Please Note That Police Will Be Firing Blanks In The Hallway. In The Interest Of Versimilitude, All Dogs Will Be Killed Beforehand.

70 Responses

  1. Reformed Republican says:

    I really hope that most of the parents keep their kids out of school on this day.

  2. Susan says:

    FYI – Cary-Grove High School is not in Chicago, it is in a pretty rural northwestern suburb of Chicago. There are farms, horses, and a pretty big gang population in this part of this Chicago suburbs. Sorry to be so pedantic, but there's a huge distinction between Cary, IL and Chicago.

    But regardless, yeah, I don't know what this principle is trying to pull besides trying to grab the media spotlight.

  3. tsrblke says:


    I'll take a stab at the Extra Credit.
    Given: Emotivism=logic in today's society (Proof by Alasdair MacIntyre omitted)
    "For the Children">EVERYTHING
    Therefore: "I win."

    (Or at least that's what I expect him to say. I don't actually believe anything after "Therefore." I think the stuff before it is mostly "correct" in a "is" sense, but wrong in an "ought.")

  4. Ygolonac says:

    "in one of the few areas of the city where actual murders are not occurring" – well, *fewer* murders, anyway.

  5. ZK says:

    I'm curious what line of logic convinced anyone that discharging guns in a school full of kids is wise, blanks or not.

    People have confused "simulated rounds" with live ammo more than once before, which is why, when this sort of thing is done for serious training purposes, there aren't classrooms full of bystanders ready to get shot.

  6. Charley says:

    I'm curious whether it's going to affect the school's ratings in places like

  7. Parent of school-age children says:

    . Evidently if parents don't want their children exposed to guns firing in the hallways, they'll have to pretend their kids are sick.

    Pretend nothing. Write to the principal and the school board, and state clearly that you will not allow your children to attend school that day due to the evident idiocy.

    If you really want to be daring, explain that you will be conducting your own zombie apocalypse drill, and that "we will be firing blanks from our doorway in an effort to provide school truancy officers with some familiarity with apocalyptic rules of etiquette concerning uninvited survivors and other zombie-bait."

  8. Gbear711 says:

    Can the school be sued for the cases of tinnitus this will cause?

  9. James Pollock says:

    "5) Do you genuinely believe, in an era where students can watch Night of the Living Dead and similar movies on Youtube, that any of your students don't know what a gun sounds like?"

    I'll bite on this one. Yes, I think that some of the students don't know what a gun sounds like. A lot of them know what a Foley artist wants them to think a gun sounds like, but this is not necessarily the same thing. See, e.g., accuracy of the presentation of matters of law, technology, etc. in the media. (favorite pet peeves: zooming in on a video tape, accessing information on a computer in seconds that takes hours plus a warrant).

    LOTS of people hear gunshots without realizing at first what they're hearing, because they don't EXPECT to hear gunshots.

  10. Cletus McSlappy says:

    Susan beat me to it – Cary, IL is well outside of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department is not involved in any way, shape, or form.

  11. En Passant says:

    I'll give this a shot. Hnuh, hnuh, hnuh, I said "shot".

    Questions for Principal Sargent:

    1) How is this exercise fundamentally different from showing your students a movie that can't be rated due to its violent content?

    A movie is just a movie. This exercise is reality, appropriately simulated with scientifically advanced techniques taught in upper division school administration college courses.

    2) Please explain in detail exactly how this exercise will be helpful to anyone? Your answer must be specific, and must exceed 500 words.

    Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell … [quaquaquaquaqua...]

    3) In the event of an actual school takeover and mass shooting, do you believe that your students and faculty will face death with calmness and bravery as a result of this exercise? Explain.

    Asked and answered above. Counsel advised me to say that.

    4) What is the policy of the Chicago School Board on paying for extended psychological care in the event students suffer lasting trauma from this exercise?

    Asked and answered above. Counsel advised me to say that too.

    5) Do you genuinely believe, in an era where students can watch Night of the Living Dead and similar movies on Youtube, that any of your students don't know what a gun sounds like?

    Substantive technical questions like this incentivize us to improve our techniques. In this exercise to genuinely simulate ersatz reality we focused our collaborative efforts with the law enforcement community on developing appropriately realistic Wilhelms for those students and faculty falling from upper floors. We expect to emphasize development of simulated gunshots after thorough review by a special committee we have appointed to investigate the perceptual impressions of developing youth confronted with less than optimal simulations of the aforementioned ersatz reality, with particular emphasis on the reactions of culturally deprived youth.

    I hope that answers your questions. Now I must cash my paycheck attend to my mandated duties.

  12. Windypundit says:

    What James Pollock said. TV gunshots don't sound like real gunshots, especially when the sound is muffled from being a couple of rooms away. In the context of a school shooting drill, it's not a bad idea. (Assuming the students are clearly warned just before it happens.) Which isn't to say the school shooting drill is a good idea. Although, if you are going to go through the trouble of having a school shooting plan, you're not taking it seriously unless you drill it.

  13. s says:

    Makes about as much sense as piping in fake fire and smoke effects during a fire drill.

  14. Roscoe says:

    Actually, if school shootings were a significant cause of death among young children (which I will bet is not the case), I can see some value to having a cop stand in front of the class and shoot off some guns of various calibers to teach the kids what they sound like. Not this sort of nonsense, however.

  15. Griffin3 says:

    ZK: Silly nugget. Blanks are never actually confused with live ammo, and don't really pose a threat to any bystanders at all. Just ask Brandon Lee.

  16. Arclight says:

    Griffin: Jon-Erik Hexum is a better example, as he knew they were blanks, he just thought it was harmless to put the gun to his head and pull the trigger. Brandon Lee was shot in an accident with the props department. They used real bullets in a close up, didn't notice one of the rounds lodged in the barrel, then loaded blanks for the gunfire scene. The blank shot the bullet out of the barrel with enough force to be fatal. That said, both men were killed by guns that were firing blanks.

  17. Clayton says:

    I am disgusted. This is disgusting. I have no idea what math they're doing where this makes sense (the answer, of course, is very likely none).

  18. htom says:

    This is real? I thought it was the The Duffle Bag, or The Onion.

  19. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    I'm with Windypundit; IF (ah say IF (try to imagine a Foghorn Leghorn voice)) the school-shootingdrill is a good idea (highly debatable), then making it as real as possible might well be a fine idea. It is a truism in certain quarters that the problem with emergency drills is that they almost always leave out the emergency.

  20. goober says:

    It's a running joke in my family everytime we watch hollywood movies we remark on how unrealistic the gun sounds are. Oftentimes they're not even close. It is also very common for people involved in shootings to realize that the gunshots going off are actually gun shots because very few people really understand what guns actually sound like.

    That being said part of the reason that Hollywood gun noises are unrealistic is because they use blanks which most times don't sound anything like live rounds. 1 more reason why this is ridiculous.

  21. Patrick says:

    The gun in Night of the Living Dead does sound realistic. Small caliber rifle firing .22 ammunition, making rather little noise. The Godfather is also pretty close, particularly when Rocco deals with Paulie Gatto. Snap, crackle, pop.

    My personal favorite firearms sounds from cinema come from Sergio Leone's westerns. "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly" sounds like the Hundred Years War fought with "Big Bertha" cannons, firing atom bombs.

  22. James Pollock says:

    I worked in a vocational college that had a drill that involved setting off the fire alarms (110+ dB, according to the label). About half the students just sat in the classrooms, because they didn't want to get up.
    Another time, we had a minor earthquake. Nobody wanted to go outside, because it was cold.

  23. ZK says:

    I'm going to break with the pack, and say that gun sounds in film arn't especially different than in real life. Sure, revolvers make shotgun noises, and pistols sound too impressive outdoors, but a bang is pretty much a bang. After movies like Heat (the best gunfight in film, by the way) it's not all that uncommon for film to use real gun sounds recorded in the actual environment.

    It's unnecessary, it's a little silly, and it's not without risk.

  24. Dan Weber says:

    There's about a one in a million chance of dying in a school shooting. The chance of dying in an fire is somewhere between 1-in-10K and 1-in-100K.

    There was an episode of Boston Public, maybe the pilot where the rough gritty teacher fires a gun in the classroom to show just how fucking loud they can be. I wonder if they got the idea from there.

  25. Brian Dunbar says:

    " that any of your students don't know what a gun sounds like?"

    Could be.

    I was in the Marines for two years – maybe three. Heard a fair bit of gunfire on the range. Heard an Uzi for the first time;


    I honestly had no idea WTF it was, at first. Then I remembered 'training' and 'the notional bad guys have Uzis' and 'Oh that's what it sounds like'.

  26. AlphaCentauri says:

    I just hope everyone understands that when they're all rushing to put armed guards in schools, these folks are the talent pool they'll be hiring from.

  27. wgering says:

    Can we have a rule about Patrick not posting about ridiculous stories that happen to be true? I took comfort in my belief that this was satire…until I realized it wasn't.

  28. Guns says:

    Late to this party, but in regards to point 5, I would like to direct you to

    The main reason I post this reply is that I think it would not be fair if I were the only one who loses a workday after being so insidiously tricked into looking something up on tvtropes.

  29. Dan Irving says:

    "Do you genuinely believe, in an era where students can watch Night of the Living Dead and similar movies on Youtube, that any of your students don't know what a gun sounds like?"

    To be fair to Patrick, and if we stretch the definition of 'movie' on YouTube to include anything uploaded, then there are a lot of "Hey y'all, lookit me shoot this here gun!" videos displaying both the audible and visual characteristics of various firearms.

    Personally I teach both my daughters one mantra, "Get down, get moving, get out." Having " teachers will secure their rooms, draw curtains, and keep their students from traveling throughout the building." will do only one thing – provide a shooter with targets of opportunity. The 'keep students from traveling throughout the building' is probably the best part of that quote. Better would be to have an evac plan to get the kids out the windows. 2nd or 3rd floor? Install ladders and only assign older kids (who have better dexterity) to those upper level classrooms. Is this a feasible plan? I don't know. The type of person that would shoot up a school is looking for easy prey. I hazard to believe that if we limit the availability of easy prey then we can limit the number of tragedies like Sandy Hook. Limit but not eliminate. I don't think we could ever eliminate.

  30. David Aubke says:

    "My personal favorite firearms sounds from cinema come from Sergio Leone's westerns."

    John Sayles's Matewan.

  31. En Passant says:

    Dan Weber wrote Jan 30, 2013 @7:19 pm:

    There's about a one in a million chance of dying in a school shooting. The chance of dying in an fire is somewhere between 1-in-10K and 1-in-100K.

    Memo to: Parents of Carey-Grove students.
    From: Carey-Grove School Administration and Carey-Grove Police Department.
    Subject: New policy to reduce student risks during emergencies.

    After thorough scientific study of the risks of school fires and shootings, Carey-Grove School Administration and Police Departments have duly enacted new emergency response procedures to save student lives. Please advise your children to cooperate fully.


    1. The empirically substantiated probability of a student dying in a school shooting is approximately 1 in 1,000,000, or one in a million; and

    2. The The empirically substantiated probability of a student dying in a school fire is conservatively estimated at 1 in 10,000, or one in ten thousand; and

    3. The laws of probability hold that the chance of 2 events occurring simultaneously is the product of the probabilities of each event;

    Therefore, The Cary-Grove Schools Administration and Police Departments do ordain and enact the following policy to be instituted in event of school emergencies:

    If the school is ablaze, the Police Department shall surround the school building and open fire.

    If a school is invaded by a gun wielding lunatic, the Police Department or the School Administration shall set the school ablaze.

    We estimate that this new policy will reduce the risk of a student being killed or injured to approximately 1 in 10,000 million, or one in ten billion.

    Periodic mandatory drills simulating this new emergency response will be conducted without prior warning. These drills will use smoke generators and blank cartridges to simulate fire and gunshots.

    Students will be required to behave in a calm and orderly manner during these drills, or face suspension for any breech of school district rules of student conduct.

    We are certain that if students cooperate fully with these new emergency procedure drills nothing could possibly go wrong.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

  32. Frank says:

    It's security theater. Get the peasants used to a militarized police force when they're young, and it's easier to herd them when they're adults.
    Besides, how else are the adrenaline junkies going to get practice?

  33. John Beaty says:

    Riffing on the School fire issue, we can assume the administration will set fires in the hallway the next time they have a fire drill to make it a little more realistic.

  34. corporal lint says:

    My mom taught in a private kindergarten. For some unknown reason they had the town fire department come out every year and set and then extinguish some fires in the parking lot. It was probably passed off as a safety thing, but I think everyone knew they did it because it looked cool.

  35. Dan Weber says:

    If there were evidence that fire drills with smoke improved outcomes more than fire drills without smoke, I'd support having smoke in the hallways. They have done fire simulations with all sorts of things like smoke to see how people react (fun fact: if a leader figure is just sitting there ignoring the alarm, other people will just sit through the fire alarm, even if smoke is slowly wafting into the room) and they haven't changed the recommendations, and I have no reason to believe those people are incompetent so the current state of the art is probably the best course of action.

    I don't think the idea of "shooter drills" is wrong. I do think that the administration really has no clue what to do — they have only imagined what the right response is — and so they are going to drill the wrong things or imagine that drills are a substitute for doing things that actually matter.

  36. princessartemis says:

    I'm glad that the nuclear bomb attack drills one of my teachers did in elementary school didn't involve a bomb explosion so as to familiarize us with the sound.

  37. Linrandiel says:

    4)b What is the policy of the Chicago School Board on its liability for damages caused by any of its former students in the event that this exercise is so psychologically traumatic to one or more of them that they later become responsible for such a shooting in real life?

  38. Laura K says:

    I have survived high school and taught high school as a substitute. I have not only seen stupid I have been forced to walk in it, allow it to assault my eyes, ears and senses and sometimes to breathe it. Reading this…I thought I had managed to learn enough 'reactive, pusillanimous moron' to be conversant, but these administrators in Chicago must use an even more obscure dialect.

  39. corporal lint says:

    Just to repeat something from further upthread, this isn't Chicago, it's a little town 30 miles northwest of Chicago.

  40. Patrick says:

    If you keep writing that, maybe I'll re-write the post.

    Or maybe I won't.

  41. Jarek says:

    No words can describe what I feel, reading this as a non-American. I've lived in over a dozen countries (and I'm not counting 2 week exchanges, actually LIVING in a country for 2 years or more) and in every single one of those countries, this would be met with disbelief and shock.

    The worlds super-power, militarily and economically superior to all other nations by a wide margin, is shooting blanks in schools "an effort to provide our teachers and students some familiarity with the sound of gunfire"

    For me this is akin to saying "hey kids, you'll probably be shot at, or you may encounter a gunman in the future, so here's how to identify it"

    I just cannot comprehend this, and i'm sure it seems logical to many people in America, but this kind of thinking is bat-shit crazy and arghdjhs i can't put words down, i just can't believe it.

  42. babaganusz says:

    deliciously 'couched'. i am sharing this everywhere. or, y'know, my tiny personal sphere's version of everywhere.

  43. Ancel De Lambert says:

    And I thought the car crash assembly they made me sit through in high school was bad. It was. Why do they make us suffer?

  44. Analee says:

    My high school used to do a thing to raise drunk driving awareness where they pulled people out of class, announced over the PA system that they had died in a drunk driving accident, then had them walk around wearing skull facepaint and being silent all day.

    None of their attempts prepared us for the reality of actually losing a friend in a drunk driving accident, which happened to my friend Brandi when I was 17, just before she started her senior year of high school.

    They can do all the preparedness drills they want; real life incidents NEVER go the same way they do in drills, and you can never be prepared for all the shittery that goes along with something like this actually happening (especially the mental and emotional shittery), no matter what you do.

  45. James Pollock says:

    When my daughter was in middle school (a tiny special-option school contained within a larger, general middle school) one of her classmates was killed in a plane crash. Now that she's a senior, they lost another one when a woman had a seizure while driving, ran over the sidewalk he was walking on, and crashed into a house.
    I look forward to the drills they'll offer for those. (The mall shooting was way across town, and our state's national-news school shooting was a long time ago (15 years, now) in a town 100 miles away.)

  46. AlphaCentauri says:

    It's best to get it through your head early that life is not 100% safe, no one gets out alive, and there will always be more things you can't control than things that you can. If you try to grasp tightly to the fantasy that if you just do all the right things, nothing bad will happen to you, you're going to be devastated if something bad does happen. People living several hundred years ago dealt with much more death and tragedy than we do, and they struggled through. The fact that they never seriously expected to be spared from tragedy probably helped them hold up through the bad times.

  47. mojo says:

    Well, obviously, if they held their little game in one of the schools where violence IS occurring, someone could get hurt!

  48. Lago says:

    "No words can describe what I feel, reading this as a non-American. I've lived in over a dozen countries (and I'm not counting 2 week exchanges, actually LIVING in a country for 2 years or more) and in every single one of those countries, this would be met with disbelief and shock."

    People all over the world are "shocked" that we have guns…

  49. efemmeral says:

    In case the nailing went unnoticed, Frank just nailed it.

    But nailing it and playing with it are two different things. And, in the play-along theme of Pollock, Windypundit and Schofield, I’ll add that there might be value for the individual in practicing a group response to the insane, low odds circumstance.

  50. efemmeral says:

    @ C. S. P. Schofield: Thanks for makin' me google "Foghorn Leghorn". Now I ain't ever gonna' see your moniker without ahearin' that sound.

  1. January 30, 2013

    [...] Patrick from Popehat has the story. As only Patrick can. From the post: [...]

  2. January 30, 2013

    [...] Please Note That Police Will Be Firing Blanks In The Hallway. In The Interest Of Versimilitude, All … [...]