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Professor: 'We Are Now Trained To Think A Car Backfiring Is An AK-47'

FAYETTEVILLE, AR. --- The University of Oklahoma campus went on lock down after a reported shooting. The incident turned out to be a false alarm. Teachers at the UA have started taking to their syllabuses to discuss safety precautions.
"There has been a gradual, for a lack of a better word, militarization of our culture. We are now trained to think a car back-firing is an AK-47"
FAYETTEVILLE, AR. --- On Wednesday, University of Oklahoma students were frightened by what was thought to be shots fired. It turned out be a false alarm, but officials reacted as if it was the real thing.

The University sent out alerts via phone and email. Teachers at The University of Arkansas are taking precautions by adding a section to their syllabus, explaining what to do if a shooter enters.

Dr. Sidney Burris is an English professor at the University of Arkansas. He started talking to his classes about safety precautions a year ago.

"There has been a gradual, for a lack of a better word, militarization of our culture. We are now trained to think a car back-firing is an AK-47," said Burris. "I think teachers have to reflect the reality in which their students are living. You don't want to incite fear and paranoia, but you also want your students to know what to do in case of an emergency."

Burris took us through the precautions he shares with his students in his syllabus.

"A-D-D. Avoid. Deny. Defend. If you hear a gun shot, get away from the gun shot. If you're in a classroom, you deny access to that shooter, however you can," said Burris. "If that doesn't work, defend yourself with what you can."

University of Arkansas Police Department's Captain Vance Rice was working for the department on August 28th, 2000 when a student entered Kimpell Hall. The student killed a professor and then took his own life. 13 years ago, Rice said, getting information to students was difficult.

"We had no way to notify students," said Rice.

Now, it's a different story.

"The availability for information and media is just tremendous," said Rice. "You initially don't know that it's false information and so you have to go on the best information that you have at the time."

As a teacher, Burris appreciates the quick reaction that Oklahoma took and hopes Arkansas would do the same.


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