The Guardian Broadcast
"Providing Concealed Carry & Armed Self-Defense Wisdom."
A podcast by Patrick Kilchermann, founder of the Concealed Carry University.
"Active Shootings and Real World Solutions"
In this broadcast, Pat goes extraordinarily deep into the truth and real world solutions for Active Shootings. This is not one to be missed - Pat faces the tough questions of our time head-on and definitively.
Listen using the audio player above OR read the text transcript of this podcast below.
Note: 100% accuracy on text transcription is not guaranteed.
Hello and welcome to the Guardian Broadcast. I’m your host and fellow responsibly armed American, Patrick Kilchermann.
Well my friends, I’ve been busy designing new curriculum, and I haven’t had a whole lot of time to devote to this free service I like to offer, the Guardian Broadcast. And 2018 promises to be a very busy year. Both politically, and from an education standpoint. That said, I do like to come back here and speak when the situation warrants it, and I believe there are a few words that need to be said. And if you’re here, then I think it’s because you have at least in part come to judge my objectivity. And if you have, then perhaps you’ll trust me if I speak a few hard truths.
This week, I want to talk a little bit about active shooters and active shootings. And this of course is coming in the wake of the most recent active, mass shooting: the one at the Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
Before I begin, I want to say that I am not attempting to put forward any opinions in this broadcast; political opinions or any opinions. I am not attempting to be either extreme or moderate. I have only one goal: to translate whatever strategic and tactical knowledge I’ve accumulated here in my career to the matter at hand, while also speaking as flatly, objectively, and bluntly as possible about the reality of who the American Guardian is, whether publicly or privately employed.
Let me ask you: what is the best way to deal with an active shooter?
Well, for our purposes today, there are four kinds of people in this country. One type of person who doesn’t and will never carry a handgun, and three types who do. Now: if we ask each of these types of groups what the best way to respond to an active shooting is, we’re going to get a different answer. And exploring who these people are and why they will answer the way they do is important. Because the reality is: there is one correct answer for how to deal with active shooters. And the opinions of three of these types of people cannot be allowed to shake the confidence of the fourth type of person.
Confused yet? Let me clarify and explain.
The first type of people are all those who do not carry handguns. If you ask them what the best way to deal with an active shooter is, they will prefer to speak about topics such as prevention and school safety. Excellent: these are important conversations, but if you clarify that you’re referring to an active shooter who is breaching their perimeter with a loaded rifle, they will stare at you blankly because for them, the game is already over at that point. “You hide.” “You run.” “You play dead.” It is not bad to be in this group. It doesn’t mean you’re weaker than anyone else.
The next type, and the first type of the three who carry guns is the administrator; the one whose employment requires him or her to carry a gun. He or she could be a police officer, though certainly not all police officers fit into this category. Or a security guard. Or the driver of an armored truck. They carry a gun because they have to, but they’ve never truly faced the reality of what it might be like to have to use it. They don’t enjoy shooting, and they do so only to qualify to remain employed. It’s not bad to be an administrator; nobody has to like guns, and nobody has to be able or willing to fight. And yet in this first kind of armed citizen, we see the historical reality that weapons can be carried as much for the authority they convey as the utility they provide.
And what is that utility? Deadly force. Using a deadly weapon doesn’t always result in a lethal end, but lethality is, in fact, their primary purpose. However, the administrator is not a fighter. If the weapon’s authority fails to repel a criminal, the administrator is, statistically, ineffectual to try to stop that criminal. If you ask an administrator what the best response to an active shooter is, they will tell you: “report it, get into a secured position, and wait for the professionals to arrive.”
The third type of person is the armed citizen who carries a gun as a defensive Guardian. This group comprises most of the people who carry guns in this country, both sworn police officers and legally armed private citizens with concealed carry permits. These are good people. Sometimes they carry, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they never advance in skill or ability beyond the most beginning level, sometimes they grow themselves into phenomenally experienced and capable armed fighters. It is people in this group who make up the majority of my students, and the students for most handgun instructors or tactics-trainers in the country.
These are typically clear-thinking realists who carry concealed because it makes good sense. If you ask most of these individuals what the best response to an active shooter is, they will offer a more balanced response: “If he’s actively targeting me or the people around me, I will respond with deadly force. If he’s not in my vicinity, I need to get my family and as many innocent people out of there as possible. I need to be on guard in case I cross this individual’s path, and I need to be ready to stop that threat if I do. Otherwise, I will secure myself and call and let the professionals handle it. I have people who depend on me, and I can’t stick my nose and neck into uncertain situations – there’s a chance I’ll only make it worse.” Technically, this is the wisest approach, and if this is the conclusion of my students, then I know that I’ve done my duty with them.
That said. There’s another type of armed guardian that goes a little further... a more mysterious type… And this could either describe a police officer or a privately armed individual. If they are police, they are often found volunteering for SWAT teams and undergoing after-hours training, even when their supervisor refuses to grant them overtime pay. They are usually found furnishing their own gear on their own dimes. If they are private citizens, they usually carry large handguns with high capacity magazines.
They usually feel naked without one or two or three spare magazines. This is the person who is a fighter and has always known he or she is a fighter. This person – police or private – is just as legally obedient as anyone else. They follow the same laws, they love the law. They pay their taxes, they keep their guns just as secured from children as anyone else, and they have just as much compassion for human life as anyone else. But this person is a little different. Because even though they don’t WANT to fight and they don’t WANT violence, they will tell you that, beyond any doubt: IF there’s a fight, THEN they want to be there.
The idea of moving against someone armed with an M4 or AK47 doesn’t scare them. They’ve visualized and rationalized it a thousand times. They feel that it’s their job. Since a very young age, they’ve felt like the white blood cells of society, and they know that their greatest contribution to this society is their willingness to face danger on behalf of other people. They were born for this role, and they don’t ask permission and they don’t apologize for it. They believe ahead of time that being forced to use their handgun for its intended purpose wouldn’t cause them to lose any sleep, and they are usually correct about that.
In my experience, you can neither train someone into this fourth type, nor can you discourage them into stepping or standing down. They are who they are, and that will never change. Whether they’re 18 years old, 45, 60, or 78.
And it is this fourth type of individual – whether they’re a police officer or not – who I am speaking to today. And for you, I have one simple, tactical message, and that is this:
Your gut instincts are correct.
In spite of the political arguments flying around these past couple months about what is and isn’t the best way to protect children or innocent people from active shooters, the tactical reality is very simple, and your gut instinct has probably hit the nail on the head:
If there’s an active shooter, your primary goal must be to close distance and destroy him as quickly as possible. Depending on the specific tactical scenario, which includes your resources, the terrain or layout of the building, the density of bystanders and the presence of other combatants, closing on and destroying an active shooter could look a number of different ways.
If closing and destroying aren’t possible for you, then you must at very least put him off balance. Because if left undisturbed, he has the footing; he has combat momentum on his side, to the extent that people are running away or hiding and presenting themselves to him as targets. Until he faces resistance, he will continue to murder people until he exhausts his ability or his will to do so. This could take a long time. Therefore, if closing and destroying aren’t possible, then your goal must be to put him off balance by sending fire in his direction. You want him to realize that he’s being shot at. He may turn his own weapon on you and your fire may temporarily make the situation more dangerous for those in the crossfire, but ultimately putting him off balance as quickly as possible will save human lives.
Now. To anyone in any of the other groups, the tactics I’ve just spoken about will sound anywhere from unwise to reckless. Sheep will shout about vigilantes hitting bystanders. Administrators will say they aren’t paid nearly enough to put their lives on the line. Defensive guardians will cite the tactical air-headedness of moving from a secure position to an unsecure one, and the feebleness of moving with a handgun against someone with a rifle.
But it’s important to note that what I’ve just described is nothing more than the macro summary of how police agencies train to isolate and neutralize an active shooter. In these disastrous and disgusting situations where lives are being lost every second, police have learned that the faster they can put the shooter off balance, the faster the situation ends. They know that perfection isn’t possible. And the fact that they’ve rationalized and accepted that sometimes innocent people are caught in crossfire is demonstrated to us in hundreds of police shootings in this country every year. It is a rotten business, and great care should be taken to minimize this sort of consequence. But we have to understand the reality of what we’re facing and the best way to preserve as many innocent lives as possible. Police officers are people, just like us.
Some people will blow this way out of proportion. Some will hear it and say: “Pat Kilchermann is advocating spray and pray. He’s advocating shooting through crowds.” Some would even argue that using this language should disqualify me from being allowed to carry concealed. This is only because these people belong to one of the first three types of people, and haven’t had to acquaint themselves with the realities and pressures presented by active shooters to those few individuals on whose backs rests the weight of the world: those who will actually have to solve the lethal problems that these first three types run and hide from.
I was faced with a bit of this two weeks ago, when an opinion article appeared in the New York Times arguing against allowing trained and licensed teachers to carry guns based on the argument that if even police accidently hit bystanders with bullets every year, how can we guarantee that teachers won’t?
Listen: they will hit bystanders. If you open fire in a cement-walled classroom, you’re going to create a lot of moving particles that will zip along walls and the floor until something or someone stops them. And maybe some people are too squeamish to consider certain aspects of reality, but the people who I’m speaking to today will already understand how backward this line of thinking is. For them, I don’t need to point out the obvious: that if you have a shooter standing in the doorway of your classroom who is prepared to fire three magazines of 5.56mm projectiles travelling at 3,000 feet per second at you and all your students, then clearly, very clearly, the faster you can put fire on him, the better. Regardless of who is running behind him in the hallway, or regardless of where those ricochets may end up. And if you take cover behind your desk to retrieve and ready your pistol, and when you rise above your desk at the ready and this shooter is now walking down the rows of desks firing at children point blank, then clearly… very clearly… you need to aim and fire as many rounds as it takes to put this shooter down, regardless what kind of collateral damage those rounds will do. Yes, we should always be as careful as possible. Yes, we should practice and train as much as our lives will allow so that this kind of damage is prevented as much as possible.
And yes: we should be having conversations about how to harden schools and how to keep powerful tools out of peoples’ hands who are unfit to use them while protecting the rights and abilities of those who are.
But reality is reality, and tactics are tactics, and solutions are solutions. And the solution to an active shooter, whether you’re a police officer or a privately armed American, is to close and destroy if you are able, or to close and apply pressure through firepower from a covered position if not. Doing so will put him off balance, which will result in him fleeing, taking his life, or becoming contained so that – once additional resources arrive on the scene – he can be dealt with.
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre was crucified for saying in 2012 that “the only thing capable of stopping a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” He was, is, and will always be 100% correct.
Because the alternative is… what?