April 24, 2009
A Few Words on Active Defense
One of the things flying around the interweb these days is the active shooter doctrine of police. That’s the idea that an active shooter requires different tactics than those requires for, say a hostage situation. Self defense can be thought of in much the same way.
Seung-Hui Cho had several hours in which to kill on his rampage through the halls of Virginia Tech. One of the main reasons was the confusion among authorities at the time. Police doctrine was one of the reasons it took so long to help those kids at Columbine over ten years ago. Those tactics dated to the shootings at the University of Texas back in 1966. Even today with the active shooter doctrine, the police may still choose to hunker down, set up a permiter and wait it out like in Binghampton, NY.
This isn’t meant to slam cops. I’d hate to be the guy on the spot and have to make that decision. Especially if you make a decision that will get more people killed. Still it comes with the job. I can’t imagine what those firefighters were thinking when they went charging into the World Trade Center on September 11, except that there were people trapped and they were sworn to go get them. It’s a selflessness you rarely see anymore. If you take the job, you have to be prepared to make those kinds of decisions.
My main point is that in a situation like that you can’t predict what a shooter is going to do, you can’t predict the cops or officials decisions. All you can do is make decisions for yourself. What are you going to do? How are you going to react? What tools do you have that will help you protect yourself and others? You can’t afford to wait for anyone to make a decision for you, you have to choose to act.