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Columns : The Federal Voice

Rage Against Active Shooters

Dr. Ben Carson is right. The only way to stop active shooters is to fight back, whether you are a law enforcement officer responding to the attack or a civilian caught in the madness.

November 13, 2015  |  by Jon Adler

Last month I was contacted by ABC News asking me for a response to remarks made by Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson regarding active shooters. I had no idea what the reporter was referring to, and they e-mailed me Carson's comments from a Fox interview.

Here's what Carson stated he would do in an active shooter attack. "I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, 'Hey guys, everybody attack him! He may shoot me, but he can't get us all.'"

Here's part of the response I sent to ABC:

"Dr. Carson's comments may initially seem tactically reckless, but they actually have great merit. We should have learned from 9/11 that if not for the brave passengers on Flight 93 who exuded extraordinary courage, the consequences and fatality count may have been worse.

"It is generally accepted that it's more difficult shooting a moving target vs. one foolishly playing dead or freezing. Depending on where the active shooter threat is, you may want to seek cover and/or concealment, and call for help. In the scenario Dr. Carson was speaking on, it's a do or die stage. I embrace Dr. Carson's fighting spirit, and his courageous approach would prevent an active shooter from reloading and creating mass casualties."

At the time I sent this, I did not know that the liberal news media was attacking Carson for what I saw as sensible remarks. Although surprised by my supportive response for Carson, ABC published my statement. I have since learned that the liberal news media was taking the Fox News interview and Carson's comments out of context and suggesting he was being critical of the nine Umpqua Community College victims. Newsflash to the liberal news media: You can't defeat an active shooter by whistling, "Give Peace a Chance," and Carson was not disparaging these victims.

The following morning (Oct. 8th), Fox interviewed me again. Adding to my initial statement, I stressed to the viewers that active shooters are not there to rob banks; they're there to take lives.

Given the alarming increase in active shooter incidents, Americans are now forced to construct a mental pre-set to prepare for a lethal encounter with a madman. Fighting back is obviously easier said than done, but playing possum is not a viable survival option. People caught in these attacks may find themselves armed only with their indomitable American will, but they will have to summon the spirit to charge the shooter with any hard objects within reach. In a group setting, a simultaneous charge would increase the odds of preventing reloads and weapon substitution that would cause mass casualties. This dynamic group spirit was exhibited on 9/11's Flight 93 when the passengers simultaneously attacked the hijacking terrorists. More recently, we saw similar courage under fire when three American heroes attacked a gunman on a Paris-bound train in France.

I applaud those who can hold fast to their faith and charge forward to face the lethal threat.

In law enforcement, we train to watch each other's backs because we realize we can't see all threats. The same vulnerabilities apply to an active shooter in reverse. Setting aside the debated points on the "21-foot rule," we understand that a charging target isn't as easy to hit as a paper target hanging limp downrange. And I applaud those who can hold fast to their faith and charge forward to face the lethal threat.

According to a September 2014 FBI report, the frequency of active shooter incidents is increasing. From 2000 to 2013, there was an average of one active shooter attack per month, resulting in 486 casualties. Some 60% of these incidents ended before law enforcement arrived. This begs the question as to why every school doesn't have an experienced armed officer or guard at its entrance. It also raises the question as to how the government could in good faith limit the 1033 program protective equipment available to local and state law enforcement officers. We owe it to the law enforcement officers who must engage madmen shooters to ensure they have all the equipment to support their actions.

This issue should not be mischaracterized as a gun control issue. If you take madness away from a madman, you have peace. If you take a gun away from a madman, you still have madness. I applaud Dr. Ben Carson and every American who's willing to fight back against that madness and rage against the lethal cowardice of active shooters.

Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

John retired IA PD @ 11/14/2015 8:41 PM

Well said. And I agree with Dr. Carson. I have held many training sessions on active shooter / armed intruder situations. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome was the fact that there are appropriate times to attack the suspect. There is still that mind set that if you cooperate with the suspect you will not be killed. Yes there certainly are times to run or hide, but sometimes you have to fight to survive.

Vern BCSO @ 11/24/2015 8:41 AM

I agree -- if the circumstances present an opportunity, capable individuals should attack the attacker. Also, active shooters *depend* on people to be shocked and horrified, to run or hide and be easy targets. This should change.

These creatures are often copycats. They DO read the publicity and if they start reading that active shooters are getting pounded into the floor or shot by their would-be victims, they will probably start thinking that their personal vendettas or goofy manifestos are not worth the risk.

Dennis @ 12/1/2015 8:58 AM

Suggestion. There are self defense and CCW classes. Can police create / teach citizens ASD (Active Shooter Defense) classes?

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