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A former DEA agent gives some advice in case of an active shooter:

WAAY 31 did some digging to find out what well-intentioned gun owners should do to avoid being shot by police during active shooter situations. This comes in the wake of the Birmingham mall shooting. Many questions remain unanswered as the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, or ALEA, continues its investigation.

An expert, who teaches civilians what to do in active shooter situations, said this is a situation that could happen anywhere. The first thing he recommends to gun owners is to try to run away and to not pull out your gun unless you are in direct contact with the shooter. That is because of what could happen when police arrive.

“You will be considered a threat if you have a firearm in your hands,” said Noell Bishop. He served over 20 years in the military and was a Drug Enforcement Administration agent for 20 years. – Kody Fisher for WAAY 31, Expert Advises Gun Owners to Not be a Hero

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  1. Statistically speaking you’ll have around 10 minutes to reholster after you shoot the active shooter dead before the police arrive.

    • I have been following some of the latest mass shootings closely and the police are getting there faster and faster. In some shootings they actually were there in 3 minutes. A gun battle with a maniac could easily last double that amount of time as both shooters traded shots.

      • Well if that’s the case I’ll be the one frantically trying to get the cartridges off the speed strip and into the chambers when they get there.

      • Most of the most recent shootings have been at schools, bars, and convention-type events, which are almost universally “gun free zones”, anyway. The police may respond quickly, as more people now know to tell 911 it’s an active shooter, but you won’t be armed there and exchanging shots.

        In fact, by the time the shooter hears the sirens or is confronted by armed resistance, he usually kills himself. There are very few spree shootings that carry over into a second act lengthy shootout with police or anyone.

        Anything is possible, I readily concede. You’ll just have to make the best decision you can with the information and resources available at that moment.

    • Maybe it’s time for the police to re-examine their active-shooter training protocols to incorporate finding other armed citizens at crime scenes? As America arms itself, there’s a pretty significant demographic change taking place. More and more Americans are carrying weapons. Increasingly, police are going to find that they aren’t the only armed, non-criminal, people at a crime scene. Instead of responding to everyone with a gun as a threat, they—and we—need to figure out how to deal with this new reality or more innocent people are going to be shot by the police.

      • @Garrison: I agree. The world we live in is in a constant state of evolution; and, we need to pay attention to realize when it’s time to consider adapting.

        It makes sense to enter into a constructive dialogue with LEOs. As non-LEOs we don’t really understand the LEO’s viewpoint on an encounter. And, I imagine that LEOs don’t understand that of the law-abiding gun carrier. As long as we are both in the dark we are both at risk.

        If we have a dialogue we may reach some rules-of-engagement that will keep both of us safe. And, we are likely to engender some LEO support for the right-to-carry.

  2. So while we, as CC people, are to be judicious and reasoned if we pull a gun the police can rush in and shoot the first person they see……What am I missing?

      • Maybe someday the average person will be able to hit a paper target 50% of the time once or twice per year. Until then only our law enforcement deities who qualify at that level of perfection can be trusted.

        • Quantity over quality.

          The less people keep and bear arms the more cops we need. When you have to fill a quota you compromise the quality. There is only so many quality candidates out there willing to do the job. The rest will simply be there for a paycheck or because a department wants to have diversity over merit/qualification.

          Anti gunners need to be informed that less guns means more cops and crime.

      • They are trained in many things but marksmanship is not highly prized. Why does an officer shoot 14 times and make maybe 3 hits. Nerves, adrenaline and a rush to judgement are not good factors when one pulls a trigger. I get that they rush to the sound of the shots and are struggling to make sense of what’s happening but i figure they are scared and are amped up too.

    • What you are missing is that when someone starts shooting in your vicinity you know who the bad guy is. When cops “rush in” they don’t. When every tick of the clock is another body you can understand their decision to see every drawn gun as the shooter. What we were told in force protection training was to hit the floor and stay there when the SOF guys show up to rescue you because they are going shoot every upright person as a potential threat. But please go ahead and flash your gun around after you shoot the bad guy if it makes you feel like the hero.

      • Nobody’s missing that. That’s what the problem is. The perception that only police should be armed. The rest of us? We’re all disposable drones.

        • I don’t get that from Fisher’s advice. He is telling you to GFO and only use the gun to accomplish that if you have to. You protect those around you by protecting yoyrself, not by playing the hero. It’s the “run away” part from “don’t get noticed; run away if you are; and only use force when you have exhausted all other options “

        • tdiinva:

          “…to GFO and only use the gun to accomplish that if you have to.”

          That’s my plan as well!!

      • Well , using this policy then maybe the police should throw in grenades then sort out the survivors. I remember the saying about burning down the barn to get rid of rats. Maybe the citizens should be allowed to shoot trigger happy police in self defense.

      • Police shoot more bystanders in their attempt to hit a known suspect than they shoot people out of mistaken identity.. I’m not terribly concerned about responding police. Holster your gun and wait patiently. You’ll be fine. Unless you’re not. Sometimes, stuff happens.

    • The important thing is that all of the officers make it home safe at night. That’s the important thing.

  3. I’m not going to run to the gunfire if in an active shooter deal. But if it’s happening in my immediate line of sight. I highly doubt I’m running away. Cops come and I see them 1st.
    My guns being holstered. I’m no hero in my eyes. Being a corpse won’t do me much good.

  4. Being a hero is not my job or mission.

    My mission is to get my wife and myself safely out of the area, as quickly as possible. If wacko active shooter gets in the way he/she is going to be neutralized as I continue to get my wife and I out of the area.

    Otherwise my weapon stays put.

    I will probably catch flames for this but…I’m not a sheepdog…not risking my life for anyone other than her.

    Thats how it has to be.

    got my nomex on..bring it.

    • I’m with you. I carry to protect me and mine. If protecting me and mine also protects someone else then bonus for them.

    • Just remember most of the cop haters are actually wannabe cops. I wouldn’t be surprised if some were rejected or washouts.

      • It’s true. I washed out of my local PD interview when I couldn’t do enough pushups in a short enough time.

        The former football player who ended his PD career with 263 years in prison for sexually assaulting several civilians, tho? That guy could do lots of pushups.

        • Tdiinva, not every skeptic is a ‘cop hater’. They are civilians too and do not get special rights merely because of a job title. Come off your high horse once in a while, and you might realize that normal people dislike being shot as much as the police.

        • I am not the one on high horse Sparky. It’s every pudknocker with the “I can do it better than tne cops” attitude that’s riding high. If you find in an active shooter situation don’t engage if you don’t want to risk getting shot.

        • So… it is better to not defend yourself if you are in such a situation because the cops might shoot you? So what, the only real choice is being shot by the perp, or the cops according to you?

  5. I’ve spent some time thinking about this, since having once survived being the citizen holding the gun when police arrived. I made it through by seeing them first and addressing them in a firm, calm manner and essentially using jargon, phraseology and demeanor that indicated to the arriving officers that I was an officer as well (what I did was actually order them to move in and arrest the person I had at gun point while indicating that I had him covered)…without unlawfully actually saying so. The gambit worked, but clearly leaves much to be desired.

    While I cringe to say this, I’ve considered a CCW badge as a potential mitigating strategy: police tend to look for badges before shooting people, as do other good guys, and a badge is a nice big shiny don’t shoot me sign that is both instantly recognizable and highly visible if well displayed…at least from the front.

    It’s far from perfect, highly unlikely kit to be needed, and I don’t wish to carry one or deal with the issues that arise from having one…but it would be a nice tool to have if you find yourself unable to disengage from an attacker as police arrive.

    I think most of what worked for me in my first encounter was displaying a command presence coupled with proactive communication and an apparent entitlement to the position I was holding (one person lying on his side 20 feet from me on a parking lot at gun point). It wasn’t until well after the subject of the problem had been cuffed and placed in a car that anyone thought to ask who I was and what department I was with…and there was a bit of consternation when it was realized they had literally walked in front of my gun and arrested a person at my command. They were nice about it though; I think relief that it worked out ok, and a bit of chagrin on their part made them jocular rather than frightened by the potential mistake or angry about the quasi deception.

    The take away I think is to work ahead of time on demeanor, tone, language and other aspects of communication. I was going for professional and in charge, and was accepted as both immediately. It may have saved my life.

    Given that any badge can be misused and anyone can get a badge of some sort, this is hardly reliable evidence that a person is on the side of good and right. Meanwhile people lie, and some are quite clever at it, making communication unreliable as well.

    It would be nice of there were a secret handshake or pass phrase that allowed one good guy to identify another in an instant, but for the time being the only way to discern intent is by observing action in the totality of the circumstances. These circumstances include how one dresses, the language used, body language and general appearance and demeanor.

    In my high risk encounter I was wearing a sports coat over jeans, my weapon was a model 10 Smith with 4 inch barrel (It was many years ago) held straight out in a two handed grip, my hair was neatly cut and groomed, and my language and demeanor were intentionally professional and commanding (at the time I was a manager of a large sales and service team for a major corporation and was used to such). I’ll never know how these factors affected the outcome, but I wonder what might have been different if I had been wearing sagging pants and a hoodie, (or, for that matter, cammoflage and a shoot me first vest) or had been involved in a profanity laced tirade against the fellow on the ground when the police arrived…it may not have ended as well. Appearance and appearances matter, I suspect. Something to think about.

    • … for the time being the only way to discern intent is by observing action in the totality of the circumstances.

      Very true.

      These circumstances include how one dresses, the language used, body language and general appearance and demeanor.

      Also true.

      I have a tendency to be dressed too casual when I go out. This is a reminder that I would be wise to at least dress “business casual” as often as possible.

    • Ardent,

      Where did your event occur? I imagine your location — and the general police culture at your location — may have played a huge role in their response.

      If you did that in a suburb of New York City, the outcome may have been quite ugly for you. If you did that in a modest town in Arizona, the outcome probably would have been the same.

      • Yup. I have been in a similar situation with cops trying to intercept a perp (being chased by other cops) who came through my back yard, and appeared to be coming at me. Still had gun in my hand when they rolled up in my back yard 15 seconds too late. Had pulled my gun from the car, so did not have a holster on. I did not think twice about it, being that it was in small town Alabama. No way in hell though in any big city.

        As others have pointed out, this really is an issue of how police are trained.

    • YES, as an ordinary citizen, you face MORE danger from “law enforcement” than you do from an active shooter.

      • Damnnn! That looked like such a dangerous suspect, unarmed and didn’t even protest or resist, obviously must have been up to no good. Any normal innocent person would have at least said, “Ouch! What the Fuck!” All joking aside, it seems that the new training is to shoot before placing the cuffs; makes it easier to reach the wrists or something.

  6. This article is PROOF that “law enforcement” sees itself as the only “solution to the problem” and relegates those of us who would respond to an active shooter situation in a much more professional manner than most “law enforcement” types as “lesser human beings”, being relegated to the role of “cannon fodder”, prohibited from acting to “stop the threat”.
    Let’s face it, the number-one goal of “law enforcement” is to “go home after their shift, those they are sworn “to protect and serve” be damned. Their “safety” and “job security” are more important than what their mission should be–to save lives.
    All one has to do is look at the various active mass shooter incidents in which these “trained law enforcement” types SAT ON THEIR HANDS while the active mass shooter was wreaking his death and destruction.
    Law enforcement should be ashamed of itself.

    • I both understand and appreciate your sentiment. But consider this: mankind recently has learned how to capture video of police encounters for last 20 years or so. This has allowed them to learn lessons paid for in blood in very accurate detail. Top this off with 3 strikes law that basically gave the offending criminal no reason not to fight to the 💀 as he was likely going to die in prison anyways so… nothing to lose.

      That’s why they have this survival mentality at the expense of you and me.

      Just food for thought.

  7. I brought this scenario up a few weeks ago and was told there weren’t any cases to support my fear of being mistaken as a bad guy in an active shooter incident. I’m not sure that those, here and now, are part of that response team, but the current conclusions drawn to the reality of it are pitiful, except for the one by Argent.

  8. Twenty years with the DEA………that would seem to make him more qualified to seize assets, smuggle guns, lie and inflate arrest numbers and street values……just say’n

    If you believed in the constitution, you would not go to work for the DEA.

    Don’t see any qualifications for late to the party expertise.

  9. Sounds like cops need better training.

    The answer of if you defend yourself with your constitutionally protected right, government agencies will think of you as a threat, is ridiculous.

    • The biggest police problem isn’t training. It’s culture and weltanschauung. They determine training protocol.

  10. … what well-intentioned gun owners should do to avoid being shot by police during active shooter situations.

    Easy solution: armed citizen promptly incapacitates the attacker, immediately reholsters his/her handgun, and immediately exits the area.

    … gun owners [should] try to run away and … not pull out your gun unless you are in direct contact with the shooter. That is because [arriving police will consider you a threat] if you have a firearm in your hands. — Noell Bishop

    First of all, that mindset is totally wrong because the person with a gun in their hands could very well be a righteous citizen defender or plain-clothes law enforcement officer. Therefore, the primary solution to that problem is to train police accordingly. And the secondary solution is for the righteous citizen defender to promptly incapacitate the attacker, reholster, and exit as I stated above.

    • You’d probably be charged if you did that in California.

      If I remember correctly, there was an off duty black cop responding to a shooting when a white cop got on scene he saw a black man facing away from him with a gun so he shot him. Afterward he realized he shot a coworker.

  11. There is nothing insensitive, improper, destructive, or wrong with upholding the incredible and intrinsic value and dignity of human life — and being determined to stop an attacker from ending innocent human life.

    Along a similar vein, there is nothing improper, destructive, or wrong when a righteous citizen defender acts to stop a scumbag from wreaking havoc in HIS or HER community.

    Therefore, my response to people who espouse the “don’t be a hero” meme: screw you. Our world would be a much better place if more, rather than less, people acted as “heros”.

    • I don’t see it as heroic rather civic duty. And yet the Police don’t seem to think of us citizens as allies but rather enemies who must be shot on site. This is a very sad state of afairs indeed since there are far more of us than them. Each time this happens it diminishes the number of us who are willing to do the right thing. What we really need is a national conversation on how to train police officers that being armed does not necessarily bad guy make.

  12. So the bottom line here is that because our police are either too dumb, too poorly trained, or just plain cowardly, then the potential force mulitplier of armed citizens must be nullified and we should all run away. Is that it?

    • Don’t be fooled, just because police carry firearms does not mean that all are Pro2A. Many in my community are pro disarmament and pro confiscation. Those involved in these incidents must think one more CCW down, one less gun on the street, one less armed person on whose door I will inevitably be knocking when all out confiscation will be mandated by law. It is just the beginning of a prolonged war of attrition to disarm the nation.

  13. Every gunshot is potentially one life, or one paralyzed person….. no one has an obligation to move towards gunfire as a citizen, but i would definitely suggest as Americans and humans we consider sacrificing our safety for people we very well may have never met. The stakes are as high as they could be but your lack of action enables further potential homicide by a broken piece of shit who is celebrating death and destruction. See the shooter as a terrorist, their only goal is to keep killing until they cant anymore, if at all possible stop that person or distract them long enough for others to escape.

  14. If you do it correctly, you end up immobilizing the shooter before the police get there. At that point you can either leave the gun out on the floor – obviously unloaded, or you can re-holster your gun in it’s concealed position.

    Make sure the perp is dead if you want to leave his gun nearby(where he dropped it), or kick it away with a knee in his back with your gun holstered.

  15. ….and don’t forget to have a good law firm on speed dial because even if you get the wacko could wind up in Civil Court…. or even Criminal Court for that matter…depending on State and circumstances.

    • That’s what self defense “insurance” is for. Pick a plan that
      (1) covers defense by any method, not just firearms,
      (2) covers both criminal charges and civil suits,
      (3) pays up front, not after you win,
      (4) pays the bail bondsman to get you out of jail.

        • CCW Safe. Their civil coverage is included in their Ultimate Plan at same price as a competitor’s plan with similar criminal coverage but without civil liability. To quote:
          1) No Cap on up front Criminal or Civil Defense funds. No cap on lawyers retainer or fees from the time of the incident (to include law enforcement interviews, pre-trial preparations and Grand Jury). Civil Damage liability coverage up to 1 million dollars can be added per member at additional cost. [N.B., included in the Ultimate plan for primary member, additional members at additional cost]
          2) No cap on investigators or Expert witness fees and expenses. Appeals and Mistrials covered at No cost. Firearm Replacement during the time of the trial Covered. The plan also includes separate funds for Up to $250 a day work loss while in criminal or civil trial, up to 10 sessions for a licensed counselor, up to $3k for crime scene clean-up home ONLY.
          3) Primary Member covered for up to 1 million dollars in dedicated civil liability coverage (Spouse civil liability can be added for cost). Primary Covered and added Spouse (at no cost) shall be covered for up to 1 million dollars in bond. This coverage extends for those with a permit or a Spouse without a permit (through Provisional terms). All Covered Members (under 18 years of age living at Residence Premises) without permits can be covered (up to 500k bond)

  16. Then accept the risk that you be a blue-on-blue casualty. Otherwise stick to using your gun for personal protection.

    And I will add here if you are armed with a pocket pistol like P238/938 or J-frame you are not equipped to take on the bad guy unless you are right there. If you want to be the hero carry a service pistol.

    • tdiinva,

      All good points.

      Specifically to your last point (carry a service pistol if you figure you may engage a terrorist/spree killer), that is why I carry a full-size handgun chambered in .40 S&W with at least two 15-round magazines.

      All handguns are “underpowered” for neutralizing an attacker that will not stop until they are physically incapacitated. That is why I carry a platform that has a lot of LARGE bullets and delivers them at maximum possible muzzle velocity — in order to maximize my chances of physically incapacitating a suicidal attacker sooner rather than later.

      • It’s not just capacity. It’s accuracy as well. If you have an underpowered weapon every round counts and you want to minimize your chances of collateral.

      • Screw it, Eric Swalwell settled the caliber wars once and for all and opened up new horizons in self defense. Just carry a tactical nuke. Fight fire with fire.

  17. I’m not looking to be any hero. Im not looking to save all the liberal douchebags that want to take my guns away. Im just here to kill the bad guy.

  18. “You will be considered a threat if you have a firearm in your hands”

    Does this explain why so many hostages, who are not armed, have been shot by cops? Or is it a more likely explanation that cops are trigger-happy fools?

    I would post citations to all such cases but there are so many that this comment would be delayed or blocked. Use your own google-fu and prepare to be nauseated.

    I guess there’s no point in having a badge and a gun if you can’t get away with murder.

    • I think it more that cops cant shoot well and then get nervous that they will be shot.

      A precise single round does not appear to be SOP when LEO starts shooting.

      • More and more, it seems as if shooting to slide lock is SOP. Why officers empty their handguns is a mystery to me. (Or as in the case in LA where they shot up the newspaper carrier’s pick up, their ARs.) The cop in Chicago that was just convicted emptied his gun into the perp, seven of which shots were fired after the guy was on the ground. Why? Is it training? Prior military service? What?

        • From what I heard and seen they are trained that way. The theory is if you reasonably believe you have justified circumstances to use your firearm, you shoot to kill not shoot to wound or shoot and assess after each shot, you shoot until they go down or are no longer considered a threat. Since most cops are bad at using their guns they can easily dump a mag, which is why some will carry extended mags in their service gun.

  19. Seems to me the cops need the training.

    As with all things, “it depends”. If you turn to run in vicinity of the shooter, you may well be the target.

    This article is victim-blaming from a POTG.

    I am certainly not going to armchair quarterback what a carrier does in a given situation.

    Ive seen too many mag dumps on police cams to believe the cops have any serious training.

  20. You might be seen as a threat and gunned down by mistake…. but you’ll STILL SAVE LIVES. So FUCK THIS GUY.

  21. I don’t remember where I read it but I remember Massad Ayood recommending pulling your wallet out and holding it over your head once you’ve subdued a criminal and have him at gunpoint. A concealed carry badge would add to that effect. Just like a plainclothes police officer would do. You can explain later! While not getting shot by trigger happy cops.

    • I don’t recall where the study was done but I think a department ran a scenario that included this – officers rushing into a situation where someone was holding a badge or badge-holder in hand. Officers in the simulation still shot the person, because they were reacting to an object in the hand – there wasn’t a recognition of what that object was.

    • I clearly recall Massad Ayoob [this is the correct spelling of his name] specifically advising against using or owning concealed carry badges. (I am looking for the specific quote).

  22. . If in a store, and the shooting starts what better time to stuff your pockets with those items you thought were overpriced

  23. Its hard for me to believe some of the comments written here and in the article. What they are saying is in an active shooter situation, run away and save yourself. Meanwhile others are killed because of your cowardice. In the America I knew, and that went to Omaha Beach, Tarawa, Pleiku, Da Nang, and other garden spots, a “man” ran to sound of cannon fire to save others. If the police show up, if they do, holster your weapon before they arrive and go for cover on the ground. If you can save 20 at the risk of your own life, that’s what being a man is all about.

    • A lot of men, including cops, forget that men are the disposable ones. Women and children are more valuable — as horrible as that sounds. Returning home safely, at the expense of others, shouldn’t be a man’s mindset.

    • Ok, then accept the risk that you could be killed or wounded by the anyone with a gun while you are being the good guy with a gun in a fluid situation. You aren’t going to do any better than the police if you arrive on scene after the shooting starts.

  24. Being armed and trained and not a coward, you can be sure I wouldn’t be cowering in the corner hiding. However, an active shooting or assault situation is a highly dynamic situation that is rapidly changing which causes confusion. While I by no means have a suicidal wish, I wouldn’t want to have to contend with the fact that after the dust settled, I find out I could have done something, didn’t and people died needlessly.
    Keeping a cool level head is important. Breathing so as to not cause tunnel vision is also a solid tactic. This was learned long ago in martial arts training. Breath!

    I wouldn’t sit and hide, but I would certainly attempt to safely ascertain if there was anything I could do to stop the assailant. If I get taken down or disabled, I’m no good to anyone and in the process, lose control of my weapon. Also, among the first thing I would do was get my phone out and have the police dispatch on the phone making SURE they know who I am, what I am wearing and what I’m doing, so responding officer have as much information as possible.

    One has to remember, clubs and stabbing instruments are used far more often than weapons. I could be stepping into a knife fight with a gun. I’ll take those odds any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    Pinning a badge on and having a title doesn’t make heroes. Heroes are simply people doing what had to be done in a stressful dynamic situation. Very VERY few people take action because they want to be a hero. Heroes are people who stayed calm, assessed the problem and took appropriate action. That’s it.

  25. My only priority in life is to return home with the same number or orofices I left with. They are no victims, only volunteers. Situational awareness sort of puts paid to all the cliches: 9mm v. .45, revolvers v. SemiAuto, Anchovies or pepperoni. In an active shooter situation there is no way in hell I’m gonna stick my spoon in that stew. Absolutely not my apes, positively not my curcus. As for flashing tin…what if the bad Joe takes you as a prime target, which you have just become, shoots your lights out and grabs that tin to confuse the real first responders and score a bigger body count. Sorry, no 2nd chances, you just poured gasoline on a raging fire. Nice play, Shakespeare. Remember, more and more municipalities are saving money by negotiating lower insurance rates. Actuarial numbers prove that the more highly trained the first responders are the more likely they are to actually USE that training, leading to more lawsuits after the event is over. So, minimum training = low insurance premiums…more money for salary and benefits for the rest of the city employees. And I want to stick my one and only neck out for that…-30-

  26. Pretty much what I said in the comments section of the other article. The difference here between cops and nots isn’t about training or even legal authority- it’s about simple recognition. Hopefully uniformed cops won’t shoot uniformed cops (though it rarely happens). So without that benefit of recognition it’s usually a bad idea to walk around holding a gun in an active shooter situation. I’d keep it concealed until I literally know I’m about to pull the trigger.

    National guidance for police rushing into such a situation (and they SHOULD be rushing) stresses violence and speed, because every second wasted is another victim killed. Because of a variety of tactical considerations, suspects in an active shooter situation are unlikely to be given much warning and are also unlikely to survive.

    So it’s a very good idea to not be recognized as a bad guy. It’s something I certainly think about when I’m conceal carrying.

  27. “Silly civilian, don’t try to play cop. Only cops can save you. Only cops are heroes. And if they see you with a gun, you are dead. Because only cops or bad guys have guns. No uniform + gun = bad guy!
    So run away and cower, let the killer do what he wants, let innocent people die and the real uniformed heroes will take care of it. Eventually.”

  28. What you are supposed to do in mass murder situation (I refuse to call them active shooters.) is hide in a stall in the bathroom, make a last phone call to your loved ones, and wait for the murderer to come and kill you.

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