The speed and deadliness of high-profile shootings have prompted police departments to recommend fleeing, hiding, or fighting in the event of a mass attack, instead of remaining passive and waiting for help, reports the New York Times. The shift is a “sea change,” said Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research forum, which had a meeting to discuss shootings like those in Newtown, Ct. and Aurora, Co.
The traditional advice to the public has been “don't get involved, call 911,” Wexler said, adding, “There's a recognition in these 'active shooter' situations that there may be a need for citizens to act in a way that perhaps they haven't been trained for or equipped to deal with.” In an analysis of 84 such shooting cases from 2000 to 2010, Texas State University researchers found it took police an average of three minutes to respond. About half the attacks end before the police get there, even when they arrive quickly, said J. Pete Blair of the university's Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center. In 16 of the attacks studied, civilians were able to stop the perpetrator, subduing him in 13 cases and shooting him in 3 cases. In other attacks, civilians have obstructed or delayed the gunman until the police arrived.