A government video, prompted in part by the massacres at Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook, shows how to survive a workplace shooting. The first two pieces of advice might come naturally. Get out if you can, and hide if you can’t. But the third suggestion is, to some security experts, surprising.
If you can`t get away and can`t hide, the government wants you to consider attacking the shooter. Grab something and throw it. Grab a weapon, anything you can do to stop the attack.
“Confronting him with a makeshift weapon is not going to work. I have a problem with that,” says Matt Arnold, a private investigator and security expert.
He says the notion of grabbing scissors to confront an armed gunman is folly. He agrees that you should get out and if you can’t, hide. But he says only armed guards or armed workers would have a chance in a confrontation like this—gun vs. gun.
“No way you can fight it with a pair of scissors or a letter opener. You won`t get that close. He will shoot you before you get that close,” says Arnold.
The video is part of a Homeland Security education plan, posted on its web site. It includes a 90-minute video seminar for office and school workers. The video also encourages workers to do another thing that might be hard to swallow: Abandon hurt colleagues.
Arnold says the video does offer sound advice. But he says a mentally ill intruder, armed with powerful pistols and rifles, won’t be deterred by office workers wielding scissors.
“If it’s known that workplaces or schools allow their employees to carry concealed weapons, that’s a deterrent in itself. Not too many people are going to run up on a school knowing there are weapons inside,” says Arnold.