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Active-Shooter Training Could Be a Reality for More Fast-Food Workers

Because it’s not like the government will help

Waffle House The interior of a Waffle House.

In 2018, a man shot and killed four people at a Nashville Waffle House. This year, there have been (as of publishing) 255 mass shootings since the beginning of the year. In the past month, three deadly shootings have taken place in fast food restaurant. This is the air we breathe, and because of that, Business Insider reports that the fast food industry is taking more steps to handle the very real risk of an active shooter. And employees are terrified.

At the upcoming Restaurant Loss Prevention and Security Association Conference, alongside talks about #MeToo-inspired laws and combating digital fraud, there are multiple sessions about active shooters. One, “Active Shooter: Beyond, Run, Hide, Fight,” features Papa John’s International’s Director of Security, Pete McCartney, talking about how his company rolled out active shooter training. Another, “ACTIVE SHOOTER: A Case Study in Preparation and Response,” features representatives from Waffle House discussing “both the security response as well as the internal and external public relations response” to last year’s shooting. There’s also a breakout on “Preventing conflicts between guests and employees before they happen,” and a Keynote on “Dealing with Disruptive Guests.”

Given that this is a security conference, the topics are to be expected, but for those who actually work at the restaurants, it’s a scary reminder of a job risk that absolutely doesn’t have to exist. “It is a major concern for some people such as that they’re constantly evaluating people and judging people and thinking of escape routes and where’s the safest place to be,” an anonymous McDonald’s worker told BI. A worker at Starbucks said “I think people are somewhat scared and it’s just reflective of our culture, unfortunately.”

It’s depressing as hell that instead of trusting the government to do anything about mass shootings, we’re resorting to accepting the increasingly high risk that this is how we’ll die. And on top of this, the workers risking their lives are among the least compensated, with the fewest benefits. There’s no part of a Waffle House job description that implies or explicitly states that this is a job you’ll need to risk your life for — and yet that is the expectation put upon them (as well as the rest of us) rather than enacting stricter gun control.

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