Maybe Waiting Around For The Police To Rescue You Isn't Such A Great Idea


The New York Times flags what they report as a “sea change” in advice given the public for defending themselves in a situation such as a mass shooting. In the past, the advice was to call 911 and wait for the police to show up. Now, they’re edging towards telling people to take a more active role in defending themselves and others.

The speed and deadliness of recent high-profile shootings have prompted police departments to recommend fleeing, hiding or fighting in the event of a mass attack, instead of remaining passive and waiting for help.

The shift represents a “sea change,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which recently held a meeting in Washington to discuss shootings like those in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo.

The traditional advice to the public has been “don’t get involved, call 911,” Mr. Wexler said, adding, “There’s a recognition in these ‘active shooter’ situations that there may be a need for citizens to act in a way that perhaps they haven’t been trained for or equipped to deal with.” …

Research on mass shootings over the last decade has bolstered the idea that people at the scene of an attack have a better chance of survival if they take an active stance rather than waiting to be rescued by the police, who in many cases cannot get there fast enough to prevent the loss of life. …

“But you see that about half the attacks are over before the police get there, even when they arrive quickly,” said J. Pete Blair, director for research of the university’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center and an author of the research, which is set to be published in a book this year.

In the absence of a police presence, how victims responded often made the difference between life and death, Dr. Blair said.

You know what helps people take an active role in defending themselves?

If they’re armed. Which is why “gun free zones” are targeted over and over again by shooters bent on running up a big body count. They know a “gun free zone” is an area where people are least likely to be able to defend themselves.