A Catch 22: Flaws in LE Department Training for Civilians

*This is an excerpt from the book How to Survive an Active Killer
A lot of Active Shooter programs nationwide are hosted or taught by Law Enforcement Departments. This is fantastic because these departments generally earn the respect of a majority of their citizens, so when they show up, they are attentive. Their programs generally highlight the same concepts and protocols that others do: Run-Hide-Fight or something similar. There are two concerns, however, when addressing the option of fighting back.
First, the likelihood that a police officer, teaching a department sanctioned training, is going to look you in the eyes and tell you that you should consider bludgeoning the person to death, is slim to none. You’d be hard pressed to find a police officer who wouldn’t tell their loved ones to do whatever the hell they need to do to protect themselves, however we as a society rarely want to hear this. The red tape and liability they must consider, limits their ability to be honest about the situation. Think about anytime a civilian has engaged a threat and resolved the situation. The press conference usually goes like this “We want to commend the individual for taking action and being brave, however we do not encourage civilians engaging threats.” So they are saying, you did a good job, but don’t do that. If they came out and said “We want to commend the individual for taking action. In nearly all cases of self defense we will not get to you in time to properly protect you. Therefore, you are accountable for your own safety. It’s not my job, its yours. Learn to fight and protect your loved ones. If the threat of death is imminent do whatever you need to do to protect yourself, including killing the person if it makes sense. If we get there in time we’ll be happy to help.” It’s not their fault, you can thank our peaceful civilization for collectively looking down on the option of violence when necessary. We as a society don’t allow them to be honest like that. We want them to protect us, it’s certainly not my job to make sure my family stays alive right? Even better we want them to be “civil” at the same time. So they are playing by the rules that we put into place. Unfortunately, at the risk of our own personal safety.
The next issue comes with police response. If you are attending a training hosted by local PD it is likely you are in their jurisdiction, so in the event of a mass violence threat, they will be the ones responding. Their training program for civilians is often skewed by their desire/need to make sure when they arrive, an already chaotic scene is as beneficial to their tactics as possible. We assume, collectively as a society, that the police are the first responders, so our plans are centered around getting the cops there quickly and efficiently. The reality is, this is severely flawed. Law Enforcement response is never fast enough. Someone, usually sitting behind a desk, developed a program for the department. While developing that program they considered liability, department policy and their tactics. They rarely consider the ability of the civilian to end the threat and would prefer innocent people aren’t in the mix when they get there. It’s much easier to kill or apprehend a bad guy when you aren’t worried about accidentally shooting innocent people. So they developed a plan for you that fits better for their plan. Again, this doesn’t mean they are trying to get you killed, they honestly think it’s what is best, kind of, mostly, but it’s not. Your plan should consider the best options for your safety and not be altered to fit any other mold.
Train hard, stay safe, one love
-aaron