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Episode 216 S6-16

What to Do When There's an Active Shooter


Special Guest:

The Endless Night Ch 16

Ben Branam

Being involved in an active shooter situation, is a worse case scenario for any of us. As the situation presents itself in The Endless Night, it give us a chance to explore possible scenarios. Today Ben Branam joins Chin and I to discuss what you should and shouldn't do for the best possible outcome.

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If you are ever involved in an active shooter situation, escape! These types of situation are new science, and the statistics are still evolving. Even though the present socially distributed piece of information is run, hide, fight. If you are at a school or office, you should not barricade yourself inside. Currently, for liability reasons, this is the prevailing belief. Teachers at schools are told to hide in the classroom with the children. They put papers under the door to show the status of the occupants inside. Any shooters roaming the halls can easily decipher this information. ​

If a shooter is not around, escape! The school has people barricade themselves in to avoid the liability of the student responsibility. If a child is hurt, lost, or killed in an evacuation, the school is liable. They lockdown so that no actions they take put the child in harm and a child killed by the shooter is not a liability for the school. However you should always get out! Do not hide!​

If you hear shots, go the other way! Put as much distance and physical barriers between yourself and the shooter as possible. Do not worry about your vehicle! Societal norms train us to worry about it and return to it, but if the shooter is north, you go south. Even if your car is parked on the north side, do not circle the building to get it. Lots of active shooter situations are now going mobile. There is no guarantee the shooter will not exit the building to the north and end up face to face with you while you are retrieving your car. ​

If you hide, you are playing a game of hide and seek, and your life is on the line. It is a race between the bad guy and the good guys to find you. There could be a very long-time period in between when the shooting begins, and the good guys arrive. Active shooters don't usually shoot you just once. If found, you will probably die.

Playing dead doesn't work either, so don't try it!​

Active shooters usually plan their event with military accuracy. It's not like the old days were people "went postal." They are not acting on raw anger and then lashing out in an unplanned manner. Their operations have precision planning. They are there to kill as many people as possible so do not become one of them because you got caught hiding. ​

If you conceal carry, you need to realize that even if you kill the bad guy without being killed yourself, you may still become a target for law enforcement when they enter. If you only want to ensure your survival, run! However, statistics do show that if you do decide to shoot back, the number of people killed will go way down. In these situations, lots of good guys die too. As soon as law enforcement is on scene, you need to put your weapon down and surrender. They have no idea that you are a good guy and are likely to shoot you.​

Your proximity to the shooter makes a big difference. In the military, they train the soldiers on two types of ambush. If it is a near ambush, they are told to turn, run and shoot back. If it is a far ambush, they are told to sit down and develop a maneuver. If you are super close and you decide to jump on the attacker, sometimes other folks will be more prone to help and will start attacking the shooter as well. Remember that this is not a fair fight. There are no rules. You need to do whatever it takes to bring them down as fast as possible. Never give up, or you will die.

Sheltering your children can be difficult. If you put your body in between your child and the bullet, there is no guarantee it will not pass through your body into theirs. Grab onto your child and put them in front of yourself. They are easiest to control that way. If you can carry them, do it.

The plated backpacks or other bags weigh a lot. The reality is, after the fear of a recent incident diminishes, carrying around eight-plus pounds of plates everyday s not realistic. Ceramic plates are lighter but won’t hold up to the everyday abuse. Soft plates are more practical but won’t stop as many calibers of bullets.

In an active shooter situation, most people fall when shot. It may only be a flesh wound but they still fall the ground leaving themselves vulnerable to another attack from the shooter. If shot, run! You still have time to get away. Teach your children to do the same.

Mental preparation for an active shooter situation is complicated. Play the what-if game in your mind. Every time you are in public, run scenarios for what if a shooter appeared. What would you do? When you see events unfolding on TV, try to put yourself there and have a plan for what you would have done. Go through the whole scenario in your mind. Everyone has the “oh, crap,” moment, where you momentarily freak out. Know it is coming and prepare to handle it.

Develop a marine corp style plan. What is your intent? What is your mission/plan to completed it? How can you assist, once everyone else is safe?

There are lots of podcasts exploring active shooter situations. Self-defense gun stories with Robert Morris is a great place to start. Don’t become a victim of the normalcy bias. Accept that it can happen to you. Don’t be afraid to break societal norms in those circumstances. Get yourself some shooting and self-defense training classes.  

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The Endless Night Ch 16

Ben Branam

"I’ve loved shooting since the first time I pulled a trigger at age 8. During high school I volunteered at my local PD where I learned more about handguns. I joined the Marine Corps Infantry after high school. I was a reserve for 10 years with 2 years of active duty and 1 tour in Iraq in 2003. I worked for an armored car company for almost 7 years mostly in the LA area of California. During all that I also got a degree in law enforcement and went through two different police academies. Being a cop never worked out, but through it all I’ve always been training people to fight. I spent all of 2008 in Iraq again as a private contractor defending a base. There I got to teach and train with the US Army and others. Now I want to bring that experience and my joy of teaching to others. I love teaching firearms and want the good people of the world to be able to defend themselves. It’s now my mission and purpose in life.." -Ben Branam

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