Analysis February 2018 – Parkland HS Shooting Incident
Unfortunately, we have seen another instance of a disturbed shooter going to a school and attacking defenseless students and teachers. Let me first express my condolences to the many victims and their families. It is tragic that innocent lives were damaged or destroyed by this senseless attack.
Sadly, I do not believe this will be the last time we see an attack on a school. While I think that government can do some positive things to prevent or limit the extent of future attacks, I will limit my comments to those things you should consider in the immediate future and interim. We will probably see calls to disarm all law abiding citizens in a poor attempt to prevent future incidents. But there are some disturbing facts surrounding this incident such as the fact that both local law enforcement and the FBI were alerted to the specific possibility that the shooter would attack a school… and they did nothing. Any gun free zone provides an active shooter with a target rich environment of unarmed victims and it forfeits the initiative to the active shooter and insures that any police response will come after there have already been numerous victims. From a prepper standpoint, you shouldn’t hope that laws will protect you. You have to plan that law enforcement will continue to be reactive and not proactive and you need to take steps to protect yourself, your family and friends.
One – aside from carrying your own self defense weapon, what can you carry with you everyday that will be useful in an active shooter scenario and not be confiscated in a screening process?
You should always carry a trauma first aid kit such as the pocket sized one we highlighted last week and discussed in our Mandalay Bay Shooting article. You can purchase the components and put it together yourself. Basically you want several methods of stopping bleeding and establishing an airway. Your kit should have one or more tourniquets (such as the CAT or SOFFT that we have recommended), several compression bandages (such as the Israeli bandage) or compressed gauze and some medical tape (or you can substitute Kerlix gauze (essentially the same but takes up more space). Finally you should include a medical scissors to cut away clothing so you can apply bandages. Each family member should have one, it doesn't have to be bulky or heavy. A first aid kit should always be allowed through security – it for some strange reason it is not, you should probably not enter that facility. Their security is actually placing you more at risk than protecting you.
Lots of kids take backpacks to school. You can buy backpacks that have a ballistic panel built in or just buy an insert. Lightweight kevlar panels are affordable and now you have some protection from most pistols rounds (look for panels rated to Level IIIA). Unfortunately Level IV panels are usually heavier and more expensive. Again a ballistic panel should be permitted through security. If you go to any facility and their security that prohibits such protection, I would suggest you turn around and never go back there.
There is one last item you should include in your kit – a door stop. While most door stops are designed to prop doors open, if you can put your foot or weight behind the door stop you can prevent someone outside from opening an inward opening door. Note if the door you want to hide behind opens outward and you can’t lock it, the shooter is going to be able to get at you. Find a different place to hide if you can. Again, doorstops are small lightweight and should pass through any security screening.
Ok, you have some gear but how do you prepare?
First, you should familiarisie yourself with the layout of the school (or other building your frequent): where are the aid stations? Where are the fire extinguishers or hoses? Where are the exits, primary and secondary? Can you exit through a window? Where would you take cover or find sanctuary if you can’t exit? What types of items are available to use as weapons in an emergency – you would be surprised what can be a weapon if you put your mind to it.
You primary response in an active shooter situation should be to get out of the facility. Move away from the sounds of the shooting and keep moving until you are well outside the area or can find cover and concealment outside or in a nearly building. If you cannot exit, find a place to hide and call 911, relay just the essential facts (location, situation as you understand it (what is the threat) and then silence your phone. You don’t want the sound of your phone or your voice to reveal your location to the shooter. Turn off the lights and pull the shades – maybe he will pass you by thinking the room is empty. But at a minimum, you are reducing his ability to look in the room and observe targets.
Finally, if the door cannot be barricaded or the shooter is determined to gain access, be prepared to fight if you must. A shooter will have the advantage of his weapon and its range. Assuming you are unarmed want to take away that advantage by forcing him to enter the room to get a shot at you. Do not cower in the far corner of the room – deny him stand off by positioning next to the door. Most shooters extend the weapon in front of them, even a rifle will extend forward from the shoulder – this gives you an opportunity when he first enters the room to grab the weapon and control the muzzle. You want to leverage your body against the shooter’s extended arms and force him and the weapon to the ground. If there is more than one of you, several people position on each side of the door and everyone swarms the shooter. It is as basic as a gang football tackle. Bring him to the ground and keep him on the ground.
Personally, if the door opens outward, I would prefer to position inside the door by the door knob / latch. A shooter would have to enter and turn to get a shot at me and I should be able to grab his extended arms. If the door opens inward (and you were unable to block the door) I suggest being on the hinge side. Again, the shooter has to come in and then turn around the door to get a shot off. If there is more than one of you in the room - you may decide to position people on both sides, just understand the risk.
Look for anything that can be a weapon (if you didn’t bring one). If the TSA really wanted to prevent weapons on planes we would all have to fly naked. A book, a phone, a lamp, an ashtray, a coffee mug can all become clubs in an emergency. A pen can be a shiv or a dagger. If you can lift it and swing it, you can defend yourself. If you can throw it at the shooter it may ruin his aim even if it doesn't harm him, but it is a great distraction as other people swarm him from the sides of the doors.
Some people have a psychological block against hurting others, at this point you need to divest yourself of any such inhibitions. There is a reason soldiers are taught to yell when they do bayonet or hand to hand training – you are psychologically preparing to inflict harm on another. Martial arts training will teach you how to hit something, even if you get hit first. This is “Hi-Yah!” not “Woo-sah” if you know what I mean. You must mentally prepare yourself to start fighting and not quit until your opponent is neutralized.
Trauma First Aid Kit Components
Balistic Backpacks and Panels
De Oppresso Liber