It's kind of hard to concentrate after getting shot to death.

My workplace's idea of a scary Halloween celebration was to have a "violent actor" training while in costume. I decided against strapping a weapon to my pirate thigh on this particular day.

This was no earthquake drill -- we spent almost two and a half hours on this training. First we listened to a presentation, during which we were asked how we might become aware of the presence of an active shooter. Gunshots, people screaming, people running, people bleeding, etc. Duh. Then we watched a video of a dramatized mass shooting (during which some colleagues were already crying), and then we tried to survive our own drill. Just go back to work as usual. In about ten to fifteen minutes, someone's going to come to kill you. Good luck. It's just like a haunted corn maze except that you're trying to do mail merge while waiting for psychos.

Of course no one could focus after that, so instead we discussed our options. Should we run? Do we hide? Would scissors make an effective weapon?

When the alarm went off, though, we had seconds to shut the blinds (because somehow that took higher priority than locking or at least shutting the door that was propped open), but before I could take a single step -- BANG, BANG, BANG BANG BANG (actually a guy yelling "BANG") -- my whole office was eliminated. I thought back to that dumb question the officer asked us and added one more answer: You might become aware of an active shooter when you see him in the doorway and your colleague next to you just got shot and the gun is pointed at you. I think I was casualty number three out of forty. And in real life the alarm would not even have sounded yet because we would have been the reason for the alarm. You never think you're going to be first.

We had a debriefing and then I was still supposed to work another hour. Right.

I found the training useful for people who are not first, and I can see why they left the fourth possibility -- dying -- out of the training. That's what we're trying to avoid. But if you're first...goodbye. It just seemed absurd, not only because of the costumes, but because we even have to do this at all. It's likely enough that someone's going to randomly kill us that we need to do something about it, so let's practice running and hiding and fighting. (And dying.) And then let's keep teaching people English as a second language and doing mail merge to improve their lives. Not that I have a better solution.

Oh hello crazed shooter, just a moment while I refer to my pocket guide...

I know I've said this before, but... I don't think I get paid enough.

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