Looks like active-shooter training is getting real at last

I’ve long maintained – and I’ve not been alone – that teaching people to run and hide in an active-shooter situation is a self-defeating proposition.  Now it seems that at least some training programs are getting the message.

Spooked by a year of high-profile rampages, hundreds of companies and organizations like NeighborWorks are racing to train their workers how to react to a shooter in their workplaces. And after decades of telling employees to lock down and shelter in place, they are teaching them to fight back if evacuating is not an option.

The idea: Work as a team to disrupt and confuse shooters, opening up a split second to take them down.

The paradigm shift in response — from passive to active — has been endorsed and promoted by the Department of Homeland Security. Last month, it recommended that federal workplaces adopt the training program “Run, Hide, Fight,” which it helped develop.

. . .

“If you can move him from offense to defense, you have changed the outcome of the event,” said Greg Crane, a former SWAT officer whose company, the ALICE Training Institute, taught workers at NeighborWorks as well as at Facebook and Apple. “He’s thinking about what you are doing to him, not what he’s doing to you. Mentally, he’s going through a whole different process.”

. . .

For many people, the idea of confronting a mass shooter is new and totally startling. But Lanier and security professionals say they are pushing that response for a couple of reasons. For one, it works. An FBI study of active shooter events from 2000 to 2013 found that 13 percent of the incidents were stopped “after unarmed citizens safely and successfully restrained the shooter.” The other reason: With most shooting rampages ending before police arrive, what other option is there?

“If you’re passive in the face of extreme violence,” Crane said, “you’re going to get hurt.”

There’s more at the link.

I still believe that the most appropriate response to armed aggression is armed defense;  but if that’s not possible, due to political correctness, corporate policies or any other factor, defense remains essential.  The average human running speed is about 15 mph, but a bullet from an average handgun moves at plus-or-minus 700 mph, and one from an AR-15 rifle moves at over 2,000 mph.  You can’t outrun them, so you might as well fight back at the person shooting them!

As the late, great Jeff Cooper pointed out:  “The will to survive is not as important as the will to prevail… the answer to criminal aggression is retaliation“, and, on another occasion, “The proper solution to armed robbery is a dead robber, on the scene.”  The latter applies equally well, IMHO, to any terroristic threat.



  1. We had that training at work. When they opened it up for questions / suggestions, I said "how about we eliminate the policy that employees can't carry guns"?
    Their response: well, that policy is to prevent violence
    Me: obviously, it is totally effective, since you are asking for suggestions on how to deal with an active shooter.
    Them: blank stare as their world view implodes upon the altar of cognitive dissonance.
    Coworkers: laughter.
    Me: smug look.


    I've so far had to delete two 'spam' comments promoting the training offered by companies in this field.

    I will not tolerate spam on this blog. Any and all advertising-disguised-as-a-comment will be deleted.

  3. These nuts have a mental script of how things will go. They see themselves as predators. They plan to have everything their own way until they punch their own ticket when the cops show up.

    If victims fight back, they kick their way into the shooter's OODA loop and short circuit everything. That will give them a split second to press home an attack… not a great amount of time, but it can be enough to change the trajectory of the situation.

    The one thing we know DOESN'T work is sitting there and waiting to be murdered. The murderers who do these things aren't going to suddenly discover their humanity and surrender. Won't happen. The only thing that can save lives is resistance. Any resistance beats none. Still, I'd personally rather have a firearm at my disposal. If I have to, I'll use a knife, chair, computer, book, even my bare hands if that's all I have. But guns are the most effective way to stop a threat quickly.

  4. I also mentioned employees should be armed and was labeled an insider threat. I was told I needed a mental evaluation before I could return to work. THIS WAS AT DoD. Only the people who are paid to be armed are allowed to be armed.

    The "cower in place" philosophy is very much alive here at the Pentagon, even for uniformed military officers.

  5. The Potter county (TX) sheriff's office offered a class. Apparently it filled up within 5 min of their office opening the next day, so there are at least 6 more classes scheduled, plus the Amarillo police are offering classes, and more are being done at private request for churches and businesses.

    I'd say people are getting serious about preparation and have a distinct sense of trouble brewing.


  6. We have done training at job #2, refresher training will take place next month. Gun unfriendly place but it is changing rapidly.


  7. I know of a private school where the plan was shelter-in-place. Last time I heard they went through training, they were told otherwise: run, or do anything–rush the shooter, even. Definitely not stay in place.

  8. Hi Peter, I commented with links to the video produced by the City of Houston, and by the institute at Texas State University. Neither of those is "a company that provides this sort of training" but maybe it looked like it from the links?

    The institute at TSU is leading the country in rethinking the response to an active shooter, and it's beginning to trickle out. For instance, locally they are now suggesting that EMS volunteers follow the police responders in, instead of waiting for the scene to be 'secured' sometimes hours later. Whole lotta kids can die while they're waiting, so that is a welcome change.

    The biggest problem with the current 'lock down' doctrine is that it plays right into the hands of terrorists in an attack like at Beslan*. One of the newer things is the "Run" part, where people are encouraged to get away, and take others with them. Deny the murderers their targets and their hostages. This is CRITICAL if the attackers are terrorists.

    I'll leave the links out of this comment, but the youtube was worth watching. If nothing else, it has a technique for securing a door that I'd never seen before.


    *"The Beslan school siege started on 1 September 2004, lasted three days, involved the capture of over 1,100 people as hostages, and ended with the death of at least 385 people"

  9. My solution? Teach everyone to swarm the bastard as soon as he shows up. You huddle up and hide, and the shooter is going to just have a crapload of fun, walking from classroom to classroom, or office to office to find all the little clots of targets.

    On the other hand, if everyone mobs the bastard and swarms him, no amount of firepower is going to save his ass from the mob. Not even if he shows up with friends…

    If I were running a school security program, I'd have guys dressed up in the bite suits we use in dog training, and make them randomly show up at recess. Teach the kids to swarm the "bad guy with the gun", and watch what happens. I don't care who the hell you are, being at the bottom of a pile of thirty or so biting, clawing, screaming six year-olds is gonna put a hell of a cramp in your style. Condition the kids to attack, and see what happens. I guarantee you that the first time someone sees the film of one of these guys reduced to the thin red paste that a mob attack brings, the interest in mass shooting violence is going to drop measurably.

    Yes, it's a totally different paradigm. But, I think it would work. The freak at Sandy Point would have been able to hit maybe six, seven kids before the rest got to him, and there's no way even Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to be doing any shooting with six or seven panicked, scared kids hanging on to each of his arms and legs, biting and screaming bloody murder. That's with six year-olds. If the swarm were adults? Hoo-boy… You ain't gonna like what happens to the shooter.

    Seriously. Even armed to the teeth with military weapons, I would not wade into a crowd of unarmed people that had no other choice but to swarm my ass and deal with me. You'd be like the victims in a zombie movie, torn to shreds in moments. The only difference between a mob in a riot and a crowd of mass shooting victims is motivation and reaction–Teach the average person to respond to a shooter like he's someone stupid enough to wade into a mass of zombies, and you're going to see a lot fewer of these incidents happen.

    Which, of course, would likely lead to a bunch more Charles Whitman "Sniper in the tower" events, but, still… Mob the bastard. He's only going to get a few of you, and then he's yours.

  10. A couple years ago the major retail company that I was working for (I had to agree to various non-disclosures about training, so rather than set myself up to be sued I'm not going to say their name, but last I checked they were in every state of the lower 48 and were well known for their former mail order catalog) had a new employee training course on how to deal with active shooters that was basically exactly whats being described now.

    Run if you can

    Hide if you can't run

    And if you can't hide, or if your hiding place is found, grab SOMETHING to use as a weapon and pig-pile the shooter

    I was surprised, not what I'd expected to be told to do by my employer.

    Now, this week (literally) my current employer (another major retailer known for their bright, almost blaze colored, aprons) sent out a very similar training on active shooter situations. I will say that the new class isn't quite as well worded as the one I saw before. But the basic concept is there. Its definitely an improvement over the "appease them and pray they won't shoot you" that used to be standard for such employers. Course, I still could get fired for carrying a pocket knife at work……

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