Tag Archives: Va Tech

Last Night; Part One

29 Jun

Last night, a representative from the county sheriff’s office came to our church to discuss how you should respond when confronted with an active shooter.  Essentially, “Run, Hide, and Fight Back”.

The one thing he emphasized was that the traditional Lock-Down procedure does not work.  Hiding under your desk can be fatal. When the Virginia Tech gunman went to target practice, instead of placing his paper targets out in the field and aiming at them, he laid them in a circle at his feet.  Virginia Tech used the traditional procedure, and the gunman simply went around the classroom, shooting under desks as he walked along.  The deputy asked how many of us were old enough to remember the air raid drills from the 50s. Hiding under the desk looked good, but it wasn’t much help. I can remember my dad, who served in WWII, grunting. “If it comes through the roof, it’ll come through the desk.”

So – when you come into a place, look for the exits. Restaurant, library, doctor’s office, it doesn’t matter.  When trouble starts, RUN. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Leave your personal possessions behind.  Climb or jump out of a window; you can easily survive a drop from the second floor. Move it!  Get out of Dodge. Exit the building with your hands raised – and empty. The police are also on edge, and anything in your hands can be mistaken for a weapon.

The second option is to hide. While you’re looking for exits check for likely hiding places. Cement blocks and bricks can withstand bullets. He told us the average bullet can penetrate thirteen sheets of plasterboard! (Living in a cinderblock house suddenly seems to be a Good Thing.)  Head for the bathroom, if nothing else, although they do not usually have windows. He reminded us that we were supposed to have left our belongings behind. “The last thing you want when you are hiding from a Bad Guy is to have your cell phone ring with your sister calling to see if you are OK. ‘Well, I was, Sis, but not now.’ ”

And if all else fails, fight back. Obviously this works best in a crowd, but crowds of victims are what a Bad Guy is looking for.  If he comes into a church, throw books at him. Pencils, erasers, staplers, car keys – whatever you can grab. And you can try to rush him. As a rule, shooters are carrying a handgun; they can only aim in one direction at a time. A crowd of people can take him down, can throw his arm into the air, all sorts of things. The deputy reminded us that the Waffle House shooter was taken down by an unarmed man.

He did not recommend carrying a gun yourself. All of these shootings have been well-planned. The Columbine gunman had books upon books with notes, floor plans, and schedules. The Virginia Tech shooter had also carefully planned his attack. They have probably already killed several people, and he won’t hesitate to shoot you. In spite of what you may think you will do, most civilians are too “kind” to kill somebody else.

So there you have it. Check and see if your local police department office this sort of seminar. It’s free. There are companies that do this, but they charge an arm and a leg, and the local officers can do the job just as well.