I hosted a very comprehensive and needed Active Shooter Training workshop at my gym in Chicago’s West Loop this past weekend. 64 active shooter events over the past 13 years in America has led many Chicagoans to prioritize the need for training. I remember several public shooter events when I was younger; in particular, The Mc Donald’s Massacre (1984, CA), 21 people were killed and 11 were wounded, and The Columbine High School Killings (1999, CO) 13 were killed and 20 were wounded. By in large, active killers are men. However, the Winnetka, Illinois school killing in 1987 by Laurie Dann happened here in our hometown. Dann killed one boy and wounded 5 other children before she moved on to hold a family hostage. My mom kept me home from a couple days. I think her actions reflected how horrified she was by this incident. (Click here for a history of Active Shooter incidents).
The Active Shooter / Killer Training was led by Ryan Hoover, Co-Creator of Safer Campus Now. His training was featured recently on The Blaze and CNN. He has done several of these workshops in the past month and in a couple weeks he will be in Belgium offering the same training. Although the Chicago training had several law enforcement officers present, 85% of the participants were civilians. After this workshop this past weekend, I asked several people to share their take away from the training.
Take a look at their training and then read what they had to say.
Listen to what these 15 Chicagoans had to say about the value of the training.
1. "I pray that I will never need to use the skills I acquired during the training, but feel empowered knowing my students and I have a better chance of making it safely back to our families if something horrible were to happen."
School Teacher, Ashley
2. "The Active Shooter Training was incredible!! It was an ideal mix of tactical training, learning about the psychology of an active shooter and statistics on how active shooter events are typically handled. The class was great for people of all skill levels providing useable techniques for students beginner to advanced. This is the type of comprehensive training we all need in this day and age."
3. "I went through active shooter training while at the academy. We learned how to clear rooms and what to do since the first unit on scene would be the one making contact with the offender. They told us that in an active killer incident, we do not have time to wait for SWAT because more lives could be lost as a result. What I took away from the seminar was how to formulate a plan when I am off duty in a public place."
Chicago Police Officer, Charlie
4. "My most valuable take away and what really hit home was "stepping up". In an active shooter situation someone has to be first, someone has to act/react. That we as potential first responders have a responsibility to take action and have the courage to run towards the fight."
James, Biotech Sales
5. "What hit me was the difference in the mindset between a robber and an active shooter. They have a very different mindset. It's actually a lot more cut-and-dry in an active shooter scenario--it's very clear that the only way out is to put them down. In a robbery or mugging, it could be easier to just hand over the wallet or comply with the attacker. In the active shooter scenario it's very clear there's only one appropriate response. Fight back immediately!"
6. "The Hoover seminar made me realize that no matter how I feel (e.g., scared), or what other people are doing (maybe nothing), I have some tools to try and stop the shooter/killer. I might not succeed, but I'm going to try. The reason why I am going to try is because the collateral damage the shooter is seeking is huge. I feel compelled that I will minimize the casualties and increase everyone’s odds of surviving by reacting."
7. "The more people that train for it (active killer), the truly safer we will all be; the program demonstrated the power of working together to keep others safe. The training makes it so clear what fighting back could accomplish in this situation, even if you don't know or practice any martial arts. Do not assume someone else will attack the attacker – you need to be that person to begin the response. Learning how to it strategically is critical for everyone. I would take the seminar again."
8. "As a Chicago Fireman who is often a first responder to scenes – I was glad to hear that Hoover was emphasizing that in an active killer situation or scene where someone has opened fired in a public area – we (First responders like Paramedics and Fire) are held back until the scene is secured. So, honestly we have no ability to help until it is over. Over usually means large numbers of people wounded or killed. I think everyone needs to hear Hoover tell them that if you are there, you are the first responder."
9. "As an educator, the shift in focus from hiding in wait to putting up a fight by blocking the door, flipping desks, throwing things to distract, and even disarm the shooter is very empowering. This knowledge will better prepare us in case of the unimaginable. I'd like to see Ryan Hoover's training in school districts everywhere."
School Administrator, Laurie
10. "As a law enforcement officer of 25 years, Ryan Hoover's approach to the civilian response to active shooter was very easy and practical. Plan - train for the fight, Prepare -understand the tension relationship between the mind and body in a chaotic event and Initiate - unleash great violence upon him. Escape."
Police Investigator, Auerlio
11. “My main take away from the workshop is that shooters target the weak and defenseless, like young kids in school. I never really thought of it that way. Knowing that now gives me a better understanding of how a killer/shooter's mind works, and (heaven forbid) if I'm ever in that situation, I can use that knowledge to my advantage and hopefully save myself and those around me. “
12. “While I hope to never be involved in an active shooter situation, I am glad to have received training on how to fight back. People know how to run and hide, but no one ever teaches you how to fight back. This class not only provides a valuable skill set, it's really the first step in accepting the reality of the world in which we live.”
Urban Mom, Cieana
13. "I would consider myself a man that can fight or handle myself. But have never used a gun. The active shooter class is such an important class. Ryan Hoover taught how to fight back strategically and how to identify critical opening to fight back. I think that every school, nursery, office building etc should make this mandatory."
Muay Thai Teacher, Robbie
14. “As a classroom teacher, I can fully appreciate the active shooter training course in preparation for the worst case scenario. After taking the class, I have more knowledge and techniques for protecting the most vulnerable population--the young children. I was put through several stress drills designed to help physically and mentally prepare me."
School Teacher, Connie
15. "Before taking the class, I always knew I would do my best to keep my students calm and safe, but now I actually feel empowered and equipped with basic skills to act and potentially save many lives. It all really hit home as I was on my way out on Saturday. I can't think of the lives that will be lost, but I have to think of the lives I can save."
School Teacher, Adrienne
16. "I would say one of the things I took from it was that if you chose to hide, make sure you spread out and try to block the door. I think that is probably something that people without a fighting background can take and use. The other thing I realized was just how bad my active shooter protocol is at my job. They will tell you to run, hide, or fight. But they won't spend the time teaching you how to fight. "
Graphic Designer, Isaiah
17. "I was very glad to hear the ongoing focus to teach people that it is not impossible to "fight back" when the attacker has a gun. More importantly that you do not need to know Martial Arts to apply these techniques and save lives."
Martial Arts Instructor, Patty
18. "I could not be happier that I received the opportunity to take part in the active shooter class last weekend at POW. It really opened my eyes to the difference one person can make in a terrible situation. It really made me feel a lot more confident about being in a situation. (Obviously I pray that I never have to make that decision). I hope to attend more of these in the future to better perfect my skill and awareness, and I hope everyone else has the chance to learn this life saving information too. "
19. "As a teacher, Hoover emphasized that we need to do something. Through the activities and drills, Hoover put us through, I feel that I can look at and react to the situation differently and have a better chance keeping my students safe/alive."
20. "Our company has put us through active shooter training. It was nothing like the Hoover workshop at POW! It gave us no real useful information that can be used. But now I understand how to strategically be myself safer and even attack the attacker. Although hiding is part of the method- the idea that you should hide until it is over is false information. This workshop explained how to best prepare from even a position of hiding to take the attacker down."