There are no words

There are no words

There are no words

This one was too close to home…

Yesterday I received a call from my close friend who’s daughter is a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. SHE IS OK and managed to escape the massacre by scaling a fence and finding refuge in a local department store.

“She is OK.”

How “OK” can she be? As we watch her post pics of her friends that were killed today….there simply are no words. That any family, child or person for that matter should have to deal with this…there are no words.

The funerals…, how the hell does a community recover…

Did Columbine, Sandy Hook recover? Life goes on, but do they ever recover.

NO. It’s impossible.

And for every one of these horrific tragedies there are DOZENS that you don’t hear about that are stopped by good parents, teachers and law enforcement.

But it’s still NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

The loss of life and the aftermath…it’s just too much to bear.

We need to continue to put measures in place to prevent this. 

For that, I’m going to defer to the expert. Lt Col Dave Grossman who is crusading to put an end to this and it’s up to us – not just cops, not just teachers…BUT YOU to be a part of the solution.

I’ve been fortunate to attend a couple of Grossman’s training seminars, the following is his prevention plan.

Grossman’s Five D’s

Let’s contemplate the following outline and summary of Dave Grossman’s “Five D’s.” While you do, I encourage you to add in the comments area below your suggestions to address, and expand upon, these ideas.

1. Denial — Denial is the enemy and it has no survival value.

2. Deter — Put police officers in schools, because with just one officer assigned to a school, the probability of a mass murder in that school drops to almost zero.

3. Detect — We’re talking about plain old fashioned police work here. The ultimate achievement for law enforcement is the crime that didn’t happen, so giving teachers and administrators regular access to cops is paramount.

4. Delay — Various simple mechanisms can be used by teachers and cops to put time and distance between the killers and the kids.

a. Ensure that the school/classroom have just a single point of entry. Simply locking the back door helps create a hard target.
b. Conduct your active shooter drills within (and in partnership with) the schools in your city so teachers know how to respond, and know what it looks like when you do your response.

5. Destroy — Police officers and agencies should consider the following:

a. Carry off duty. No one would tell a firefighter who has a fire extinguisher in his trunk that he’s crazy or paranoid.
b. Equip every cop in America with a patrol rifle. One chief of police, upon getting rifles for all his officers once said, “If an active killer strikes in my town, the response time will be measured in feet per second.”
c. Put smoke grenades in the trunk of every cop car in America. Any infantryman who needs to attack across open terrain or perform a rescue under fire deploys a smoke grenade. A fire extinguisher will do a decent job in some cases, but a smoke grenade is designed to perform the function.
d. Have a “go-to-war bag” filled with lots of loaded magazines and supplies for tactical combat casualty care.
e. Use helicopters. Somewhere in your county you probably have one or more of the following: medevac, media, private, national guard, coast guard rotors.
f. Employ the crew-served, continuous-feed, weapon you already have available to you (a firehouse) by integrating the fire service into your active shooter training. It is virtually impossible for a killer to put well-placed shots on target while also being blasted with water at 300 pounds per square inch.
g. Armed citizens can help.  Think United 93. Whatever your personal take on gun control, it is all but certain that a killer set on killing is more likely to attack a target where the citizens are unarmed, rather than one where they are likely to encounter an armed citizen response.


People just don’t “SNAP”. All attacks are premeditated, planned and even talked about. The perpetrators also display certain types of behaviors that should raise concern if you see them displayed by family, friends and co-workers.

Below is a list of traits and behaviors from the study Mass Shooting in the US, Common Characteristics and Predictive Behaviors. Keep in mind, most killers displayed not just one of these traits, but several. And if you’re seeing multiple traits, it should be cause for concern.

Common behaviors and characteristics of mass shooters.

  1. Male (97%)
  2. Ages 15-19 and 35-44 years old (20-29 is the next highest range)
  3. Majority act alone (98%)
  4. Known Mental Health Issues, Depression (73%)
  5. Bullied (71%)
  6. Loner (10%)
  7. They are immersed in violent media, video games, music, movies, news. (59%)
  8. Expressed committing the act is journals, poems, drawings (37%)
  9. Plan, prepare and fantasize about the attack. (81% of the attackers intentions were known by others)
  10. Public Setting. (100%)
  11. Target places where they were or currently a student or employee (99%)
  12. Had access to weapons (100%)
  13. Incidents ended when law enforcement, security, or citizens intervened (100%)

Family members are always the first to witness this behavior. Truth be told, if you’re an attentive, aware parent…you’re going to notice something is wrong with your kid. 

Problem is..a lot of people are lazy, self-involved, morons have children. Crappy parents raise crappy people. No secret there. It’s rare that good people have bad kids – it happens, but as the old saying goes “Sheep don’t make goat.”

But you don’t even have to be a parent to do something…

You live in a community with schools, malls, offices and other public places.

What measures are in place to help prevent and respond? 

For starters, go to a board of ed or a council meeting. Sure, they’re boring and long but you need to suffer through a few to see what’s being done and if they’re not doing anything ASK (or bitch and moan).

For example…

After Sandy Hook we (me and a few others) had SAFE HAVEN come to the school and conduct a survey (it cost about 4K). Then over the course of a few years procedures were put in place and the school was fitted with ballistic protection and a security vestibule among other things. The police are also parked right in front during school hours, the chances of someone targeting the place now is next to nothing.

We also have active shooter drills on the regular and our cops are armed accordingly. I think most communities are up to speed on this by now.

Like all self defense – it’s just takes a little preparation for the WHAT IF, that’s it.

The chances of you getting shot with a glock on your way to work is still much higher, but all the training and preparation, increases awareness and confidence that decreases the chance of it happening to you.

I’m sick over this…I just needed to do something, and say something.

Hug your kids,





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Published by Damian (Instructor)

Founder, The Self Defense Company

Join the Conversation


  1. you can’t fix stupid or crazy. You can only prepare for the worst case and hope it never happens. Everyone is tired of seeing these things, in the end you have to advocate for your own safety. What form that takes depends primarily on your own attitude toward protecting your self, some think it will never happen to them other end of the spectrum they have fall out shelters. Somewhere in that range everyone falls, i personally train 6 hours a week to try to ensure my safety and the safety of my family again training for the worse case but hoping i never need to use it. A wise man once said “train hard” i would add you life may depend on it. Thank Damian, you have wise words and great advice.

  2. Surrounded by those who seem to almost enjoy blissfully swimming in Denial.
    Why so many school shootings now and not 20-30+ yrs ago?
    What has changed?
    Society as a whole I feel. Too politically correct for their own good. Everyone needs to constitutionally carry a handgun if they are able or a rifle in their vehicle, if there is time to reach it. Instead of banning guns from us good people and leaving them in the hands of those who could give f#$% one about any law, allow the potential criminal to have fun guessing who is armed around them. Makes for a nicer community.
    Sure, it would be nice to live in an Utopian America and surely that is what many believe can take place at the removal of firearms, which is actually moronic. Surely i am all over the place here with my response to this catastrophe so I’ll stop rambling and wish Peace and God’s Loving embrace around all involved.

    1. Hey Jim – totally understandable. The fact that events like these are “common place” is insane to me and we can’t let ourselves get used to it. We still need to be outrage when it happens.

      You touched on a couple of points. Schools have done such a good job of protecting our kids from violence that they no longer know how to deal with it. Zero tolerance anti-bullying has made standing up for yourself a crime.

      Now adults, kids lack the interpersonal skills to resolve conflict and stand up for themselves….and it’s starting to show.

      Add to that the instant recognition on social media and there’s no difference between famous and infamous. It used to be you needed a talent to get noticed and that required a gift, hard work and luck to be recognized. Now, it seems all you need to do is light your dick on fire, and you’re going viral.

      The pendulum needs to swing back to normalize, but I’m afraid we may wind up legislating ourselves into oblivion.

      I don’t know, our kids are dealing with stuff we never imagined. Too much information, instant recognition (or lack thereof) comes fast and furious. We need to figure this out and adapt.

    1. Thanks for posting Larry and I respectfully disagree regarding the solution.

      I will agree that there are no guarantees in any of this, it’s risk management. From your quote, you really don’t know where or what the police presence was or how the shooter breached the school.

      Typically you want to protect large population centers. After all they’re looking for body count and it’s tougher to get outdoors. Inside where people bunch up is preferred. This is also why they pull the fire alarms.

      If you have one way in and that’s through some bulletproof glass and a guy with a gun. They’re going to try another way in. But if someone props a door open and it goes undetected all bets are off. Your force can’t be in two places at once.

      We’re never…ever going to be 100% – impossible, but you can continue to take measures to decrease the likelihood.

      1. Larry does make a point, even if indirectly. Even if Police ARE present, they are still human beings and not “Magic Robots” that are all-knowing and everywhere at once. Particularly if it is a current or former student or employee — as mentioned in the Article — they will KNOW where the officer is most of the time, or how and when they ‘walk the halls’ or when they take lunch, and so on…and very well may TARGET the Officer as the first take-down! So Officers need to Never have a “Pattern” or routine procedure or ‘hangout’..!! Also, even though I hate that we now seem to have cameras ‘everywhere’…I think electronic surveillance that is MONITORED can be VITAL! Use cameras that are not OBVIOUS so that an attacker {even a student or employee} doesn’t know they are watching. A few visible ones can be a deterrent in some areas, and make people think those are the only ones, but some hidden or disguised ones that can see out from the perimeter can show approaching danger — as well as ‘gang activity’ or drug sales and such. But a key point will be high placement and remotely rotatable and zoom. And ALWAYS be monitoring! {Maybe mount them on the A/C units on the roof, for example, in some kind of ‘disguised casement’ that no one would think of as anything more that part of the equipment.}

        1. Thanks for posting Floyd, great stuff.

          You should check out this report:

          Well, it is EXTREMELY RARE because I can’t think of one instance where a shooter confronted an armed guard or a cop to gain access to the school.

          Typically you have armed guards at every entrance point.

          The killer is going to look for ways around them. They want a body count.

          Like I said, there is NO FOOL PROOF PLAN and a properly motivated killer is going to find a way if he has to…especially if he doesn’t care about his own life.

          Do I think training and arming teachers and staff is part of the solution…YES I DO.

          You can make it voluntary, with annual training and give them a bonus for doing it. Have them go to the local academy and qualify every year, just like the police. The system is there.

      2. Thanks for the civil discourse and the opportunity to express an opinion, Damian. I appreciate the forum and the valuable information your sharing.

        In response… I whole-heartedly agree- you really don’t know where or what the police presence was or how the shooter breached the school. I cited the news report because it’s at odds with Grossman’s #2 point.

        2. Deter — Put police officers in schools, because with just one officer assigned to a school, the probability of a mass murder in that school drops to almost zero.

        Either this incident was statistically an outlier (probability close to zero) or the premise is flawed. If we assume this wasn’t an outlier, making a blanket statement such as #2 without taking into account details of the situation (where or what the police presence is or how the shooter might breach a school) is questionable and misleading.

        I also agree that there are no 100% fool proof means to avoiding these types of tragedies. Like you say, it is risk management, and training, preparation, and taking action will help manage the risk. This horrific act obviously struck a chord with you as evidenced by your heart felt “There are no words” post. I would just submit that another point conspicuously missing from the prevention side of the equation, is examining the supply side i.e. Why was this individual able to obtain this weapon. Obviously, I understand this is a hot button issue. But if we really are committed to taking an honest look at putting measures in place to prevent horrible acts such as these, I think it’s reasonable to discuss whether buying an AR 15 should be easier than buying a handgun as reported here:

    2. Thanks again Larry – if we all agree with each other 100% of the time…someone here is a moron.

      It think to Grossman’s point…just put an armed guard in the school, it decreases the chances dramatically based on the information we have regarding all mass shootings.

      In this case I know it’s a large campus so it might have been improperly protected.

      But to speak to your last point I totally agree regarding gun control ( yes, I realize I’m a moron based on my prior statement).

      I agree, some weapons are just too easy to get and an AR should not be treated the same as a shotgun or a hunting rifle. It should at least have the same restrictions as a handgun.

      But I want to talk about the repercussions of this kids posting that he wanted to be a professional school shooter on youtube. I don’t know the timeline, but I know I’m in a database as a gun owner.

      There should be some type of penalty when you make these statements as a gun owner. It just can’t be dismissed.

      This literally just happened in Nutley NJ TODAY..

      16 year old kid makes a video of him at the range with an AR, then he’s outside his school with a firearm all the while the song “PUMPED UP KICKS” is playing. If you don’t know it, it’s about shooting up a school

      So the kids is taken into custody and released saying that he is NO IMMEDIATE THREAT.

      This is one I’m going to watch closely because where are the parent responsibilities in this?

      What I would like to happen is:

      Parents face criminal negligence charges and lose the privilege of gun ownership.
      The kid is placed into counseling and loses all gun ownership privileges for life.
      Kid has to do community service in something related to gun violence victims.

      Look, the warning signs are ALWAYS there – we need to take them more seriously earlier and we need to punish people for poor judgement.

      Here’s the article.

  3. As a bodyguard/security professional, and gun owning hillbilly (experienced hunter, etc.) and high ranking black belt in 5 martial arts… the single most efficient thing ANY individual can do–and the best thing to keep them safe- is AWARENESS. Far too many people- even trained professionals, get too distracted at “the same old thing” every day and lose focus on their surroundings. Simple awareness is the one thing criminals will tell you they look for LACK of in their victims- the person with the head down or listening to headphones while walking or working- etc. Complacency will get you KILLED the fastest. IF you LOOK like you are paying attention and know your surroundings, the chance of attack on you is greatly reduced!! Secondly- HONDURAS as a population of 8.2 million, BANS citizens from owning guns, and has the HIGHEST homicide rate in the WORLD– but SWITZERLAND has a population of 8.2 million, and REQUIRES its citizens to own and know how to use gun- and has the LOWEST homicide rate in the world. Simple preparedness, and awareness together and that country is SAFER than most all others- period. The biggest problem in this country- is LIBERALISM- that causes the stupidity that produces these morons– psychology for murdering criminals instead of HANGING them immediately, etc. Well, that’s my take..

  4. My comment is this. All of your stuffis great and inspirational to us all BUT maybe a more sympathetic approach to this situation may be more appropriate. Badass is ok but so is empathy

    1. John, I can only ask… Empathy for WHOM..? The people who go out an PLAN how to hurt and MURDER totally innocent people… or the VICTIMS and potential VICTIMS of their insanity.??!!
      Do you have empathy and “feel sorry” for the kid that shot up Sandy Hook .. because he had problems getting along with his Mom and had violent behavior history and no one Locked him AWAY from the public..? Or for the school Students and Faculty that DIED or were wounded and will have Life-Long scares, physically and emotionally, because of that person’s behavior..?
      If someone is cold and hungry and is looking for a warm place and a meal…I have empathy for them! And I will try to Help Them if I can identify them… but if they break into MY HOME “Their problems will be over” because they won’t NEED food and shelter any longer! They will either be DEAD of in Jail at a place with medical care. WHATEVER caused them to pick my home no longer matters… I put MY Life and MY Family FIRST! And we need to do the SAME for our Schools and places of employment…and even walking down the sidewalk!

  5. After all the hot air burns off, we only have another senseless mass murder. When America wakes up to add just a little self-defense training to every classroom guardian (the teacher), we will see these gutless bullies stop attacking the innocents; because they will no longer be helpless. Love without backbone is a cream puff – to be consumed or squashed.

  6. When someone is DETERMINED to kill and maim, we must be MORE DETERMINED to PROTECT and to STOP them by any means necessary! Psychopathic and sadistic personality types lack the capacity for empathy, and are driven to repeated violence by unquenchable dark desires. Empathy will also not save you if targeted by a paranoid delusional individual (unlike often portrayed by the media, many other types of mental challenges do not usually pose risk of significant harm to others). Psychiatrists and psychologists are well known for their empathy and yet, some have been murdered by such patients. Many terrorists have rigid, uncompromising, deeply routed beliefs that call them to commit despicable violence even at risk of their own demise. Rageful intoxicated persons, under the influence of mind altering agents who are bent on violence, can not be stopped by empathy. Empathy is a wonderful human trait that enriches relationships, but dangerous and worthless to try to STOP any of the above noted individuals! Gun restrictions, police, no gun zones, mental health laws, PC school policies, “turning the other cheek”, misplaced hope, and empathy WILL NOT KEEP US SAFE! –SURVIVAL depends on ACKNOWLEDGING that serious dangers EXIST, and REQUIRES TRAINING on SITUATIONAL AWARENESS, SAFETY POSITIONING, PROPER PLANNING, AND AVOIDANCE when possible, but also DECISIVE TACTICAL SKILLS if no other option is available. I continue to stake my life and safety of my loved ones on the SDTS! Great discussion Damian!

    1. “Empathy will also not save you if targeted by a paranoid delusional individual.”

      Excellent Jerry.

      I’m pretty sure everyone here feels empathy, but that empathy should compel someone to ACTION.

      Empathy by itself or even for the sake of understanding is USELESS.

      This is why I can do without the candlelight vigil…unless it’s followed with TRAINING.

      It’s important to mourn and remember – but then there needs to be ACTION or the tragic loss of life is wasted.

      Training and preparation helps the healing process. It turns frustration and helplessness into strength and empowerment. Many times I’ve seen victims deal with their PTSD with training and preparation…I also know that’s something you know a little about (and I don’t so I’m going to shut up here).

  7. More important points Damian about a heart-breaking subject that yet needs our honest and realistic understanding for those of us invested in personal safety! The media is full of tons of crap and so called experts with mouths full of the same! “…empathy should compel someone to ACTION.” ABSOLUTELY!!! AND, empathy starts with us! If we do not value and respectful ourselves and loved ones, deny the existence of evil actors, turn the other cheek, then we fail to protect what is most dear, so fragile, and precious to us, and are at the “mercy of the merciless!! Not for me if I can help it! I appreciate all the good comments made here, and thanks Damian for giving all of us a voice so we can learn from each other!

    1. One of my favorite books is GATES OF FIRE by Pressfield. In it he points out that the opposite of FEAR is LOVE.

      Why do soldiers REALLY fight? It’s for the love of the guy next to them.

      Not for glory, not for political reasons…it’s for the solder on your left and your right.

      Why do we do this?

      Love of family, love of friends…

      Deep down I feel this is what’s missing from people’s lives: BROTHERHOOD (or sisterhood).

      It’s knowing that the person next to you is invested in the task as much or more than you.

      I’m not religious and I’m definitely not known to quote the bible, in fact the only verse I know is:

      John 15:13: Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

      That is really who I am.

      It’s why I do this, it’s why I still coach and volunteer on the fire department.

      Without it, I really see no point.

  8. First, when you take God out of a nation and promote through hollywood every perverse thing, this is what you get. Those who would choose to ban guns, basically dont need them for protection they have access to bodyguards ect. You have liberal actors who portray killers in movies, use guns, shoot people but actively come out against weapons. I agree with the article we need to be more vigilant, teach more, prepare more. Instead of giving billions to countries that hate us, we could use that money to make every school a safe zone.

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