AL Wargame

Wargaming: Armed Liberal

Armed Liberal of Winds of Change submitted the following guest post to Grim's Hall.

Grim posts two scenarios:

1) I'm sitting in class, armed, and I hear shots and screams from the
corridor outside.

2) I'm sitting in class and a shooter walks in the door and starts

On scenario 2) I'd create a 2a) and 2b); In 2a), I'm armed with a
firearm, in 2b) I'm not.

Background: I'm a trained tactical shooter, and have participated in
shooting sports for twenty-some years. I've been trained at Gunsite
(multiple times), Thunder Ranch (multiple times), Insights (once) and had random classes from and competed with many of the loveable and wacky folks in the tactical shooting world. I'd estimate my proficiency as high-average for a law-enforcement officer (on good days, I can shoot with the SWAT guys).

I've actually run some of these scenarios in training, including force-on force, as well as in competitions, so I'm kind of cheating here.

So let me talk about 2b) first, which is the one that has the most connection to reality.

If I'm in a room and someone starts shooting, my response will depend on two things - where am I relative to the door and to the shooter, and whether I took my hero pills that day.

First, I'm going to do something - I've been in enough situations to know that I'll react. The base reaction ought to be to get out of the door, leaving the shooter in the room. I have an ambush position on him when he comes out, and since I always have a pocketknife or even a rollerball pen, at that range (ambushing him as he walks out a door), it's going to be advantage me.

If I can't do that - if I'm too far from the door, or he's between me and the door, I'm going to start throwing things. My laptop is perfect, books, pens, my cell phone, anything I can chuck at him while running toward him and yelling to encourage others to do the same thing. Part of what I want to do is change the group dynamics, and tip the 'flight, freeze, or fight' into 'fight'. Plus it takes time for him to break his pattern of action, and if I can get to him while he's busy aiming and shooting at someone else, the odds are he won't have time to refocus on me.

I want to close with him because if I can get within three or four feet of him, he'll have a hard time shooting me (again, I'm cheating - enough martial arts experience to know that I can knock most people down and have a pretty good shot at disarming them) plus if I can get him off his feet, I'm hoping others will come help sit on him.

Most people who get shot once by handguns don't die - unless the shooter has the luxury of enough time to deliver a coup de grace to the head. That's a small comfort, but a comfort nonetheless.

So we move to 2a), where he walks in but I'm armed. I draw my Glock 27, get out of the chair and kneel (if I'm shooting upward I worry less about hitting the people in back of him) and shoot him in the head. I've done pretty consistently this off a buzzer in about 2.5 - 3 seconds, so figure it's take me another three or five seconds to realize what's going on and react. So eight seconds after he walks in the door, he's dead. Assume I miss the first shot, and the second is .8 seconds behind it. Nine seconds for two shots. That's the best plausible case - probably a factor of two or more better than reality would be (ducking to get an angle for a shot, etc.). But note that he took ninety seconds or more in each classroom, so that's a relatively short time for him to be active.

How do I know I could do this? Let me take a moment and talk about fighting like you train.

The closest I ever came to being shot involved an unfortunate incident in which I arrived to my office at 3am in response to an alarm company call, walked into the courtyard, and saw two shadowy figures, one with a gun, on my office stairs. I was too far into the courtyard to retreat, so I drew my gun and yelled "Freeze! Police!" (I was, of course calling for the police, not representing myself as a police officer) and the figure with the gun turned toward me. I started the 'shoot' cycle, and as I focused on his chest, stil remember seeing the glint of a badge and releasing the trigger. We had a brief John Woo moment, and I did what I'd trained to do a million times. I holstered my gun, slowly raised my hands and said "I'm a good guy."

You'll note the colossally stupid thing I did - I reholstered my gun while looking down the barrel of the officer's gun. I did that because that's what I'd always done in class and in training when we did 'blue-on-blue' exercises. I was completely frightened - I recall being sure I was going to get shot and thinking "They aren't even going to get in trouble for this..." but still followed the pattern I'd built to the letter.

It (obviously) ended well, and I felt better when they explained that they'd been on foot which explained why I didn't see a patrol car when I drove up (I'd looked for either a police car or an obvious perp car, and would have driven away and called the police in either case).

So I'm pretty confident that I'm going to do whatever it is that I'm trained to do when the lights go up. And that anyone else would be likely to do so as well.

In Scenario 1, the first response is to close the door and move to a position where I can cover the door opening and shoot him as he walks in. I'll take a position along the wall to the side of the door that opens (the doorknob side) and get everyone to move into the far corner on the same side of the door as me. We're pretty solidly defensible at that point.

In another sidenote, while at Thunder Ranch we did an exercise in which five of us 'hunted' five others (no guns) within one of the training structures. It was pretty chilling to note that those who stayed in place and ambushed won 5:1 over those who moved and searched. So solo building clearing isn't high on my list of things to do in reality, unless there's a compelling reason. Staying put and setting ambushes is much more effective if what you want to do is kill the bad guy and survive yourself.

But - for the right reasons, like if my kid was in my house - I'd probably be willing to overlook those odds and gamble in part on the fact that I'm more motivated and better trained than whoever I'm hunting.

The interesting question - and one I genuinely couldn't answer - is whether I'd be willing to walk out of the room and go hunt the shooter. That's one of those random synapse click things, I imagine. So I can't really say whether I think I'd risk it all to be a hero. I might. I tend to wade into things before I think about them much. And then I might not, remembering the lesson I learned at Thunder Ranch.

I'd certainly defend myself and those immediately around me (can't defend me without defending them). I might go after him and try and defend more people - but I really can't say for certain. I wish I could. But I also know for certain that I'd be doing everything in my power not to be a victim.

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