Teachers Terrorized By Masked Gunmen In Unannounced School Shooting ‘Drill’


Teachers at an Oregon school thought they and their colleagues had been shot by masked gunmen who stormed a faculty meeting and began randomly firing at people. Amid the shock and noise and adrenalin, teachers had to look down at their own bodies in order to realize they weren’t bleeding.

They weren’t bleeding because the shooters were firing blanks, and — ho, ho — the whole thing had just been a preparedness exercise. The two guys with the guns, wearing hoodies and masks, were school staff members acting on the instruction of principal Cammie DeCastro.

Staged on April 26, the shooting drill involved only teachers of Pine Eagle Charter School in the rural town of Halfway, Ore. It was a faculty in-service day, so students had the day off and weren’t present.

But the shock-and-awe invasion of a room full of 15 teachers produced both hypothetical casualties and real outrage. DeCastro said most of the teachers wouldn’t have survived the ordeal, had live rounds been used — a fact intended to emphasize the importance of active shooter training the school’s faculty had previously received from the county sheriff’s office.

“I’ll tell you, the whole situation was horrible,” said one teacher. “I got a couple in the front and a couple in the back.”

What’s horrible is the blurred line between the reality of what real, evil guys with guns can do and the fantasy of what people are willing to accept from those in charge — whether they be politicians or supervising bureaucrats — in power-driven efforts to keep them “safe.”

How is this not a crime? The idea for the drill was hatched not by local law enforcement (which itself would hardly qualify as a mitigating factor), but by a civilian administrator with no special prerogative to force upon other civilians the wholehearted acceptance that their freedom and safety were in immediate peril.

You’d not long walk the streets freely if you took it upon yourself  to bring a gun filled with blanks into your workplace, point the thing at coworkers, enjoy a few fiendish moments of total dominance over a cacophonous, panicked, havoc-filled scene, then unmask yourself and smile in order to wave a cautionary finger at everyone while admonishing, “vigilance!”

Internet commenters fleshed out all the reasons, both practical and philosophical, why staging a surprise killing sends the wrong message. What if one of the “victims” had been concealed carrying and fired back? What if someone had a heart condition or asthma? How does this kind of false terrorism differ from shouting “fire” in a crowded theater? Doesn’t this kind of bullying further cement in the mind of the average person that a culture of authority-nurtured fear is necessary and normal?

On that count, it worked. After collecting themselves and reflecting, teachers were accepting of the drill.

“It made me analyze as a teacher what my role is for these babies,” said one.

“It heightened my awareness about what’s around me,” said another.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • vicki

    It would have caused me to decide to keep and bear arms (concealed) cause the test just showed me how useless calling 911 would have been. Of course I did not need to be scared into that position as I already worked that out for myself years ago without having to go thru such an ordeal.

  • Toy Pupanbai

    Mencken’s imaginary hobgoblins of today
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    H.L. Mencken

  • auhunter

    While well intentioned, this was carrying the lesson to extremes. If someone was carrying concealed one of these “imaginary shooters” could have been killed, and who is to say if one of the teachers had a bad heart, had an attack and died. If it had been preempted by a statement of what would you do if? It would have had the same affect, but would have prepared them a little for what was to come.

  • Warrior

    Obviously, none of the assaulted took the advice of the v.p. of these united states of amerika. If they would have taken their double barrel’s outside and pointed to the heavens and let loose, those masked devils would have fled in terror. Never to return! This whole episode was a joke, right?

  • JimH

    Did they get to go home and change their shorts?

  • Michael Shreve

    VERY dangerous behavior AND precedent. Also has the effect of screaming “wolf”.


    I can could just see the headlines if one of the “victims” had been carrying concealed. TEACHER SHOOTS CO-WORKERS BY MISTAKE!!! Then What would Biden have to say about his shotgun remedy?