An Active Shooter Open Fires on a Crowd. What Do You Do?

[Editor’s Note: A rising epidemic is growing in this country that no one seems to know how to quell. According to a recent study, there are more mass shootings in the United States than in any other country in the world. Equally as sobering is the fact that Americans tend to suffer from mental disorders more than any other country. Could this be coincidental?

While there is no universal definition of a “mass shooting,” one can surmise this country has a big problem and the numbers speak for themselves. Thus far, 2018 has seen close to 100 mass shootings occur across the country. The numbers are sobering to say the least and show that something is very wrong and has sprawled nationwide debates on every subject from gun control to protection.

The fact is, we have always had a false sense of security in this country and many of us are unprepared on how to handle a situation of an active shooter opening fire. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security believes in a “whole community” approach to preparedness and have created workshops to help others prepare. Civilian-based companies are also seeing the need for essential training in this matter and active shooter response training companies for schools, healthcare systems, houses of worship and businesses are trying to help others get prepared.

With mass shootings increasing, we should all have a plan in advance if faced with this type of devastating emergency. While the situation and location matter, acting deputy undersecretary, Bob Kolasky for the Department of Homeland Security is teaching a simple guideline for surviving a mass shooting: Run, hide and fight. His advice is based of studying actual cases and, while horrific in terms of imaging, the fact remains that it is up to you to prepare yourself for surviving the situation.

With that in mind, how does one survive a mass shooter? Writer, Jeremiah Johnson, who happens to be a retired Green Beret shares valuable advice on how to prepare, train and mitigate a mass shooting attack.]

Mass shootings are increasing in frequency and severity. While many are holding out hope that they will stop or that the government will handle the situation, our personal security and peace of mind continue to be under attack. This begs the question on what can each citizen of this country do to survive.

Firstly, if you’re in a state that permits you to carry, open or concealed weapons, then you have an opportunity to prevent something: that will be on you, on your state’s laws, and where you fit in between with whatever you have in your head and what your environment and social life/structure has placed in it.

While I was in the military, we learned drills to respond to a near-ambush, and a far-ambush (the latter also termed a “sniper”).  The actions are a little bit different, but we can find some tailoring to employ them for your use.  Let’s do a “near-maniac” and a “far-maniac” for our categories.


This could be loosely defined as a jerk who is starting to fire in your immediate vicinity…say within 30 feet (an approximation).  Much of this immediate action will be contingent on your situation: how many maniacs, what type of weapon(s) he or they are firing, and how the attack is being carried out.  For that “how,” I mean is it just a random spraying or is it a precise, calculated effort to place bullets into a target.  Is the maniac just shooting at anything, or is he more deliberate and calculating?  Let’s cover the basics.

  1. Get yourself and your loved ones out of the line of fire and behind cover and concealment if possible. For a refresher: cover actually protects you to some degree from the bullet; concealment does not necessarily protect from bullets, but it affords you a degree of being rendered unseen to the maniac.
  2. Figure out his intended path or estimate it. Maniacs in general tend to be very focused, and when the predatory instinct is at a fevered pitch, the cone of focus of their field of vision is more intensified with adrenaline…they tend to go after what comes into that cone, or what they place the cone on.  Gauge from the sounds of activity and the direction in which they’re running, and the sounds of the yelling.
  3. If possible, move away from his direction of travel. Maintain as much cover as possible, and run low, almost crouching, so as not to silhouette yourself or to give him a target with your movement.  Remember: as discussed in past articles, movement is the first focus that we have that attracts our hunter-gatherer eyes.
  4. Safeguard your relatives or family members: have them continue on to safety or lead them…if they leave without you, make sure it is to provide that they are not followed…to act as a blocking element to ensure the maniac does not pursue them.
  5. * The military reaction to a near ambush is to charge the ambusher…CQB, or “Close-Quarters Battle.”  I would advise not engaging unless you have the training as either former military, law enforcement, or martial skills that you’ve placed into practice in the past.

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