April 30, 2017

Run, Hide, Fight

Run, Hide, Fight

Imagine if the rules in games like dodge ball changed so that when someone was going to throw at you, you had to stand still, or in tag, when you were being chased you had to stop and wait to be tagged; in football, when you caught the ball you had to wait to be tackled by the opposing team.

Any hunter will tell you it is easier to shoot at game that is standing still versus game that is flying or running. Any decent self-defense firearms instructor will tell you to “Get off the X” before you engage in combat.

These are all pretty easy to understand concepts, are they not? Then why is it that we have schools whose only plan for an active shooter is to lock down? This is the case at the schools my kids have attended. We always told them that if anyone started shooting to run, even if the teachers said no. We also gave them a place to run to. This way they didn’t have to try and figure out what to do at the most terrifying moment in their lives; they just needed to react.

I don’t think any single self-defense plan will fit every situation. If someone comes into my company and starts shooting, what I will do is going to depend on what is happening. If the shots are coming from the lobby, I am in no immediate danger, so the option of running makes the most sense. If the best escape route is cut off, then hiding and hoping an opportunity to run opens up might make more sense. No matter what happens, I’ll be gauging the necessity of fighting.

Here is a video that teaches a concept I really wish every school would implement. Not only should your kids know it, you should too!

Pretty simple concept and one I think every adult should incorporate into their personal protection plan. I also think parents should sit down and explain it to their kids. Some parents might be concerned that the conversation might scare their kids and this might keep them from talking to them about this. Yes, it could cause some momentary fear in them. As a parent, I would rather cause some momentary fear, and know that if, God forbid, shots are ever fired at their school, they won’t be hiding in their classroom unless they think that is the safest option. If you’re concerned that you might scare your kids, use the examples listed at the beginning of this article. Kids know that if they want to win at dodge ball, they need to, well, DODGE, and that if they want to win at tag they need to run and not be tagged. Explaining that if someone starts shooting they need to run as fast as they can, just like they would in any of those games. Also, give them a place to run to; we told our kids to run to a church parking lot that is out of harm’s way.

As a last resort, I also showed my kids how to fight…no, I taught them how to fight dirty. I also told them that they only use the things I showed them if someone is trying to kill them, not just if they’re mad and not if someone is trying to steal from them. I taught them that they should only use dirty fighting if their life is in danger. Most kids are not prone to violence. In fact, many are afraid of using it. So we need to explain to them that it is ok and even a good thing in certain situations.

Summary

I think every one of us should implement this in our personal protection plans and teach it to our kids. If a shooting happens near us, there is no one surefire plan. Most of the time running is preferable; hide only when running is not an option and be ready to fight viciously at any moment.

 
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Comments

  1. I don’t have kids but I never understood the concept of sitting and waiting for something bad to occur if you already know the potential for violence has begun.

    Good article.

  2. Excellent information…. Thank you…sharing this one!
    Blessing to you and Trudy, Always, Nancy

  3. The sitting duck scenario is not the current thought in school safety. I’m sure there are still some school districts that have that as a plan, however, I can tell you that mine doesn’t.

    I have told my kids the very same…don’t listen to your teacher… If the shooter isn’t at your door, get out of the school and run home!

    Todd

    • Rev. Dr. Michael E Harris says:

      This was produced by the Houston mayor’s office, but I have seen this kind of information before. This is the best I have seen. I do not think that there is any part of it that does not make perfect sense.

      Schools do the wrong things much of the time. I think that schools go into lockdown for liability reasons. If my daughter were still in school, I would have her watch this we me.

      The information is so simple and easy to understand. By watching the actors do what we hear and read, the message is well reinforced and should appeal to most types of learners.

      I have read about the armored backpacks for school children. I have seen ads for the ballistic clipboards and inserts for messenger bags and brief cases. I would hate to have to go to meetings wearing body armor. I have a vest with slash and stab protection built in, as there is a greater threat of knives than guns where I have to go.

      As an aside, lockdown is how the local school districts handle this situation. This is the way that all the colleges and universities that have had active shooters have reacted.

  4. Rosemary says:

    Interesting that you put this on now & I just finished my CCW classes tonight! The film we were shown also said to run if possible. Shoot as a last resort. Thanks Chris

  5. It is not always as simple as run or lockdown. We keep looking for the simple rule, but here are two concepts to think about: 1) human attention is attracted to movement; 2) lockdown makes you a prisoner (takes away options). If you run while they can see/hear you then you will be targeted. If you hide and do not get out of the area, you’ve trapped yourself and they will eventually find you.

    Stealth is the key, run quietly when they are not looking, hide when they are, move again when their attention shifts elsewhere. Think of it as a relay race of hide and seek. This is what we should teach our kids.

    Also, I am now buying carbon nanotube ballistic shielding for kid’s packs. It is light and will stop multiple rounds. They can use it as a shield while they run. here is one article on it: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/19/sandy-hook-newtown-armored-backpacks-sales-children/1780701/

    Good topic Chris, Thanks!

  6. mariowen says:

    Good subject, Chris. It is not always easy to know the right move for any given situation. While you are under the stress of the moment, clear thinking and analyzing doesn’t always happen. It would be nice to think that instinct would take over, but that isn’t reliable.

    • Rev. Dr. Michael E Harris says:

      mariowen, while the stress of an active gunner may not help a person to make the best decisions, watching and understanding the video does help. If you can run through an active shooter scenario at work, you might be able to make a better (possibly, the best decision).

      I firmly believe the humans have no instincts (species-wide, species-specific response to a given stimulus). Practicing a variety might be useful.

      Unfortunately, I live in New Jersey where concealed carry is almost impossible. I would carry a gun in town, but not to my client. My client works on a military base where Clinton disarmed all the Warfighters.

  7. mariowen says:

    The best solution to any situation is if you can come to a gun battle with a gun. I carry mine with me everywhere I go. If I can’t carry it somewhere, then that tells me that that is where I don’t need to be. I do carry it places where I shouldn’t, but no one challenges me. That is because I don’t fit a “profile” so no one would think to question me. I would rather have it and not need it than the other way around.

    • Rev. Dr. Michael E Harris says:

      mariowen, I like your comments. You bring up things that make all of us think a bit more or a bit deeper.

  8. Schieftain says:

    Good info. As an adult, I totally value this. But I’m torn on whether to teach kids to do this if the school says otherwise. Being in lock-down has a purpose as well, to prevent panic/chaos, and help teachers know where the kids they are responsible for are. If little kids suddenly start running around trying to escape, it will probably be in a panic, and who knows where they will end up? Outside running into traffic? Into the arms of an attacker and taken hostage? In some places, little kids could go outside and get lost. Then you don’t know where all the kids are. Older kids MAY act different, but little kids?

    In a lock-down, classroom doors are shut and locked, and the kids kept quiet and out of view of the door. Similar to option B in the video.

    The hunting analogy can also be used in favor of keeping still. Motion is a huge signal for a predator to attack. When in danger, many animals lie completely still to AVOID being seeing and calling attention to themselves. When I’m hunting deer, I won’t see one that’s bedded down 30′ away, but if that deer gets up and starts walking, I see it instantly. Isn’t it possible that in a shooter situation, a shooter may be drawn by movement and prompted to fire at a fleeing individual? I know the video teaches to escape with stealth. But if someone is really shooting at you (and you’re a young kid), are you going to have the presence of mind to stay quiet, and sneak out? Maybe, some kids could, but I’ll bet many would just start screaming.

    I’m not disagreeing with the principle of escape being a good option in certain situations/locations, especially for adults. In a school setting, I think it would take a lot of training/drills to teach kids how to do this quietly and without panicking. You would probably need to train teachers in how to assess the situation, and quickly determine which option is best, then lead the kids.

    • Chris Ray says:

      staying in place might be a good option in certain circumstances, but in the vast majority of situations I would rather my kids get out of the class and away from the school.

      When I mentioned hunting it was only to compare the difficulty hitting a moving target. A lockdown situation is not the same as a deer staying where it is bedded down. The lockdown strategy around here is for teachers to move the kids away from the door, and slide various color pieces of paper under the door. If you knew there was a deer, or hundreds of them in a close space, and their location was telegraphed either by a closed and locked door, or a color coded paper near it, would you give the higher chance of survival to the deer that stayed bedded down, or the one that ran?

      • Schieftan says:

        It would depend. If the deer are behind a strong, securely locked door that would take me time to get through, and I see other deer running down the hall, I’m going after the ones in the hall (immediate/easy targets).

        Never heard of the color-coded paper thing. Our schools are always locked and you have to present proper ID, to get buzzed in.

        It would be interesting to know statistics of past events. Of the people that have been killed, how many were stationary/hiding, and how many were fleeing?

        I agree with the basic premise, get out of the situation ASAP if you can do so safely. My son has been taking martial arts classes for many years now, with a focus on self-defense. We hope it will give him the confidence and training to fight-back in a situation but to do so wisely. (Not going up against an armed assailant unless necessary.) I hope he would also be able to think clearly and use good judgment, maybe even take the lead in helping other kids get out safely.

        • Chris Ray says:

          Maybe the schools in your area are more modern, I visited all of the schools our kids attended and none are what I would call secure. They were all built 30+ years ago, and while they have had some updating, I would still not say they are secure.

          They do have policies to limit access, but nothing will stop another student letting someone in. It happened here, an expelled student got one of his friends to let him in to beat up the kid that got him expelled.

  9. mariowen says:

    When I was in gun training class, the instructor ran across the field we were shooting in. Now you have to know that no one used guns in this scenario, but we did “finger gun” enactment. We were to follow him with our “finger gun” as he ran. It was so easy to just follow him as he was dodging and running across the space. Of course, there were no obstacles there and nothing to hide behind. But running in plain sight is kind of dangerous – really dangerous. It only brings attention to yourself. That is the last thing I would choose to do.

    It reminds me of the game we played as kids. You would all stand in a line. The person who was “it” would turn his back and we would run. When he turned around, we would freeze. You were out if he saw any motion. What he was looking for was movement. If you were quiet, his eyes would pass over you. Each time he turned away, we ran. Each time he turned toward us, we would freeze. That is the concept you need to use if you are in a situation. If there are things to hide behind, then you might have a chance. If there aren’t any, then the chances of coming out alive are pretty slim.

    If I knew that I probably wasn’t going to survive the situation, I would use the “fight” part of “flight or fight”. Better to go down trying than to stand and be a target. I would aim to come up behind him and launch myself at his back and hang on for dear life. Then I would use my hands to gouge out his eyes. A blind gunman is much easier to avoid if you are quiet. However, at that time I would work to disarm him. He would be at a big disadvantage. Chances are, I wouldn’t make it, but at least I wouldn’t stand there being his shooting target. Perhaps I could distract him enough that someone else could get away. If there are a bunch of you, don’t stay close together. Then he would have a bigger group target and be sure of hitting someone. Spread out and take your chances. You just hope there are only one of him. If there are multiple, then I have to say that I hope you are right with God. You will be seeing Him very soon.

    • Chris Ray says:

      Did your instructor explain the physiological changes that take place under stress? Yes you were able to easily track him, but you had all of your range of vision, not just 20%. Time was going normal speed, not in extreme slow or fast speeds. Your heart was not was not beating 120+ beats a minute causing all kinds of other implications.

      Yes running in a straight line would be dangerous, but depending on the situation it could be significantly safer than hiding.

  10. Carl Rooker says:

    Good article, and good points.

    I would not run away, unless there was a clear path away from the attacker. If the only path available is with in sight of the attacker, you become targets.

    If I had to hide, I would do so in manner to secure the hiding spot, with a plan improvised (according to the situation) to fight. Anything can be used as weapons, the will to fight is the more crucial point. Fire extinguishers make good mace and smoke screen, as well as clubs. Any aresol, or even liquids, make a useful mace. With the right mindset, and little imagination, anyone can defend themselves.

    • Chris Ray says:

      As I said in the article, there is a time and place for everything. Yes, if the only path is in line of site, hiding and preparing to fight is the better option.

      The trouble with hiding or running is that you most likely won’t know exactly where the danger is at, or will be in 30 seconds.

  11. When in a war zone, during my service, and receiving in coming fire, we were taught to hit the ground, keep your head down and crawl to cover.

  12. Good article! Like you Chris, I also have kids and try to teach them the same.

  13. Arrow Root says:

    This is interesting. As usual the gov. is leaving out the best prep of all. Be armed and have your CCW if at all possible (keep your OPSEC quiet about it – just do it.) This video is good advice for any time when you CANNOT carry. I.e. you are forced to go through metal detectors. Otherwise, use your gun and training to save lives. Just as many others have already done so. You never hear about them since the media censors and deletes those stories.
    The admonition about returning evil for evil and good for evil does not justify allowing yourself and others to be murdered.
    Since the video: begins with all the “scary” stats to make this type of event seem more common than it really is; and, the very large guy all in black; and, leaves out the best self protection; my conclusion this is really an anti-gun video. It is a sheeple video. Notice they even say to save yourself, don’t let others slow you down. That is our culture today. That part really rubbed me the wrong way. Are we no better than rats escaping a burning ship? Can you ignore the screams, the cries and shots? (Strangely, they were absent from this dramatization. Hmmm.) Will you have to re-live it for years to come? What if I had…?
    I only ask these questions and bring this up, because I believe that most people who become prepared, also purchase handguns for protection for the same reason. Once we do, and we make the commitment to moving from being un-armed to armed; Do we also make a commitment to becoming a sheepdog with duties to protect those around us from the wolves? I think yes. You may disagree. Lets discuss it.
    If employers would allow ccw and advertise it with a sign on the front door, the shooter would not show up there. He would seek easy targets where the victims would be guaranteed to be un-armed. “An ounce of prevention …” Virtually all active shooters have chosen, with deliberate and conscience thought, ‘gun free’ zones. something like this: http://www.compliancesigns.com/NHE-16347.shtml
    wording: “GUNS ARE WELCOME ON PREMISES PLEASE KEEP ALL WEAPONS HOLSTERED UNLESS NEED ARISES. IN SUCH A CASE, JUDICIOUS MARKSMANSHIP IS APPRECIATED”

    • Chris Ray says:

      I agree, I guess when I wrote the article I had children and those who cannot carry at work in mind.

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