There is more violence in our society presently than in any other time in recent history. Whether you tend to blame the guns, the criminals, or the rancorous mental health system, we are all potential victims of mass violence. Each day more news pours in about officer-involved shootings in Tulsa, Oklahoma or Charlotte, North Carolina and, even more alarming, active shooter events.
According to the FBI, an active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. This can be a random act, planned act, or a spur of the moment reaction to an altercation.
From Washington State, to Texas, and many points in between, we have almost become numb to the news of random shootings at school, malls, and other public places. Central Illinois and the Champaign-Urbana have had a unique sense of security in regard to active shooter events until recently when shooting broke out in Champaign.
While these types of events are becoming more and more prevalent and deadly, there are certain common-sense steps to take in order to increase the likelihood of survival for yourself and those around your.
According to experts, simply allowing common-sense to take over is an important aspect of active shooter survival. Additionally,
1. Remain calm. Panic does not do anyone any good. Focus on your breathing so you can assess the safest action.
2. Determine what action you are going to take
If you are not alone, alert others in the area that a shooter is present. If you can bring people with you on your escape, do it. If you cannot convince someone to go with you, leave him/her and get yourself to safety.
Action a: run: be prepared to run. Run as fast as you can. If you are wearing shoes that make it more difficult to run, ditch them and run barefoot. This sounds like something you would see in a movie, but it is good advice. Know an escape route that will get you the furthest distance away from a shooter. Once you get to safety, don’t assume someone has already called 911. Call 911 anyway.
Action b: hide: if running is not an option, hide in a secure location, out of the shooter’s view. You want a location that will provide you protection if shots are fired in your direction. Do not open a locked door until you can confirm that authorities are the ones coming to your rescue. Call 911 if you can accomplish this task without being found. If you cannot find safety behind a locked door, find an area that provides you concealment and cover but still allows you a visual on the attacker. If the shooter does not see you, you may have a chance to make a run for an exit. If the shooter doesn’t see you, you may have an opportunity to brace yourself if you need to fight back.
Action c: fight: if you are forced to fight the shooter, be aggressive & violent, control the weapon and then control the shooter, and use whatever improvised weapon you can find. This is the last chance effort and should only be adopted if there is no way to run and hide.
Active shooter events are a frightening reality to our world and, despite the fact that it is not enjoyable to think about, having a plan can save lives.