Figure Out The Gunman’s Motive
The first thing you need to determine when dealing with a gunman is what their motive is. If you are in a situation where you are being robbed and feel that complying with the gunman’s demands for money, your car, or other material objects could save your life, this is ALWAYS the best option. The only exception is if the gunman tries to force you to come with him to another location, which significantly reduces your chance of survival.
If The Gunman Is Attempting to Rob You
If all the attacker wants is money, try your best to remain calm and act as passive as possible, making yourself seem as non-intimidating as possible. Keep your hands where the attacker can see them and communicate your movements clearly before you make them. For example you might say things like, “Okay, I’m just going to reach into my pocket for my wallet.” Try to maintain eye contact with the gunman which will force him to see you as a human being and reduce the odds that he will shoot, but be careful not to appear intimidating or challenging. This will also give you a chance to look for distinguishing characteristics which can help the police identify him later on.
Making a Run For It
If you feel that your life is in danger and that you have a good chance of getting away, running might be something to consider. Know however, that this is always a dangerous plan. If you do attempt to make a break for it, try to run in a zig-zag or unpredictable pattern which will decrease your odds of being shot should the attacker chose to open fire. If possible, try and distract the gunman by throwing your wallet or another object away from you before you run. Then put a solid object between you and the attacker and scream for help as quickly as possible.
In An Active Shooter Situation
If on the other hand you find yourself in a situation, such as a school or mass shooting, where the gunman’s sole aim is to kill as many people as possible, attempting to reason with the gunman is obviously not going to be the logical option. In this instance, avoiding the gunman is always going to be your best chance to get out alive. Keep in mind that if you do chose to engage an active shooter, you need to be prepared to fight to the death.
If at all possible, your first goal should be to get out of the building or area in which the shooting is taking place. If you find yourself unable to exit however, hide as best as you can and barricade any doors that could keep you separated from the shooter. If there are no doors between you and the gunman, hide under a table or desk and remain as still as possible. When interviewed after being taken into custody, convicted shooters have described having a sort of tunnel vision that kept them from shooting people who they walked right past but didn’t see simply because they remained so still.
If there is a possibility that the gunman could enter a room where you have barricaded yourself, arm yourself with anything you could possibly use to fight back. This could range from chairs to heavy office supplies- anything you can hit the gunman with that could injure or disarm him. If there are other people in the room with you, decide who is going to attempt to disarm the shooter and who is going to attempt to restrain him. If he enters the room where you are hiding, be prepared to launch your attack the second he walks through the door.
Disarming a Shooter
As stated above, disarming a gunman should only be attempted if you only believe it to be the absolute only option you have left. If however, you find yourself held at gunpoint in a situation where you feel the shooter can’t be reasoned with and is going to kill you, your only option is to fight back so make sure you’re ready to go all out. This is the point where you must put aside everything you were taught about being civilized and tap into your primal side. Consider all the reasons you have to live and prepare to defend them with as much controlled anger as you can muster.
Think of the gun not so much as a god-like device but as a mere object that can be controlled and ultimately taken away. As you shift into this adrenaline fueled mindset however, attempt to give the gunman no indication of what you’re about to do if you are already in his line of fire. Keep your hands raised above the gun and keep them moving, even if only slightly waving, in order to redirect the gunman’s focus.
As far how to actually attack and regain control from the shooter, there are several techniques that we’ll leave it to the professionals to explain step by step, as mastering any one of them could quite possibly save your life.