View Full Version : More on mass shootings and sole responders

Deaf Smith
April 26, 2009, 05:13 PM

Massad Ayoob is right now at the annual conference of ILEETA, the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association. He writes this:

"Thursday afternoon, I chaired the panel of experts discussion on deadly force issues. I had been able to assemble ten superstars of police training. [He lists them, and their credentials are indeed impressive].

One of the topics that inevitably cropped up was response to mass murders in schools and other public places. Among us was Ron Borsch, instructor at the Southeast Area Law Enforcement Academy in Ohio, who has been an advocate of “sole response” entry into such situations by the first responding officer. Though controversial in law enforcement, his theory was validated recently by the courageous 25-year-old cop who entered a mass murder scene only a few weeks ago at an old folks home, and stopped the killing with a single bullet from his Glock .40 service pistol coolly and expertly delivered to the gunman’s chest.

Borsch’s impromptu discussion revealed the fact that some 25% of mass murder shooting sprees he has researched were ended by armed private citizens. This led in turn to a discussion of the Israeli Model, in place since the Maalot massacre of schoolchildren decades ago, in which teachers and other school personnel were trained and discreetly armed with handguns, which has proven famously successful ever since in Israel. Across the ten-member panel AND the dozens of police instructors attending the discussion, not a single voice was raised against that concept, and many spoke enthusiastically in favor of it."

Very interesting!

Glenn E. Meyer
April 26, 2009, 06:05 PM
No, Massad right now (sunday) is at Tom Given's Polite Society Match. I know because I shot with him yesterday on the standards and he came to my talk this morning. An hour ago, I saw him win in a drawing a Tom Given's shotgun video.

That has nothing to do with the issue which is a good one. We discussed the rampage shooter problem and had a sophisticated look at the opposition to the armed citizen that arises from some.

One take away point though and independent of the RKBA issues revolving training as a government mandate, is that the armed citizen who makes the claim that they would be an interventionist force in a rampage has the responsibilty to have some training.

While the untrained individual may prevail if you want to make the public case that you might intervene, it is more convincing if you have prepared seriously.

Whether one should intervene as compared to getting out of Dodge if given the chance is another long debate beyond simple internet proclaimations.

Deaf Smith
April 26, 2009, 06:08 PM

Read the article. Mas wrote it! He says in the article he is 'right now'.


Glenn E. Meyer
April 26, 2009, 06:25 PM
Probably wrote it using the time stamp where he was when he wrote it. Thurs?

But then he and his SO packed up and are in Tulsa. That is of course, unless I am asleep in San Antonio, dreaming I'm in Tulsa. Or his evil clone stood next to me as we blazed away. He even took my picture.

No big deal.

The Polite Society is a whole lot of fun. Although check in on Friday looked like the Meeting of the American Vest Manufacturers. The Mumbai-ish shoot house was a blast. Reactive targets you have to hit in the right spot to knock down!

Mas Ayoob
April 26, 2009, 06:35 PM
Posted the blog entry Thursday night or Friday AM while still in Chicagoland, flew out Friday PM to Tulsa, where I am now, as Glenn noted.

Glenn gave an outstanding lecture, by the way, at the Polite Society/Tactical Conference event, on psychological issues related to firearms and their use.

April 26, 2009, 06:48 PM
interesting members we have here.

I've learned a lot from you Mas Ayoob, and you may have saved my life a time or two.

April 26, 2009, 08:26 PM
Well, this makes me think of Texas passing legislation to let college students carry on campus. I would love to do this in GA, and hopefully it will be passed as well.
I believe in what Israel did and what they are doing now. Even kids are armed for safety. No one denies it and everyone is responsible with it. I don't see why we can't have the same. Granted we are not a war zone like Israel is, but still. I think that wherever there is a "gun free" zone, there needs to be metal detectors and bullet proof glass as a buffer zone between the outside and inside of the building. The entrance halls anyway. But that won't happen, so instead we should get rid of "gun free" zones, and let responsible citizens defend themselves and others from murderers. I can only hope right?

Hello Mr Ayoob. I was thinking, since you are a famous expert on these things, maybe you could testify to congress about this whole thing and explain why it would be a better world if we could carry everywhere?

Mas Ayoob
April 27, 2009, 05:23 AM
Curt, that was good to hear. Feel free to PM me with details.

Kyo, I and many others more qualified would I'm sure be happy to testify before Congress as to the logic of allowing responsible armed citizens to carry nationwide. The trick will be getting Congress to listen.

Best wishes to all,

Double Naught Spy
April 27, 2009, 06:36 AM
Just curious, what defines a stop here? Does that include a response that results in the shooter then turning a gun on himself, causing the shooter to stop by choice (surrender or flight), or actually downing the shooter? Just curious. Either way, it is a shame the number isn't higher.

So if 25% are stopped by armed citizens, what percent are stopped by unarmed citizens? 3-5%?

Mas Ayoob
April 27, 2009, 07:11 AM
Actually, Ron Borsch's research indicates that some 50% were stopped by unarmed citizens. The brave young athlete and NRA member who jumped and disarmed Kip Kincel even though wounded, and the passengers who jumped Colin Ferguson as he reloaded on the Long Island railroad car, come to mind.

April 27, 2009, 07:29 AM
we are trained to wait until 4 officers on scene can go in.
Usually the difference in time of one and four on scene would not be extremely long.
Either Sole response or 4 man team, what is not the answer is "surrond and contain".

April 27, 2009, 11:27 AM
One thing that bothers me about threads like this is that, ultimately you can reasonably suggest that in order to be a licensed concealed weapon carrier, you will need to be highly trained, and probably much more so that the average license holder. Although there may be some merit to that, I can easily see one of the reasons for that line of thinking. We live in the age of the expert. In order to do something, you need to be either one of the elect or trained by one of them. Initiated into the inner circle, in other words. The elect control who is allowed in. Without that framed certificate, no license. No license, no gun. Much too dangerous for the average person.

April 28, 2009, 07:36 AM
actually we live in the world of the unlimited resources and that means you can DIY whatever you want, even training. I don't have 1000 bucks+ ammo+blah blah blah. I train at home dry firing, presenting, and anything else. Suggesting everyone needs to be an expert gives an excuse to politicians to say "you can't have a permit unless you are swat/police/tactics trained" which means only people who can afford it would carry. I do think that written and hands on tests should be done for checking your knowledge of safety. I know it won't help you be "prepared" for a gun fight but it would help lower AD's and ND's.

April 28, 2009, 12:28 PM
we are trained to wait until 4 officers on scene can go in.
Usually the difference in time of one and four on scene would not be extremely long.Either Sole response or 4 man team, what is not the answer is "surrond and contain".Interesting. For our non-SRT guys, we train with NO MORE than 4. If you have 6 officers then you have a 2 teams, 4 plus a 2 man support team trailing or going another direction, 3 and 3, whatever.

We also train that if there is active shooting, you push the threat, regardless of how many boots you have at the time. If that's one officer, it's one officer. One officer with a 40 and a carbine/shotgun whatever is still has a better chance than an unarmed secretary or schoolchild.

Keep up the good work, Mas.

Deaf Smith
April 28, 2009, 08:12 PM
actually we live in the world of the unlimited resources and that means you can DIY whatever you want, even training. I don't have 1000 bucks+ ammo+blah blah blah. I train at home dry firing, presenting, and anything else. Suggesting everyone needs to be an expert gives an excuse to politicians to say "you can't have a permit unless you are swat/police/tactics trained" which means only people who can afford it would carry. I do think that written and hands on tests should be done for checking your knowledge of safety. I know it won't help you be "prepared" for a gun fight but it would help lower AD's and ND's.

Kyo, Bluetrain,

There are several examples where people with not high amount of training did stop them.

At the Pearl High School shooting, Joel Myrick, the assistant principal, retrieved his .45 from his car and stopped Luke Woodham. Didn't fire a shot and was not a highly trained shooter.

At the Appalachian School of Law shooting, two students Tracy Bridges and Mikael Gross, got their weapons and stopped Peter Odighizuwa. While both were LEOs, both were off duty and not even from Virgina.

And in another case, in Israel at the Mercaz HaRav Massacre, Yitzhak Dadon stopped the killer with his own personal handgun he had concealed (lawfully.)

April 28, 2009, 10:42 PM
that is what I am saying, just cause you aren't trained does not mean you shouldn't be allowed to carry. But I do encourage it because I feel that no matter how much I train I will still need more to be able to protect myself or others.
So yea, training is not needed, but it does help :D it builds confidence, and confidence is with your tools is pretty important as a mental aspect. Whats the point of having a mechanics tool set if you aren't sure you can change your oil?

April 29, 2009, 05:43 AM
I think the previous comment misses the point, though generally I agree with him. There may be no point to having mechanics tools if you can't change the oil but not being able to change the oil shouldn't mean you shouldn't be allowed to drive. Bad comparison.

The subject of training and practice comes up all the time here. Clearly you have to be familiar with your weapon but that statement just scratches the surface. Considering the subject, there is more than one thing to think about. First, obviously, you must assure yourself that your weapon will function all the time, every time. That means you have to try it out with the ammuntion you have decided to use and you have to keep it reasonably clean. And keep fresh ammunition on hand.

You need to be reasonably competent handling the firearm from both a functional standpoint ("qualifying on the range") and from a safety standpoint. We're talking about something that is lethal.

Ultimately you will probably need some form of instruction, irregardless of what I have suggested elsewhere. No one learns gun handling from watching television or by osmosis. You might have a parent to teach you the basics, if one of them knows the basics. You may have picked up what you need to know in the armed forces, although I had no handgun training during my term, and the rifle part I thought was thorough but still pretty basic. Even so, it was from the army's point of view. Shooting ranges sometimes offer handgun courses that I suppose are necessary if you have had no previous exposure to handguns. But Americans suffer from the illusion that just because they are Americans, they know about rifles and pistols. That's why the adoption of the 9mm Beretta was so contentious. Everyone thought they were an expert.

On to the next thing. If your weapon is going to be actually carried on your person, which most are not, you have to master drawing the thing from your holster. But by no means should you ever "present" it to anyone. Anyhow, this is something you probably can't practice at any live range. They seem to regard that as reckless or something. Ultimately I imagine the goal should be to achieve a draw that is as smooth and natural as taking your wallet out of your pocket. And my wallet seems to come out real fast, too. So if you manage the first two, the speed will come. It might take a while to find just the right holster, too, and I hope it doesn't squeak too much.

Finally, you will have to practice. That is to say, you have to keep in practice. I am not a believer in a lot of shooting just to be proficient, though I'm sure that most of those here who report that they shoot as much as 500 rounds a week or even a lot less, just like to shoot. I have sometimes suggested that you shoot in one session no more than you actually carry. That might be logical but it strains practicality. It would make for a very short range session and probably leave you at the point where you were just getting the hang of things. And there is the cost factor. Ultimately you have to work out your own level.

There remains the question of what you should try to accomplish while you are at the range. The biggest limitation you will have is simply shooting at a range. Competitive shooting has the same sort of limitations but that's life and it's better than nothing.

Overall, I think the biggest aid to shooting, as opposed to actually carrying a gun, would be having a friend that shoots.

Double Naught Spy
April 29, 2009, 07:38 AM
Actually, Ron Borsch's research indicates that some 50% were stopped by unarmed citizens.

So, 75% of the time, mass shooters are stopped by civilians and only 1/3 of those are by armed civilians. The last 25% are stopped by cops or by just giving up or non-confronted suicide? Interesting.

Yep, Kip Kinkel
Colin Ferguson
Sylvia Seegrist

Not many readily come to mind for unarmed stops. Any chance Borsch's data could be made more public?

Mas Ayoob
April 29, 2009, 08:10 AM
DNS, I imagine a Google search would turn up more details.

Glenn E. Meyer
April 29, 2009, 09:58 AM
The training argument is an interesting one. It comes from my view that one should consider the extremes and be ready for that.

That folks were able to act is, of course, reason to support carry. But my argument is not that I would mandate training but suggest if if you decide to talk the talk and try to be a proponent for carry - esp. if you put forward yourself as a protector and intervener in a high intensity situation.

While some shooters have been tackled or captured by lightly trained folks, we can see folks who came to bad ends from what seems to be bad tactics. They did help but they were not happy campers at the end of the day.

Unfortunately, they were not well handled.

1. Tacoma mall
2. Tyler Courthouse
3. The Florida Burger King incident recently

Would these folks have benefited from training - perhaps.

It is also the case that I talk to a good number of folks in the college CCW debate. One point that continually comes up is that non-gunnys are fearful of an untrained civilian shooting an innocent in a rampage. You might argue that the risk of a rampage is worse but folks don't like increasing risks to innocents even to save a life (lecture of principles of relevant morality some other day).

It would be nice if I were in that debate, I could point to colleagues who took the initiative to train as a proactive reason to trust them to carry as compared to someone just saying - I don't have to train because the 2nd Amend. gives me the right. That has NO impact in the argument. Sorry, rant on that. I'm more practical.

My colleagues say that they might trust my committment or some others they know with competency but they don't want the untrained blazing away.

In FOF, we see all kinds of OOPS. We try to train out of them. I cannot understand the mentality of those who want to carry an instrument of lethal force and not progress beyond shooting paper. The research is clear that training increases efficacy and survivability in such high intensity incidents. You think the AF MP that stopped a rampage with a 75 yard M9 shot, didn't have some training?

April 29, 2009, 10:10 AM
As an aside, and I'm sorry to derail the thread even a little.

Mas: Is that an Advantage Tactical Sight on your duty weapon?

Bartholomew Roberts
April 29, 2009, 01:04 PM
3. The Florida Burger King incident recently

Would these folks have benefited from training - perhaps.

IIRC, the Florida Burger King citizen who stepped in was a regular contributor over at Lightfighter. While I can't say whether or not he had any training, the number of people who regularly train and get formal instruction is much higher there than on many forums.

Glenn E. Meyer
April 29, 2009, 02:22 PM
Newspaper accounts are suspect, of course. But the chatter was that he got into an argument with the robber. Not to denigrate his attempt to be prosocial but that didn't sound like it was a well worked out tactic.

The Tacoma Mall individual also attempted conversation.

Mas Ayoob
April 29, 2009, 03:02 PM
Hi Sparks:

Yes, those are Advantage sights. I've had really good luck with them.


April 29, 2009, 03:29 PM
I don't think that talking about training is actually off topic. If you are a sole responder in a shooting, be it LEO or civilian, your chances are better if you have done something besides carry the weapon around.
If they let me in GA I would totally take my gun on campus. Do I feel that I am qualified to respond to a crazy people? Idk, but I would rather take the option of where I have the gun to deal with the situation rather then not. I know most feel this way if you are supporting guns.

Tennessee Gentleman
April 29, 2009, 04:24 PM

Not to oversimply your point but it seems in situations like the Tacoma Mall and the Burger King incident one who wishes to use their CCW to stop a BG needs to follow a saying I have heard none other than the famous Michael Bane repeat; "If you are gonna shoot; shoot!" and the implicit "Don't talk about shooting instead".

Glenn E. Meyer
April 29, 2009, 05:30 PM
Yep, that's a reasonable summary. However, at the Polite Society - I reviewed (blah, blah - I'm a psychologist) - some of the factors that lead us to freeze or not act. Modern FOF training is designed to get us out of such action freezes by giving us experience and schemas for action. So you don't have to figure it out on the spot and then having some rehersal of the action.

That's why Michael's suggestion is one that is good and expedited by practicing such. We actually talked about that.

I wish to repeat the separation of the RKBA aspect and the practical aspect. Folks take offense sometimes at the suggestion that they would not act appropriately. Well, I don't know if I would but when I got into this paradigm, I want at least to give myself the advantage of working it out. We do see freezes and fumbles in training and the real world, some of the time.

May 5, 2009, 10:34 AM
one big plus is if you have the willingness to go into danger.no amount of training will help if you dont have the mind set.I have had the mind set as I did several confrontations,with out having to shoot,or fight.some as shore patrol over seas.and some as civilian.I do know Massa by rep in New Hampshire and respect him.I have gone to Rileys.:rolleyes::eek::D

May 5, 2009, 03:49 PM
Although check in on Friday looked like the Meeting of the American Vest Manufacturers

First wearers to my knowledge of the photographers vest (other than camera buffs) was the coach drivers in Europe, back in the 80s.

I asked to look at one, it had a hidden pocket, ideal for Passport. I bought one in Italy, I wore it to a IALEFI ATC, a Lawyer on the board said "Going fishing?"

Not too many years later, he was wearing one, they sold them from their Shop!
I think Mr. Ayoob remembers those?

Then the "Operators" picked up on them, on and on, there are detractors, like the detractors of 511 pants who say they scream "GUN!" sure.

My personal feelings on fighting, guns or fists, it helps if you have done some.

How to be as ready as you can be? Dress armed, wear the same weapons in the same place always, carry as much gun as you can. An extra magazine (You know when you will get a malfunction do you?) just in case.

It can not do any harm to shoot an action sport where you use the same gun and holster either. Is IDPA training to fight? Not really, but shooting a few thousand rounds a year, from concealed carry, can't hurt can it?

In Florida we can dress armed easy, all the time, you can tell I am armed quite easily though, I wear 511 pants!

Do you wear a Pistol so you can save the world? No more than than you carry an Insurance card, so that you can get into an accident.
And remember the first rule of a gun fight... Have one!

May 6, 2009, 01:36 AM
you mean avoid one?...

May 6, 2009, 08:16 AM

That too.

Having a gun, while avoiding one (a gun fight) could be a win-win situation!

May 7, 2009, 12:02 AM
First Rulefor an active shooterevent:have agun (sound familar)

Rule2,be practiced and as trained as you can be

Rule 3 Be a winner!

BTW,ThanksMas for visiting with us!

Mas Ayoob
May 9, 2009, 04:56 AM
Ron Borsch of the SEALE Academy (Southeast Area Law Enforcement Academy) in Bedford, Ohio has done some outstanding research on single responders cutting short mass murder incidents, as noted early in this thread.

An interview with him on the topic has now been posted at ProArms Podcasts. These can be downloaded to your computer or iPod at http://proarms.podbean.com, or at iTunes or Zune. The Borsch interview is on Episode 27.

Best wishes to all,

May 9, 2009, 09:27 AM
Mas, awesome podcast -- and thanks for posting his handout too.

I've just finished reading the most recent (May 2009) Force Science newsletter. It's got a great summary of Borsch's current research into this area, a fascinating read. Worth a look...


(The May newsletter doesn't appear to have made it onto the site yet. Give it a day or two maybe -- as I said, definitely worth the read.)