2018 Rangemaster Tactical Conference AAR part 2

From March 16-18, 2018, several of us from the KR Training team (myself, Dave Reichek, and Tracy Becker) attended the 20th annual Rangemaster Tactical Conference, held at the Direct Action Resource Center near Little Rock, Arkansas.  This is part 2 of a series of posts about sessions I attended and taught, the match and products I evaluated as part of the conference.

Part 1 is here.


Friday afternoon was a 4 hour session from Ed Monk of Last Resort firearms training. Ed’s background includes military and law enforcement service, and work as a public school teacher. His topic was active shooters.  I’ve attended a lot of training on this topic, particularly in the past year, as I got certified by the state of Texas to teach the new 2 day School Safety/Active Shooter Response course.  Ed’s presentation went into more detail about many incidents, taking a science and math-based approach to analyzing timelines and casualty rates.  Hopefully he will offer this block at next year’s TacCon, as it’s one of the best presentations on this topic I’ve seen.

This blog post is going live on Saturday, March 24, the day when hundreds of protests all over the country are occurring, demanding more gun laws (and little else) in response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting.  In a perfect world, every person attending or speaking (or funding) those protests should be forced to attend this presentation, as part of the “national dialogue on gun violence” they all pretend to want.  Sadly, none of the data or facts presented in Ed’s talk will be part of any news coverage of the topic or the day’s events.

Some of the sources for the data in his talk are here:

Another source I recommend is Andy Brown’s excellent book Warnings Unheeded, which goes into deep detail about the incident he stopped at Fairchild AFB.  Andy hit a rifle-armed active shooter with multiple rounds at 70+ yards using the M9 pistol he carried as a military policeman.  His book not only covers the background of the active shooter, but also Andy’s development as a shooter and law enforcement officer, the post-shooting events on the day of the incident, and the long term effects the incident on Andy and others involved.

Mike Seeklander did an excellent podcast interview with Andy recently.

In a typical incident, one person is shot every 8-12 seconds.  Ed presented a typical timeline, with some optimistic numbers for time to call 911, and time for police to arrive and take action. (In many incidents, such as the Parkland, FL case, police “response time” was 0, because an officer was present when the shooting began, but the actual time before police stopped the shooter was much more than 7 minutes.)

This slide shows the hard, cold truth.  If no armed personnel are on site to act immediately when the killing begins, the “official plan” could easily result in dozens of casualties.

As Ed asked in class: what exactly is the “acceptable” number of casualties? Any plan that is only run and hide, with ineffective methods of “fight” (one official advocates giving students rocks to throw) may not state a number of acceptable casualties, but any plan that depends on waiting for police to arrive to stop the shooter includes a implied “plan” to allow people to be shot, 6-8 a minute, for however many minutes the police response time is. 

Ed’s central thesis is simple.  An armed person present when the killing begins can stop it sooner and faster, reducing the number of victims to single digits.

Much of Ed’s presentation consisted of very detailed analysis of dozens of incidents, particularly timelines. How long did the killing occur, when was 911 called, how long before police arrived, how long before the killing stopped?  A summary of data from incidents where armed people on site took action shows single-digit death/injury rates.  Just a few days ago, an officer in Maryland stopped an incident after only 2 people were shot.  That incident has gotten a fraction of the media attention the Parkland incident has.

Many incidents with low casualty numbers are not included in lists of active shooter incidents compiled by the FBI, journalists and other groups.  The FBI definition requires four (4) people to be shot in an incident.  Several of the incidents discussed in Ed’s presentation – incidents where active killers were stopped early – fall below the threshold.  (Only studying incidents where responses failed, ignoring those where response was successful, appears to be a pattern with FBI analysis, since they also study incidents in which officers were killed with more emphasis than they place on studying incidents in which officers stopped lethal attacks.)

Omission of that data skews public perception of the issue, such as in this NBC report on the recent Maryland incident, which states that “incidents where school resource officers stop active shooters are rare”.  They can only make that claim by limiting their counting to only incidents involving school resource officers, omitting actions taken by off-duty cops, armed citizens, or even on-duty officers that were not specifically school resource officers.   While the statement is factually accurate, the word choices illustrate how hidden biases of journalists (or their editors) can shape public perception of an issue. (John Lott’s excellent book The Bias Against Guns is a great study of examples of this kind of subtle but ubiquitous media spin.)

When the official “wait for police” plan is followed, the results are far, far worse.

Ed provided strong rebuttals to the standard talking points opposing armed personnel in schools.

People don’t just “snap”. In every active shooter incident, study of the killer’s life history always reveals multiple warning signs (as occurred in the Parkland, FL incident). KR Training’s Howard Nemerov published a detailed analysis of crime rates for Texas carry permit holders vs. the general population.  If the general population committed violent crimes at the same rate as Texas permit holders, violent crime in Texas would drop 96%.

These are the hard facts people need to understand about active shooter incidents.

One final thought – not from Ed’s presentation, but from someone who posted it after the Maryland incident.  It’s relevant because those marching and protesting believe that similar laws passed on a national level would deter an active shooter – yet they failed to do so in Maryland.

Much more to follow in upcoming posts over the next few days!