I’m going to cover two things today that are both interrelated: the Active Shooter in Auckland last week and, related closely to that, Domestic Violence. Why? The offender in the New Zealand shooting was a convicted domestic violence perpetrator who then moved on to extreme and lethal violence against others – outside the home. You can read about it here.
Today, you will learn two things: addressing domestic violence for both males and females and what to do, and how to survive an active shooter like that. I’d like to touch first on domestic violence from my policing perspective. For those that don’t know me, I spent ten years in the New Zealand Army and three years in New Zealand Special Forces. My job was counter-terrorism and hostage rescue, and I then moved on to front-line policing here in Australia.
The Reality of Police Response
Here’s the thing that covers both those subjects: police will not likely be there in time to save you. I was a cop, my friends were cops, and my friends are still cops. If you’re lucky, they can be close by. If. Those people last week in the building and that person inside the house that was assaulted horribly by domestic violence were not failed by the police – they were failed by themselves. The police couldn’t save her at that time, and police couldn’t save those people that were shot and those shot dead by him at that time – BECAUSE THEY SIMPLY WERE NOT THERE. We all wish that we could be. I wish we lived in a place where that police response was timely enough.
And in New Zealand, the police response was fast to that shooting – the Police station is around 4 blocks from there. And yet, people still were harmed and killed. That’s a fact. It’s a sad fact.
The Cycle of Domestic Violence
Let’s return to domestic violence. There is financial abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, and physical abuse. They are all the same – abuse. And it runs in a cycle: Honeymoon Phase, Tension- Building Phase, Explosion Phase, and Reconciliation Phase. The Explosion Phase is where it is upon you to act… no matter what – it’s fight or flight. I covered this in my earlier SOFREP article: Playground Stabbing in France: Former Operator Shares 3 Steps You Can Take To Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones.
To Summarize, You Have To Be Able To Turn Toward Danger:
1. Turn toward the threat.
2. Take action. Some form of action that’s going to save your life.
Do the same things with domestic violence as you do with an active shooter – the reaction needs to be the same. Domestic Violence doesn’t just happen immediately as an active shooter scenario does.
It’s so insidious that the person – male or female, and I’ve coached males on domestic violence from females – does not realize it’s occurring until it’s too late. I’ve been to incidents where a lot of times, it’s a male abusing the female. It’s past repair at that stage – the victim needs to be able to see a path out of that. But it’s so difficult for them. Sometimes it takes another person, a friend, a Police Officer, or a family member to help them see that path. The light at the end of the tunnel. I hope it never gets too physical. I don’t want anybody to be abused – but if it goes to physical – you need to be able to turn to face that threat and take action to save your own life.
The Power of Intervention and Conversation
Sometimes that person can’t see a way out. Sometimes what it takes is a person to come along and show them there’s a way out or to be able to put a pause on the situation. To allow someone or force someone to leave the residence in order to allow the victim to get help in some way, seek support, and so on. I always did that as a police officer to allow the victim the opportunity to choose better. Please, if you’re reading this, if you know someone that you think is in a bad domestic situation, go and buy them a cup of coffee or a glass of wine or a beer and have a conversation with them about it. Don’t start it off by accusing their” partner” because they always, always protect the partner. Have a conversation with someone that’s going to be able to open the door for them to see a path out of there.
The worst thing I hear is when they finally leave the person that was hurting them, and their friends (typically females) say, “I knew that guy was no good for you – I saw this, I saw that.” Tell them when it’s actually occurring. We’ve got to help them break that cycle before it’s too late. Maybe that’s leaving the house, maybe it’s staying with a friend, or maybe it’s physically getting a frying pan and hitting that offender across the head (if justifiable by law). And whatever the action may be, that is reasonable (by law) at the time, it needs to empower the victim – because it’s all about their lowered self-worth. It just gets pushed down, down, down, down. And that person will either snap or break, snap and then take action or break and be an absolute mess. And I don’t want that. None of us in policing do. So, you must reclaim that power and help that person you know to do so.
Surviving an Active Shooter
Let’s teach good people how to make bad people change their minds, sometimes permanently. Let’s move on to the Active Shooter – So, good people made the Auckland shooter, armed with a pump-action shotgun, who killed other people, change his mind. Watch Below:
They made him change his mind – permanently. They shot him dead. He shot at police, shot 4 innocent victims, and killed 2 people. So that was a reasonable use of force.
The police can’t save your life if they are not there – but they saved other people’s lives once they got there. And they were great. They went straight to the threat. But if you are in there, and an active shooter walks through your door, police can’t save your life. You need to do that. You need to own the situation.
Improvise, Adapt and Overcome
So let me give you some off-the-cuff tips. If you’re at a reception desk and an active shooter or an armed individual comes through that door, negotiation time is over. Talking time is over. It’s now action time. They’ve got a weapon that will kill you. A machete, knife, grenade, bomb, or in this case, a pump-action shotgun. The time for talking is done. It’s gone from condition white to condition red or black immediately. One of the things that you can legally use is a fire extinguisher. A dry powder extinguisher – with the rubber hose removed – can disable an attacker.