Civilian Responses to Active Attackers

Not PC

After 9/11 and Flight 93 we learned that you can fight back against terrorists…after Colorado many people including commenters on this blog think hat the people in the cinema were just hapless victims unable to fight back. However that is not the case:

Ari Armstrong and his father Linn offer tips on how can you might safely respond  if you’re ever unlucky enough to find yourself in a mass-shooting incident—and can keep a sufficiently cool head.

A comparison I considered is to flights after 9/11. After that, Americans just decided that they weren’t going to let hijackers have their way, anymore. I frankly think that mindset has done far more than anything TSA has done to deter would-be hijackers. Everybody knows the story of Flight 93. Now that Americans expect hijackers to try to kill them, rather than negotiate for political goals, I think we’ve pretty much decided to do whatever it takes to take down hijackers as quickly as possible.

But there doesn’t seem to have been a similar widespread mental change when it comes to on-the-ground terror. A message at the ACT web site currently states, “Duck and cover does not work. A theater full of people CAN take down a shooter and save lives. More people need to know how to prevent and respond to Active Shooters to prevent future tragedies.” That approach makes a lot of sense to me, and I hope it’s something that individual citizens, as well as law-enforcement agencies, seriously consider over the coming weeks and months. (Please note that ACT has not endorsed or approved the video of my interview with my dad.)

My dad makes several points, including these:

* Obviously if it’s possible to safely leave a dangerous area, do so (as a civilian).

* A group of people can disorient an attacker by pummeling him with objects at hand.

* With appropriate training, a few people near an attacker can take him to the ground and incapacitate him.


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  • le sphincter

    Welll there sure will be more and more mass shooting events … but only in America as most other countries have taken steps to protect the lives of innocent people.
    In the states its virtually a monthly event, only the larger ones,  more than  5 or 6 that get international attention. (or its a  Congresswoman and  a Federal Judge amoung others)
    The US  has far more people in prison than the rest of the world, they give longer prison sentences , yet the murder rate  remains sky high….. what could they be missing.

    Yet some fools say because some people fought back after being held hostage  in a plane for some hours   ( and security meant the hijackers had NO GUNS) and had time to plan, this is the way to go against  heavily armed psychopaths?

    • You have no idea what you are talking about

      • le sphincter

        Is that one way of saying Im right. No law enforcement officer would condone any of the nonsense  from these two gits . And you shouldnt either.

        I remember as a kid  actual evidence of the head teller at a Queen St bank  having a revolver in the draw. All rural banks would certainly have a  weapon at hand. Now days  that doesnt happen as too many tellers were killed… for a lousy  $50k

      • Peter W

         He never does.  He is a total idiot.  Interestingly, he never ceases to surprise me with how stupid he can be. 

  • MrV

    In reality what are you going to have “to hand” in a cinema? Popcorn, maybe a few expensive ice-creams and $5/litre Coke. Maybe you could do a Tana Umaga on the offender with the wifes handbag.
    But pretty much everything else is bolted down.
    So does this mean half the audience should carry weapons “just in case”?

  • MrV


  • Mediaan

    It seemed that the audience was at first both distracted by the movie and unsure whether the noise of shooting was part of the movie.

    It further seemed that it was not until bleeding and hurt people near them were noticed that they took in the real event.

    There is also the fact that some entertainments include events amongst the audience as part of the show.