Escape, Ambush, and Fight: Commentary on the San Bernardino, CA Shootings

As I write this, at least 14 people are dead, with 17 others injured, after yet another mass shooting, this time in San Bernardino, CA. The motive for the shooting is as of yet unclear, but the fact that there were multiple Muslim perpetrators, apparently a married couple, brings the specter of terrorism into distinct focus. As I have discussed previously here on the blog, no matter whether the incident is a deranged gunman or terrorism, the immediate response from the armed civilian is essentially the same.

Rather than begin to sound like a broken record, I’m going to take a slightly different tact with this post. Authorities tell the public to “Run, Hide, and Fight” in response to active shooter situations. While that is generally good advice, I would like to suggest a slightly more nuanced approach. I would like to  change the mantra to “Escape, Ambush, and Fight.”

Should you find yourself in the midst of an active shooter situation, I would first suggest escape from the immediate area if at all possible. Obviously, unaccounted for family members or other moral obligations may preclude this option. Consider armed egress if appropriate, but be cognizant of responding law enforcement. You do not want to be mistaken for part of the problem!

The next step is going to be controversial, but I think it is vital to at least consider. Taking yesterday’s event as an example, facing multiple assailants armed with rifles is a daunting situation for the armed citizen to have to confront. I’m not saying that hiding isn’t a good idea, but if armed with a handgun or other weapon, I would suggest that seeking cover or at least concealment in a position that gives you a tactical advantage may be a better idea. In short, set up an ambush for the perpetrator. If contact appears imminent and inevitable, position yourself such that you can take advantage of the fatal funnel of a doorway or be braced behind a corner or a heavy piece of furniture. If you can remain hidden at a distance and make the necessary shot, so much the better. When considering where to aim, keep the possibility of body armor or suicide belts in mind. Head shots may be required to neutralize a threat. This is an example of where CQB training in structures would be invaluable experience. If you are with another armed individual, use team tactics and work together.

Finally, when and if it is time to fight, Fight! You’ll know when the time comes… but you must be prepared to act. I cannot remember where I heard this or who to attribute the quote to, but it has been said that “The body cannot go where the mind has not already been.” No matter the odds, you must be prepared to fight back. When confronted with sudden life threatening violence, that is the only path to survival. Even if you are disarmed by company policy or local laws, fight back with anything available, even if it’s just a fire extinguisher. At the very least, aimed discharge of a fire extinguisher can impair eyesight and respiratory function, and I have personally witnessed the result of a victim being bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher. As with a pistol, aim for the head.

Now, here’s where I’m going to sound like the broken record. If you are legally able, carry your gun everywhere you go! Get relevant and focused training from reputable instructors. Be aware of your environment as you go throughout your day. Be prepared to respond threats to life and limb, no matter the source, no matter whether violent or medical in nature. Always fight back! Refuse to live your life in fear!


My blogging partner has pointed out an interesting observation as this situation relates to fighting in and around vehicles. When the attackers attempted to flee in the SUV, they chose to fight from the SUV after being stopped by police. The police were able to use superior tactics to turn the SUV into a literal death trap! The SUV instantly became a bullet magnet, as evidenced by photos and video. Who knows if the final gun battle would have been more protracted had the attackers bailed out of the vehicle, but historically, mobility equals survival. The lesson here is to stay with your vehicle only so long as it benefits you. When it is no longer an advantage, abandon it.


While I strive to keep the blog relatively free of politics, I am compelled to point out that this latest attack occurred in the anti-gun utopia that is SoCal. Despite existing draconian and restrictive gun prohibitions, these attackers brought “assault rifles” to the fight. Anti-gun politicians have wasted no time in publicly calling for further restrictions and sanctions on our natural right to self defense with the best tools available. I would urge you to seek out facts rather than irrational conjecture, to use those facts to educate and persuade others in compelling conversation, and to vote accordingly. If there’s a gun that you’ve been wanting, now might be a good time to get it. Despite the fact that record numbers of NICS checks were conducted for firearms purchases on Black Friday (enough to arm the entire Marine Corps!), the assault on our rights will continue. Get active or stay active in advocating for gun rights. Logical thought dictates that when guns are taken away from the good guys, only the bad guys will be armed. Only a fool will ignore the historical ramifications of gun control. Don’t let it progress any further here… rights surrendered are terribly difficult to restore.


As always, the families and friends of the shooting victims have our condolences, and we wish full and speedy recoveries to the injured. Should you wish to comment on anything here at the blog, please do so below. We look forward to establishing a dialog with our readers.

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