Is ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ the best advice for mass shootings?

  • By Madeleine Halpert
  • BBC News, New York

image source, Getty Images

picture description,

Training courses for active shooters are common in the United States

When a gunman opened fire at Michigan State University on Monday, students on campus were given a three-word order: “Run, hide, fight.”

“Running means evacuating from danger when it is safe to do so, hiding means securing yourself in place and fighting means protecting yourself when there is no other option,” the text reads University.

Three students were killed and five injured in the attack in East Lansing, Michigan. A 43-year-old suspect who had no ties to the university later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The university’s embassy was part of a government-funded active shooting program offered to students in the United States. It provoked an emotional response from those who bemoaned the fact that an educational institution needed to share the advice at all, and from some who questioned whether students should even be told to fight.

“Nothing is surprising anymore, but I still struggle to wrap my head around a school that encourages its students to run, hide, fight. What an American reality,” wrote one user on Twitter. Many others shared similar reactions.

But active shooting and criminology experts told the BBC the news was not meant to encourage people to try to target attackers. Instead, they said it’s an important way to remind people of the best options for their survival.

“Fighting is the last resort”

Reports of heroic bystanders stepping in to stop gun attacks have multiplied in recent years. Most recently, 26-year-old Brandon Tsay disarmed a gunman who killed 11 people at a New Year’s celebration in Monterey Park, California.

But for the past two decades, it’s been exceedingly rare for mass shootings to be stopped by a bystander.

According to Alex del Carmen, associate dean at Tarleton State University’s School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Public, in most cases — about 60% of the time — attackers are either killed by police or die at the scene by suicide by the administration.

according to dr del Carmen, whose team reviewed data on 178 mass shootings between 1966 and May 2021, the shooter took his own life 65% of the time.

Not all countries have adopted the same advice as the US, where mass shootings are far more common than any other nation. For example, in the UK, in the event of a gun or gun attack, police use the three-word message “Run, Hide, Tell”.

But the US government’s “Run, Hide, Fight” training is consistent with an “option-based” active shooter response strategy, which JP Guilbault, chief executive officer at Navigate 360, says is the most effective way to save lives with active shooter prep training .

video caption,

Students around the world on US school shootings and their biggest fears

For some, depending on their age, ability and situation, fighting may not be an option at all, and analyzing these variables in a highly stressful situation can prove challenging, experts conceded.

But any noise or distraction a person can make to buy time and distance when they can’t run or hide and face an attacker could increase their chances of survival, Mr Guilbault said.

‘The New CPR Training’

However, that doesn’t mean the fight will always work, nor does it mean it’s the best overall course of action, as the data “just isn’t there yet,” said Dr. Del Carmen.

He added that the “run, hide, fight” message would be much more effective if students and school staff received proper reaction training, which many have not received.

“I know some people will check the box and say they have a plan, but are they actually rehearsing it?” he asked.

Unfortunately, Mr. Guilbault said such training has become the “new generation of CPR.” “It’s a new skill that everyone needs to have,” he said.

Dealing with that reality, experts said, is another matter.

“Nobody wants that to happen,” said Ms. Schreit, who said the shooting at Michigan State University, her alma mater, struck near her home Monday. “I’m angry that I still have to talk about this.

“But that’s where we are.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button