Washington DC Chief of Police Cathy Lanier, was interviewed by CBS News for a segment on Active Shooters. The whole video is worth a watch, but her segment is what is important and worth 2 minutes of your time.
Three points in her interview stood out at me.
- She says that people have three options in an active shooter scenario: run, hide, or fight.
- Most shooters do all their killing inside of 10 minutes.
- The best police response time is about 5 minutes.
Her three options of run, hide, or fight, come directly from a video put out by the FBI and Ready Houston.
“Fight. Act with aggression. Improvise weapons. *Guy picks up chair* Commit to taking the shooter down, no matter what.”
A chair? The FBI and D.C. Chief of Police want me to channel my inner Bobby Knight at an active shooter? Throw a chair and choke the guy?
The only flying metal object I have any faith in stopping an active shooter is copper jacketed and moving at 950 feet per second.
But of course in D.C., the only option is a chair, since Chief Lanier has authorized on 44 carry permits since concealed carry was mandated in D.C.
To be fair, the FBI, Chief Lanier, they’re starting to get it. Once upon a time, and still in many places around the country, the advice from law enforcement was “keep your head down, don’t attract attention to yourself, call 911, wait for police, and if you come face to face with the gunman, be complicit with all his demands and do nothing to antagonize him and get yourself killed.”
At face value, this advice may have made sense when it comes to say… a bank robber who is after money. But in the face of shootings by crazy people like in Tuscon or Sandy Hook, or religious zealots in Ft. Hood or Paris twice this year, that advice is worth the cost of your funeral. If you can’t get away, fight back, because if you’re trapped in a room with a gunman like that, you’re as good as dead already.
But the FBI, Chief Lanier, and others need to take their thinking to completion. If you are going to give the advice to fight back, you have to give the people the tools they need to fight back.
In the case of Chief Lanier, I know it’s tough for her to make that jump in logic. She’s from inside the liberal D.C. Beltway. I don’t know if she believes it personally, but the culture there is that the average citizen is just too stupid and dangerous to carry a gun and if they have one, they’ll only make things worse.
Fortunately, it’s not a lost cause. The attitude in Chicago is very much the same, and earlier this year an Uber driver from Chicago stopped a mass shooting before it had the chance to be a mass shooting. If Chicago can come around, so will D.C. and NYC.
For people like these, even acknowledging that the police won’t get to you in time and you may have to defend yourself is a huge ideological change. They’re getting there. I just hope it doesn’t take any more mass shootings for it to finally *click*.