Official Homeland Security Advice: Run & Hide

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Well, gosh, this is helpful.

Via the Disinformation blog, here's an instructional video produced by the Mayor's Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security in Houston, described as a "Department of Homeland Security Grant Funded Project of the Regional Catastrophic Planning Initiative" intended to instruct citizens on "Surviving an Active Shooter Event." This raises two questions right away: First, is the budget crisis so severe that the government can no longer afford even a single hyphen? I mean, Jesus Christ. Second, "active[-]shooter event." Really? Are there "passive shooters"? I guess that would be somebody who's just threatening to shoot and not actually shooting yet, but I would still say that person's being fairly "active."

I guess they can't call the video "How to Get Away From a Murderer" because that would make it too obvious just how stupid this is.

Because the third and more important question is this: Do they really think we're this defective? The video describes three options: (1) Run, (2) Hide, or (3) Fight. Thanks! These have been the standard human responses to danger for the last several million years. (Actually, the cat exercises these same three options when the dog is around, and she's never watched an instructional video in her life, as far as I know.) But here we have a video funded by your tax dollars instructing you to do what frigging Ardipithecus would have known how to do. And Ardipithecus was a dumbass.


The video shows a scary-looking (though at least not Muslim-looking) guy walking into an office and opening fire with a shotgun. It then provides numerous examples of workers both (1) running and (2) hiding. One person does err by hiding out of order, but she is quickly corrected by others who demonstrate that Phase One is the running, not the hiding. Only if one cannot run should one hide. The video does not provide detailed instructions on running, unfortunately, so remember: running is like walking but generally much faster, and also the correct direction for a civilian to run is away from danger.

If running (remember—away!) is not possible, then it is time to hide. And here we do get some more detailed instructions:

Yes, when selecting something to hide behind, it is critical that you select an object that is large, and preferably larger than you are. Attempting to hide behind something small creates a significant risk that you will be seen; the smaller the object, the greater this risk becomes. Also, consistent with the running advice given above, remember that hiding is most effective by moving to the side of the object away from the danger.

Finally, you should fight only as a last resort, the video explains, but if you must fight, act "aggressively" and, if possible, use a weapon of some kind. Perhaps a fire extinguisher or a chair, based on the actions of those in the video. (The males in the video, of course. Females appear to have a fourth option, namely crying.)

Like so much of the security nonsense that goes on these days, this video could only help make people even more anxious about what are extremely rare events, while doing nothing at all to make them any safer. (At least the snow-cone machines had some purpose, even if they were overpriced.) This sort of thing costs us money, encourages us to give up rights, doesn't help, and just generally stresses everybody out. I don't see the point.

With the money we'd save if we stop this, maybe somebody could do a video on using hyphens? That I could get behind.