Fortunately, most attackers engaging in active shooter scenarios are not well-trained. They tend to bepoor marksmen who lack tactical experience with their weapons. For example, in his attack on a LosAngeles Jewish community center daycare Aug. 10, 1999, Buford Furrow fired 70 shots from an Uzi-stylesubmachine gun but only wounded five people. The Uzi is an effective and highly accurate weapon atshort distances, meaning the only reason Furrow did so little damage was his poor marksmanship. Duringthe July 20 shooting in Aurora, James Holmes only managed to kill 12 people -- despite achieving almosttotal tactical surprise in a fully packed theater -- due to a combination of poor marksmanship and hisinability to clear a malfunction from his rifle.This typical lack of marksmanship implies that most people killed in active shooter situations are shot atvery close range. There are some obvious exceptions, like the shooting at the University of Texas onAug. 1, 1966, when ex-Marine Charles Whitman shot several people from the top of a tower on thecollege campus. But even then, most of Whitman's victims were shot early on in his attack, and his abilityto successfully engage targets declined rapidly as victims realized where the shots were coming from andeither moved away from the threat or took cover and waited for the authorities to respond.
As seen in the Whitman case, potential victims can do several things to reduce their chances of beingshot, even with a trained shooter. We use an old acronym to describe these steps: MDACC, which standsfor motion, distance, angle, cover and concealment.First, it is much harder to shoot a moving target than a stationary one, especially if that target is moving ata distance. Most tactical shootings happen at distances of less than 7 meters. Indeed, there are very fewpeople who can consistently hit a stationary target beyond 25 meters with a pistol, much less a movingtarget. Most people can put 25 meters between them and an attacker in just a few seconds, so motionand distance are your friends.The angle between the target and the shooter is also important, because shooting a target running awayin a straight line is easier than shooting a target running away at an angle, since the second scenariowould require the shooter to swing the barrel of the weapon and lead the target. Both require a good dealof practice, even with a rifle or shotgun. If the target can run at an angle behind objects like trees, cars,office furniture or walls that obstruct the shooter's view of the target (concealment) or stop bullets (cover),that is even more effective.Whether running or trying to hide, it is important to distinguish between concealment and cover. Itemsthat provide concealment will hide you from the shooter's eye but will not protect you from bullets. A bushor tree leaves may provide concealment, but only a substantial tree trunk will provide cover. A typicaloffice drywall-construction interior wall will provide concealment but not cover. This means that if a personis forced to hide inside an office or classroom, they might be able to lock the door but the shooter will inall likelihood still be able to fire through the walls and the door, should they choose to do so. Still, if theshooter cannot see his or her target, they will be firing by chance rather than intentionally aiming.In any case, those hiding inside a room should attempt to find some sort of additional cover, like a filingcabinet or heavy desk. It is always better to find cover than concealment, but even partial cover --something that will only deflect or fragment the projectiles -- is better than no cover at all.
The Inner Warrior
Mindset also becomes critical when a person is wounded. In active shooter situations it is not unusual formany more people to be wounded than killed; this also relates to the issue of poor marksmanshipdiscussed above. In such a situation, it is extremely important for the wounded person to understand that,unlike what is portrayed in the movies, most wounds are not immediately fatal and rarely immobilize the