Unfortunately we had another active shooter situation rear its head today at Ohio State University. Last report stated that nine were injured and one was in critical condition. Although we cannot stop violence, there are things we can do to prepare for it in order to give us the best chance for making it out alive. We have covered how to react to violence in a previous article that can be referenced HERE. I would like to quickly cover 3 action items for dealing with any active shooter situation.
Run – Obviously the first action to take is to get off the X. Get as far from the threat as possible. If you can identify the location of the shooter, try to move in the opposite direction as quickly and safely as you can. If you’re on a larger campus such as Ohio State and have knowledge of where the shooter is at, move the opposite direction to a safe place. The goal is to put as much distance between you and the shooter as possible.
Hide – Depending on your location, you may not have the luxury of just up and running. in this case you need to find cover to shield you from any bullets and only move when it’s safe to. You need to understand the difference between cover and concealment though. Cover, which is what you want, is anything that is capable of stopping bullets from penetrating. This can be any concrete structure, metal doors, large heavy desks, trees or anything else that has this characteristic. Concealment is only going to camouflage you, not protect you from bullets.
Fight – If you must, be prepared to fight. This can be extremely horrifying, but a necessary life saving measure. When I say ‘fight’ I don’t necessarily mean going toe-to-toe with the bad guy. What I’m looking to do is disrupt the threat by throwing something or shooting back. If you have a group of people with you, then strength in number will be to your advantage. Start picking up whatever you have at your disposal to throw or fight with. If the shooter becomes distracted with people throwing object at them, this may be a good window for other to subdue the threat or run for cover. In a shooting course I took this summer, the instructor carried two concealable fixed blade knives on him. Why you ask? He said that if you are within combatives distance you will not have time to draw and shoot. He proceeded to tell us that he would pull one of the knives and throw it at the threat (not caring if it actually stuck or not). This whole reason for throwing the first was to distract the threat. As soon as he threw the first blade he would then close the distance and subdue the threat with the second blade.
A good resource for dealing with these types of situations is the book 100 Deadly Skills. the book is chalked full of scenarios and ideas for how to react and deal with them. Your chances of survival will be greater if you remain aware of your surroundings, mentally rehearse how you would react to said situations and be in good physical condition in case you come fact to face with the threat.
Most universities and schools do not allow any type of firearms or knives. One item that can be carried everywhere and used for personal defense is a quality high lumen flashlight. This can be used to temporarily blind the attacker allowing you to either run or move in to subdue him. A good light can also be used as an impact weapon if you end up grappling with the bad guy. This makes a great tool for students and adults of any age to have. I personally recommend the following lights.
Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA (My daily carry light) – A great option for under $40. Available on Amazon.
Surefire P2X Fury – A higher end light with a proven track record. Also available on Amazon.
Featured image courtesy of USA Today