CWU shooter video takes no trophies

TyYonna Kitchen, Copy Desk Chief & Opinion Editor

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Graphic  by Teagan Kimbro

On Sept. 23 CWU published a disappointing YouTube video called “CWU Run. Hide. Fight.” The video is on what to do in an active shooter situation while on campus. After watching it, I realized CWU dropped the ball while making the video.

First and foremost, this took seven months to complete. The false active shooter situation that prompted the creation of this video happened in February.

Seven months to create a seven minute video on how to act in the event of an active shooter is ridiculous. If it took one month to create one minute of this video, then I wish they had taken longer and done a better job.

 

“Run. Hide. Fight.” CWU’s way

The protocol of “Run. Hide. Fight.” has been around for years. It’s a nationwide procedure that is followed by schools, workplaces and the FBI alike. CWU knowing the protocol and giving us an informational video after an active shooter incident shows borderline carelessness. If CWU had made a video before we needed it, then perhaps the mass hysteria and social media rumor mill would not have taken over the event.

The gunman pulls a fire alarm to draw students out of their rooms. While this may be a possible rouse, it could be a dangerous statement for CWU to make and stand by. 

When I saw the video I took it as CWU saying, “Hey there students, if you hear any fire alarms, please barricade yourself in your rooms and assume that you will be shot. There is no fire. It’s a gunman trying to kill you.” 

By this time next year, we will need a “What to Do in a Fire Drill” video because students are automatically locking their room doors as soon as a fire alarm goes off. 

If CWU was  going to keep the fire alarm scene in, it would’ve been proactive to have a small blurb mentioning how frequent fire drills are or what to do in the event of a fire. 

Other “Run. Hide. Fight.” videos have been made and can add perspective as to if CWU’s video holds up. Florida State University (FSU) and Northwestern University (NU) were both recently published in 2018.

The similarities between FSU and CWU’s videos were uncanny. I would find it rather hard to believe that the maker(s) of CWU’s video did not draw some (or most) of their inspiration from FSU’s. 

The videos’ beginnings are nearly identical and watching them back to back or side by side is like a “spot the difference” challenge. Both videos begin with informative text, the chosen gunman in a car and the gunman entering a building before firing at students. Both active shooters pull fire alarms to lure students and are stopped by barricades. The police officers arrive and take down the threats by shooting and then handcuffing them.

The videos end with back and forth shots of what to do during and after a shooting while police officers and faculty educated the audience. One thing that gave CWU a leg up against FSU was the recap of what “Run. Hide. Fight.” means. 

It is not a bad thing that the videos were similar. Following a protocol like “Run. Hide. Fight.” would mean that similarities are bound to pop up. However, I believe that the video made for NU was better than both FSU and CWU’s.

NU’s video was almost completely different from the other two. The audience was shown how to effectively use the “Fight” in “Run. Hide. Fight.” The beginning started with information being given by professionals. NU also showed the shooter being suspicious, something that CWU neglected to do for the most part. 

 

Videography

Which leads to another issue that I took with the CWU video was in the “See something, do something,” portion of the video. From 5 minutes, 46 seconds to 6 minutes, 13 seconds, the gunman is seen walking around while the voiceover prompts students and faculty to call the police. The problem with this portion of the video is that that is all he does. The gunman walks around campus, wearing all black, carrying a duffel bag.

There was no shuffling of the bag. No overly suspicious behavior. The actor portraying the active shooter was walking and that was the reason the students decided to call the police. He was not given the opportunity to be a bad guy during this part of the video.

The audience and actors know he is the bad guy, so he should be arrested without actually doing anything. This was a flaw in the script and/or the directing for the video, but it was an important one. Between the fire alarm and the duffel bag carrier this video’s directing causes more confusion and more hysteria than not having the video at all.

NU proved that just because the schools are following the same protocols does not mean we need to experience the same videos over and over and over again. If CWU used FSU’s video for reference, they should’ve used NU as well. NU’s video was more direct, the script was written better and “Run. Hide. Fight.” was better executed.

 

Resources

Overall, I appreciate the effort by CWU. However, it shouldn’t have taken seven months to make. For taking seven months, the video was unimpressive and a letdown.  

For even more on CWU emergency information, check out CWU’s active shooter threat page.

 

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