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Samantha Bee uses children’s theater to explain how lobbyists shut down gun reform.

In eight states, schools treat active shooter situations like natural disasters. What?

Samantha Bee uses children’s theater to explain how lobbyists shut down gun reform.

Fire drills, earthquake drills, and tornado drills are common in schools around the country (and world, really). They represent response to an unpredictable, unstoppable natural disasters.

And it's good to be prepared in these types of situations. Whether that means crouching down under desks or filing out the door, it's important to have a plan in these scenarios.


Duck and cover. GIF via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.

In response to near-weekly school shootings, educators in eight states now practice another kind of emergency plan with their students: active shooter drills.

Since 2013, there have been more than 170 school shootings. While it seems like the obvious focus should be on figuring out how to prevent shooters from accessing guns in the first place, we've kind of accepted this as the new normal, a disaster as unpredictable as a fire.

Image via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.

Last night's episode of "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" gave viewers a look at these drills and the industry behind them.

Bee met with Alon Stivii, a former Israel Special Forces Op, to better understand what these drills mean. Essentially, it's a lesson in how to turn classroom items into weapons.

Stivi shows Bee how to use a pencil to stab someone. Seriously. Image via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.

It's kind of terrifying.

Do active shooter drills do anything to stop the ever-rising number of school shootings?

No, and that's why they're not enough. All but two of the eight states (Illinois and New Jersey) have especially lax gun laws with wide loopholes that allow people to sidestep background checks in certain situations. In one of the states, a bill was proposed that would have made it a felony for lawmakers to even try to enact gun control.

Family members of gun violence victims gather before the second anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

If lawmakers are serious about stopping school shootings, it's time they stand up to the gun lobby and the NRA.

Many politicians shy away from working on gun control legislation out of fear that they'll get a failing grade from the National Rifle Association and will lose their funding as a result. But maybe what they need to do is adopt the same type of bravery they're asking of kids in these situations and stand up to the organization.

If they, as a legislative body, stand up to the lobby and pass common sense reforms like background checks, waiting periods, and limits on the number of bullets a gun can fire before needing to reload, they can effectively strip the organization of its power.

"Full Frontal" demonstrated this with a brilliant children's theater production about why lawmakers are scared into voting against gun control legislation.

They point to Republicans — like New Mexico's Nate Gentry — who've stood up to the NRA as examples to follow. In 2013, Gentry pushed to close the "gun show loophole" that allowed some people to sidestep background checks. Even though the NRA was opposed to the bill, Gentry was reelected.

The dreaded F rating from the NRA! GIF via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.

School shootings are not natural disasters, and we don't need to just accept this as the new normal. It's odd that there's only one country where this happens again and again, right? Let's change that.

So while there's nothing wrong with students being prepared for the worst-case scenario when it comes to active shooter situations, we need to do more to prevent those events from even taking place.


Right? It's pretty easy to understand. GIF via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.

Watch Bee's segment on active shooter drills below.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less