Mailbag: Active Shooter Question

With the random shooter attack in Florida, I am wondering if you could give us some advice on what to do if we are caught in a place where this happens? Ryan B., Fort Worth Texas

My advice would be the same for the airport scenario as for any other active shooter situation.

What do you do?

The basics of self-protection stay the same in this case.

You have your Wife and kids with you, head for the nearest exit. If you are a person concerned with safety, knowing at least two possible escape routes is basic training. Even as you walk through a large place like an airport or a shopping mall, you should be making mental notes of the locations of exits as you pass them by and be on the lookout for exit signs as you approach them.

When escape is not possible, getting your loved ones behind cover needs to be the next option. Cover is a barrier that will stop bullets, whereas concealment means you are harder to see. Opt for cover whenever possible.

The decision time comes when the loved ones are out of harm’s way. Do you stay with them and hope you all are not discovered or do you move to stop the threat?

This is an individual decision and I cannot tell you what to do. You have to know your own strengths and weaknesses, you have to have information that only a person in the situation at that moment will have. Anyone giving one-size-fits-all easy answers, treat the answer with suspicion. The fact is that there are too many variables for there to be an easy answer. I wish there was an answer that I could give with more specificity, but there isn’t.

Start out by understanding that there are people in the world with no regard for the lives of others. Know that there are people who will kill you because they just want to. Get some training to gain a deeper understanding and to give you a point of departure in developing your plan for safety. And hope you never need to use that plan.