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Subject Matter Experts

Recently a friend asked me to review an article that was written regarding changing the terminology of "Run, Hide, Fight". For transparency here is a link to that specific article.

First I read what the author had to say. While it was good advice it really was no different from "Run, Hide, Fight" What I found interesting is the willingness to change the phrase "Run, Hide, Fight" however he did not address or change "Active Shooter" to "Active Assailant". Active Assailant is a much more inclusive term and does not limit the readers to only considering someone with a gun. As we have seen mass casualty events can be caused by vehicles, knives, bombs and by other means which we may not even be considering.

In this article to be honest all he is doing is using concepts that reinforce “Run, Hide, Fight”. It appears all that he did was look up some synonyms and changed the verbiage to “Move, Escape, Attack”. To me that’s merely semantics to make himself appear smart on the topic. Any Active Assailant training worth it’s salt would train individuals on what he is stating however use it in the context that people are already familiar with such as “Run, Hide, Fight” In my professional opinion he is simply trying to make himself appear to have the next big solution and be a subject matter expert.

I have seen this same technique used by those "experts" who train in other fields of security such as "Executive Protection". They love to consider themselves "Subject Matter Experts" but when you dig into their backgrounds they have very little to back up their personal claims of greatness. As it pertains to "Active Shooter" training there seems to be 100 new experts a day. However very few have the experience to be able to stand by that claim.

Specifically with this author, not to take away from his own service record but the bio starts off by recognizing his fathers service. His father was in the Highway Patrol who I can only assume did very little if any active shooter response training, especially during his tenure. I’m not sure how his fathers credentials qualify the author and or what in his Air Force training qualifies him as an active shooter expert. I hate to proverbially “eat our own” but people always pop up as “Subject Matter Experts” yet lack specific training or experience in the field they claim to be experts in. Again for transparency here is the authors bio which is attached to the article.

Mike Wood is the son of a 30-year California Highway Patrolman and the author of " Newhall Shooting: A Tactical Analysis," the highly-acclaimed study of the 1970 California Highway Patrol gunfight in Newhall, California. Mike is an Honor Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, a graduate of the US Army Airborne School, and a retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel with over 26 years of service. He’s a National Rifle Association (NRA) Law Enforcement Division-certified firearms instructor, serves as a member of the PoliceOne Editorial Advisory Board, and has written the “Tactical Analysis” column at since 2014. Mike is the senior editor at, and has been a featured guest on the Excellence In Training Academy and American Warrior Society podcasts, as well as several radio and television programs. He’s grateful for the opportunity to serve and learn from the men and women of law enforcement.

I personally have been a first responder to multiple mass casualty situations where my job was part of a team to neutralize the threats and treat the wounded. By no means do I consider myself a "Subject Matter Expert" however I do have experiences to add to the conversation. Maybe this author is completely qualified and if so I would encourage him to change his bio to add that layer of credibility.

Lastly, I am aware that this article was from 2016 however as I mentioned individuals pop up all the time. I frequently stress to individuals and organizations the importance of doing their due diligence before merely accepting that and author or speaker is the "Subject Matter Expert" that they claim to be.


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