We discussed last week whether the patrons in Pulse Club could have attacked the shooter when he was changing magazines. The debate was about how many seconds it takes to change a magazine.
Now we learn he was texting, making phone calls, receiving phone calls—something like 20 minutes on the phone during the incident. Would someone please ask the survivors why they did not attack the guy when he was engaging in activities other than pulling the trigger on one of his weapons? This discussion needs to be widely publicized so future occupants of such rooms will start having something in their mind other than “get down.”
We were trained to take the violent initiative at West Point
A lot of our training at West Point was designed to make us the aggressor. We had mandatory boxing and wrestling, two mandatory hand-to-hand combat courses, mandatory intramural athletics in Fall, Winter, and Spring seasons, at least one of which had to be a contact sport during our four years, pugil stick competition, bayonet training, not to mention classroom instruction on concepts like the principles of war: Surprise and Offense—Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative; and the best defense is a good offense.
Hit or be hit
This lesson was impressed upon us with corporal punishment. The instructors did not hit us. The other cadets did. In the boxing ring, if you were passive, your cadet opponent would hit you. Even with 16-ounce boxing gloves and leather headgear, it hurt to get hit. Sooner or later, you figured out that hitting the other guy A. did not hurt and B. caused him to stop hitting you. So you hit him as early and often as possible until the bell. Bingo! A combat leader is born.
I had already learned that in high school football, but I needed to learn the broader lesson that it applied to ALL situations where an opponent is willing to use violence against you.
The basic message in each of these was you have two choices hit or be hit. There is no third choice of get down. In combat, it’s kill or be killed. Terror incidents are combat that generally have mostly civilians, but they must recognize they only have the same choice as combat soldiers: kill or be killed.
Also taught by combat
I also learned that lesson during a combat tour in Vietnam. Almost all of us got shot at one way or another over there, in my case, by rocket attacks. If you watch enough of those TV war documentary shows you will hear a combat veteran describe his first experience with the enemy shooting at him. It is a universal six-step process:
1. What the hell was that? (it’s not like the movies; the sound of being shot at may be wap or zing or a silent visual of twinkling lights in the distance [muzzles flashes of the guns being fired at you] or the ripping, crunching sound of an incoming mortar, artillery, or rocket round)
2. Holy @#$%! That SOB just tried to kill me!
3. What did I ever do to him?
4. Oh, yeah. I’m an American soldier in a war. He’s the enemy. He’s supposed to kill me. That’s his job.
5. Well, I better kill him first before he kills me.
6. Gee, I always knew I was going to die someday in the distant future, but maybe it’s in the next five seconds right here.
And then you “fall back on your training” and do the stuff that was drilled into you: fire back, check on your men to see if anyone’s hit, locate the enemy, call for indirect fire or tac air.
Note #5. That is the essence of combat: kill or be killed. People in a theater or night club need to attack because the alternative is to be killed. True, the bad guy may stop or be stopped before he gets to you, but if everyone takes that attitude, he will not be stopped and he will kill you.
Not ‘someone,’ YOU
In World War II, they found that many soldiers did not fire their weapons in combat; they just hid. So our training, which started 19 years after World War II ended, had lots of stuff like I just listed above that was designed to make our instinctive reaction to enemy fire to be fire back and attack back in every way. A Pavlovian response.
The reaction of the three US military guys to the French train terrorist was an excellent example of people who had that training compared to a trainload of civilians who did not.
But the more common response to terror shooters now in what has become a nation of draft dodgers is to get down, hide, plead for your life.
If you can escape, escape. You are not the favorite in a fight with an armed man when you are unarmed. But if you cannot escape, you must attack. You are still not the favorite, but you must make the WORKING assumption that you will prevail, not a PROBABILITY assumption that you will probably succeed.
The most well-known example of a working assumption is an on-side kick. Will it probably work? No. So why do it? Because it is the best and only path to victory—or survival in a terrorist situation.
Thus is it in mass-shooting situations. The civilian draft-dodger class needs to wise up and start realizing there’s not always a cop or vet around to save your sorry ass, especially when the number of vets is going down by the year as Democrats shrink the military and withdraw from military actions.
Stop thinking “someone” needs to stop the shooter and start realizing the someone is YOU. Sometimes you don’t have enough time to get 911 to take care of it. In those times YOU are the one who needs to take care of it.