Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Run, Hide, Fight?

With the two recent mass shootings (Aurora, Milwaukee) grabbing America's attention, the Mayor's Office in Houston decided to make public their PSA about an active shooter event (created prior to the recent shootings). It is titled, "Run. Hide. Fight. Surviving an active shooter event." If you haven't seen it yet, I give it to you here. It's six minutes, give it a watch.

The first thing you will probably see is that it seems irrelevant when put in the context of Aurora or Milwaukee, but if you look past that you can see that it is still applicable, if not exactly realistic.

However my main issue with it; that which is the most thorny to my oh so delicate sensibilities, is the order of their steps. I just can't comprehend how telling people to Run and/or Hide before even considering Fighting is smart. Without getting into every single possible scenario (which the general public can not realistically prepare for) I will argue that Fight should always be the first, not last, thought.

Let me define the variables I am using for my argument.

1) An active shooter(s) against a numerically superior group of random public.
2) Random public is not armed, nor significantly organized.
3) You as the individual for which this is aimed are not at this time directly being engaged by the shooter(s)

Situation: A shooter enters area A and starts shooting. You hear/see the gunfire and must react. This PSA would have you think that by Running or Hiding, you are saving your life and that is what is most important. I disagree. I think you should first assess your ability to Fight.

If you Run, you may save your life, but you do nothing to stop the event.

If you Hide you are once again doing nothing to stop the event.

If you Fight, you can make a difference. You can end it. You can save lives.

Fight is the only option which allows for the possibility of ending the event. Isn't that the end goal? Once the shooter is down, it stops being an active event and triage on victims can begin.

Now, before you jump down my throat and give me all sorts of reasons why I am wrong, let me reiterate my thought: Fight should be the first thing assessed. During your assessment you may find that Fighting is not a valid or reasonable solution to your situation, so you then would move on to Run or Hide in the same way that they would have you considering Fighting after you have considered Running or Hiding.

The simple reordering of these words, in my mind, makes a world of difference. You stop being just another panicking, delirious victim to embracing the part of evolution that is responsible for humanity being on top of the food chain.

Consider this: If everyone in the Aurora theater would've thought at first to charge the shooter as opposed to run or hide, do you think he would've been able to shoot almost 100 people? If there had been more of a Fight mentality on all four planes on September 11th, as opposed to just the one, how different would the world be today?

The sheep and wolves seem to reproduce at much greater rates than do the sheepdogs. For the survival of the herd, the mentality of the sheep must evolve and a PSA reinforcing flight before fight is exactly counter to that evolution.

Have you ever heard of a wolf attacking a group of sheepdogs?

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