It is unfortunate that sudden violence perpetrated by an individual bent on killing innocent people is a reality in modern American communities. The good news is that the likelihood of finding yourself in the crossfire of an active shooter event is roughly equivalent to being struck by lightning; however, just as you can lessen your chances of being struck by lightning, there are some things you can do to both avoid an active shooter event and respond effectively should you ever find yourself in this unthinkable situation.
Being aware of your surroundings can be a simple first step in avoiding a potentially dangerous situation. We are often distracted by the wireless handheld technology that has become ubiquitous in American culture. Taking your eyes off the screen, looking around and seeing what is going on around you is an important survival skill. Another way to avoid danger is to trust your instincts. Human intuition has developed over millions of years from a time when we, as a species, were dodging large carnivorous animals trying to eat us. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't; trust your subconscious to guide you away from danger even if you don't know consciously why you're on edge, uneasy or nervous.
If situational awareness fails and you're in the midst of an active shooter event, you can remember and follow the ADD model to effectively respond:
AVOID: If you can; run.
DENY: If you can't run; hide and lock/barricade the shooter out of where you are hiding.
DEFEND: As a last resort; fight for your life and the lives of the other innocent people around you.
This simple mnemonic can get you started in responding effectively to an active shooter event. You are not a victim unless you choose to be. If you're interested in additional training for your business or community group, please contact me at the City of Madison Police Department Central Community Policing Team to arrange a free Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) class. Stay safe.
By: PO Matt Magolan