SF State University Police hosted an interactive seminar last week to build awareness within SF State faculty and staff about active shooters.
Lieutenant Wailun Shiu opened up the seminar by asking crowd members what they valued in their lives and asked them to keep that on their minds while they watched the presentation. He followed up by showing a video of the Columbine High School Massacre.
“This was a very pivotal incident in law enforcement that changed the way we respond to active shooters,” said Shiu.
The Columbine shooting occurred in 1999, resulting in 13 deaths and injuring 20 people. At the time, it was considered the largest mass shooting the nation had ever witnessed. The nation has only continued to see more active shooter threats, with Las Vegas now being the largest mass shooting in the country’s history.
“I think about it every day,” said SF State Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) Professor Marie Drennan when asked if she thinks about potential active shooter threats happening on campus.
Human instinct is to huddle in groups but according to Shiu, that is a high target for active shooters. The most effective thing to do is to spread out, find protection or a hiding location.
“All they want to do is to find people to kill as quickly as possible,” said Shiu.
According to Shiu, most people carry some type of weapon –– be it a hot cup of coffee, a set of keys that is put in-between your fingers as brass knuckles or even a pen. In an event of a threat, simple items can be used to divert a shooter and run away. Shiu shared how a stack of two to three hardbound books has the capacity to stop a rifle but made it clear that he was not advocating books as a rifle vest.
“My biggest concern is being in a situation where the students panic and they don’t know what to do,” said SF State BECA Professor Dr. Melissa Camacho. “I view my role as a faculty person in part is to try and help [students] and guide them . . . it wasn’t so much about me personally … it’s really about trying to help students in a bad situation.”
Police officers are trained to arrive at an active shooter scene and unarm the shooter. Shiu urged the crowd to put switch their “lens of survival” on in the event that they are faced with an active shooter threat. Shiu also stressed the importance of committing to an action, have it be running or hiding, when put in a high-stress situation.
“If you are lying there in blood, we have to step over you. My job is to stop this person from killing more people,” said Shiu.
Correction: This story initially ran with Shiu misidentified as Cheif Wu. The photo also misidentified both officers. Corrected April 11, 2018.