What to Do in an Active-Shooter Situation

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker, financial journalist, and money manager.

Most of the time, this publication is devoted to how to protect and grow your wealth. Yet given we are just a few days removed from the worst mass shooting in American history, I thought another type of protection message might be in order.

The fact is that acts of violent crime, terrorism and mass shootings are a reality that can happen to any of us at virtually any time, any place.

Yes, the odds of you being in some kind of violent situation, and particularly an active shooter situation, are infinitesimal. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to anyone at any time.

Reality is what it is, regardless of how we might want it to be. That means we must be aware of how to deal with reality when it turns violent… especially given the potentially catastrophic consequences.

So, what must you do to maximize your chances of survival?

Well, there are many specific recommendations given by law enforcement officials on what to do, and many of them are certainly good. For example, officials will tell you to have an escape plan mapped out whenever you go to a public place. They’ll also tell you to be aware of your surroundings, and to report anything strange or seemingly out of the ordinary.

According to the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center, or ALERRT, in an active-shooter situation you should employ three rules… “avoid, deny and defend.”

The first rule is to avoid the attacker by creating that aforementioned escape plan, which also means moving away from the threat as quickly as possible. Next, you need to deny the shooter access to your location. That means taking measures such as putting up barriers to block doors, turning off the lights in a venue or taking hardened cover.

As for the third rule, defend, that’s where the real action and preparation need to take place.

Exclusive  Booking Big Option Gains, a New Mid-Cap Stock and Three Option Plays

According to Dr. Peter Blair, the executive director of ALERRT and a criminal justice professor at Texas State University, when it comes to defending against an attacker,

“Do not fight fairly. This is about survival.”

It is this last rule that I think nearly every person must be aware of, and must take on as a personal responsibility for themselves, their loved ones… and for the rest of society.

And while being psychologically and physically equipped to defend against an attack will vary along the spectrum of individuals, there are some things most of us can do to make sure we maximize our chances of surviving a violent encounter.

First, make sure you are as physically fit as you can be. Train to gain strength and maintain and increase muscle mass in the proper fashion by using high-intensity, progressive resistance exercise.

Eat a healthy diet, and ingest your social poisons (tobacco and alcohol) in a responsible and moderate manner.

Learn some self-defense skills. Here I am speaking about skills such as hand-to-hand combat, and particularly my preferred form of martial art, Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

The next step is to learn some defensive firearms skills from a reputable training organization staffed by professionals from either law enforcement or the military, and who emphasize safety first in their instruction philosophy.

My recommended training group is located in Los Angeles, Calif., and it is International Tactical Training Seminars, or ITTS.

The staff at ITTS is comprised of former and current Los Angeles Police Department S.W.A.T. instructors and team members. As a former member of the U.S. Army’s elite combat schools, I can personally attest to the skill and professionalism of the team at ITTS, as well as their first-rate training facility.

Exclusive  A Bright Spot in the Market's Bearish 2016

The photo here is me training at the ITTS facility, honing my own defensive firearms skills.

Hopefully, I will never have to use the knowledge and skills I’ve learned from ITTS in a live scenario. Yet I feel I have the obligation to do what’s necessary to maximize my chances of prevailing during a violent conflict, and to help my loved ones and my fellow citizens survive if the unthinkable happens.

Of course, all the preparation in the world can’t ensure you won’t become a victim of violence before you’re able to take any volitional action. That’s certainly the case with the horrific murders in Las Vegas.

Yet being prepared as well as you can be will help increase your odds of surviving an active-shooter situation, and other types of violent situations.

And, to bring it back around to investing, being prepared to take action in defense of your own money during a bear market or financial crisis is similar to being prepared to deal with a violent situation.

You may not avoid the negative consequences completely, but by being aware, prepared and ready to act, you will increase your odds of prevailing.

Upcoming Appearances

Dallas MoneyShow, Oct. 4-6: If you’re in the “Big D” in early October, then come by the Hyatt Regency Dallas and see me, as well as many other great industry speakers, at the Dallas MoneyShow. I will be giving a presentation on Friday, Oct. 6, 8:00 – 8:45 a.m., titled, “5 ETFs to Fight the Fake News.” For your complimentary tickets, go to Woods.DallasMoneyShow.com.

Orwell on Violence

Exclusive  A Fragrant Stock Pick

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

— George Orwell

The ugly truth about humans is that we are violent. To contain the darker angels of our nature, we must employ and codify the use of rational values, including respect for life as an end in itself. We also must employ the use of force in defense of those values, because there will always be those who seek to violate those rights — whether it’s in pursuit of material gain, political ends, religious ends or even seemingly inexplicable ends. The fact is we all must be vigilant protectors of our sovereignty, and we must not abdicate that responsibility.

Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my audio podcast, newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.

Like This Article?
Now Get Jim's FREE Special Report:
The Top 11 Dividend ETFs to
Buy Right Now

Get up to 5X the yields of traditional income plays.

Get Access to the Report, 100% FREE

previous article

Investment expert Jim Woods shares the details on this fund that tracks the S&P 500 on an equal-weight basis.


Dr. Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

Product Details


Bryan Perry

A former Wall Street financial advisor with three decades' experience, Bryan Perry focuses his efforts on high-yield income investing and quick-hitting options plays.

Product Details


Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker,
financial journalist, and money manager. As well as a book author and regular contributor to
numerous investment websites, Jim is the editor of:

Product Details


Bob Carlson

Bob Carlson provides independent, objective research covering all the financial issues of retirement and retirement planning. In addition, Bob serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fairfax County (VA) Employees’ Retirement System, which has over $2.8 billion in assets.

Product Details


Hilary Kramer

Hilary Kramer is an investment analyst and portfolio manager with 30 years of experience on Wall Street. Since 2010, Hilary's financial publications have provided stock analysis and investment advice to her subscribers:

Product Details



Used by financial advisors and individual investors all over the world, DividendInvestor.com is the premier provider and one-stop shop for dividend information and research.

Product Details

Popular tools include our proprietary Dividend Calendar, Dividend Calculator, Dividend Score Card, and many more.