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Is Canada scamming immigrants by importing professionals while not respecting their experience or providing a job?
Let me tell you my story. I have been a proud Canadian citizen since I was 12 years old. I love this country more than you can ever imagine. Yet my life/experiences have put me in an unenviable position, where I know exactly what you mean by this question.I was born in Qatar, although I am not a citizen. I came to Montreal when I was 8 years old, on December 1995. I spent several years growing up in Montreal, I went to school at l’école secondaire Dorval-jean-xxiii and L’école secondaire des Sources. I fell in love with this place and everything about it. I always say, if it were ever up to me, I would have lived and stayed here for the rest of my life. But life does not always give us what we want. I had to leave at age 13 to live with my father, who put tremendous effort into affording my education at the Doha College, a British school in Qatar so I could come back here one day. Perhaps one of the best schools I had ever had the privilege of going to around the world.Unfortunately, I was unable to return to Canada to pursue undergraduate/graduate education. Indeed, I was accepted at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) back in 2004, but I was unable to go. Reasons mainly included finances, family situation/status and several others. I still remember my father walking into my room in 2005 with MUN’s re-acceptance offer. Seeing how much I wanted to go and my state at the time, he actually contacted the university’s admissions office to keep my spot for a year so I can go later when it may be possible/feasible. Of course I refused, since it would have cost us an arm and a leg to go there, metaphorically speaking of course. You might ask why couldn’t I apply for a student loan, well, I was not a resident in any Canadian province then (since I was residing in Qatar) hence I was not eligible, at least for student loans with affordable interest rates that I knew of at the time. I found myself in a position where my only choice would be to go to Cairo University-Egypt to obtain my medical degree, since I am also an Egyptian citizen and hence my education there would be free. This was the most difficult decision I ever took in my life, I do not wish it upon any 17 year old. Since prior to this point, I had never actually “lived” in Egypt for more than 1-2 months at any given time and I didn’t really think or feel like I would “belong” per sae. Nevertheless, it was an amazing experience which opened me up both culturally and intellectually. I also made friendships from across the world which will last me a full lifetime. If I could ever go back, in light of my circumstances back then, I still think it was my only feasible option.I graduated from Cairo University-faculty of medicine on January 24th 2011, one day before the first Egyptian revolution. I travelled to Canada on the 28th of January 2011, which was/is referred to as the “Friday of Rage” since it marks the point during which the revolution turned violent. I was lucky, since my ticket was booked several months earlier and the following day airports were closed. However, once things settled down, I decided I needed to go back to Egypt to complete my medical internship. Without my internship, I cannot receive or be awarded my graduation certificate (medical school in Cairo is 6 years + 1 year of medical internship/practice). While I know friends who decided to stay in Canada during this period, I also know other Canadian/Egyptians who went back to practice during this time since they felt like they had an exceptional responsibility on their shoulders. Given our sense of duty, love and commitment to medicine, we decided to go back to Egypt to practice during this difficult time. I felt like this was something I had to do, otherwise, I would regret not doing it for the rest of my life. I tell you this to simply point out what practicing this profession represents to me.I also did 4 months of externship during my internship year in Northern Ontario School of Medicine (OB/GYN) and in Tufts-Brockton hospital (Boston, USA-Psychiatry and Gastro) since I knew how important North American clinical experience would be for the start of my prospective career as a medical resident in Canada. I finally returned back to Canada on April 28th 2012. I had everything one would need; on a professional level, my career was ahead of me. On a personal level, I was in a happy relationship and I was finally back home. My whole life was ahead of me back then, I often think to myself about how it actually “felt” to look forward to something. I stopped looking forward to anything for nearly a year now. It was a different time, a time when I was happy, motivated, filled with passion and optimism towards my future.Things were still not easy though, I was living in a small apartment in Scarborough Ontario. I sold my car, and all my belongings in Egypt before returning to Canada since I was never planning on leaving again. I finally had a “full time/permanent” home where I could grow and equally contribute to society and medicine. With limited finances, I worked exceptionally hard to pass the Canadian equivalence exams in the first take since I could not really afford to take exams twice. I actually completed my first Canadian equivalence exam, the MCCEE during my internship in Egypt. I still remember sitting at the back of an ambulance doing a cross country campaign in Egypt to collect blood for the hospital I worked in during the aftermath of the first revolution while I studied Obstetrics less than 3 weeks before my exam. I eventually completed all required exams (MCCEE, MCCQE1 and NAC-OSCE) within 18 months (2012-2013). Unfortunately, I was unable to match to a residency in Canada (applied first to Psychiatry, then tried family medicine as well), nor was I able to go back to Egypt to pursue or commence a residency during the 2013 revolution given the escalating political situation back then and my Coptic identity (http://carnegieendowment.org/2013/11/14/violence-against-copts-in-egypt-pub-53606).I did not give up, I moved to Montreal and completed a master’s degree of science in clinical psychiatry (McGill University) on resistant depression and the use of mood stabilizers and atypical antipsychotics for augmentation therapy. I ended up writing my thesis on 78 patients, most of which I had been following during my time there. I also used to do patients assessments at the mood disorder clinic whenever second year residents were unavailable; under direct supervision much like any resident. I can even tell you that my evaluation/assessment notes were well recognised by my supervisors as being exceptionally well written, I was really adamant about learning as much as possible about psychiatry. I also gained a tremendous amount of clinical and research experience in bipolar disorders, major depression, substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, and the use of rTMS, biomarkers and endocannabinoids (2013-2016). I even rotated in the psychiatry emergency unit during my free time on night shifts. Yet, this was not enough and I still didn’t match. Ironically enough, a few weeks after my rejection, my master’s thesis gained recognition at the American Psychiatric Association (APA-2016) in Atlanta-USA and was hosted on Medscape-WebMD (till present date) as part of a report on novel forms of psychopharmacology in resistant depression under “Key Issues in Depression: Highlights from APA 2016”, Continued Medical Education (CME).Fortunately though, I still didn’t give up! I landed a clinical postdoctoral fellowship at Université de Montreal (since 2016) in addiction, where I wrote part of the first pan-Canadian research protocol for the current Canadian opioid crisis and I used to see patients on a daily basis who were started on methadone or suboxone treatments in our clinic. I can tell you that in this study and in capacity of post-doc, I recruited the first patient in Canada who received treatment the following day. I also trained first year residents on using SCID and MINI for psychiatric diagnoses and patient encounters. Since then, I also learnt how to speak French again by taking evening bi-weekly 3 hour courses after work for nearly a year, and I published over 8 clinical scientific papers in high impact journals since 2015. I also received multiple awards from both the Canadian and American Psychiatric Association (CPA and APA). Last award was from the APA in 2018, where I received the research colloquium award for young investigators, an award offered to 52 scientific researchers in psychiatry chosen from the world every year (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3785098/). I was the only awardee from Quebec/Canada; one of 7 Canadian awardees and the only one who was still not a resident in the entire event, apart from a last year medical student from the US. I even received resident-fellow membership status in 2018 from the APA because of this award, which I originally received because of my work in Canada. Just last week, I also became a peer reviewer for a journal with an above average impact factor (IF: 2.6, average IF in psychiatry=2.0; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618825/). Essentially, everything I know about psychiatry is self-thought, mainly through experience at both McGill and Université de Montreal, the two most prominent Anglophone and Francophone Canadian institutes.Since my return in 2012, I have done over 10 interviews in psychiatry spanning all the way from British Columbia to Montreal, in both French and English Canadian institutes. Some were good, some were bad, a few were exceptionally good, but eventually you learn the hard way that it just doesn’t matter. No one really cares about what you have done or achieved so far, or your actual CV. This is the sad reality of the present system. I can even tell you that I went as far as trying to apply to medical schools in Canada in 2016. Queens for instance, seemed appealing to me since I wrote a recommendation letter for a science student during my time at McGill who was accepted into their medical school program. I did not needed an MCAT, and my cumulative GPA in pre-med + med school in Egypt was 3.8 (according to World education Services, Ontario) which was within/close to the required range. Yet, I was told that they do not accept applications from individuals who have already completed their medical education at accredited institutes. Well, if my undergraduate degree is from an accredited institute, why do you not treat it as one even after I present you with everything you need and much more? I can tell you that I even tried applying to the Medical Officer Training Program for Unmatched Students (MOTP Surge 2018) only for my application to be denied since it was only open to Canadian medical graduates (decision taken by the Canadian institutes offering these positions). By the same logic of having worked in Egypt during the revolution, I was genuinely passionate about the possibility of working for the Canadian armed forces anywhere, given that I essentially grew up in several countries spanning across three continents, and speak French, English and Arabic (in different dialects) fluently.I can tell you that I spent over twenty thousand dollars on my master’s degree (9,800$) and residency applications (over 8,000$), excluding travel and hotel expenses during interviews. In contrast, I lived off a 728$ biweekly pay during my time at McGill, which had a tremendous negative impact on my personal life and relationship at the time in light of my expenses. Not to mention, money related to Toefl/Ielts and ACLs exams which I took twice during the past 6 years (still trying to afford the third time!) since they all expire within 24 months and are required by many Canadian institutes.I still remember my first interview in British Columbia during March 2012, which I did online from Egypt as I was still completing/processing my graduation documents. Fast forward to 2018, the same residency spot in Vancouver remained unfilled till the third iteration after implementation of the CAP assessment in 2018. To do the CAP assessment, you have to be a current permanent resident of British Columbia for a prolonged duration of time (https://imgbc.med.ubc.ca/resource/clinical-assessment/). It is still uncertain if that position was even filled. In contrast, my nephew who lives in Guelph Ontario had to wait over 10 months to see a child psychiatrist, he was 13 when he was referred and had his consult at age 14.I still remember my second interview in Saskatchewan in 2013, when I was still in my mid 20’s, and only 10 months prior I was doing my psychiatry externship in Boston. When I interviewed in Saskatchewan in 2013, we were 20 candidates for 1 available position. When I re-interviewed in 2016, we were nearly 40 candidates, for the same, single position. I still remember my interview in 2018 at another Canadian institute, where I was no longer the young candidate per sae, and my clinical and research experience in Canada did not “reflect” the way I had hoped it should, or would during the related social event. Perhaps I was too pushy. I still remember contacting MUN during the second iteration of 2018, only to be informed that they do not consider any of my work in research/publications as practice, hence, to them I have been out of practice since 2012 (6 years) and their medical education office could not process my papers in accordance with provincial guidelines. If it’s not relevant to practice, then why was I offered resident-fellow membership status from the APA because of the same work in Canada? Another question would be, what alternative did you offer me? I was a returning Canadian student who did everything he could to gain this experience on his own without anyone’s help, when the alternative would have been to abandon what I had worked so hard for nearly my entire life.Matching international graduates are often Canadian student who studied in the UK/Ireland/Australia and graduated within the last two years. However, even some of those students have a lot of difficulty returning home. I remember once being asked if I had citizenship status from Qatar by a colleague since I was born there and being informed that this might perhaps help me get into residency. Much like Saudi Arabian residents who are highly competent and occupy a prominent part of Canadian residencies, because their country pays Canadian institutes 100,000$ per year, per candidate (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-canadian-teaching-hospitals-scrambling-to-resolve-how-saudi-student/). I replied no, I am just a Canadian student trying to return home.At the moment, I am staying in Canada till April 2019, then I will travel abroad, possibly for good. Maybe I will come back when I retire. Yet, I will try to apply one more time in Carms 2019, one last time before I pack up my bags and close this 20 year old chapter of my life (from age 13 to 31). I have the comfort of knowing that I have achieved the impossible on my own during 6 years. My conscience is guilt free, there is genuinely nothing else I could have done to be able to practice this profession here. My health and mental state are truly suffering to the point of beyond return. I had a seizure, or possibly a vasovagal syncope on the 30th of April. I really don’t know what it was exactly because 3 days later I had to attend the 2018-APA in New York to receive my award and APA resident-fellow status. It’s amazing the amount of things that can actually run through your mind during only a few minutes/seconds of paralysis. But I arrived at an ultimatum, I will always choose my profession. Without my profession, I am miserable and incomplete. Without a home, well, I can always start again; and hopefully find one that will not try this hard to force me into giving up my dreams.
Does psychology employ the scientific approach successfuly? Is psychology worthy of being called a science?
Psychology does follow the scientific protocols. At least it should. Not all institutes of education offer the most valid study environment for scientific study. This is why one should avoid degrees being offered in matchbook covers or on stamps inserted in magazines. Psychology by mail order does not fly. When one is determined to be serious about Psychology they should not seek lesser institutes than the ivy league of the United States, McGill University in Canada, and the elder institutes of the United Kingdom such as University of Edinburgh, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and University of St. Andrews.Psychology is a scientific study of the behavioral system of the human condition. A dedicated psychologist just doesn’t seek out one or two doctorate degrees, they seek out several. The also pick up masters and bachelors degrees in biology, neurology, and medical knowledge without having to hold medical doctorate degrees to go about poking, prodding, cutting, hacking, and drugging people.The science of Psychology is not to cure people, it is to help people understand exactly what is going on without physically poking, prodding, cutting, hacking, and drugging people. Did I mention electrocuting them? Psychologists don’t do that either.The concept of science is to examine, study, devise a theory, prepare a thesis, do field studies, and then document their findings. This is done during the advanced education development stage. A good Psychologist will dedicate 15 to 25 years in academia. Everything they work on, is then passed to another institute who recreates the study, examines it, and write a conclusion on their finding before passing it back to the original school of thought as well as another institute of knowledge. When everything comes out as proof of constant repetition, it goes into the journals of science.Now, of course there is always objections from the medical folk because they consider themselves that alpha group of everything. Now, I admit it does take eight to nine years to become a doctor, and it is a grueling business and it is also archaic in it’s training as they are constantly berated by their betters through the process. The spend a good deal of time vomiting. So, it is understandable that because they had to suffer so much to get where they are they should be the top dog. Yet all they learn is how the body functions and their obligation to try and fix them. It is extremely important work, but they are restricted to only that of medical concerns.Psychologists have to study culture, religion, belief systems, history, politics, and every little detail that makes people tick. The modern psychologist has to cut away a lot of false reality and materialism so they can make people understand that what they “think” they believe is merely something manufactured by someone else or created in their own imagination.Yes there is a science involved. A science of fact finding and debunking obscured thinking.Cheers
What are the best tips to survive a shooting massacre or terrorist attack in a city?
This answer may contain sensitive images. Click on an image to unblur it.Given no other information than that there is a shooter or an active terrorist attack, one in which the attackers didn't kill themselves in the beginning, there is a lot you can do to maintain your own survival and the survival of others.Stay positiveI know it sounds flippant to start off with "Stay positive," but this is literally a guiding principle taught in the United States Marine Corps Recruit Manual and is part of the US military's SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) schools to train Marines, Army, and even Navy SEALs and other Special Forces survival in the harshest of situations. The overriding theme of that first section is that in horrifying situations, much like those of this question, the number one life saving mentality is to stay positive so that you don't panic. A panicked mind does not make smart decisions. Furthermore, maintaining optimism maintains the belief that survival is possible. When one believes they will be all right in the end, really believes it, their instincts work to support their mind toward maintaining their survival.Note that I didn't say that you should tell yourself, "Don't panic", because saying "don't panic" doesn't actually prevent people from panicking. It's just something they do in movies to add intensity. It doesn't help in real life. You do need to stay positive. Most people panic from a flood of many things happening at once. People hear shooting. Someone else screams. A flood of people start moving. Children get separated from parents. More screaming. You should remember to stay calm, not by saying, "stay calm", but by saying things like, "It's going to be OK, I know what to do, I will be all right." Keep repeating affirmations to yourself like this to ensure that you actually do stay calm and remember everything else you need to do to get to safety.After staying positive, an acronym currently being used to train students, teachers, and businesses on how to handle terror events and active shooters is ALICE.AlertLockdownInformCounterEvacuateALICE is a tool used to keep victims and staff aware of their options during what is called an "active shooter event" and is also useful advice if are involve in an act of terror. It quickly guides you through the important decisions you may need to make. It is important to understand the ALICE acronym is not meant to serve as a sequential list of steps to follow, but to serve as a guide for understanding your role - which it is important we understand isn't determined by you, but by the shooter or terrorist - in surviving the encounter and aiding others to do so, as well. Depending on where the shooter is in relation to you, you have several different responsibilities to ensure your own safety and help you escape, as well as that of others. In relation to this question, most of the steps involved do not involve interacting with the shooter - in fact, they specifically attempt to avoid it.AlertThe first is that you witness the event taking place. It is important to remember that, as members of a civilized society, we are all the responsible in some way during a threatening situation to preserve as many lives as possible. Even if you aren't trained to do much, or aren't in a position to physically help, the information you know may be vital to others when added to their own. Consider this someone who, from a safe distance, saw someone enter the building with a weapon or acting in a suspicious manner. Perhaps this person saw or heard an explosion or can hear shooting off. This person has the responsibility to stay safe (by not entering the dangerous area) and alerting police or any other official. The information you saw and reported could be compiled with others to help ensure that hundreds who aren't safe are able to escape who don't have the benefit of your point of view. Your testimony may also help provide key evidence after the fact, as well.LockdownIf you aren't in the immediate presence of danger, and if warning is given, people should attempt to take a Lockdown, ready stance. If you are very near the threat and a known secure means of escape already exists, then you should always escape first before attempting Lockdown.Lockdown allows small groups time to create as defensible a position as possible. The average response time for police is somewhere around 14 minutes to produce first responders to a scene of a violent incident. This in no way is a failure of police, but just a reality of having very few people responsible for the safety of very, very many and never knowing where a situation might happen. For this reason, those who are alerted to the presence of danger are asked to Lockdown, in an effort to gain some security during the time when it isn't known if a safe escape route exists and when first responders have not yet arrived on the scene. Lockdown drills are performed by most schools already, though this is typically the extent of the exercise. They do this by locking all doors, both exterior and interior, and barricading those doors before taking a position in a darkened room, away from visible sightlines of any windows and in a defensive posture.By defensive posture, this means that students or anyone caught in a terror environment where a terrorist or shooter currently isn't, such as a room behind a locked door, are to try to use whatever means necessary to provide them with cover and concealment. Concealment is anything that will prevent an enemy from seeing a target, like a curtain. Cover is the military term for something that can conceal you from a threat and be used as a source of shielding in the event that you're shot at. Once the students are in the most covered and concealed location they can create in a timely manner, they should stay vigilant, and stay prepared to move to escape or react to a forced entry by the shooter.This is an effort to create a "safe space", not meant to say that it is perfectly defensible, but as a primary fall back point for all students and individuals to retreat and seek shelter in the event of terror until an escape route can be secured. A terrorist's goal is to cause as many casualties as possible. That said, if the terrorist or shooter remains a threat after the initial attack, they will often be deterred by obstacles like locked doors, instead looking for easier targets. In this event, creating barriers between a shooter and potential victims often ends the threat of a direct confrontation, before it starts. That said, having a secondary fall back position, in case it seems apparent that a shooter is set to enter your safe space, is a good idea if one is available.Lockdown is not the same as hiding. We have seen examples of those involved in shootings attempting to make use of whatever concealment they have to hide from the attacker. This includes hiding under tables in the room they are in or in unsecured rooms, then staying put there for several minutes during a massacre. In the Columbine attack, students who hid under tables when it became known that an event had begun were eventually found and murdered. Any defensive position can be overcome by a determined adversary. For that reason, do not get too comfortable in your relative safety, but always remember that your primary goal is escape, not defense. Always be looking for information that will be help you get away fromInformSomeone in the room should be communicating with police and emergency personnel, both to tell them what you are witnessing and to have a link with information from the outside. During lockdown, communications may be disrupted, or it may not be advised to broadcast escape information while the shooter is active. This isolates victims, which can be deadly. For that reason, it is important for someone in the room to keep an active communication line to the police in the event of an emergency. Most police departments are equipped to handle overflow traffic in the event of a major emergency.My personal advice is that the person on the phone shouldn't be the person charge, be it a teacher, the boss, or whoever takes charge of a situation. They need to be in charge of leading the students in whatever circumstances take place from then on. If specific instructions need to be given, than the leader can be given the phone, but generally, the leader's job in this instance is to keep the rest of the room calm and prepared. Communicating with the outside takes the leader's focus away from the room and away from what is going on outside their safe space. The communicator needs to calm and level headed and able to communicate; the type of person who can decipher what is important for police and the leader to know and what to communicate. For high school, a student who is calm and reliable should be able to communicate with emergency response and relay important information to the teacher. Most middle school classrooms should, as well. For elementary and primary schools, the teacher unfortunately needs to be the one responsible for many roles.Key things to be aware of at all times, but particularly in lockdown:Know the source of dangerWhere is the threat? Know where the danger is coming from. Is this person shooting actively? Are they on the move? In which direction?Maintain your wits and try to assess what actually caused the threat. Don't take more than a few seconds on this. Don't take more than a few seconds on this. This doesn't mean you create a doctoral thesis on the threat's relationship with his mother. Where is it that you get the instinctive reaction that the threat is coming from? Don't look at which way people are running, or running from. Numerous accounts exist of people, usually in panic, running directly toward the danger, in some instances leading others as well. This isn't their fault. They just lacked the training to know what to do. From there, you have a few options that you need to consider.Find the exitsAttempt to get away from the immediate danger. Find the nearest avenue to an escape as possible. It may be a better idea to lockdown and stay where you are, but either way, you need to know where the danger is and what avenues you have to escape. Again, time is key, a few seconds at most to find the exits.Arm yourselfAt my school, when we practice for one of these lockdown drills every student has at their disposal a stack of books and other objects to throw or use as weapons. The Marines call these weapons of opportunity and they are any tool you can use to help you defend yourself if you directly encounter the threat. Once you find a tool to use, keep it with you until you have successfully escaped.Escape/Evade/EvacuateI'm going to go out of order and talk about escape before counter. As I have said, the ultimate goal of any terror event should be to escape the situation. This needs to be repeated for emphasis. The goal should not be for individuals to stop the shooter, but to get to a safe area. Everything else listed in this answer is strictly in the event escape is deemed more unsafe than staying put, or the shooter has removed the option to escape.Most of the people who become victims do so very early on. Either they were very close to the terrorist when they began their attack,0 or they were isolated because they hesitated in their movements, or found themselves pinned in and immobilized. Once you find the exit, you should be going there. There shouldn't need to be thinking about which exit may be closer, or which exit may be jammed or what if there is someone waiting at the exit... just run. A person should be far enough ahead that you can't get pinned in the event of a wrong turn.If a shooter is in the open, such as an attack on a mall, one should attempt to get away from the immediate danger as fast as possible. Don't call the police immediately, just get to a safe location. Immediately seek cover and concealment by staying low, out of eyesight. Remember that concealment is anything that will prevent an enemy from seeing a target and cover is anything that can both conceal a potential victim and will help deflect or absorb incoming rounds fired at the them.From there, one should remember always to know the source of the threat and find the exits.Knowing this, a person should find the nearest avenue to an escape as possible. Where is the nearest exit? Can I reach it while staying behind cover and/or concealment? If you know the source of danger and you know the route to the exit, watch for hardened obstacles to keep between you and the threat. A hardened pillar or support beam can be a good source of cover, as can a large desk or wall. A large fountain, a car, the corner around a turn; anything that is hard and large should be a goal of someone to keep between them and the threat. It's important not to get pinned behind cover, and to just think of it as a temporary obstacle to keep between you and the threat until you reach the exit or safety. Again, time is key, a few seconds at most to find the exits. As soon as possible, make for the exits.This is also why keeping in contact with police is so vital, primarily if you aren't in the open and in a lockdown situation where your escape is determined by information you can't know because it is outside your room. Keeping communication lines open, even if you are silent and just waiting for information to be given to you, lets police and rescue know where you are, which lets you know when it is safe to escape and by what means. Most likely, there will never be a need to encounter a shooter. This is because, once a shooting begins, entire towns shutdown to ensure that the event is taken care of as quickly as possible. For that reason, those who don't begin an attack in a safe place need to find the safest place possible, fortify, call for help, and prepare to evacuate when it is safe to do so.By prepare to evacuate, I don't mean find a safe place and stay there forever. An element of static defenses, those that don't move or change, i.e. our barricades or locked doors, as I said in the previous section, is that a determined adversary can and will overcome them. Think about if a shooter is searching for one particular person, like that bully, mean teacher, their child, ex-spouse, or their boss. If that person was the motive of the attack, then obstacles won't deter them. They might slow them down, but not provide true safety. This is true of muggings, burglaries, terrorism, or military combat. Most of the time these are deterrents that force a shooter on, hoping to find an easier target, however, if a gunman is set to defeat a certain barrier, for any reason, they will attempt to do so. Given enough time, they will defeat it. This is why staying in a state of Lockdown throughout the duration isn't advised.We can see an unfortante proof for this from the Virginia Tech Shooting of 2007. There, 32 students were killed and the majority of those were traced to a single room. A professor locked the students in the room, similar to a lockdown, but wouldn't let them leave even when an opportunity was available. The shooter eventually overcame the lock on the doors. The room had no exits and he then proceeded to kill first the teacher, then everyone else in the room. From this lesson we see that a lockdown is necessary, but not a perfect defense. While we must lockdown, we must also prepare for an escape as quickly as possible. Making a plan out of staying put is itself, a danger.Some guidelines to remember during an escape:Move quicklyMost of the people who become victims do so very early on. Either they were very close to the shooter when they started or they were isolated because they hesitated in their movements, or found themselves pinned in and immobilized. Once you find the exit, you should be going there. There shouldn't need to be thinking about which exit may be closer, or which exit may be jammed or what if there is someone waiting at the exit... just run. Stay far enough ahead that you can't get pinned in in the event of a wrong turn.Use coverCover is the military term for something that can conceal you from a threat and be used as a source of shielding in the event that you're shot at. If you know the source of danger and you know the route to the exit, watch for hardened obstacles to keep between you and the threat. A hardened pillar or support beam can be a good source of cover. A large fountain in the middle of a food court, a car, the corner around a turn, anything that is hard and large should be a goal of someone to keep between them and the threat. Don't get pinned behind cover, just think of it as a temporary obstacle to keep between you and the threat until you reach the exit.Avoid traveling along wallsBullets travel along walls. I don't know why, but a bullet that is fired at close to the same angle of a wall will ride the wall and stay very close to it. From what I have seen, they can do this a while. Try to stay at least six or so inches from the wall if you can.CounterIf a terrorist or gunman enters your safe space, or if he pulls a weapon in the middle of whatever you are doing, say during a class period, work, or, just passing by they have left you with no time to prepare. You have to accept that the gunman has removed all good options from you and that you're now left with very few alternatives. All your remaining choices boil down to basic human responses to fear. You have probably heard of "fight or flight", and that is what I am talking about, but there are more and each choice has very different ramifications depending on the circumstances. They are flight, freeze, submit, posture, or fight. Before I continue, we need to consider these five basic human responses to fear and how they would manifest themselves in an active shooter or terror environment.Flight - generally speaking, if you can, fleeing is the best option. That said, as a teacher, fleeing isn't always an option. For example, in my classroom, which is virtually identical to all the other classrooms in the Middle School, High School, and Elementary, there is only one door. The windows are also shatter resistance, designed to prevent an intruder from the outside getting in, but also preventing students from being able to break out, as well. ( They are actually designed for storm debris because far more people are killed by tornadoes where I live than the violence of this question.) There is only one entrance to the room, and therefore, only one exit. While the ultimate goal of being in an event is the escape the situation, and most of the time, an avenue is available... frankly, sometimes we don't have that as a real option.Freeze - Freeze is a common response to panic educing situations. For many, it will be the default response. There is a saying, made most famous by the United States Navy SEALs, but common throughout the United States armed forces: "One doesn't rise to the occasion, but falls back to their training." This means that if a person is not trained, or have not prepared themselves to recognize and respond to a stressful situation, they will likely fail in that situation.A person who freezes, or fails to take any action in the presence of an active terrorist will be an easy target. Shooters aren't targeting specific individuals usually, at least not long into the shooting. If they are attempting to right some injustice, the shooting eventually turns indiscriminate, where shooters are attempting to not find specific targets of opportunity, those that aren't actively seeking escape, or using cover and concealment. This obviously isn't the best solution, but not honestly the fault of the victim. A person must be trained to recognize and prepare for the possibility of violence and have a plan on how to act. If they don't, they default to the freeze state.Submit - submit refers to complying to the shooter's demands. This is the hostage scenario. Hostage takers bargain with victims for compliance. They offer safety in exchange for control of the situation. For active shooters, those involved with terrorist attacks, school shootings, and workplace massacres, this is not common. They aren't interested in a prolonged engagement and may not even care if they get out alive. Typically, these events take place, from beginning to end in less than 12 minutes, that being the amount of time it would take a dedicated shooter to either run out of ammunition, be brought down by police, or as often as is the case, end the encounter by taking their own lives.Therefore, it isn't common for shooters to make demands that will keep people alive. Typically, they are there for a set purpose of inflicting causalities. For that reason, in the event of an active shooter, it is extremely unlikely that giving into the shooter by following any of their demands will ensure survival. In the Umpqua Community College Shooting, this is what students did. The shooter began by first executing the teacher of the room before making demands that all Christians in the room make themselves known by standing. The classroom full of students did as they were instructed and several who stood, were then executed.Posture - Posture is creating the appearance of threat without actually being a threat. Imagine boxers before a fight, trying to look intimidating to psyche out the other opponent. This is an attempt to psychologically dominate an opponent during a fight, in the hopes that it makes them easier to deal with.I can't imagine a worse idea in a terror situation. Shooters are obviously unbalanced people, so attempting to intimidate someone who, because of their weapons, is in an obviously tactical advantage seems, to me, to be suicidal. Furthermore, I can only imagine it further enraging an active shooter, so that, once they are done with whoever tried to appear intimidating is dead, the rest will receive an even more relentless assault.What is currently being taught, in these danger close circumstances, where escape is not a timely or possible solution, is to fight, some would say attack, the attacker.The idea here isn't to combat an attacker one-on-one armed with only a book or stapler against a gunman. It has been shown, however, that working as a group, a number of victims can overcome an attacker and, if nothing else, minimize the harm which he could inflict.In the instance of a single attacker against a room full of individuals, the presence of massive amounts of common items being thrown to assault, en masse, is the key defensive element. This means that a person doesn't need to be a martial arts expert, or spend countless hours in training and exercise to prepare for the event. It also doesn't require that any one individual has the physical and mental capability to disable the shooter. The act only requires coordination of many people moving very quickly. This doesn't end the threat, but is intended to stun the attacker long enough for the students, once again en masse, to swarm the attacker, ground him, and hold him until others are able to evacuate or hold the attacker until police are able to intervene. Through swarm tactics, which is how they are literally termed in some ALICE training, the groups of potential victims are able to maximize their collective survival by overwhelming attackers.During this time, students are encouraged to use "weapons of opportunity" or "improvised weapons" in their own defense. "Weapon of opportunity" is a term used from the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and other self-defense programs, which basically means any common place item which can be used a weapon. The Marines train to fight, in the last resort, with sticks, rocks, and anything else which may be available to them. For a classroom or office setting, this translates to books, staplers, tape depressors, and even chairs being used as throwing objects or even blunt force items. It is also advised to keep on hand pepper spray and a very good improvised weapon is also the fire extinguisher. The cloud is both stunning and disorienting, and the canister itself is an extremely blunt object which can be both deadly and easily used as a club. The fact that any good classroom or office should have fire extinguishers available anyway, makes this one of the best self-defense tools for this question.There is practical rationale to this tactic that is, as well, based on military combat psychology. The term is violence of action.[The following is an excerpt from SEAL SURVIVAL GUIDE: A Navy SEAL's Secrets to Surviving Any Disaster, written by Former Navy SEAL and preeminent American survivalist Cade Courtley.]Violence of action means the unrestricted use of speed, strength, surprise, and aggression to achieve total dominance against your enemy. I'm repeating this to drive home the concept that any fighting technique is useless unless you first totally commit to violence of action. Don't be afraid to hit first, and when you do, hit hard. Remember, you are fighting because this is the best and only option. Pull the trigger -- because you are in a battle for your life! Your instincts, assessment, and situational awareness have told you that you are in mortal danger. You don't know the other person's intentions fully, and you never can. What you can do is survive -- it is your right to not be killed or harmed by another person. As with most things survival-related, fighting has its own set of priorities that need to be addressed at lightning speed.Stories of violence of action successes are well documented in the military, showcasing how lone soldiers or Marines pushed back or dominated enemy forces when they were very much outnumbered. In an active shooter scenario, however, a single person will almost never be able to dominate an aggressor because of the presence of their gun. Working in conjunction with an entire classroom, all working to stun, disorient, and then hold down an enemy until help arrives, would have the effect of violence of action. As a seasoned shooter myself, I don't know how I could manage to carry on an attack while simultaneously dodging a barrage of non-lethal items. As a teacher, I was extremely pleased with this approach because it addresses the danger involved in Lockdown only training, in which a static defender is always the victim to violent attackers.If you feel this is a terrible idea, I agree with you. It does put those attacked in momentary extreme danger. It is very, very hard for me to say this, because, to me, these children aren't statistical, but faces with names and it terrifies me to think of them being in harm. Yet, I know that for this to even be considered, they were already in extreme danger. It's just very hard for us to imagine it that way. I also know that statistically, though some may come to harm if more organizations implement ALICE type group defense, more of these rampages will have ended before a shooter has a full 14 minutes to blow away anyone who he sees. The long term reality of this is fewer children and innocent people will die. This is particularly true of the children in the room, those who have had the choice to hide and wait taken from them. If history is our guide, these children have faced the cruelest and most unforgivable odds of all, being trapped face to face with an active shooter. Grimly speaking, they are most benefited by fighting back for their own lives.We see this example too, demonstrated recently by actions of military veterans who took part in ending shootings or aiding others in their escape. The first of these examples is Chris Mintz.Image courtesy of Chris Mintz - UCC Shooting Survivor.Chris Mintz is the current man of the hour. Mintz is a 10 year veteran of the United States Army, but became national news when he protected classmates in a shooting rampage at the local community college he was attending. According to eyewitnesses, Mintz ran at the attacker and blocked a door to a classroom in the attempt to protect fellow classmates.According to a student witness Chris"ran to the library and pulled all the alarms. He was telling people to run. ... He actually ran back towards the building where the shooting was. And he ran back into the building."While attempting to stop the shooter Mintz was shot an incredible seven times. He was rushed to surgery, and is now on the road to recovery and a normal life, but will require a great deal of recuperative care. To repay his heroism, a gofundme was set up for $10,000 to go toward his medical expenses. That fund is currently just over $800,000. What Chris' heroic acts showed was how a dedicated person can slow down and prevent a shooter, making it possible for others to survive and, just as importantly, that this act itself is not a death sentence.A better example comes from the recent attack aboard a train between France and Belgium. There, a terrorist opened fire on a train wounding a few of the passengers. Onboard the train were National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos, a recent Afghanistan veteran, Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, along with a civilian friend Anthony Sadler. They earned international praise for stopping nothing less than a full on terrorist gunman in the middle of what amounted to a holiday vacation.“My friend Alek (Skarlatos) yells, 'Get him,' so my friend Spencer (Stone) immediately gets up to charge the guy, followed by Alek, then myself," Anthony Sadler said in an interview with CNN.Stone received injuries during the fight between the Moroccan born gunman, armed with an AK-47 rifle, a pistol, several magazines of ammunition, and a knife. The Americans wrestled him to the ground after he opened fire. In the end, he was hog tied and, though one of the heroes received superficial injuries, no one, not even the shooter, was killed. No better example currently exists for the argument that active defense is necessary in ending the threat posed by an active shooter or terrorist.While both of these events center around veterans who placed themselves in harm's way while in civilian roles, what they did isn't something that requires one to be a military person to do. In these specific cases, it was just people who believed they could control the situation, who knew how to react to danger, and who were, at least instinctively aware that the collective's survival was most ensured by the group fighting back.I know that it is hard for many people to accept this idea. ALICE training is highly controversial because, when it is implemented in schools, it asks teachers to encourage kids to work together to take on lethal and murderous shooters in certain, very limited, situations. No one feels this as much as I do. This has been one of the hardest articles I have ever written in the last six years of writing online. As a teacher, it's painful for me to accept that this is even something we need to prepare for. I had to stop and gather myself several times when the thought passed through my mind of my kids (students) being put in this scenario. As a Marine, however, I know that our actions are often determined by those who want to do us harm. Sometimes, a terrible idea, such as leading a group of children to assault a deadly attacker, is the only option left to you.I know that if this information becomes commonplace enough, many innocent people are going to make it out all right, who otherwise wouldn't. Furthermore, when those people who are thinking about attacking schools and workplaces, or committing acts of terror see similar actions foiled in the first few minutes by groups of individuals before they turn into massacres, they wouldn't see the sinister glory in it. They wouldn't be able to dream of suicide after committing massacre or death by cop. Instead, they might even face prison. Their goals would be worthless.Furthermore, ALICE initiatives take away the helplessness of the victim, and let's them know that they have options and responsibility in their own survival, as well as the survival of others. This knowledge is empowering in that it lets them know that the power doesn't just revolve around the attacker, but that they have agency in the matter, as well. I know in my heart that if the people who attack others like this were to become more afraid of the victims, than the victims are of them - school shootings, gun massacres, and vile acts of terror would disappear.In Summary, two brief lists to remember:ALICEAlert - notify people around you and authorities of the problem.Lockdown - secure yourself in a location so it's hard for a terrorist to get to you and those nearby.Inform - continue to keep authorities apprised of the situation and know your surroundings.Counter - if you have no other options, confront or interrupt the attacker.Escape/Evade/Evacuate - if you can escape the situation safely, then do so.And the other:Stay positive - A calm and collected attitude of optimism avoids panic, maintains clear thinking, and the preserves belief of survival.Know the source of danger - Where is the threat? Know where the danger is coming from and stay away.Find the exits - Attempt to get away from the immediate danger. Find the nearest avenue to an escape as possible.Arm yourself - Anything can be used as a weapon. Make yourself as dangerous as possible in the event you are forced to defend yourself.Move quickly - Never plan on staying still. Always be prepared to move and quickly get to where ever it is you need to go.Use cover - when on the move, move from one strong point to the next, never staying in open longer than is needed.Avoid traveling along walls - Bullets travel along walls. Try to stay at least six or so inches from the wall if you can.Thanks for reading!For more answers like this check out On War by Jon Davis and follow my blog War Elephant for more new content. Everything I write is completely independent research and is supported by fan and follower pledges. Please consider showing your support directly by visiting my Patreon support page here: Jon Davis on Patreon: Help support in writing Military Novels, Articles, and Essays.
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