As information comes out about the tragedy in Colorado, one of the things that struck me was that so many people just sat there, even after the gunman started shooting. Where have we heard that before? School shootings, restaurant shootings, church shootings…it seems anytime some maniac walks in with a gun people don’t believe their eyes and are slow to respond. Are we so inured to violent acts because of TV, movies and video games that we don’t recognize the threat as real? Are we afraid of being embarrassed by diving under a table only to find out it was a kid in a costume? Are we just so stunned that something bad is happening, the reality and gravity of the situation seem unreal?
This is our world. What can you do? Assume anyone who is brandishing weapons means it! MOVE. Get away, or hide behind cover, dive to the floor, under a table, make yourself a smaller target, get out of sight…do whatever you have to do. If it is a bad joke, embarrassment you can recover from, a bullet wound is a lot more difficult.
When you enter any establishment, such as a theater, restaurant or club, do you scan to see where the exits are? Do you recognize nearby cover and concealment? Have you taken quick note of obstacles between you and the nearest two or three exits? This not only helps you if a madman attacks with a gun, what if there were a fire or other surprise disaster? Scanning for exits, cover and obstacles takes a few seconds, and may save your life. Get in the habit of identifying not just the main entrance, but additional points of exit and entry. If you are with your family, have you thought about how to get them to safety? Whenever you go anywhere, think “What If…?”
I hope you never have to implement your plan, but if you do…at least you will have one.