When A Shooting Strikes

I was distraught to need to create this page eighteen years after Columbine, but here we are: learning how to hide from killers a little better instead of disarming them. I've kept it simple, with 2 sections on this page:

Run, Hide, Fight

I have been advising my family and friends to run/hide/fight (in that order!) since 1999, because cops and FBI agents quietly told me that's what they told their kids. But it took over 15 years for this to reach a national audience. I'm elated that it has. 

Key: Do these in order!

Always run. Only hide if that's impossible. Only fight as a last resort. 

The short videos are helpful, too. They offer great examples, and memorable visuals. TSA has endorsed the concept, and created videos, but I think this one is great:

Active Shooter Pocket card

TSA created this useful active shooter pocket card. Here is the entire card, but you can also download a PDF here.

Decoding media coverage

Thank God, most of us won't ever face a shooter. But we are all bombarded by media coverage every time one of these bastards strikes. There is a lot you should know, so I wrote Skeptic's Guide to Media Coverage of Mass Shootings for The New Republic after maddening coverage of a shooting in 2015.

To simplify, we created this simple graphic. I've also included a great one done by NPR's On The Media. I will add more links soon. (You can read all my published work on school shooters here — for New York Times, Vanity Fair, Slate, Salon, Newsweek, New Republic, Guardian, Times of London, etc.)

Skeptic's Guide to Media Mass Murder, school shootings, Columbine

Origin story

Columbine book, Parkland, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold


Birth of a


Dave Cullen
Media Inquiries

© Dave Cullen 2019 / dave@davecullen.com

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"Like Capote's In Cold Blood, this tour de force gets below the who and what of a horrifying incident to lay bare the devastating why."

— People

Parkland Birth of a Movement MFOL March For Our Lives Marjory Stoneman Douglas High fence
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