Senators and staff “were instructed in a security briefing Wednesday that if confronted by a gunman and there’s no escape: attack,” POLITICO reports.
“If you are unable to escape, if you are unable to evade, and the shooters are there, what do you do? You attack,” said Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer, referencing instructions from the Department of Homeland Security. “Don’t sit around and wait to be shot. Attack. Attack loudly. And hopefully some good will come out of it to someone.”
Gainer told senators and their staff, listening both on Capitol Hill and in their state offices, that this would be his most controversial-sounding advice of the day, but to remember it is what stopped the gunman Saturday from reloading his weapon, after he killed six people and injured 14 more, including the Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in Tucson, Ariz.
Indeed, the rest of Gainer’s advice included encouraging staff to call in even the most subtle threats, keeping the police on speed dial and never working in the office alone, unless it’s locked.
“If the hair on the back of your neck goes up, then you ought to do something about it,” he said. “The bottom line on those threats is, if you think it’s a threat, you call. If it’s immediate, call 9-1-1.”
He also encouraged staff to notify them about events in their area – even minor events like the one Giffords held Saturday morning outside a local grocery store. Gainer said that Capitol security forces can reach out to the local law enforcement to make arrangements, including having local police stop by the event.