Last night I sat down with my youngest daughter and watched Walking with Dinosaurs. It’s a 2013 movie about a herd of Pachyrhinosaurus—four-ton, four-footed herbivores up to 26 feet long—including the runt of the litter named Patchi, his father the herd leader Bulldust, and his big brother Scowler.
Throughout the movie, the herd is threatened by a number of predators, with a Gorgosaurus (think a smaller T.Rex) named Gorgon being the nemesis of Patchi’s herd.
The adults in Patchi’s Pachyrhinosaurus herd are larger individually and in numbers than the small group of predators led by Gorgon, but the large herd multi-ton beasts are by nature docile, and the smaller, naturally aggressive predators treat them like the prey they allow themselves to be.
At the end of the movie the herd is once again ambushed by Gorgon’s pack as they migrate through the predator’s territory. Scowler is about to be killed by gorgon like his father before him when Patchi suddenly and completely changes his mindset and leads his Pachyrhinosaurus herd to attack Gorgon and his pack. The Pachyrhinosaurus are not equipped with teeth and claws to fight, but they use their superior numbers to their advantage, and they win.
Such instant mindset changes are great for movie plot twists, but they’re very rare in the real world.
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When the deadliest Islamic terrorist attack on the United States since 9/11 took place at Pulse night club in Orlando there was one armed Orlando Police Department officer providing security and an estimated 320 patrons and staff inside the building.
We know that the officer drew his duty sidearm and unsuccessfully engaged the terrorist outside the club. The terrorist then made it inside Pulse and the true carnage began.
From 2:03 until at least 2:17 the terrorist shot targets of opportunity within Pulse. He shot men and women, young adults and the middle-aged, and killed at least one mother who died shielding her adult son.
* blink *
The attack went on for three long hours before Orlando SWAT finally breached a wall at 5:02 and shot and killed the terrorist. The ISIS-affilitated terrorist was finally reported dead and cuffed at 5:17.
When it was all over, 49 people had been killed, and 53 had been wounded. It might have been worse, if it weren’t for a Marine veteran working as a bouncer who took charge of one group of panicked Pulse customers and forced them to safety.
Imran Yousuf, a 24-year-old Hindu and former Marine who served in Afghanistan, was working as a bouncer at the Pulse nightclub when he heard the familiar sounds of gunfire.
“That was a shock. Three or four shots go off and you could just tell it was a high caliber,” he told CBS News. “Everyone froze.”
As patrons raced to flee the gunfire, they packed into the back staff hallway where he was, Yousuf said. He instructed them to open a latch on a nearby door to exit the building, but they froze in a state of panic, he said.
“I’m just screaming, ‘Open the door! Open the door!’ and no one’s moving because they were scared,” Yousuf told the news organization. “There was only one choice: Either we all stay there and we all die or I could either take the chance and get shot and save everyone else. And I jumped over, opened that latch and we got every one that we can out of there.”
When correspondent Mark Strassmann asked him how many people exited the door, Yousuf estimated between 60 and 70. Strassmann told him he saved a lot of lives.
“I wish I could save more, to be honest. There’s a lot of people that are dead,” he said, his voice breaking. “There’s a lot of people that are dead.”
Yousef’s life-saving actions appear to have occurred in the first few frenzied minutes of the Islamic terror attack.
Sadly, I can’t find a single mention of even one of the hundreds of other people inside Pulse attempting to rush the terrorist from the side, or from behind, or when he was reloading a rifle with which he was unfamiliar, or when he put his rifle down to stuff fresh bullets into depleted magazines. Not in three long hours.
Sadly, the fact that none of the staff nor customers attacked the terrorist in the opening minutes greatly increased the body count, as research show that it is typically civilians who stop mass killings, not police.
WHO HAS BEEN STOPPING THE ACTIVE KILLER, AND HOW?
Before investing in any theory or propaganda, enlightened administrators and trainers should exclusively examine only successful aborts. “Stopping the killing” only occurs in slightly over half of “Rapid Mass Murder”© incidents. Significant, documented, verifiable, and repeatable research has identified what strategies and tactics work in stopping the killing. In summary, they are:
1. Citizens, mostly unarmed, perform two thirds of all “Rapid Mass Murder”© aborts.
2. In citizen aborts, initiation by a single citizen stops the killing eight out of ten times.
3. Law enforcement performs one third of all “Rapid Mass Murder”© aborts.
4. In law enforcement aborts, initiation by a single officer stops the killing seven out of 10 times.
Yes, you read that correctly.
In a supermajority of cases, mass killings are typically stopped (aborted) when a single, typically unarmed citizen takes it upon himself (or herself) to commit the required violence. In most of the rest of the cases, a single officer takes it upon himself to be violent enough to stop the attacker.
Video was just released of one of these incidents where a citizen determined it was time to be violent enough to save lives. In June, 2014 Jon Meis saw an opening when the Seattle Pacific University killer was reloading and jumped into action, pepper-spraying the would-be mass killer and taking his gun. Incredibly, Meis came back a second time when it appears that the killer was going to commit suicide with a knife, and wrestled the blade away from him.
Within a span of a few minutes, one man committed two very different acts of violence to save lives.
A much more famous case of citizens thwarting a mass killing took place when Todd Beamer and other passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 rushed the cockpit on September 11, 2001, forcing the terrorists to crash the plane in Pennsylvania before it could reach Washington, DC. Yes, it was still a mass killing, but because of their sacrifice, Flight 93 was the only plane that did not successfully reach its target.
So, why didn’t any of the patrons and staff inside Pulse attempt to attack the terrorist at any point in the three-hour ordeal, especially as they watched wounded friends and strangers bleeding to death?
Was it cowardice? Were none of these sissy-boys man enough to take on a terrorist whom we’ve been told put down his rifle three different times to reload spent magazines with fresh bullets?
That’s the snide question everyone wants to ask, isn’t it?
I have to answer that it’s not that simple.
The reality of the matter is that most people, gay, straight, or utterly asexual, are not prepared to use the necessary tool of violence. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and watch the video below as Tim Larkin explains the tool of violence better than I ever will.
Many people cannot adapt to the concept that extreme violence is sometimes absolutely necessary, and when it is, nothing else will do.
This natural resistance to committing even necessary violence is nearly crippling for many people, especially if they’ve spent their lives in communities and societal roles where they’ve been strongly encouraged to be artistic, sensitive, compassionate, and nurturing… like the LGBT community.
For fair or foul, popular gay culture in the United States is the exact opposite of masculine. Hollywood reinforces the stereotype of delicate, flighty creatures incapable of much more than catty comments and rolled eyes.
How are people who have bought into and identify with this stereotypical role going to be able to suddenly “switch on” and become overwhelmingly violent when that level of violence is absolutely necessary for survival?
They simply aren’t.
It’s not that they are cowards, it’s that they are simply responding to a lifetime of programming of how they are supposed to act.
I’ve noticed this same phenomena take place watching training videos and from first-person accounts from participants in force-on-force drills using wax bullets (Simunitions). Even after intermediate to advanced gunfighting classes focusing on using firearms to shoot deadly force threats, many students still have an incredibly difficult time in shooting the bad guy to the ground during the scenario, even when they know he’s not going to risk more than the possibility of a welt.
I’ve watched several shooters try to fire “just enough” shots in apparent hopes of changing the behavior of the attacker, instead of putting enough effective hits into the center mass vital organs to force the bad guy to stop fighting because he’s either been hit in the central nervous system or is busy exsanguinating.
Again folks: these are people trained to commit necessary violence, but many they still have a problem overcoming their much longer lifetime of societal programming, even when it is absolutely necessary.
I hope all of you can come to understand that violence is rarely the answer to life’s problems, but as Mr. Larkin notes in the video above, in those rare instances, overwhelming violence is only right answer.
People need to grasp the fact that self-defense is every bit as much a software issue as it is a hardware issue.
Like Patchi’s herd of dinosaurs, those club-goers and staff trapped inside Pulse with the Islamic terrorist for three hours had both size and numbers working to their advantage, but they didn’t have the mindset to take on and overcover the predator.
That simply has to change.
People need to start accepting that they and they alone are responsible for their own security. The government is not coming to save you.
Take the steps to develop proficiency with both the physical and mental tools required to survive in those moments where the tool of violence is the only tool suitable to preserve life.
Isn’t your life worth it?