“A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
–General George S. Patton U.S. Army

The horrific shootings in Parkland, Florida on February 14 2018, is another grim reminder of the world we live in where people with various mental or emotional issues respond to frustrations with outbursts of unspeakable violence against their fellow man. At the same time, we also live in a country with a Constitution that protects the right of the people to keep and bear firearms.  In Texas, we take that right to even further allowances that include both open and concealed carry of firearms and the right to defend oneself with that firearm if they feel in fear of their life.

However, this blog is not about U.S. gun laws or Texas gun laws, or the debate over guns at all.  It’s about how one should think before an attack and how to respond in the event of an attack because, heartbreakingly, this topic is relevant to everyone right now.

The FBI defines an active shooter situation as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.”  The FBI only considers an active shooter incident as factually analyzed when four or more people are killed by shooter and with X amount injured.  It’s not a reassuring definition, to be sure, but these are the current facts

One of our favorite quotes at Trident Response Group is “Experience is a brutal teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson afterwards.”  This refers to the school of “hard knocks”, or learning as you go.  In school, we get the lesson then we get the test.  Real experience is just the opposite, but it does drive home the lesson, often even more effectively. And, as a collective of veterans of active combat, we have relevant active-shooter life experiences to draw from when assessing a topic such as this.

That’s why at Trident Response Group we have come up with the Ready4 plan.  Whatever the issue, the Ready4 plan, provides you with an immediate set of options to safely and securely take care of yourself, your family or your colleagues. The Ready4 are:

Out– The ideal response to an active threat is to remove yourself from the area – Get out of harm’s way if at all possible, so your exit should be your first priority.

Protect– If you do have the ability to protect yourself and others by means of self-defense, barricading or another a specific course of action your chances of survival rise significantly while other safety and security options will present themselves.

Treat– If you can, medically treat an injury to yourself or others, you will reduce further medical complications that may occur as well as help to calm and focus yourself an others in a high-anxiety situation.

Shelter– If you can shelter in place or move quickly to a better shelter you will greatly increase your survivability of any event.

*Alert– We add alert to the Ready4 because as soon as it is safely possible you need to alert the appropriate first responders (police, firemen, HAZMAT or paramedic) and provide the details of the emergency, the correct address, the number of injured and types of injury’s.

Developing good situational awareness is key to recognizing an attack before it may occur.  First and foremost, we need to recognize the fact that these threats exist and that it can happen to you, your loved ones or your colleagues.  Ignorance or denial of a threat doesn’t make it go away.  Bad things happen and apathy, denial and complacency are a deadly cocktail to any type of hostile event.

As we said in our blog on situational awareness, it is important to note that situational awareness comes from developing what is often called “street smarts.”  That is being aware of one’s surroundings and identifying potential threats and dangerous situations.  It’s knowing how to flip a mental switch inside your head and pivot to a predator mindset.  Street smarts or the predator mindset is a way of thinking, it’s not a magical hard skill set.

As soon as you get your street-smart radar up and running, you can assess an environment and read the atmospherics being given off by the people who are in it. You learn to trust that gut feeling about people and environments.  Following the Ready4, you can then assess your options to the threats that may arise.

So how should one respond if caught in an active scenario?  How do you simplify the process when confronted with an active hostile event?  To start, use the universal accepted process adopted by INTERPOL:

Run- “Running away is a race you will always win.”

Hide & Barricade- “There is no shame in retreating from a battle you won’t win.”

Fight- If you don’t fight for what you want, don’t cry for what you’ve lost.”

Alert- “If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare for the battle?”

Get to safety and when you are clear of danger, call the police and alert them to the event, provide details on the number of attackers, and describe the attackers as best as you can (dress and type of weapons if you know them).  Don’t drop your guard, there have been cases where the shooter followed fleeing victims.

As silly as it sounds, and we must say it, don’t go back to the location or stay in the area to video the event.

The police response to an active shooter has evolved, as was clearly seen in the Parkland, Florida shootings.  The old doctrine of control, contain and negotiate can cost people their lives in an “active shooter” incident. Now, as soon police arrive, they must move toward the sound of the event.  SWAT teams and patrol officers alike know that they must act immediately.  For this reason, police training has changed and SWAT teams have developed “quick and confusing” tactics.

Terrorist Groups want media attention & high body counts, so they target scheduled events with large crowds.  As we saw with the Las Vegas shooter or the Manchester Arena bombing in the United Kingdom, big concerts are a perfect site for an attack.  But the shootings in Parkland, Florida show once again we need to be prepared and have a plan in place in our everyday lives.

The majority of what we have shared here is in the public domain and easily accessible via the internet.  It’s common knowledge that these “terrorists” study not only the attacks but the police response. Because of this, we will not be sharing any of the unique police tactics being used or discussing the special skills we teach and offer here at Trident Response Group on any of our blogs.  Please come down to see us and let’s discuss ways to avoid and evade these tragic events.  We have several unique arrows in our quiver and as our quote below states, somebody needs to be thinking differently.

 “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
– General George S. Patton