Tag Archives: Active shooter

DHS Active Shooter Preparedness Program for churches

active shooter texas church

From DHS: Active shooter incidents, in many cases, have no pattern or method to the selection of victims, which results in an unpredictable and evolving situation. In the midst of the chaos, anyone can play an integral role in mitigating the impacts of an active shooter incident.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides a variety of no-cost resources to the public and private sector to enhance preparedness and response to an active shooter incident. The goal of the Department is to ensure awareness of actions that can be taken before, during, and after an incident.

Active Shooter Preparedness Program

DHS maintains a comprehensive set of resources and in-person and online trainings that focus on behavioral indicators, potential attack methods, how to develop emergency action plans, and the actions that may be taken during an incident.

Active Shooter Online Training

This one-hour online course (IS-907 Active Shooter: What You Can Do) provides an introductory lesson on the actions that may be taken when confronted by an active shooter, as well as indicators of workplace violence and how to manage the consequences of an incident. To access this course, please visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute online training website at http://www.training.fema.gov/is/crslist.aspx and type Active Shooter in the search bar.

Active Shooter Preparedness Workshop Series

These scenario-based workshops feature facilitated discussions to inform participants on the best practices associated with preparing for and responding to an active shooter incident. Through a dynamic exchange of information, these workshops provide participants an understanding of how to plan and aid in the development of an initial draft of an emergency action plan for their organizations. For more information on these workshops, please contact the Active Shooter Preparedness Program at ASworkshop@hq.dhs.gov.

Active Shooter Online Resources

There are additional resources available online to inform individuals on how to prepare for active shooter incidents. These resources range from booklets and pocket guides, to a 90-minute webinar that explains the importance of developing an emergency action plan and the need to train employees on how to respond to an incident. To access these resources, please visit http://www.dhs.gov/activeshooter.

Contact Information

For general information regarding the Active Shooter Preparedness Program, please email ASworkshop@hq.dhs.gov.

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That’s from the DHS website. I would add here that…

  • I would like to see among first responders to an active shooter critical incident on a church campus my own parishioners who are already on campus, and who are LEOs, military operators, or otherwise highly trained individuals who can instantly respond to and neutralize any threat, that is, those who don’t rest on their laurels, but who are frosty, always and instantly at the ready.
  • I would NOT like to see parishioners participating in this program who have a concealed carry permit but who, other than their first qualification have never fired their stop-the-threat-tool, or have only rarely done so. I can see it now: fumbling around in a purse or ultra-complicated safety holster (with all sorts of unnecessary safeties employed on the gun itself), trying to figure out how to use for the first time red-dot sights or lasers with all their switches or not (depending), with batteries being useful or dead, with zero scenario training, zero indicator awareness, zero situational awareness, and therefore little possibility of recognizing and isolating a target and therefore being caught off guard with a lack of confidence and therefore way too much hesitation and liability to foggy confusion, and therefore with an increased possibility of causing friendly fire casualties.
  • I would like to see the very same parishioners and others help to get those around them out of the building or, if that’s impossible, to the floor, even while getting out their phones and calling 911 and/or (depending on the circumstances and logistics) fighting with anything at hand: hymn books, loose chairs, music stands, instruments… oneself…
  • But here’s where the importance of a plan comes in, when everyone should know their part to play, so that flight or dropping to the floor is important so as to give clear access to defenders who have the proper tools to stop to a threat, therefore reducing the possibility of a friendly fire causality. The placement of defenders in good positions of situational awareness and the possibility of responding is key.
  • Flight-hide-fight.    This is about love.

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For myself, I’ve been trying to keep practiced with my Glock 19 by using the pre-September 11, 2001 Federal Air Marshall Tactical Pistol Course, using just a detail of a combined FBI QIT (97-99) printable on legal size paper. I include that graphic below with another graphic printable on letter size paper which includes a score sheet to track one’s progress in training. Accurate feedback is encouraging and standards can be set.

FBI QIT 99 97 legal

TARGET FAM PTC SCORESHEET

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Defending innocents – Loving enemies – Love overrides fear using it as a tool: stopping active shooters in churches

consecration-

ISIS is threatening terrorist events at Christmas time on specifically Catholic churches. Distinctions are necessary. Priests should be clear-headed about such things. Fear in the face of terrorism isn’t always a bad thing. But there are a number of kinds of fear, some good, some bad. Let’s take just a peek at both, starting with bad fear:

  • Bad fear, arising from our own insecurities, causes misplaced priorities, causing mistakes, causing imprudence bringing about reactions which might well bring about one’s own injury or death, or the same for innocent by-standers, or the same for the perpetrator in an unnecessary and unjustified escalation of force.
  • The insecurities causing bad fear regard any lack of readiness to leave this world considering one’s loved ones or one’s own responsibilities and dreams and plans or regarding any lack of personal spiritual preparedness for entering into eternity: if one isn’t ready to let go, if one hasn’t discussed this with loved ones and advisers, if one isn’t prepared to understand that it is a real possibility that one might not be able to get out of a threat or possibly might not be able to deescalate troubles, well then, bad things are probably going to happen: see above.
  • Bad fear casts out all love. I know a priest who said that he would absolutely for certain abandon his flock to the wolves so that he could come back later and be a priest another day. I attempted to instruct him that with that attitude, he wasn’t even now being a pastor of the flock. Perhaps he despaired of being able to do something about bad fear, and simply gave up.

Love casts out bad fear by having us depend on the Lord’s good love, not our own. Just to say, there is good fear and love can put that good fear to good use. Let’s take a peek:

  • Good fear regards the God-given good instinct for self-preservation. We can’t simply explain quite stupidly — “NO FEAR!” — thinking that that will bear out to be true in a critical incident situation. Good fear is a necessity and can be used to provide oneself with a good education in understanding and noting indicators of danger, to obtain good training, to keep oneself on edge with ever changing drills but also basic mechanics. Good fear puts an immediacy on prudently evaluating whatever situation. Good fear opens oneself up to having before oneself any number of possible avenues of recourse while choosing quite instantaneously the right course of action.
  • Good fear is the beginning of wisdom. Good fear is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Good fear places one before all eternity with all the prerequisite changes in one’s priorities, with all the security one has in one’s participation in God’s self-sacrificing love, looking forward to entering into all eternity if that becomes a necessity that one risks, as it were, in taking up such a life and life-style.
  • Good fear respects God’s justice, that is, with all piety, rendering honor to whom honor is due in justice.

Now, such analysis doesn’t mean that one doesn’t love one’s enemy, the active shooter, who is injuring or killing innocents. Our dear Lord can well sort out the results of one’s intervention in which one has put oneself at risk to stop the perpetrator. Recall what our Lord said just before being tortured to death, laying down His own life, the Innocent for the guilty: “Father, forgive them! They don’t even know what they are doing.” Defending the innocent doesn’t mean anything about the judgment of the perpetrator. Defending the innocent doesn’t mean that one is cruel or mean. One can retain one’s love of God and neighbor even when pulling the trigger on a perpetrator who is actively injuring and/or killing others or oneself.

Being a priest myself, I was asked whether or not, after myself hypothetically pulling the trigger and neutralizing any immediate and mortal threat, I would then proceed to absolve the sin of the criminal involved, if, for instance, the same fellow, being Catholic, did not refuse the sacrament as he might be actively dying, or was, in the same state, also unconscious. I would, of course, offer such an absolution. For instance, present insanity, in which case he is not guilty of any malice, does not exclude the forgiveness of any past sin at the possible moment of death. There is no sin too great that God’s mercy cannot provide forgiveness. But unrepented presumption of mercy is a sin against the Holy Spirit, for which there is no forgiveness, but that’s on the perp, not me. God’s the Judge.

“Defending innocents and loving enemies” — They’re not subject to the law of non-contradiction. Jesus is just that good and just that kind. Amazing, huh?

P.S. The flip-side of this last scenario would be whether or not a defender, having neutralized a threat against innocent, should be absolved from sin. I would never absolve such a person for doing such a violent thing because it is not sinful but rather virtuous and indeed heroic to defend the innocent from catastrophic injury and death. People wrongfully feel guilt for any number of things, including merely having happened to see a violent incident. Wrongfully forgiving that which was always innocent only seals people in wrong-headed guilt, which action on the part of the wrongful “forgiver” is IMHO a sin. It’s that kind of puritanesque being-above-the-fray judgment on good defenders which throws good people into the hell of PTSD, making them victims of holier-than-thou bullying instead of helping them to be one with everyone, which they were to begin with, and certainly much more so than any self-appraised do-gooders.

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priest gunslingers vs active shooters

saint gabriel possenti patron

The Saint Gabriel Possenti Society recalls the time when the now canonized saint saved a young lady from being raped by employing the tools he had at hand.

The need for using tools to ward off untoward violence even in Saint Podunk parish church that seats 25 people isn’t a thing of the past. Active shooter critical incidents and terrorist attacks are happening as frequently in these USA as they are anywhere in the world, whether in the podunk church or the mega-church. It’s time to harden the softest of all soft targets. ISIS is promising hits on Catholics on Christmas.

Choosing to familiarize oneself with the proper tools so as to be of service to one’s neighbor is a life decision, a life-style decision. Getting class-room training and being legal with any permits isn’t enough. One has to do drills and hopefully also scenario training with some frequency.

As I myself begin to become familiarized with my G19 (it’s only been a year and some since I fired my first shot out of a pistol), I’ve practiced with any number of target sizes and distances, moving and stationary, but have never seen anything like the pre-9-11 Air Marshal qualification put together by Tom Bullins. It was severely dumbed down after 9-11 since almost no one was able to pass even once. Few instructors in the nation were able to make the grade. So it was dumped. But the original course can still be pieced together and put into practice on a private range using the QIT-97 (the QIT-99 if you want to show off). This is the best explanation I’ve seen for the “old” Federal Air Marshall TPC Course.

On the day off the other day I tried to pass all seven stages 100% twice. But that, mind you, was just to get used to the times and what needed to be done. This wasn’t coming in cold before a flight or set of flights as was otherwise the case back in the day when Air Marshals were Air Marshals. Mind you, I bet today’s Air Marshals most likely practice on this old course on their own. For myself, there were many failures of time and accuracy in between getting familiarized with the seven stages. 1/10 second overtime failure on even one of the seven stages would disqualify an Air Marshall from flying. Wow. That’s jaw dropping. Trying out each stage was truly hilarious, what with spinning about and dropping down while changing out mags and shooting, etc. All stages are insanely difficult, but because of that, a challenge and therefore enjoyable.

A Navy vet in the parish recommended that I trade in my Glock for a Sig p320 (with the voluntary military upgrade). I’m considering that. There are many versions of the p320. I hate the idea of safeties. I really like the Glock “safe-action.” But, as I say, there are different versions. That needs investigation.

Meanwhile, there is much discussion about churches having “plans” which also include those who carry. I would like to approach this with some preparation and common sense with input from law enforcement. I understand that some law enforcement has been encouraged to provide programs for churches by the FBI. I’d like to look into that.

What I would like to see among parishioners who carry with permit is that they are well practiced, are level headed, and know what they are doing.

Or should Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows just said a Hail Mary while the girl was getting raped, you know, in case his actions with tools might otherwise escalate the situation? It is instead virtuous to contribute to the virtue of justice with the defense of the innocent when this is appropriate and prudent and possible to accomplish in appropriate and prudent and possible ways. While use of guns is a last resort, it is sometimes the only possibility.

People who deny this want to use Jesus and the Church to deny reality, and smash down anyone who gets in their way. Whatever. Jesus was and is a realist. And Saint Gabriel is still a canonized saint.

 

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[New Update] Active Shooter: The Coming Storm (FBI: Train now!)

New update: The FBI Criminal Investigation crowd used to regularly check in on this post for about the first year and a half after it was first published as pretty much every school district and university and hospital came here to investigate the possibilities and then forward their questions on to the creator of the program to see what they could do. As that traffic slowed down while programs were established, it’s not so much the FBI that checks in as the new Trump Department of State. Time to sign up.

=== Original post follows with added videos at the end ===

The FBI put out a 30 minute training movie (was 40) to help local law enforcement be prepared for active shooter situations, when logistics on the ground can save more lives than actual men on the ground. The idea is to get everyone to work together to bring an incident to a dead calm that rejoices in the greatest possible number of those who remain alive. We need to do what we can to help in whatever way we can. There is, as it the title suggests, by all human calculation, a “Coming Storm.”

FBI CITIZENS ACADEMY

Here’s something a fellow priest shared with me. The FBI Citizens’ Academy course might be helpful in dealing with those who manifest sometimes predictable if unhelpful critical incident reactions. That’s important to ongoing rescues, gleaning information from survivors, getting those losing it focused. It only takes a word or two rightly placed, but that’s the tricky part. For that tricky part, some of the course has been prepared by The Johns Hopkins University and Loyola College in Maryland.

I could have used that knowledge way back in the day when I was taking a TWA flight from Rome to New York, and twenty some Arab-looking terrorists (sorry for the profiling) reported while we were flying over Iceland that they wanted to blow up the plane then and there. Obviously they didn’t down the plane. I’m writing this now, right? But, at the time, all the stewards and stewardesses crowded around my seat and asked if I could have just a wee chat with the terrorists. I was forever after great friends with everyone at TWA. I’m sorry to have seen them go bankrupt.

The point is, some of you can do something. And you never know when it will be you who needs to come forward. At this stage, however, it is more about when than if. You know, “The Coming Storm,” and all that. Don’t say that there are professionals to do all that for us all the time. No, that’s just not how it works out in the real world in real time. And you know it. Ask about this program. If it’s not something you are up to doing, they won’t hesitate to tell you.

For myself, while going through the meat of the course, I don’t know if I’ll actually sit through the program and go through the adjunct certification for weapons, etc., which is a necessary part of the course. The truth is that even if someone said I’m a sharpshooter since I was a 12 year old kid (but that was a long-rifle), I think I have terrible aim with a gun, especially  the CCW type, though I’ve never tried. I just have a mental block about it. I think I’ve seen too much hell in my lifetime. I do have a good dozen people, of all backgrounds and faiths, who want to help me out with training in these days. All experts, some with ineffable military backgrounds. Maybe I’ll take them up on the offer, if not just for the good time of it all… Maybe.

O.K. Did I get you? It is also this kind of mental block that the course is designed to deal with, getting behind critical incident reactions, however delayed, however persistent, however much presenting at inappropriate times, as mentioned at the beginning of this post. :¬) Just ask about the course.

Another update: I now have my concealed carry licence and have been practicing up. No more mental blocks for shooting. Getting better all the time. If I can do it, anyone can. See Guns and spiritual stability in adversity.

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