Today in Florida, another mass shooting in an airport took the lives of 5 people and injured 8. A passenger with a gun in his checked luggage opened fire in the baggage claim area before throwing his weapon down and lying spread-eagle on the ground. The gunman — identified by authorities as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, an Army National Guard veteran who served in Iraq but was discharged last year for unsatisfactory performance — was immediately taken into custody. His brother said he had been receiving psychological treatment recently.
Naturally, citizens become fearful after these horrible crimes but there are ways you can help protect yourself and your family. One of the best ways to protect yourself and family is to TRAIN and fight our natural human instincts. Most of all, practise your Second Amendment right!
From Wilderness Arena
Many organizations have procedures in place that they are to follow if a shooting occurs. If practical and possible, you should understand and be familiar with the policy and procedures of the organization you are visiting. These “lockdown” procedures are almost always in place for schools. Most educational institution policies instruct students to stay away from doors and windows, lock the doors, and turn off the classroom lights.
Always be alert and conscientious about monitoring abnormal behavior. In many instances there were preliminary signs that the shooter was mentally ill and that they had contemplated a public mass shooting before committing the act. Often they had mentioned their “idea” to others beforehand. An individual who publicly mentions their desire to randomly kill or brings a weapon (or weapons) to a place where they are not allowed, should be reported to the authorities (police, supervisor, etc.) without hesitation.
In addition, be aware of anyone that does not “fit in”. Challenge people who do not have a name tag when they should or who have suspicious packages. Profiling is often considered socially incorrect but everyone, including authorities, use profiling quite effectively to identify persons who stand out as “red flags”.
And of course, always be aware of your surroundings. The best survivalists will always scan an area when they first enter, making mental notes of hallways, narrow paths, and exits.
When you are near the shooter
If you are in the immediate area of the shooter, attempt to remain calm. Your first action should be to take cover behind the most solid, nearby object you can find.
Discretely find an exit
If there is an exit or window nearby, and you are reasonably sure you will not be noticed, exit the area immediately. If exiting an upper floor area, be prepared to brace yourself for a fall (roll when you hit the ground). Experts note that persons who discreetly remove themselves from the situation have the highest rates of survival. Make sure you are not seen by the shooter though. You do not want to draw attention to yourself in a mass public shooting situation.
Flee with a purposeful pattern of escape
If you do not see an exit or escape route, ask someone familiar with the area if there is a way out (or watch their actions) and then evaluate whether or not to take this route of escape. If an exit is identified, flee in a zig-zag manner or at an angle to the shooter’s forward position (i.e. do not fleet straight away from the shooter which makes you much easier to target).
Stay low, horizontal, and face down
If there is no exit and no cover, stay hidden, low, and horizontal. Lie flat on the floor, face down with your arms near your head (but not covering your head). The facedown position protects your internal organs and may trick the shooter into thinking you are already dead. The flat profile also presents a smaller target profile for the shooter and may even cause the shooter to overlook you entirely. A low profile is also less likely to be struck by stray bullets. Try to control your breathing. Shooters often shoot at the most excited persons and lying in a prone position while maintaining a slow, shallow breathing pattern may make the shooter think you are already dead.
Note that people in a survival (fight or flee) situation will stop at nothing to escape the situation and thus, the risk of being trampled by others is always present. If possible, lie close to a fixed, unmovable object that fleeing persons will have to avoid when making their escape attempt.
Remember, if the shooter is about to shoot you and you are already fleeing, run in a zig-zag pattern to make it more difficult for the shooter to hit you. The shooter may still shoot at you but you will not be an easy target.
Talk them down or take them down
If the shooter is about to shoot you at point blank range, briefly try talking to the shooter while complying to their demands (“passive compliance” is proven to be effective). Understand that talking will typically not work with a mentally deranged shooter so do not spend too much time pleading for compassion. It is highly unlikely that they will care. If you are certain you are about to be shot, try throwing objects at the shooter to distract or disarm him. If there is a fairly sizable solid object nearby, you may hold it in front of you to deflect the shots or to shield yourself as you charge the shooter in an attempt to disarm him.
If you are within arm’s reach of the shooter, you may be able to disarm the shooter. If the shooter is using a rifle, grab the barrel and turn it away from you while striking the assailant with your other hand or kicking them with your feet. As the assailant instinctively pulls the weapon away from you, follow their movement to put them off balance and attempt to grab the butt end of the rifle while moving towards them. With both ends secured in your hands, you can use the weapon as leverage as you knee or kick the assailant in the body. If the weapon is a pistol, try to quickly grab it from the top. With many pistol models, grabbing the weapon from the top will prevent the firing action from completing as you attempt to wrench the weapon from the shooter’s hand.
Understand that most random shooters will have multiple weapons on hand. If you disarm the shooter, you must still evaluate the situation and follow the above-mentioned survival attempts as the shooter rearms themselves.
If safe from the shooter, attempt to help others around you. Control bleeding quickly.
When you are not near the shooter but hear the shots
Location: not in the immediate area
If you are not in the immediate area but hear shots being fired, get away from the area as quickly as possible. Do not stay around to watch but rather, put as much distance between you and the shooter as possible. The further you are from the area, the more difficult it is for the shooter to obtain a mark on you (and the less likely you’ll be hit by a random shot). After you have put sufficient distance between you and the shooter, call emergency services and report the incident.
Location: inside the building
If you are in a separate room, turn off the lights and if possible, lock or barricade the door with heavy objects (inward moving doors are ideal for blockades). Try to discretely cover any windows or other openings so the shooter cannot see into the room. Move away from the door. In some instances, the shooters have chosen to simply shoot through the door rather than enter the room. If there are other people in the room with you, tell them to spread apart (people tend to huddle together during a crisis). If there is a phone in the room, call the police and leave the phone off the hook while you seek cover inside the room or escape through an exit or window.
If you are shot
Gunshot wounds are survivable. If you have been shot, commit to yourself that you will survive and begin taking the necessary actions to ensure survival. Firstly, seek medical assistance immediately. Try to stay calm and concentrate on slowing down your breathing. This will decrease the bleeding and help prevent shock. Do not examine the wound too much (this can lead to panic). Cover the wound and apply direct pressure. If the wound is a sucking chest wound, you can use a credit card or other hard, flat object to cover the area. If there are persons nearby to assist, ask them to help apply pressure to the wound. Seek some sort of body covering to help retain body heat.