Armed and Unarmed Response to an Active Shooter

There are many people who advocate their specific point of view on who or who should not be armed to defend against or protect others from the threat of an active shooter.  Regardless of if the environment to be protected is a school, a business or a church, all of these various places have been the unwanted recipient of an active shooter.  The death tolls have gone (and will continue to go) from just a couple of deaths up double digit numbers. 

The typical response time of law enforcement to respond, identify and neutralize the shooter has also varied from thirty seconds (Dayton, OH August 2019 where the shooter killed nine people) to several minutes (Orlando, FL where the shooter killed forty-nine people).  And in one event where the police never had a chance to respond to the scene to address the shooter (Southerland Springs, TX where the shooter killed twenty-six people) inside a church before he fled the scene and was killed by a neighbor who engaged in a high speed vehicle pursuit with the shooter followed by a subsequent gunfight.

More often than not, the people who are inside that environment are actually in a “kill zone.”  Regardless of the response time for law enforcement, it is the people who are inside that kill zone who must find a way to survive and/or mitigate the deadly effects of the active shooter.

There are documented cases where techniques and tactics were proven to work against an active shooter. The Waffle House shooting in Antioch, TN. that occurred in April of 2018 illustrates a shooter who killed four people.  One potential victim inside the restaurant ambushed the shooter and disarmed him of his semi-automatic firearm.

And then there are tactics for a legally armed defender that proved to work against an active shooter.  The West Freeway Church in White Settlement, TX. in December of 2019 illustrated that exact point.  A gunman opened fire killing two people during a church service from all reports using a shotgun. One of the parishioners, acting in the capacity of security, ended the shooter’s rampage by using his own handgun and firing a single shot to the head of the shooter.  The time that elapsed between the time the shooter began his killing rampage and the time security firing in self-defense to totally neutralize the shooter was “six seconds”. 

In either case (unarmed or armed) each of the above techniques and tactics requires several components: knowing what to do, when to do it, how to do it along with the confidence and competence to be effective.

For any firearms disarming technique (handgun or long gun), the technique itself should be succinct to totally disarm the shooter in two moves.  The technique should be practiced to the point where the defender is competent and has the requisite technique etched into their subconscious mind.  The defender must be capable of performing the technique equally on the dominant and non-dominant sides of their body.

As for the legally armed defenders, spending hours on the range and practicing the tactics that allow smooth delivery and accurate shooting is absolutely required.  One of the last things a legally armed defender would want is for their round or rounds fired to hit an innocent bystander.  As mentioned previously, the Texas shooter was neutralized in six seconds with one shot to the head.  You should know that the longer the shooter is allowed to fire on others innocent lives can be lost.  The quicker the shooter is incapacitated and the threat neutralized, the more innocent people can be saved from a tragic loss of life.

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