Mass shootings are happening more and more often in America. Yesterday, there were two mass shootings within 24 hours that claimed the lives of 29 people and injured 52 more. A mass shooting in a Texas Wal-Mart took the lives of 20 people, and a shooting in a popular nightlife area in Dayton, Ohio killed 9 more. Being caught up as a victim in something like this is a hellish nightmare you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.
A synopsis of the event came from a Facebook live video. (Is it just me or do you find it strange that someone was recording a video and not running like hell?)
At the start of the video, a woman runs toward the store, past a truck that a shopping cart has run into, with a body lying on the ground beside it.
Children were holding a fundraiser at the store and some reportedly were among the casualties.
At the front of the store, victims' bodies are shown near a table that appeared to have items for sale. The body of a man in blue jeans and a blue shirt is seen on the ground near the table, lying on his stomach, seemingly dead, as a woman rushes over to help. Near him is a woman, taking cover between a garbage can and the wall.
A person is shown lying motionless to the left of the table, under a shade covering set up over it, as a woman tries to help. Nearby, by the wall of the building, a man lies on his side in a pool of dark blood, with a bandage on his back.
A voice tells him, "Try not to move," adding, "Stay with me, OK?"
Wailing is heard in the background, as people tend to others lying injured nearby. (source)
What would you do if you were caught up in a mass shooting? You need to figure this stuff out now because your chances of thinking clearly and making a plan while gunshots are ringing out are practically nil.
You have to know what to do before an event like this occurs.
One factor that allows shooters to get so many victims is that most folks don't know what to do in such an event. Most people don't think ahead when they're going to Wal-Mart or enjoying an evening in a popular pedestrian area.
But these days, a person has to have a plan anywhere they go, it seems. And they also have to have a survival mindset, practicing the 3 steps of survival repeatedly until it becomes completely natural for them.
If you are in the first wave of victims, that's just bad luck, and there isn't much you can do about that. But if you are not in that first wave, then you have a chance to take action and survive. But you have to know what to do and be able to take those life-saving actions.
What is not important if you find yourself in the midst of a shooting
This is an unpopular opinion, but here goes.
Strictly from a survival point of view, it doesn't matter who it is doing the shooting or whether it's a "false flag." If you were present during these events, it does not aid your survival to know who committed the acts of terror that occurred on 9/11, on the streets of Boston, in London, or in Paris. It doesn't matter whether the shooting at Sandy Hook was perpetrated by a kid with behavioral issues or by operatives with an agenda. It doesn't matter that the guy shooting up a Walmart in Texas wrote an anti-Hispanic manifesto.
If your focus is preparedness and survival, the most important thing you can be doing right now is learning from horrific events.
Whether you believe these acts are at the hands of Muslim extremists waging jihad, someone who hates Hispanic people, a guy who hates women because he can't get a date, or a state-sponsored act of terror to clamp down and take away more freedom, the single most important thing you can take away from any of these events is a lesson in survival.
This article is not a debate about the different conspiracy theories. If you are present during a terror attack, my opinions on the culprit don't matter and neither do yours. All that matters in those minutes or hours is surviving.
So let us try not to get bogged down in a debate over how these two shootings within 24 hours make it easy for all the 2020 candidates to pull on the heartstrings about gun control. What matters is whether you can survive in such a scenario.
Here are the things you need to do before a shooting ever happens.
First things first, even when you're there for fun, you must be paying attention. You should always scan an area for exits and potential cover. You should pay attention to the people around you. You should understand what the baseline behavior is for your setting so that if something is not baseline, it immediately catches your attention. Let me explain this further.
We can maintain a high level of situational awareness merely by being observant. One way to develop your skills is to play something called Kim's Game. My friend Scott, at Graywolf Survival, used to use the game to train his soldiers in situational awareness. He wrote:
Situational awareness is key to understanding your environment so you can know better both your circumstances and your options. There are myriad examples that could be given but would you notice the bulge (called printing) of someone's ankle from a concealed weapon if you were asked to follow him to barter for goods? Would you remember enough details of the turn of a path you passed two hours ago to be able to find it again? If you were attacked, would you be able to give a good enough description of the subject and getaway vehicle to have him identified?
A higher level of situational awareness can help you in many ways, should you be unfortunate enough to be present during a mass shooting.