Active Shooter Protocols - Remain Calm, Stay Low, Be Quiet (Don't Forget to Silence Your Phone)
May 28, 2010 8:59 AM   Subscribe

With a deep rift between people they can effectively train and people who can get into the country, jihadi terrorist groups are increasingly suggesting that grass-roots sympathizers plan simple attacks with readily available items. To a large extent this means mimicking tactics with which we're all too familiar. Recall that for Mumbai in 2008, this amounted to nine men holding the city hostage for four days, while killing or wounding almost 500 people. So what should you do [pdf] if you find yourself in an area that is under fire? What can you expect Law Enforcement to do?
posted by castironskillet (37 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
What can you expect Law Enforcement to do?

It is the policy of Fairfield Medical Center’s Police Department, based on training and experience, to allow initial responding officers the authority and responsibility to take immediate action to contain and if necessary, neutralize active shooter incidents.

Seems you can expect Law Enforcement to come in shooting first and asking questions later.

Find cover and try to look as white as possible.
posted by three blind mice at 9:06 AM on May 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


Seems you can expect Law Enforcement to come in shooting first and asking questions later.

Seems like a pretty good policy to me -- what alternative would you prefer, that they stand around outside until the shooter runs out of ammunition?
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:17 AM on May 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, there doesn't seem to be anything saying strategies to "contain and if necessary, neutralize active shooter incidents" could NOT include shooting all the targets first to give the shooter nothing to aim at...
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:21 AM on May 28, 2010


*dusts-off Concealed Carry permit*
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:30 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Kadin2048: Seems like a pretty good policy to me -- what alternative would you prefer, that they stand around outside until the shooter runs out of ammunition?

The only thing worse than one person shooting wildly is two people shooting wildly.

Step 1.) Assess the situation.
Step 2.) Consider options.
Step 3.) Act.

Going in guns drawn with the mindset of "neutralize" would appear to skip steps 1 and 2.
posted by three blind mice at 9:35 AM on May 28, 2010


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posted by Burhanistan at 9:38 AM on May 28, 2010


Since the grievances of these "jihadi terrorists" (as you so insensitively call them) are ultimately caused by the imperialist U.S., if you find yourself in a terrorist attack, it's racist to fight back. You should just let them slaughter you as a way of assuaging your white guilt.
posted by gnossie at 9:39 AM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Find cover and try to look as white as possible.

You got an example of cops coming in to an "active shooter" situation and arbitrarily blowing away people on the basis of their non-whiteness, Three Blind Mice?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:43 AM on May 28, 2010


Going in guns drawn with the mindset of "neutralize" would appear to skip steps 1 and 2.

Well, thank God the entirety of law-enforcement training in this sort of matter is encompassed by these couple of pamphlets. I'd hate to think that first-response instructors emphasize the notion of assessing the situation first.

Oh, wait...
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:46 AM on May 28, 2010


three blind mice: "Seems you can expect Law Enforcement to come in shooting first and asking questions later. "

This is not Russia.
posted by The White Hat at 9:50 AM on May 28, 2010


"Active Shooter Protocols - Remain Calm, Stay Low, Be Quiet (Don't Forget to Silence Your Phone)"

You forgot "shoot back" - I don't carry a gun because I expect to get into a gunfight, I carry because I'd hate to miss the opportunity to get into a gunfight!
posted by Standeck at 9:56 AM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hmm. Mumbai was a seaborn assault backed by Pakistani intelligence involving foreign fighters - that might be stretching "grassroots".
posted by Artw at 9:57 AM on May 28, 2010


That may be, Artw, but it was the kind of thing you could do with conventional firearms and radios you can buy at Walmart.
posted by castironskillet at 10:01 AM on May 28, 2010


You got an example of cops coming in to an "active shooter" situation and arbitrarily blowing away people on the basis of their non-whiteness, Three Blind Mice?

Jean Charles de Menezes could provide you with an example, but he's not saying much because he's dead.

(Granted that was a case of a suspected bombing, but, had his skin been lighter, he probably would have lived.)
posted by acb at 10:02 AM on May 28, 2010


Also, given that every six months or so someone in the US goes crazy and goes on a shooting spree until they get cornered and kill themselves or the cops shoot them it seems like that would be the more relevant situation to address, with religious fundamentalism based shooters being a subset of crazy shooter.
posted by Artw at 10:03 AM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Boy, that What Should You Do pamphlet reads like something I could have popped off in 20 minutes if my boss asked me to whip something up in case my coworker decided to go nuts one day. "Use common sense and then add 18 extra pages of useless graphics."

"Hide in an office. Oh, but make sure you don't trap yourself somewhere."
posted by bondcliff at 10:03 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do have to agree with bondcliff... color toner is expensive. Printing this out would be a real waste.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:08 AM on May 28, 2010


A friend of mine did a story on the local connection to the Mumbai attacks, it's a good piece.
posted by The Straightener at 10:08 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've never *not* had comprehensive escape/evasion plans for shooter/zombies/cyborgs invading my place of work, but that's more of a thing i do in my head to keep awake in meetings.
posted by Artw at 10:13 AM on May 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


Artw, I linked to two jihadi incidents and three homegrown American shooters. I guess your coffee just tastes better when you're being pedantic?
posted by castironskillet at 10:13 AM on May 28, 2010


I'm glad to know I'm not the only one, Artw. Giving a tour of campus and then briefly rating each building on its ability to be fortified against slow-moving zombies is almost automatic now. I plan to submit a script tentatively titled "George Romero's Building Inspector of the Dead."
posted by adipocere at 10:31 AM on May 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


When I think of active shooter incidents, I think of Columbine, the Montreal Polytechnique, Virginia Tech, a few library hostage incidents everyone else has probably forgotten and the recent courthouse shootings.

None of those had a thing to do with "jihadi terrorists."
posted by QIbHom at 10:35 AM on May 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


What Would Rambo Do?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:38 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


QIbHom, two out of the three of those incidents are linked above.

The point of bringing up jihadi terrorism is covered in the first link, where such incidents are projected to increase in tempo because they are now the recommended methodology of jihadi organizations, over IED's or whatnot. Because they are easier to carry out, there is a lower entry-bar to cross, thus inviting more activity. This represents a change that is worth noting, and could well result in much more of these types of events than our even jaded sensibilities have come to expect.

(TLDR: Please RTFA before being smug, thanks.)
posted by castironskillet at 10:50 AM on May 28, 2010


What Would Rambo Do?

Hide himself in a mud wall
posted by InfidelZombie at 10:51 AM on May 28, 2010


YEAH!
If every country had atomic bombs then they would all be afraid to use them.
Oh, wait... who am I supposed to be satirizing?

posted by Drasher at 10:57 AM on May 28, 2010


Actually, at both Littleton and at Va Tech, the police took some heat for waiting until the shooter was no longer 'active' before attempting to enter and assess. While no great fan, this seems like a damned-if-you-do-or-don't situation for law enforcement.
posted by umberto at 11:21 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I contemplated doing some academic work on how western entertainment has impacted upon what actions 'terrorists' choose to do. We are so focused on the over the top, blockbuster 'spectacular' style terrorism or the conspiratorial group of suicide bombers, that perhaps we are closing down the mental avenues that could permit truly terrifying activity given a group of committed activists willing to regularly defy our social contract on a sufficiently large and public scale.

Imagine terrorists deliberately crashing cars into crowds, or stabbing as many people as possible in a supermarket, etc etc. There are a lot of actions that don't fit the terrorist model as we imagine it, but would be vastly scarier to me than a bombing campaign. Even if the action film angle is irrelevant, I've long been curious as to why the focus of 'terrorism' has often been on spectaculars and bombs.

Living in the north of Ireland, I know that you get used to bomb scares fairly quickly if they happen with any regularity. I'm not sure I could get used to random acts of violence as mentioned above.
posted by knapah at 11:29 AM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


castironskillet, my problem is with your terminology. You are using "jihadi" in place of "Islamic" or "Islamic fundamentalist."

The word "jihad" translates as "struggle." It has a much broader religious meaning that often (if not usually) does not involve violence. Using the term "jihadi" in this context is about as accurate and noninflammatory as using the term "rag head terrorist."

I see that you live in the US. That means you are far more likely to be shot at by a non-Muslim. So, your use of the term "jihadi terrorist" in this context is hate-mongering and racist.
posted by QIbHom at 11:36 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Plus lets face it there's probably not exactly zero overlap between people who rigorously plan for Al Queda attacking Nowheresville, Midwest and people who go on shooting sprees.
posted by Artw at 11:38 AM on May 28, 2010


The What Should You Do PDF makes me sad- it's like 80% of the work went into catchy pictures, and 20% into actual material, which, mostly boils down to common sense. Which, of course, the folks who don't think this way already are unlikely to get it from reading a pamphlet.

I'm also amused/disturbed that "Foster a respectful workplace" is in there as well.
posted by yeloson at 12:53 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


QibHom: I'll bite, why is jihadi terrorist 'hate-mongering and racist' but Islamic terrorist is ok?
posted by biffa at 1:06 PM on May 28, 2010


"Imagine terrorists deliberately crashing cars into crowds, or stabbing as many people as possible in a supermarket, etc etc. There are a lot of actions that don't fit the terrorist model as we imagine it, but would be vastly scarier to me than a bombing campaign. Even if the action film angle is irrelevant, I've long been curious as to why the focus of 'terrorism' has often been on spectaculars and bombs."

I've always thought a good single shot terror weapon would be any one of the tens of thousands of tanker trucks (milk, fuel oil, gas, water, etc.) filled with relatively low viscosity napalm. The payload could be dispensed at rush hour via spray bar. You can buy old water trucks which already have the pumps and bars for spray for a couple thousand dollars and then you just have to make the napalm. Your water truck will come in handy here as it'll make it easy to steal gas from underground tanks or farms.

Imagine the "fun" one could have setting a thousand lane feet of any major US metropolitan bridge ablaze. With luck the bridge will be seriously damaged requiring closure while being fixed. Or direct the spray onto oncoming traffic and set hundreds of vehicles on fire as you pass by at 50 mph.

And of course one could hide tanks in cube vans which would mean practically no bridges/roads would be off limits to your truck(s).

With 20 drivers one could probably exceed the WTC death toll and throw a serious monkey wrench into the logistics of the country as trucks everywhere are subject to severe scrutiny; maybe even temporarily idled ala the plane groundings after 9/11.
posted by Mitheral at 1:10 PM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Imagine terrorists deliberately crashing cars into crowds, or stabbing as many people as possible in a supermarket, etc etc. There are a lot of actions that don't fit the terrorist model as we imagine it, but would be vastly scarier to me than a bombing campaign. Even if the action film angle is irrelevant, I've long been curious as to why the focus of 'terrorism' has often been on spectaculars and bombs."

I think there's one simple reason why we don't see more of these types of attacks: the terrorists (and potential terrorists) want to be famous. If they've got one (metaphorical) shot at striking a blow against The Enemy before being killed or imprisoned, they're going to use that chance to do something flashy that takes out as many people as possible, so they'll be remembered. From a tactical point of view, it makes more sense to have large numbers of anonymous terrorists running around spreading havoc, but nobody wants to be one of those nameless ciphers. There's no glory in it.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:16 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


[few comments removed - please stick to the topic and castironskillet, go a little easy on the threadmodding please?]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:30 PM on May 28, 2010


It was after Colombine that police started re-evaluating their policies and coming up with 'active shooter' responses. The police were literally standing around outside, keeping the perimeter tight, and listening to Kleybold and Harris shooting other kids. They were heavily criticized for following what was then accepted policy, and there were a spate of stories afterwards about how police departments were now practicing immediate response where the first few officers would go in and try to stop the shooter.
posted by fatbird at 3:47 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


QibHom, I belive you may have been looking for "Islamist," or "Islamist militant," not "Islamic." However, I assure you the use of jihadi in this context is neither of the offensive labels you have charged, and certainly not moreso than Islamic. Again, if you would read either the article I first linked or my summary of it in either my post or my last comment to you, I hope you would see the that you are being very unfair here.
posted by castironskillet at 3:54 PM on May 28, 2010


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