On Tuesday evening local law enforcement held a Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, or CRASE, class in the Early High School cafeteria to teach the general public about best practices during an attempted mass shooting.
The class was held exactly one month after the deadly shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the latest in a long line of public shootings that have beset the nation in recent decades. Brownwood police chief Terry Nichols, Early police chief David Mercer and Sgt. Scott Bird of the Brown County Sheriff’s Office emphasized that mass shootings can now occur at any location and be perpetrated by shooters of any description.
Bird said there were 179 mass shootings in the United States between 2000 and 2014. “It doesn’t matter where you live,” Bird said while displaying a U.S. map with shooting locations marked. “Any state you live in, you’re not immune to this.”
Nichols said CRASE was developed at Texas State University and has been used by law enforcement agencies for years. “A few years ago,” Nichols said, “they realized we’re missing the boat. We’ve done a great job of training our first responders … on how to go in and stop these events, and how to get people to the hospital when they’re done. But what are we doing for the people who are actually in the crisis at the time?”
He said Tuesday’s CRASE class was a way to spread awareness among the general public.
During active shooter events, CRASE recommends that people remember the A.D.D. acronym — Avoid, Deny and Defend. The first recourse during active shooter events is to avoid the situation entirely — to run away or leave the building if it is safe to do so.
For those who can’t, CRASE says to deny the shooter access to your location. Simply locking or barricading the door can greatly increase one’s chances of survival.
The final recourse, Mercer said, is to physically defend oneself. “If it comes to it, you have the right to defend yourself,” he said. “If he’s about to come in the door, position yourselves on each side of the door … and as soon as he comes in, grab that gun and push it straight up.
“Then have a friend or somebody that’s with you attack him in the face, neck or eyes. Anything can be a weapon.”
The officers cautioned against passive responses like pretending to be dead or “hiding and hoping.” “You’ve got to remember you’re not helpless,” Mercer said. “What you do will matter. But if you do nothing, then that’s where we’re going to have problems.”
The three officers used a slide-show presentation, interspersed with short videos, as they spoke. Some of the videos touched on mass shootings like those at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School, providing real-world examples of what did and didn’t work to deter the shooters.
For questions or more information on the A.D.D. method of active-shooter response, visit www.AvoidDenyDefend.org.