Preparing for an Active Shooter Scenario Without Considering an Armed Response

tree of life synagogue shooting

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Note what’s not mentioned in this article, except by the security consultant. And even then, without breathing its name . . .

Active shooter training often includes the mantra, “run, hide, fight.” Participants are advised to choose one of these three options and commit to it. A person should run for safety, hide in a secure place, or fight the gunman.

Rabbi Moshe Bleich, director of two Chabad college campus centers, told JNS that all Chabad centers are taking precautions against attacks. For example, he said that Chabad emissaries in Massachusetts have undergone a Civilian Response to Active Shooter Event (CRASE) course.

“People are more comfortable and at ease in what they feel is a safe space,” Rabbi Mendy Krinsky, head of the Chabad center in Needham, Massachusetts, is quoted as saying by JNS. “When an attack does occur, it’s a time to re-evaluate and continue to enhance security measures.”

Noting the importance of preparing individuals for their worse nightmare, Bob Kinder, CEO of Talon Solutions, a security consulting firm, old JNS, “Surveillance systems and hardening a synagogue or a JCC or another Jewish institution is absolutely critical just to keep out would-be assailants. But unless you have somebody who can rapidly react to that adversary, you’ll find it’s just too late.”

– Tsivya Fox-Dobuler in US Synagogues, Summer Camps Prep for Active Shooter Scenarios


  1. avatar Viejo Torro says:


  2. avatar Doc Splat says:

    First run. If you can’t run then hide. If you can’t hide then fight. In that order. The only commitment is to having options and an initial directive that can be called upon in a stressful situation.

    You should never choose just one and commit to it. That’s stupid.

    1. avatar jram01 says:

      Makes a lot of sense Doc.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        A sheepdog doesn’t run. Running and hiding is pertinent advice for the general public, but if there’s a Armed Shooter Event and LE doesn’t know about it yet (due to the time needed for someone to find safe cover, make the call to 911 wait on hold for an operator to actually pick up, wait for the call to be cast out to LEOs for response, and then wait for LEOs to arrive), someone may need to step in and confront the threat to save lives.

      2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Doc, run, hide, fight sounds like a very simple version of the “force continuem” or whatever the hell they called it all those years ago. It started with your presence and ended with deadly force. About ten steps in between. However, we were instructed that we could jump from presence to deadly force, or any other level in between, depending on circumstances. Well, no shit, is what I thought. Aggressor standing in front of me? Skipping run, hide.

    2. avatar NM says:

      “Run, Hide, Fight” is also not linear. You may have to fight or hide before you have an opportunity to run.

    3. avatar B.D. says:

      Wrong. You could run straight into the fight.

      1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

        So your list would be:

        1. Cower in place until shot
        2. There is no 2


        1. avatar B.D. says:

          because every situation is the same, and so are the places they happen… right? I just simply said don’t run at the first loud noise you hear. People will be panicking, trampling over other people to get out and can run right into the shooters firing path because of it. As mentioned by numerous other people, the assessment of such a situation is not linear. And since I believe everyone should carry to defend themselves, my assessment would never involve “cowering”. Thanks for playin bud.

        2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          Hey, you’re the one who said “You could run straight into the fight”. That sounded like a comment of someone who was too afraid to either run or fight. Plus you didn’t provide any better alternative so I assumed cowering was it.


    4. avatar Jason says:

      Run or fight, hiding is what you do after your unable to do one if these. Crouching under a desk is comparable to waiting your turn to enter the cattle car.

      1. avatar Viejo Torro says:

        Or as has been done hide long enough to ambush. As an example years ago terrorists attacked a Kibbutz in Israel. A teen survived by hiding behind the door in his bedroom. The killer came in and got a .22 long rifle in his ear courtesy a Ruger bearcat. Many of us can no longer sprint out the door but I can shoot you from ambush with my J frame.

    5. avatar Chip in Florida says:

      “..First run. If you can’t run then hide. If you can’t hide then fight. In that order.”

      The problem is, still, that too many places prefer to put up barriers to the fight option. Gun-free-zones, no firearms permitted signs, trying to criminalize carry of any kind…. Too many people in too many places support the run or hide, but expect someone else to do the fight and they don’t mean you the guy standing next to them.

    6. avatar Michael says:

      Shall not retreat is now an NV right not to run the perp just might shoot you in the but if you are not armed then cover your self and call 9/11 anyone unless you can’t afford one should carry a cell phone. We have more rights to pack then the LEA do. Why waeit.It is 10ths of a second to press the trigger but minutes when the cavalry shows up, and be careful when they do. Cops today are on high Stress Defense shoot 1st and then investigate later.

  3. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Keep the bad guys outside, and you won’t need a gun inside?

    1. avatar B.D. says:

      Yeah. They should try posting signs.

      1. avatar Dani in WA says:


        Problem solved!

    2. avatar Michael Stilinovich says:

      Ah, just wait for the leo’s, they’ll save you from harm……I really can’t believe nobody has mentioned this obvious solution already.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “Ah, just wait for the leo’s, they’ll save you from harm……I really can’t believe nobody has mentioned this obvious solution already.”

        OK. You got me there. My bad.

    3. avatar Kevin says:

      “Keep the bad guys outside, and you won’t need a gun inside?”
      Drive perfectly and you will not need a seatbelt. Be safe and you won’t need a first aid kit. Practice good fire safety, and you won’t need a fire extinguisher.

      How about this: keep the bad guys outside and you won’t need to use the gun that you keep inside. But if your first line of defense fails, you’d better have a second, and maybe a third.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “But if your first line of defense fails, you’d better have a second, and maybe a third.”

        If the first line fails, well then, I will just have to deploy my verbal de-escalation skills, and calmly reason with the attacker(s), pointing out how there are better life choices, that we really care about what drove the attacker(s) to resort to guns as a means of being heard.

        Every mass shooting is simply a cry for help. Attackers are really victims. Harsh (deadly) treatment addresses only the symptoms, but does nothing to mitigate the causes. People are really good inside, we just need to work harder to understand their pain. Only then can we really begin to remove the threat of gun violence.

        (insert applause line here)

  4. avatar FedUp says:

    If they lock down the building, you can’t run.
    Which is unfortunate, because in single shooter situations running is the best solution.

    But, if there’s another one hiding outside to mop up (terrorist attack), you get a bloodbath at the door when everybody tries to run out at the same time.

    Still, seems like we can do something better than telling people they need to run, hide or fight, and then making it impossible for them to run or fight.

    1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      Not just terrorists.

      “…As they arrived, Golden pulled the fire alarm just after 12:30 pm, during the beginning of fifth period,[8] while Johnson took the weapons to the woods outside of the school. Golden then ran back to the woods where Johnson had taken the weapons. When children and teachers filed out of the school, the two boys opened fire,[9] …”

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Are you imagining that is *not* describing terrorists?

        1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

          I think the term “Terrorist denotes a person or group who do.. insert heinous act here.. for idealogical or religious reasons, perhaps some other combinations.

          A 13 and 11 year old, unless they declared themselves Terrorists, just don’t fit that term.

          Mentally deranged, sociopath, wacko child killers..sure. Heck, I’ll even go as far as evil.

          Messed up the formatting apologies.

    2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      William Forstchen goes into a horrific level of detail on this type of attack in his short story “Day of Wrath”. It’s about a coordinated terrorist attack that targets schools across the country.

  5. avatar enuf says:

    Of course physical security must be examined and improved, hard to imagine anyone doubts that. But unless you are going to build a massive concrete and steel vault to hide within while all the people still in your parking lot die, regular folks are going to need some guns to defend the parking lot until the police arrive.

    Leaving firearms and the ability to use them out of a security plan for something so obvious a target as a synagogue or Jewish community Center is stupid, reckless and incredibly ignorant of history.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. Lots of guns." PR says:

      “Of course physical security must be examined and improved, hard to imagine anyone doubts that.”

      Yeah, they damn sure do. Ever heard something like this? –

      “We’re not building prisons for our children!”

      …when asked “What about the schools?”

    2. avatar Bloving says:

      From the article:
      “U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism Elan Carr recently said that synagogues and Jewish institutions should consider having armed guards.

      In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Carr said, “We live in a time of danger. Any synagogue, every JCC should have guards. God willing, may they never be needed, but they should be there.”

      …okay – so they didn’t specifically use the word “gun” in the article, but it isn’t like they rejected the idea of deadly force altogether.

  6. avatar BatPenguin says:

    At my church, we have a safety team. We lock all doors after the service begins and we have two people in the sanctuary, one person watching the doors and one person stationed at the entrance to the kids’ area. We are all armed and we are all former military/police/correctional officers. The person watching the doors can open the doors for people arriving late. We all have radios so we can communicate with each other. We practice what to do if something happens. We also communicate with the church some basics of the plans so non-safety team members are prepared and know what will happen in general if something happens and that will help them make a better decision as to what to do if something were to happen. We also have our medical staff that attends ready to help in the aftermath.

    1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

      But is the average member allowed to carry in on the property? Every time I have heard (so far) of the safety team you describe, the members are not trusted with firearms.

      1. avatar BatPenguin says:

        Yes anyone with a concealed carry license is allowed to carry. We don’t even prohibit visitors from carrying. If you have your license then you are free to exercise your God-given right of self-defense. Safety Team is the people who will actively engage the threat to give others time to flee, hide or prepare to fight. I believe close to 50% of the adults in my church carry. So any given Sunday I say we have 60-100 armed people in my church.

  7. avatar Paul says:

    Pick one and commit to it? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. In a fluid, dynamic situation, especially one controlled by a hostile, you need to adapt as the situation changes. Maybe your first plan suddenly becomes non-viable? What is Plan B? You don’t have a Plan B? You’re screwed.

    Plan A should be reaching for the firearm you’re carrying. Except – almost no one *allows* you to carry that firearm, at work, at school, at church, or anywhere. THEIR Plan A, is for you to become a target.

  8. avatar SoCalJack says:

    As a supplement to the above, if legal in your state, keep a ballistic insert in your laptop-bag/backpack/briefcase/sling-bag. At a minimum have level IIIa, costs around $100, are rated up to 44 mag pistol caliber. Level III and up for rifle rounds, around 10 lbs for a steel plate. Composite or a ceramic plate is less than half the weight but more than twice the cost. There are a lot of online sellers to choose from and video review tests out there.

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      What shithole makes it illegal to put a ballistic panel in your laptop bag or backpack?

      1. avatar Shire-man says:

        Blocking a punch is illegal in quite a few places. I believe it was Chicago that ordered shops to remove their bullet resistant windows as they were deemed “racist.”

        Its evil enough some would demand you disarm yourself. Its a whole ‘nother level of tyranny to demand you not even block the shot.

        1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

          “..Blocking a punch is illegal in quite a few places..”

          Which places?

          Certainly want to avoid those.

        2. avatar strych9 says:

          Schools. The policy in many schools these days is that the only thing you can do is take the beating and wait for a teacher or staff to stop the attack. Anything that you do which “causes contact” including blocking punches is considered the same as throwing a punch and gets the victim the same consequences, legal and administrative, as the attacker.

        3. avatar Geoff "Guns. Lots of guns." PR says:

          “Its evil enough some would demand you disarm yourself. Its a whole ‘nother level of tyranny to demand you not even block the shot.”

          How dare you not be as exposed to gunfire as everyone else!

          (Every jerk-off Statist that ever lived…)

    2. avatar TheUnspoken says:

      I have backpack armor for my work, but it is never mentioned in our active shooting training, just run/hide/fight or deny/defend.

      We have an online course at work that guides you to think of the improvised weapons you could use to fight back…. Which leads to “wait, what if I could have a more effective, dedicated weapon than a “tactical stapler” or coffee mug. Coffee mug sling shot with 100 mugs in case I miss or multiple attackers?”

    3. avatar strych9 says:

      Check Hesco’s ceramic armor. Half the price and the last time I looked SRT (Special Rifle Threat, rated up to multihit at point blank from 7.62x38BZ) are like $177/plate for curved swimmers and shooters cuts. Cheaper for a SAPI cut.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        *half the weight. Derp.

  9. avatar billy-bob says:

    “Run, hide, fight” is bollocks. They should call it what it is, “Cower and wait to die”.

    1. avatar Dani in WA says:

      Bum-rushing the assailant would certainly work better, as long as there are enough willing to risk the potential sacrifice they may be making.

  10. avatar Mad says:

    Yeah run and more victims are hit if you are going to run go to the sound of guns

  11. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    With the growth of concealed carry permits, it’s only a matter of time before spree-killers begin to encounter armed citizens who are determined to fight back. Since Sandy Hook America has been arming itself. This is understandable given our demographics. As a result of our decades long wars we now have a higher percentage of military veterans with combat experience than at any time since WWII. It’s one thing for spree-killers to successfully choose undefended spaces to start killing people, it’s quite another for them to think their targets are vulnerable only to be confronted—-as happened at Sutherland Springs—by armed citizens who not only know how to shoot but are perfectly able to fight back.

    1. avatar Brewski says:

      This happens regularly, it’s just not reported because it doesn’t fit the narrative.

      And it’’s never reported as a thwarted “mass shooting” because they tend to be stopped or they commit suicide before the casualties (if any) don’t pile up.

      1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

        That’s exactly right… From

        “That’s because the FBI requires that a report of a felony accompany the report of a justified shooting. There was no robbery in this case because the robbery was stopped. That’s one of the reasons why the FBI UCR severely under reports justified homicides.”

    2. avatar Mister Fleas says:

      “With the growth of concealed carry permits, it’s only a matter of time before spree-killers begin to encounter armed citizens who are determined to fight back.”

      It has already happened. Here are instances compiled by the Crime Prevention Research Center:

  12. avatar Thixotropic says:

    No TRAINED good guy with a GUN?

    In a GUN FREE ZONE, you are probably DEAD OR WOUNDED, given sufficient time and skill on the Active Shooter’s part.

  13. avatar Hell is Going to Be Over Flowing with Demoncraps says:

    Not being armed is like a death sentence waiting to be executed like sheep awaiting slaughter.

    Cowards are highly allergic to a plethora of lead coming @ them.

    Once these shat stains get shot coming through every door they attempt followed by immediate hanging if they survive on national TV u will see a change.

    Our country is full of terrorist/communist scum….look at the treasonous traitors of America who voted for the biggest murderous devil witch ever know of this world in 2016. Those are some seriously retarded people needing deportation orders to HELL ASAP!

    Hell is Going to Be Over Flowing with Democraps

  14. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    I guess preparing to be a victim is a form of preparation…

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “I guess preparing to be a victim is a form of preparation…”

      Isn’t there more honor dying by gunshot while unarmed, than taking out a bad guy with a weapon of war?

  15. avatar James W Crawford says:

    I ask myself:

    If I am present at a mass shooting attack and have a gun, why would I choose to run or hide rather than just kill the shooter or shooters?

    Answer: because it will cost me a minimum of $250,000 in legal fees to cope with possible vindictive prosecutuion by police who have been embaressed or lawsuits filed by attorneys for the estates of the mass murders.

    Better to run or hide, and leave all the sheeple who voted for gun banning Democrats to die.

  16. avatar MAGA says:

    Concealed means concealed.
    When i see an active shooter walk into an office building with intent to commit mass murder, I shoot the bastard. That’s my policy.

  17. avatar AZ2356 says:

    I’m not sure about the company that you work for, but most of the people in my workplace haven’t run for a long time and sure as hell can’t now…unless you tell them there are donuts on the opposite end of the building from the active shooter…then they’re olympians.

  18. avatar Miner49er says:

    “”During the incident, an altercation occurred in which, the offender, Erica Cole, attempted to shoot a second party but shot her husband, Nicholas Cole, striking him in the head,” Cullman County Deputy Brad Williams said in a statement.”

    1. avatar Mister Fleas says:

      Thanks for the non-sequiter.

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