Book Review: ‘Surviving a Mass Killer Rampage’ by Chris Bird

Well-known gun author Chris Bird has produced a new book. The full title is Surviving a Mass Killer Rampage: When seconds count, police are still minutes away. Bird requested a review by Guns.com staff, and I was fortunate to be chosen as the reviewer.

In this meticulously researched publication, Bird delves into almost every mass murder spree that’s been in the news in recent history, with an emphasis on the actions leading up to, and finally actions taken to end the events.  He provides an overview of police and other institutions’ philosophies regarding mass killings, as well as analysis of the evolution of practice and policy.

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From 1966 in an Austin, Texas tower to 2015 in San Bernardino, Bird provides the reader with gripping imagery of each attack. First-person interviews with key players and witnesses make the stories rich. Bird’s third-party look at actions taken by bystanders, police, and people in other official roles reveals important insights that have not previously been publicized, in many cases thanks to socio-political connections and agendas.  For example, the actions of Matthew LaPorte, the Air Force ROTC  student who attempted to tackle the Virginia Tech killer, is not even mentioned in a post-event, cross-disciplinary panel’s analysis of the incident. LaPorte was hit with eight rounds and though he Surviving a Mass Kille... Chris Bird, Massad Ayoob Check Amazon for Pricing. expired at arm’s length from his killer, his unarmed counterattack saved lives by delaying the pace at which mass murder that was taking place.

Refreshingly, he avoids being overtly preachy. The facts are exposed in such a manner that the reader is afforded the dignity of drawing her own conclusions.

What’s not included in the text is any mention of the murderers’ names. Bird explains in the Introduction that this is on purpose, to deprive these depraved attention-seekers of the notoriety they desire or desired before their own expiration. It’s done well.  The coverage of the killers’ pre-incident records, as recorded by authorities, is so detailed as to lend no sense of gaps in the information.

It’s no surprise that, in each incident, the duration and casualties are positively correlated. Encounters between the murder and non-passive and/or armed individuals are, as common sense would dictate, negatively correlated to duration and body count.

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