Advice from the DHS: See an Active Shooter? Run and Hide

By:  Bob Adelmann
Advice from the DHS: See an Active Shooter? Run and Hide

A just-released video from the Department of Homeland Security offers many suggestions when confronted with an "active shooter," but neglects the single most effective one: resistance by armed civilians.

A four-minute instructional video just released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) entitled “Active Shooter Situation: Options for Consideration” is filled with numerous suggestions for people confronting an “active shooter,” including evacuating the area, hiding from the shooter, warning others about the danger, locking and blocking doors, and silencing cellphones. Only in the gravest extreme, however, is resistance recommended:

If you are caught out in the open and cannot conceal yourself or take cover, you might consider trying to overpower the shooter with whatever means are available.

As the narrator is intoning this, the video shows an office worker reaching into his drawer and pulling out… a pair of scissors.

The video was in production long before the shooting incident in Newtown, Connecticut, and is based on the DHS’s 2008 training manual, Active Shooter — How to Respond, which defines an “active shooter” as "an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area."

The manual warns that "because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes … individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation."

It provides “good practices for coping” with such an event, including being aware of the surrounding environment, noting the nearest exits, shutting and locking the door to the office, and "as a last resort, attempt[ing] to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her."

Ron Borsch, a 30-year law-enforcement veteran who manages the South East Area Law Enforcement (SEALE) Regional Training Academy in Bedford, Ohio, has analyzed more than 90 “active shooter” incidents that have taken place in schools, shopping malls, churches and workplaces, and he knows those shooters well: They generally act alone, they usually have more than one weapon, they seek unarmed “soft targets,” they strike without warning, they do not take hostages, and they do not negotiate. But Borsch also notes that they “typically fold quickly upon armed confrontation.” When met with resistance, 90 percent of them commit suicide on site. Borsch explains,

Click here to read the entire article and view DHS video.

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