DAILY SIGNAL — After the carnage like we’ve witnessed in American cities such as San Bernardino and Orlando, and more recently in Europe, the national conversation tends to shift temporarily back toward gun control legislation and how to best protect ourselves in the homeland from future terrorist attacks.
Sadly, however, what is always absent from these post-tragedy conversations is any mention of one change with enormous potential to save lives—one which would not require controversial legislation, millions of dollars, nor procurement of expensive advanced technologies. This change includes an overdue re-examination of how unarmed civilians should respond during these events, including how federal, state, and local authorities tell the public to respond.
Most every American has at some point either discussed or practiced an “active shooter response” based on guidance developed by the Department of Homeland Security.
Originally created, in part, as a buffer against potential lawsuits in the wake of a Nebraska mall shooting in late 2007, the guidance teaches us to run away if possible, hide if you are unable to escape, and fight back only as a last resort.
Today, “Run, Hide, Fight” is taught to everyone and mandated not only by the DHS, but also by the FBI, law enforcement…and even the military, including for its own members. Fear of lawsuits (by grieving family members of victims who fought back) still drives this and indirectly paralyzes everyone into watching helplessly as the active shooter and terrorist menace rampages.
Despite this public mandate to run away or cower when under attack, America vigorously celebrates those who violate this edict and confront the threat.
Three Americans were among those who famously thwarted an attack on a Paris train in August of last year; they’ve enjoyed celebrity status in the months since. Numerous other examples exist of average Americans bucking their government’s guidance, ignoring their survival instincts, and doing the right thing to help save others, and themselves.