March 14th, 2009 04:06 PM
"Act to survive gunman on a spree"
Found this at OCDO. Very informative.
Act to survive gunman on a spree
By Jacob Hancock
Published: Thursday, March 12, 2009 10:27 a.m. MDT
News of a 17-year-old student storming his Germany high school and killing 15 serves as a solemn reminder of the peril students everywhere still face in the classroom.
Experts say the danger from the increasing number of shooting attacks is so chaotic, that even before the first responding officer arrives, a person can take several actions to increase their odds of survival.
If you're ever found in such a situation, law enforcement officials say there are steps you can take to help you live through an event such as the one Derek O'Dell almost didn't survive.
Moments after O'Dell heard popping sounds down the hall, a gunman stepped inside his college German class at Virginia Tech, shot him and fired a barrage of 9mm slugs through most of his classmates.
In the 10 years leading up to the Virginia Tech massacre, 42 gunmen across the United States gunned down 210 students and faculty during school, killing 78, according to data compiled by the Deseret News.
And since the 2007 VT massacre, seven gunmen have shot 79 students and faculty at school, killing 43.
Obvious gang-related shootings were not included in the data, which is specifically intended to follow active-gunmen-type shooters.
Dave Grossman, a West Point professor and founder of Killology science, coined the "active" shooter neologism in the late 90s to distinguish modern killers, who actively and indiscriminately aim for the most possible bloodshed without concern for themselves, from the deal-striking, hostage-taking oriented type in the past who typically killed for gain.
"These killers are on a spree, out to kill as many people as possible, and 'take no prisoners' could well be their motto," Grossman said.
The chances of meeting a gunman may be low but a student is 17.6 times more likely to die from a bullet at school than by a fire, according to a comparison of U.S Fire Administration statistics.
In perspective, school shooters kill more students each year than 93,500 school fires do in 17 years.
International codes, U.S. and state laws closely regulate fire safety; Utah elementary schools are supposed to drill monthly, high schools bimonthly.
But because laws do not mandate school officials to practice gunmen scenarios, besides perhaps a broad statement saying they must "drill for other emergencies" once a year, faculty and students are largely left to voluntarily or self-prepare for such a circumstance.
Law enforcement interviews, analysis from past gunmen behavior, and a ballistics test conducted by the Deseret News, BYU police and the Utah County Sheriffs Office, all reveal advice for someone in danger at each level of a an "active" threat: from hearing the ominous pops, to escaping, to barricading and finally to a face-to-face melee.
First, believe it
Before you can take a physical step from danger, though, authorities say you should make a mental one: Come to terms with the reality that a shooting is entirely possible today — right now.
Those who haven't already ingested that bitter pill will likely psychologically "mis-frame the event as something more familiar — such as firecrackers, a prank, or the backfire of a car," noted Dallas Drake, principal researcher at Homicide Prevention Research. It is this unprepared group of initial unbelievers who will surely break the next rule of survival: Do not investigate.
Dying to know
Curiosity has repeatedly proven to draw people toward abnormal sounds. Unsuspecting folks often saunter closer to danger, peering around corners, probing for answers.
Virginia Tech professor Kevin Granata saved 20 students by heroically funneling them into his locked office from their more-vulnerable classroom after he heard popping sounds.
But he just "couldn't wait around," students later told the Washington Post. He left the office, ventured toward the shots and was killed.
Distance, then cover
It may seem commonsensical for experts to suggest bolting to an exit, but too many in their panic automatically spring for close corners, nooks and crannies. Officials overwhelmingly stress distance as your No. 1 concern.
"You can't get far enough," said Richard Morman, Ohio State University police chief.
"Make an exit, break a window. Just go."
Fifty-two Columbine High students didn't. They had nine minutes to escape the second-floor library after initially hearing "popping sounds" outside, according to Jefferson County, Colo., sheriff's reports, but they obeyed a teacher's order to "get down" and to "stay on the floor," as recorded in a 911 call. Students crouched defenselessly under wide-open tables in the school's library and remained there for seven and a half minutes while two active gunmen blasted beneath their shoddy shields, killing 10 and injuring 12 before moving on.
In most cases, there's an available exit — even if you have to make one and it's framed by freshly broken glass, 12 feet above ground.
Doors: lock or block
Authorities know, however, that gaining distance or reaching outside can be out of reach no matter your Rambo-strength or MacGyver-mind, especially for students on higher floors. So, without an exit, find one of two types of doors: either one you can lock or one you can barricade.
Since students rarely have the means to lock doors, they'll likely need to barricade, which is only practically possible by retreating to a room with an inward swinging door. Only inward opening doors have effectively been barricaded in past incidents with stacked furniture, body weight or wedged shoe soles. All have been reported to have saved lives during U.S. shootings.
Your chances of landing behind one of these more-protective doors are greater if you lunge into offices, lounges or smaller classrooms at the sound of gunshots.
That's because, according to international building fire codes adopted by every U.S. school, large rooms — 50-person-capacity or more — are fitted with outward swinging doors, according to Warren Jones a longtime university architect in Utah. The task of keeping an outward swinging door shut with a tough, white-knuckle grip on a smooth knob is awkward and ineffective.
A 76-year-old Virginia Tech instructor understood the importance of barricading. He kept the gunman out by bravely propping himself against his inward swinging door. He eventually died from a few door-penetrating slugs, but his actions kept the gunman at bay and saved every one of his students, except for one.
Just down the hall, however, students left their door unchallenged. The gunman, 23, entered the classroom two times shooting 21 of his 25 frightened targets. By the time the gunman wandered back to the classroom to fire a third volley of shots at the few still surviving, he was stopped. O'Dell shut and wedged his shoes against the door and saved his peers. Door-penetrating bullets missed.
Take charge, not cover
When you can't run, escape or take shelter behind an inward swinging door, you must be ready for when the doorknob rolls and clanks the mechanical sound of entry.
"At that very moment, that's when you have little choice but to take action," said BYU Police Lt. Arnold Lemmon, who has spent 28 years protecting students. "I wouldn't have suggested that years ago, but it's no longer hostage situations where you can just comply with their demands and live."
Lemmon and other officials know that contrary to many students' and teachers' first instinct, just passively dodging bullets behind desks when a gunman enters is unwise — and has proven deadly. In fact, using desks hardly helps, according to several field ballistic tests conducted by police officials and the Deseret News.
One of the very weakest bullets, a regular .22 long-rifle caliber, tore through two different kinds of new BYU-donated school desks at 42 feet away — a shuddering fact when considering the average classroom depth is only between 26 and 30 feet. What may be more alarming, gunmen don't commonly use the weakest bullets. Deseret News data shows they overwhelmingly wield 9mm or similar caliber ammunition during their shooting sprees that are packed with 320 percent more lead and hit with 270 percent more energy than the average .22 caliber bullet.
The next most common weapon of choice is the powerful, easy-to-aim 12-gauge shotgun, which again, when tested, gave further evidence for students not to depend on a ¾-inch-thick, composite-wood desk top for much protection. A common 12-gauge round fired at 40 feet blasted through the desk's surface leaving a jagged 3-inch hole in the laminate-covered desktop.
Unsettling facts like these, coupled with such malicious and indiscriminate shooters as have been witnessed, are reasons why most officials say they have moved them from suggestions of passivity to more a modern and assertive view: "You'll need to become more aggressive than you ever thought possible," states the Center for Personal Protection & Safety, a Washington-based violence research think tank, in a survival training video. The center, staffed with former U.S. Department of Defense and FBI officials, added: "Throwing things, yelling, using improvised weapons can all be effective in this situation."
The center instructs students and faculty to take charge against an active gunman by turning off the lights, spreading out (because shooters frequently aim at groups) and to quietly discuss a synchronized attack — queued at the gunman's entrance. Then, solemnly, the center suggests, "Do the best you can."
"But," the center then warns, "total commitment and absolute resolve are critical."
Ralph Waldo Emerson succinctly penned this same notion about challenging a much stronger foe when he wrote, "If you strike at a king, you must kill him."
Active shooters won't stop to negotiate, forgive your charge or give second chances. So, if he does enter, security professionals agree: strike with several and strike with strength.
Indecision or hesitation during your attack adds to your danger.
"At the least, (students) should remember the 'three outs,' " Lemmon said in finality.
"Get out, hide out or take out."
"Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18
Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
Paramedics With Guns Scare People!
March 14th, 2009 04:31 PM
Too many people simply can't accept that sometimes your only choice is a few dead people or a LOT of dead people. They keep searching for that elusive third option where "everybody comes out okay."
"The flock sleep peaceably in their pasture at night because Sheepdogs stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
March 14th, 2009 04:59 PM
"The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."
March 14th, 2009 05:24 PM
The most important one I believe.
Originally Posted by paramedic70002
Get rid of that It can't happen here / It can't happen to me outlook and develop one from the You never know if today is gonna be the day school of thought.
If you are on your toes, in condition Yellow (aware of your surroundings and what is happening in them), you won't be taken by surprise. People in condition White (totally unaware), rarely survive an attack.
An armed populace are called citizens.
An unarmed populace are called subjects.
March 14th, 2009 06:13 PM
The problem is the sheeple mind-set......
There was a story that came out a few months after the Va Tech shooting, that told of a drill performed by a college's security & police.
One of the security personnel came into a classroom, in civilian cloths & unannounced. There was no prior warning of a 'test' (the intelligence of this 'test' is for another post...), He came in an held the professor hostage with a weapon.....What did the unaware, ill-prepared students do?.....They sat there & cowered & PUT UP NO DEFENSE OF ANY KIND!
Keep in mind, this was very soon after Va Tech & these students should have done something, rather than just sit there waiting to die!
Even after the VT, where it was proven that the police will NOT get there in time, these young adults just waited to be slaughtered. They may not have had equal arms to defend themselves, but they has desks, chair, books, laptops & who knows how many other improvised weapons, not to mention they outnumbered the 'BG'.......but they did nothing!
The only way to get people to help themselves, is their own realization that NO ONE ELSE WILL HELP THEM!...sadly the only advice they are given by the faculty & even LEOs is to 'call 911' or 'be a good witness' & even worse advice like 'give the BG what he wants....'...........
Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.-Seneca
"If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. If I have a gun, what do I have to be paranoid about?" -Clint Smith
"An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." -Jeff Cooper
March 14th, 2009 06:32 PM
Took them this long to get to that conclusion? They leave students dis-armed to do what? Perhaps I can find a pencil to stab him with??? College classrooms especially have few usable objects for such circumstances. We need armed citizens
"Get out, hide out or take out."
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March 15th, 2009 12:58 AM
Keep in mind here that the major contributors of this article are campus police from Utah, a state where state law actually forbids a [public] college or university from prohibiting lawful concealed carry on campus yet, no mention by any of them about the most effective method of dealing face to face with an active shooter, having a concealed weapon of your own.
I think these drills might be dangerous for the hostage taker, especially if there are any armed students in the classroom, who didn't know it was just a drill.
Originally Posted by goawayfarm
Probably the best tactic would be the one adopted by the passengers of one of the airplanes on 9/11; thinking that you're going to die anyway, everyone attack the gunmen at once.
An armed populace are called citizens.
An unarmed populace are called subjects.
March 15th, 2009 06:57 AM
In a potentially 'near death' situation...this might be the best bet. OMO
Originally Posted by KenInColo
The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.
Certified Glock Armorer
NRA Life Member[/B]
March 15th, 2009 07:29 AM
Good read and good posts/comments.
"Believing it" and taking action, wether evade/escape, hide/barricade, or attack the attacker IS what has to happen.
Wonder how many decades will pass before this is adopted as "recommended action"?
"Just getting a concealed carry permit means you haven't commited a crime yet. CCP holders commit crimes." Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, quoted on Fox & Friends, 8 Jul, 2008
(Sometimes) "a fight avioded is a fight won." ... claude clay
March 15th, 2009 10:09 AM
Yep In the ti8me 30 people rush you your only gonna get off about a dozen rounds,and not very well aimed,gunman will panic etc. and then blow his brains out with his own gun and call it a suicide
Originally Posted by retsupt99
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .
March 15th, 2009 02:30 PM
good post. I think this topic should be revisited more often with follow up. The sheep will not do anything but wait to be rescued...
Aim Low, don't be Disappointed, and Reach your Goals.
March 15th, 2009 02:42 PM
I am forwarding to our SRO's
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
March 15th, 2009 03:03 PM
Great post, thank you.
March 15th, 2009 04:18 PM
this is one of the best news-style-defense-firearms articles I have ever seen printed... thanks for posting
I agree with nearly everything. The only thing I see missing is a discussion of concealed carry or other legal weapons that your average person can carry.
Experience has shown that these types of events only end when a good guy arrives on the scene with a gun. The seem to end very quickly after that. Having a pistol in the hands of the victims makes for a very quick response...
March 15th, 2009 04:47 PM
In workplace violence programs, I stress having a plan before-rehearse and play what if-PLAN on throwing a chair through a window or you may not think of it under stress. PLAN on having to jump a floor or so.
Stress does BAD things to creative thinking. Plan what you will use to prop a door (wooden wedges are cheap, shoe soles sound great). Don't wait until it happens. Plan an exit to the safest place, not just another kill zone. Will that old fold-down fire escape work? What is cover? Is there any furniture in you office that might slow or stop a bullet? Would it work better if it was flipped on it's side? Do you have a "safe room?" Can one be made from say, a janitor's storage? No weapons policy? If you don't have a weapon, what becomes a weapon? What makes a club? A knife? Will you lead the charge if it comes down to rushing the attacker?
You can't turn sheep into tigers, but I'd like to think maybe you can make them realize they can if they need to. Hopelessness, a lack of an idea except to take cover and be shot, is the first thing you have to kill.
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