Engaging a terrorist active shooter (TAS) is a significant step up in threat level from simple carry for self protection–especially if the shooter is armed with a long gun, has body armor, and is committed to giving his life for a cause. The risk of dying or being permanently maimed is far greater and yet most CCW holders I have spoken with say that they are willing to take on such a threat.
I can remember during my years in law enforcement how different people responded to various life threatening or potentially violent situations. Many times I saw officers and others mill around when direct action was clearly needed. These were people who were capable in regards to training and performance and yet, when things got sticky, they hesitated.
In any given situation there will be moments when you have to make a choice that can affect your personal well-being in a negative way. It will not be your skill that makes your choice for you, it will be your will. Your will is what "gets you through the door" so to speak. Your skill, hopefully, helps you succeed and get back out again. Your will is made up of your conscious and subconscious mind and your self image. Your commitment to your values and your willingness to risk your life for them will be reflected by your decisions and actions.
When facing a threat, the bunker mentality reflects a desire to stay safe and protected. "I’m OK right here and if that bad guy comes, I am ready for him." There are times when staying in a sheltered, protected spot makes sense. However, when people are being killed nearby and you have the tools, the opportunity, and the desire to protect society, then you will have to leave the bunker mindset.
Going after a terrorist active shooter requires a hunter mindset. The hunter mentality is proactive. It reflects a willingness to "go to the fight" instead of waiting for the fight to come to you. And this is where it gets sticky. When I talk about the hunter mindset, people invariably say to me, "I need more training." I then ask, "What training do you need to have a hunter mindset?"
The hunter mindset is a life choice based on your values and priorities. You strengthen the mindset by defining your values and committing to them even at risk to your own life. Then you live them in your everyday life as part of who you are. In the end, how you respond will be a reflection of your value and priorities.
Maintaining the hunter mindset in the face of an armed threat will be a challenge. When things get hairy and you feel vulnerable, leaving cover and moving out into the open will feel like pushing against an invisible wall of gelatin. You have to force yourself to act and move through it. Remember, courage is doing what you have to do when you feel fear.
By making conscious decisions now of what you are going to do, living your values and then doing it when it counts, you can develop the hunter mindset. Decide now. Live your values in your everyday life. Stop posting on Facebook about your readiness to respond. Shut up and live it.
Guns and gear are where I find the majority of people focusing in regards to preparing for a possible active shooter situation. What gun? What caliber? Body armor? Holster? They spend endless time on an issue that is only a small component of the equation. There are many other things unrelated to your gun and gear that you should consider when preparing for a potential active shooter situation:
Ron Avery, co-founder
Tactical Performance Center