Thoughts of reality create heroes

Published 4:43 am Monday, February 18, 2008

By Staff
I knew it wasn't real. I knew the guns weren't loaded. I knew Sydney wasn't really hurt. But I had a lump the size of Texas in my throat Friday afternoon.
It seemed fairly interesting when Brewton Police Chief Monte McGougin called me last week to let me know about a planned drill at Brewton Middle School. He let me know so that I could be there and witness the work of his special team. The chief wanted to let the public know that we have men trained and ready to help all of us if there is ever an emergency.
The kind of emergency this team pretended to respond to on Friday is one that I hope never becomes a reality for any of our schools.
What caused the lump in my throat wasn't what did happen on Friday afternoon, but the images that popped into my mind of what could happen, any day, at any school, at any time.
The timing of Friday's drill, although planned weeks in advance, was poignant to say the least. The fact that a man walked into a lecture hall at Illinois University and began shooting Thursday brought the reality of what could have been happening Friday in Brewton all too close to mind.
Could something like this happen in Brewton? Sure it could. The man who allegedly did the shooting in Illinois the day before the drill was well-liked, a good student, an educated man, and even “revered” by some of the faculty at the college, according to reports. There are people who fit that description walking the halls of our schools and down the aisles at the grocery store and Wal-Mart. You bet it could happen in Brewton, and that scares me to death.
The Special Response Team did an excellent job Friday. I watched them as they moved in unison to clear classrooms and check offices and bathrooms to make sure that all the children on campus were safe.
One of the reasons they did such a good job on Friday is because this wasn't their first time at the school.
The members of the SRT have been involved at similar drills at each of the schools in Brewton. Although the drills performed by the group before didn't involve any faculty or staff, their involvement proved valuable in Friday's drill. By holding drills at the schools in past months, the group has become familiar with the layout of the school. They have an idea about the floor plan of the school including any hidden spots a shooter could occupy unnoticed.
I've decided that Friday's drill is one that I'd like to see carried out at every school and business or industry that houses more than 10 or so folks during a typical day.
I want them to go to the school my son attends. I want him to be a little scared. I want him to understand that he's not always safe. I want him to know that the day may come when Mom can't save him. I want him to know that he can rely on the teachers and administrators at his school to help keep him safe while he's there. I also want him to know that people like the men on the SRT will do their best to keep the bad guys from hurting him.
On Friday, I stood and watched members on the SRT move as a team in what could have been a devastating situation. On Friday, those men became my heroes. You may not know it, but they are your heroes, too.
Lisa Tindell is news editor of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached by email at

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