How To Identify A Presumptive Shooter

Shooter

Actual shooting scenarios are nothing like what you see on TV or in the movies.

In most cases, the shooter will be known to you, or perhaps know you better than you realize. Burglars, stalkers, and even serial killers may be in the background for months on end before they strike.

Many times, there will be warning signs weeks, or even months before the shooting. If someone would read them signs, innocent lives would be saved. Think about the mass shootings where one or more people dedicate themselves to killing and destruction!

Every second counts, and if you want to survive, you need to identify the killer before the shooting happens. Read this article to know how to do it!

How Do I Know It’s a Shooter?

Contrary to popular belief and erroneous stereotypes, clothing style, gun ownership, ethnic background, age, or religious affiliation are not necessarily good indicators that someone will become an active shooter.

If you can always bear in mind that almost every criminal or terror based shooting is pre-planned, then it becomes much easier to spot the following signs (PAINS – Pre-Attack IndicatorS) in people around you, in different stages of their acting.

Fantasy Stage

Many shooters start off with a violent fantasy based in revenge or something else that evokes strong feelings. These individuals may use violent computer games, novels (example school shooters that got their start reading gun grabber Stephen King’s novel “Rage”), or even apps with subliminal messages that encourage more robust or increasingly graphic fantasies.

There is a subtle, but discernible difference between someone that keeps these thoughts in the realm of pure fantasy and someone that develops a sincere wish to be at the center of such horrific acts.

In general, if you talk to people in this stage of progression, you may feel very uncomfortable when they talk about violent movies, or you may even find that they have made drawings or created lists of actions to enable them to become an active shooter.

Even though you may still believe the person is harmless, they are beginning on a slippery slope and may need psychiatric care.

The Decision and Active Planning

At some point, the prospective active shooter will make a decision to move from fantasy to tangible reality.

This stage may involve more serious planning such as figuring out which weapons to use, obtaining plans for building bombs, or finding ways to train for their “big day”.

Individuals in the planning stage may also begin talking more actively about their beliefs, and perhaps even seek to draw others into their increasingly sick and chaotic world.

They will also seek out “heroic” figures that match some aspect of their ideology.

Acquiring Weapons

The next stage is an escalation and outgrowth of the previous stage. During this phase, the potential shooter will actively begin to acquire weapons, build bombs, and increase training intensity.

They may no longer be interested in activities that would pull their attention away from preparing to become an active shooter.

It is thought that this stage is the easiest to spot because the person is actively amassing weapons and building things needed for the main event.

That being said, any one of these prospective shooters is just a movie or subliminal app away from adding ways to hide weapons caches or even indoctrinate others so that the element of surprise is preserved.

It should also be noted that gun control is like the emperor with no clothes because those who intend to do harm will simply look for other weapons or seek other means.

Countdown

At some point, the individual will decide that they are done preparing, and that there is nothing left but to carry out their plans.

This stage may also include leaving behind a will, putting up public warnings about their intentions, giving away valued possessions, and otherwise preparing for death.

No matter whether they drive to the location, walk, or ride a bike, it will be up to random observers to notice unusual activity and report it to the police.

From there, it is truly anybody’s guess as to whether or not the event will be halted or go through as planned.

Active Shooting

Once the individual reaches his/her chosen location, the shooting sequence will go forward pretty much as planned until someone with a gun stops them.

Despite what gun grabbers try to say, it is only armed citizens at the scene that can stop an active shooter before one or more lives is taken.

Without armed citizens at the scene, the active shooter will simply kill as many people as possible until the police get there.

A well-organized shooter working with others may even move to blockade roads, use drones, or take other steps to prevent police, or even the military from responding.

Active shooting

Other Symptoms to Look For

  • Threat of harm to self or others. This may also include a history of violence or insensitivity to humans or animals. There may also be an increased interest in watching violence, an interest in violent actions, and looking to violent role models. In later stages, the person may indicate that they feel they will not survive their agenda.
  • A sudden interest in firearms, bombs, or other items that may be used as part of killing others. Gun grabbers focus almost exclusively on gun ownership as a “warning sign” even though millions of gun owners have never gone on a shooting spree let alone attempted a suicide bombing.

The key here is that the vast majority of people that make up the US gun culture are honest, law abiding people that come from all walks of life.

These people take great pride in their weapons and seek to defend themselves and others against a range of risks. By all accounts, if an “interest in guns” was a true litmus test for increased risk, the number of active shooting scenarios would be much higher than it is.

As the records stands, the vast majority of shootings in the United States are either self-inflicted suicide or shooting at a criminal.

That being said, if someone shows a sudden interest in learning how to make bombs or other explosive devices, it might be a reliable indicator of risk because this behavior is not normal and is not part of any legitimate culture.

  • Decline in work or academic performance, and also decreased social interactions with friends and family. In place of usual contacts, the individual may focus more on radical ideas that encourage violence.
  • Beginning or increasing use of drugs.
  • Personality, mood, hygiene, and social changes.

What Should We Do?

Most resources will say that you should report these signs immediately to the police, work supervisors, or others that may be able to redirect the person or help them choose a different path.

While this is good advice, do not forget we are living in a society where supervisors may not agree with your assessment and the police may not be able to get involved for one reason or another, or might arrive too late to stop the shooting.

At the same time, you may be living in a community or forced to work in a location where you cannot carry a gun. But you still need to defend yourself, so you could find an alternate mean of protection. There are a lot of article on our website about self-defense, but the answer depends pretty much on your ability to act and the skills you have trained for survival.

Click the banner below and get your own self-defense tactical flashlight you can carry no matter where you go!

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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References: 

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28300-how-to-spot-the-warning-signs-and-prevent-mass-shootings/

http://www.campussecurityreport.com/m-article-detail/educate-members-of-the-public-about-how-to-spot-report-potentially-dangerous-individuals.aspx

Written by

Fred Tyrrell is an Eagle Scout and retired police officer that loves to hunt, fish, hike, and camp with good friends and family. He is also a champion marksman (rifle, pistol, shotgun) and has direct experience with all of the major gun brands and their clones. Fred refers to himself as a "southern gentleman" - the last of a dying way. He believes a man's word is his bond, and looks forward to teaching others what he has learned over the years. You can send Fred a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

Latest comments
  • Run, Hide, Fight, is something that I personally find morally reprehensible to ME.
    I will always fight in any active shooter situation, the other two “options”, could easily get me wounded , paralyzed or killed.
    I would MUCH rather be fired from my present employment for having a loaded concealed firearm ON my person, and using it in defense of my,life, than be subject to any active shooter. Yes, it’s a decision I can easily live with.

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