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Active shooter training focuses on thinking, education

September 23, 2018

SIOUX COUNTY — Tucked away in the southern tip of Sioux County, surrounded by rolling hills, green fields and bluffs, a group of people gathered together for active shooter training at Bluffs Shooters.

The course introduces the student to tactics, techniques and procedures needed to escape, evade or intervene tactically and medically to active shooter situations. Egos were checked at the door before Kris Paronto and his team at Battleline Tactical spent the day with more than 20 participants during the first day of a two-day event aimed toward education and fun.

“We want you to have fun,” Paronto said. “We want you to learn something and take something away, but we want you to have fun.”

Participants had fun while learning about tactical training and how a private citizen or law enforcement officer who is licensed to conceal carry can respond to an active shooting. The two-day course is designed from the point of view of the civilian or potential victim who may be in a situation where they must defend themselves. A large part of the day was dedicated to classroom work, listening and learning, including knowing state laws, how to be situationally aware, spatially aware and knowing your mindset in a given situation. Being able to think about what should be done is a vital component to active shooter responses, not the firing of a weapon.

“I can train, but I can’t teach you to think,” said Dave Benton, of Battleline Tactical.

The event was organized by several groups who worked together to bring the Batteline Tactical team to town for the training.

Brent Anderson, owner of Ko Heichi Budokan Martial Arts, helped organize a raffle to raise enough money to pay the costs for four veterans and first responders to participate in the event. The Yoder, Wyoming, Fire Department spearheaded the effort to sell tickets to raffle off a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle, donated by Gary’s Gun Shop in Torrington. The city of Morrill also sold raffle tickets and hosted a barbecue for 175 veterans and first responders on Sept. 11.

“Brent was instrumental with the raffle,” said Kolene Woodward, chairman of the Scotts Bluff County Republicans and event organizer. “It was a Wyo-braska effort.”

The decision to bring Battlefield Tactical to town was made after Woodward spoke to local GOP members and asked them what they wanted in town.

“I asked people what they wanted out here and they said, ‘We want to shoot,’” Woodward said. “We felt if we’re going to do this, then let’s contact the best.”

Paronto came to Gering a year ago for a speaking engagement and was a logical choice for the day, she said.

During training, participants spend time in the classroom getting to know more about the seven fundamentals of marksmanship — stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, breathing, trigger control and follow through — so they can make sure they are hitting the target they are aiming at.

“The ninja secret to all of this is fundamentals,” Boone said.

One of the most important parts of day one was learning more fundamentals, such as how to fight with your hands, when to take your weapon out and when to keep your weapon holstered. Most fights end up on the ground and it is necessary to understand how to control the situation.

Anderson said there is a heightened awareness in the world today and people with conceal carry permits have increased since 9/11.

“I just believe in being as prepared as you can be,” Anderson said. “This is so you are reacting and interacting in a positive way to make the situation better.”

The training was hosted at the Bluffs Shooters range at no charge and First National Bank donated water to combat the heat on the open plains.

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