Monday, November 9, 2015

Lessons From Fort Hood

As we get closer to Veteran’s Day I’ve been thinking about Fort Hood and the two tragedies that happened there. I think it is so sad that these events keep happening on military bases. That is something that should be addressed and the powers that be must stop being so politically correct and let trained, competent military members and others are allowed to defend themselves.
I work on a federal installation and we have active shooter exercises all the time. The defense that is taught is run, hide, fight. I’m surprised they even use the word fight. Fight with what? Chairs and books. Great, I look forward to that event. I can throw a chair and then get shot.
There are some things we can learn from Fort Hood though. This is a review of those lessons. There are some very detailed accounts of what happened there and we can learn from them. Whether you are a cop (LE), soldier, or citizen, think about how you would respond in an event like this.
“Inside a nearby medical processing building, investigators found six empty magazines and 146 spent shell casings amid the blood and bodies. An additional 68 casings and three empty magazines were recovered in a grassy area where Hasan stalked fleeing soldiers.”
That was a lot of bullets! The average is not that many rounds fired before the cowards kill themselves or run. What does this tell you about your own load out?
(See blog How comfortable is your ammo load-out? (How much ammo do you carry? 3/2/2014)
“Todd said he ran up, kicked the man’s weapon away and flipped him on his belly to handcuff him. Reaching into Hasan’s pants pockets, Todd said, he found a formidable arsenal: six loaded magazines for Hasan’s semiautomatic, as well as a loaded, unused revolver and a cellphone.”
Don’t assume that a bad guy only has one gun. Approaching a downed person who isn’t clearly out of the fight is a dangerous act. Be careful and always think about his backup guns. Depending on your job (ie. LE) having your own back up weapon might not be a bad idea.
“Munley said she couldn’t get a clear shot at the gunman at first, because so many soldiers were running behind him. “I did not want any friendly fire,” she said.”
Think about this from the perspective of both a responder (how do I take an angle to get the shooter, but no one else) and from the perspective of a witness or victim…get OUT of the way!
“Shots slammed into a rain gutter above Munley, sending shrapnel into one of her hands. She could see the gunman closing in, she recalled, so she rose to take a standing shooting stance”
Have you ever trained with one hand or with your non-dominant hand? Have you ever practiced one-handed immediate action drills for malfunctions? These are considerations because anything can happen in a gun fight.
“Munley said her Beretta 9 mm handgun jammed. She frantically tried to unjam her gun, she said, and “the shooter comes and kicks my weapon out of my hands.”
Guns jam all the time in gunfights. This is a bad position to be in. Know how to reflexively clear pistol malfunctions. Better yet, carry a backup gun and transition to it!
“Her Beretta skittered about three feet. She crawled toward it. “I notice he’s struggling or having some sort of problem with his weapon,” Munley testified. “He begins to walk in the other direction.”
Fortunately, the bad guy’s gun can jam too. He had a backup gun, but didn’t transition to it. That fact alone saved Officer Munley’s life.
In an event like this it would also be smart to think about any explosives he might be carrying…either command-detonated or set on a timer. Again, be cautious on your approach!
“Richter said he sprinted out as Todd handcuffed the wounded major. He grabbed the major’s pistol, thinking he might need it if there was a second gunman. The major, a medical administrator, said the gun was jammed and its barrel was so hot from repeated firing that he burned his fingers.”
This is called battlefield pickup. If you can get a better gun (pistol to rifle) or any gun if you’re not armed do so. For every gun you control, that’s one less gun being used on you or anyone else. Know a variety of weapons. Could you clear a malfunction or load a FN 5.7mm pistol? This is an unusual gun that is not very common. Get a little experience with several guns. There are certain guns that are very common. You should know how to operate these weapons. AR and AK variants are common. Glocks and some revolvers would be common.
Know that if you choose to pick up a shooters weapon that you are at risk of being mistaken for a shooter. As soon as the threat is over drop the weapon and make sure law enforcement can see your hands.
There are only a handful of people who can say they have been in an actual active shooter incident. Each incident is unique even though there are some similarities.
I am quoting a study here. I know I’ve ranted against studies, polls, and surveys, and I stand by that rant. If a “study” only looks at facts, what happened, and the facts are not subject to interpretation, then I consider them. Statistics are pretty cold and calculated but they don’t have emotion and agendas attached.
For instance. From 2000 to 2010 there were only 84 active shooter incidents. That is based on the FBI’s criteria of at least 4 people being killed. That’s what they call a mass shooting. Out of those 84, before the police arrived 21 shooters committed suicide. 13 committed suicide after the police arrived. 16 Shooters were stopped by victims and 24 by police.
I think it’s interesting that out of these 84 incidents the shooter was stopped by a gun 20 times and committed suicide 34 times. So in 54 incidents out of 84, the killer gets shot by himself, police, or someone else. More than half.
Anyway, it seems that stopping an active shooter doesn’t take much. You point a gun at him and he either kills himself or lets you shoot. There’s very little running away or giving up. Fort Hood can teach us some valuable lessons. I wish that the DOD would learn from it, but sadly, they are more interested in politics than their people.
You can learn though. The lessons are there.
Semper Paratus
Check 6