Taking Chance at School
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Oct 03, 2016
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
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
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
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.