A Fox & Friends demonstration where children neutralized a gunman during an active shooter situation offered dubious advice to parents, as experts emphasize that confronting the gunman should be “a last resort.”
The Fox News segment never explained that in an active shooter situation people should prioritize escaping and hiding over physically confronting the gunman -- only mentioning the first two actions in passing -- and instead emphasized engaging the gunman in a physical confrontation.
The December 8 broadcast of Fox & Friends featured two krav maga instructors and three children who demonstrated martial arts techniques that could be used to disarm an active shooter.
Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck introduced the segment saying, “In an active shooter situation five seconds can mean the difference between life and death. But there are some things that you can do, and your children can do, to make a difference” before asking the instructor to “display for us and exemplify what would happen in an armed shooter situation.” The instructor then used a stapler as a prop while his co-instructor demonstrated how to disarm a gunman from behind.
Attempting to evacuate or hide only came up in passing when Hasselbeck asked the instructor what to do if you find yourself in an active shooter situation with alongside another potential victim. The instructor, said, “Once we're hiding, let's say we couldn't run away, and we hide and then we've realized that we might be discovered, we have to basically communicate with each other and say, 'Listen, this is what is going to happen, if I grab the gun, you guys are going to tackle the person.'” The comment didn't clearly explain that these steps should be taken first -- whether if you are alone or with someone else -- and the segment then moved on to another demonstration of disarming a gunman.
An on screen chyron described Fox & Friends' flawed discussion about what steps should be taken during an active shooter situation as, “Safety First”:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has specific guidelines on how to act when one's life is threatened in a shooting situation. The first objective is to evacuate, and if you cannot evacuate, objective two is to find a hiding place: “If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.” DHS recommends that people take action against an active shooter only "as a last resort" and when your life is in imminent danger.
From the DHS manual:
Following the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, then Newsweek correspondent Megan McArdle was criticized for advising people in an active shooter situation to “gang rush” the gunman as a first, rather than last, resort.