Camping & Survival

Critiquing “Run. Hide. Fight. Surviving an Active Shooter Event”

Run. Hide. Fight. Surviving an Active Shooter Event is a video produced by the City of Houston Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security. The video is a project of Houston UASI Community Preparedness Committee, and was funded by a Department of Homeland Security Grant.

The video purports to describe the best strategies for countering a workplace shooting event, in which a black-clad, shaved-head white assailant with a short pump-action shotgun begins shooting people in an office lobby.

The first person shot is an overweight unarmed security guard who notices what is going on but is unable to stop the shooter early in the fight.

We think there are a lot of problems with the video. Our big takeaway: Run. Hide. Fight. could be an NRA commercial for why businesses should allow workplace carry, rather than fighting carry-at-work legislation. But we’d like to hear what you think. When you comment, please cite the running time code(s) for your critiques so other viewers can get to the scenes and see the situations where you agree or disagree with the video’s advice.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (23)

  1. I have taken the FBI Active shooter program, and we certainly didn’t do what they portrayed in this video. I found numerous problems, but I’ll only address about five. First of all at :59 into the video the door clearly shows a sign stating no concealed carrying allowed in this building, which makes this an area more likely for a shooting to occur. If we look at the most recent shootings in the United States, the Aurora theater, Washington, DC, New York City and the high school; all four were no carry places. At 1:08 it states “…and unfortunately you need to be prepared.” At 1:16 the shooter starts shooting in the lobby and clearly has his back to numerous employees. Any one of these employees could have ended this situation with a CCW. At 3:38 the video states that “as a last resort you need to fight with aggression” and then states using any “improvised weapons.” How about a weapon? That would have been nice instead of a fire extinguisher and a chair! At 4:09 and 4:10 It says “commit to taking down the shooter down no matter what.” Once again, if you allowed concealed carry and had a high training standard in Houston, many lives may have been saved. The last commit I have was at 4:52 when it says the first responders (Police) are “well trained and there to stop the shooter.” First of all, the people waited almost five minutes for the police and many lives were lost during the wait, as we know from NYC it isn’t always a sure thing that mistakes aren’t going to happen by the police officer. In NYC eight people were shot by the officers. I recently took a course where an instructor stated that there should be different levels of concealed carry permits. The highest level having citizens that are as well trained as officers. I have to say, he made a great point.

  2. That’s why I carry concealed, even at work. What they don’t know (and haven’t explicity outlawed in their policy) won’t hurt them and may even help them someday.

  3. Most people faced with something like this just freeze, or stampede like frightened sheep. I don’t think the producers of this video needed to point out the “Run” part of the equation, but the hide and fight parts were worthwhile. At least this gives most sheeple some kind of plan.

    Only thing I wish they would have hit upon also is the option to ATTACK, which is a good one, especially if all the sheeple in the area with you are stampeding the exits and there’s no way out. Active shooters want to see a wall of backs of the people running from them, they make easy targets. Of course the people who made this vid will never advocate this approach, as it makes them liable if someone CHARGES the attacker and get killed, but it IS a viable solution that should also be discussed.

    Another option would be to play dead, especially if you’re in an area where exits are blocked by a wall of screaming panicking people trying to get away. The shooter wants live moving targets, and tends not to see those that have fallen to their bullets. Try to collapse realistically, as if you’d been shot, and go face down but try to land in an awkward position as someone who was dead might be in. Face toward the attacker so you can keep an eye on him, but do so through slitted eyes.

    For those of you who CCW, and choose to ignore the gun-free signs, I make no value judgements and in fact usually ignore those signs myself. But be damned sure that if you DO decide to draw and fire at the bad guy that you know what’s behind him. I can tell you from having been involved in shootings you’re going to be shaking like a leaf from the huge adrenaline dump your body will have had, and it’s EXTREMELY likely some of your bullets will miss. Do you want to be the one who hits and kills innocents like those NYPD cops did that shot the Empire State building active shooter recently?

    If I have no way to get away quickly, my plan is to charge the shooter screaming like a madman possessed and either shoot him in the head when close or plant my knife in his brain stem. I may not succeed, but it’s better than being shot in the back screaming and running away like a coward.

    Finally, yes the whole bald white guy thing is objectionable on many levels, but imagine the outcries if they’d used a minority group actor as the shooter?! White guys are used to getting blamed for everything and don’t object the same way most minorities would.

  4. How about an active cutter ( as in chainsaw ). Could open many doors for training ( literally too, haha )
    Nothing more psyco than a guy with a chainsaw, plus you can slow him down with the fake shrubbery in halls.
    Just sayin

  5. “My point was that an alleged “gun-free zone” is not going to deter someone from going on a shooting spree in it.”

    Then I misinterpreted your point. I agree that gun-free signs don’t keep shooters out, any more than the one in the video did.

  6. @LarryA::::I’m not here to debate facts and stats. My point was that an alleged “gun-free zone” is not going to deter someone from going on a shooting spree in it. I’ve been to plenty of public places all over the midwest that have the gun-free zone sign at their entrance. I highly doubt that that really stops anybody in their tracks on their way into a restaurant and sends them back to their vehicle to take their piece off first. “Ask the hundred or so members of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs who didn’t get shot because CHL Jeanne Assam intercepted the active killer involved. (Oops, it WASN’T a gun-free church.)”

    As I previously stated, “No shooting situation is the same.” Good for the NLC members who got out alive. They’re lucky. But that’s merely one example of a shooter being taken out before anybody was injured or killed, compared to the many school and other public shootings where the shooter took a number of lives. That’s not the point of my comment, however. One can’t count on the best turn-out occurring in that scenario. If you’re in a state that allows CC and you’re in a public shooting situation, you’re going to be held liable if you pull your piece and shoot someone other than the shooter, regardless if the situation was complete chaos or not. My overall point is that this video is at the very least, a good tool of information and basic direction for that scenario.

    “They happen where we aren’t allowed to carry.”

    See second paragraph above.

    “Venues that put up signs keeping us out shouldn’t expect us to be able to help.”

    Since when has a sign ever fully kept someone out of anything? Again, refer to my second paragraph. I’m pretty certain if they have a gun-free sign posted, they’re NOT expecting you to help, most likely because they don’t know someone is carrying concealed hence the word, “concealed.”

  7. Hey honestly thank you Chris for the info, I honestly had the hardest time getten any info on boady armor, and the last time i asked someone they looked at me like I was stupid for asken. This honestly will give me a little more wiggle room in servival when I get held up agean. O by the way being a business maneger in the industrial side of town were you have to carry cash around the have nots makes you a target. So allways looken over my sholder and responding in a gross display of agression is daily life; reflective surfaces are your friends and any type of armed responce is a tool to help level the playing field. Besides, atending public school in socal means you have advanced training in small arms.(that was a joke,I think, remember lifes worth liveing so its ok to laugh)

  8. “I highly doubt that any public shooter in the past couple of years concerned themselves with whether or not it was a gun-free zone that they were entering.”

    There are 41 right-to-carry states, and in those states gun-free zones are relatively rare. I suppose it could just be a coincidence that almost all active killings happen in gun-free zones, but the odds are getting long.

    “I don’t think the guy who entered the theater in CO dressed in full armor…”

    Later news stories said he wore a “tactical vest,” nylon mesh with a bunch of pockets. A .22 rimfire would have gone right through.

    “I’m betting that the majority of people who have CC permits have (n)ever faced a situation like this.”

    Well, duh. They happen where we aren’t allowed to carry. Venues that put up signs keeping us out shouldn’t expect us to be able to help.

    “We all like to think that we’d be the hero and take someone down but that’s just not realistic.”

    Ask the hundred or so members of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs who didn’t get shot because CHL Jeanne Assam intercepted the active killer involved. (Oops, it WASN’T a gun-free church.)

  9. Actually it is legal in California, unless your a convicted felon. I live in California too (unfortunately) I don’t know where the code is on it now, but you can look it up. You can get some great affordable body armor by US Palm. The Scottadale Gun club is one of the vendors. It runs about $200 for a vest and armor in the front, $300 for front and back.

  10. I’m not really sure why commentors are stuck on the “gun-free zone” issue. I highly doubt that any public shooter in the past couple of years concerned themselves with whether or not it was a gun-free zone that they were entering. I get it that they may have considered it an easier target but then again, I don’t think the guy who entered the theater in CO dressed in full armor was concerned about who was armed and who wasn’t. I’m betting that the majority of people who have CC permits have ever faced a situation like this. We all like to think that we’d be the hero and take someone down but that’s just not realistic. We may have a fighting chance by being armed and then again, we may not. No shooting situation is the same. I’m not going to speculate on what could have happened in CO suffice it to say that I can only imagine that in a dark theater filled with tear gas and people frantically running about trying to escape such a scary scenario, NOBODY carrying could have done anything to make the situation turn out better. Even if that person had a clear shot, it would have been pointless against body armor and then made that person the next target. This scenario can happen ANYWHERE regardless of security measures currently in place. I believe that videos such as this at least provide basic guidelines to follow in such a scenario. Having SOME idea of what to do can possibly save a few more lives.

  11. Well said, but you sould be greatfull you can get body armor. In Cali. its illegal to have any type of body armor unless you count the red training armor for self defence classes as armor. Nazifornia, got to love that nanny state were your not allowed to fight back. Ok ok I’ll stop my b*#!chen.

  12. I really liked the video. Sorry my comments are long.

    There have been several mass shootings recently and one close to work. I work for a large corp. We have a metal detector and security guards (unarmed). A ticked off employee that wasn’t allowed to enter, came in thru the detector and made it upstairs midway through the office. Security isn’t allowed to put thier hands on anyone. I brought up the active shooter scenero to corporate security and they went mute, didn’t and weren’t allowed to talk about it.

    Suddenly after Colorado we have a video to show. Not as good as this one though. I think it’s good as it gets people thinking and lets them know that management isn’t going to take care of them, and not to go to slaughter like sheep.

    My kids and wife and I have discussed what to do should this happen and did some research. One thing I did was get IIIa body armor inserts and each of us has one. The kids have thiers in thier school backpacks. If someone starts shooting the backpacks go on and they get the hell out of dodge. They can put them on normal or on thier fronts and have protection from pistols. Same with the wife and I. We have our exit plans for work and where to meet. I was a submariner for years and we always believed in plans, back up plans and back ups to those. Why not now?

  13. Ok I live in southern california so my views might be swayed by that facter but the video clearly hints that if the workers were armed the situation would have been avoided by the postings on the front door at the 59sec mark. I am 5’9″ with only 3 tattoos in plane sight and I can’t walk into a grocery store without haveing been given the stink eye by half the staff and security guards let alone be abel to pull a twelve guage dresed in all black looking very suspicious. Might be nit picking but putting the very light tabel infront of the door with no lock on it at the 3min 10sec mark was just comical to me and as far as the fist pack dude made with his belt, that would break his fist, o and since I live in southern california if I knocked the guy out with the fire extinguisher i would probably have to pay for his injuries and face charges for agrivated asalt no joke. Side note did anyone wonder how he started with a pump action then by the 4min 10sec mark it turned into a PDS, movie flub maybe. I love guns, I belive in concealed carry, I wish I could protect my self with a carry firearm because were I work and live I can get murdered just walking down the street by the cops let alone the gangbangers around the area. in Socal we lern that if your not uper middle class and above you have only yourself to rely on for protection; with that said even I cant get behind useing a training video, with some good pointers and sugetions, as propaganda. Other than that i liked the video.

  14. Yeah, I don’t think the city of Houston definitely made this video to entice those of us who do choose to carry into a fit of rage. I agree with the issues of “Gun-Free Zones” in that they are an ABSOLUTE danger to those who are employed or reside in their premises. I understand, even more readily, that there are many people who do not desire to take a life, even when their own is in danger. It will always be a tough line to deal with, though in my opinion, I believe that allowing people to carry onto their job site, and possibly allowing teachers to carry concealed into school zones to protect and defend the lives of our children should strongly be considered in our legislation as a viable, positive view of protecting our lives and our freedoms. But the video only addresses POSSIBLE SCENARIOS to help people in thinking about what they would do if they were in the given event. Just the fact of making people aware that these dangers DO EXIST and that they COULD BE THOSE IT HAPPENS TO is a start to enable people to research what they could do to prevent a worst case situation from taking their life, whether it be concealed carry, personal defense classes, or establishing a plausible plan for escape.

  15. Most people will fault this video for not including the possibility of being armed. Remember, however, that active killings like this nearly always take place in a gun-free zone. As, in fact, this one does. Notice at 0:54 and 0:59 the shooter walks past a no-concealed-handguns 30.06 sign into a gun-free zone.
    Hiding, at 3:16: The video advises you to turn out lights and barricade doors. But if all the lights down the hall are on, and you turn yours off, it tells the killer someone is hiding in that room. Similarly, if you push something against the door, as soon as the killer tries to open the door he’ll know someone is hiding inside. Blocking the door so it really can’t be opened might be a good idea, but just pushing something against it that the killer can push out of the way is not.
    At 3:42: The video needs to distinguish between concealment and cover.
    Fighting at 4:07: the fire extinguisher can better be used by spraying the shooter in the face, particularly with others attacking.
    At 4:10: Pushing the table in front of the door first tells the killer someone is inside. Second, it puts three of the four defenders on the wrong side of the table to effectively hit the killer.
    At 4:53: The video needs to show more about how to act as law enforcement approaches.
    Intro at 0:22: “The authorities are working hard to protect you and to protect our public spaces.” Fake gun-free zones and unarmed security guards aren’t working.
    At 2:26: Don’t be the guy who can only hear his music.
    At 4:45: “The first responders are not there to evacuate or tend to the wounded.” We saw why in the Sikh temple shooting.

    Really? Look around. Is there a cop between you and the door? LEOs may be trained and equipped, but the only person who is always going to be in POSITION to protect you, is you.

  16. It’s difficult to read, but at 1:00 we get a glimpse of the writing on the front door of the building. It seems to indicate that the building is a “gun free zone.” There’s the first problem. These things always happen in gun free zones.

    The video should warn people that they are at greater risk if they spend much time in a gun free zone.

  17. If a building is large enough to require fire extinguishers, fire doors and so on it should require a armed guard. Additonaly any building stating firearms are not alowed should have metal detectors and searches at the door. If I am not searched at the door i conceil carry regurdless of anti firarms signs, I feel I am justified under doctorine of compeating harms.

  18. When they are in the breakroom around 415 where the dude walks in use the chemical extinguisher as it would be in a fire, the chemical is caustic and will blind and irritate the attackers ability to breathe and therefore cause him to either retreat himself or become incompacitated, other than that its a well produced video. As to Wilfredos comment, I work as a security guard, however if the employer doesn’t want an armed officer they are wasting their money because in an armed attack an unarmed officer cant respond. I refuse to work at unarmed sites because its a waste of resources that can be used to actually combat threats as they occur.

  19. To who ever wrote the article, I have one question. Who gave you the go ahead to post your comment of having many problems with the video. With all the madness going on in the gun world today, your ” biggest take away ” is that it may be an NRA scheme ? Come on. So maybe you have a beef with the NRA. Does that mean you have to suggest they are behind something with this very appreciated very useful video? You should be kissing someone’s rear end for making such a how to video for people who never thought of what to do. Everything in that video made a ton of sense. As for the guard at minute 1:16, it appears that it took him not even a second to see the assailant never mind being what you call over weight, let alone defend himself. I’d like to say ” Give us a break “. You also didn’t list “all” of your problems with it. So enlighten us. If you cant back all the faults with the video, with facts as to why it sucked , you should send an apology note to the makers and viewers stating that you just had a bad day. I certainly would not want to be next to you in that situation. Good luck in life there buddy.

  20. Liked the video. I’m a former LEO and currently work in a support position within the Federal Govt. It is a similar video to one that was mandatory training for us in house. Simple rules were discussed. Get out and take others with you, but don’t let their indecision stop you from acting. Hide if you can and escape isn’t an option and if you fight, fight to win. Liked how they addressed what you should do when responding LEO’s arrive on scene and what the first responders duties are and are not. Don’t think it is meant to be all-inclusive, but it does get a person, company, etc. thinking and thinking about their own unique situation and what they fill they should do.

    27 August 2012 8:10am

  21. Like any training video, it’s got that fake feeling to it but otherwise, I think it’s legit. The guidelines that they suggest for this situation are almost exactly the same as the guidelines that are suggested by local LE here where I live in IL. I didn’t get the feeling that it was a covertly-backed NRA project or anything like that. With public shootings occuring more and more it seems, LE agencies all over are trying to be more proactive in guiding people on what to do in such a confusing and scary situation. It could happen anywhere. I work at a social services organization and we frequently have to turn people down because they just don’t meet the criteria for rent or utility assistance. We have only locked and/or security doors that, if someone were really inclined, could break a window, let themselves in and go on a spree. The info in this video is actually very good information.


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