Black Belt - - CONTENTS -

Kelly McCann’s mes­sage for the world: Ac­tive shoot­ers can be stopped! oead his prac­ti­cal ad­vice for mar­tial artistsI then pass it on to ev­ery­one you think would ben­e­fit if they’re ever con­fronted with one of th­ese hor­ri­ble crimesK

An­other ac­tive shooter sit­u­a­tion. More in­no­cent peo­ple vic­tim­ized for rea­sons that make no sense to ra­tio­nal peo­ple. The prob­lem con­tin­ues, and ev­ery­one has so­cial ques­tions re­gard­ing what to do about it. Sadly, many times the ques­tions that mat­ter most are left unan­swered. obody wants to talk about the use of force in in­ci­dents that arise out of use of force. Un­for­tu­nately, if you’re unlucky enough to be con­fronted by one of th­ese hor­rific sit­u­a­tions, you may have to rely on force to end the at­tack — and save your­self and count­less oth­ers. 8= =>V4<14R 2 1$ Cathy Lanier, then chief of po­lice for Wash­ing­ton, D.C., made na­tional news when she said on 60 Min­utes that or­di­nary cit­i­zens will likely have to in­ter­vene in ac­tive shooter at­tacks. (This should be broad­ened to in­clude mass edged-weapon at­tacks and the af­ter­math of ve­hic­u­lar at­tacks.) At the time, her state­ment was con­tro­ver­sial to some, but her prag­ma­tism was ap­pre­ci­ated by many when she pointed out that most at­tacks are over within five to 10 min­utes and po­lice re­sponse time nor­mally ex­ceeds that.

The U.S. gov­ern­ment’s pro­gram of Run-Hide-Fight is sim­ple and to the point. Run when there’s no ad­verse con­se­quence — when you’re out of line of sight, when the shooter is not be­tween you and an exit, or when there’s no al­ter­na­tive. Hide when you can’t or shouldn’t run — you’re un­able to, or the shooter is be­tween you and the exit.

Fight when there’s no al­ter­na­tive.

If you are within two arm lengths of the shooter, maybe more de­pend­ing on the cir­cum­stances, you have no choice but to at­tack. If the shooter came to kill and you don’t of­fer any re­sis­tance or cause him to try to fend you off, he’ll sim­ply start with you. That’s not a great sit­u­a­tion, of course, but there are few al­ter­na­tives. The fol­low­ing are some guide­lines for ac­tion.

Stay to the back side of the

shooter’s strong arm. If he’s righthanded, try to get on the out­side of his right el­bow. Be­cause the arm doesn’t ar­tic­u­late that way, it will be more dif­fi­cult for him to ori­ent the weapon to­ward you.

If pos­si­ble, gain con­trol of the weapon and point it at the ground.

If it’s a pis­tol, grab the arm with both hands and ori­ent it to­ward the ground. If it’s a long gun, grab the forend or — yes — the bar­rel with both hands and get it pointed down. It doesn’t mat­ter if the bar­rel is hot; noth­ing mat­ters ex­cept con­trol­ling the weapon and keep­ing it aimed in a safe di­rec­tion.

Yell for help.

That, cou­pled with the sight of you strug­gling with an at­tacker and, it is hoped, wrest­ing con­trol of the weapon away from him, will en­cour­age oth­ers to come to your aid. Can you count on this? No, but it’s likely to hap­pen as oth­ers sense that the mo­men­tum has shifted away from the shooter.

Pre­vent the shooter from re­ori­ent­ing the weapon.

To do that, stay sin­gu­larly fo­cused on main­tain­ing con­trol of it. Don’t let ov­er­en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port­ers min­i­mize or break your grip on the weapon by not fully un­der­stand­ing how to help. That can make mat­ters worse.

Give ver­bal di­rec­tion to peo­ple who want to help.

Fo­cus them on mak­ing the shooter un­con­scious. Tell them to hit the back of his head with their fists or any­thing heavy such as a fire ex­tin­guisher or lap­top. Just make sure you keep your own head clear of their ef­forts as you con­trol the weapon. Di­rect some­one else to fo­cus his or her ef­fort on break­ing the struc­tures that sup­port the act of shoot­ing — the hand, wrist, el­bow, col­lar­bone and shoul­der of the at­tacker — with any­thing they can find. The logic: If the shooter’s arm doesn’t work, his weapon won’t, ei­ther.


points if you hap­pen to come across an­other per­son en­gaged in such a strug­gle or if you re­spond to shouts for help. Use your ham­mer­fist or any im­pro­vised blud­geon to re­peat­edly strike the back of the killer’s head. There’s a rea­son strik­ing the back of the head is il­le­gal in all com­bat sports — it’s ef­fec­tive! If you can ap­ply a rear­naked choke with­out forc­ing the sit­u­a­tion to the ground, which could cre­ate a scram­ble that al­lows the shooter to break free or re­ori­ent the muz­zle of his weapon, then choke him un­con­scious. Check your work, whether you knocked him out with strikes or with a choke. Make sure he’s out.

Be­fore you en­gage, eval­u­ate what’s go­ing on around you and make sure your ac­tions, although well-in­ten­tioned, don’t make mat­ters a whole lot worse. There likely will be only one op­por­tu­nity to get the job done. Once the shooter is alerted to the re­al­ity that some peo­ple will ab­so­lutely fight back, he’ll prob­a­bly be­come more care­ful — and more ef­fi­cient at killing.

Ob­vi­ously, the best time to at­tack the shooter is when his back is to­ward you, when you’re on the back side of his strong arm, when he’s reload­ing or when he’s deal­ing with a mal­func­tion. But you won’t al­ways get to choose, that’s the hell of it. Just re­mem­ber that th­ese in­ci­dents typ­i­cally don’t last very long. If you’re sud­denly con­fronted with one, you may have no al­ter­na­tive other than to in­ter­vene.


in­ci­dents rarely present them­selves as the typ­i­cal “dis­arm­ing sit­u­a­tions” that most mar­tial artists prac­tice. Re­mem­ber that. Don’t look for the per­fect, prac­ticed tech­nique to use. Your heart rate will likely soar to three or four times its rest­ing rate — in­stantly. As you deal with the re­sult­ing duress dys­func­tion, you’ll still have to act quickly, ruth­lessly and with laser fo­cus.

The al­ter­na­tive isn’t ac­cept­able.

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