Surviving an Active Shooter or Terrorist

By Cranford Blackmon

On Sunday night, October 1st 2017 at the Route 91 Harvest Festival near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas Nevada, thousands of people were having a wonderful time.  And then the unthinkable happened. 64-year-old Stephen Paddock began shooting into the crowd of attendees with an automatic rifle.  But Paddock wasn’t part of the crowd. He wasn’t even near the crowd.  Instead, he was shooting into the crowd from his room on the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel. 

At that distance, he wouldn’t have even been able to pick out specific targets, not using an automatic rifle anyway.  Apparently, his goal was to cause horror, pain, and death to complete strangers, and to as many of them as possible.  He succeeded.  At the time of this writing, 58 are confirmed dead and over 500 injured.

My heart goes out to all the victims and the family members of the victims.  But it also goes out to all the other attendees and their families.  Even those who weren’t physically injured will likely endure psychological and emotional pain for some time. 

My daughter lives in Las Vegas.  After hearing about the shooting, I attempted to contact her, as any dad would.  But I couldn’t reach her.  After several attempts, and several stressful hours of wondering, I did reach her.  She wasn’t at the event! I was so relieved and thankful.

Responding to Terrorism in America

This “attacking groups of unsuspecting innocents” is now becoming far too commonplace in America.  And, for me anyway, the reason is immaterial.  There can be NO reason for such violence.  And, sadly, I’m convinced that it will only continue.

I teach programs focused on safety, including a very effective form of guerilla type self-defense for women and men.  It’s not pretty, fancy, or difficult to learn, but it is extremely effective.  Many of the people who come to me want to jump right into my self-defense program.  But I usually try to dissuade them.

I don’t want to turn them off of being effective at fighting off an attacker or stopping a kidnapper.  On the contrary, I teach what may be one of the most effective safety programs in the country for people whose lives are about to be ended or forever scarred by a criminal or terrorist.

What I DO want is for every client of mine to learn what should happen BEFORE they ever need self-defense skills.  I want them to learn to avoid trouble and to escape and survive trouble if it can’t be avoided.  But usually, the women and men who want to learn to “fight” can’t see the benefit of a course on avoid, escape, and survive.

The Self-defense Lesson

This terrible attack in Las Vegas and the other attacks on innocent groups of people are EXACTLY why I teach and promote learning avoidance and escape above “self-defense.”  There are no self-defense techniques a person on the ground can use against a shooter on the 32nd floor of a hotel.  There are no martial arts moves that can be used against a car being driven through a crowd.  There are no military hand-to-hand tactics that can be used against a bomb blast, a deadly storm, or even a house fire.  But you CAN learn to avoid those things.  You CAN learn to escape and survive those situations. 

Simple Ways to Survive

“Cover & concealment” are concepts usually reserved for military or law enforcement personnel.  They are not difficult to understand.  But if they were common knowledge, if those kinds of “stay alive” concepts were known by the general public, the numbers of dead and injured coming out of terrible events like the one in Las Vegas would likely be FAR less!

Learning to protect yourself includes MUCH more than learning to fight in self-defense.  It is far more likely that you can escape death or serious injury by AVOIDING and ESCAPING danger rather than taking it head on.  Leave that to the action heroes of Hollywood.  The way YOU become a hero is by making it home alive to your family or by helping your family escape a terrible situation. You CAN do that!

The Problem with Learning to be SAFE

The problem is that it’s not as exciting or sexy as martial arts.  The classes are not hyped up testosterone festivals of aggressive activity.  They are calm, easy-to-understand, and simple enough for anyone to grasp.  And that kind of program doesn’t make the news. 

Almost without exception, when people hear about what my wife and I teach, whether we are being interviewed on the radio, TV, or being asked in a social situation, people only want to see a self-defense technique demonstration.  They don’t to seem understand why we try to steer them away from such things and back to simply learning to stay safe in the first place. 

If you would like to learn more about the much simpler and easier art of avoiding and escaping danger, go to our website and get on our mailing list.  We offer free articles covering MANY ways of protecting yourself and your family.  And not only that, but in order to bring our “staying safe” courses to other parts of America (and the world) we are working on online versions of our training.  As soon as the first online course is ready (there will be several), we will be sending out information and invitations to that email list.  We hope you will be ready and willing to learn these life-saving skills.

Our website is and our Facebook page is  There’s plenty to see and learn on both sites.  Take advantage of the material you find and share it with your friends and family.  It just might save your life.

Stay safe and stay strong,

Cranford Blackmon



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