The DHS is out with advice on how to survive an "active shooter event," seemingly in response to the Aurora murders -- though a video like this took more than a week to produce even with Janet Napolitano's money-no-object budget. I've become pretty familiar with producing films this year, and these things don't just happen over a cup of coffee.
- Run if a safe path is available. Always try and escape or evacuate even if others insist on staying.
- Encourage others to leave with you but don’t let the indecision of others slow down your own effort to escape.
- Once you are out of the line of fire, try to prevent others from walking into the danger zone and call 9-1-1.
- If you can’t get out safely, find a place to hide.
- When hiding, turn out lights, remember to lock doors and silence your ringer and vibration mode on your cell phone
- As a last resort, working together or alone, act with aggression, use improvised weapons and fight.
It so happens that the gun community has been abuzz on what Joe Q. Citizen's reactions could or should be. The best advice I heard on responding to an Aurora-type scenario was suggested by Capt. Nick, among others: a high-lumen flashlight to temporarily blind the attacker.
I was initially skeptical of the flashlight approach, but have come to see its value. Even though James Holmes may not have cared one whit about being able to aim, he nonetheless would have been temporarily disoriented. And that, points out James M. Kliegel, might have saved one, two, or three lives otherwise lost in Holmes' murderous spree.
So, although I am not urging anyone to any particular course of action -- that is a personal decision based on a lot of factors, including fitness to do so -- I think when faced with sudden and unexpected evil there is more to be done than run, hide and then maybe (eventually) fight. As Captain Nick said, "Flight 93 set the standard."