While school shooter scenarios are rare, the ALICE program helps train students to fight back and survive should the unthinkable occur.
Yes, school shootings are relatively rare, but they appear to be a common occurrence because of the attention given to them by the news media and some politicians. The national conversation they provoke on forums such as social media also contributes to a sense of greater frequency.
Mass shootings do, however, occur and even a single such incident is one too many.
After years of ineffective and even deadly counter-measure advice instructing victims to hide or in some respect remain passive in the face of attackers, the pendulum is swinging to an approach that many people have intuitively understood to be a more sensible and survivable tack: Be proactive and, in some cases, attack the shooter.
This philosophy and program is called ALICE, an acronym that stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.
At its core ALICE attempts to turn the tables on the shooter by destroying his expectation of what he will encounter by presenting him with chaos, confusion, surprise and even opposition.
Reporter Joel Roetz spoke with ALICE instructors who said that “a lockdown and stay put scenario is flawed and could be deadly. Because if a gunman gets into the room, you’re just waiting there, to die.”
Lieutenant Joe Hendry is an ALICE instructor. He expressed his frustration with the standard, ineffective advice on how to react to a shooter:
Literally, we’ve not trained 90 percent of people in a school facility to respond to an incident other than by not moving, being quiet and sitting on the floor. Well that’s a plan for the bad guy.
Chris Ebnet participated in the training shown in the video. He said that by employing ALICE methods, “You’re not totally defenseless in this situation. There are tactics. You can distract him, you know, create confusion.”
There is of course more to the ALICE approach than simply attacking the attacker. ALICE also includes escape plans, barricading, collective group action and more. But attacking the shooter is the most controversial aspect of the instruction, inasmuch as fighting for one’s life may be considered controversial. Many of us believe it to be anything but controversial.
Unfortunately, an active shooter counter-measure component that many feel is also worth serious consideration is also one of the more politically controversial: allowing and even advocating for conceal carry of firearms by capable school staff and adult students.
But at least the ALICE approach is a step in the right direction. Learn more about the program at their website.