Active Shooters/Run/Hide/ Fight/Northwestern Got It Right

My congratulations to Northwestern University for having the sense to take an intellectual approach, to at least acknowledge there are somethings that can be useful when facing the possibility of confronting an active shooter. They have produced a 15 minute video that gives potential victims at least some ideas that indeed, could mean life and death.

Although no human being can outrun a bullet there is a bounty of things that could be learned to save not only individual lives but the lives of many others. I realize in the mayhem of such an event that not a lot of folks are trained enough to react any other way but to  either Run/ Hide/ fight. Those 3 things are without question the human instinct for people who are not trained to confront such violence, as opposed to Law Enforcement Officers who are trained to run to the gunfire. The incident in Thousand Oaks California last week had some teaching moments. A horrific event in which 12 people were murdered by one lone gunman.

Lone shooters believe it or not have vulnerabilities. Weapon Identification is one of them. The shooter in thousand Oaks used one weapon a Glock 21, 45 Caliber. It normally holds 10 rounds plus one chambered. However it also adapts to a 26 round extended magazine, with one already chambered that’s 27 rounds to kill at close range. It was the magazine of choice  by the Thousand Oaks killer. There is no way once anyone saw a photo of an extended magazine in a pistol that they would not be able to recognize it. Even if on the run, this information would be invaluable to pass on to the 911 operator, who is in contact with responders. Just one more thing that could be added to the video. At some point a shooter has to be able to reload in most cases.That leaves 15 to 25 seconds when he himself is vulnerable from attack for anyone who chose “Fight.”


Several of us who spent our lives training on various Swat scenarios are convinced that the first responding officer did not know that the killer was near the front entrance when he heroically entered the Cafe to confront the shooter. He immediately was met with gunfire and was fatally wounded. Responding to such a scene in the future will most certainly trigger a training discussion as to whether the responders should use lights and sirens approaching  such a scene.

The shooter according to witnesses was aware of the first responder because of them, and took an advantageous position to meet the threat. The video should always include the importance of the shooters description, clothing, approximate height and skin color, the location of the shooters whereabouts inside the structure. The two most important descriptions are height and skin color, simply because they are they only thing that cannot be altered. Shooters have been known to change or shed clothes. This is why at those scenes you see survivors fleeing the scene with their hands up and are being closely monitored by Law enforcement.

Northwestern’s video is certainly a great idea, a teaching tool in my opinion that is long overdue. Potential victims across the Country have to be made aware there are at least somethings that can be used to at least help in some way. All the calls for gun controls and more laws ring hollow after every horrific incident. Everything that that  Thousand Oak  shooter used at that scene  was against the law. He thumbed his nose at the laws and the 6 off duty Police officers who were on the scene  inside ,obeyed the law by not being armed inside a liquor establishment while off duty.

It would be rare indeed that a person would not Blench in the face of an active shooter, survival is the most basic of all instincts but occasionally we are astounded by somebody who reacts heroically. “Hard times don’t create heroes —It is during hard times the hero is revealed.” That hero needs all the information we can offer. Northwestern University is on to something that needs the nations attention. Information can be used as a weapon. Most of the times in those horrific attacks  it’s all we will  have to fight monsters.



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