[February 17, 2018] While my leadership post today is not a movie review – a movie called The 15:17 to Paris just came out – it is about what leaders do and what they should do in extraordinary situations. If there is anything trained leaders are taught, it is that being passive and being hesitant to make a decision is usually wrong .
The deadly shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School by a nut case, a 19 year old white male, caused the death of 17 and wounding of many more. This is what brings us to make two crucial points for leaders to consider as they go about trying to make themselves better and more effective.
First point. In the case of deadly situations, it is up to persons on the scene to take immediately action to save lives. In the biographical drama film, The 15:17 Paris (2018), three American soldiers subdue a terrorist intent on killing as many people as possible. This requires courage and there are reports that a MSD High School coach rushed the shooter and was subsequently killed in his attempt to subdue the killer.
For leaders, it is their duty to explore deadly scenarios like this to educate those in their care on what are the best tactics for survival. Common advice is to lock all the doors and hide. While this has some practical merit, it fails to stop the shooter who will, just as likely, continue on to kill others. The moral implications of allowing someone to kill others when you hide is obvious.
Second point. How much should the federal government get involved to help. Certainly there are concerns about “over policing” schools and make them into pillboxes of safety by having barriers such as armed guards, metal detectors, etc. The federal government can help educate, provide guidance to schools (and other places where folks gather), and give funding targeting barriers and training.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked about this and he noted that we should have an open discussion on the resources the government could make available.1 He mentioned doing a better job of receiving warning signs and acting on them, encouraging schools to embolden people to confront those they think are dangerous, having parents be more responsible, and tackling mental health and opioid drug issues.
Emotions are running high and there is a demand for our politicians to “do something” and, unsurprisingly, politicians are fast on talk but will do little in the way of action for some time. Doing something in a hurry is a fool’s errand and potentially dangerous. Maybe it’s good politicians will not act so quickly. However, irresponsible talk by many have soured the national conversation on this very issue.
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