serving in the Middle East is there protecting our freedoms and rights. I believe these are the people who have decided to put the security of the United States first.

There will be those that disagree about service in the Middle East, but the fact is, U.S. military forces are serving in that region of the world, and their mission is security. I know what those people are feeling and experiencing in the Middle East, and it is our security back home that they are concerned about.

Taking Chance is about a selfless commitment to others. Providing security to your customers and clients is of similar mindset. I’ve talked with numerous integrators who always put their customer and the security that their client expects, first.

This true Marine story tells of the pains of those who prepare the bodies of the fallen to send them home; in this case, to Dubois, Wyoming. You’ve probably never been to Dubois, but this small community is filled with freedom-loving patriots; the kind that regularly decorate with American flags, and in this case, those flags line the street of Dubois to welcome this fallen Marine home.

I know Dubois, I’ve been there, and I know the people there. They appreciate security and living in a land that is protected by people like you, who have made it your life’s mission to implement security where it is needed most.

Another true-to-life movie I like watching, but struggle with, is Miracle in Cokeville. It takes place in another Wyoming town in 1986. In the movie, a deranged man brings a homemade bomb into the Cokeville Elementary School to cause mayhem. All the students were rounded up and put in one room with the madman. The story is filled with miracles. After the bomb exploded, only the bomber was dead. Some students were injured, but in such a confined space, there should have been much more damage and loss of life. Students and teachers were protected because they knew how to react in a terrifying situation. I’m reminded of this story every time there is a breach in security at a school or there is a campus shooting.

Most recently, a female student at a West Texas high school armed herself with a weapon, seemingly intent on disrupting the security at Alpine High School. Another student was shot, and then the armed suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot. In this case, students heard other people screaming to run, but a teacher told students to go to the corner of the room and hide. They turned off the lights and locked the door, effectively moving into lockdown mode. Students waited until law enforcement came to the door and started to escort everyone from the building.

When an announcement was made that the school was on lockdown, students knew to run into a closet, keep quiet and power down their cellphones. They knew this was not a drill.

Whether we like it or not, this is the world that we live in. I know that people in the security industry are making every effort to provide the latest technology and solutions to keep people safe in case of a campus threat, or any threat for that matter. It is our duty to understand that this type of terror can and likely will happen. I think we also are obliged to understand risk assessment and emergency planning.

My Marine friend, as stated above, understood risk assessment; teachers and staff at Alpine High School clearly understood how to implement emergency strategies and techniques. And, finally, you have made it your goal to secure facilities to protect lives and property.

If you ever want to watch two good movies, I can recommend a pair that will really make you think.

This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Security Today.

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