Ever hear the saying, “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight?”
Well, one Michigan university is taking that to heart and instead of bringing a knife — or a gun — to a gun fight, they’ll be bringing hockey pucks to ward off any would-be shooters.
Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan are having their police officers train school faculty to fight against armed intruders who may attempt to enter their classrooms. And one of their methods is pretty unconventional.
Campus Police Chief Mark Gordon said the training is part of the American Association of University Professors (the schools faculty union) effort to “improve classroom safety for students and faculty,” according to WDIV-TV.
“We believe that once faculty have been trained in what to do in an active shooter situation, they will be able to share that information with students to provide a more secure learning environment,” AAUP President Tom Discenna said.
In addition to the training, the university has been equipping its faculty with hockey pucks to use as a “last resort” if they ever encounter an active shooter on campus. According to Gordon, hockey pucks provide the ability to be carried in briefcases or backpacks, are not considered a weapon and will meet the goal of distracting the shooter.
The idea came from OU’s police chief, who is a former youth hockey coach, who said he was once struck in the head with a puck and remembered it “caused a fair amount of damage” to him. He thought it would be a good idea for staff and students to train with an object like that.
"It was not a well-thought-out strategy," Gordon told The Detroit News. "It was a spur-of-the-moment-thing that had merit to it and kind of caught on."
Gordon did mention there have been no studies or research done on the effectiveness of hockey pucks against a gunmen, but said it is an “adequate defense posture along with the use of chairs, staplers or anything else that has weight and can do damage.”
The training session had skeptical attendees at first but afterward their minds were surprisingly put at ease.
"My first reaction was: You are talking about facing an assault weapon and asking us to fight back with hockey pucks? It sounded silly," Garry J. Gilbert, the director of journalism at the university ,said. “Then I went through the training session, and it all made sense. None of us want to face an armed assailant. Students will look to us for leadership in a situation like that."
According to the Detroit News, 800 faculty remembers have pucks at the moment, and they’re looking to give another 1,700 to students.
This begs the question: Can a hockey puck really deter a gunmen from hurting anyone? I'd have to say, the jury is still out on this one.