It is beyond unthinkable that in the realm of preparedness that I would have to write a post on one of the most preventable things in the areas of tragedy and disaster. Just yesterday, a little over 24 hours ago, 2 gunman stormed a workplace and killed 14 people and injured 17 more in the city of San Bernadino. Earlier that day it was in Savannah. Last month: Colorado Springs. Earlier this year: Roseburg, in my home state of Oregon. Tragedies like these are becoming the normal in a country that has seen violence on this scale happening "over there" and not here. What to do if an active shooter incident occurs is taught alongside college orientation for new college students, as if the knowledge of knowing where the cafeteria on campus is is on par with what to do if a gunman invades your classroom.
So where does this leave us then? Without getting into the Armed/Not Armed argument that always seems prevalent after these events, we need to realize that now in this day, we have to prepare ourselves for what we would do if there was an Active Shooter. The Department of Homeland Security has created a video entitled "Run, Hide, Fight" that outlines the steps an individual would need to take in case of an active shooter.
In addition to what was outlined in the video a few other recommendations to surviving an event like this:
- Know Your Surroundings And What Is Going On Around You - In our era of smartphones, nearly everyone on the street has their head down or headphones in. Your eyes and ears are your alarm systems to danger. Take the time to see what's going on around you, know where exits are, notice people out of place (especially if you are familiar with an area, i.e workplaces, schools, places of worship), and have a plan.
- See Something, Say Something- At times, active shooter events can be spontaneous. Someone shows up with a gun and starts shooting. But other times, they can be premeditated. If you notice someone acting in a peculiar way that is not normal or if some triggering event occurs that changes a person's normal disposition ( anger outburst after being fired or let go and storming off), say something. In the words of Obi Wan Kenobi " Trust your feelings". Let the appropriate people know how you feel and see if steps can be taken for you and others safety.
- Choose to be Armed, Be Trained- If this is a choice that you take and your are licensed and legal to carry, get all the necessary training for yourself and continue to train. During those precious seconds that an Active Shooter event runs, your decisions won't just affect you but others and that includes your rounds downrange. If you choose this, be trained.
It is a tragedy that we have to discuss this as a preparedness topic but that is the world we know live in. During the Cold War, it was taught to "Duck and Cover". During the 21st century, it is now "Run, Hide, Fight". At this pace, I shudder to think of the next 3 words we will have to use 10 years from now.