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In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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Are Governments Putting Us at Risk from Terrorism?

Officials might be making it easier for terrorists and others to kill innocent people. That’s the opinion of vocal and controversial Brevard County Florida Sheriff Wayne Ivey and he makes a good case for it.

“Terrorists and active shooters know that our citizens have been coached to run and hide and then patiently await help,” Ivey said in a recent Facebook and YouTube video. “In fact they count on it so they can strategically target as many citizens as possible.”

Ivey is referring to the practice of telling people to run and hide in the case of a terror attack or mass shooting. That sounds good but it might make average citizens sitting ducks for crazed killers. He is also criticizing the Run, Hide and Tell policy that Her Majesty’s Government has urged upon British subjects.

Should everybody be prepared to fight back against Terrorists?

“What they don’t count on is being attacked themselves, having to become defensive to save their own lives,” Ivey said of terrorists. His belief is that citizens should be able to fight back against terrorists.

“There is no doubt that as soon as 911 is called law enforcement is on the way,” Ivey said. “However until they arrive it’s up to you and those with you to neutralize the threat.”

The sheriff’s comments also raise a very troubling point about lockdown; the practice of locking all doors in a building and hiding during an attack. Locking the building down might make it hard or impossible for people to flee to real safety outside. Worse it might make it harder for first responders to get in and help the victims.

Is New Thinking Needed?

Ivey’s comments are nothing new; back in 2009 the International Association of Chiefs and Police published a report that concluded lockdown and evacuation are insufficient means of dealing with a mass shooting, Business Insider reported. Instead the Association recommended that teachers should know how to defend themselves in other words fight back.

Ivey uses his video to promote his pro-gun agenda, but his basic reasoning is very sound. It sounds as if he has studied the strategy and tactics of terrorists and mass shootings. Groups like ISIS count on citizens not fighting back and even post videos on line urging their followers to take advantage of the fact.

There have been a number of cases where would be victims were able to overcome gunmen. A good example was at a school in Cazenovia, Wisconsin, in 2006 where school custodian Dave Thompson and Principal John Klang were able to wrestle shooter Eric Hainstock to the floor and hold him until police came. Klang was killed but Hainstock was stopped.

Protecting Yourself is Your Responsibility 

Perhaps a new protocol for average people to respond to shootings or terror attacks is needed. The new response to such emergencies might be like this:

  1. Call 911 as soon and tell them what is happening immediately as possible.


  1. Get away, get out of the building as fast as possible if you are alone. The more distance you can put between yourself and an attacker the better.


  1. Try to help those who cannot escape such as children, the disabled, the wounded and senior citizens.


  1. If you cannot get away fight back.

  1. Think like McGyver look around for any object that you can use as a weapon. Ivey calls this environmental arming. Persons without a gun can use an object; such as a chair, a bat, a hammer, or a broom, as a club. They can also use a knife or spray the attacker with a fire extinguisher or an aerosol can. Persons in good physical shape can always try to tackle the attacker.


Will anybody listen to Wayne Ivey?

Sheriff Ivey is trying to start an important dialogue about defense and terrorism. Unfortunately nobody might listen to him because of his pro-gun rhetoric and some of the nonsense being said about him online.

Persons who want to criticize Ivey should watch his video. He’s actually very intelligent, articulate and understands what is going on. In the video Ivey never mentions a terrorist group by name, and does not mention the words Islam or Muslim. Instead he discusses a terrible situation average people find themselves in, in a thoughtful way.

Ivey is trying to start a vital discussion about terrorism and mass shootings and how we respond to them. Unfortunately nobody will pay attention and innocent people might die because of bad advice from officials.