Cowering under a desk and waiting for help to come is no longer an option. American schools must teach their students to respond aggressively to attacks by people bent on mayhem.
"I would hope that the administrators and folks that are making the decisions would understand that it’s difficult to negotiate with a bullet," security consultant Allen Hill told TODAY. "A person that comes into your facility with a gun intends to kill and do you harm."
The founder of Response Options, a Texas-based security company, said, "Get past this paralysis of fear over liability issues. Our country is so litigious and concerned about doing the wrong thing and about doing the politically correct thing that we don’t do anything."
That only helps people like Cho Seung Hui. "The bad guys are counting on Americans to sit still and do nothing," Hill said.
Students and others need to realize that they do have options, Hill said.
The "bad guys" plan their attacks. Schools need to plan and rehearse their defenses and responses just as aggressively.
"The training should be just as intense and be taken just as seriously as the bad guy takes their mission to kill," he said.
At Virginia Tech, Cho Seung Hui walked into classrooms and simply shot people. There are reports that he even lined up victims to shoot them one by one. But in one Norris Hall classroom, student Zach Petkewicz led his classmates in barricading the door, saving all inside.
Petkewicz’ response was instinctive, prompted by "adrenaline and fear."
Hill’s company teaches acting from knowledge and a well-rehearsed plan.
"Once the bad guy’s inside, how hard is it to hit a non-moving target?" Hill observed.
You can’t wait for something to happen and then try to form a response, he said. It’s got to be done in advance.
Security systems are passive, he said. But those under attack can be active.
Said Hill: "There are things that you can do to take the initiative away from the bad guy, to disrupt their plan and to create a situation that’s winnable for you."