THE BLOG
01/23/2014 12:51 pm ET Updated Mar 25, 2014

We Need a Response Plan for Gun Violence on Campus

"Our police at Purdue are heroes."

We live in a gun culture. The court's interpretation of the Second Amendment and the sales reports from the gun industry support this claim. We need to understand that this culture will have consequences and victims. After this week's murder in a classroom at Purdue University this is now a personal reality for me.

Another reality is that we are not prepared when gun violence happens in places we consider safe havens. Emerging from this week's tragedy is a concern from faculty and staff that we, not the police, but the other caretakers of the University were not trained or prepared for this type of tragedy. Procedures were not clear. Classroom doors did not lock. Communication systems were not consistent; students received information sooner in many cases than did the faculty. I believe this lack of preparedness is true across our nation.

While much research and public money has been spent on gun violence protection, which I support completely and endorse investing more, little in comparison has been spent on preparedness training for employees. Our police at Purdue are heroes, the training they had received and lived with was effective and they showed the world they were prepared. However, for the rest of us we were left to swim in our own fears.

We need leaders to develop and nurture plans and procedures that will help reduce the fear and other powerful emotions that take control during these crises. Communication plans. Crisis management plans in the classroom and workplace. Facility plans. This needs to be a reality; we need to be prepared.

I believe the government's fundamental duty is to protect its people from enemies, abroad and within. In the 1950's under the real threat and fear of nuclear attacks we built fall-out shelters and prepared classrooms and the people within them across our nation to be on the ready.

This planning calmed us. Growing up in the Midwest we had routine fire and tornado drills, to keep us on the ready. Jumping out the back of the bus or tucking under desks taught us to learn not only cognitively, but also with muscle memory to know what to do, we learned roles and specific parts to play. Recall stop, drop and roll? This is simple and effective training. This preparedness readies and calms us.

It is now time in our nation to accept that gun violence will occur. We need to continue to work to prevent these tragedies. We also need to prepare the rest of the caretakers to be on the ready, to keep us calm, to learn skills so we will not swim in our own fear. This type of planning and training, the types of warning systems and procedures we need, will be costly. This cost is part of the consequences we must be willing to pay for our gun culture. Gun violence is part of our national reality, not just Purdue's. We need to be prepared and know our roles during these crises.