The recent terrorist attack in California has frightened many of us. For several years now, our nation has experienced mass shootings at schools, churches, shopping malls, and now mass shootings by Islamic terrorists. I have been thinking and planning what to do if I found myself in such a situation. After reading advice from the Department of Homeland Security, I have come to my own conclusions. Ronald Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.” When I first read the DHS “advice”, it basically instructed us to “hide in place, barricade the doors and wait for the government to rescue you.” So much for the advice from DHS!
Here is my advice, with a legal disclaimer to consult with your own attorney before taking such action. After reading advice from numerous sources, I have come up with my own more realistic steps to take.
1) Escape if you can. Go! Get out of there, even if others are frozen in place. Leave all your belongings BEHIND! Help others escape if they will cooperate. I saw a video of an active shooter in a school board meeting in Northwest Florida. When the shooter came in and announced his intentions to open fire, people in the audience spent time gathering up their coats and purses before getting out!
2) Once you are safe, stop others from unknowingly walking into a deadly situation.
3) Call 911 as soon as possible. If the 911 operator tells you to stay on the phone, cooperate with him or her.
4) If you cannot escape, try to hide out of the shooter's view. Barricade the doors with anything heavy you can find. Get behind heavy furniture such as desks or file cabinets. If possible, keep an escape route open. Use bathrooms as a last resort because you will be pinned down. Lock the doors.
5) If none of the above will work due to time or situation, FIGHT! Attempt to disable the shooter. Get mad and defend yourself! What do you have to lose?
6) In a restroom, use toilet tank lids or toilet seats, metal trash cans, or mirrors as improvised weapons. Use fire extinguishers, chairs, lamps, broken glass from a picture frame or mirror, heavy vase, broken furniture, scissors, or a glass ash tray. Spray the bad guy with the fire extinguisher and then hit him in the face. Use hot coffee, full soda cans, hair spray, bug spray, anything heavy. Hit him and hit him hard. Your life depends on it.
7) If you have a gun, use it! If you don’t know how, get trained! Just in the last few days I have heard numerous Sheriffs and Police Chiefs advising citizens to arm themselves. GET TRAINED by me or another qualified trainer.
8) If you are evacuating a crowed theater, church, or mall, get away from the center of the hallway. Get next to the wall. You do NOT want to get caught up in the rushing mob of terrified people who might not care if you get trampled. Being next to a wall will allow you to use the wall for support if you get shoved or knocked down. Walls have windows and doors. You might find an escape route. Malls have numerous stores, often with back doors that you can escape through. You do NOT want to get caught up in a mob of dozens or even hundreds of people all trying to escape out the same door. Grab hold of small children and carry them if possible. If children are too big to carry, grab your child’s belt rather than holding onto their arm. The same applies to adults. Grab each of your family by the belt and hold on for dear life.
During the infamous doomed flight on 9/11, the passengers banded together. Todd Beamer was on his cell phone. Over the open phone line he was heard shouting, “Everybody ready? LET’S ROLL!” Pray that you will never need emergency plans, but have a plan! As I mentioned in my last article, imagine various scenarios, and plan for various contingencies that could happen in dangerous situations.
Yes, I must agree with numerous Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. If you don’t have a gun, get one and get trained.
In the next issue, I hope to discuss what to do when first responders arrive at the scene.
Paul Foreman, Retired Deputy Sheriff
& NRA Certified Firearms Instructor.
Paul can be reached through his web site: www.PaulForeman.com