Burlington cops arranged for pretend school shooter to open fire with simulated gunshots at terrified children

A man in Burlington, Vermont, burst into a classroom and opened fire on the terrified children within. The gunfire was simulated; the man was a cop giving them a "lesson" they were not warned was coming. Faced with furious parents, Burlington Police issued only a limited and resentful apology to those "who were upset by the specific scenario and crime scene portion of the presentation."

"The roll-playing [sic] scenario only involved three department personnel simulating a robbery scenario and was not directed at any students or faculty," the statement said. Students and parents who spoke with Seven Days expressed shock and outrage, saying the demonstration played on the fears of students who have grown up amid a nationwide increase in violence at schools. …

Two students who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the class was facing the front of the room listening to a detective speak when they heard screams from behind them. Two women ran in, the students said, followed by a man wearing a ski mask who was holding a gun. Then gunshot sounds rang out.One of the students said she dove on the floor, scraping her knee. The other said she scrambled to find her phone so that she could text her mother.

People always say that this sort of thing was a "mistake," but it's not a mistake: it's what they intended to do, what they planned on doing, it went exactly as it was supposed to, and they're set on doing it again. The point was to terrify and traumatize the children under the just-so-story that this how you prepare them for the terrifying and traumatic reality of school shootings. It's authoritarian magical thinking, at best, but also a hazard for other pleasures to conceal themselves in: the sadism, the illiterate lectures, and subverting the bonds of authority and trust between parents, schools and children.

The most tragic line in the story is this:

The students realized it was fake only after noticing that the cops in the room had done nothing to stop the pretend shooter, they said.

Sit down, kids, I have bad news for you.