Once again, our nation suffered an incredibly tragic outcome from the acts of a lone gunman. At the latest report, one guy with guns shot and killed 59 and wounded over 500 of our citizens.
This event will be listed as the highest mass casualty shooting event that the United States has suffered. Now we must ask ourselves how long before someone tries to do greater evil? Unfortunately, we know that attempt will be made sometime in the future.
Unlike most of the Violent Critical Incidents we have experienced in the last 20 years, this one differed in that it was not done up-close and personal in a contained environment. This lunatic took a high-ground position on the 32nd floor of a hotel. He then fired down into over 20,000 people crowded in an open space across the street where an open-air concert was under way. Just regular people enjoying music, causing no harm, and surely not expecting the unspeakable to begin. But then it did, and the normal first things occurred: disbelief in the reality of the situation and confusion as to what to do.
When we teach people about their response options, we talk about 3 primary options: Evacuation, Securing-in-Place, and if necessary, Countering the attacker and even taking back Control of the environment rendering it safe once more. We are always sure to tell folks that these are their options, but the event and their circumstances within the event will dictate the proper response.
The circumstances of this event yielded two of the responses useless. Securing-in-Place was not an option due to the open-air environment, hardly anywhere to get sufficient cover from automatic gunfire raining down from above. Countering the attack was also not an option with the bad guy about 400 yards away and about 300 feet in the air. So given this scenario, there was only one response: Evacuation.
Watching the numerous cell phone videos taken during the attack, there is constant evidence that so much work still needs to be done to prepare our citizens in their response strategies when suddenly faced with this kind of madness. Far too many people “hit the deck” and stopped moving during the shots being fired. While this response may make sense based on some past training for responding to danger, it is actually the worst response for increasing odds of survival. One’s chances of getting hit and getting hit multiple times increases dramatically when assuming a passive and static position. We have to MOVE!
Movement does a few positive things for us very quickly. A moving target is harder target. Harder is good. A moving target creates distance. Distance is good. A moving target can perhaps locate and get behind some form of cover. Cover is good. And a moving target can find a way to Evacuate the target zone. Evacuation is good.
Another tragic event further exemplifies the need to train our population in their survival response options on what to do during the violence. Training and Practice are needed to create the mental mindset and the physical skill set needed to decrease the terrible outcomes of these senseless tragedies.
Common sense, just not common knowledge.