Active Shooter Neutralization.
Active shooter scenarios and mass shootings in the United States of America are not going to stop. That’s a sad but true fact.
No amount of media noise and debate is going to stop them. No amount of social media posting, memes, or Twitter fighting, is going to put an end to them. No amount or thoughts and prayers or protesting is going to actually stop this terrible phenomenon.
These sorts of attacks happen in restaurants, in offices, in shopping malls, in places of worship, at concerts, and myriad other locations including, of course, in schools where society has seen some of the most horrific and chilling mass shootings occur.
The FBI defines a “mass shooting” as “a single attack that happens in a public place and in which three or more people are killed with a firearm.” Other agencies and organizations that track data on these sorts of crimes have different statistical requirements (basically the number of people who actually die in the incident) for an attack to be considered a “mass shooting”, which can skew some of the overall data. However, there is no denying that mass shootings and active shooter incidents are at epidemic levels in the U.S.
As a society living in the era that we are living in, it’s somewhat clear that mass shootings and active shooter attacks are something we are going to have to live with. Nobody is immune. Nothing is going to change. We have to understand and accept it. What we cannot do, what we absolutely should not do, is convince ourselves and one another that it’s not going to happen to us.
Considering the circumstances in which we are living with this sort of imminent threat, the one thing we can actually do, the most important thing we can do, the one thing we absolutely must do in order to be proactive is to assume responsibility for our own safety. That means training on how to defend ourselves and others in mass shooting attacks. It’s as simple as that. No politician, celebrity, or influencer is going to help you, your family, or your loved ones, if you personally are caught in an active shooter scenario. You must have a plan. You must train on and review that plan. Regularly.
What's the plan?
The reality is that there is no way to train for every sort of variable that can, does, and will happen in these sorts of attacks. The most highly trained fighters, the toughest black belts, the best athletes, the most skilled soldiers, anyone could become a victim in a mass shooting. The nature of attack in a mass shooting is an ambush that instills panic and confusion, which makes victims easier targets.
It is absolutely possible for anyone to succumb to panic and confusion and to become a victim. Think about how terrible the sights, the sounds, and even the smells in these sorts of attacks could possibly be. Anyone could lose their wits and falter. Not to mention the simple fact that there is an armed gunman attacking large groups of unarmed people. The combination of fear and confusion is a weapon that aids the progress of the assault.
Realistically there is no other practical or potentially effective tactic to use in an active shooter scenario than the one Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense teaches, which is, “Run. Hide. Fight.”
If you find yourself caught in an active shooter scenario and/or you recognize that a mass shooting attack is happening, run. Get away. Put as much distance as possible between yourself and the attacker as fast as possible. Krav Maga belts don’t matter. Fighting skills don’t matter. Self-defense skills don’t matter. Pride shouldn’t be an issue. The priority should be distance as quickly as possible.
Running away from the danger zone as early as you can, and as fast as you can, will give you the greatest chance at survival. Point blank. If you aren’t there to be shot, you can’t get shot. Get to a place that is removed from the scenario entirely and call the police.
Personal opinions about the police and political arguments about the police aside, it’s their job to subdue attackers and bring them to justice. It’s not your job. Police officers are trained. They have the arms and personnel to fight back against the attacker. The police must be notified about the attack so they can respond and, hopefully, end it as quickly as possible.
The “Run” element of the “Run. Hide. Fight.” plan is the best case scenario. If you have a chance to capitalize on that, do it. Get away.
Unfortunately, running away from a mass shooting or an active shooter isn’t an option for everyone. Just the lucky ones, actually. In the event that escape routes from the danger zone or from the location in which the attack is happening are cut off, you have to find a place to hide.
Understand that when looking for a place to hide, there is a difference between “cover” and “concealment”. This USMC guide defines the difference as, “Cover is protection from the fire of hostile weapons. Concealment is protection from observation or surveillance from hostile air and ground observation, but not from hostile fire.” That basically means “cover” will stop bullets and “concealment” will protect you from being seen.
Ideally you should look for a hiding spot that provides cover, or actual physical protection from being shot by the attacker. If there is no cover possible, look for means of concealing yourself as best as possible. Relying on concealment isn’t an ideal situation. There’s greater risk in basically hoping that the attacker won’t see you. It might even mean “playing dead” like this young girl did .
However there really is no other option aside from leaving yourself as an easy, visible, target.
If you are still in hiding under cover or concealment and police arrive, announce yourself, don’t make any sudden movements, keep your hands clearly visible, and listen to their commands.
The last, and easily the most dangerous option, is to fight back against the attacker. The best chance for success in a “Fight” situation is to gang up on the attacker, set an ambush of your own, and overwhelm them.
This sort of counterattack shouldn’t be carried out head-on, unless that is completely unavoidable. If it’s possible to determine a direction or path that the attacker is taking, look for a way, or a position from which you can flank them or rush them from the side en mass. This might mean a group of people hiding inside a doorway that the attacker is going to walk through, or around the corner of a hallway the attacker is coming down.
Work the plan to make it work.
Realistically, as mentioned before, there’s just no way to predict all of the variables in an active shooter or mass shooting scenario. Simply put, the only way to make the “Run. Hide. Fight.” plan work is to be thinking about it and to train on it.
Take simple steps to be prepared. This is what situational awareness is all about. When you go to a public place, any public place, keep your eyes up. Make a conscious effort to recognize where exit routes are. Take a look at how many people are in the location or your area. Check out what those people are doing. How they are acting. Be aware of which places around you may offer cover or concealment.
It’s not paranoia to understand your environment wherever you go. The unpredictable nature of active shooter episodes makes it difficult to eliminate certain factors like “the rules of stupid” so being prepared by cataloging simple things gives you a chance to act if you need to.
If it’s possible to train on active shooter defense in your workplace or school, do it. Have escape routes in place. Have hiding places and areas that can be secured against entry already prepared. Know the routes that an attacker could take through a given space and vantage points from which they could be ambushed and counterattacked if need be. Go through the steps that might be needed in order to “Run. Hide. Fight.” on a regular basis and your level of preparedness will be exponentially increased.
Krav Maga Worldwide certified training centers around the country and around the world regularly offer seminars on things like gun defense and, in particular, active shooter mitigation. It’s one thing to understand that in the “Fight” phase of active shooter defense, ganging up on an attacker is the best option. It’s another thing to be skilled at redirecting the weapon in tow, and effectively doing damage to eliminate the threat.
Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense classes, and specialized active shooter mitigation seminars will teach you those skills. We’ll help you learn to fight back and win in the worst of situations. Ultimately there are few situations worse than a mass shooting or active shooter scenario.
Check out this page to find the Krav Maga Worldwide certified training center closest to you or give us a call at 800-572-8624 and we’ll help you. Start training with us today. Learn real self-defense skills. Get safer and stronger.