I think it was just after the speaker called Austin Landis to come & receive his diploma that it hit me like a javelin to the back of the head.  There was, what, 500 or so kids in blue and white gowns and maybe twice that many parents, teachers, administrators and friends populating the auditorium – pretty standard for a small northeastern Pennsylvania community – but there was absolutely zero police or security anywhere near the auditorium, or, for that matter, anywhere near the high school itself (believe you me, I checked it out on my way in and on my way out).

I believe, in order to stop an active shooter, you have to think like one.  Check that.  You have to “become” him.  Not a fun thing to do, this coding, as I call it.  And only God knows if it works because I aint never come up against one.  But I guaran-damn-tee ya, if some cretin would have shot his way into the ceremony, I would damn sure be ready.

A Personal Strategy

My number one survival strategy is what I call a Survival Psyche.  You could call it Mental Conditioning or something else.  Doesn’t really matter.  What does matter, though is that I (or you) always keep myself prepared to immediately go into effective and decisive action,  And the only way you can act immediately is to:

  • Establish and maintain Situational Intelligence (SI).  Know your surroundings, your escape routes, barricades in the environment that you can use to slow the miscreant down and/or buy some valuable time.
  • Be Aware.  As soon as I enter the building I start thinking like the shooter.  Of course, if I were him, I would have done some recon work.  “Okay, hammer. no security.  Means we are sitting ducks, so be ready to move.  Look for subtle changes; check out body language and profile the shooter.
  • Anticipate.  Meaning, ask yourself, “what would I do if some idiot starts raking the room with automatic fire.
  • Anticipate, Part II:  Expect loud noises, screams, people running and screaming, blood, gore.  With all that, Stay Cool and Take Action. 
  • Plan.  Would I counterattack or escape?  Save my daughter, her husband, my grandson?

But, what I would do and what you would do is not the issue.
The real issue is that the setting was ideal for a rampage shooter.  Everyone who he could possibly hold a grudge against – teachers, parents, athletes, bullies – everybody who was a perfect target were right there,  Sitting ducks for a massacre.  And no police.  No security.  Zero.


When will they ever learn?






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