In the wake of the Paris massacre, the French government issued a poster designed to prepare and protect its citizens against new terrorist attacks. The poster gives advice revolving around the triptych “escape, hide, alert.”
The City of Houston has issued a video dealing with the same subject. Like the French poster, it advises office workers to escape or hide. But it includes a third imperative, absent from the French poster. The title of the Houston video is: “Run. Hide. Fight.”
In the video, actors portraying office workers huddle in a break room. The killer is outside and there is no way to escape. One worker picks up a fire extinguisher, another grabs a chair, two others hold a belt and a coffee mug. When the shooter begins to enter, the workers attack him. As the video frame freezes, the narrator intones: “As a last resort, if your life is at risk, whether you’re alone or working together as a group, fight! Act with aggression. Improvise weapons. Disarm him. And commit to taking the shooter down, no matter what.”
While the recent spate of mass killings has sparked debates on gun control and immigration, surprisingly little has been written about fighting back.