Monday, February 27, 2012

School Shooting & Office Attack Survival - Analyzing Four Ways To Survive a Shooter

Four Ways To Survive School Shootings and Office Attacks

Bodyguard trainer and Close Quarters Combat Instructor John Nottingham offers review, insight and analysis of an instruction video on YouTube on how to survive a school shooter or office attack.

Mr. Jim Wagner is a popular figure often featured in Black Belt magazine as well as other publications, including the internet, regarding self-defense, Police Officer training, and tactical survival instruction.  Here I will review a video of his from YouTube and offer some commentary.  My hope is that it serves to enlighten, improve discussion and be fuel for better training.

Don't get your undies in a bundle, these are only my opinion and not specific prescriptions.  If you want that, you'll have to come to one of our training events as it is a complex issue deserving adequate time and instruction.  This is not intended as a magic pill or quick fix.  By the way, never confuse knowledge for ability.

The video description reads:
Office massacre & school shooting survival-
If someone came into your work place, classroom, or any public gathering and started shooting people, and at YOU, do you know what to do to increase your chances of survival? As my student I'll show you step-by-step the four major survival options in an office massacre or school shooting: 1. Escape 2. Hide 3. Barricade 4. Ambush. You can also teach young children the first two options.
First of all, I agree with Mr. Wagner that even children can and should learn the self defense concepts, age appropriate of course.  I believe that self-defense is an essential life skill that builds inner-strength and a more civil and compassionate community.

School survival training can be done with an empowerment teaching model that doesn't scare them or cause them to worry unnecessarily.  However, my view is that it starts with parents in the home, teachers at school and an alerted citizenry ready to accept the reality of attacks, the propensity for violent behavior, abuse, bullying and how it is all related to the individual responsibility of self defense.

School Survival Video Review
Watch the video and follow along.
Note: The assessment stage here was mostly skipped. The video starts with the response to a stated threat. I didn't see mention of force multiplication, communication or weaponization (granted it is a segment of a much larger training program). 

Planned escape routes can be very helpful. Consider that most of us drill fire escape routes and this might be a good option.  The key is reducing exposure time to the danger.  The quicker route is usually best but that is based on the location of the shooter.    Multiple escape route options are advised.  
Look, listen, breathe, plan, execute and adapt.
We would emphasize the selection and difference between cover (can inhibit a round) and concealment (visual interruption), the importance of diversion and violence of action. Conceptually Mr. Wagners framework is sound in our view. 

Barricading is critical, even if it just delays to create a greater window of opportunity for escape. His choice for barricade is ridiculous, especially with so many better options available to him.  Simple testing would prove this.  Take quick inventory of what is around you that could be used as a weapon of opportunity or environmental geometry that could be used to your advantage.

A better option would be restricting handle movement and wedging things under and in the hinges of the door as a door stop, then the big desk in the room. Offices should be equipped with a security wedge and thicker doors for higher priority targets in my opinion.Preparation goes a long way.  As I learned in Boy Scouts, be prepared.   

A chair under the door handle as a wedge might work, depending on the chair and handle. A little practice here can go a long way.  Either way, use redundant mechanisms to block the door.  Plan on Murphy's law and use him to your advantage. 
School Shooting/Office Attack Survival Safety Ti: Distance creates time and options. 
Note also that drywall is of little protection from flying bullets. The door may be thicker than the wall. Consider your environmental geometry careful and refer to your assessment based on context.   

Personal Security Survival Note: Assault rifle rounds are likely to pass through most things in an urban environment.  Just because they can does not mean that the attacker necessarily will shoot through walls.  Our research shows that it is actually rare.
On the AMBUSH, a padded computer bag would not be my first choice, nor would I be standing as a big target next to door frame. A pen to the eye socket (specific targeting until desired result achieved) might be a better option. The goal isn't simply to "knock him", the objective is a disruption to the nervous system to elicit an effective physiological response and mental disruption (The V.I. of VIPER =Violence Interdiction) . We would also advocate overwhelming force by recruiting those around & creating a game plan you so you're not 1 on 1. 1 on 1 is an equilibrium- we want superiority. 

Be aware of prescription without diagnosis, overly ridged rules, assumptive language and the difference between others abilities and your own.  "Know thyself."

NEVER rely on the function of an unknown firearm, instead plan to use it in a manner that has the highest likelihood of getting a desired result. He makes a great point in NEVER assuming you have only one shooter in the scenario. Reverse engineer real crime scenarios rather than risk recreating them from movies and imagination. Isolate the key survival factors and train, train, train. Ask better questions, get better results.

We salute fellow Army Veteran Mr. Wagner for his work on behalf of Officers, Military and civilians in his efforts to help people stay safe.  He clearly has some solid concepts that we can agree upon.  We would emphasize some assessment, communication and force multiplication tactics as well.  For more information on Nottingham Sword & Shield Security Bodyguards Training or any NTS course, feel free to contact us at info@usa-martialarts.
GUARDIAN Family Protection | VIPER Personal Protection Close Quarters Combat Self Defense | Officer /Agent Survival | John Nottingham's IMPACT

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