Today the mass shooting stats go up and up…alarmingly.

However, those in charge of locations around the USA continue to live in hope that it never happens on their watch… and it’s sadly becoming the norm in too many cases.

I began challenging the status quo where I live in New York over the lockdown “tick in the box” only drills that continue at the local schools, way back in 2014. Lockdown the teachers and kids, pray and hope, and wait for the cops. Hopefully all will be well…that is not a realistic plan that gives those caught out the best chance of survival. Hope is not a plan, and playing the “tick in the box” only game is exceptionally dangerous.

I’ve written time and time again about how and why the “Run…Hide…Fight” options based drill gives everyone the best chance of survival with a simple equation of Speed + Distance = Survival:

Way too many people including the media who cover these sad stories of mass shooting, don’t understand the Fight part of the drill. As you will have read in the above formula, it’s when the individual/s caught out on the same floor space, and perhaps even within arms length of the shooter has no chance to run or hide. No matter their personal character, they are going to have to fight…for their life, otherwise their life will be ended very quickly! Even in the hide mode, you must be ready to fight.

Again I’ve written about this too in the past…there is a multi billion dollar industry here in the USA, living off vulnerable schools and colleges alone, who already haven’t spent enough money on securing their campuses. Commercial security companies hunting out these premises with the greatest of commercial sales pitches, and sadly many schools fall for it. Many seem to think that they have to be seen to be buying security related equipment in order to pacify parents and staff alike.

Well, given that many shootings are initiated by an irritated school member or someone known to the school, he is already on the inside…no security “moat” will keep him out…he’s come to school. If there are no red flags beforehand…he’s in…and blending with everyone else…until he’s ready to initiate his filthy deadly deed.

Therefore, no matter how many $$$$$ have been spent on security, the shooter can still get in.

The one and only way to best counter that, is to teach the RUN…HIDE…FIGHT options based drill. Because on the day if it ever comes your way…you know exactly what to do, given your location to the shooter at that time. The professional responders are minutes away, making you the FIRST responder!

As a father I will NEVER give up on this, as I know it’s the best and only means of survival. Today and as time moves forward, there is way too much anger, anxiety and mental illness in our neighborhoods…we must all be prepared for the worst scenario, and it can happen ANYWHERE.

You have from an instant reactive time to perhaps only a few seconds to make your move…read the above formula, instill it into your brain for when you may require it, and be aware of your surroundings at all times, no matter what your place of learning or working has in situ today as a drill.

Published by: bobshepherdauthor

Bestselling author Bob Shepherd has spent nearly forty years operating in conflict areas around the world. A twenty year veteran of Britain’s elite 22 SAS Regiment with nearly two decades of private security work to his credit, Bob has successfully negotiated some of the most dangerous places on earth as a special forces soldier and a private citizen. Bob comments regularly on security issues and has appeared on CNN International, BBC, SKY News, and BBC Radio. He has also authored numerous articles and books including the Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller The Circuit. In addition to writing and lecturing, Bob continues to advise individuals operating in hostile environments. For more of his insights on security and geopolitics visit

Categories Uncategorized2 Comments


  1. Dear Bob,
    I am the mother of three elementary school children (fifth, third and second grade). While I have heard of threats made in and around schools within my county, I’ve never experienced one at the school where my children currently attend…until yesterday!

    We received a notice yesterday afternoon that one of the fifth-grade students made threats to, “shoot up the school.“ Thankfully, after hearing that these comments had been made online, several parents intervened and contacted police immediately. From what I understand, the student is now in custody.
    While that should probably lessen my anxiety, the exact opposite has occurred. This situation has awakened a concern inside of me that has been brewing for quite some time.

    My father (who oddly enough was also trained by the SAS way back in 1958) worked hard to teach my brothers, sister and I about situational awareness and I do my best to share that knowledge with my children every chance I get.
    However, what I teach my children to do in an active shooter situation (run,hide,fight) is in direct conflict to what our school district teaches (Shelter in place/hide).
    I need to add that my kids are rule followers and I have always taught them to respect authority, so while I do still advocate ‘run, hide, fight,’ it’s tough to instill when they are repeatedly taught a different method.
    So I was wondering if you might have any tips or suggestions on how I might be able to convince our school district to switch tactics in their teaching? Sadly, I realize that the odds are not IF they will face the situation but WHEN.

    Thank you so much for your time and consideration!

    1. Hi Judith, what a scenario to have to put up with in this day and age. I live just outside of NY City. Our child is in her last year of high school, and even with my professional background, I haven’t shifted the schools, BOE or local police after trying my hardest for 9 years. Perhaps if I was American it may be different? However, the police love containment, and it’s all about how they do once arriving on scene. I told my daughter from the age of 8 after we arrived here, to go with her gut after I taught her the Run, Hide Fight scenarios. Last year, they had a similar scenario to yours, where kids were texting one another that an individual had brought a gun to school. The school did nothing. My daughter and some others excused themselves from the lesson and walked out of the school campus. She called me straight away. Pretty soon, a large element of the school had done the same. Yes, they went against school protocol, but they were not comfortable for their own safety remaining on campus. It turned out that it was an idle threat only…but what if it wasn’t? You get one chance, you have to choose the right one. I applauded her for her move. The school continues to take security matters from both the local police and a local security company. I will always support my local police, but not in this particular scenario. The crazy thing is, all of these schools that still teach lockdown only drills, then have a major incident, still have kids going with their gut feeling on the day and pouring out of windows and doors to run away…it’s what humans and animals do in nature…fight or flight! It’s your call as a parent, but I would suggest for students over the age of 12, and if that dreadful scenario ever comes to their school, that they adopt the Run Hide Fight. You can always talk it through with the school afterwards, having your child back home alive.

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