Friday, December 4, 2015

ACTIVE SHOOTER – Some Thoughts

It’s happened again; another active shooter incident. More people killed. More shock.

At this writing, the FBI has announced that it is investigating the San Bernardino shooting as terrorist related. Whether terrorist related, workplace violence related, or due to mental illness, to the victims, it does not matter what the motive, they are now victims.

As the number of active shooter incidents increase, the number of incidents of gun violence is declining according to this Washington Post article So in the big picture, we may be safer, but we have a growing problem with active shooter incidents.

The ultimate solution for this epidemic of active shooter incidents will only come after a national discussion of what to do. Whatever measures that are implemented, they will not eliminate the problem overnight.

In the meantime, we need to take action to protect ourselves while we live our lives. Paranoia and fear will not lead to effective action. Awareness and a determination to survive will lead to success.

People who teach personal safety teach the importance of being aware of your surroundings before they teach any physical techniques of personal defense. Awareness is important not only in the context of mass casualties or potential terrorism, it is important to the safety of our lives in preventing property crimes and the protection against assault.

Active shooter situations are proving to be very difficult to prevent, by police and by our society as a whole. An active shooter incident can occur quickly and at unpredictable times and places. Hardening certain locations with metal detectors, bullet proof glass and bullet proof doors might help for some locations, but as the recent Paris terrorist attacks have shown, there are many places that cannot be protected with extraordinary efforts.

Surviving an active shooter attack requires quick, thought out action. The modern recommendation from law enforcement agencies in these situations is to Run, Hide, Fight. This is a radical change in their thinking since the Columbine mass casualty incident of several years ago. Major corporations and governmental entities have taken to practicing what to do in the case of a mass casualty incident. Planning and practice before an incident, is key to survival.

Active shooter is as complicated as it is horrifying. Here are some resources that you can use to better understand the subject and can give you recommendations on what you can do to protect yourself.

CBS 60 Minutes:

The segment below, which aired before the San Bernardino shootings, and its associated videos give a broad overview of law enforcement’s perceptions of active shooter situations.

Active Shooter- Here is what to do in an active shooter situation:

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Homeland Security:

Safety Sessions/Art of Manliness:

Thanks to Safety Sessions ( for the following link. Despite the name of the web site, the advice that is provided is credible advice.




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