There are a bevy of alt-right demonstrations coming up this weekend. In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, it seems like a good time to share tactics we hope you will never need: what to do in an active shooter situation.
Share with your friends and stay safe out there.
The text below
comes from “How to Counter Armed Assaults”, by Scott Stewart. This
article originally appeared at Statfor.com.
“[…] It is not just the authorities that need to respond to armed assaults. Ordinary citizens also need to learn to quickly respond to danger. Properly responding to danger actually begins well before the first shot is fired when people adopt a mindset
that recognizes the world can be a dangerous place and that they are
ultimately responsible for their own safety. Once a person understands
the possibility of being targeted and decides to adopt an appropriate level of situational awareness,
he or she will be mentally prepared to quickly realize that an attack
is happening, something security professionals refer to as attack
recognition.The earlier a person recognizes that an attack is developing, the
better chance he has to avoid it. But even once the attack has begun, a
person can still keep it from being a successful one by quickly
recognizing what is happening and getting away from the attack site by running or hiding — or fighting back if they cannot run or hide.
However, once a person has recognized that an attack is taking place,
a critical step must be taken before he can decide to run, hide or
fight: He must determine where the gunfire or threat is coming from.
Without doing so, the victim could run blindly from a position of
relative safety into danger. I certainly encourage anyone under attack
to leave the attack site and run away from the danger, but one must
first ascertain if he is in the attack site before taking action. Many
times, the source of the threat will be evident and will not take much
time to locate. But sometimes, depending on the location — whether in a
building or on the street — the sounds of gunfire can echo, and it may
take a few seconds to determine the direction it is coming from. In such
a scenario, it is prudent to quickly take cover until the direction of
the threat can be located. In some instances, there may even be more
than one gunman, which can complicate escape plans.
Fortunately, most active shooters are not well trained. They tend to
be poor marksmen who lack experience with their weapons. During the July
2012 shooting in Aurora, Colorado, James Holmes managed to kill only 12
people — despite achieving almost total tactical surprise in a fully
packed movie theater — because of a combination of poor marksmanship and
his inability to clear a jam in his rifle.
This typical lack of marksmanship implies that most people killed in
active shooter situations are shot at close range. Thus, it behooves
potential victims to move quickly to put as much distance between
themselves and the threat. Even the act of moving, especially if moving
away at an angle, makes one a much harder target for a poorly trained
marksman to hit.
(Note: you may not be able to depend on poor marksmanship at right-wing protests. Many members of groups like the Oath Keepers are immersed in gun culture and practice regularly. White supremacists carried rifles with laser sights in Charlottesville, which makes aiming much easier. Some members of the alt-right are ex-military. In any case, putting distance between you and a shooter is always good practice. – eds)
It is also important to think about and distinguish between
concealment and cover. Items that conceal, such as a bush, can hide you
from the shooter’s line of vision but will not protect you from bullets
the way a substantial tree trunk will. Likewise, in an office setting, a
typical drywall construction interior wall can provide concealment but
not cover, meaning a shooter will still be able to fire through the
walls and door. Still, if the shooter cannot see his or her target, they
will be firing blindly rather than aiming their weapon, reducing the
probability of hitting a target.
In any case, those hiding inside a room should attempt to find some
sort of additional cover, such as a filing cabinet or heavy desk. It is
always better to find cover than concealment, but even partial cover —
something that will only deflect or fragment the projectiles — is
preferable to no cover at all.
There are many examples from the recent Paris and Bamako armed
assaults of people who ran away from the scene of the attacks and
survived. In the Bamako attack there were also many people who
barricaded themselves inside their hotel rooms and hid until the
authorities could rescue them. The August 2015 incident aboard a Paris-bound train provided a good example of potential victims who were trapped aboard a train car and fought back to end an armed assault.
Some people have mocked the simplicity of run, hide, fight. But as
these cases demonstrate, all three elements of this mantra can and do