A Florida sheriff is warning residents that running and hiding might not be enough in a mass shooting or terrorist attack. Sometimes, citizens will need to fight back.
“You have to fight and you have to be armed and you have to be prepared,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd explained to WFTS ABC.
“If you’re not afraid of a gun, get one,” Judd continued. “Become proficient. Get a concealed firearms license and carry it. And if you need to shoot somebody, shoot ‘em a lot.”
Sheriff Judd’s comments echo those made earlier this month by Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, another Florida law enforcement officer, who advised citizens not to run or hide if they or others are in danger.
“A team of citizens working together to attack the suspect back, have much greater chance of survival than allowing the suspect to operate unimpeded,” Ivey said in a six-minute video that was shared widely on Facebook.
Both Florida sheriffs are part of a larger, ongoing discussion within the law enforcement and self-defense community about the best way to respond to a mass shooting or terrorist attack.
Conventional wisdom has thus far advised those involved in a mass shooting to get away from the scene if at all possible. If getting away poses too great a risk, potential victims have been advised to hide from the shooter by barricading doors and turning off lights.
Only when running and hiding become too dangerous have experts advised citizens to fight back. While Sheriffs Judd and Ivey’s advice does not necessarily depart from that sequence, they emphasize the last option in an attempt to remind people that they need not be victims.
“You can either stand there as we’ve seen many times before and be a victim or you can fight back,” Judd said.
“The armed assailant doesn’t plan on you fighting back,” he said. “He plans on having a gun, doing all the shooting, and you’re just the sitting duck. Well, the ducks need to shoot back.”
Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of armed self-defense in an active shooter scenario.
“That’s ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous,” Polk resident, Mary Dailey told WFTS. “I’m all for your right to own a gun if you are a responsible person, but you should have to prove it,” Dailey added.
For individuals like Dailey, Ivey recommends that people arm themselves with any kind of weapon with which they feel comfortable. In his video, he recommends Tasers or items in the immediate surrounding area, such as chairs, knives, or fire extinguishers.