Fight back, the lesson of the heroes of flight 93

What do you do when a mad gunman shows up? At Columbine the answer was to hide under the desk so you could be a convenient target. Some have decided that that is not a good answer. has the story about a Burleson School in Texas that hired a British Army Major and instructor for Response Options. The new approach is one that was made visible by the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 (Wikipedia). Dave Kopel on School Violence on National Review Online discusses the situation and its implications. Fighting back, Dr. Helen: Let’s Roll, SayUncle » That’s what I’ll teach my kids provide commentary worth perusing (ht Boorze).

This is advice that has a history, often relearned. Over the last twenty years or so, women have been advised about how to react to assault. The lesson learned is that you only go so far. That ‘so far’ is demarked by the line between property and life. If the attacker only wants property, the general advice is to submit and hand the problem over to the police (later). But if the assault threatens life or liberty, then submission is not considered a good plan.

The first option is always to try to get away from dangerous situations. Run away. A moving and receding target is harder to hit. But if you can’t get away, such as the passengers on Flight 93, then attack. This is what the Major was teaching the teachers and students at Burleson. If a gunman shows up in your classroom, go on the offensive. Throw anything you can at his head and upper torso. Mob the gunman. Make noise.

There are those who still advocate that you should emulate a target: A nice quiet, nonmoving, compliant target. They suggest the same tactic in regards to NoKo nuclear tests or Iranian violations of arms accords or any ‘response’ to terrorists. We have seen what that approach does. The alternative may be costly and messy but at least it is less costly and less messy and does end the threat promptly.

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