Human Behavior in Extreme Situations, by Robert H. Koff, Ph.D., and Kathryn Hanna, is a nonfiction expository on what the title implies. It begins by laying out specific examples in history where people have survived (or not survived) in extreme situations created by perpetrators of violence. It touches on the hot-button issue of gun violence in schools, and how the rate of school shootings has increased exponentially since the Columbine shooting. The authors go on to explain how these individuals in history (Shackleton, the victims of Ariel Castro, etc.) have survived due to extensive leadership skills, certain training, and the support of others.
The book then goes on to outline possible solutions or training that people might be able to complete that would make survival more likely in these situations. It’s unfortunate that the burden of responsibility falls on the victims of violence, but there is something to be said for being prepared in these situations. Perhaps it’s unwise to think we can control gun violence if we don’t first at least control the guns, or look at what causes mass shootings – but this book is educational and provides steps schools can take to increase survival. It’s a short read that at times seems kind of like a term paper – but it’s definitely worth the read. There is a quiz in the appendix at the end that allows educators or those who work in schools to evaluate how prepared they are in the event that there is a school shooting. Even if you aren’t an educator, it’s worth picking up, as it gives some interesting information about how people survive in really extreme situations and backs it up with widely different examples (each providing different proof of the human spirit and how it prevails). Find time to read it; it’s certainly interesting!
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