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North Carolina School Shooting: What Can We Learn?

by George Wehby   |  October 25th, 2011 19

This is a strange one. Apparently, a 15-year-old girl was shot while attending high school in Cape Fear, N.C., yesterday. No one reported seeing the gunman or even hearing a gunshot; although one witness claimed they heard a “pop” at the time the shooting occurred.

The girl collapsed from the gunshot wound and the school was put on a lock down until authorities could secure the area and treat the girl’s injuries. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputies could not find a shooter or even determine how the girl was shot until later that day when they reviewed school surveillance footage.

“I didn’t see a weapon, I did not see a gunman, I just heard the popping, and I saw her drop and holding her neck. You could see the blood pouring out,” fellow student Shane Faircloth told ABC News.

According to reports, surveillance cameras aided authorities in identifying Ta’Von McLaurin, 18, and a 15-year-old, whose name has not been released because of his age. Charges will be filed later today.

A .22 Daisy rifle and shell casings were found on the grounds of the school and are suspected to have been used by the two in custody.

This is one of those situations in life where the lesson learned is a little difficult to determine, since the incident was a mystery in the early going. Even now, there are a lot of questions still to be answered. Why did these two teens commit this horrible act? Was it gang violence or simply the case of troubled students with a grudge?

It is hard to defend against what is believed to be such a random event, but one can be prepared when something like this occurs. In a critical incident such as this, it is important to set up an immediate 360-degree security. This can be done in the simplest way, like seeking cover with one path in and finding a choke point. This allows you to be secure on all sides — the others can be covered visually. Another step is to immediately identify the threat. If there is an ongoing threat, it must be neutralized before you can provide other individuals with medical attention. Taking yourself away from dealing with the threat to provide aid to a victim can lead to you and the individual needing medical attention. You can do them no good if you go down as well. Like in this case, if the threat has ceased, treat the wounded while maintaining security.

It is important to have a basic knowledge of dealing with gunshot wounds or life threatening injuries, so that you can provide medical attention to someone when the time is right. You may find that you will have to give yourself medical attention. There are courses available on tactical casualty care. In the end of the day, this incident may have been unavoidable, but it doesn’t mean we cannot be prepared for when it does.

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