Friday, October 13, 2006

Fighting Back

Dr. Helen quotes J. Reid Meloy who writes in Violence Risk and Threat Assessment
I have worked several mass murder cases during both criminal and civil suits, and I have discovered something that has important implications for survival: the people who live through these horrible events are active and aggressive. They either run out of the building, or if cornered, they aggress against the perpretrator, and then run. People who are killed do not run or hide effectively: they usually choose obvious hiding places, like under a desk or table. As a psychologist, this behavior appears to be acutely regressive-like the child who hides in an obvious place, believing that if he closes his eyes and cannot see, he won't be seen.
A reasonably intelligent person might conclude it's better to stand and fight than to die on your knees (or cowering under a desk).  The topic of discussion on her post is  that the Burleson ISD is teaching their kids to fight back.

It seems like a simple enough equation; Black Hat walks into a room with a gun in his hand and murder on his mind. He will find you under the desk (as Meloy points out it's an obvious hiding place). And once he does you're dead. You're trapped and it's a piss-poor place to defend yourself - you're on the ground, curled up.

Confront the Black Hat and you might live. Certain death or a chance at life?

During boot camp the Sergeant Major was held up as an example of What to Do. In Vietnam during a close ambush his squad did the correct thing - turned and charged the enemy. This is the hardest thing to do - you're taking fire it's natural to seek cover to find a hole in the ground.

The thing is if you are on the receiving end of a close-ambush there is no cover, there is no safe place - you're on killing ground chosen with care and attention to detail. There is no safe place - you're seconds from dying if you hesitate. The only safe place is to run - charge - the enemy.

If you stay you will die. If you charge the enemy position you may die; you may also live.

The Sergeant Major's squad charged, to a man. Eleven of them died, on the killing zone or defeating the enemy with 'fire and close combat'. The twelfth man - who two decades later was Sergeant Major of MCRD San Diego - lived.

There was a video shown to me long long ago in a nearly forgotten course on counter-terrorism. Still B+W pictures, taken every half-second. Taken during a bank robbery; robber has a gun. Off duty cop twelve feet away draws his a pistol from an ankle holster and it fails. Robber turns to shoot the cop. Cop leaps up from a crouch, hurls himself at robber. Robber gets of three shots at the cop. None landed. Cop body slammed the robber, smashed him into the ground and kept pounding until the robber was out of commission.

Had the man frozen in place he would have been murdered. And many others. He acted with alacrity and lived.

Act quickly and you may live. I don't say this is easy and I don't truly know that I'd have the guts to act quickly and correctly. I am a bit of a klutz and I am not a brawler or physical possessing.

More - these are kids.  Not Marines or cops or even adults who should know enough to fight back. Would I want my child to learn how to fight back?

Yes. They're children. Innocent and all that jazz. But the minute a madman stalks into their classroom, hunting them, or a looney tries to grab them off the sidewalk, if they survive they're no longer innocent. I'd rather my kids have memories of fighting back and not hiding from a monster come-to-life.

Which is a horrible thing to contemplate. I'm off to read a bedtime story now. Something with fuzzy lions and cute bunnies for a choice.

Dr. Helen via TJIC.
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