A school custodian's description of 'Stop the Bleed' training shows where gun culture has led us

David Spain, MD, Chief of Trauma at Stanford Health Care teaching 17-year-old Sequoia High School student Alex Rojo how to stop bleeds on mannequin

I was teaching in a public high school classroom the day that two heavily armed students walked into Columbine High School in Colorado and shot 36 people, killing 15 of them. My students and I watched in horror as aerial news footage showed blood-splattered students fleeing the building. I looked around at the 15 and 16-year-olds under my supervision, watching a piece of their innocence shatter.

The thought of preparing for such terror ourselves didn't cross our minds, though. It was a terrible tragedy, but it was a fluke. A one-off. An anomaly.

Then came Red Lake, Virginia Tech, Marysville, Umpqua, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Santa Fe, and more.

"School shootings" have become a thing—a distinctly American phenomenon. After every single one, the U.S. has exploded into debates over guns and rights and what should be done. And after every single one—even after 20 six- and seven-year-olds were shot to death in their classrooms—federal gun legislation has never gotten off the ground.


Instead, we somehow accept that children being gunned down at school is the price we pay for freedom. So we prepare for it. We train for it. We drill for it.

RELATED: Dear America: Kids doing active-shooter drills is not normal.

Preparation may sound like a smart, sound thing to do, but seeing and hearing what that actually looks like within the walls of America's schools should give us all serious pause.

A school custodian from Texas shared his experience with a 'Stop the Bleed' training he had to go through at his school, and it's absolutely heartbreaking.

Jason Hurt wrote on Facebook:

"Today I was required to attend CPR and first aid training as part of the beginning of the new school year, which I am more than happy to do. It's good to have knowledgeable folks around in the school who can be there in case of a medical emergency, and through scouting as a kid and as a unit leader I had some rudimentary knowledge going into it. Things are going as expected, we're doing chest compressions on dummies, watching videos about various situations, it was a little boring at times honestly, but informative.

Then we get to the last hour. It's a new program called "Stop the Bleed" and it's training on how to administer first aid to victims of a mass shooting in the school. So there I am with the school secretary, applying tourniquets, packing gauze into the simulated bullet wounds of a prosthetic limb, applying pressure and wrapping ace bandages. I'm being told these children and teachers will be spurting blood, screaming, writhing, and dying. I'm given pointers about how not to store the tourniquets together because the Velcro will get entangled, but not to put them in individual plastic bags either because when your hands are slippery with blood, you can't get it open and in the moment you'll use your mouth and get blood in your mouth.

I'm a f'ing custodian learning how to perform combat mass casualty triage to children without morphine. I'm learning the difference between what a 9mm entry and exit wound looks like compared to the complete annihilation of what an AR15 or AK can do. This is what our country has accepted as the new normal.

After Sandy Hook, nothing happened, and these shootings keep on happening, and the people who are infatuated with guns and weapons of war would rather I be trained as a Vietnam style medic, than to create a society where I can just wax floors and fix broken desks. I'm sickened, I'm rocked to my core. This is unacceptable and it's wrong. #ThisIsAmerica"

Seriously, America. Is this really how we want to live? Is this what "the land of the free" looks like? Because it sure as hell doesn't feel like freedom when we have custodians and school secretaries practicing treating gunshot wounds on schoolchildren.

RELATED: The American Psychological Association says bigotry and gun laws are to blame for mass shootings, not 'mental illness'

As an interesting side note, Hurt added a comment to his post explaining how his Christian faith actually influences his decision not to own a gun for self-protection. It's a refreshing perspective that often gets lost in the shuffle of America's tendency to place people into two distinct ideologies, and a reminder that one political wing does not carry the keys to Christianity. He wrote:

"The only thing I would like to add is that my belief system is based in Christianity. It's the foundation that guides me to never own a gun for the use of hurting or killing another living thing. I respect hunters, there is a problem with feral hogs rooting up farmers fields, coyotes harming livestock, deer overpopulation etc. I've enjoyed shooting paper targets and bottles off of fenceposts before and it's fun to use a bolt action .22 with a 4x scope to work on aim. But my beliefs are from the teachings of Jesus Christ who clearly said, the old law was an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, but it is replaced with a new law which is to love your neighbor. Jesus specifically said if someone takes your coat from you, give him also your shirt, so I clearly don't need a gun to protect my possessions. Let them be taken. Jesus clearly said if someone hits you in the face, turn the other cheek, and then he backed it up with his actions. He had the power of a billion nuclear warheads in his pinky finger alone and did not return harm to the Roman soldiers who beat him, or put a crown of thorns on his head, nailed him to a cross, or stabbed his side with a spear. I am called to be Christ-like as a Christian, and I don't think he would be packing heat if he were present in human form today. So I won't either. Americans are so caught up with wearing Christianity as a badge of honor, but I don't see his teachings a lot of times in their works. Instead we amplify the old law He replaced and say a bullet for an eye, a bullet for a tooth."

Well said, Mr. Hurt. When we place more value on guns than on children's lives, we are a society that has completely lost its way.

Mozilla
True
Firefox

When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

Keep Reading Show less

Here we are, six months into the coronavirus pandemic, and people are tired. We're tired of social distancing, wearing masks, the economic uncertainty, the constant debates and denials, all of it.

But no one is more tired than the healthcare workers on the frontline. Those whom we celebrated and hailed as heroes months ago have largely been forgotten as news cycles shift and increased illness and death become "normal." But they're still there. They're still risking themselves to save others. And they've been at it for a long time.

Mary Katherine Backstrom shared her experience as the wife of an ER doctor in Florida, explaining the impact this pandemic is having on the people treating its victims and reminding us that healthcare workers are still showing up, despite all of the obstacles that make their jobs harder.

Keep Reading Show less
Mozilla
True
Firefox

When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

Keep Reading Show less

Kids say the darnedest things and, if you're a parent, you know that can make for some embarrassing situations. Every parent has had a moment when their child has said something unintentionally inappropriate to a stranger and they prayed they wouldn't take it the wrong way.

Cassie, the mother of 4-year-old Camryn, had one of the those moments when her child yelled, "Black lives matter" to a Black woman at a Colorado Home Depot.

But the awkward interaction quickly turned sweet when the Black woman, Sherri Gonzales, appreciated the comment and thanked the young girl.

Keep Reading Show less