June 2022 Training Updates
In the future, students need to bring a Thumb Drive of 64G or larger to class to download the class information. Instead of wasting money/time and resources on DVD’s and cases, I will have a multi-port USB attached to the classroom or shop computer that allows students to do a quick transfer to their USB.
THE CSAT WAY ON FACEBOOK AND PATREON
We wanted to stock the pond so to speak for the first year. We will slow a bit in adding content as some of the videos will take more time and resources to develop. One will be a well-rounded gym workout series targeting strength and endurance without injury.
I want to add more instructor content and that will require extra live bodies to work with in shooting those videos. I look forward to the challenges.
You can visit “The CSAT Way” on FaceBook for video updates. --->
“Wait and See” is Not An Option!
School Shootings (2022 Revision)
By Paul Howe
I wrote this article around 2006 in an attempt to get the word out. It applies now, more than ever. We have watched many single officer responders make a difference. We have also watched what waiting does. In the case of Virginia Tech, the shooter put 32 people down in 11 minutes. Three people per minute was the average.
With the threats becoming more lethal and calculating, it is imperative that Active Shooter Response Training be a yearly training mandate for patrol officers. I have taught many Guardian programs to school districts who have limited LE coverage. We know the answers to the test and to prevent more blood on the floor, we must take proactive measures in training and readiness.
Uvalde was another failure.
I’ve been involved in several discussions about the recent school shootings in Colorado and Pennsylvania. While I applaud the swift response and containment of the suspect in the Colorado shootings and believe it prevented the loss of life, there is still much room for improvement in three areas:
Tactical Leadership and Training
Active Shooter Response Team, React Team, Emergency Assault Team
School Administration Responsibility
Most of us know that the first response is critical to saving lives. The motto “protect and serve” should not be a saying stenciled on the side of your patrol car for the public’s viewing pleasure – it should be a code we live by. I believe that we can do better in all three areas by improving simple issues such as combat mindset, controlled aggressiveness and training.
Schools should be places of sanctuary, where students are safe to learn and free from harm. Instead, they’ve become a killing ground where predators come to slay our children with impunity. As Americans and parents, we should have zero tolerance of violence in school areas. I am not talking about the occasional fist fight kids get into, but rather the deadly premeditated actions of a few. Bringing a weapon to school with the intent of causing harm should be a death sentence for those carrying or using it. This death sentence should be carried out by teachers, parents on site, police and tactical officers. Failure to act aggressively and immediately will only result in more deaths. Even one more death is too much. There are no acceptable losses in this battle. Finally, I do not know of any cases in school scenarios where violence or loss of life did not result from allowing these individuals more time to act. From the single shooter, to multiple shooters, to terrorists, time is on their side unless we take it back! We know the answers to the test, but are we as a nation willing to address the problems? It will require work from all areas to be successful.
Tactical Leadership and Training
I have witnessed leadership failures in military and law enforcement tactical scenarios for several reasons, the most common being the selection and training process. Legislative and mandated training in political correctness, cultural diversity, racial profiling and dealing with the emotionally disturbed has taken precedence over saving our children. We have failed to train patrol (our first responders) to a higher level. Higher level training for first responders will save civilian as well as law enforcement lives. Many times, we focus on liability as an excuse not to train.
More recently in law enforcement, I’ve watched administrations emplace Swat tactical leaders over tactical team leaders who have never been in that particular arena. While others were earning their keep on the team or on the street, these folks circumvented the system. Many were put into position because of promotions or who they knew, not what they knew or because they earned it. No one took the time to counsel them and find out if they possess the necessary skill sets. Most don’t know the capabilities or limitations of their tactical unit. Swat leadership needs to take an active role in all aspects of their team’s training.
I have recently watched one major department’s leadership call a hostage rescue situation a “barricaded person.” The situation dragged on for hours while snipers had plenty of opportunity to take shots and end the problem. It was not until another agency intervened and stopped the mobility of the situation that it was resolved. Only then did the hostage have to knock the gun from the bad guy’s hand and escape. This result came about because the tactical leadership took no action, nor were the team leaders allowed to by their leadership. The administration’s answer to this problem was to shuffle the Lieutenant in question to another area of the department. I would like to see leadership in these situations become criminally and civilly liable for inaction. With certain jobs comes much responsibility. It is time for administrations and leadership to be held accountable.
We must also require active shooter training in the academy, and it must be held more than once a year. These are perishable skills and they must be practiced – there is no other option! An additional benefit: practicing these skills will make the individual officer safer with their weapon systems during individual movement, team movement, etc. People, there is no downside to increasing active shooter training!
As an active shooter team leader, you have a duty to neutralize the threat. Not contain and “wait and see.” You are normally in charge of a team of heavily armed officers generally fighting a 4-1 or 4 -2 battle, the odds being in your favor. You must not hesitate; you must close with and terminate the threat as rapidly as possible. I’ve been asked when it becomes a hostage barricade situation vs when it is still considered an active shooter or hostage rescue emergency assault situation. My answer to that is “time.” If you arrive within 10 minutes of the shooting, you should close with and neutralize the threat. If you arrive later than 10 minutes, you should probably get a foothold and start to methodically clear.
The problem of wounded on the scene complicates the scenario. I believe that if there are wounded innocents bleeding out in uncleared areas, we have a duty and obligation to recover them immediately. I prefer to push through and past them to create safe zones and then recover them. This means aggressive, dynamic clearing. Again, when they are bleeding and dying, time is not on our side. We must have an efficient system to do this.
As a tactical officer, you may think that Command has a grand strategy for the crisis at hand. You may think that during the operation the leadership has a handle on the screams for help that you hear. In most cases, they don’t. Lots of the leadership I’ve been exposed to are untrained, mentally overloaded and unwilling to commit to the fight. At the team level, you have a duty and obligation to act should your leadership fail to and you know it to be the case. You are on scene and have real time information. Act when the situation requires action!
If you don’t know how to get in a locked door at a school, it’s time to learn - now!! Schools don’t move – they are there year-round, just waiting for you to get in. Try the knob, use a key or shotgun breach it if you have to, but get in and kill or subdue the threat quickly and efficiently. Speaking of training, as a tactical officer, you could take two men with heart and rusty 870 shotguns and teach them in five minutes how to enter a room, go right and left and neutralize a threat. Why not start now?
I’ll put this in plain English: If you as a police officer, a parent or a teacher are not willing to put a child’s safety above your own, you are a coward and should cease to breed. We, as a nation of Americans, do not need you or your kind. As for the primary goal of hostage rescue, it is to get between the hostages and the hostage taker as rapidly as possible. At least that is what I have been teaching and have been taught over the last 20 years. The mentality of “protect yourself at all costs” has got to be left behind. The mission is to protect and serve – you cannot do this cowering at a breach point or behind your car.
Active Shooter Teams should close with a subject they have contained and render them incapable of causing further injury, especially if hostages are involved. The only way to protect the hostages is to forcibly separate them from the bad guys. This “wait and see” or “let Swat handle it” attitude is unacceptable and has already proven to cost the lives of our children. I don’t know how you can posture outside a door, hearing screams, kids calling for help, knowing children are inside being hurt or abused and not act. It is beyond me. If a child is screaming, they are either being hurt or they are witnessing someone being hurt. If the suspect is hurting the children, he is generally not prepared for your attack. This is the time to strike!
Remember - we’ve disarmed our children, physically and mentally with our current school doctrine. They have nothing except pens, pencils and staplers to protect themselves. How long do you believe they can sustain a fight against an armed adult?
As a society, we will be measured on how well we cherish and defend our children. If we choose to place our own well being over that of our kids, our society will fall and civilization as we know it will cease to exist. If you are an individual officer, you can make a difference with the equipment you carry. Thirty years ago, officers did not have patrol rifles, ceramic plates, active shooter bags, etc. Most did not even have body armor. Yet, they went in with revolvers or antiquated shotguns and solved the problem. As a parent or teacher, you can make a difference. A sharp hoe or shovel in the case of the Amish shootings could terminate a threat. If you choose to live without cell phones, that’s your choice. If you choose not to act when the time comes, that’s also up to you. God will not intervene; he is waiting for you to.
I borrowed this from Ron McCarthy and it is a simple and easy-to-follow matrix for those who need a flow chart about when you can act.
Law – Is the suspect violating the law and can you use deadly force to resolve the situation? If the answer is yes – keep going!
Policy – Does your policy allow the use of deadly force in this situation? If the answer is yes, keep going.
Ethics – If negotiations are going well and the subject presents himself as a target with the hostage and you can make a safe shot, should you shoot? Answer – Yes. If he later kills the hostage, you’ve put the suspect’s welfare over that of the hostage. The window of opportunity only stays open so long. Then you need to force it open and this may cause you time delays which generally favor the suspect. We must manage time and the health and welfare of the innocent.
Two common denominators for deaths in active shooter incidents are the “wait and see” mentality and the containment protocol. I wrote my book Leadership and Training for the Fight based on my experiences over the years. What drove me to write it was the lack of combat mindset at both the individual and leadership levels. Leadership cannot be underestimated or ignored, or more innocents will die unnecessarily. We have nurtured a generation of “Gucci gear” officers who think their outfits and equipment makes them cool, and they forget their real mission. Thousands of dollars in equipment such as body armor, high speed rifles, helmets and active shooter bags will not make it to the fight if the officer carrying it does not have the will and the heart to go into harm’s way for a higher cause.
Realistic tactical training and aggressive action is essential to ensure we’re successful and not merely mediocre performers. Our children are looking to us to save them and set the example. The next time they cry for help, we must respond with speed, surprise and surgical violence of action.
School Administration Responsibility
In my simple mind, Schools and Administrations have a “duty to protect” students and have neglected this over the years. This is both a moral and legal obligation and the recent Florida shooting litigation should play out shortly. School Administrations play the mind game of “it will not happen here” until reality hits home. They spend money on lots of other things instead of their kid’s security.
Next, School Administrations many times override the ISD officer (Independent School District) in their decision to get the local police involved due to the seriousness of the offense. Instead, they worry more about their “Stats” and the perception of the school and they keep the problem and most likely repeat offender in school with the other good kids. They do understand that the degradation of society is not a reflection on them but rather a moral loss that we as American Citizens need to address.
Finally, everyone from all law enforcement agencies to teachers to staff to parents to kids themselves have a duty and responsibility to report or bring to the attention of kids who emotionally disturbed or ready to “twist off.” I am sure all the prior school shootings had multiple indicators of potential violence. Most everyone ignored it and only brought it up to the media afterwards as a useless sound bite.
ISD (Independent School District) Leadership or lack of
When someone becomes a Chief, they are still a police officer. While in a leadership position, they must bring all the knowledge and experience to that position to mentor and train their team. I have witnessed ISD “Chiefs” who wore four stars on their collars and were in charge of one other person. The only reason someone would follow them is out of curiosity. They were simply ego driven.
With that, to defer Incident Command to an ISD Chief of Police with no experience is ignorant, if not criminal. An incident becomes a team effort and whoever needs to step up, do it. If you see a vacuum going on in a Police Chief’s head, relieve them and make things happen.
Simply put, push and the bad person will comply or die. If you do not push, all lives lost after that are your hands. You had the control/ability to stop it.
If subjects are actively injuring hostages, it is a good time to strike.
Provide more realistic training, equipment and mindset to patrol and first responders and require swift and decisive action.
If officers are not ready and willing to take a life to save a life, move them out.
The above comment applies to all levels of tactical leaders.
Administrators and leaders – train your patrol officers to respond and place a heavy emphasis on this in the academy and sustainment training, at least once a year.
I hate having to revise this letter every few years because we forget our priorities of life and training. I know a Sheriff in our area that require their deputies to be a school when it opens and to walk the floors to learn the school. This way they can see the doors, hallways, entrances and exits, locks, key control and the like. They will know a school when an incident arises.
Schools don’t move and they are there to recon and learn from. Figure out now how to breach and either locate keys/key cards or breaching tools. If you don’t know how to breach, ask your local Fire Department. If you cannot get in, you cannot neutralize the threat.
About the Author
Paul R. Howe is a 20-year veteran and former Special Operations soldier and instructor. Paul currently owns Combat Shooting and Tactics (CSAT) where he consults with, trains and evaluates law enforcement, government agencies, School and Church security in technical and tactical techniques throughout the special operations spectrum. See www.combatshootingandtactics.com for details.
YOU ARE FREE TO COPY AND USE THIS ARTICLE AS YOU SEE FIT IF YOU THINK IT WILL SAVE
I have had FB “woke” trainer tell me via the Patreon Way that I am a “dated” trainer and that it is obvious that I have not been an operator in a long time.
I don’t get excited as I see fads come and go and I choose not to subject my students to less than effective techniques. While some techniques will work, I believe other are flashy for those that don’t know or who have ever done the missions. I will not argue, but simply try and educate those who are open minded. Many get butt hurt that I don’t immediately embrace all the new technology and one-dimensional shooting fads and gadgets from trainers who simply which to take money and have no problem being an industry whore.
Here are a few concepts I will not teach:
High port or ready with the rifle
I probably will not shoot a RDS on my pistol, but I can teach its employment. Some will say that I am shortchanging my students by not teaching a technique. I believe that what we do is a profession, and my job is to be a filter or funnel for what I believe to be positive tactical and technical information.
I like students who come in with an open mind and want to learn the why. There are too many flashy instructors who know a technique, but don’t know where or when to employ it as they have not looked in depth into the missions of the Mil, LE or Civilian students they teach. Some create unrealistic scenarios to support their technique. Also, there are many great instructors out there teaching solid stuff and being quiet. Finally on this point, don’t confuse a tool in your toolbox with bullshit. It is okay to decline to use a tactic or technique. If I as an instructor get butt hurt over it, then I have too much of an emotional investment. A directed life is about making informed choices.
There are a few of the self-promoting douche bag instructors who are one-dimensional wonders. Screw them. The same applies to the instructors who stroke students and say, you are great and come back and let me take your money again with bullshit tactics or techniques. If you are Seal groupie, go to their training and be confident in what they teach. Everything works to a degree; some tactics and techniques work better than others.
Yes, I question lots of stuff in the world as people will actually pay someone to teach them stuff like this.
I owe it to you to you as a student to say, “Here is where you are at, this is how to get the next level that will ensure your dominance in violent confrontation.” I will encourage you to keep pushing yourself in personal training and not rely on gadgets or fads. If that does not satisfy you, no need in coming back. I will try and point out equipment strengths and weaknesses in a professional manner.
Next, while generally polite on the website, I look at your Facebook profile first before I answer you. If you are an Insurance Salesman with no background other than taking a class or two and you want to give me tactical advice, I might just delete your comments before I waste any heartbeats on a response.
Finally on the topic, I know there are a great deal of good guys who are stuck in a government, state or local job and they are forced to use tactics that may not be the best due to the leadership in charge or who is in charge of training. Simple take notes and weather the insanity and make it a point to fix the system. It will take patience and weathering of the tactical BS and woke flashy guys. Life goes in cycles as does training. Hang tough.
The Ukrainians are still battling the Russians, but it appears to be winding down.
Some things to note:
Intel severely overestimated Russia’s ground capability, Air game and Naval forces.
Opportunities to test weapons in a real conflict was taken and there is nothing like seeing what your defense dollars are providing with burnt Russian tanks.
We are able to see gaps in Russia’s communication, leadership, planning and logistical support tail.
We get to see the lack of morale and motivation of the common Russian conscript and their will to fight.
As for the current aid packages, they need to have strings attached. This means reconstituting NATO to an effective deterrent and get serious about iron shield countries who which to be independent and protected against future Soviet aggression.
Further, if we are not paying our bills, why are we sending money to other nation’s?
A bit of humor as all I can do is laugh at their insanity.
STUDENT LOAN DEBT
An interesting article on the student debt issue.
The weather is changing and in May, summer has come to Texas. With that, a couple of pointers.
First, when you train, measure your water in gallons. Get a one-gallon jug from the quick stop and refill it. This will help you measure your intake.
Next, we have use Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) for the past year or two with students and they seem to help out by preventing heat issues. I would suggest buying one for each day of training either pre-load it or take it at mid-day.
I have been knocking them dead with this device.
“Be sure to check in at csattss.com for our line of Tomahawks and limited-edition blades.”
The Fall schedule has been a challenge. Law Enforcement classes are making a comeback along with School Guardian classes. I am going to change the Rifle/Pistol AIT until the January timeframe so we have adequate low light (darkness) to perform the drills. I am also waiting to see how the time change is implemented.
Mowing is all there is to report….
The CSAT WAY Book
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you on the range.
Paul R. Howe