Saturday, February 02, 2013

Scott St. Clair: Pry My Scissors From My Cold, Dead Hands

Leave it to the federal government to come up with an idea so stupid it refutes what it claims to propose. The Department of Homeland Security has produced a video that suggests with a straight face that the best way to confront an armed assailant who is shooting up your workplace is to go after him with scissors.


Does it get any more absurd than this?

Made with less-than junior high production values, the nearly four-minute video purports to show how to respond when what’s called an “active shooter” goes on a rampage where you work, say at Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.  

Most of what it advises you already know to do: Get the hell out! Hide! Call 911! Do what the cops say!

But some of the advice is contradictory or, when juxtaposed against images in the video, plain stupid.

You must silence your cell phone lest the ring of an incoming call or even a text-message vibration alert the shooter. But it shows people going into rooms, shutting off the lights and then using the phone, which illuminates the caller as she makes a ton of racket while on the phone. Real bright.
Then you’re told to take cover (protected from fire) or hide (the shooter can’t see you). But under a table where anyone walking by couldn’t miss you either visually or by taking aim? Or under a desk so flimsy it arguably wouldn’t stop a B-B let alone a round fired from any type of gun? Lord o’ mercy, save us from those here to save us.

Then there are the scissors, the great American weapon of self-defense.  We see a person pulling open a desk draw and grabbing a pair of scissors while the voiceover says, “You might consider trying to overpower the shooter with whatever means are available.”

Really? By yourself?  With scissors you’ll overpower some dude blasting away at you with a couple of semi-automatic handguns or an AR-15? Are you insane? Or have you heavily insured my life and want me dead?

In ominous tones, the fearless narrator tells us to always be prepared and have a plan in mind to confront workplace shootings, even if you’re only a visitor. In other words, when you go out expect a gunfight.

Don’t believe me? Watch the video – it’s what he says.

Maybe the better preparation isn’t reaching for scissors since what you may have in the drawer is this:















…when you could have something in the drawer like this:

 










After all, we’re supposed to always be prepared for a gunman to burst in and start blasting. And if the video presumes that you know enough about firearms to suggest you get a description of the type and number of weapons the shooter is using, then perhaps you have the knowledge and experience to know how to use one of your own.
Think about it: We’re to trust a government to tell us how to respond when somebody is shooting at us, but that same government doesn’t trust us to respond in kind? Care for some more Kool Aid?
Still, the video does come from the government, which is only here to help us,  so somebody should organize the National Scissors Association to promote the safe and effective use of scissors – assault pinking shears and high-capacity, full-metal tin snips can be excluded -- and ensure that our right to keep and bear scissors shall not be infringed.

 But it doesn’t have quite the inspirational ring of this:



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