Can Average Citizens Really Save Lives in Active-Shooter Situations?

Commentary by Gordon King:  I just had to add my comment to this article.  Close to the end of the article is a video produced by the “Alabama Department of Homeland Security (DHS)”.  Apparently they are promoting victims to fight back.  But, first they say to run or hide.  If I found myself in this situation and I was carrying a concealed weapon, I would not run and hide.  I would fight back.  That would be my first instinct, to save peoples lives.  What confuses me about this video is that it is produced by the DHS.  The DHS which has been stock piling billions of rounds of hollow point ammunition to apparently use against American citizens.  The government is also battling to take away the guns of civilians.   So, I am a little confused about their motives.  Read the article and watch the video.   Then ask yourself, what is the reason for the DHS in producing this video?  

Here’s What Experts Found

Can Average Citizens Really Save Lives in Active Shooter Situations?

Should citizens defend themselves — or remain passive — during active shooter situations?

This is a controversial query that has been asked and revisited in light of recent mass shootings. And the question also spawned nation-wide discussion, once again, after a video being touted by law enforcement agencies across the country emerged earlier this year.

The clip, entitled, “Run. Hide. Fight,” features a reenactment of an emergency situation and tips for decisive action. Originally produced by the Houston Police Department, the video showed victims actively engaging and fighting against a fictional perpetrator.

And following the clip’s media coverage, it seems some research has emerged that does corroborate the notion that victims can help save lives by thwarting assailants. On Saturday, The New York Times published a report about this very issue, highlighting that some researchers and police, in the wake of recent mass shootings, are encouraging more active involvement from citizens.

Chuck Wexler, executive director of Police Executive Research Forum, told the outlet that there has been a paradigm shift. He said that the “don’t get involved, call 911″ advice is no longer pertinent, with “active shooter” situations requiring Americans to defend themselves — and the lives of others.

The transformation hasn’t only impacted citizen involvement. Police, too, are using more hard-hitting tactics. In an effort to save additional lives, rather than waiting for backup, first responders now go in and attempt to diffuse dangerous situations. Considering the death tolls seen in recent mass shootings, there simply isn’t time to wait for SWAT teams and other backup forces to arrive at crime scenes.

Here’s how the Times frames recent research that backs both citizen involvement and swifter police action:

Research on mass shootings over the last decade has bolstered the idea that people at the scene of an attack have a better chance of survival if they take an active stance rather than waiting to be rescued by the police, who in many cases cannot get there fast enough to prevent the loss of life.

In an analysis of 84 such shooting cases in the United States from 2000 to 2010, for example, researchers at Texas State University found that the average time it took for the police to respond was three minutes.

“But you see that about half the attacks are over before the police get there, even when they arrive quickly,” said J. Pete Blair, director for research of the university’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center and an author of the research, which is set to be published in a book this year.

In the absence of a police presence, how victims responded often made the difference between life and death, Dr. Blair said.

Researchers studied 16 attacks and came to some intriguing findings. Of the 16, in 13 instances, civilians were key in either subduing the attacker or shooting the assailant (in three of the cases, the assailant was shot). In other incidents, the Times reports that the gunman was delayed until authorities arrived.

Here’s the aforementioned video encouraging people to fight back, entitled, “Run. Hide. Fight”:

Perhaps the most striking part of the research findings came when Dr. Blair and his associates studied survival rates at Virginia Tech. While in two classrooms students and teachers tried to hide or play dead after the killer entered the room, most of these individuals were killed.

But in a third classroom where professor and Holocaust survivor Liviu Librescu told students to jump from the second story window as he held the door to keep the shooter out, those in the room fared much better. The professor perished, but many survived. And in yet another classroom where a desk was placed against the door, every person lived.

“The take-home message is that you’re not helpless and the actions you take matter,” Dr. Blair told the Times. “You can help yourself and certainly buy time for the police to get there.”

So, it seems conventional wisdom has changed, with experts telling average citizens to learn the skills needed to defend themselves in the event of an emergency situation. Read the entire Times report here.

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3 thoughts on “Can Average Citizens Really Save Lives in Active-Shooter Situations?

  1. They are baiting citizens into the confrontation which will trigger all the measures they have lined up to implement full control.

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