2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Monday, December 12, 2011

VA Tech Shooting

Haven't said much in any forum on the shooting last week at Virginia Tech that left a campus police officer and Army veteran Deriek Crouse dead and the gunman responsible, Ross Truett, by his own hand.  Don't know really what to say about it.  It was another horrible act of violence on that campus committed with a firearm.  Whereas the massacre in 2007 that left 32 dead was done by Seung-Hui Cho, a sociopath that had exhibited anti-social and violent behavior before the shooting, this time the shooter seems to have been an "ordinary student" that had visited gun ranges in the past but not  recently.  Its a tragedy, one that will probably cause a knee jerk reaction in Virginia to pass yet stricter anti-gun laws and rally the Brady Campaign to push for a nationwide ban on all guns on campus, including shooting sports.

My condolence and prayers to the family of Officer Crouse. 

Slain Officer and veteran Deriek Crouse in Iraq

The sad fact is nothing could have prevented this tragedy.  Apparently the shooter, Truett, had obtained the gun legally and had even got to a shooting range to use it (ironically the same one 2007 shooter Cho had used). The shooter did not exhibit any previous violent tendencies apparently, the shooting was either totally random or targeted Officer Crouse or the police in particular.   Maybe the shooter just snapped randomly, letting some repressed stress or urge finally come to the surface and the killing is how it manifested itself.  We may never know why this Iraq veteran, husband and father died that day.  Whatever his motivations, nothing probably could have been done to avoid this, including outlawing firearms in Virginia.  If a person is capable of navigating the procedural red tape for obtaining a firearm legally with the intent of using it in a situation like this, then they would also probably be able to obtain a firearm illegally through other means. 

I have spoken about active shooter situations on this blog before.  It appears some of the "survival strategies" that I covered (hide with pride) were successfully used by students there.  Overall, the University is being given high marks for how it notified students and reacted this time as compared to 2007.  Unfortunately this was a case of practice making perfect I believe.  Truett did not continue targeting and shooting at others after he killed Crouse and instead apparently made his way to another parking lot and shot himself there directly after the murder. I doubt if having CCW on that campus would have made any difference in this situation, and I will admit with the response of the University PD with officers decked out with AR's , body armor and helmets so soon it may have even avoided some trouble (remember folks, if you have a weapon drawn when heavily armed PD show up looking for a shooter you will become a "person of interest" immediately!). Still, if I had been there on campus when all fo that went down it would have been comforting to know I might be able to defend myself instead of totally relying on others.

Still the response by not only law enforcement but also students during the emergency made be think that schools are finally starting to take this type of a threat seriously.  Even my alma mater, Otterbein College, a small 3,000 student college in Westerville, Ohio has a plan, provide here for your reading and examination.  Please note the 2 areas in read (bold and italicized) that deal with interaction with the police during a crisis, I cannot emphasize enough that if you are holding a weapon when they arrive you will be a threat to officers and acted on accordingly, not a knock on police..they need to assure their safety as well.  Hell, when I am at the range I always keep a sideways eye on others on the range with me if I don't know them and they have a firearm uncased.

It is an unfortunate reality that we must even consider this possibility. Pre-planning for such an incident will be your best chance for surviving an active shooter incident. Know your escape routes, know how you will respond, and be prepared to "flip the switch" from being the prey to becoming the predator.
The guidelines below are based on the best available information and research. The Otterbein University Police Department strongly urges each of you to familiarize yourselves with each scenario and the options provided. And above all, TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.
Access the Active Shooter Power Point Presentation. (link to PPT)

When there is an active shooter incident and you can evacuate the building:

  1. If you can evacuate, run away from the building as quickly as possible.
  2. Call 9-1-1.
  3. Gather at the Campus Center (100 W. Home Street) or another safe location as determined by the Otterbein University Police Department and law enforcement.

When there is an active shooter incident and you are unable to evacuate the building AND your door opens to the inside of the room:

  1. Take shelter in the nearest office, room, or closet
  2. Lock and barricade the door with anything you have available (desks, chairs, etc.)
  3. Tie down the door, if possible, by using a belt attached to the door handle
  4. Cover any windows that may be in the doors
  5. Look for alternate escape routes (windows, additional doors in the area you are sheltered in, etc.)
  6. Call 9-1-1
  7. Set your cell phone to vibrate or silent
  8. Stay low to the ground and remain as quiet as possible
  9. Breathe to manage your fear - focus your mind
  10. DO NOT answer the door for anyone. The Otterbein University Police Department and law enforcement will enter the room after the incident is over
  11. Position yourself in the room in a location that will allow for the element of surprise if the shooter(s) enters
  12. You may have to take the offensive if the shooter(s) enter your area. Gather weapons (pens, pencils, books, chairs, etc.) and mentally prepare your attack
  13. Play dead

When there is an active shooter incident and you are unable to evacuate the building AND the door opens to the hallway (outside the room):

  1. Close and lock the door, if possible.
  2. Barricade the door with anything possible (desks, chairs, bags, etc.).
  3. Tie down the door, if possible, by using a belt attached to the door handle.
  4. Cover any windows that may be in the doors.
  5. Look for alternate escape routes (windows, additional doors in the area you are sheltered in, etc.)
  6. Call 9-1-1.
  7. Set your cell phone to silent.
  8. Breathe to manage your fear - focus your mind.
  9. Position yourself in the room in a location that will allow for the element of surprise if the shooter(s) enters.
  10. Obtain weapons and attack as the suspect(s) enter your area
  11. Play dead

When there is an active shooter incident and you must evacuate the area where a shooter(s) is active:

Run Option:
  1. Run in a zig-zag pattern
  2. Cover your head with a bag, books, or other items that would offer some level of protection
  3. Do not stop running until you are well clear of the building
Window Option:
  1. Consider if a fall from the window kill you
  2. Break the window, if necessary
  3. Make an improvised rope out of clothing, belts, or any other item that can be used to limit the distance you will fall
  4. Hang by your hands from the window ledge
  5. Attempt to fall into shrubs, mulch, or grass to decrease the potential for injury
Gather at the Campus Center (100 West Home Street) or another safe location as determined by the Otterbein University Police Department and law enforcement.

When there is an active shooter incident and you cannot escape, but a shooter(s) is in your room:

Options:
  • Run
  • Fight
  • Throw anything available at the shooter(s), aiming at the face to distract his/her aim
  • Attack in a group (swarm)
  • Use all available weapons to attack and secure the shooter(s) - anything can be a weapon
  • Grab the shooter's extremities (arms, legs, head) and take him/her to the ground using body weight to secure him/her.
  • "Fight dirty" to survive - bite, kick, gouge eyes, etc.
  • Continue to fight until the shooter(s) is no longer a threat
  • Play dead

When there is an active shooter incident and you have incapacitated the shooter(s):

  1. Call 9-1-1 and advise law enforcement the shooter(s) is down.
  2. Provide your location and stay on the line, if possible.
  3. Secure the suspect (belts, body weight, etc.).
  4. Move any weapons away from the shooter, but DO NOT HOLD A WEAPON – law enforcement officers will assume the person with the weapon is a threat and/or the shooter
  5. DO NOT RUN from the room, help will be there soon
  6. RAISE YOUR HANDS and DROP TO YOUR KNEES – do not appear threatening to responding law enforcement officers
  7. Provide first aid to others in the room, as needed