Shoot, Don't Shoot

Police Sgt. Albert Jimenes held a conference at the Shawnee Theater at Midwestern State University in an effort to educate people about how they should act during an Active Shooter Situation, and to recognize the signs before a shooting actually occurs.

Times have changed, Jimenes mentioned that 12 years ago that schools never thought of weapons on campus until the 2007 Virginia Tech changed all of law enforcement's way of thinking.

Jimenes said that if an active shooting alert did occur, people should prepare for the worst possible situation. People in that type of situation should stay calm, look for emergency exits, know all entrances and exits available, make sure there are locks on the door, put their phone on silent and make a plan for any children that are present.

People involved in an active shooter situation should not expect law enforcement to be on the scene immediately, As they wait, people will have the choice: to run, hide, or fight, depending on their situation.

Victims should  first try to run, but they should only run it if can be done safely and without attracting the attention of the shooter. The second choice would be to hide. If a person chooses to hide, make sure everyone is quiet.

Fighting should only be done as a last resort. If a person has to fight, they need to develop a plan with others, use items in the room that could be used to their advantage, and to be sure to have multiple people attack at once.

"Active Shooter" has become a label, a warning about a person who wants to cause the most harm possible, often attacking his victims randomly. Active shooters also have no intentions of being caught, they want to be killed whether by police or themselves.

Jimenes addressed that the idea of no one knowing, or that nobody being able to see it coming when a person decides to attack is nothing more than a myth. In reality, someone knows. A person planning to become an active shooter often sends out signs, red flags in a way, about what they may possibly do. The person will go through changes in appearance, get into pointless conflicts. experience mood swings that include violent outbreaks and depression.

There are five phases that lead up to an active shooter:

The Fantasy Phase, the shooter will initially only imagine committing the shooting. They think of the media attention they'll receive and may draw pictures of the event, or even put up web postings about what they want to do for everyone to see. If these postings are public, they can be intercepted by law enforcement, and an interception can be made.

The Planning Phase, the shooter will begin to plan the logistics of the attack, the who's when's and where's. They will plan what time the attack will occur, what weapons will be used, the transportation of the shooter and how to conceal the weapons until the time of attack. The shooter may put their plans down in writing that if found can be used to tip off law enforcement so an interception can be made.

The Preparation Phase, the shooter will begin to purchase the necessary weapons needed for their attack. They may also do a practice run through their plan of attack in order to prepare themselves for the attack. Potential shooters have been known to call friends or family to tell them not to be present at a certain location on a certain day. If one of these people inform police of their concerns, it provides another opportunity for law enforcement to intervene.

The Approach Phase, the shooter has now made their plans, and are now committed to their target. At this point, the shooter may actually be carrying the tools needed and will be headed towards their target. Officers may still be able to intervene should they encounter this person due to a complaint or a traffic stop and they conduct a thorough investigation.

The Implementation Phase, the shooter carries out their plan, opening fire upon unknowing victims. The shooter will not stop, continuing to kill until they run out of victims, ammunition, or are killed themselves. In the shooter's mind, they are going for the highest number of kills they can.

If you find yourself in an active shooter situation, be sure to call 911 in order to alert police of the situation.