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  • Writer's pictureKARISSA GAUGHAN

Code red: Desensitization is a threat

Updated: Oct 13, 2022

A code red drill. That's what schools call an active threat on campus. Students cram with their peers in a corner furthest from the door, away from windows watching teachers become their only line of defense. With an increase in school shootings, students K-12 know the significance of this drill.

We have become desensitized to tragic events, and making sure we are not normalizing them is crucial to our development. Instead of healing from trauma and honoring complex emotions, we are suppressing how we feel and avoiding dealing with it by accepting this reality.


According to ABC7, as of June 2, 2022, there were 233 mass shootings in the United States this year, killing 261 and injuring 1,010. A study by the National Library of research shows the recurrence or increased number of people affected by an event causes desensitization to its effects over time. It happens so often that we are unconsciously accepting that children are being murdered at school.

It is a natural human response to want to move past tragedy when we want to avoid dealing with it or don’t know how to. However, now instead of changing laws so it can’t happen again, they're preparing students for if and when it does.


Yes, having drills is a safety precaution, but when students start associating random code red drills with ‘there's an active shooter on campus,’ gaining an education becomes learning survival tactics. We should be able to protect children in school environments from these threats without making it normal for them to know how to barricade behind desks.


Desensitization is one of the most dangerous effects of prolonged violence. Our action tendency that arises out of emotion is inconsistent with the standards we should have in today's society.


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