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July 30, 2012

Homeland Security gives pointers on surviving shooting sprees



During the mayhem, Goddard said he adopted his own rules of survival: "Just don't do anything to let him know you're alive." He also threw his cell phone, which was emitting the voice of the 911 dispatcher, to avoid attracting any more of Cho's attention, Goddard said.

The booklet counsels to avoid "pointing, screaming and/or yelling" at police. If the possibility of death is imminent, though, try shouting at the attacker or throw items and improvise weapons to subdue him, according to the booklet.

In some cases, simply yelling at a shooter has disrupted the "loop" of the attacker's homicidal thinking, slowing down the attack, said Mark Lomax, executive director of National Tactical Officers Association, a Doylestown, Pa.-based law enforcement group.

The booklet makes no mention of whether employees or the public should use guns to cut down the attacker. That's because some of the companies that were the original audience for the booklet prohibited their employees from carrying guns while at work, LaRocca said.

Jacqueline Otto, a spokeswoman for The National Rifle Association, the Fairfax, Va.-based gun-rights lobby that has supported concealed-weapons statutes, declined to comment, citing sensitivity about "policy discussions" so soon after the Colorado rampage.

The best advice in the department's materials are the tips on recognizing potential shooters, said Siciliano, the security consultant: people who are suicidal and make comments about "putting things in order," talk of financial problems or have "empathy with individuals committing violence."

Goddard said expecting people to save themselves after a shooting begins isn't doing enough to protect the public.

"We got to do better than just something at the last second," he said.

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