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December 7th, 2021 by Guest Communications

We first ran this article back in September of 2012, and since that time the video has been circulated by many others. The original post of the video has now had over 9.5 million hits, and the video has been reposted a number of times.

I will also share that in the years since this was first released there has been much debate about the concept of “Run. Hide. Fight.” Critics have found flaws in each of the three steps, arguing, “If you are safe where you are, why run? You could unknowingly run towards the danger.” Others have argued that “hiding” makes you a sitting duck. In some instances the debate has been over who this concept should apply to. Should a K-12 school use this approach?

Even with all these questions, most agree that the logic is simple and effective. Run when it is safe to run; hide where it is safe to hide; and fight if you have no other options.


The city of Houston recently released a video demonstrating how people should react in an active shooter event. Mayor Annise Parker had the video produced as part of a disaster preparedness plan, and in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theatre shooting, it was released earlier than planned, but it is still designed to be part of a wider safety campaign.

In a statement describing why the video was created, Dennis J. Storemski, director of the Houston mayor’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security, said, “We hope our residents are never confronted with such an event, but we want to prepare them with some important information if they ever find themselves in this situation.”

The video has been viewed more than 750,000 times on YouTube and the public response has been overwhelming. Houston City Hall has fielded requests for the video from cities and businesses from coast to coast, and responses to the video have popped up online. One question that seems to come up often is that of citizens being armed. Texas is a concealed-carry state and many have asked why the video does not depict anyone fighting back with their own weapon. According to the AP, Houston officials responded that the instructional video is meant for the general population, rather than the less than 3 percent of Texas residents who have a permit to carry a gun.

The idea of the “RUN. HIDE. FIGHT” campaign is to create a catch phrase, much like “stop, drop and roll.” They want to firmly ingrain the idea in the viewer’s mind that the first and best thing to do is to run. Parker was quoted by CBS News as saying, “In a crisis situation, you … don’t want to stop and analyze. It’s, ‘I know what to do.’ And it’s automatic. The first instinct is to hide. And as we clearly say in the video, the first thing you need to do is get the heck out of there.” If you can’t escape then you hide and if you can’t hide then, as a last resort, you take the video’s final recommendation and you fight back. The video’s narrator says, “Fight, act with aggression. Improvise weapons, disarm him and commit to taking the shooter down, no matter what.”

The video is well made and offers some very practical and meaningful suggestions. We have heard many people comment that Parker is correct; they believed their first instinct would be to hide. Running is a much better alternative, if it is possible to get away from the situation. When showing the video’s characters hiding, the video reminds of the importance of locking a door if possible, or moving furniture or heavy equipment to block the door. It also suggests turning off the ringer on your cell phone, something that many would not think about.

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