Photo: Don Juan Moore (Getty)

Of all the ways the federal government has chosen to respond (or not) to mass shootings in the United States, perhaps none is quite as disheartening as a new program to be sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, which will essentially train high schoolers to become battlefield triage medics in the case of “mass casualty events.” 

The $1.8 million grant, first reported on by The Young Turks, seeks to “address trauma training for the high school-age communities,” and will provide “free to the public, lifesaving trauma training to high school age students for mass casualty events.”

What sort of “mass casualty events” would necessitate this sort of shock trauma training? DHS explicitly cites school shootings themselves as the primary impetus for their proposed program, in an appendix to the grant documents.

Since 2000, school shootings have occurred in 43 of 50 states, resulting in over 250 deaths to students and teachers and hundreds more injured. There have been 7 targeted shootings at schools in the first 45 days of 2018 alone. Similar to how students learn health education and driver’s education, they must learn proper bleeding control techniques using commonly available materials; including how to use their hands, dressings and tourniquets. Victims can quickly die from uncontrolled bleeding within five to 10 minutes; however, anyone at the scene can act as immediate responder and save lives if they know what to do.

Driver’s ed, sex ed, and not-letting-your-classmate-bleed-out ed. Just another day in the American education system.

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Of course, if training a new generation of battlefield medics isn’t upsetting enough, consider Audrey Larson, a 14-year-old from Connecticut who is so freaked out by the possibility of a school shooting she took it upon herself to invent a bulletproof wall to save teens from gun violence.

“It’s really scary to just think about,” Larson told Good Morning America on Monday. “That’s kind of what sparked that idea. Some of my friends were having anxiety about being at school and I don’t think that’s fair to any kid.”

Also not fair to any kid? Feeling the need to invent something that will protect classmates from bullets.

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This is America in a nutshell: Accepting the inevitability of school shootings, teens are expected to become triage specialists, or encouraged to Macgyver themselves some military-grade shielding for their schools. If only there were some other solution to school shootings.