Being present when a crazed gunman suddenly opens fire at a soft target, such as a shopping mall, is everyone’s idea of a nightmare. But at least when it comes to a nightmare, it’s possible to wake up. But an active shooter situation is a real life or death situation. It means finding a way to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Says a spokesperson from Stein Law Injury Lawyers, there exists a troubling history of random shootings and stabbings in U.S. malls and other soft targets such as schools. One of these tragedies was the 2021 Aventura shooting, which took place at Florida’s Aventura Mall, where at least five innocent victims were killed. In this case, and many like them, property management companies and malls wanted you to be convinced they were doing everything possible to keep you safe. Still, the shooter got through, and fatal casualties resulted.
But the persistent question remains: Why are active shootings in the U.S. such a persistent issue? The answer is not so easy to ascertain. One thing is for certain, however. There are a variety of factors that can lead to negligent security at a shopping mall, which means it’s up to you to be vigilant and keep yourself safe should the worst happen.
But how can you keep yourself safe during an active shooting? According to a recent report by CNN, it’s a good thing that most people will ever find themselves in a situation in which they are forced to respond to a mass shooter. But tragic incidents like these are on the rise in the U.S., or so claims the Gun Violence Archive.
Plus, there’s not a lot of research on the role civilians can take in intervening in mass shootings. But with shootings happening at soft targets on a regular basis, schools, nonprofits, and companies are attempting to train innocent people in how to respond. Says one such trainer, more training programs and protocols are popping up across the country for preparing innocent people in case of an active shooter situation.
Preparation and Awareness
Trainers say that the ability to respond to an active shooter effectively involves two crucial things: preparation and awareness. People need to create “a habit of safety.” This means that people should always make a mental note of the crowds they find themselves in. They also need to take note of entrances, exits, and the tools available to assist them should a frightening live shooter event occur.
There’s a good chance that the worst-case scenario will likely never occur, but if you’re prepared, you can be assured that you will have the skills to take better care of yourself, your loved ones, and the innocent people around you. For certain, you should always place yourself near an exit and never have your back to an entrance.
Trainers also recommend that you make a mental plan not only in case of an active shooter situation but also in case of fire, medical, and other violent emergencies such as suddenly detonated IEDs (improvised explosive devices) or a vehicle that’s raced through a crowded open-air market, mowing down everyone in its deadly path.
Look for a Quick Way Out
Says CNN, trainers attest that you should always be looking for at least two ways to exit a building or an open-air situation just in case an obstacle is blocking one or the other is too lethal to approach. At home, always keep your windows and doors locked. Make a note of objects that can be used as barricades if necessary. If you are licensed to own a firearm, keep it safely stored but always at the ready should an armed intruder enter your home with the intent to do bodily damage.
Once you are satisfied with your safety plan, you need to practice it. For instance, the plan must be practical. Maybe the big bookcase set against the wall appears like the perfect barricade, but it can be nearly impossible to move during an emergency. You need to make sure you have a quick way out if necessary. That means you need to have the ability to quickly open locked windows and doors.
Training for Defending Yourself Against an Active Shooter
In the final analysis, trainers stress the importance not only of preparedness but physical training. The training program need not be intensive, long-term, or even active shooter-specific. But active shooter or self-defense training can assist you with the strategies and knowledge to utilize fast if they are required. Even a general emergency training program will afford you the physical and mental responses necessary in case of a potentially deadly emergency.