NEW YORK The Department of Homeland Security has released a controversial, three-minute video giving everyday office workers a "survival guide" in the event of a mass shooting, CBS New York station WCBS-TV reports.
"This type of incident can happen any day, anywhere across the United States, and people have to be prepared," security expert David Boehm told WCBS-TV.
Coming just weeks after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and citing the mass shootings at Virginia Tech and attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the video is a step-by-step guide on how to survive an active-shooter situation. Production on the piece actually started before the Newtown massacre.
(At left, watch a report from WCBS-TV)
"Find a place to hide where the shooter is less likely to find you," the narrator says on the video.
It tells people how to act if confronted with such a situation, including identifying escape routes, helping others escape if possible and following instructions of police officers.
"It seems that this information is now being put out to show what the options are in case someone has to deal with this, instead of just hiding, what the other options are to engage," Boehm said.
What is surprising many people about the video is the government's recommendation to try to grab scissors or another sharp object if confronted by a gunman.
"You might consider trying to overpower the shooter with whatever means are available," the narrator says.
(At left, watch Homeland Security's video)
It is a suggestion that people are split on.
"They could hurt the wrong person or get themselves hurt, and I just think it's not very responsible," said Mie Kurahara of Massachusetts.
"I wouldn't stand there and do nothing. I think your natural instinct is to protect others and yourself," said Sasha Durcan, of Brooklyn. "But I get it, like don't stand there and take it. Fight back."
However, Boehm said it's an approach that might work.
"Actually engaging a possible shooter, if that's the last resort, rather than just hiding and waiting," he said.
It is a strategy many hope could save lives.