According to the online magazine The Nation, there were 16 mass shootings last year (2012) in the United States, leaving at least 88 dead. Two of the deadliest shootings last year happened in a Colorado theater and a Connecticut elementary school, but so did many others in which multiple people were killed. Mass shootings happen at random places, such as a church, a movie theatre, a soccer field, a salon, a courthouse, and the list goes on. While some argue shootings are predictable, the truth may be that they are in fact random. So how do you survive such a random act of violence? The key may be preparation and taking action.
As ABC News explains in a 20/20 report, in an emergency situation, quite often people go through a fight or flight process. It has to do with our frontal cortex and how we act neurologically. This often causes tunnel vision and impaired hearing. But what also kicks in is muscle memory (if stored) and adrenaline. Both of which can be used to survive a mass shooting. Let’s break down the top five tips to survive such a shooting.
PREPARE: If you are a student of some sort, the chances are (hopefully) you’ve experienced some sort of mass shooting drill at school. Just as Home Security Store recommends you prepare for the worst as far as natural disasters go, so too you should prepare for a possible shooting, especially when in a crowded place.
RUN: If the shooter is far way enough, you’ve got to run and not stand still or hide. If you are in an enclosed building, find the nearest exit and get out.
CAN’T RUN? HIDE: In California, residents are taught not to run in the case of an earthquake – rather duck and cover under the biggest object you can find such as a heavy and sturdy desk. The same could be said for where to hide in a shooting situation. First, find a room if you can and lock the door. Put a chair, sofa, or anything in front of the door. Next, turn the lights off and then hide under a desk if need be.
SILENCE IS GOLDEN: Silence your cell phone and if you can use a landline to call for help and tell authorities where you are. Remember, a landline is easier to track than a cell phone is. Also, if you don’t have your cell phone with you then leave it behind. A ring could mean the difference between life and death.
FIGHT: If it comes to a fight, then do it! Here’s where your physical survival skills must set in. Of course if there is a group of you, fight together as one – fight as a mob. The trick is to utilize anything you can find as a weapon – fire extinguishers, scissors, hot coffee, glass objects, even a pen. Aim for his hands and if you can’t do that then aim high for his eyes, face, shoulder, and neck.
The bottom line is – when caught in tragedy you have to do something. Keep in mind the first five seconds of a shooting can make or break your odds of survival. Also be prepared and think out the decision to place yourself in a high-risk place, such as a concert, a football game, a public park, or an auditorium of some kind.