December 3, 2023, Israel
The hat says Security and identifies the wearer as a member of the police or a security team.
The hat says, "Armed Citizen" and identifies the wear as a citizen legally carrying a personal firearm.
We define Active shooter when an individual, or individuals, or a team enter a place, either indoors or outdoors, and begin firing randomly at people. In recent years this has become very common in the USA, in Israel this has been going on since I was a child, back the 1970s. I can recall when a four-man Japanese team affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, May 30, 1972, landed at Lod airport and opened fire, killing 26 and injuring about 80 passengers. I have never looked at crowded places the same since. I always look for this potential attack, it is engraved in my memory, when you least expect it, when feel safe, it can happen.
At IKI we work on many defenses against mass shootings, or Active Shooters, most of these involve empty hand defenses. i.e. Krav Maga is not a shooting art, it is an empty-handed art, so we focus on situations where you are unarmed against a weapon. Thus, we focus on unarmed citizens tackling armed attackers/militants/terrorists/mentally deranged people.
In Israel we have encountered another problem. Many citizens wisely carry weapons and are eager to maintain the peace. Just the other day at the entrance to Jerusalem there was a double tragedy. Two armed terrorists jumped out of their car carrying weapons, one had a handgun and the other had an M16 rifle. They opened fire on the many people waiting to catch a bus. A pregnant 24-year-old Israel woman was shot dead, she was an only child and was expecting her first baby. An older man, a respected rabbi and judge, fell dead. Brave Israeli citizens and off-duty soldiers immediately dame to the rescue. Both terrorists were neutralized but not before another tragedy took place, one that will have to be thoroughly investigated.
An armed citizen, realizing what was going on, stopped his car and came out. He could have continued driving, not my problem, but this is Israel, a Nation of Warriors. He drew his weapon and moved in to make contact with the terrorists, shooting one dead. Sadly, under unclear circumstances, an off-duty soldier mistook him for a terrorist and shot him dead. Again, it is unclear why, and this will have to be investigated. But this leads us to the question, how to avoid this situation?
There are special hats which designate one as either security or as an armed civilian. However, there are some problems: first, you need to have this hat with you at all times. Next, you have to take a moment to securely put on your hat, this takes away dear seconds that could mean the difference between life and death, and third, any terrorist or criminal can purchase one of these online. So, what can we do?
First, before we run in close to the terrorist, we should look around carefully to see if there are others firing, or potentially firing, at the terrorist. We don't want to run into the line of fire. We should identify ourselves as best as possible, again, this is not always easy. We could be wearing a hat or a T shirt that shows we are one of the good guys but remember, in the Hamas massacre of October 7, 2023, some of the terrorists were dressed as Israeli soldiers. (stolen uniforms, authentic looking). Once you realize others are shooting in your direction. Get down, hands up, shout "I am...one of the good guys".
Sadly, even with all these precautions sometimes it is not enough, but it is something we must be aware of and think about. Whether we are the guy being potentially shot out, or whether we are the ones who identified another shooter, possibly a protector, we need to be aware and try to identify the good guys from the bad guys. When I did my shooting course, we had dummies dressed up as both terrorists, security, and innocent bystanders. It was often difficult to tell the difference in the moment of shooting, stress and tension. We need to be aware, to keep this in mind and to be careful before we pull the trigger, it may be the mistake of our lifetime and the end of another individuals' life.
Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.
What is the cultural background of Krav Maga? What makes it unique? What makes the Israeli military so effective? Why are Israeli security systems used all over the world?
What are the Biblical origins of Krav Maga and who was the first Krav Maga instructor?
What weapons and military strategies did our Biblical ancestors use?
How has Krav Maga developed in Israel and what are its goals?
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