Holistic Survival
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Survive a School or Workplace Shooting

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It’s unfortunate that the society we live in even requires us to write on the topic of school or workplace shootings, but that’s the reality of the world around us. We can stick our head in a hole and try to ignore it or just deal with it. At Holistic Survival, we’ve always been fans of preparation and proactivity.

Stay Alert
Often a student or co-worker threatens to use a knife or gun in advance of actually doing so. You should take this kind of stuff seriously and report it to a teacher or supervisor. Yes, they might be blowing off steam, but again, maybe not. This is not a chance you can afford to take any more. Don’t worry about being a snitch. This is life and death stuff we’re talking about.

In a similar manner, stay alert to your surroundings. If you see a guy or girl stalking down the aisle, raising an automatic rifle, don’t allow yourself to become paralyzed by the unreality of the sight. Those precious few seconds you gain by swinging into action immediately just might save your life.

Know Procedures
Most schools and workplaces have formulated “lockdown” procedures in the event of a shooting incident. This sort of pre-planning does absolutely zero good if you don’t know what it is. Most of these types of procedures instruct you where to go on the property depending upon where you are and what is transpiring. For example, you hear the sound of gunfire. A teacher might be trained to turn off the lights and lock the door while students hide in a less visible corner.

When Shooting Starts
At this point, it’s all about survival. If you see the shooter at a distance, your first and best option is to get away quickly. The farther away from him or her you are, the more difficult a shot it is. Running a zigzag or unpredictable pattern helps make you a difficult target to hit. Secondarily, after taking all measures to put distance between yourself and the shooter, look for an exit or a room to hide in, preferably one with windows in case you need an alternate escape route than the door you came through.

If you find yourself face-to-face with the shooter, all bets are off. Do anything you can to create a distraction. Throw anything you can lay your hands on: chairs, laptops, fire extinguishers. Attacking someone with a gun and murderous intent in mind is not a good idea unless it is the absolute final option. They obviously have decided that shooting people is okay, so an appeal to reason is unlikely to succeed. An all-out charge by several people at once is dangerous, but might be your only chance to overwhelm the assailant.

In the event you’re within a few steps of the shooter, grabbing the barrel of the weapon and forcing it away is an option, though keep in mind a weapon that has been fired several times recently will be hot. The gunman will likely try to pull the weapon back, which allows you to follow the movement by pushing forward to throw him off balance. Follow with a punch in the face, throat, or nose, or a jab your fingers into his eyes. We don’t normally suggest a potential victim assault an armed interloper, unless they have been trained to do so, but if death appears imminent, all bets are off. Do what you must.

Wait for Help
Don’t be too eager to open the door to anyone who claims they are police or a paramedic. It wouldn’t be the first time a shooter tried to trick a victim into coming out from cover. Ask a few questions first to make sure the person is actually who they say they are, and the intention is to help you.

Keep in mind that police arriving at the scene of a shooting are trained to treat everyone as a threat until proven otherwise. Don’t run towards them or ask for help. The best thing to do to prove your innocence is lie face down on the ground with your arms spread away from your body. Stay quiet. Listen for orders and follow them exactly.

The preceding advice is, obviously, quite general in nature. Every shooting situation is unique, though the broad concepts are good to keep in mind. Get away if you can, take cover if you can’t, and wait for help to arrive (Top image: Flickr | bestlibrarian).

The Holistic Survival Team


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