The AP is now reporting that it was indeed 3 Americans that overpowered the terrorist active shooter on a train in France, it just was not US Marines as originally reported.
“The servicemen — U.S. Airman Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, a National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon — and their friend, Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento State University in California, heard glass breaking at the same time.”
So, Besides reinforcing the obvious fact that the liberal media is inaccurate in its reporting, why is this fact important to the CO? Because it shows that regardless of WHO you are and what type of training or background you may have, confronting the threat in this type of situation is often your best course of action when compared with the alternative of DOING NOTHING.
In a recent article on the Medium, a very basic model is given on how to deal with an active shooter in a confined space, such as a train, subway or airplane or any other public place with limited exits.
The writer uses the same 3 word catch phrase as the FBI’s: “Run. Hide, Fight” model in “Chase, Challenge, Choke”.
I am going to attempt to explain, and amend this model to make it more of a practical option and launching pad for the CO.
Before going into the details however, I want to re-iterate a few things:
First, concerning the mentality one must have in a situation like this, I will quote the above story’s last paragraph:
“These are the desperate, last ditch attempts to save the others when no safe shelter or escape is possible. They are likely to get you killed. But once the shooting has started, and no other actions are possible, these may save the lives of some of those around you. Like the Brit, the student, the guardsman, and the airman on the train, your actions just may save everybody else.”
Understand if the CO ever finds themselves in a situation like this, DOING NOTHING is just as likely to get you killed as DOING ANYTHING. The shooter has already purposed in his mind to kill people, who he kills is immaterial to him, so ACTION on your part could just as easily get you killed as it could to save your life and the life of others. The picture of Airman Spencer Stone above sais it all: the guy took some lumps, but ultimately he and his 3 partners took the POS shooter down. Bravo! All 4 heroes will be receiving France’s highest civilian honor for valor later on today, the Legion d’honneur’.
Secondly, there is also the issue of numbers. Understand it was 4 against 1 in the French train incident above (3 Americans, 1 Brit against one shooter) so realistically, this is not a good example of the typical active shooter situation the CO might find himself in. We must always train for the worst case scenario, which is to say you can only depend on yourself when the excrement starts flying. Therefore, only practice techniques you can execute yourself, “team” techniques may be more fun but much less likely to be useful.
Lastly, the issue of “disproportional” armament. Or simply put, the bad guy has a gun and you don’t. Being that most CQ situations would most likely be on some type of public transportation (train, plane or bus) the likelihood of having a knife is slim also. So that only leaves us with our bodies and any improvised weapons we might have or can get a hold of, which when you factor in the close proximity to the enemy and extreme Violence of Action (driving THRU the enemy) never think that not having a “weapon” automatically puts you at a disadvantage.
I am not sure “Chase” is the right term here. For me, I would call it “Closing With” the enemy; basically, closing the gap of distance between you and the shooter as fast as humanly possible. Being we have already determined we are in a close-quarters situation, keeping our distance behind cover or finding an exit is not an option, so the only thing left to do is confront the shooter. Now depending on how much distance is between you and the shooter, this very well may be your very own “last charge of the light brigade”. Before you charge in however, remember that surprise is tremendously helpful in an ambush, so hit him from the rear if possible and hit him as hard as possible.
This is where the fight is going to begin. I say fight, because damn well expect the shooter to resist you. He came there with the intention of killing people and now you have screwed all that up. Paul Howe is famous for saying “Don’t be surprised when the enemy shoots at you; expect it.” The same principle applies here. The main thing to concern yourself with AS SOON as contact is made is gaining control of the weapon.(Did I mention how important this is?) First thing, is to avert the muzzle away from you, and if possible, away from everybody around you as well. If the SOB wants to really fight you on this, either stick the friggin’ barrel in his face and attempt to pull the trigger, or take the gun from him and beat him to death with it; that may or may not work BTW, but it is a thought. Bottom line, there is a multitude of things I COULD TELL YOU TO TRY, but the reality is, in that moment, THERE WILL BE ONLY ONE THING YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD TRY, and that’s what most likely will work. Just remember, don’t get cute or fancy in your techniques and DEFINITELY don’t let the SOB shoot you! When it comes to CQ fighting, simple and violent is the best recipe IMO, so repeatedly hitting him hard in the face until he is unconscious is always a sure bet.
Now this is where I (and Mr. Murphy) disagree with this catchy saying; dedicating to one particular move (ie a Choke Hold or a Submission Hold) is thinking WAY too optimistically in a FUBAR situation like this. I mean come on, the best laid plans of mice and men, right? To properly put somebody in a choke hold, you first have to get POSITION on them. Being that this was 4 on 1, I am sure that was not a problem for these guys; however, when its One on One, things may be a lot different, So the best bet, and advice, is to be prepared to do whatever it takes; choke, strike, submission, using the buttstock of an AK to bash his skull in, biting his nose off, whatever presents itself. That’s the reality of it.
Stay Alert, Stay Real and Stay Dangerous!