Today’s active shooter is evolving, becoming more sophisticated and tactically proficient—oftentimes equipped with combat training and experience. We now have to consider the possibility of knife attacks and suicide bombers while keeping an eye out for criminals and crazies—the disgruntled employee, scorned husband, or the student that was bullied. This article is an examination of what steps should be taken, both individually and as a society, to overcome this new threat.
The massacre of elementary school students and teachers at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut, changed the way we view how to defend against an active shooter. We realized these attacks can happen anywhere. The most recent attack in Paris by ISIS reinforces this reality. While the accepted definition of an active shooter is a bit vague, I think it is time we define an active shooter as anyone actively engaged in killing people—whether an individual or a group, including suicide. Remember, there is almost always collateral damage from stray bullets and ricochets.
How businesses and individuals can stop an active shooter
In light of the Paris incident, I wonder how many people would have died if the bouncers and a few citizens were armed in the club. I personally believe 100 people would not have been killed. Research indicates that once an active shooter has been confronted by an armed response, the number of subsequent victims plummets. There’s only one exception: the case of the Western Reserve University shooting.
You can’t wait in the face of a threat, perceived or real. Everyone should learn individual immediate-action survival drills. This should include running, taking cover, organizing group attacks early when an active shooter reveals himself, and identifying and neutralizing the shooter. Cities should offer free training to civilians to improve their chances for survival.