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  • Arthur Dorst

Some Thoughts on Active Shooter Incidents



In recent times we have seen an increase in active shooter events. If you are caught in the middle of one of these events it does not matter whether the motive is terrorism, domestic dispute, or workplace violence at that moment it is about survival. I won’t go into the everyone should go armed all the time as this may be dependent upon local laws, workplace rules, etc… It is a personal decision that each person as on individual has to make for themselves and their families.


If you do choose to go armed and find yourself in a the midst of an incident you must then make the choice as to whether to engage the suspect or use it to ensure you escape from the location to address any suspects that present themselves as you exit the area. This decision can be influenced by many factors to include but not limited who is with you, family, children, etc… Additionally what is your tactical skill set are you a go to the range and stand it the booth shooting a stationary target at seven yards or do you have a higher level of skills that will enable you to prevail in a fluid situation. Also how do you let responding law enforcement officers know who you are?


Beyond the discussion of being armed there is the reality that the vast majority of people including security providers will be unarmed. That leaves the three choices that have previously been voiced by others on these pages. First Run; if you can get out of the area do so. Know where you are at all times and know where the exits are (Situational Awareness). Have a plan and look for the unusual exits, out the kitchen in a restaurant, the back of a store in the mall, etc… Stay low, move, and keep hold of small children and loved ones. Second Hide; again know where you are and where the possible safe areas are. Most offices, stores, and schools have not typically been designed with safe rooms in mind. If it is your workplace, school, look around and find where are rooms that you can secure yourself and others in. With regards to others my recommendation is don’t waste time trying to convince someone to move (Other than family. Then they are being carried out.). Lastly Fight; when dealing with active shooter begging and crying will not spare you. Throw things, look for opportunities while they are reloading, but when there is no other choice get anyone you can to join you and fight.

Lastly I highly recommend that people learn basic trauma medical skills and carry a basic kit. In any active shooter situation emergency medical response will most likely be delayed getting into the area where victims are. Self and buddy aid will save lives. Most of these incidents are not spontaneous, they are planned and there is almost always someone who after says something like “Yeah he said he hated so and so and was going to get him. But I thought he/she was kidding.” In conclusion be alert if you see something say something. If you have a friend, associate or coworker who talks about committing acts of violence let someone know. Any early intervention could save lives.

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Author  – Art Dorst is the owner of A. Dorst Consulting & Training Services and is a Senior Consultant for LaSorsa & Associates.  He served in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserves and eventually retired as an NCO from The Army National Guard.  He is also a retired municipal Police Officer, a Certified EMT, NRA Instructor, and is currently a security provider/trainer.

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