How #IfIDieInASchoolShooting Became a Thing You Probably Didn’t Know About

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“We, teenagers, are tweeting using #IfIDieInASchoolShooting. The saddest part about it? We have all already had these thoughts — have all already wondered if it will be our school next, what we will do if it happens to us, and how our community will (or will not) respond.”

Ziad Ahmed

Once again, a horrific act of violence against children happened in a US school; ten people were killed in Santa Fe, Texas on May 18, 2018. The shooter, carrying a shotgun and a .38-calibre pistol, opened fire on an art class, killing eight students and two teachers, and injuring thirteen others.


In response, Andrew Schneidawind, a student at the University of Mary Washington, started the #IfIDieInASchoolShooting hashtag. He told Teen Vogue that he’s been shaken since the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012, which took 26 lives.

Messages began appearing on Twitter timelines as students who had been victims, and those fearing they could become victims, began posting their most poignant thoughts and fears.

While certainly there is a political POV shared by many of those who posted and reshared messages, how did we come to this? How did we come to children imagining their own deaths and what they would miss as a result?

We can take politics out of this by making this about the beginning of the timeline of violence rather than about only the end when the weapon has entered the building or campus.

The key is constant awareness: we cannot allow violence to become so easily objectified. Does January 23, 2018 mean anything to you? It does to the families of Bailey Nicole Holt and Preston Ryan Cope, both 15 years old the day they were murdered, and to the eighteen people injured in the event when a fifteen year-old shooter opened fire at Marshall County High School in Kentucky.

Most people have no recollection of this event because it was not given the level of coverage which is currently taking place. As a population, we have become far too accustomed to “smaller shootings” and the media and news cycle churns past these “minor” violence events.#IfIDieInASchoolShooting

How dare we?

Harry Rhulen, a Firestorm Founder recently said: “Instead of waiting for someone to show up at school with a gun, we need to prevent this situation from ever occurring.

“The idea that a metal detector will help is as flawed as the idea that the type of gun is the problem. The individuals who perpetrate these crimes think them through carefully. The only thing that the metal detector ensures is that the first person to die is going to be the person manning the metal detector. Putting additional SROs in schools is great. Those brave men and women interact with the kids and provide them with an additional aspect of their education, but one or two people trying to cover hundreds of thousands of square feet cannot be effective in most active shooter situations. Again it is important to understand that shooters do not go about their work casually. They plan these events and will easily figure out a way around SROs and metal detectors.”

We must be outraged, but outraged enough to start at the beginning of the violence cycle, rather than the end. The beginning of the violence cycle – or “First Look” preparedness has a simple formula that enables schools, businesses and other types of organizations to intervene, provide assistance and prevent a weapon from ever coming in to their community. The model requires training for all community members on behaviors of concern. In almost every situation, individuals who are experiencing issues that could escalate do exhibit behaviors that are observable as actionable warning signs for intervention.

We have created a 9-step formula to prevent incidents from occurring and we want every school and workplace, every organization of every type, to have this formula, free of charge. Please learn more and help us #ShareTheFormula.

You can #ShareTheFormula through print, email and social media.

For Instagram, follow us on Instagram at @firestormcrisismanagement.

To #ShareTheFormula on Facebook, like us and reshare our messages to your timeline. Invite your friends to like our page

#ShareTheFormula on Twitter: Follow us on Twitter @ShareTheFormula, reshare our messages, and engage with our community

Remember to use the #ShareTheFormula hashtag in digital communications. Help us keep the elimination of violence at the forefront of the issue.

Together, we can eliminate the vast majority of violence in our schools and workplaces through the implementation of early, well-structured and managed prevention programs.

Want to learn how to #ShareTheFormula in your community?

Download #ShareTheFormula infographic for K-8 Students Download #ShareTheFormula infographic for HS/College Students Download #ShareTheFormula infographic for Parents/Adults


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