Colo. massacre: A dark night indeed
So much has been written about the event. I was called, emailed, asked, what should people have done? What would you have done?
This isn’t the first time I’ve been in this position.
On December 6, 1989, Montreal made international news when Marc Lepine waltzed into the University of Montreal and shot twenty-eight people before killing himself. I was on the news that very afternoon and had a panicked and sensationalistic reporter ask me what people should have done? What I would’ve done?
My answer changed the conversation (and my future appearances on that station).
I paused and calmly said, “How dare you ask that? How could anyone have a secret move, a technique, a plan for that? How could you ask me to ‘armchair quarterback’ this horror?”
There was an awkward pause and very uncomfortable silence. I proceeded to explain that the only thing ‘we’ can do is cultivate a relationship with instinct and intuition and to embrace an obvious ‘holy shit’ moment and somehow act decisively on it: engage or disengage.
“The Cobra seeks to fix the eye of the bird, and in that moment of looking, predator and prey decide their own fate. The victim creates their destiny.”
Why did Dave Thompson and John Alfred Klang move towards the danger and wrestle the gun from Eric Hainstock in the Weston High School Shooting? They weren’t Ninjas! They weren’t the police! What made them risk everything?
What made gym coach Jon Lane, volunteer as the hostage and take down Barry Dale Loukaitis in the Frontier School shooting?
After the attack in Aurora, I was fired up, ready to write. I wanted to talk about my favorite emotional fuel: indignation. I wanted to write about and share 30 years of coaching and scenario-based training!
But I was overwhelmed…with my 30 years of coaching.
Fact: No one can plan for or predict how they will react in an ‘incongruent ambush.’
What is an incongruent ambush you ask? It’s like a non sequitur in a conversation — your brain’s reticular cortex is trapped like a deer in the headlights as your intuitive abstraction skills try to connect the dots. The delay is profound &and obvious...
A congruent ambush is just that — congruent. It makes sense. It is what smart fighters are supposed to do...you’re in dangerous places looking for dangerous people and you are ‘on point.’
You’re a sentry, security guard, police officer, soldier — you’re hunting and your radar is tuned to the ‘what’s wrong with this picture’ channel. When shit happens, you’ve [hopefully] rehearsed the scenario and your pre-contact cue awareness assists in a decreased reaction time and you engage the threat as prescribed [well that's how it's explained during courses].
The Colorado scenario was an incongruent ambush.
And the answerers to that aren’t as simple as some many experts portray.
One of my most experienced coaches wrote a very emotional and personal blog about the Colorado incident. I want to share it with you because it sums up everything I could and would want to write. It made me proud to read it, in many ways it’s better than anything I could’ve written, it’s a great example of how transferable our message is regardless of one’s background or experience and reading it will change you.
Here’s the link. Please give it a good read, as if your life might depend on it one day.
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