I am a product of the Baby Boomer crowd. Like most other Americans, I was taught and trained since the 1st grade, that the way to deal with any emergency was to DUCK & COVER. Probably most of you have had this same experience. I never questioned it as a child. I thought the adults knew what they were talking about. They were all WRONG.
America has raised a population of COWARDS.
We teach and train everyone that the OSTRICH protocol is the way to deal with fear. We teach our children to DUCK & COVER if anything scary happens. We train adults to go into LOCK DOWN if an armed intruder comes into the building.
Business Owners, College Deans and school Principals teach everyone to hide under the desk and wait their turn for execution. At this time, almost all Americans have been trained this way since birth. Why does it surprise anyone that is how they respond during an Active Shooter incident?
In some other countries they teach and preach a protocol of Hyper-Aggression against such attacks. I am going to call this the SHEEPDOG method. I will refer to the American protocol as the SHEEP method. Let’s break these down and look at some aspects of each one.
Becoming the victim seems to be the goal
No aggressive action is to be taken, even if your life is threatened
Victims must not fight back
Victims must HIDE and be quiet and wait your turn for execution
Victims must not make the killer MAD
Victims must run away if possible
Survival and defense of those on the scene is the goal
EVERYONE in the space is TRAINED and knows what to do
EVERYONE knows that in order to survive, they must act together
EVERYONE understands that Aggression beats surrender
ATTACKING the Killer beats hiding every time
The mindset is that the only victim will be the KILLER
That being said, let’s look at the outcome of a couple of common Active Shooter situations and see how they might play out with either protocol.
Scenario # 1 in a SCHOOL- A deranged stranger enters a high school and immediately starts shooting everyone in sight. The first person murdered is the School Resource Officer in the front office. He is the only armed person in the building. The WOLF is on the prowl for blood. Hearing the gun shots the teachers lock the doors to classrooms and hide inside. They herd the children under desks and tell them to be quiet. The Wolf approaches each door and shoots out the small window, reaches in and unlocks the door. The moment he enters he shoots the teacher and most of the kids. He then proceeds to the next classroom and the next. He hears the police entering the building and shoots himself in the head, ending the carnage.
Scenario # 2 in an Office building- A mentally unstable former employee enters his previous workplace heavily armed with a sawed off shotgun, handgun and a hunting knife. He immediately shoots the unarmed security Officer in the front lobby. The sound of the gunfire initiates an Emergency Action Plan the company has in place. The fire alarm is pulled. The building empties. Hundreds of calls pour into 911. The Killer roams the now mostly empty space looking for more victims. He finds a door to a small conference room unlocked and tries to push it open. The terrified employees have barricaded the door with furniture and filing cabinets. He is able to push his way partially inside. As he does, one employee grabs his gun hand and jerks him to the floor. The others in the room instantly attack him with chairs, lap top and pencils. He is knocked unconscious and bleeding. They disarm him, restrain him and wait for the police. The ordeal is over for them.
A major training organization in the USA teaches a few simple defensive terms. They are;
Evacuate the building if safe to do so
Call out to 911
Hide out if escape is not possible
TAKE OUT the attacker as a last resort if you are trapped. Use whatever is at hand as weapons to defend yourself or others.
Weapons of Defense
Since we now live in a most non permissive society where guns and other weapons are prohibited, they have mostly become SELF DEFENSE FREE ZONES. Whatever you end up fighting with is going to be tools of opportunity or improvised. Let’s look at some. Most of these can be found at most schools and offices.
Box cutters, as in 9/11
Coat/hat racks (used as clubs)
Chairs (impact weapons)
Lap top computers (impact weapon)
Wire coat hangers (choking) and also used to LOCK DOWN the room
Books (corners used as impact weapons) also thrown as a distraction
Belts and clothing (used to trip, distract, choke) also used to tie doors closed
Ammonia, bleach and WASP spray (used to blind the eyes)
The list is almost endless. Look around your school or workplace and find your own. What is near you right now that you can use as a weapon? Play that game with yourself wherever you go. Say to yourselves“if I had to FIGHT right now what could I turn into a weapon”?
America has not always been like this. The first so-called Active Shooter incident in Austin, Texas was pretty much stopped in place by armed citizens. Texans saw the danger. They went and got rifles and shotguns out of their trucks and kept his head down until the cops could get up the Tower.
Where is that FIGHTING spirit now? Every week we seem to have some little weasel with a gun walk in and shoot the hell out of a bunch of folks. What would happen is everyone went after him and open a severe can of ‘whup ass’ on him? He can’t shoot all of us.
The Israelis learn from experience. We do not. After Terrorists attacked a school in Maalot, Israel, they started allowing Teachers and School Officials to carry guns to protect the kids. What do we do? We hide and wait for death. We teach our kids to do the same. I say that it is way past time that we get back some of that Pioneer spirit and FIGHT BACK whenever we are threatened. Tody Keith put it well. “We’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way”!
About the author-,Dennis Kennedy is Director of Training for the Counterterrorism Institute of America, LLC. Dennis is a 25-year veteran law enforcement Instructor and military special operations weapons NCO. He is a Utah POST certified Firearms Instructor as well as NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor He can be contacted via his company web site at www.combat-terror.com