Imagine, you are sitting at your desk at work, and you hear something… You think it might be firecrackers or someone snapping the bubbles on bubble wrap, but you hear something that doesn’t sound right… Then you hear someone scream: “Run! He has a gun!” What are you going to do?
I recently attended an active shooter workshop at my church presented by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Charles Clanahan. I learned quite a bit. It’s sad that my church has to take such precautions, but this is the age in which we live. They are taking precautions to protect the congregation as much as they can.
What is an active shooter? An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims, although several shooter had specific targets (black people and Christians).
This video will introduce you to this topic (sorry, I couldn’t embed this video):
Denying this problem exists or “sticking your head in the sand” will not help you or your co-workers if an active shooter comes to your workplace. Ask yourself: Do you want to be a victim? Do you care about your co-workers?
If your work, school, or church has not provided training for an active shooter situation, or if they do not have a plan in place, I highly recommend you contact management or your Human Resources department and get something going for your company. Training will help you know the answer to the question: What are you going to do? And possibly save many lives. You or they can then contact the DHS to set up free (meaning at the expense of your tax dollars) training for your place of employment or church.
Did you know United States has an active shooter situation once a week? I tried to find the source information but couldn’t. The Kansas DHS presenter said this so take it for what it’s worth. I have no reason to disbelieve him. Such events are not reported every by the news media every time they occur. (They have to make money, you know).
Here are a few tips:
Familiarize yourself with the sound of gunfire even if you’ve never fired a gun yourself. In short, it doesn’t sound the movies.
Have a plan of escape, and get out no matter where you are. Get in the habit of scoping out your surroundings at work, movie theaters, and at church, note the exits and windows. This is basic emergency preparedness because it works in the case of a fire. You want to get out of the building. Besides, unlike a stationary target, a moving target is harder to hit, especially with a handgun. RUN! Do not go back for belongings. And ladies, it’s okay to take off you high heels.
If you cannot escape, have a plan to barricade the room, or hide. Hiding was an interesting topic. This does not mean simply getting on the floor and hoping you don’t get shot—in fact, this is a bad idea. It means camouflaging yourself. This can be as simple as hiding under a desk and pulling the chair and wastebasket around you (note this in the next video). You want to be out of the shooter’s sight. Remember playing hide-and-seek as a child? Be quiet and silence your phone. However, the better option is to get out of the building.
Keep your cell phone close. This was of special interest for people who work where their employer has a no cell phone policy. Quite honestly it’s a bad policy to ban cell phones. They could be the only way to reach for help outside the building. If you employer has a no cell phone policy, petition them to learn about active shooter situations, perhaps they will change this policy. Along with cell phones, if you work where there is an intercom, learn how to use it.
As a last resort, FIGHT! Do all you can NOT to fight as this IS the last resort. Plan on being injured (this is something you need to think about before the situation arises). Throw whatever is handy and do everything you can to incapacitate the shooter. The shooter is especially vulnerable when reloading, attacking then is an optimal time.
I highly encourage you to watch the next two videos. They will help prepare you for such an unfortunate situation, and also explain further about what to do when law enforcement arrives.
The trend seems to be that mass shootings like this are increasing. What this does not mean is that we should ban guns. Most mass shootings took place at gun free zones (such as schools). Even Fort Hood was gun free because military personnel could not carry their sidearm on the base. Most of the time the shooters killed themselves because they knew the police had guns, or they’d done as much damage as they could. Again, banning guns is not the answer. Even if we did ban guns, these people would find some other way to cause mass casualties. Knives (and explosives) have been used in other countries.
As a side issue, metal illness needs to be discussed. Most of these shootings involved people with mental illness. They need help. I don’t really have answers but it is a factor in many of these incidents.
I know shootings like this is a heavy topic, but it is an important one. I am not trying to scare you into action but rather equip your if you’re ever in this kind of situation. Please share with people you know. Contact me if you need more information, I will do my best to find the answer.