This is great information that everyone should read, and follow. Brought to you from Homeland Security.
There is a lot of talk about gun control, as everyone knows. And, I will not argue the pro’s and con’s either way. What I will do is share my own perspective on a world that includes guns, my world.
Everyday I wake up and get dressed, which includes the usual choice of garments, shoes and socks, and of course, my gun. For those of you that have already read my other article, Elements of an effective self defense system, you know what I am talking about. Just as you might choose your shoes to match your outfit, or a sweater to keep you warm, my gun and how I conceal it dictates my clothing choice for the day. It just goes with the territory.
If you have ever started your day without your watch, or favorite piece of jewelry, you know what it is like to feel something is missing. Take that and multiply by 100 and you will know how it feels when you leave your gun at home. It is a terrible feeling. Being in a hurry can lead to poor decisions. Poor decisions can have dire consequences. Sometimes, our busy lives cause us to ignore important details. My mother used to say “The devil is in the details”, among other irritating but wise pieces of advice.
Convenience and security are mutually exclusive. Convenience degrades security in most cases. If you want to feel more secure about your personal safety, and the safety of your loved ones, you may have to feel inconvenienced at times. Only you can determine the correct balance between convenience and security. Carrying a gun is not always convenient, but it does provide security.
In my classes I consistently speak about the importance of situational awareness. This applies not only to our perspective of the world around us, but also of ourselves. It is too easy to become complacent, walking and talking on a cell phone, jogging with ipods, etc, etc. Subconsciously thinking “Nothing bad will happen to me“. That’s what the last victim said.
If you decide to carry a gun, your life style will change. From the way that you dress, to the way that you perceive the world around you, to how you treat others. Your awareness will reach a new level that includes a full time emphasis on safety, both inside and outside the range. Gun safety and awareness will become an integral part of your everyday life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I can’t help wondering why this incident did not get more publicity. Maybe because more people were not killed or injured? This is a perfect example of a trained individual stopping a killer from taking more lives. Thank god she was there.
If you had been at that theater that night, would you be thankful for the guard with a gun?
Active Shooter Responses
- Gabe Suarez
Author’s notes: This is an article from 2005! I thought it would be appropriate since we seem to have to be retaught the same lessons over and over.
By now everyone has read or heard about the shooting in the Tacoma (Washington) Mall. If you have not, and to keep the briefing brief: The location and motivation may be different, but the song is the same one that has been played in too many places – A psycho decided to go into the mall and kill people with his rifle. This time, a CCW carrier tried to intervene, but for a number of reasons, was not successful. So since this will probably happen again, I want to discuss the dynamics and options of such a dangerous yet likely event.
I have a theory that when a critical incident happens, the police will only coincidentally be there. Professionals don’t like to be thought of as “irrelevant” at the moment of truth, so I am often taken to task for this. The truth however, is that unless the police are targeting a bad guy, in the sense of a surveillance hit squad operation of some sort, they will only be able to respond after someone advises them the killer is in action. The likelihood of an officer “just so happening” to be at the scene is not very likely.
What is likely is that there will plenty of potential victims on scene. And perhaps at least one of the potential victims is likely to be armed. Some “professionals” advise that if you are caught in such an event, you should “duck and cover”, go fetal, and hope that the police can rescue you in time.
Stupid idea if you ask me! Why stupid? Please study the success rates of those who have followed that line of action.
In virtually all active shooter events from San Ysidro to Columbine, the killing takes place in minutes after the event begins, after which the bad guy will either kill himself, or take hostages. If you are one of the planned targets, you can pray for the cops to save you all you want, but they probably don’t even know about the event as you succumb to the bad guy’s gunfire.
So what are we to do? This has developed into quite a national debate with varying points of view as widely different as go fetal and wait, to run and save yourself, to attack the gunman with everything you have. The bottom line is of course that you should have a plan. So I will point out some things that perhaps will help you do just that.
First consideration is where you are in the fight. If you are the focus of the attacker…meaning he is specifically shooting at you or at a family member, all restrictions are off. Forget the legal situation, forget background, forget everything. If you do not react immediately, you will be shot.
Some have voiced concerns over legal repercussions if you take action. Well, all I can say is that in a fight for your life, thoughts of legal entanglements should be at the bottom of the list. Remember, if you are dead, legal stuff is moot.
I know a man who got stabbed several times and was lucky to live through an attack because he was so brow-beaten about getting sued and possibly prosecuted that he held fire on a man who was trying to stab him to death! His HK P7 remained in hand but unfired. Anyone who would rather be shot than get in trouble needs a check-up from the neck up.
If you are not the focus of the bad guy and you can egress, it may be a consideration. Specially if you do not know what is going on. I’ve been told by survivors of events like this that all they had was the sound of shots “around the corner”. If that is all you have and there is an exit there, Take It! Grab your family members…physically by the hair if you must, and drag them out. Don’t stay…leave. You don’t know what is going on. Don’t stay to fond out. If there is doubt – get out! Specially if you are unarmed as you may be in certain liberal states.
Those are the easy situations aren’t they. Being attacked specifically has an easy response – immediate and overwhelming counter attack! Hearing a fight you are not involved in and being able to get out is also easy, you get out. But what of those other situations?
Situations such as seeing “the gunman was walking backwards firing at everyone”. Situations such as perhaps hearing the sound of gun shots, but not having your family right there with you, but dispersed around the mall, shopping. The circumstances may be varied, but the end result is that you cannot morally just run away and leave those whom you are responsible for, or you choose not to leave for various personal reasons. What do you do then?
The answer may lie in how prepared you are. Most of us do not venture out of the house unarmed. Even in non-permissive environments (NPE) we are generally carrying something. So what now?
In the Tacoma incident, we read that there was a CCW armed citizen that “responded to the active shooter”. There is still a great deal of fog surrounding what actually happened, but bits and pieces are coming to us from some who were there, from some of the officers who responded, and even from the CCW shooter himself (who was seriously wounded but survived).
Napoleon once said that a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. We can learn a great deal from what went wrong here can’t we?
Here are some points for you to consider.
1). A pistol will win against a rifle IF the pistolero kills the rifleman before the rifleman sees him. Much of this has to do with tactics, but that should be part of your skill set.
2). If the pistolero fails to drop the rifleman due to an inoperative pistol, a miss, or insufficient damage caused by too few pistol rounds, the rifleman will probably kill the pistolero.
3). The surest way to stop a man in his tracks (with some permanence) is with a shot to the head delivered at close range. Some folks dislike teaching head shots. I require them.
4). Verbalizing or challenging, as in “Halt – Drop The Gun” is not a good idea. In fact, its virtual suicide in a situation like this. You cannot yell and shoot well at the same time, and yelling may alert the bad guy to your location. There is evidence that this occurred in Tacoma.
5). You verbalize and challenge ONLY when you are not certain of what is going on and then ONLY from behind solid cover (if the adversary is armed with a rifle, few things qualify as cover). If you have enough to justify shooting, then shut your trap and work the trigger.
6). There is a great deal of discussions on Defensive Shooting. Shooting in a case of this magnitude is only defensive in concept. It is pro-active and aggressive deliberate and premeditated shooting.
7). Although I like and teach point shooting (in its context), pro-active shooting like this requires traditional marksmanship. Be deliberate! Watch your front sight and press carefully and repeatedly (with your mouth shut).
8). Train with photographic targets and do force on force training. Get used to the idea that you carry your gun to potentially shoot at a human attacker. The more you get comfortable with this the easier it will be. Tommy Lee Jones’ character in the movie, The Hunted, told his students that when you can kill in your mind, the physical part is easy. He’s right.
9). Consider that under some circumstances you may have to make do with a knife. I’m not saying that you will attack a rifle man with your Spyderco at 50 yards, but that in the event that he is within arm’s reach (which was the case with several of the Tacoma hostages) your knife may be the only thing between you and being killed. So learn how to kill with your knife.
10). Last, consider that there may be a reason why God (or fate if you wish) put you, armed and trained, at that very spot and place in time, with the ability to save innocents. This is the life-giving sword (or gun in this context) that some ancient warriors discussed in their writings.
What you do is your choice of course. Perhaps its just me, but I would not be able to live with the fact that I, well-armed and well-trained, and with my family in no danger, ran away from a snot nosed punk whom I could have easily dropped in his tracks, and who subsequently was free to kill innocent people due to my inaction.
Invariably, what I’ve written here will be controversial. Oh, well. I believe strongly in it. Sadly the time will come again when some psycho decides to pull an active shooter routine, or perhaps it will be an American Jihadist that didn’t go to school on bomb making day. Everything will play out as before. Innocents will die. Special Weapon Teams will deploy. And the News Vultures will come out to drool over the corpses as the politicians call for more intrusions on our rights. Unless, one of you is there, of course. Then the future is yours to write.
As the owner of this blog, and of a small business that provides safety and firearms training, I feel a responsibility to address the recent shooting in Connecticut. Just like many other people, it has taken me a few days to try and comprehend this horrific incident.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends and victims of this terrible crime. I can only begin to imagine their overwhelming grief.
“There’s going to be no joy in school,” said 17-year-old senior P.J. Hickey. “It really doesn’t feel like Christmas anymore.”
The question remains, “How can we assure the safety of our children when they are at school”? Training of teachers and school staff, who are legally and morally responsible for the safety of our children, should be the primary focus. Education is the key. Is that so surprising? Just as we provide education for subjects such as math, reading and writing, we need to consider the ‘real life skills’ that need to be learned by all. Teachers and staff need to be trained in scenarios that include dealing with an armed criminal. We have long accepted the idea that fire drills and earthquake drills are an integral part of any school system. Our children’s safety is also threatened by individuals. Telling our kids, “Don’t talk to strangers”, is not enough. Those days are gone forever…
Very little is publicly known regarding the survival skills taught to teachers and school staff when it comes to shootings. One article stated the teacher and children were directed to hide in the closet. Those of us who train for armed self defense know the difference between concealment and cover. Other weapons such as knives, baseball bats, or just plain bullying seem to be less talked about in the media, but still involve the basic survival skills. Today’s teachers are tasked with not only educating our children in the basic reading, writing and arithmetic but now they have to be prepared to defend their students lives. This requires not only training for the teachers, but consideration of their current compensation. Elementary school age children must rely on the adults in their lives to provide them with appropriate direction, especially in times of crisis. Those adults better be adequately trained and prepared.
We all need to ask ourselves, “Are we adequately prepared, and trained, to deal with crisis”? Having a SAFETY PLAN is the first step to being adequately prepared. If someone kicks in your door at midnight, what would you do? What would your children do? How would you secure their safety? How would you escape an armed criminal? If you had to defend your life, or the life of your loved ones, what are you prepared to do? And, then there is the aftermath. All physical confrontations result in injury, regardless of the outcome. If you don’t have a plan, you are a sitting duck. And so are your children.
Everyone needs a plan, even the teachers. Get training, make a plan, and practice. You can bet the criminal has a plan.
SOME LESSONS YOU ONLY LEARN ONCE…
Joseph V. Loughrey, 44, of Sharpsville, was getting into the truck when the 9 mm handgun discharged, wounding Craig Allen Loughrey in the chest, according to state police. The boy died at the scene at Twigs Reloading Den in East Lackawannock Township, 60 miles north of Pittsburgh.
Investigators said Loughrey told them he didn’t realize there was a bullet still in the chamber. “This happens all too often where people think the gun was empty,” Lt. Eric Hermick told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Loughrey was trying to sell two guns at the store – one a scope rifle and the other, the handgun, state police said. The owners told Loughrey the store doesn’t buy guns so Loughrey and his son returned to the truck with them. Loughrey put the boy in the passenger seat and loaded the rifle into the truck, state police said. He was attempting to get inside and reached to put the handgun in the center storage console when it fired, they said.
Loughrey was questioned by state police, who said he was cooperative and distraught. The shooting is being investigated as an accident, although Loughrey could face charges, including manslaughter and negligence, Hermick told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“I know that little kid was everything to him,” Mark McLaughlin of Fredonia, a friend and co-worker of Loughrey’s at Superior Well Services in Fredonia, told the Tribune-Review.
Messages left for the coroner’s office and at a listing in Loughrey’s name were not immediately returned.
Don’t turn your personal safety net into a hammock lulling you into the silent killing caused by complacency.
Complacency in its definition means: marked by self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.
Hidden in this short phrasing lies a master key, giving you an advantage against those who wish to harm you. Think about the phrase “unawareness of actual dangers”. What is your level of situational awareness? Had you ever considered the possibility of being victimized while traveling on vacation or business, by just simply staying in a hotel? What precautions or measures have you taken to help ensure your own person safety?
If these questions quicken that pace of your heart with fearful realization….then good! Fear is the father of all courage and the mother of all safety. This isn’t about being paranoid. It’s about being awake and aware.
From the beginning we have always taught personal safety and awareness first, firearms second. The idea: Don’t be a victim by making yourself vulnerable. The gun is your last resort. The story ran by NBC is just one example of the false sense of security we live with. We no longer live in a time when it’s safe to leave the doors unlocked……or even a time when a lock is an effective enough deterrent to ward off unwanted intruders.
So now the question arises, “What can I do?” Do not let stories like this evoke a sense of powerlessness for that is just as useless and harmful as complacency. In the case of the hotel security breach, there are a few simple things you can do to make yourself more secure, some of which was mentioned in the video. But let’s think beyond that, for robbery merely chips the iceberg to what could be a much more horrifying scenario.
I travel through out the year for work, sometimes to foreign countries and I’m not able to carry a gun while on business. At first this was alarming to me. Then I reverted to other protection devices, pepper spray, knives etc. Although I advocate some form of personal protection device over nothing, I honestly believe in the adage, “Alert today, Alive tomorrow”. An agile mind and well thought out plan give me the greatest advantage against any opposition. So here is a list of things I do while traveling to help ensure my safety:
• Use the swinging metal security lock. You’d be surprised how few people use this important security feature. Even that handy device in the video criminals use to break into your room in the video can’t get past that.
• Make sure your door is shut and locked – even on quick trips to the ice machine. Don’t prop the thing open, not for a second. It doesn’t take long for an observant thief to grab your wallet or mobile gear and run.
• Take the duplicate key if you are traveling alone. Anyone could walk to the counter and ask for the second key. In some hotels, they might even get it; thieves can be very clever and use a plausible scenario to convince a clerk they need the key. This is a very good tip for solo women travelers, especially.
• Use your peephole when someone knocks. You never have to open your door if you are not comfortable doing so. Trust your intuition! If it doesn’t feel right call the front desk, ask for security.
• Never let a stranger trap you in your room. Just because someone says they are room service or maintenance, you STILL don’t have to let them in. Think first. Did you actually call for room service? Call the front desk and ask if they sent maintenance for any reason. Or, for example, if a stranger wants to tell you your car lights are on, just thank them through the doorway. Don’t worry about seeming rude. You have no obligation to them.
• Lock up your valuables or take them with you. Yes, it’s an inconvenience but well worth not having to replace them later.
• Ask the hotel about security measures. Ask about what kind of locks they use, whether or not they are aware of this issue we saw at most major hotel chains in the video. You have a right to know what level of security you can expect while staying there, especially when staying at a more secure location (a hotel that has upgraded locks) isn’t an option.
• Choose a hotel with enclosed hallways and stairways. Hotels with open or exterior hallways and stairways are an invitation to criminals walking by looking for an easy target.
• Know the location of all the exits in and around your room. Aside from an intruder, what if there’s a fire? How will you vacate the premises safely?
My mom, Janice Talaroc, the founder of women and guns, used to quiz me in restaurants once we sat down, “Where is the nearest exit? What would you do if someone came in the front and you needed to escape?” I thought she was paranoid…crazy…but I was careless. My experiences have been some hard ones but I’ve found that this idealism expands far outside the restaurant and is useful in all aspects of my life today. Have a Plan. Everyone’s personal protection plan will be different to suit their needs whether it’s in their home, their car, on the bus, at work or in a hotel room. Make the plan, write it down and communicate to those in your life who will be affected by it such as family members. Remember the criminal always has a plan and they plan with intent, intent to harm you, to rob, to do whatever they can get away with. They aren’t expecting you to have a plan for them.
Complacency, the mother of incompetence, the ancestor of regret……….
This is an excerpt from personal defense solutions by Dr. Bruce Elmer
Let’s examine what Ayoob teaches about the circumstances that justify the use of deadly force:
As civilians our only obligation and right is to keep ourselves and our families from being unlawfully injured or killed. We may only use equal force in response to the application of force against us. If we are not innocent of provoking a confrontation, or we are not being immediately threatened with deadly force, we cannot use deadly force in response. This is unlike the obligation of a sworn police officer who may use necessary force to fulfill his or her duties, such as seeking out and arresting malefactors.
Ayoob teaches a formula for determining the circumstances under which we would be justified in employing deadly force. The formula is both simple and yet complex. Deadly force is justified when you are confronted with “an immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm” to either yourself or other innocents, whose innocence and situation you are totally certain about. You can’t intervene with deadly force in a situation you come upon without knowing what’s really happening. Don’t make assumptions based on what seems to be happening. The danger must be clear and present, immediate and unavoidable. This formula is based on English Common Law and Dutch/Roman Law, and it applies in all fifty states. It is determined by three criteria which can be remembered by the acronym A.O.J. Think “Administration Of Justice”. The situation must meet all three criteria.
A = Ability. The person deemed to be a threat must possess the ability or power to kill or maim.
O = Opportunity. The person deemed to be a threat must be capable of immediately employing his power to kill or maim.
J = Jeopardy. This means that the person deemed to be a threat must be acting in such a manner that a reasonable and prudent person would conclude beyond doubt that his intent is to kill or cripple.
All of the above are judged by the doctrine of the “reasonable man”. That is, what would a reasonable and prudent person have done in that situation knowing what the defendant knew at the time? After the fact information is inadmissible into the equation. Your defense of self-defense is affirmative if you knew all of the above at the time you employed deadly force.