Suburban Chicago School’s “Code Red” Drill Will Include Shooting Blanks

Readers — Sometimes it is hard to keep swimming upstream, but here we go. Cary Grove, a high school in suburban Chicago, is set to run a lockdown drill tomorrow, this one with someone shooting two blanks in the hall, “in an effort to provide our teachers and students some familiarity with the sound of gunfire,” according to a letter from the principal.

Sure, I understand the impulse. And I know that many people will say, as does a woman in this CBS news report, “Better safe than sorry.” But I’m with another woman quoted, who pointed out that look, the school has fire drills, too, but no one runs down the hall with a flamethrower.

There seems to me something beyond preparation in creating a drill this morbid and dramatic. There seems to me a frisson of excitement and almost the desire to be “counted.” I know that sounds weird, but the truth is, the vast, vast, vast majority of students and schools will never encounter a gunman. But if you have a drill like this, it’s almost like saying, “Well that may be true, but don’t count us out.” It feels like one part precaution, one part hysteria and one part, “We’re part of the big story of the day.”

I don’t mean to ascribe any evil motives. It feels very human. But going overboard is human, too. — L.

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