How do you respond to an active shooter? I mean really? If the shooter is active and shooting, how should you respond? Well look no further. Personal Security Expert Robert Siciliano and The Huffington Post have finally provided us with the advice we’ve all been searching for.
I have to hand it to Huffpo. I’m glad they’ve tackled this delicate topic. I’ve been looking for an authoritative opinion. I don’t like to think too much, so having a bonafide expert tell me what to do is a genuine boon. And it is nice to know that the Huffington Post cares enough about my safety that it would take the time to pen this little DIY how-to. So what’s their best advice?
Huffpo’s #1 rule: stay calm.
“The first thing you should do in a shooting crisis,” Siciliano writes, “is to remain calm, even though your head might be telling you to fight or escape.”
This is rock solid, actionable advice. I once had a friend who took me camping up in the Shenandoah Mountains. In February. Without a tent. And it was snowing. “Just think warm thoughts,” he said. Even though my body was telling me I was cold, I just thought up some warm thoughts.
It didn’t work too well. I woke up the next morning with ice on my face. My friend had abandoned me. He slept the night in the heated bathhouse. He listened to Siciliano’s next rule:
Pay attention to your surroundings. See he knew there was a bathhouse. This is more like the active shooter thing than you might think. Maintaining situational awareness is actually solid advice, though it seems a bit easy. But Siciliano has this down. Check the exits, pay attention to people…he even suggests taking note of barricades.
If something bad does happen, Siciliano suggests you run and/or hide (maybe in a bathhouse). This may seem like low hanging fruit. But this is the Huffington Post; many of the paper’s readers were unaware that you could respond to an active shooter. Siciliano suggests this strategy: “If there’s a quiet, dark room that you can lock yourself into, do so. […] Stay put until the authorities find you.” This is sage advice, unless, of course, you are hiding from the authorities.
What should you do if you can’t run, and you can’t hide? Fight, right? Of course! “If running and hiding aren’t options, you must fight: a very last resort, however,” Siciliano writes. “If possible, recruit others to join forces. Use any weapons available (chair, lamp) and fight for your life.”
Grab a chair, or a lamp. This works especially well in cozy living rooms, and restaurants. If you plan to visit crowded malls or movie theaters, the types of places devoid of lamps or where all chairs are bolted to the ground, I’d suggest carrying your own. Though most table lamps are hard to conceal, you’d be surprised how easy it is to obfuscate an old green shaded banker’s lamp. And never underestimate the stopping power of a folding camp chair.
Me, I’d much rather draw a GLOCK 19, but what do I know? I’m no expert. Siciliano is. And he’s doing the readers of the Post a service. He’s offering solid advice. I would prefer he add in something taking responsibility for your own safety and training with a more lethal weapon. Yet he’s still on point. Run. Hide. Stay calm. And when all else fails, fight. Fight with whatever you have on hand.
Siciliano begins with this statement, but I’d like to end with it: “There’s no such thing as a perfect world in which guns and bullets don’t exist.” I couldn’t agree with him more. What would the Huffington Post’s world without guns look like? We’d all be safe right?