Imagine sprinting in front of a team of storming federal police, the sound of gunshots echoing in the darkened hallway, the air thick with the smell of gunpowder, and bloody “victims” screaming and running the other way. I found myself in exactly that place, after being invited to witness and write about an active shooter exercise at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling in Southeast Washington, DC.
The “incident” gave me a fleeting taste of the fear and disorientation invoked by a genuine situation. The scenario was so realistic that I kept feeling the urge to offer assistance to the people who were role playing the shooter’s victims.
As if a ghost in the scene, I stood to the side and watched the federal police subdue the man who played the role of shooter, and observed how they determined whether there was a second shooter as they secured the building. Afterward, I saw the EMTs arrive and take one of the “bloody” victims away by ambulance.
This was a fascinating and exciting experience, a glimpse into one of the innumerable ways that the US military constantly works to keep our bases safe. The article I wrote about it has been published on the front page of the Joint Base Journal. Read it online and see some of the action shots here: Police Neutralize Active Shooter During Exercise Scenario.