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Surviving Active Shooters & Terrorist Attacks: Life-Saving Hacks From Covert Agents

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Well, we at True Pundit know a lot of spooks and Operators (special forces, spies, covert agents). These are the kind of people you can learn much from when mayhem erupts in a public setting because they have trained to survive and when possible, dominate these events. So we wanted to share some keen insights that could save your life.

Think and act or react with purpose. Be armed and well trained if possible. But more than anything, awareness is essential. Pass this along to others to get them thinking; lives can be saved.

Never sit with your back to the door. Always know where 2 exits are. If you can carry, always carry. When you carry, always carry at least one extra magazine. Get a good tactical flashlight, no bigger than your spare magazine, and carry that too – at least at night. If you fly commercial, put a roll of quarters and one heavy sock in your carry on. After going thru security, go in a stall in the bathroom & put the roll of coins in the sock. If things go really bad on-board, and you choose to engage, you can do serious damage with that combo.

LESSON: Initial gunfire. Many described being confused by the first rounds being fired, thinking it was part of the pyrotechnics for the show. When they realized it might be gunfire, the crowd separated into two groups: runners and duckers. Those who immediately fled without thought of where or what they were doing tended to be shot down. Those who immediately went to the ground and then sought to escape when it was safer (not “safe”) to move had a better chance at surviving.

ANALYSIS: There is nothing we can do about our initial confusion when something surprising occurs. Everyone, every time, is confused by the unexpected. Our mammalian construct causes us to do what every mammal does: we freeze, turning our heads (and sometimes our bodies) in the perceived direction of that possible threat). Freezing is natural and something that happens instinctually. That said, we can help minimize that freeze pre-event by leaving open even the possibility that something “bad” could possibly happen, and that bad something could include gunfire, explosion, fire, earthquake, tornado, personal to assault, armed robbery, rape, mayhem, rioting, or just bad luck.

Knowing or expecting that someday something “bad” might happen, you will likely be able to orient more quickly than someone who wants to believe that “All will always be well and if I leave them alone and have good feelings about them, they’ll leave me alone.” Life intrudes upon happy thoughts. Better to stay balanced

• Fleeing danger for fleeing sake may not be the best option. Just like running in circles won’t increase your chances of survival, running in a straight line away from a shooter just creates a minor marksmanship problem that can be solved by firing a few more rounds, not a difficult shot.

COUNTER: Once you’ve oriented and put the sounds you are hearing into context, you will need to take action:

• Flee. Fleeing must be purposeful. If you are out of sight of the shooter and can exit, then do so. If you have the choice between fleeing within his line of sight or taking a few steps to put something that hides you from his vision before fleeing away, that might make a good choice. Getting out and away from the problem is your best survival option, especially when with family members.

• Get small. If there is gunfire anywhere near you, making yourself the smallest target possible is smart. Get small: get on the ground. Drop. Stay small until you can figure out what the actual threat is and how you might safely react. Find something to hide behind that hopefully stops bullets. Indoors, there is virtually nothing that will stop an AK round. So find something that hides you and stay low.

• Eyes open, head on a swivel, brain engaged. Unless playing dead is your only option, closing your eyes, while a natural reaction to danger, must be resisted. Only if you can see can you then respond meaningfully. Whether playing dead or paying attention, keep as still as possible—movement attracts attention and attention attracts bullets. Eyes open, watch the shooter(s) or watch for the shooter(s), noting what the crowd or other individuals are doing (if you can’t presently see the shooter(s), people tend to look like herd animals fleeing a predator, giving you a good idea where his/their position(s) are). Look for escape routes that are covered (hiding you from observation as you move). Remember, if you are with family members, your calculations must include your slowest member. Carry toddlers and small kids as you move, keeping your body between them and shooter. While nothing is safe in this environment, move when it appears that you can safely move, and then move with purpose.

• Move from corner to corner. Whether you are fighting toward or away a threat, corners become your best friend. A corner is anything that hides you from being observed or protects you from bullets. Fighting from a corner is the goal (in this case, “fighting” means to stay alive, whether you are advancing toward the threat or moving away from it). Rather than fleeing in a straight line down a hallway, auditorium, sidewalk, or street, move to the first available corner. Make your assessment of whether or not it is safe to move to the next corner. When safe (or safer than where you are right now), move hard to the next corner. Continue assessing any changes to your situation and then moving until you are out of danger.

LESSON: When fleeing, get to an exit. A man and his 12 year-old son at the concert heard the initial gunshots and wisely dropped to the floor. He saw the Jihadis shooting down fleeing concert goers. When the dad saw their chance, he and his son ran to a door and entered a small, windowless room next to the stage. Upon closing the door, the dad realized with dismay that he’d traded a perilous position for one in which they were trapped. Fortunately, the attack ended before the Jihadis found and murdered them.

• Generally, exchanging a small room with no possible exit to escape a killing field may not be much of an upgrade, but this may have been the best these two could manage under the circumstances. If that is the case and reaching an exit is impractical—or even impossible—barricade the door with anything you can and get low and be quiet. If the door is breached, fight with anything at hand—be vicious. Deflect the muzzle of any firearm and remain aggressive—stay on him and do not allow that muzzle to be pointed at you. If you have nothing hard to hit him with, target the eyes, nose, throat, and the groin of the shooter(s). Never stop hitting them until they are no longer capable of harming anyone.

LESSON: The attackers armed with AKs worked in teams of two.

• One Jihadi covered the shooter, protecting the team from any aggressors who may have attempted to physically intervene.

• The shooters were slow, methodical, and precise. Instead of the usual 3rd world spraying from the hip, the shooters picked a target, fired until that person was down, then picked another. They were unhurried. They were trained and had combat experience.

ANALYSIS: In some studies of Active Shooter events, a large number of these events are interrupted by unarmed citizens physically attacking the shooter, often as the shooter reloads (see above). The tactic of having a cover shooter ascribed to the Jihadis in this attack will counter this threat to the team. It will also provide a rapid response to any armed threat to the team from responding police or armed person in the crowd—the shooter is intentionally focused on what he’s doing and will be slower to react to an unexpected threat than the gunman dedicated to covering the team.

COUNTER: If you are capable of being legally armed, carry you firearm every time you leave the house. Avoid “gun-free zones” if possible. Because that is not always possible and you obey the law, refer to the above: get small; keep your eyes open; move to a safer position purposefully, moving from corner to corner; barricade up if you cannot escape; fight if you have an opportunity or there is no other choice.

If you are armed, always shoot the person who is immediately attempting to shoot you. This is not the time for spraying and praying, hoping he’ll somehow be hit by one bullet in the all of lead you are sending his way. Sure hits are needed, but you won’t necessarily be able to take the time to get “certain” (100%) hits. Interrupt your eye-target line with your weapon and press when you believe you’ll hit him. If you can find your sights (meaning, you have the training/ability to have the presence of mind—probably because he’s far enough away to allow you to think), use them to get your hits. Then keep doing that until he goes down or drops the weapon.


Three slower, sure hits are better every time than magazine full of really fast misses.

• Take your time, hit him. If you are not presently the target, take your time, use your sights, stabilize your weapon with your barricade, and fire methodically at the shooter. This is a slow fire marksmanship problem.

• Our fear degrades our abilities. Here’s another problem when reality meets our unrealistic expectations. Think about the worst day at the range you’ve had in the last ten years. Then multiply that by at least a factor of ten. Maybe 20. When faced with reacting to existential threat, our emotional reaction creates a physical response that lessens our ability to skillfully respond, absent extensively, relevant training and experience. As the distance grows between you and the shooter, you will be less likely to get hits. Breathe. Do what you need to do to get the hit you and everyone else needs.

If there is a shooter covering the primary shooter or they’re taking turns, shoot the cover shooter first. It will take more time for the primary shooter to realize something other than he planned is happening, then recognize that he will need to protect himself and refocus his attention, then to locate you, and then return fire to suppress or murder you. By shooting the cover shooter, you buy yourself some time to, first, hit the cover shooter, and, two, not have two guys shooting at you simultaneously.

• Take advantage of a reload. Wait until the shooter needs to reload, shoot the cover shooter, then shoot the reloading shooter. This sounds cold-blooded, leaving those who are targeted to be chopped up until he runs out of ammo, but facing two AK armed gunmen who are demonstrating superior tactics—and therefore likely superior training—when you are armed with a handgun (and likely not having a reload available) means the outcome is not in your favor. Yes, you may get lucky and get a killing shot on each one with your first two rounds, but that is the stuff of Hollywood and novels. Handguns are under powered and difficult to hit with when compared to rifles at any distance. Use whatever tactic will give you an advantage.

Consider this: While some will be injured or murdered while you wait for a break in the action, multiple sure-hits on the shooter(s) will likely end the carnage. Stepping up and firing on two shooters may result in you being hit and disabled, permitting the murderers to continue destroying lives. It is your choice to make and you will have to live or die with the consequences of either one.

Trust your gut. If something seems to be wrong, never dismiss it. Our ability to pick up information through our senses far beyond our brain’s ability to rationally process into actionable intelligence. Our subconscious is constantly processing data that never reaches our conscious awareness. If you suddenly become concerned about something, begin problem-solving and look for reasons for your suddenly becoming alert. Automatically dismissing something as “I’m just being paranoid” when we are in a time of war may cost people their lives—including your life and that of your family’s.

• Know your exits. If you haven’t already noted alternative exits, locate them. Your primary exit may become blocked.

• If you see something, say something. Report suspicious behavior to the police: it’s better to be wrong and have it be nothing than to think you’re right, not call, and experience tragedy. Getting the police moving toward the problem early results in fewer people being injured.

• Move away from the problem before it becomes a problem. So many people hang around a developing problem because they aren’t finished with the meal they paid for or the game isn’t over or the movie just began. There is nothing you have ever paid for that is worth your life. The only reason to hang around during a developing problem is to collect family members before you clear out. Work out the decision before hand—if either you or your spouse believes it is important to leave for any safety reason, agree that either one of you gets to call it, the family immediately drops everything except what they are wearing and you leave via the safest exit—then you discuss whether or not you should have left. — Read More @ Suarez Intl

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