In spring, the first teachers in the United States will be able to become the culprit of school shootings. Why? To avoid a massacre.
The Aztec High School in New Mexico, the primary school in Tehama County, North Lake College, the primary school in North Park… these are just a few of the schools where last year’s shootings happened. There were fatalities in all of them. In the United States there are several to over a dozen of them per year.
Created by the U. S. Army and the Department of Homeland Security EDGE (Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment) is a program which, using simulation, allows the player to move into the reality of a school attacked bya shooter. For years it has been helping in training police officers and firefighters, among others, how to react in various emergency situations. An updated version addressed to teachers will be launched in spring.
Teacher, policeman, shooter
The simulator allows the player to move to a school where there is an active shooter and play one of the three roles: a teacher, a policeman or a shooter. This allows you to get to know different perspectives and strategies. If you embrace at least for a moment a person whose aim is to shoot as many people as possible, you can help predict the attacker’s movements in the future.
As a teacher, the player has to save as many people as possible, finding the safest place to hide. The game advises you on the best survival strategies by displaying tips such as: close the door, keep away from the windows, position students along the wall, find items that can be used to build a barricade.
The other two roles are aimed at killing. A shooter – as many people as possible, a policeman – to kill the shooter.
The more experience you have, the greater your chances of survival are. This simulation allows you to practice and find out what works and what doesn’t, says Tamara Griffith, programmer working on EDGE.
The shooting simulator has one assumption – it is supposed to be as realistic as possible.
In order to create the most realistic simulation possible, EDGE developers used the information collected from mass shooters in Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook. The characters in the game imitate the behaviour of the real victims of the massacres. Children and adults sometimes bypass doors and broken windows, and when they try to escape, they run in panic.
The simulation can also use different scenarios to best reflect the situation at school. On some maps there is an intercom system available, while on others there are automatic locks.
Simulation-based solutions have long been used by the US Army for training purposes. Giving this tool into the hands of teachers can give them a better chance of surviving the massacre and saving them. It is a pity that such a programme is needed in the United States at all.