Southern Oregon University is doing the responsible thing by offering a special class over several weeks to tell students, faculty and staff how to increase their chances of surviving an active shooter situation. Knowing what to do and what not to do in such a situation could make the difference between living and dying — but there are no guarantees.
The classes were to have started last week, after the Oct. 1 shooting incident at Umpqua Community College that claimed 10 lives including that of the shooter. But a threatening note found in a bathroom at SOU caused the campus to be shut down and all classes canceled Oct. 7.
In Wednesday's session, Campus Safety Director Frederick Creek explained to faculty and students that they need to adopt a "survivor mindset" at all times. That means knowing where the exits are in any room they enter, what are the potential threats and where they might go.
Some argue that the answer is to arm as many students and faculty as possible, to take out a shooter before he can kill anyone. But few people have the tactical skills necessary to effectively engage a shooter without shooting an innocent bystander or being shot themselves. And the real problem with the "good guy with a gun" argument is that responding police have no way of telling the difference.
That leaves the "survivor" tactics covered in Wednesday's class. It's good they are being taught; it's a shame that they need to be.