Sometimes the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a ― hockey puck?
That’s the theory at Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where faculty members are being trained to fight school shooters using, among other things, hockey pucks.
OU Police Chief Mark Gordon told local station WDIV-TV, the pucks are being given to teachers and students to throw at school shooters and cause a distraction.
Gordon knows something of which he speaks. As a former youth hockey coach, he told the Detroit News he was once hit in the head with a puck. It “caused a fair amount of damage to me,” he said.
Hockey pucks are perfect for defense, he said, though he acknowledged he knows of no research on using pucks in active shooter situations. They’re heavy enough to cause damage and compact enough to be carried in backpacks, but aren’t considered weapons by law enforcement.
“Anything that you can throw that’s heavy and will cause damage, cause injury is the bottom line of what you’re trying to do,” Gordon said, according to the Detroit Free Press. A hockey puck “was just a thing that was suggested that could possibly work, especially when you have 20 or 30 people in a classroom and they all throw hockey pucks at the same time ― it would be quite the distraction.”
Faculty member Garry J. Gilbert admitted he was skeptical about the puck plan.
“My first reaction was: You are talking about facing an assault weapon and asking us to fight back with hockey pucks? It sounded silly,” Gilbert told the Detroit News. “Then I went through the training session, and it all made sense. None of us want to face an armed assailant. Students will look to us for leadership in a situation like that.”
The training encourages the faculty to flee if possible, and hide if not.
“If we have to do that (fight), Chief Gordon has shown us you can surprise or disarm an assailant with an object. Grab anything you’ve got ... a stapler or book ... anything you’ve got and be prepared and charge him,” Gilbert said. “Maybe he can be distracted by having things thrown at him, and you can limit injuries and loss of life. It won me over.”
It also won over the university’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors, which is distributing 2,500 hockey pucks to its members and students, according to WDIV-TV.
The union is selling hockey pucks to raise funds to equip all campus classroom doors with locks that can be used without leaving the room in the event of an emergency.
The unending wave of mass shootings targeting students also is prompting other ideas that don’t involve firearms.