Thoughts on "active shooters"
The manager of South East Area Law Enforcement has some thoughts, of which the most relevant are:
"Where times have been reliably documented, the average post-Columbine “rapid mass murder episode” lasts just 8 minutes, according to Borsch’s calculations. “The murderer’s timeline begins when he says it begins. Any prevention, deterrence or delay efforts have failed at that point, and the police are handicapped with catching up whenever they are notified.”
• 98% of active killers act alone.
• 80% have long guns, 75% have multiple weapons (about 3 per incident), and they sometimes bring hundreds of extra rounds of ammunition to the shooting site.
• Despite such heavy armaments and an obsession with murder at close range, they have an average hit rate of less than 50%.
• They strike “stunned, defenseless innocents via surprise ambush. On a level playing field, the typical active killer would be a no-contest against anyone reasonably capable of defending themselves.”
• “They absolutely control life and death until they stop at their leisure or are stopped.” They do not take hostages, do not negotiate.
• They generally try to avoid police, do not hide or lie in wait for officers and “typically fold quickly upon armed confrontation.”
• 90% commit suicide on-site. “Surrender or escape attempts are unlikely.”
Because active shooters seem so intent on killing, it’s often difficult to convince first responders that “this bad guy is one of the easiest man-with-gun encounters they will ever have,” Borsch observes. “Most officers have already faced worse opponents from a personal safety standpoint than these creeps.”
Once into the scene, to further gain confidence in advancing aggressively toward the suspect, officers need to understand the nature of these killers. Unlike conventional criminal predators, who often have no reluctance about attacking police, active shooters tend to be “cowardly,” Borsch says.
“They choose unarmed, defenseless innocents for a reason: They have no wish to encounter someone who can hurt them. They are personally risk- and pain-avoidant. The tracking history of these murderers has proved them to be unlikely to be aggressive with police. If pressed, they are more likely to kill themselves.” In his research, he has found no evidence of any LEO in the U.S. yet being wounded or killed in an active-shooting incident where mass murder was intended or accomplished."
UPDATE: yep, I think everything he says supports Joe Olson's conclusion that the only way to stop such a shooting is for someone not in uniform -- a civilian, an off-duty officer, whatever -- to deliver immediate counterattack and counterfire. The attacker is counting upon hitting the defenseless, for a period of a few minutes, certainly less than police response time. If within that period he is attacked by someone who is not defenseless, he will kill himself rather than continue the battle. That may also explain the phenomenon noted earlier here, that active shooters tend to home in on "gun free zones."