I had the opportunity to watch Run Hide Fight, produced by The Daily Wire, and written and directed by Kyle Rankin. While the film isn’t overtly political, the viewer is not faced with the one-sided ideologies that are so frequent in Hollywood productions. But the film does take a critical look at the policies of schools that may make school massacres worse, the media culture of creating infamy for school killers, and law enforcement practices that should no longer be in use.
First, a note about my connection to the topic. In addition to being a Senior Fellow with Independent Women’s Forum, I am also the Executive Director of FASTER Colorado, an organization that is in its 5th year of training armed school staff. We began as an offshoot of FASTER Saves Lives in Ohio, that has been training armed school staff since the days following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. In my role with FASTER Colorado, it has been the privilege of my life to meet hundreds of school staff who have volunteered to be armed defenders on their campus, and have gone through the rigorous screening and training regimen associated with this responsibility. They are teachers, coaches, principals, superintendents, janitors, bus drivers, nurses, and lunch ladies. Heroes all.
I have also had the opportunity to meet with survivors of school shootings, parents of survivors, parents of children who didn’t make it, and members of law enforcement who have responded to school shootings. It has made for a life-changing education in a subject matter I never expected to know much about.
A movie about school shootings is a tough topic to handle well, and The Daily Wire does just that. The film lays out some elements that are common to many of the worst mass killings, such as diversions, the denial by people who are seeing the first signs that something is wrong, the way that school safety procedures can fail, and the connection to the school’s knowledge of students’ mental health problems.
The movie opens with 17-year-old Zoe Hull and her father, Todd, deer hunting. What is a very normal rite of passage in many areas of the country is portrayed as it is: the normal course of upbringing. The scenes then move to Zoe’s high school campus, set against the backdrop of ‘Senior Prank Day,’ which contributes to students, teachers, and faculty not believing that what is happening, is really happening. But Zoe, whose father is a veteran who talks openly about the war, and who herself has a survivor spirit, displays a higher level of awareness of her surroundings and takes action.
Lockdown drills, which are so prevalent in our nation’s schools, are not without controversy and may not be the best tactic in every situation. Zoe’s character fights against the drive to blindly conform with such procedures, in the face of clearly better tactics. Parents watching this film will be moved to find out about established safety protocols at their children’s school.
There is significant screen time given to two themes: the desire for school killers to be infamous, and their desire to have control over their classmates and the school staff. And the film also shows what it looks like when those desires are taken away from the killers. That is what the Zoe character does in Run Hide Fight, and that’s what needs to be done to take the oxygen away from anyone who intends to do harm to children in a school.
The killers in the film make it a point to get as much media coverage as they can, from having the students live stream what was happening inside the school, to making demands of the media to cover what they were doing. Organizations like No Notoriety and Don’t Name Them exist to push the standard in the other direction with the media and law enforcement. The killers should never be named publicly. The message should be clear that anyone committing atrocities like this will not be famous or infamous.
Another element of the film worth exploring is the presence of unarmed security and school staff who are expected to face down armed killers, with nothing to defend themselves. Given my work with FASTER Colorado, I often hear the objection that teachers (or lunch ladies, or whomever) aren’t brave enough to be armed on campus and stop someone who is killing the students. The film shows, and so many tragic school massacres have demonstrated, that school staffers are absolutely brave enough. They run toward the sound of gunfire, and so often have died shielding their students with their bodies. Armed school staff are becoming more prevalent and less controversial. Hopefully, this movie will bring more attention to the policy.
A final takeaway that every parent will understand from Run Hide Fight is the reaction of Zoe’s father when he finds out what is happening at the school. No spoilers here, but there is no parent who cannot relate.
Everyone with kids and grandkids in school should watch Run Hide Fight. If that doesn’t describe you, watch it for the action and drama. You won’t be disappointed.
When every school has plans that stop school killers, when they will do everything possible to keep their kids safe, when the killers aren’t able to implement their twisted plans, when media says they won’t make the killers infamous, then these school massacres will stop. Run Hide Fight is a story that will allow more people to understand what it might look like inside one of these horrific events, without the political spin often associated with such storytelling.
Run Hide Fight is more than just the name of the movie. If this mentality can be inculcated to everyone, we will be a safer society.