A University’s Plan to Fight Active Shooters: Branded Hockey Pucks
No matter the struggles of our beloved Philadelphia Flyers, the Promo Marketing crew will always melt over all things hockey. That compulsion combined with our enthusiasm for promotional products in an interesting way yesterday, as we learned that Oakland University, as what officials have dubbed a “last resort” against a possible active shooter situation, is enlisting branded hockey pucks in the quest to curtail carnage.
Official statement from Oakland University. pic.twitter.com/UQVfo9RBaL
— Oakland University (@oaklandu) November 28, 2018
The Michigan-based school serves great portions of the Metro Detroit area, and since Detroit—owing to the success of its NHL constituent, the Red Wings—has trademarked “Hockeytown” as one of its nicknames, one could say the decision makes solid sense based solely on pairing a product and a region regarded for exceptional use of said good. However, we know that far more than appreciation for the sport registers as the motivation behind the use of the pucks.
According to the ALICE Training Institute, most U.S. government agencies accept the definition of an active shooter as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” This year has proven a horrendous one for mass shooting incidents, so the university, having consulted with local law enforcement figures, believes that pucks, which weigh between five-and-a-half and six ounces, could work to deter a weapon-wielding assailant.
One could engage in skepticism over the thought of trying to suppress a shooter by hurling pucks at him/her, but we must also remember that the school has cited their use as a last resort should a situation develop, with running and hiding as the leading suggestions. According to a Nov. 27 account by The Detroit News, the puck purchases thus far total 2,500, with more than two-thirds set to go to students and the rest already in the possession of their professors. Five months after a training session on surviving an active shooter situation made mention of the objects as deterrents, the rubber discs have the backing of the school’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors, whose logo appears on the pucks.
Students & Faculty @OaklandU started an all university fund drive account to pay for installation of classroom door locks that can be locked from inside class. #RunHideFight This puck can be thrown at an intruder if forced to fight. Can be used as doorstop too for our old doors. pic.twitter.com/6Ume92PwWp
— Dr. Ken Mitton (@kpmitton) November 21, 2018
We are all for branding, but it is indeed sad that the union even had to consider placing its identifier on projectiles that are better suited for intimidating goalies than they are for trying to scare those bent on taking lives. However, it is commendable that the association has made apparent that it will not stand for needless aggression against any classroom-situated individuals. To enhance its stance on the sanctity of safety, the union is also confident that the success of the defense strategy can engender funds for the purchase of interior door locks for classrooms, as the pucks all bear unique identification numbers through which recipients can make donations to that cause.
With $10,000 accumulated thus far from the association and the student congress, that campaign could come to include thousands more dollars through the learners’ and instructors’ generosity, and one could posit that when the pucks run out, which association president Tom Discenna expects for them to do in the not-too-distant future, there could exist another branding opportunity for an entity if registrants buy more pucks or other items to use as attack deterrents.
We dearly hope that no such active shooter situation ever occurs at Oakland University or any other educational setting. But if law enforcement officials are leaning toward suggesting that—even as a last resort—those in such matters consider fighting back, branded pucks and other projectiles could be chances for organizations to raise awareness and show support for safe classrooms and institutions. Yes, the thought of using ordinary objects to defend against actual weapons sounds frightening, but in the fight against violence, it seems, any suggestion can prove viable.