Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo: Death trap on a hill

Terrorist shootings at public places are unpredictable and can happen anywhere at anytime.

In the past, we have seen such tragedy’s leaving many innocent people dead and all we have learned from these incidents are how to “spot” a possible terrorist. This is done by singling out some personality traits be that of lonesomeness, detachment, depression, mental disorders, what have you.

Although being cautious can help prevent a public atrocity, it won’t always stop it from happening. Another way to help prevent lives from being lost in such an incident is the reaction and strategic safety actions from victims and crowds involved.

Disappointingly enough, these types of tragedies are not taught and spoken about as often as they should be.

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Aaron Alexis at a Washington Navy Yard committed the most recent attack. Even though all acts of terror are heart breaking what stood out most about this event was that it was on a Navy Yard.

A place where you would think there’d be more security and trained patrolmen. Yet, sadly many people died and Alexis was gun downed as well, with no way of prosecuting him.

Last summer I enrolled for summer school classes here at Rio Hondo. It had been awhile since the last time I was in a classroom environment. The week before classes started, there was a shooting at Santa Monica College.

I was left horrified for many reasons, innocent people dying in such an awful way, that I was in the city of Santa Monica when it occurred, and also that I myself would be going by to college soon.

School is supposed to be a safe place, where on shouldn’t worry about being harmed. A student’s main focus should be getting good grades and keeping up with the social demands of a school environment.

For the first week of school I found myself overly nervous and paranoid. In new classrooms I’d always make sure I knew the nearest exit, and I would get distressed when I’d think about what would happen if anything awful occurred being stuck at the top of this hill our campus is located on.

Throughout our elementary years, we are taught drills for emergencies in class. We all know the drills, if an earthquake happens we get under our desks, cover our necks or take shelter under doorframes.

If there is a fire, we crawl under the smoke to an exit, never take the elevator just stairs, and if we ourselves get caught on fire “Stop. Drop. And Roll”.

But what if a disturbed person comes on our campus with a gun?

This fall term, I was bored in one of my classes and I came across a book on instructions in case of an emergency pinned to a classroom bulletin board. Along with fires, earthquakes, and floods I saw a section for school shooting. I was intrigued to read it since I have never been formally taught in school what to do if that even occurred, but the instructions I read seemed like basic survival instincts.

I would like to think that all of us would have the knowledge to hide from a gunman and when we got the chance we’d run for help, right?

The worst part was that I only came across this while I was bored in class.

Really, Rio Hondo? The only recommendations and safety tips that you have to offer the campus community is buried in a classroom where only the curious can find it?

There are no publicly accessible, sufficient or promoted safety plans for many schools, including Rio Hondo, in case for a shooting. Regardless what level the school is at, community college, trade school, or university, I strongly believe that public awareness regarding the safety of students and faculty should be prominent.

I find myself often asking, what’s our best option for exits? Where are the emergency meeting points? Where can I find campus security? And the phones that we can use to call 911?

Oh yeah, security is hidden in the abandoned old administration building, 911 poles were barely installed a year ago, and we don’t even know where to meet up on campus unless a legitimate emergency actually takes place. “We need to be briefed and taught these safety tips just as we’ve been taught all these years “Stop. Drop. And Roll”.

As students, we don’t always get a chance to prevent, but we can easily be educated about emergency procedures and methods to protect ourselves and our RHC community.

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