The chances of being caught in a terror attack or mass shooting event are somewhat less than being trampled to death by a cow despite what Moms Demand wants you to believe. Seriously- you’re more at risk from one of Ben & Jerry’s bovines than a mass shooter or terrorist.
With that being said, there is some information I can impart that can help you survive such an encounter should you find yourself in one, and since many of us travel, I will include tips for overseas as well.
Prior to leaving on your trip, peruse news sources in the country you are going to. Do NOT rely on American news for information about foreign countries. Get LOCAL news. Have someone translate or use web based translation services (not always 100% accurate) to read what is going on where. Upon arrival speak to locals about what neighborhoods to stay out of (this applies to US cities as well).
When out in public avoid persons dressed out of season. Someone with a heavy coat on during the summer, for example. Watch for people carrying unusually heavy bags or backpacks- rifles, magazines and grenades are heavy, especially in combat loadout quantity. Look for the tells that someone is wearing body armor such as a “tuck under” of the shirt just below the belly button or the shoulder straps (usually padded) printing through a shirt. Should you notice any of the above, clear out of the area and alert a nearby police officer or call 911 (or other appropriate emergency number).
At public events, cinemas, or even at the restaurant (as in the Paris massacre) you should always opt for seats that give you good unobstructed vantage points and quick exit points. It’s the reason I still combat park (back in to a space) in my driveway and in public lots and sit with my back to the wall near a kitchen or back door when I’m eating in a restaurant. Make it a habit, and in a few months it will come naturally.
In the unlikely event shit hits the fan, your response should be three-fold.
Run / Hide / Fight
Run if possible. Run to cover and not concealment. Concealment hides, cover hides AND protects. It’s the difference between hiding behind a couch or a concrete wall. It's quite obvious but you may not think of this when bullets are buzzing around. It is better to keep your eyes wide open and to act instead of huddling in the open and waiting for first responders, as they typically arrive too late.
Once the attacker's attention is elsewhere- beat feet towards the nearest exit point. This does not have to be a door- it can be a shot out window, jumping out of a second story window, or even a hole in the building in the event of an explosive attack. When you are boogieing out- zig zag like a running back. A moving target is ridiculously hard to hit, even for a very experienced shooter.
Hide if escape isn’t feasible. If there is no clear path for you to evac the building, hide. Find a room with a solid door if possible, get inside, and lock & barricade it. Silence your cell phone. If there are others in the room advise them silence is going to be the key to survival. If possible call 911 (or the local country's emergency number) and advise police quietly of everything you saw and your location. Find improvised weapons in whatever room you are in, in the event you have to...
Fight if necessary. Fighting back is a last resort for most people. When the time comes however, use whatever is at hand as a weapon and use it to KILL whoever is trying to harm you. Do not hold back- if you have located a fire extinguisher, strike for the head/neck with enough force to crumple a skull. You’re the Bambino going for the left field fence with the attacker’s cranium. If you have a utensil like a fork or knife- go for a throat strike and bury it into their neck. Advise anyone you are with to arm themselves with whatever is at hand. If it's a broomstick, crack it in half and ram the sharp end upwards through their belly and into their rib cage. If it’s a bunch of you, swarm the SOB and do not stop hitting him until he is either unconscious or dead. Yes it is brutal... but this is your life and it will be them or you. I'd prefer it to be them.
If you have a firearm, engage the attacker center of mass and do not stop firing until the attacker is down. If center of mass shots do not have an effect, the person may be wearing armor. In that case seek a head or pelvic shot. A pelvic shot should be followed up with a headshot once the target is down. This is not a mugging, or even someone simply trying to kill you. This is someone bent on killing as many people as possible and disabling them will not remove the danger to you and others. You do not, in this case, shoot to stop. You shoot to stop, then you kill. A wounded terrorist is still a dangerous terrorist.
Don't try to be a hero. With all my combat experience, for all the times I engaged in MOUT, my plan is to run if possible, hide if necessary and as a last resort fight. Of course I carry everywhere and will drop an attacker if he is between me and the exit, but I am not going to start hunting Tangos. Having my firearm gives me an edge over those who are unarmed, not an edge over dedicated teams of trained killers with automatic rifles.
In the event of a grenade attack there are several steps to increase your ability to survive as well. If the grenade lands within 6 feet or so of you- immediately seek cover (behind a concrete wall for example). Contrary to Hollywood, a couch or flipped over table isn't cover- grenade fragments won't even be slowed down. If no cover is available take a few large steps away and hit the floor with your feet pointed towards the grenade. Lay flat, cover your ears, close your eyes and open your mouth. Once the grenade has detonated- run in a zigzag pattern to try to effect escape or seek a place to hide.
Again, I do realize that the chances of being in the midst of one of these events is so slim you have a better chance of hitting the lottery. The above is just to inform you so if you do find yourself in the midst of one, it may help you get out alive.
- Mr. Decker
Blog posts are original content written by 1MMAGC moms and dads.