Thursday, November 20, 2008

On active shooters

There's a new study out, at least it's touted as new. It talks about the police response to an active shooter. The blogosphere has picked it up.

An active shooter is the guy who brings a gun into a school or a mall and starts shooting victims at random. After review of a number of these shootings, we've learned a few things. I have to admit that a bunch of us figured it out just after Columbine and changed our tactics. We don't wait any longer for the SWAT team. The first officer on the scene confronts the shooter. The next officers on the scene form an entry team and start clearing the building. We've learned that seconds count, and that once a shooter is confronted with an armed response, he loses focus on his victims.

Still, it's good to see that the study backs up our training and brain-storming.
Based on the Virginia Tech data, experts determined the first officer on scene should make entry immediately with an aggressive attack on the shooter.

Every minute the officer waits for back-up, another three or more people could die.
That's why the first officer on the scene confronts the shooter. If the first officer manages to take the guy down, people live.
Tactical Defense Institute in Adams County, Ohio developed one of the first "single officer response" programs in the nation.

TDI was teaching the tactic even before Virginia Tech. Now the National School Resource Officer Organization (NSRO) is using TDI instructors to teach school resource officers how to confront a gunman immediately.
I don't know when the Tactical Defense Institute developed that program, but that's what we've been trained to do for six years. Find the shooter, engage him, take his focus off the victims.

For every minute we wait for backup, people die.

Some might argue that these scenarios are a good argument for concealed carry. We can argue that. The one thing that a CCW permit holder has to realize that if you're confronting an active shooter, when the police get there you need to immediately surrender. The adrenaline is going to be pumping and if we see some guy holding a gun he's liable to get shot. We can talk about your rights afterwards, but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.

Heck, if I'm in civilian clothes in the mall and stop a shooter, when the police get there, I'm going to surrender. I'm going to go prone and let the cops handcuff me. We'll talk about my selfless defense of the public later, after everybody has calmed down.


Old NFO said...

Excellent point! I'm not sure how many people ever think about that, but you are dead on, it 'could' get you shot if you're standing there with a weapon!

Anonymous said...

It's a critical point. I wish CCW classes addressed it more forcefully. A civilian defender should be very mindful that having a gun displayed anywhere near a shooting makes them a potential target to law enforcement or other civilian defenders. Imagine an officer or civilian defender turning a corner. There's someone with a gun, and he's firing, is he the gunman? Is he firing on the gunman?

It's not sufficient rationale to ban self-defense, but it is something that requires consideration for both law enforcement and private citizens.