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Given the world we live in, I decided to attend an "active shooter" training session this month.

The first thing I learned was – given that guns are no longer the only weapons used (think cars, bombs and knives) – the term is being changed to "active assailant."

I also learned about the "Run/Hide/Fight" options you have if you find yourself in such a situation.

What was most valuable about the training – and which I'm passing along – was learning how to spot indicators of potentially violent behavior in an employee or acquaintance:

• Depression and/or withdrawal;

• Resistance and overreaction to changes in

policies and procedures;

• Increased severe mood swings;

• Noticeably unstable, emotional responses;

• Explosive outbursts of anger or rage without


• Suicidal indications;

• Comments about "putting things in order"; • Empathy with individuals who commit

violence; and,

• Increase in unsolicited comments about

firearms, other dangerous weapons and

violent crimes.

To me, the sad thing is that I felt it necessary to take the training. It seems as if violent acts are becoming so commonplace that everyone is starting to feel the need to have such training.

For example, I was visiting a social services agency that serves the elderly and noticed certain magnets on all the interior door frames. Being the inquisitive type, I asked what they signified. Turns out, some of them denote "safe" rooms to hide in and others are meant to be to let police know the rooms are empty. All employees are trained in where to go, just in case something happens there.

Another example: the training I attended was sponsored by a regional group of municipal assessors. People can get upset about their taxes.

Our training devolved into a group pondering of why our society is becoming so violent, looking at the usual suspects: video games, the high divorce rate, drugs, etc. But, we came up with no answers other than the recognition that "active assailant" training is a growing business.


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