A Terrorist Hijacking Drill on a School Bus — Complete With SWAT Team “Rescue”

Folks — If you felt like you were living in a kind of sane country, take a peek at this:

 

Yes, it’s a terrorist drill on a school bus.

I truly could not understand from this report (or Googling) if the students knew the attack was fake or not. They probably did, or just imagine the lawsuits. Nonetheless, it is nothing less than bizarre that while they were being “hijacked,” school administrators and sundry responsible adults sat in folding chairs in a parking lot across town watching a big-screen live feed of the event.

And then, as the audience watched, into that lot drove — the bus! A waiting SWAT team took over, puncturing the bus tire and “liberating” the hostages.

All this in a town of under 7000, on one of the safest forms of transportation known to man. As one of the students getting off the bus said: “It feels good to know that when this does happen, there are people there to stop it.

When this DOES happen? Please. It’s like preparing for the day a flaming meteor DOES land in the lunch line.  Here’s my guess as to what DID happen. A 2006 CNN story reported:

School bus drivers around the country are being trained to be the eyes and ears on the road and to watch for potential terrorists, in a program financed by the Homeland Security Department. 

Designers of the program, called School Bus Watch, want to turn 600,000 drivers into an army of observers….

The new effort is part of Highway Watch, a safety program run by the American Trucking Association and financed since 2003 with $50 million from Homeland Security.

Fifty million dollars? That’s a lot of ski masks. How can YOU get some of this dough? If you can say, truthfully or not, that you really think your town needs to prepare for the day a terrorist boards a school bus,  I’d guess you’re in the running for a piece of the terrorists-are-everywhere pie.

Terrifying. – L

35 Responses to A Terrorist Hijacking Drill on a School Bus — Complete With SWAT Team “Rescue”

  1. Kay August 20, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    Oh, sure, and when that school bus does experience a real terrorist attack, you know, when pigs fly, I’m sure their defense will just go perfectly.

    Why do they have to involve the students in this tomfoolery?

    Meanwhile, in Ohio:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/23/ohio-schools-guns-principals/2580577/

    School shootings are rare, but what’s even rarer, or in my opinion a one-time event, is what happened at Sandy Hook. I don’t have a strong opinion on whether a principal or teacher has a gun at school or not, but I do have a strong opinion on operating on the mentality that there will be a shooter any day now.

  2. oncefallendotcom August 20, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    The only crime involving a person “hijacking” a school bus I can think of occurred recently in Alabama.

    http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2013/02/04/alabama-school-bus-kidnapping-ends-with-release-of-little-boy-and-death-of-assailant/

    The irony is the guy who committed that crime was apparently very paranoid about terrorists (so much so, he was patrolling his property nightly with a flashlight and gun), so perhaps all this talk of terrorism and buses may have inspired this mentally disturbed man to do what he did?

  3. Jeff August 20, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    “It feels good to know that when this does happen, there are people there to stop it.”

    Woooooooooooow. This would probably be sensible if this kid lived in one of those countries that seems to get hit with terrorist attacks almost daily (at least that’s what it seems like from the news), but in the USA? I feel quite confident in guessing that at least one Middle Eastern, Near Eastern, or Southeast Asian country has had more terrorist attacks in a year than America has had in it’s entire history or at least 100 years.

    It seems like people do not understand the subtle brainwashing that is going on in children’s heads with stuff like this. Preparation for something is one thing, but convincing someone that the thing they are preparing for is inevitably going to happen, particularly when that thing is extremely rare, is another thing entirely. Even with all the fire drills, it was never drilled into my head that a fire was inevitable. In my entire school life, I think I’ve only experienced two actual fire evacuations, and neither were serious.

  4. Gary August 20, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    ‘murica…

  5. Gary August 20, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    “Preparation for something is one thing, but convincing someone that the thing they are preparing for is inevitably going to happen, particularly when that thing is extremely rare, is another thing entirely.”

    ‘murica!!! scaring the beejeesus outta ‘muricans to keep ‘em in line since 9/12.

    George Orwell is lol’ing his ass off right ’bout now.

  6. Will August 20, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    It’s a fairly simple equation: teach the children to fear some boogeyman, show them the disproportionate force “needed” to protect them, and soon, these children won’t care that the NSA reads all their e-mail, because “safety.”

  7. oncefallendotcom August 20, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    http://www.stnonline.com/home/web-exclusive/5290-various-school-security-bills-survive-months-after-shootings-in-connecticut-alabama-

    No surprise, Alabama ( and a few other states) passed knee jerk legislation this year in response to Sandy Hook and the Alabama bus kidnapping guy.

  8. Gary August 20, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    “…teach the children to fear some boogeyman…”

    too bad they will be too blind to see it is the true boogeyman doing the teaching.

  9. Em Clark August 20, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Sorry to read about the bus drills . . . Just last Sunday I read that a festival in Rochester, NY now “requires” children to wear identification wristbands when attending.

    Orlando J. Ortiz wrote an editorial entitled “Post-festival frustration felt”. What caught my eye was the following statement :

    “Keeping security of our patrons as top priority. I’m thrilled to report there were no fights or arrests during the festival weekend. That is the true reflection of our Latino community and behavior when celebrating our culture. Children were required to wear identification wristbands with contact information. This gave parents a sense of security and demonstrated how much we care. I have yet to see this attention to detail at any other festival in this area.”

    The festival has history of some people continuing the party AFTER the festival. The festival itself, I don’t believe ever has been an issue.

    The rest of the editorial, which can be found at:

    http://uploader.mattmendick.com/view.php?section=opinion#2013308180019

    And a newspaper description of the 28 people arrested after the festival here:
    http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20130811/NEWS01/308110066/Rochester-arrests-after-Puerto-Rican-Festival

    That children are required to wear id tags sounds like way off the top to me

  10. Papilio August 20, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Well. That’s not the kind of road safety they should be working on with those 50 million dollars…

    But at least now we know what Speed III will be about :P

  11. Donna August 20, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    Please tell me that the writer missed the part where this was some NGO training people to work as bus drivers in Afghanistan and Iraq?

    I don’t usually have a problem with 1st responder drills that use student volunteers to train EMS, police, etc. to react in even unlikely scenarios like active shooters (sounds like great fun to me and I totally would have volunteered as a kid), but this is absolutely absurd. A terrorist isn’t going to hijack a school bus full of children!!! There is absolutely no need whatsoever for anyone to know how to defend against this.

  12. Mark Davis August 20, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    “Wow, this could really happen on my bus.” Yeah, right. $10 says this bus driver never considered this extremely-unlikely-to-ever-actually-happen event until the idea was put in his head by this ridiculous drill. Now he’s got one more pointless worry to carry around for the rest of his life.

  13. Donna August 20, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Passing around my Facebook feed this morning as one of those old-time looking user cards that says –

    “I’ve got 99 problems and 86 of them are completely made up scenarios in my head that I’m stressing about for absolutely no logical reason.”

    I think that pretty much sums up this post … as well as 21st century America.

  14. Puzzled August 20, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    So, why exactly does a rill make the bus driver say “this can happen on my bus?” What a strange conclusion to reach. Does this guy also leave every movie thinking that an alien from Krypton could show up on his lawn?

    Here’s the thing, though. This isn’t about people panicking and preparing for a very unlikely event. It’s about using that panic to ‘educate.’ The point is to teach kids that the world is very dangerous and that authority figures are their only protection. The point is that when these kids grow up, there won’t be any Snowdens, because the reaction to his revelations will be “thank god.”

  15. Michelle August 20, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    This is a great idea because all other school problems have been solved!

    Oh wait, they haven’t?

    /sarcastic

  16. Gary August 20, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    “Does this guy also leave every movie thinking that an alien from Krypton could show up on his lawn? ”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFyHTU8tg_0

  17. Warren August 20, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Just last weekend we watched Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry”, where the perp hijacked a school bus near the end of the movie. I can remember thinking at the time, “I hope nobody in power is watching this, or they will be putting armed guards on the school buses.”

    Wow how things have changed. Today it takes a SWAT team to deal with it, back then Dirty Harry just jumped off the bridge, stopped the bus, and killed the bad guy. So much simpler, lol.

  18. anonymous this time August 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    I think we should all just stop drinking from the tap on the off chance that some terrorist has poisoned the water supply.

    I mean, it COULD happen. We all COULD die.

    Of thirst.

  19. John August 20, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Well, at least this nonsense isn’t just reserved for kids. I’m an adult who works for the government and most recently (actually just a few minutes ago) I completed my Level 1 Anti-terrorism Training. It’s an annual requirement for us employees and it trains us on how to avoid becoming a victim of terrorism while traveling. I think it’s a waste of production time as the training is classic “worst-first thinking”.

    Am I so arrogant to believe that a terrorist thinks I’m so valuable, among all Americans for them to choose from, that I should be dead? Particularly when there are more important people for them to kill here in America?

    We also were required to take “Active Shooter” training which trained us on how to avoid being a victim of a crazy coworker who decides to go postal.

    I was telling my boss that in light of the meteor which most recently exploded over Russia, next think you know we’ll be required to attend “Asteroid Impact Avoidance Training”. He laughed pretty hard at that!

  20. Gary August 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    “We also were required to take “Active Shooter” training which trained us on how to avoid being a victim of a crazy coworker who decides to go postal. ”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIyVxNeR3xs

    And on an unfortunately serious note…

    http://news.yahoo.com/official-suspect-custody-ga-school-173957369.html

  21. sorrykb August 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    These would be the terrorist-prone school buses… that don’t have seat belts, correct?

  22. marie August 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Did you copyright the line, “It’s like preparing for the day a flaming meteor DOES land in the lunch line”? Because I am looking for reasons to use it myself. :-)

  23. JJ August 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    “This is a great idea because all other school problems have been solved!”

    This post and Michelle’s excellent sarcastic comment rings especially true to me today. Our local school district announced that it will borrow $50 Million, coincidentally the same amount of money that the department of Homeland Security has spent on this Ridiculousness, so that it can open schools next month (the state won’t provide the money). Now mind you, the schools will open but there will not be any administrative support, nurses, guidance counselors, library, music, art, gym, or actual school supplies. Yeah, it’s a great situation for our apparently throw-away children. But good to know that school students around the country are getting much needed and expensive bus-terrorism training. That’s just fantastic.

    Sorry–venting.

  24. Goody August 20, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    But…if you use the SWAT team for school bus terrorism drills, who will serve the warrants on people that forgot to pay their library fines?

  25. lollipoplover August 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    In a parallel universe, there would be a Realistic Polluting Drill where we turn school bus drivers into an army of observers to stop the crazy long bus trips. Curb the real threat- all of the the excessive stops(every driveway?)and waits for kids to get their crap together or worse, forcing an adult escort at the stop like we are transfering plutonium to and from school.
    Next we can install floatation devises for seats just in case the bus submerges in water.

  26. Emily August 20, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    I’m Canadian, and I don’t have kids, but I still think that “drills” like these, if announced in advance, are as good a reason as any to keep your kids home from school.

  27. Val August 21, 2013 at 1:15 am #

    And this proves exactly what? Everyone knew it was pretend… thousands of other, more useful things the money could have been spent on. Like maybe taking a class trip to a play or art gallery (by bus of coarse!!)

  28. baby-paramedic August 21, 2013 at 3:12 am #

    As a child I would have loved to a have volunteered for such a drill. My final assessment to become a paramedic involved a 14year old drama student from the local high school. The girl was good, actually making herself cry etc. Those of us who had her are united by the common bond of having “Violet” as our final assessment, she was that much more realistic than the other actors.

    I have been involved with drills such as the local hospital falling down (earthquake… we aren’t on a fault line), a school bus losing control and landing on a car (we got the local students involved). These are practices for us. Same as how I practice stinger drills, despite the nearest stingers being about 700kms away. It isn’t going to happen, but it’s good practice.

    Where my issue lies is in the publication of this.
    We don’t publicise our mass cas drills as such, if the local newspaper wants to know it is “drill involving all local emergency groups, to help us be prepared”, they don’t need to know we were practising a sarin attack. One drill involved zombies, just for something different, not because it is likely to happen, but because many skills are transferable to other emergency situations (communication between stakeholders, evacuation, crowd control, triage, etc).

    We have these drills so when things go wrong, we run towards the incident, whilst others run away, and when we get there we have a system to follow that everyone knows. Give us an incident, perhaps it starts raining poisonous frogs, and we will show you the system.

  29. celia August 21, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    The more I hear about how much public schools have jumped the shark, the happier I am that we are scrimping and working extra to send our kids to groovy hippie school.

  30. Earth.W August 21, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    What is wrong with your country?

    Just hand out copies of “After the First Death”, written by, Robert Cormier.

  31. ankle August 21, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    Planners of such events tend foolishly to forget that unwitting participants tend not to come out of those experiences unscathed. If we were really as willing to fight back as the post 9/11 cheerleaders would have us believe, the fake hijacker would have been beaten to a not-so-fake pulp by. In my state, thankfully, school teachers are allowed to carry concealed weapons; I imagine that privilege extends to bus drivers as well, in which case the hijacker may well have found himself dead.

  32. Warren August 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    I am assuming that the police were never considering mounting a rescue, on the bus, while in motion. Therefore, what was the reasoning for having the bus travel thru town? Usually these scenarios are played out with the hostages being cutouts, dummies, mannequins or whatever, to eliminate the risk of injury to a human. So then that leaves this drill as one for educating and training the students, which can only be done if they are not aware of it being just a drill.
    When people do not know it is a drill things can get out of hand. People panic, people attack, people become unpredictable. Not a well thought out drill.

  33. Jim Collins August 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    This is just Cop Welfare. One of our local municipalities just disbanded it’s Police force because it wasn’t generating enough revenue to pay for itself. Another force is looking for an officer with experience in writing grant applications.

  34. Kelly G in ATX August 22, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    Heh, glad I’m not the only one who thought of ‘After the First Death’ after reading this post! I had to read that awful book my freshman year in high school, and then we all had to create dioramas of the bus on the bridge. Ack. I wish our taxpayer dollars were being spent more wisely, like, I don’t know, maybe setting more programs that get kids out in nature instead of in front of the boob tube. Or maybe funding more art and athletics programs in schools. This whole bus exercise smacks of Cold War era ‘duck and cover’ propaganda.