In light of the recent shooting in Las Vegas, it’s time to examine our personal security again. As per usual, the calls for gun control reform have begun again in earnest. Though I won’t comment on that directly, I will say it is time to look at what personal safety should mean to all of us.
In this particular case, the venue was large, the vantage point was high, and from the police scanner transposition, it is clear there was chaos not only amongst the public but also from the various police agencies involved. What the scanner records show is no clear leader, and no general direction for medical responders, safety responders, and that the general public was in a panic. There were reports of people trying to steal shotguns, steal patrol cars, and even breaking into vehicles to try and escape.
What this showed to me is the worst of human nature. There are a few cases of heroism, but the general lack of understanding of safety protocol highlights what it means to be trained to respond to emergencies, and how to prepare to keep your cool in dangerous situations. The idea of trying to grab a shotgun from a police officer is just senseless to me. A shotgun is not going to keep you safe in this situation, and honestly only seeks to make the situation more dangerous. Likewise, stealing a patrol car is a way to get yourself into deep trouble.
You can listen to the full transcript here. It isn’t pretty and shows a picture of a lot of confusion.
So what can we learn from this:
- Let the police do their jobs and stay out of the way. They are armed for a reason. They have patrol cars for a reason. They need their weapons and their vehicles to do their jobs. Let them do their jobs.
- Know when you are in a large venue, especially one with high surrounding points where your exits are. Know where the safe spots are. Theatres, sporting events, unfamiliar venues, these are all places where active shooters have wreaked havoc. Knowing where to go that is safe could mean saving your life, and those who are with you.
- Understand that law enforcement can become confused or disorganized. Comply with commands, but don’t put yourself at unnecessary risk.
- Forget your belongings. You can replace all that stuff, but you can’t replace your life or those who are with you. So just leave it.
- Don’t follow the crowd. Shooters tend to shoot into the crowd, not at the stragglers. If you are in the crowd you are at a higher risk, run toward shelter or a hiding spot, then stay put until you get the all clear.
- Ignore the advice about running in a zig-zag pattern. In situations like Las Vegas, and most of the active shooter situations the shooter probably wasn’t aiming for people. So the shots that connected were random. It wouldn’t have mattered if you were crouched or zig-zagging. If you were in the wrong spot at the wrong time, you were hit. Period. Just move fast to a place where you can’t get hit. You won’t be guaranteed to be safe, but you will be reducing your chance of risk.
Just remember, with every natural disaster, man-made event, or act of God there is something that we can learn. Perhaps in this situation, it is a look at the future of gun control, and perhaps not. It is most definitely a look at how to be more prepared for an active shooter in an open venue. Stay safe friends!