Decision point: Now.
In the blog before last, I called for your action in time of crisis. But, frankly, I left one point a little ambiguous. I said:
And there he is. Picking people off. Maybe you're next. Or maybe chance will smile on you. How many guns does he have? How many bullets? Maybe he has enough for all of you. This can't be allowed to continue.
Time to decide-- are you going to dig down and hide among the fallen and hope that you live? Are you going to claw your way to an exit and leave the rest in the lecture hall? How are you going to live with yourself after that?
To which, in the Comments, my friend Don Gwinn rightly responded:
Don states it very simply, and very well: in the instance that someone appears to be displaying a threat of deadly force to those in his charge within his area of responsibility, he will immediately address the problem directly.
I decided a long time ago.
My decision is not quite as simple, though, because at any given time I'm the adult responsible for 12-24 children. Other peoples' children. So there are risks I've chosen not to take. I won't go looking for anyone, for instance. I've been called a coward for that, but the fact is that I don't see the percentage in leaving a group of students on their own to take their chances while I go glory-hunting.
That said, I think the only way to react fast enough to matter if someone does burst into the room and start hurting people is to know ahead of time exactly what you plan to do about it.
My plan is simple. I intend to reach the attacker as fast as I can and disarm him as fast as I can. Everything else depends on what's between us, what he's armed with, what I'm armed with, and what happens next.
When I was 12, my dad called it "Contingency Planning."
When I was in Driver's Education, they called it "IPDE" ("Identify. Predict. Decide. Execute.")
In the military and tactical training, they call it the "OODA Loop." ("Observe. Orient. Decide. Act.")
If you wish, think of it as a protocol. The ONLY decision that you should have to make is whether to implement your self-defense protocol.
Make scenarios in your head:
--"IF a man walked into the room shooting AND I can reach him, THEN I will attack him."
--"IF I'm alone in a room or building AND a man points a gun at me AND I can get away, THEN I will run like a striped-arse ape. "
And so on.
(No, I'm not going to explore the logical "Else" part of programming.)
Make this part of your life. Just like slamming on the brakes when an idjit pulls out in front of you on the road, you must decide ahead of time how you will react. Waiting until the occasion arises is a road to indecision.
Decide before you have to.
And, like putting on your seatbelt or paying flood insurance on yur house, I hope you never need to use it.