It's not your imagination -- school shootings are on the increase in recent years. 2012 saw multiple mass shootings, not just school shootings, even more than the year before:
Feb. 10, 2012, Walpole, New Hampshire ... Gunshot / suicide in front of 70 classmates.
Feb. 27, 2012, Chardon, Ohio ... Three students killed, six injured.
March 6, 2012, Jacksonville, Florida ... 28 year old teacher kills superior (headmistress) with assault rifle.
April 2, 2012, Oakland, California ... Former student kills seven people, wounds several others.
July 20, 2012, Aurora, Colorado ... 12 killed and 38 wounded at movie theater premier of Batman, The Dark Knight Rises.
August 5, 2012, Oak Creek, Wisconsin ... Six people killed, 3 injured at Sikh temple.
December 11, 2012, Portland, Oregon ... 22 year old opens fire in a crowded mall with an assault rifle; 2 killed, 1 wounded due to gun-jamming.
December 14, 2012, Newtown, Connecticut ... Gunman kills 20 children and wounds 6 (second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history after Virginia Tech in 2007).
Increased Mass Shootings -- Yet It Will Likely Get Worse
Whether you're a teacher or a student, or a concerned parent or relative of a student, America has entered dark days when so many mass shootings take place.
These shootings to date in America's schools are usually by untrained gunmen. Knowing that terrorists pose an even greater threat (and have openly threatened to kill American children in recent years on multiple occasions) should drive our nation to do whatever we can do to protect schools from shooters Hell-bent on killing as many children and teachers as they can.
Tactics for Surviving a School Shooting
Teach Students to Be Ready and to Fight Back, When There is No Other Option
Most gunmen that attack schools aren't trained police or former soldiers. They're not trained to think clearly, especially under pressure; that means that they can be taken down with a lot less risk than if they were trained police or soldiers.
Police and soldiers will clear rooms before entering; they'll shoot from cover; they'll move fast; their shots will be on target.
Those are not hallmarks of a typical lone gunman who wants to lash out at society. Most have either no or little training in using a firearm in an actual attack.
Consider the following scenario where you are a student in class when an active shooting takes place. This shooter, like many actual shooters in recent years, has no military or police experience.
You're a student sitting in class, listening to the teacher, following along in your book and taking notes, like you do each day. That's when the unexpected happens.
You hear a loud POP out in the hallway, outside your classroom.
A girl screams. POP, POP .
These are gunshots. This is a school shooting!
Columbine flashes through your head. Then Virginia Tech. Then Newtown.
More screams - these are coming from inside your classroom as your classmates realize an attack is heading in their direction.
You panic, jumping to your feet, and look around fast for a place to escape.
There's no escape. There's only one door, and outside that door are where the gunshots are coming from. Your classmates are on their feet terrified, some are cowering in a group in the corner.
POP, POP, POP.
You do not want to get shot. But there's no where to run.
Your instinct now, when faced with no escape, is to get to the shooter, and take him out -- understanding that his emotions will be running high and knowing that he's just a "kid" with a gun and may not really know what's he doing, except other than firing randomly at as many people as he can.
Do the Unexpected - Ambush the Shooter
You make a beeline for the door, sprinting across the classroom, and dive in the corner to the left of the door, grabbing a garbage can as you do. You hide as much of your body behind the garbage can as possible, and wait.
You don't have to wait long. The door flies open, and an outstretched arm holding a gun is the first thing that enters. A male walks in behind it, wearing combat fatigues and a black vest. He doesn't look down to his right, or if he did he only made a casual glance, and out of the corner of his eye only saw what he thought was just a garbage can.
POP, he shoots at a student across the room, standing by a window. The student falls to the floor.
There's no time to think -- GET HIM NOW.
You throw the garbage can to the side as you explode to your feet, and tackle the shooter hard from behind. You need to get one arm around his neck, which you do immediately, and squeeze with all your might, cutting off his airway.
You know his hand is going to start flailing or that he's going to start shooting wildly, and you need to get to his gun arm fast, and grab his hand, and force the gun so it's pointed at his own body, and away from yours.
You might take a gun shot to the leg. Expect it, if it happens. Do not let go. Ignore the pain if you do take a gun shot. You must disable the shooter at all costs.
You continue to choke him. You've got him in an old fashioned sleeper hold, and this is not what he was expecting. You've also rolled him over, so he's flat on the ground face down on his stomach, and you're laying on top of him.
He stops trying to pull the trigger.
You look up at your frightened classmates. "GET THE GUN!" you scream.
Your classmates are terrified. One of them has been shot and lies bleeding on the ground.
"GET THE GUN!" you scream again.
Finally, a twenty year old classmate runs over and starts prying the gun from the shooters hand.
"He won't let go!" your classmate says.
You grab the shooter by the back of the head, and slam his face down as hard as you can on the floor, knocking him unconsciousness. He gets the gun away.
The chaos is over.
What I just described sounds like your typical classroom shooting, where the gunman marches in from the hallway, having already fired off rounds from down the hall, thereby alerting you that danger was quickly heading your way.
Now, if the gunman has not fired off any shots yet, and you're in the first classroom he happens to target, you're not going to get any warning that he's coming. He's just going to open the door, march in, and start shooting.
What to Do if You're in Classroom # 1
1) Dive for the floor and crawl for the rear of the classroom. The gunman is going to start shooting; most people are going to leap up from desks and turn for the rear of the room also; his first targets are likely to be students that are standing up. Some will dive to the floor though as well.
Where You Sit Dictates Your Survival Strategy
Nowadays, avoid sitting in the seats closest to the door to the classroom. If a shooter comes in unannounced, you're one of the first people that is likely to be shot.
If you're seated in a row toward the middle of the classroom, dive to the ground as the gunman enters and crawl quickly toward the rear of the class, in an aisle between desks. Most likely other students are going to simply run, which will make them an easier target for the shooter and they're most likely to be shot at before you are.
As you're crawling past rows of desks, glance back -- looking under desks to the front of the room -- and notice where the shooter is standing.
As he moves laterally, you move in the opposite direction. You do not want him to have a clear line of sight down an aisle between desks, where you're crawling.
Disrupt His Aim - Create Obstacles
If he approaches the aisle between desks where you're crawling, make a 90 degree turn (to your left or right) and crawl down an open row. Time it so that you pass him just as he is standing in front of a desk in the first row of the classroom. As much as possible, disrupt his aim by putting obstacles between his line of sight and where you're crawling on the floor.
It's possible he may notice your movement, down on the floor between desks, as you work to keep objects in his line of sight; if he shoots at you, desks and even other people (some who may have already been shot) will create obstacles, making you a harder target to hit.
An active shooter knows that he only has a short period of time and so he's most likely going to choose the easiest targets -- not wanting to waste time on targets that are trying to allude him.
Use Bodies as Shields
The longer he has of course to continue shooting in the classroom, the more likely it is that he's going to hit you finally. If there's a student laying dead or unconscious toward the rear of the room, push yourself up next to the student, using their body as a shield, and lay still. If possible, use two bodies, as gruesome as this may sound (some shots might be powerful enough to pass through one body and enter a second body, though they will have slowed quite a bit, limiting penetration into the second body).
As you crawl on the floor and use obstacles and even shield yourself with bodies, you buy time.
You may have a 50/50 chance that the shooter is going to leave your classroom and head back to the hall, looking for more classrooms to target, or simply anyone in the hallway to shoot.
By going into survival mode at the first sign of a shooter, you have just survived by your quick thinking and quick actions.
How to Ambush a Shooter
If you're brave and think you have the strength to tackle a shooter, consider sitting in the front row, but in a seat furthest from the door to the classroom.
As a shooter enters and begins firing at students, dive to the floor, in the direction of the front of the class and along the wall you are seated by.
Flee toward the front corner of the room, opposite the front door to the classroom (if it opens near the teacher).
Glance at the shooter. What is he doing?
His first shots may have started with students seated at their desks, but he may have quickly turned and taken aim at the teacher.
If that's the case, he's now looking your general direction; if there are no objects to hide behind and help shield you from bullets, like a book closet or even a projector, then create your own shield.
How do you create a shield? Your desk can be a shield of sorts, even if it's not the best shield.
As the shooter enters the classroom and raises his gun to fire, when you flee for the far front corner of the room, you can bring your desk with you. Within 2 seconds you can be in the front far corner of the room where you can flip your desk over and drop down in a crouch next to it.
Most likely a shooter's attention will be on the vast number of students running for the rear of the room. Why? Because an active shooter's first likely targets are groups of people because they are easier to hit, leading to more casualties.
He will aim for the pack. You are not part of the pack.
If this is how the attack unfolds -- if the shooter's attention is on a main "pack" of students -- crawl in the direction of the teacher's desk or something else that will interfere with his line of sight (so he doesn't notice your movement in his direction).
You can do this from a crouched position, even using your desk (if you still have it with you), a lot like a SWAT Team officer advancing on a target from behind a bullet proof shield. Your desk may not be bullet proof, but at least it's something to help slow down or deflect bullets (keep in mind most desks are wood tops mounted on steel framing).
Sneak up on the shooter's position.
By setting up an ambush, you're using "probability" in your favor. Think of it like this: Who is likely the first target when a shooter enters a room? Base your survival strategy on the "probable actions" of a school shooter entering a classroom as well as the "probable response" of students as shots ring out.
It may be the teacher who's shot first -- especially now that school shootings have had so much press. Why the teacher? The shooter may believe that the teacher could be armed or has an alarm that can be sounded to alert school security and local law enforcement.
Once the teacher goes down, then he can turn and begin firing on the students closest to him, those in the nearest seats who haven't fled for the rear of the classroom.
His next likely targets will be students standing in the middle rows, or those standing and running for the rear of the classroom. Why? Because they are in close proximity to one another and because they're standing, they offer the easiest direct shots.
After these students are shot, now the shooter will likely take aim at students crawling on the floor between desks and even begin shooting at students who are lying on the ground, who have already been shot.
These areas of the classroom have the shooter's attention. Not being trained, he may not a strategy to deal with a security response -- which can be you, if you have the guts.
If Your Desk Is Fixed When a School Shooting Takes Place
If your classroom has a fixed desk that won't move, or no desk at all, flee for the front far corner, in the direction opposite the pack of students likely to first be targetted.
He might notice you race for the front far corner and even dive to the ground and crawl, but in his mind you're not a threat; also, he has a number of students right in front of him; his greatest chances for causing the most casualties is to focus on this group.
This is what you're counting on anyway. Nothing's guaranteed, but at least it's a plan of action that might have a pay off and save a few lives.
Once you've made it to that front far corner, now crawl toward the teacher's desk or another obstacle between you and the shooter -- it might be a podium or it might be a projector or a stack of books on a shelf; from your crawl drop flat to the ground and look for the shooters feet -- you may have to look under the teacher's desk to see the shooter's feet.
Which direction are his feet facing? If they're facing toward the rear of the classroom, where most students will have fled, you have a chance now of sneaking up behind him and tackling him to the ground.
You must be fast and you must do this with no hesitation. The moment he has less targets toward the rear of the classroom is the moment he may turn in your direction. You have a very short window of time to sneak up alongside and attempt a tackle.
Escape a School Shooting - Know Your Surroundings in Advance
From day one of going to this school, the first thing you did was get to know your classroom. Do your windows open easily? Can you jump from them?
If gunshots ever sounded down the hall or from another classroom, would you have time to run from your classroom, and make a beeline for the nearest exit?
Do you have a backup plan, if the doors happened to be chained shut?
Have you identified all exits and possible hiding places? A closet may not be the best hiding place, as the gunman may simply throw open a closet door and shoot whoever's inside.
Become a Back-Row Seater
Choosing a front row seat may not be the smartest thing to do anymore, especially if you're in a classroom with unlocked doors (where a shooter can enter unexpectedly) and windows that open (allowing for your escape).
In this day and age, the brightest kids probably sit in the back of the room, near an unlocked window, so they can make an easy exit if an active shooting takes place.
Follow their example.
Using Desks as a Security Response from Students
In high schools and smaller colleges (which have a traditional "classroom" setting with rows of desks and a class of 20 - 30 students vs. an amphitheater that holds 200 or more students), schools should outfit these classrooms with desks that are not attached to chairs. A "stand-alone" desk would allow students in the front row to have an immediate security response.
When a shooter enters, a student in the front row could pick up his or her desk, turn the top over so it faces the shooter, and use it as a shield. In the same motion a student can now rush the shooter, crash into him with the desk, and knock the shooter to the ground. Though the bullet may easily penetrate the top layer of wood, the secondary layer of steel behind the wood may take quite a bit out of power out of any bullets, effectively working as a shield.
Multiple front row students using desks as shields and rushing a shooter may end the attack before it turns into a blood-bath and mass casualties.
Teachers Shoot Back
When you first heard gunshots going off down the hall, you noticed your teacher duck down behind her desk.
Now you know why.
The door to the classroom flies open, and in comes the shooter. He doesn't see the teacher, who is ducked down behind her desk. He aims at a student.
POP, POP. Unexpectedly, the gunman falls to the ground.
The teacher, who was packing her own hand gun, just saved the day by doing exactly what she'd trained herself to do. In the weeks and months prior to this, she had practiced with other teachers, the exact same scenario, and now in the heat of the moment, pulled it off perfectly.
What About Schools that Refuse to Allow Teachers to Carry
Nowadays there are high-powered stun-guns -- we're talking stun-guns that actually look and fire like guns, firing electronic bolts from several feet away. See: Taser X26C Citizen Defense System. From 15 feet away a teacher could take aim and disable a shooter, stopping a classroom shooting as it unfolds. This type of taser is different (it's more powerful and more advanced) than traditional hand-held tasers, which require direct contact with a person in order to work.
Islamic Terrorist School Shooting
What do you do when its an Islamic terrorist, or ten Islamic terrorists, who are hell bent on terror and killing as many people as they possibly can? If you've been reading other articles on our site you know that Islamic terror groups have made plans in the past to kill American children.
More than likely, terror groups will use nukes and dirty bombs to hit us, along with chemical weapons, in a widescale attack -- if a violent wave of terror attacks ever takes place.
There is the possibility that terror groups will attack randomly in the mean time, so be aware of the threat if you're out in public or sitting in your classroom at school. We should not be complacent about the threat.
Osama Bin Laden made threats in recent years to kill over two million children which of course may include high school and college students. That may be one reason why Islamic radicals have made attempts to sign up as school bus drivers in the United States. The Cinncinati Enquirer reports (April 3, 2007):
The FBI recently issued an alert stating that members of extremist groups have signed up as school bus drivers in the United States...
It then reports that in 2001 videos were obtained of Islamic terrorists training to take over a school. Though the FBI denies any danger (according to the article; I'm sure they don't want to scare the public), the Cincinnati Enquirer does a great job of laying out even more evidence:
See: Extremist groups sign up as school bus drivers
Even with Osama Bin Laden gone, hundreds of thousands of other Islamic believers feel the same way about America as Bin Laden, you can count on that.
With our nation facing so many threats from within our own borders by terror groups, be prepared for the worst.
Policies that Deter School Shootings
Only attend schools with good security, which includes locked classrooms, armed security guards, and a published policy that teachers are armed, to help deter potential shooters.
If a school does not have a good plan for school shootings, choose a different school. If there are no other schools to attend, harass this school to get a policy in place.
Work with other students to call attention to the threat, and encourage your school to get a plan in place.
Additional Steps Classrooms should be designed so that groups of people can easily escape through windows. Doors should be locked while class is in session, and not easy to shoot through or break down. These features alone could probably save quite a few lives, including yours.
Warn students that there are terrible consequences for murdering someone, and that simply committing suicide isn't a way out, no matter what you've been lead to believe.
Resources / Tools
Survive the Crisis: Navy Seal Reveals 7 Steps To Surviving an Active Shooter