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A Gun Owner's Guide to Surviving Mass Shootings (courtesy David Kenik)

One year after the Newtown massacre there hasn’t been a lot of progress on school safety—depending on where you live. Some states—most notably Utah—have made it easier indeed possible for teachers to arm themselves to defend against an attack. Also on the positive side, new school construction is putting target hardening at the top of the agenda. In Newtown, Connecticut and elsewhere, armed School Resource Officers now patrol school corridors. In general, though, it’s more of the same safety procedures that failed at Sandy Hook Elementary: shelter-in-place “lockdown drills” and “call the cops” protocol. So what can your child do to survive during the rare but potentially cataclysmic event of a school shooter? I spoke with the rabbi, gun guru David Kenick, on the subject. Click here (direct download link) for David’s free eBook on the subject. Here are the big three . . .

1. Run away!

Standard operating procedure for an active shooter: lock down the school, gather the children, shelter-in-place. The Newtown massacre teaches us that this policy is fatally flawed. Literally. Lanza was able to murder 20 children—easily—because they were gathered in one place. One insecure place. Until and unless schools harden classrooms into a proper safe rooms, lockdown simply creates a killing field. This is not where you want your child to be.

Depending on your child’s age, running away, out of the school, is a better response. Yes, your child may run right into the shooter or shooters and die. But his or her chances of surviving are greater than staying in a group of potential victims. If you agree, tell your child to head for the hills if he or she hears gunfire (teach them what gunfire sounds like).

Establish a place near the school to rendezvous. A nearby house where your child can call your cell is ideal (especially if the home owner is armed). Make sure to tell your kid to maintain operational security about his or her run-for-the-hills plan. There’s no need for you to get into a debate with school administrators on their rules and regulations for active shooters; you’ll just aggravate yourself.

2. Hide!

Your child may not be able to leave the school during an active shooter incident. If they are separated from their class—whether accidentally or per your instruction—they should hide. Ask your child to identify some suitable hiding spaces inside the school, realizing that there’s no guarantee that an active shooter event will be as short-lived as recent examples. Your children should also be advised about the importance of barricading a hiding place.

Hiding is also the best plan B if the shooter is looking for a specific target (e.g. Karl Pierson during yesterday’s school shooting in Colorado). How will your child know? If the shooter or shooters are bypassing other students that’s a pretty good indication the bad guy or guys have a target in mind. That said, it’s never safe to assume that the shooter or shooters’ won’t circle back and begin taking innocent lives.

[Note: Many of the children slaughtered at Sandy Hook were hiding in a closet when Adam Lanza found them. Sitting in a classroom corner isn’t hiding. That’s waiting.]

3. Fight!

If your child can’t run away or hide from a spree killer or killers, there is only one option left: fight. Tell your child to find a weapon, any weapon, and attack. Better yet, set up an ambush and attack. Better yet, coordinate classmates, set up an ambush and attack. It’s best to discuss this plan with your child. They must understand that they have your permission to do anything to disable, wound or kill their enemy.

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  1. My children have been learning how to strike vulnerable areas. We make it a game where Dad blocks the door and they have to fight to get out. The 6 year old is particularly adept at striking soft tissue . . .

  2. Back in high school (only a few years ago) We had a ‘report’ of a man with a gun approchi the campus. As the lockdown was initiated myself and about 2-3 other boys grabbed scissors and positioned ourselves around the door in a 360° arc. We might not have done much, but we were like minded and planned to go out swinging.

  3. The problem is that we get to this discussion!

    Children are innocent. It is up to society to keep them that way.

    I don’t give a rats azz what you teach your 6YR old, but methods of self defense should be years ahead of what you teach them! If we need to do that, we’ve lost!

    You and I are the keys to that survival!

    • Kids aren’t completely innocent at 6. They are generally foul mouthed little ass holes that mirror the South Park kids than the “little angels” that their parents want to believe they are. Now I think we are in agreement that no 6 year old deserves to die, especially in an action of violence.

      That being said, long before mass shootings in suburban schools (1980’s), my parents and my grade school teachers in Queens, NY were warning us about the realities of adults trying to abduct us, older kids (later to be understood as gang members) with knives and other weapons that would try and sell us drugs or make us “run some errands” for a free pair of shoes etc… The general theme to all of this was similar to the above advice with “run” or “scream and fight” being your options.

      Now I realize in smaller/safer towns and cities around the country, those are not be the things taught to the average 6 year old, but maybe they should be at least discussed in a world where sheltering kids is about as useful as a posted Gun Free Zone.

    • I disagree. In 1967 I was 7 yrs old and was enrolled in Judo lessons. I remember a specific instance where my teacher Mr. Takahama alerted us “if you ever hear gunfire or see someone pull a gun, run and hide AWAY from the scene.”
      2 years later my family and I and a group of 6 other adult friends were leaving a restaurant at night and about 100 yards away across the parking lot there was gunfire. We all saw a guy in a suit, firing a gun in classic one arm style, away from us. After the 4-5 shots were fired everyone was still looking at the action, and about 20 seconds later my mom starts asking “where is my son, where is my son? !!! ” Everyone was puzzled since I was not with them. I then emerged from behind a huge commercial trash container that I ran towards to hide behind after the 1st shot when I knew that someone was using a gun. I had more sense than the adults who were exposed in the open. Thank you Mr. Takahama wherever you are.

  4. Never underestimate violence of action. If you must be violent dig your heels in and fight your life may depend on it. In the case of school shootings any resistance whatsoever may stop awould be attacker.

    • Wow, 34 pages of helpful information given to you for free to help save your life and that’s all you have to say? Shame on you.

      • MDA or whatever they’re called give out free information they believe to be helpful too. I’d call them out for using a disturbing image like that; why should I do any different here?

    • I am grateful for the info, but I agree the cover hits a little too close to home. I am sure the author’s intentions were good, but that kind of image feels too much like something that the mainstream media would use to create shock and emotional reactions. I think the book would be better received with an image of a shell casing in an empty room, with the dead kid image removed.

    • That was my first reaction, but then I go thinking about the content of the book. It most definitely NOT a “stick your head in the sand” approach. Failure to acknowledge the reality depicted in the cover shot, however, is.

  5. I don’t think Utah has done anything in the last year. CFP holders have been permitted in public schools for years. There isn’t much left to do, except repeal gfsza.

    • If there a list of states that allow CCW’s inside schools (not merely school zones)?

      As long as it has a background check, they are exempt from the Federal GFSZ law. So it is a matter of state law.

      Of course, one needs to get the teacher a CCW in order for that to work. After all California allows guns at schools with a CCW (or, as far as state law goes, permission of the superintendant or equivalent). But only a few rural counties could you get a CCW. I know one school that discussed arming teachers, but found out that LA county wasn’t the friendliest place (I suggested that their campus security guy get an actual guard license and a license for exposed carry, which is doable, but that wasn’t liked by parents.)

      I know many, otherwise very firearms friendly states (looking at you AZ) do not exempt CCW. Shame.

      • I don’t know of a list. You could check with for individual states. I know shortly after the shootings, many CCW instructors and LGS offered free training for teachers and they were usually full, so I think we have increased the number of CCW In our schools.

  6. We were taught “3 outs” at my school.
    1. Lock out (the Bad Guy)
    2. Get out (if the BG gets in)
    3. Knock out (the BG, if you can’t evade)
    Lacking firepower, we learned some quality uses for a rope, a magnet, and a fire extinguisher. I would elaborate, but opsec and all… use your imagination.

  7. My wife worked for most of this year at an elementary school just five minutes from our house. We live out in a rural area that is not patrolled by any police, and few county sheriffs.

    Since I work from home a lot, I told my wife that if anything of this sort ever happened at her school, I was available to be there ASAP. I would carry a concealed weapon, because at that point the law would not be important if the lives of my wife and her students were at stake.

    Still, I have to face the reality that in such a situation, I would very likely be looked upon by any responding officers as an additional threat, and probably shot.

    It absolutely infuriates me that schools can not and will not allow parents, employees, and their families to volunteer in such a capacity.

    Just as the redubbed MDA Newtown video making the rounds today states – we put our children in one location, huddle them together in the hundreds or thousands, and offer them zero protection other than a locked glass door.

  8. Every school is equipped with weapons hanging on the wall. They are called fire extinguishers. Teach teachers and older students how to use them as a weapon.

  9. Even with the recent school shootings, only 2% of children 12 and under that are victims of GSW’s are shot at school…

  10. The run and escape plan is probably the best. In war area’s refugees that are always on the move tend to live. Those that find a place and stay usually die.


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