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Active Shooter: Run, Hide, Fight

Just a couple minor points that I include in my training classes that I don't see in other places:  1.  I have not seen a case in which someone who begins shooting inside a building pursues anyone who runs outside.  We advise people to run, this fact helps reinforce it.  2. Although fighting a shooter is the last resort, there are not many tips for doing so.  For instance, people tend to use stick-like objects (from pens to broomsticks) for hitting when they are much more effective as stabbing weapons.  Even rolled magazines can be stabbed into eyes, throats, etc.  3.  Then, there is tunnel vision.  In my law enforcement days, I witnessed this phenomenon and have taken advantage of it to subdue criminals.  Too often we see brave individuals die because they attacked a shooter from the front.  But, a shooter is intent on his activities and tunnel vision reduces his peripheral vision and hearing.  Not every circumstance allows you to get behind a shooter, but if it can be arranged, he is not likely to notice your approach.  Then, apply hard objects to soft places.  Personally, I prefer live heroes to dead ones.

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michael bookman 1 year ago   Reply

I was reading that some states like Texas let thier teachers care weapons in schools . They have to be trained and signed off by the dept heads in the school system.They also have to have a permit

Jerry Schimmenti 1 year ago   Reply

I don not agree with allowing techers to carry guns in schools. I believe it send s the wrong message to our youth.

Ronald Everitt 1 year ago   Reply

I think Jerry that NRA idea for Teachers to carry is an idea to keep the peace much like this "cliff-hanger" we've found ourselves in. What turns us is that it seems is not the way of peace we most seek. 

David Houtchens 1 year ago   Reply

What message would you say is the right message? "Stand there and be a passive target," "Do nothing to protect those in you care," "We don't trust you"? These are messages we send by prohibiting teachers from carrying weapons.

By ALLOWING teachers to carry we would send the message that they are respected citizens of the United States of America, a country with a meaningful constitution and history. We would send the message that we TRUST TEACHERS to make good decisions. We would send the message that they and the students in their classrooms are at least as valuable as the money we willingly protect with firearms. We would acknowledge that having someone armed on scene is a vastly superior deterrant to having someone who can be there in a few minutes.

As an educator, emergency manager, responder, and mental health professional, I believe it is time we develop some trust in our professionals, including teachers, to make good decisions. Train them and trust them.

Not every teacher would want to be armed, but some teachers want to protect those around them and we should not stand in their way.

David Houtchens

Andy Chumbley 1 year ago   Reply

Excellent post David!!!

And.....just think of the learning possibilities of these little angels knowing that they are safe and don't have to think about some freak standing in the doorway blocking their ability to "run-and-hide!!!:

Ronald Everitt 1 year ago   Reply

Nothing like bringing back the ole rugged WEST but I think the best word of advice about gun control was when Hollywoods' Archie Bunker said something like instead of taking away every ones gun when they get on a plane they ought to issue everybody one

David Smith 1 year ago   Reply

Excellent comments! Not all teachers would accept that responsibility, but why should we deny those that would? Following the same guidelines for non-teachers in order to establish a training baseline and fundamental background check, and expanding the training on discretion to emphasize the need in the class room are also good plans.

james james 1 year ago   Reply

what do you think about only the principal and vice principal having a permit and training to carry a holstered pistol in school?  it would be concealed if they wore a jacket and a shoulder holster.

Sorrel Jakins 1 year ago   Reply

Not a good idea, because the lunatic would then know to find the principle's office and start there. That's also why having an armed policeman in every school is not optimal. You also don't want a teacher carrying a firearm if they don't know what to do with it or are likely to drop it in a firefight. Mass murderers are essentially cowards, and if they see a teacher and are not sure if they are armed or not, they will go away and attack somebody else in a gun-free zone.

Dick Wayne 1 year ago   Reply

Mr. Barr,

To your knowledge is there a written, downloadable manual on the most recent developments covering classroom and school site security available online (non-commercial) that you would personally recommend?

I live in a suburb of Houston.  Our school district does not, and will not, allow teacher or anyone to carry weapons on school grounds. The policy states: “Firearms are prohibited on all property of the ___ School District.  The prohibition includes firearms in vehicle on School property.  Licensed Peace Officers who are serving in their official capacities are the only persons excepted from this prohibition”.  The policy goes on to state: “…employees who are licensed handgun holders are prohibited from carrying a handgun, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed or on the license holder’s person, while on the premises or grounds...”.

The school practices several drills this year, one including an "armed intruder" and the school going into lock down mode. The School District has a district security person pretend to be an intruder to ensure that the District plans that are in place is working if an unknown person walks onto campus.  This year the District has added a District Police Department.  There is always at least one (if not more) District Peace Officer between the local elementary, middle school, and high school.  

Teachers were hired to teach, not shoot the "bad guys"! If people want to improve the security of our schools, then speak with your State Legislature. Teachers are some of our most underpaid and over worked professionals in this country.

Stewart McMahand 1 year ago   Reply

I think allowing teachers to carry isn't the answer but maybe an assign security company at each school.  Its nice that Houston has such a policy to prohibit firearms but when do criminals obey policy.  Lets face it, this country is broken.  I received my first rifle when I turned sixteen and it never once crossed my mind to use it to commit a crime.  The gun was for target shooting and we were taught respect for it and use it correctly.   As a kid we never had any problems with gun violence as we do today.  I think we need to start looking at the underlying causes of this increased violence.  Society as a whole has become more violent.  Some blame the violent games kids play, increased violence on TV, illegal immigration and increase influx of drugs.  Where do you start?  I for one do not condon restricting our freedoms as some politians are advocating.  If anything statistics have shown that gun ownership has reduced crime, not increased it.  The bottom line is that there is no one clear answer to stem the violence.  Society must change back to the ways in past. 

Mr. Anderton in his reply gave the web site for the Homeland Security booklet.  That's as good as I've seen.  Ideally, you want to catch these things in the planning stages, or even heading off disturbed individuals before they reach that point.  If a school wants to spend money on countering an active shooter, I would recommend a trained German shepherd.  I worked with guard dogs in the military and believe them to be much safer in a crowd situation than any sort of human intervention.

I was listening to a law officer talk about five actions that could save your life if there was a shooter in your house/building etc.

1. Don’t cower – act – run – take action.

2. Run across the line of fire. You want the shooter to have to move and constantly change aim.

3. Distract. If possible throw something at the shooter.

4. Distance – get as far away as possible.

5. Cover – get a brick wall/concrete between you and the bad guy.

Valeriy Morozov 1 year ago   Reply

Thank you for 5 steps instruction but it is only tactical.You could learn to everyone to alive in these situations but it needs to change laws.There are strategical ways scalable for US.There is no time as for ever.The army made weapon must be confiscated.It may be the first step to strict free access to weapon.

For very good information on active shooters - search for Mr. August Vernon.

Modified by Rebecca - Community Moderator (contractor) (1 year ago)

Homeland Security publishes an Active Shooter response booklet ( as has does  ASIS International ( who has a link, on their home page, to all of their resources on the subject.

irv lichtenstein 1 year ago   Reply

Few teachers or educational staff have been taught self defense techniques. What most law enforcement teaches is run or hide.  A single shooter probably wouldn't survive in an inner city school.  Assuming he got past the metal detectors and locked doors the street gangs in the high school I went to (the middle school really had more guns per student) would have gotten him in a stairway.

It is an attitude that says take care of me that has to be overcome. Schools are gun free and drug free zones so there shouldn't be either on the grounds but those pristine bedroom communities are easey targets with one story buildings and lots of doors and glass. It is also a bellief in the Old West that never was, the image of the marshal walking down the center of the street waiting for the bad guy to draw first.

This is urban combat--dirty tricks comefirst--distraction, and then shoot him in the back of the head with something big and slow, like a 45ACP hollow point.  A fast light bullet like a 223 does more internal damage but also goes through.  Fighter pilots fight that way, why shouldn't school cops? We now go after the shooter in the building, reducing his time to shoot more.  The best approach may be to use combat trained guards with suppressed, low energy weapons and really thick body armmor to engage while the teachers ket Kevlar lined doors and better locks.

Bruce Deen 1 year ago   Reply
I'm against arming teachers as a point of safety. That said here is what I would teach gun owners and school children: 1. Under NO circumstances should you try to approach a shooter. This person is willing to die to kill you and anyone else who enter his sight. 2. Find a safe place to keep as much distance from the shooter and yourself. Schools should have a plan that quickly gets their students to safety. Believe it or not, a lock on a windowless door is a great deterrent because these guys are looking for an easy target and they will most of the time move on; looking for an easier target. 3. Your best weapon is a cell phone with 911 on speed dial. Use it! 4. Clearing a building with an armed bad guy in it is among the most dangerous activities you can imagine. If you aren't specifically trained to clear an enclosed space where there are possibly victims and bad guys all mixed together, then DON'T try it as you might end up shooting the wrong person. 5. If the bad guy is determined to get to you and it looks as if they might succeed and you can't escape where you are, then prepare an ambush if at all possible. Attacking from cover increase your odds of survival expontionally. However that is a last resort action. If you can escape, then do it. 6. Once the police show-up and begin to clear the area you are in, declare yourself! Let them now who and where you are , the follow their instructions to get yourself and your students out of the building. 7. These all require action. Don't freeze and wait to die. Schools, you have sadly become a target. Make a plan and practice it! Take time to stop any bullying in your school. This seems to be a primary source of victims who use guns to resolve the problems they face at school. Hope this helps
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