Thursday, June 16, 2016

What You Need To Know: Active Shooter

I don’t know how to put this. It’s a hard thing to be powerless. It’s sad to live in a world where security is so fragile. One thing that helps is to be realistic. We will never stop radicals, criminals, and nut jobs from killing people. It is a grim reality. We can’t stop it. Gun laws won’t stop them. Being armed won’t stop them. Having security checkpoints and armed guards won’t stop them. When something like Orlando, or San Bernardino, or 9-11, or Columbine, happens we feel helpless and so we flail about looking for a way to stop it. It cannot be stopped. Evil and mental instability will always be with us. But, the good news is, we can be better prepared and react better when it does happen.
Laws are not deterrents. Laws only affect the law abiding. If someone wants to kill or steal or commit terror they will. Now I’m not knocking our law enforcement (LE). They are the best in the world and they have often stopped crime and terrorist acts. The problem is, they cannot be everywhere and catch everything. We have to take matters into our own hands. In Israel they have been dealing with this for many years. They arm their citizens, train their citizens, and provide armed security everywhere. They actually built a fence for security. All we do in this country is fight over everything and security is always on the back burner. And so we have problems like Orlando.
What can you do? What would make you and your family safe and secure? This morning I got in my truck, fastened my seatbelt and drove to work. My truck has an airbag. I got to work and walked by the fire extinguisher in the hall and the sprinklers overhead. Why do we not give a second thought to being protected from fire or car accident? Because we do all we can to be prepared for it. We have some training also for it. Fire drills, driver’s education, fire extinguisher training. The best thing for someone who is not trained to do in an active shooter situation is run away. But most will freeze instead. I carry a gun. But I know that many people will not ever carry a gun. We’ve had shootings in schools and this has prompted training. So has active shooters in the workplace. I have active shooter training every year and we do active shooter exercises often. But there are other things that can be done. Every citizen should have some type of active shooter training. For those that do not, they more than likely freeze and become a victim. Being taught to have situational awareness would be a good start. Trust but verify. I believe some active shooter training would have saved lives in Orlando. Being taught that if you do not have a gun doesn’t mean you are disarmed is also important. This is one thing that so many people think. You can fight and win against an armed attacker. Especially if you are close and they have a rifle. It doesn’t take a lot of specialized training. You don’t have to be a martial arts master. Hollywood and TV have taught us a lot of falsehoods concerning guns and fighting.
If you are not interested in guns or carrying a gun that is fine. But violence to stop violence is really the only way. You can’t talk someone down from this kind of attack. You have to react with an explosiveness equal to the shock of the attack. I wasn’t at the Orlando nightclub and don’t know anyone who was. But if it’s a crowded nightclub I would guess that there were plenty of people near the entrance where the shooter first walked in with the gun. They probably reacted by fleeing because they had not been trained and did not know any better. But fleeing only gives the shooter more time and space to shoot people. Had one of the people rushed the shooter, who was probably arms-length distance away, then perhaps only three people would have died instead of 50. I know that is not what we are looking for. We want to prevent the event from happening at all. I don’t believe that is possible 100% of the time.
The American public has been often referred to as “sheeple”. Sometimes it is meant as a derogatory word but I think it is just a lack of leadership in this country. We know this is a problem yet we try to “stop” the shooter by trying to disarm him or by targeting him for investigation before he does anything. Sometimes this doesn’t work. We need to train our people until most citizens know the information like they know a fire drill and fastening their seatbelts.
This training needs to be real training. The governments “Run, Hide, Fight” training is a little lacking in my opinion. It’s better than nothing though. It’s a start. Department of Homeland Security has some information out there but this is something that should be pushed and as mandatory as we can handle. I know you can’t make people get trained, but if all schools, and all businesses would do this training, it would finally get out there. There are so many more people who die in a vehicle in this country than will ever die in an active shooter event. Yet every high school in the United States has driver’s education. This can and should be done. The U.S. people have more power than any terrorist or thug think they have. Just because someone cowers or freezes in the face of danger does not mean they are a cowardly. It means they’re not trained. You can’t be expected to go beyond the level of your training. That makes training so very important.

Americans are such a fickle bunch. We watch violent cartoons, gory slasher flicks, and countless TV shows dealing with death and mayhem, then when we come upon real violence we shrink.
I was driving home from a church assignment in a town about 50 miles away. I came over a hill and saw a mini-van a ways off the side of the road sitting on its side. There were about 4 or 5 cars that had pulled over to see if they could help. I figured a 5th car would not really be any good so I drove slowly by. As I looked in the mirror I saw a crowd of people about 50 feet away from the wrecked vehicle huddled on the shoulder of the road. Something told me to turn around and go back. This I did. I got out of my car and grabbed my first aid kit and walked up to the crowd and asked what was going on. They looked at me as if it was obvious, which it was, and mumbled “accident”. I looked at the crowd of about 8 people and asked if someone had called 911. They stared at me. I pointed at a guy with his cell phone in his hands and said “You! Call 911!” I looked at another guy and said “Go over to that mile marker and get the number for me!” They both complied. I said to this big Tongan guy, “Come with me!” He went with me to the car that was smoking a little. He helped me climb on the car and open the door. There was a woman in the passenger seat kind of hanging from her seatbelt. Her husband was in the driver seat in his seatbelt but he gashed his head pretty good and was in and out. I asked the woman her name and she told me Naomi. She was lucid. I asked if there was anyone else in the van and she said no. I got the man to talk and he was fairly lucid. I handed him a surgical pad and told him to put it on his wound. We felt we needed to get them out so my Tongan friend got up there and we got them out. I know what you EMT’s out there are thinking, “You shouldn’t have moved them!” Deal with it. That’s what I thought needed to happen. I didn’t like the smoking engine. I was worried about fire.
We got them out and away from the car and into shade. We treated for shock, stopped the man’s head wound from bleeding, and got water in them just as the EMT’s drove up. I told them what we did, and what I knew. I grabbed my first aid kit and got the heck out of dodge. I didn’t want to tell anyone who I was. I didn’t want to deal with any law suits or repercussions from helping.
What I learned from that incident is most Americans don’t know how to deal with violence. This was accidental violence, but still violence. Most people, even if they are jerks and mean, are not violent. Why were there several people standing around an accident scene with cell phones and no one called 911? Why did they stop, get out of their cars only to congregate on the side of the road away from the accident? Because Americans are sheltered here in the land of the free. That’s not a bad thing, I’m grateful to not live in a war torn country. But those people knew that they should do something. That’s why they stopped. But without training or experience, they basically froze.
The odds are low you’ll ever be a victim of terrorism. You’re 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease, and 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a suicidal and well-armed maniac on a rampage.
But at least the heart attack, in most cases, isn’t a complete surprise—unless you’ve been avoiding doctors your whole life—and won’t happen just because you got on the wrong train or bought a ticket for the wrong movie.
If you’re like most people, you feel unprepared. If the worst happens, and we don’t happen to carry around artillery, what do we do?

Get away
Leaving the area where the shooter is located is the best thing. I’m not saying run away and leave everyone, try to get as many to come with you as you can. I feel I’m trained in a lot of things that would help me in an active shooter scenario, but that is not my job. I am not LE. It is their job, their duty, to fight crime. I will fight if I have to. When you go, leave everything, don’t take time to grab a purse or other personal items unless they are only a reach away.

In my opinion this is sometimes the stupid way to die. The only way hiding is worth anything is if you can actually secure your hiding place. If you can have a locked door in between you and the shooter, then hide. Jumping under a desk is useless. Concealment is one thing, but concealment without security is waiting to die. There are very few things that will stop a bullet. So most things are concealment. Get out or secure your hiding place If you can. But if not, you can use what I call collective resistance. The most important tool you have to stop a shooter is the element of surprise. The last thing he expects is to be counter-attacked. A shooter thinks he has the power. He thinks that because he has a firearm, this is it, he’s going to kill everybody he wants today and then kill himself and that will be it.
If you’ve ever been involved with shooting firearms, when you shoot, you are looking down that barrel. You’re looking to align your sights with a target. Otherwise you’re not going to hit anybody. That puts you in tunnel vision, or target fixation. Use that to your advantage. There is also something that is called “the fatal funnel”. The shooter has to go through a door way, framing himself. You can further “funnel” his movement by putting things in his way and funneling him in a direction you want him to go.
Be very careful with hiding. Lockdowns can kill people. I’m not saying that lockdowns should occur, but just be aware of the situation it may put you in. Hoping the shooter doesn’t find you under a desk is silly. Hope is not a strategy.

Most active shooter don’t have a lot of weapons training. Most of them will kill themselves when confronted by resistance. First thing you want to do is obstruct his vision by turning out the lights. If he’s coming from a lit environment into a partially dark environment, it will take a few seconds for his eyes to adjust. Even if you can’t control the light in your room throw something at his eyes, it will buy you a second or two. Then take him down. Rush him in a coordinated effort. Knock the attacker to the ground. If you’re not alone he is outnumbered. Beat his head or face. Gouge his eyes with your thumbs. You must inflict injury until the threat is finished. This is not competition. There are no rules. Hit him with anything you can find. Stop the threat.

Here are some videos with some training in this area:

Run. Hide. Fight by City of Houston, TX

Surviving and active shooter – LA County Sheriff

Active Shooter Defense – Save Your OWN Life
Not a training video but you can see many ideas for fighting back.

If you’re interested in additional training I would recommend Alon Stivi DVDs. He is a security master and ex Israeli Special Forces, Sayeret Matkal. ACT is attack countermeasures training @
These are real good training videos for your family, business, hospital, or school.
When it comes to active shooter advice, don’t take my word for it. This advice is from a great website/blog
1.Get Down. Regardless of where you are at, when the bullets start flying you need to get as close to the ground as possible, as fast as possible. At this point, the shooter has momentum on his side, as well as surprise. If you have never been shot at before (and even if you have), you may initially be in shock. The best thing you can do is getting on the ground to avoid the gunfire that will be traveling at 3-6 feet above the ground.
2. Find Cover and/or Concealment. After you have hit the ground, you need to identify cover and/or concealment to move to as quickly as possible. Cover is something you can get behind that will conceal you AND stop bullets. Concealment is just that – concealment, it won’t stop bullets though. Obviously, cover is the better option of the two, but take what you can get.
3. Attempt to call 911. Once you have found cover/concealment, attempt to call 911 or send an emergency text message out. This will not be possible in all situations, but it should at least be attempted as quickly possible so that professional help will be sent to put the scumbag down.
4. Try to find a makeshift weapon. A screwdriver, a table fork, a kitchen knife, a glass wine bottle… something! Anything! It should be noted that right about the point you figure out that a wine bottle is your only defense against a gun-wielding active shooter, is when you start to wish you were carrying concealed and made it out to the range more often to train. With your temporary weapon in hand though, you at least have something to use if you find yourself in very close proximity to the shooter. It may not stop them, but it may slow them down.
5a. If you are away from shooter: Identify the best route of egress and get as many of those around you to follow you out. Get to safety, and bring as many with you as possible. Hopefully at this point the cavalry will have arrived, and medical personnel will be standing by to treat injuries. If not, start putting compression on as many open, bleeding wounds as you can.
5b. If you are close to shooter: Let everyone around you know that at the next magazine change (or moment of opportunity), they are all going to follow your lead and bum-rush the shooter. You can’t get up and run for the door, because he’ll shoot you dead. The only option is to attack. This is no guarantee that you’ll make it out of this ordeal alive; he may get you but he won’t be able to get everyone with you that is bum-rushing him. If you die, die knowing that you saved the lives of others around you.
When you attack, make sure that you go for the tackle. Take the shooter to the ground if possible. This is you and your group’s best chance for survival. If you get him to the ground, use your procured weapon or your fists/nails/whatever to incapacitate the shooter. There are no rules at this point; go for the eyes, the groin, anything that will keep this person from continuing the rampage.

Semper Paratus
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