Les Jones has an excellent article up about second guessing victims. It’s interesting because I heard the same thing around work after VT.
There are a few things bouncing around my head that I think are relevant.
On Rushing the Attacker.
Listen to Suzanne Hump’s story of her father’s death. He rushed the attacker, and the attacker killed him. Even if you have the wherewithall to do the rushing doesn’t mean you will succeed, or survive.
When I was a youth we had a guy who worked with us teenagers at church who was a HPD Homicide Detective. (He later went on to become the youth minister and was still youth minister 13 years later when we moved back and my boys were in the youth group). He told a story from training where he ended up gun to gun with an attacker. They stopped the exercise and said “You are both dead.”
In a recent FrontSight Challenge the tactical house segment had to be run twice because the first time they got mutual critical hits on each other. Unlike video games, we know one shot with a handgun to your body doesn’t kill you instantly. And you would be able to shoot your opponent.
If you get in a situation where you are gun to gun with another person, you are both getting shot. Probably multiple times. And you both may have the chance to shoot again. Admittedly this would stop a mass shooting, but not instantly and the cost will probably be your life.
As they taught us at FrontSight, if it isn’t worth dying for, its probably not worth a gun fight.
On Reacting Under Pressure.
If you haven’t thought, planned, and even trained what you would do in a situation, you will probably be frozen by fear. We don’t deal with terror on a daily basis. We don’t learn how to act in the face of it. Don’t think you are better than you are. I covered some of this in Moral and Ethical Decisions on the Use of Deadly Force.
Also Guy Kawasaki has an interview up today that discusses how being a situation can lead us to be less than we think we are. The context is being an untrained prison guard, but I think there is some relevance here.
My wife is an adjunct professor at the local community college, a gun-free zone. We’re both less than happy about that rule, and hopefully it will change. She had a discussion with her class about what they could do in a similar situation. They thought of some things they could have done. I’m sure this took a few minutes. Sitting calmly in a classroom removed from the terror. That’s time you don’t have when a wack-job is going room to room killing people.
In conclusion you should think about this stuff. You should know what you can do, how fast you can do it, and when you will do it. But don’t think others are less brave than you are because they didn’t react like you think you would. Terror is a powerful force and you never know what effect it will have on you.