Third VA College Mass Shooting; New Warning To Prepare

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3rd VA College Mass Shooting; New Warning to Prepare; Steps Needed to Slash Deaths and Limit Legal Liability – Report

Mass Shooting At University Of Virginia

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 14, 2022) – A mass shooting on the campus of the University of Virginia [U-VA] late Sunday left three dead and two seriously injured.

It follows two other recent college shootings in Virginia just this year – one at Bridgewater College in February which left two dead, and another the same month near the Virginia Tech campus in Blackbird which left one dead and four injured.

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There have now been some 40 mass school shootings in American causing death or injury so far just this year alone, notes public interest law professor John Banzhaf, and in virtually all cases the institutions had failed to take simple and inexpensive steps which have been proven to slash the risk of deaths and injuries, as well as insulate the schools from massive legal liability judgments.

He is the author of a new study published in University World News [UWN] which concludes that most colleges and universities and not prepared for the next active-shooter-on-campus attack, and thus are at a high risk of unnecessary and preventable deaths, injuries, and huge legal liability judgments, especially in the U.S.

The author, a former security officer and security consultant who is now a professor of law, lists 11 simple, proven, and very inexpensive steps - including those his own university took at his urging - which schools can and should take now before the next murderous attack.

Many actions can be taken for only a few dollars per classroom to be protected, and some can even be taken by individual professors themselves if their universities don't act.

It's important that school administrators be aware of these inexpensive yet effective steps, since many are trying to "harden" the campuses with expensive feel-good fixes unlikely to stop a shooter, As the Texas Tribune reminds us, "Texas Already 'Hardened' Schools, It Didn't Save Uvalde."

Recommendations For Schools

The recommendations are based in part on the recent mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. which killed 19 students and 2 teachers, the more recent shooting death of a professor at the University of Arizona, and school shootings in almost a dozen countries. The statistics are frightening as well as sobering, and cry out for effective action now, says Banzhaf.

  • There have been nearly 1,000 incidents of gunfire at schools and colleges since the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook
  • More Than 311,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine
  • More than 136 school shooting incidents have occurred so far in 2022, and 240 in 2021.

The most important recommendation - one which has been endorsed by more than a dozen safety organizations, including the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission - is that all classroom doors should be equipped with locks that can be locked from the inside.

So that a professor will not have to step outside to lock his classroom door while a shooter is prowling around. This is what Prof. Banzhaf's George Washington University has done at his urging,

As the study and many experts have noted, no potential victim inside a locked classroom has ever been shot in all of the hundreds of reported school shootings.

The UWN report shows that classrooms can be equipped to be locked safely from the inside at a cost of less than $20 per classroom door by using the latching mechanism found at even the least expensive motels,

Some of the other UWN recommendations - e.g. posting a sign in the window of each classroom showing its room number or designation (e.g.,, "Chem Lab") to first responders - can be done at no cost at all,

Other recommendations designed to protect against an active shooter - e.g. a proper master-key system, simple door-open sensors of the type homeowners have installed themselves in millions of homes.

Atexting system so that students in hiding can safety call for help and send important information without alerting a nearby shooter, peepholes in office and other doors, well designed school information apps for cell phones, a forced entry tool, etc. can be put in place for only pennies per student.

Because AR-15 type rifles, the weapon of choice of so many school shooters, tend to cause unusually massive wounds which make victims bleed to death within minutes before any outside help can arrive.

The report recommends that schools acquire and mount - as they do AEDs - Stop the Bleed Kits or home-made tourniquets; which allow persons with no training to render life-saving care when every minute counts.

The University of Maryland has 250 Stop The Bleed kits, mounted on its walls next to its AEDs - just in case.

The report explains that the law in the U.S. and many foreign countries, as well as a recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights, requires colleges and universities.

Like many other entities, to take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk caused by events which are foreseeable, provided precautions exist which are "reasonable" (not too expensive or burdensome given the foreseeable risks).

Here the report notes that while armed gunmen invading universities might in the distant past have been unthinkable, there have now been so many that they are clearly "foreseeable" if not routine and inevitable.

Last nights shooting serves to remind college administrators just how reasonable foreseeable armed mass shooters have become, and the urgent need to take additional steps to save lives and limit liability.

All of this puts university administrators on legal notice that they must, by law, take all precautions which are "reasonable," such as those recommended in the study, or face massive legal liability for deaths and injuries which probably would have been prevented if simple steps had taken.