For those who haven't seen the video released last week by the Department of Homeland Security, don't expect to be bolled over by any new revelations about protecting yourself in case you're faced with a shooter in the workplace.
Even an infant has the basic instinct not to swallow but spit out something that is too hot and toddlers know enough to find shelter and take cover when the skies darken and they hear thunder. The lessons included in the government's four-minute-long video are that basic.
Titled "Options for Consideration," the video advises viewers how to respond if caught in an "active shooter" situation. It's part of the Obama administration's ongoing campaign to reduce firearm violence in the wake of the mass murders in recent years, including the one last December at the elementary schools in Newtown, Conn.
It opens with clips from the "active shooter situations" at Fort Hood, Virginia Tech, and at the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The video omitted the Aurora shooting, though it was filmed before Sandy Hook.
First, we're told by the narrator, if caught in a situation, quickly determine whether it's best to hide or evacuate through an escape route.
If you aren't able to run away, the narrator tells us to take cover out of the line of fire and hide someplace the shooter won't think to look, while also warning innocent bystanders, if possible.
"To protect your hiding place, lock the door if you can. Block the door with heavy furniture," the narrator recommends. "Remain quiet. Silence your cellphone or pager. Even the vibration setting can give away a hiding position."
Good advice, much better than say, standing up and waving your hands to give away your position. And I'm not sure if adjusting the ring tones on your cell phone would be on my checklist of things to do when if I'm being threatened by a guy toting an assault weapon.
We're also told to call 911 if possible, and giving the operator the location of the shooter. When police officers and other law enforcement personnel appear on the scene, we're told to follow instructions. In evacuating, the narrator tells viewers to keep hands visible at all times.
The most insane piece of advice in the film concerns a last-ditch option to rush the shooter.
"If you are caught out in the open and cannot conceal yourself or take cover, you might consider trying to overpower the shooter with whatever means are available," says the narrator. At this point, the image shows an office worker's hand holding a pair of scissors from inside a desk drawer.
Richard Feldman, a former police officer and a Reagan White House appointee and current president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association, is often sought out by the media for his comments in these dire situations. When asked about the practicality of confronting an armed mass murderer with a pair of scissors, he offered a better option having a legal firearm.
"That's why I prefer a gun, and I usually do carry a gun when it is lawful to do so," said Feldman. "Clearly, you use whatever you can" to fight for your life, he said.
If you told me the only choice available against an active shooter wearing protective gear is to charge him with a pair of scissors, your odds of survival are right up there with the Japanese Kamikaze pilots of World War 2.
By Jim Zbick