Active Shooter situations. Have a plan, be aware.

Michael Zehaf Bibeau running towards Parliament with a rifle
Michael Zehaf Bibeau running towards Parliament with a rifle

In an active shooter situation, professionals with weapons move in and eliminate the shooter. The rest of us should probably get out of the way and hide someplace safe unless events force us to take action.

Active Response Training has useful information on situations like this, presented clearly and unemotionally. They use the recent Canadian shooter as an example. First off, shooting situations happen very fast. Do not rely on police and security to protect you. They will be seriously preoccupied and may not know what is going on either or where the shooter is. If you do know where the shooter is, tell law enforcement immediately. If you are in the middle of something like this, you are on your own. Be aware of what is happening everywhere. Chaos coming from a seemingly unrelated area may be part of the shooter’s plan.

Make no mistake, the Canadian shooter may have been a homeless, crazy, drug addict. However his plan was well-thought out.

The murderer here handled a part of his attack in textbook fashion. He attacked one location and had an escape vehicle at the ready. He quickly ditched that car in the event that its description was broadcast to the authorities and stole another one before making a second attack at a different location.

Does your workplace have contingency plans and safe rooms?

Lockdown without a plan in the event the killer breaches it is useless. The Canadians did this right. As soon as they were aware the Parliament was under attack, legislators were hustled into a room with locked doors. Then they made preparations in the event the locked doors were breached. The Telegraph reported:

“Hearing the shooting outside, the parliamentarians grabbed flag poles tipped with the maple leaf, Canada’s national symbol.

“People took the flag poles with the maple leafs on the end – they’d make pretty good spears – and said ok, if the son of a b—- is coming through the doors we’re going to make him pay,” Laurie Hawn, a government MP.”

While I would have liked to seen them armed with something more substantial than improvised spears, I commend them for taking the initiative to protect themselves. I doubt our American politicians would perform as well.

Lack of gun control wasn’t the issue here.

More stringent gun control laws will not deter active killers. The killer in this event had two prior criminal convictions. Those convictions would have barred him from legally purchasing ANY firearm. It’s also clear that banning semi-automatic rifles isn’t an effective strategy either. The killer used a Winchester .30-30. The gun is lever action and has been around since 1894. It is likely the single most popular deer hunting rifle in North America and has never been the target of any gun banning legislation.

Everyone should have a plan for if they are in a situation like this. Do you have a plan?

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