An Unintended Reflection on Active Shooter Training

The mantra of Active Shooter Training – Run Hide Fight

[I started this post two days before the events in El Paso, Dayton, and a number of other mass shootings that were apparently not as shocking to the media. I pray earnestly for all involved.]

Before El Paso, I had started to write about something that I am grateful for… I think. It is also something I never dreamed I would ever have to train for. I am referring to “Active Shooter Training” and its mantra of “Run – Hide – Fight.” I live in a relatively large institution adjacent to Mary’s Central Shrine. We were asked to participate in preparation for the unthinkable… an active shooter situation… When I say “we,” it meant not only everyone who lives here and works here whether on day shift or night. It also includes vendors who regularly visit the premises.

The training had been worked out in conjunction with local police and security consultants. It was thorough, informative and… hopefully, never have to be put in action. But I am certain most of the people in El Paso never thought it could happen to them.

An unintended reflection on run hide and fight.

There was an unintended by-product I never saw coming until a few days after the active shooter training. I was speaking with Fr. Tom Mckenna, a regular contributor to this site. He had just completed his active shooter training. I jokingly said he might be able to come up with a reflection based on the mantra of run, hide, fight. The words were hardly out of my mouth when I realized I heard the words transposed into another key. Run, hide, and fight – what a metaphor for our resistance to God! My mind began reflecting on my own relationship with God and the times I resisted God!

Illustrations of how we run, hide, and fight God

Hound of Heaven

I FLED Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways of my own mind; and in the mist of tears I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped; And shot, precipitated, Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase, And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, They beat—and a Voice beat More instant than the Feet—
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’

Complete text.

Adam and Eve in Garden
When they heard the sound of the LORD God walking about in the garden at the breezy time of the day,* the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.d9The LORD God then called to the man and asked him: Where are you?10He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.” (Genesis 3:8)

Peter refusing to have his feet washed.
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” John 13:8

Running, hiding and fighting God.

  • When have I run and hid from God in my life?
  • When did I refuse to think God could love me?
  • When did I think I had to or could earn God’s love?

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