With “First of all, we escaped. We weren’t released or freed.”
Jeffrey Cohen began his description of being held captive at a Dallas-area synagogue with this clarification. It wasn’t the skill of the hostage negotiators nor the prowess of the tactical team that ended this event. It was the hostages’ ability to apply security training to their situation that saved them.
Training, and the mental preparedness that arises from it, is one of the most important security elements we can provide. Effective security training does not focus on a skillset; the goal of a well-designed training program is a mindset. Victims can survive by remaining calm, planning to end the event, and never resigning themselves to the goal of the perpetrator.
Security events are tremendously stressful; security training seeks to establish a mental heuristic in which people can focus their thinking on survival. Our training programs are designed to mentally prepare clients to decisively address emergencies and protect themselves.
The outcome of the Dallas event proves this: the hostages consistently moved to get into better positions, and never ceded control of the outcome to the attacker. As Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker said, “Without the instruction we received, we would not have been prepared to act and flee when the situation presented itself.”
The training could not have anticipated what happened. It could train the victims to act, not stand still, to take matters into their own hands, to have a bias for action, and not to be complacent.
This is the training we offer every day. Empowering clients and employees to avoid danger and address it.