Sorry, but profiling is good

When it comes to active shooters, profiling is a very good thing.

There is a right way to profile and a wrong way to profile.  The wrong way is to do it on broad human based characteristics – like skin color.  That’s just racism plain and simple.  Not to mention just wrong.  The right way is to look at at human activities, functions, cues and actions in a specified setting to determine who is fitting in and who is not.  That’s the right way to profile and it could save your life.

Some may refer to this in a broader sense of situational awareness (SA).  SA is highly important because it provides you with one of the most valuable assets in the world – time.  Time to react.  Time to prepare.  Time to save your life.  Profiling and being situationally aware allows you to be proactive vs. reactive.

Patrick Van Horne describes this as “Left of Bang”.  This is a term used in the Marine Combat Hunter program.  The idea is that the three skills that are taught, they are able to assess the situation prior to the “bang” or the shot is fired.  It is always better to be Left of Bang.


Marines are taught three main skills throughout the Combat Hunter course: tracking, observation, and profiling. These skills are the foundation of the program and teach Marines to be aware of dangers at all times. The observation and pattern analysis skills inherent to hunting help Marines identify a threat, reduce the risk of casualties, and increase their chances of survival. Marines learn to balance movement with stealth and speed. They are taught to take into consideration how they could be viewed by a target on a potential landscape and to take advantage of concealment when possible.

Being “Right of Bang” means that you are under great deals of stress and must react under that stress, usually without the tools that you need.  That leaves you empty handed and scrambling to develop a plan in your head as you go.  Not a good place to be.  So, why not profile?

Unfortunately, profiling has gotten a bad  rap, but as we have stated before you need to learn how to profile in the right way.  Below are some of the principals of proper profiling.  If you really want to be Left of Bang when it comes to active shooters, I highly recommend you become familiar with profiling and start training yourself and your staff how to be situationally aware.

Principals of Profiling

humans are creatures of habit

humans are lazy

humans are lousy liars

humans will run, fight or freeze

humans telegraph their intentions

humans are predictable

humans are not good at multitasking

humans can’t do very many different things

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