‘It was a spur of the moment thing that had merit to it and kind of caught on…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) A Michigan university is equipping its faculty and students with hockey pucks as a last resort to ward off active shooters on campus.
Oakland University said the hockey pucks are a defensive precaution students and faculty members can throw at shooters, reported the Detroit News.
Oakland University Police Chief Mark Gordon said the idea emerged during a training session he gave earlier this year on how to handle an active shooter situation.
The school’s police department also produced a video as part of the initiative, outlining the proper ways to run, hide and fight during an active-shooter crisis.
Gordon, a former hockey coach, said the university prohibits any kind of weapon, so when students and faculty members asked him during the training sessions what they could use to fight back, he had to think outside the box. He recalled being hit in the head with a puck once and said “it caused a fair amount of damage to me.”
Gordon was surprised at the embrace of his spontaneous quip.
“It was not a well-thought-out strategy,” Gordon said. “It was a spur of the moment thing that had merit to it and kind of caught on.”
But administration officials who attended Gordon’s training session loved the idea and began purchasing and supplying the pucks, according to Tom Discenna, president of the American Association of University Professors.
Discenna said that launching projectiles at assailants is a strategy most of the law-enforcement community endorses, so throwing hockey pucks is a defensive strategy the union decided to get behind.
“We thought ‘Yeah, that is something that we can do,'” he said. “We can make these available at least to our members and a fair number of students as well.”
The union has already spent $2,500 on a batch of pucks. Each puck costs 94 cents to make and is printed with the union’s logo. The union began passing out the pucks a few weeks ago, and already, more than 800 faculty members have them and 1,700 students will have them in the next month. The university’s student congress has ordered an additional 1,000, Discenna said.
Garry J. Gilbert, director of Oakland’s journalism program, said the idea sounded ridiculous Gordon first introduced it. But after attending one of Gordon’s training sessions, he began to understand how hockey pucks might help in an active shooter situation.
“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 said. “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.”