Run – Hide – Fight

Dianne St. Jean

Again a few weeks ago in the United States there was an active shooter in a high school. A female student sent a message from her cell phone that she and a few others were holed up in one of the classrooms, hiding. Others had the opportunity to run.

The students each took particular action based on what they have been taught to do in such an event. The key phrase words that dictate what kind of response should be taken should there be an active shooter in a school or building are “run, hide, fight”.

Run – if there is a possible threat on your life but you still have opportunity to get away.

Hide – if you did not or could not get away, and if you are exposed or out in the open, you can become a target.

Fight – If you didn’t have the chance to run or hide and find yourself cornered – don’t give in. Fight for your life in whatever way you can. 

We don’t have to be in a shooter situation to see the value in this advice. It can be applied to our own situations in life.

First, run. In other words, stay away from and avoid anything or anyone that poses a threat to your existence. That includes negative habits, thinking, or people, all which destroy some aspect of your life. Run – don’t sit around and think about it. Here’s your chance to avoid unnecessary suffering in your life.

Hide. This doesn’t mean climbing up some mountain and becoming a recluse. I believe we are meant to be social creatures. Even animals in the wild only hide if threatened or to keep themselves or their young safe. That’s the key. In today’s society, social media has broken down too many barriers to our personal well-being and respect. The tragedy is that most of this is done willingly by people who lay their lives out for the whole world to see. It’s good to share and be open, but not if your life is no longer yours, or you make yourself a target. Suicide rates among youth have skyrocketed since the advent of social media because it’s far too easy to be bullied, mocked, ridiculed and criticized when we put everything out there. In other words, there’s not enough “hiding”. 

Fight. No - this doesn’t mean punch everybody’s lights out the minute they frustrate you or lash back at everyone that disagrees with you. As with the other prompts, it’s in the context of survival. Usually having to fight comes out of necessity if you did not or could not “run” (avoid destructive elements in your life) or “hide” (keep a certain part of your life private and sacred). It means not letting anyone or anything take your life and destroy it, either through abuse, bullying, cheating, stealing, or extorting. That could be something as simple as not getting recognized, compensated or paid for your worth and work, or as serious as someone physically and emotionally abusing you.

Thankfully, we don’t have the school shooting problem here in Canada on the same level as the States. That doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t take some lessons from what they have had to learn.

I think it would be awesome if we began teaching our own youth the reactions of “run, hide, fight” – not only in the context of the possibility of an active shooter, but also how to apply it in every day life.