I’m not Rambo. I’m not a SEAL or a former Delta Force operator. I don’t have the secret to surviving a mass shooting. You can find all of those people online easily. I’m just a civilian who used to carry a gun for a living as a regular infantryman, so I don’t have a list of five ways to survive in a civilian environment with an active shooter. I also don’t want my next words to sound as if I am blaming the victims of the attack in Orlando for their own deaths. I am only addressing OUR reaction to the events. However, I saw this recently from the “American Defense MFG” facebook page, and I liked them. I don’t know if they started these rules, but it’s where I first saw them.
Rule #1 – Nobody is coming to save you
Rule #2 – Everything is your responsibility
Rule #3 – Save who needs to be saved
Rule #4 – Kill who needs to be killed
Rule #5 – Always be working
Let’s break these down one by one.
No one is coming to save you – Many people will look at this and become properly offended at the notion of so little faith in mankind. If you look at this sentence and see only a hopeless attitude, then it’s because you have so little faith in yourself that you cannot imagine getting out of danger on your own. It is a lack of training, strength, and discipline which, when coupled with a total dependence upon others to save you from danger, could get you killed.
“Battle Drill 1 Alpha,” which consists of waiting around until the good guys show up, only works if you’re able to survive until they get there.
I’m a fan of police officers. Anyone who straps on a gun in the morning knowing that they might not survive until dinner generally is pretty cool in my book. Having said that, they are not your individual bodyguards. They are human beings with all of restrictions of time and space typical of our world. They can’t magic themselves between you and the bullets. It takes time for a call center to receive a call, process it, and send it to the individual police officers. They then have to drive there, assess the situation, and decide upon the best course of action.
If everyone lies down and expects them to do all of the work, they might not survive for the cops to get there. One can’t sit in a shootout with his eyes closed and his hands over his ears and expect to survive as easily as the guy who finds cover and an exit quickly.
Everything is your responsibility – God has given us tools to survive, but whether or not we use them is up to us. Build your mind and body. I believe that God gave us the tools we needed to become the dominant predator on the planet, and ignoring them is foolish. Maybe you’ve decided to outsource all of that “icky” violence, but realize that your personal survival is not the responsibility of the police or the federal government. If there is a weak link in your system, and you are able to fix it, it’s only your fault if you choose to ignore it.
Consider our context here. If you know that an area of town is dangerous at night, your safety is your responsibility should you decide to go in regardless of the danger. If you live in a place where you have the freedom to carry and train with a weapon for self-defense, it is your responsibility to do so, and your responsibility if you instead decide that you’ll never need to protect yourself.
As a caveat, realize that you’re not a one-man army. Know your limitations, and know when to run. Escape should always be your first idea, not a protracted gunfight.
Save who needs to be saved – Watch out for your people. Protect your family and friends with every action before AND during your stay in an unfamiliar place.
Kill who needs to be killed – Again, you’re not a ninja assassin. Your best bet is escape rather than a fight, but if you can’t escape and you can’t hide, your dead body isn’t going to save your family and friends. Once someone commits to the act of a mass shooting, reasoning with them is pretty much worthless. You can attempt to stun them and take the chance that it won’t work (it likely won’t), or you can end the threat immediately and efficiently as an absolute last option.
Always be working – Be a constant part of the solution. Congress can pass all of the safety legislation they want, but unless the individual American is able to take his eyes off of his Iphone, we will always be vulnerable.
More concealed carriers? Stricter gun laws? Florida has some of the loosest gun laws in the nation, and Paris some of the strictest in the world, and both were homes to vicious attacks.
Stay away from large crowds and only go to safe places? Say “screw that,” and flaunt your freedom by going anyway? Either is susceptible to attack.
The first step is by acknowledging that you have a problem, and we as a people have to understand that this kind of violence is the new norm. People genuinely want to kill other humans, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent every attempt.
Go about your day with the knowledge that there may be a bad guy in your vicinity, and prepare for it. Scan for threats. Look for the exits. Sit in places where you can have visibility of multiple avenues of approach. Identify possible bad guys, regardless of political correctness.
If you don’t like guns, don’t carry one. That’s your choice, and by all means exercise that right. Place yourself in the safest spot possible with the easiest methods of egress. If you carry a gun, train with it. Make yourself an asset rather than a liability. Owning a gun without training with it is the equivalent of carrying an explosive paper weight. If you use it, you’re just going to hurt a lot of innocent people. Owning a weapon isn’t your magic ticket to surviving.
There are those who say, “I shouldn’t have to spend my days looking over my shoulder,” or “I refuse to live in a world where I have to be afraid of attacks.”
This is the ultimate “head in the sand” mentality. I don’t like it, so I’ll pretend it doesn’t exist. These are the people who are essentially saying, “I’m too lazy to look up and scan every now and then, so I’ll label it ‘giving in to fear,’ and hope that better men protect me.”
Acknowledging the possibility of a threat doesn’t mean giving in to fear, it means being prepared mentally for a possibility. It means not being stupid. It means having enough training and decent equipment that you are able to trust in them.
This will happen again.
Don’t be afraid.
Just be ready.