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Advice for the Shooter

Now is the time to teach children and young adults how to respond to an attack, or what's commonly called an "active shooter." One of the most common responses when trouble occurs is a sense of surprise. Something you've never seen or imagined before happens. This stems from a lack of education; the mind is either overwhelmed or trying to relate what's occurring to past experiences or information.

The first thing to teach your "team" is to identify trouble. Explain to them that in almost all attacks there are warning signs prior to the event. For example, when they see something on social media that could indicate future trouble they need to show it to you, or inform someone in charge and then still tell you.

During the recent attack in Oregon several students said they heard noises – in this case gunfire – but didn't know what it was. I can understand this; if you've never heard actual gunfire, especially inside a building, you might have a difficult time knowing what it is.

Numerous videos show people just standing around clueless while a shooting is taking place only a few yards away. I've seen video of someone walking into a college classroom with a "fake" gun. The majority of people didn't even notice this and the few that do see the "gunman" just stare in silence. Teach your "team" that the sound of gunfire, screaming, furniture being knocked over or anything else of that nature is a sign that something out of the ordinary is occurring. These indicators cannot be ignored.

Moving during an attack is a good thing. Avoidance and escape are tactics we teach during every class and are at the top of our list of responses. Avoidance may mean moving to another location in an orderly manner or as we say "haulin' ass" in an effort to get away to a safer location. Escape may require smashing out a window and dropping out it, even if it's on the second floor. Movement to cover is good, so you'll have to teach them the difference between cover and concealment, and that once the threat knows where you are hiding, concealment won't offer any protection.

Teach your team to fight back. Complying with the attacker and lining up waiting to be shot is not acceptable. The current response model is to lock or barricade the door/entry and then students all gather in one area. Regardless of how well the threat is prepared if two, three or more people counter attack it's difficult for the threat to continue with their plan. Teach your team about improvised weapons and the advantages of communication and teamwork, and then practice these skills.

Personal protection is an individual responsibility. This also applies to your children. Now is the time to prepare young people with the skills to deal with an attacker. If you don't feel comfortable with this responsibility find someone who can help you. Being completely unprepared with no idea of how to respond to a violent attack, regardless of age, is unacceptable. Correct this now.


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