While an unpleasant topic, never forget… “Chance favors the prepared.”
When it comes to dangerous situations where mass murders are more likely to occur, most people are completely unprepared. You’ll even hear news accounts where witnesses will remark that they never suspected or never saw the situation coming.
But by having awareness, you can raise your odds of surviving such a disaster. Pay attention to your surroundings – but also pay attention to special days and anniversaries of events.
Terrorists and mass shooters will often attack on the anniversary of something significant that happened, such as the 9/11 terrorist attack. Sometimes it’s a celebratory attack honoring a previous attack – and sometimes it’s revenge for something that happened to their side.
School shootings are on the list of mass murder situations that you or your kids need to know how to survive, regardless of what grade they’re in. One thing that keeps coming up in many of the relates stories about school shootings is that many of the shooter’s classmates knew beforehand that the shooter had some kind of mental disturbance.
Most people fail to point this out because no one likes to make waves and in some cases, even when it’s reported, those in authority fail to follow through, as we saw in Parkland.
However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stay on the lookout for students or peers who are behaving oddly. If you notice that someone is acting strange, stay aware of that person and be on guard for any behavior that alerts your sixth sense that something isn’t right that day.
Pay attention to kids who become withdrawn, moody or have violent outbursts of anger.
You’ll also want to pay attention to rumors. Often before a mass murder is carried out, the shooter will talk about it to someone else or on social media.
Whispers will fly through the school, but kids sometimes won’t say anything to an adult because they feel like that’s tattling. Besides rumors, there are often alarming statements made on social media such as shooters who talk about the violence they’d like to do at school.
Or they talk about hurting other specific people, like those who have bullied them. They share images of themselves with weapons. A warning sign can be when someone warns others not to be in a certain area of the school on a particular day.
That can be a sign that an impending attack is imminent and should be reported. In the event that there is a shooting, panic can lessen your chance of survival. Though it’s difficult, stay as calm as possible.
Pay attention to your surroundings and remain alert to the general direction of the gunfire so that you can run from it or hide and avoid the shooter. When you hide, make sure the lights in the room are off and don’t allow your cell phone to make noise.
Cut the volume off so that it won’t draw attention to you. Put heavy objects such as desks or filing cabinets against the door and don’t huddle against the wall close to the door.
Be alert in the area where you are to scope out what you can use as a weapon in case the shooter breaches the room where you’re at. Your survival could depend on you knowing what you can grab to fight with if you have to.
You can use things like shoes or boots, cords from electronic devices, laptops, scissors, pens, pencils, or heavy books. You can also use smaller objects to throw at the shooter to impede his aim.
Remember if the shooter can’t see, it improves your survival odds. So use a fire extinguisher to either hit him with or spray him with. Stay aware of when he’s stopping to reload a weapon so that you can escape.
Concerts have become another place where mass murders are taking place – such as Jason Aldean or Ariana Grande. This is because concerts tend to have huge crowds and to someone who wants to cause harm, they want a higher number of targets.
Because of this, you need to take stock of your surroundings when you first enter the venue if it’s in a building. If you’re outside, you need to take note of all the places that a shooter could be in a nearby building and what’s near you that offers the best possible protection from the gunfire.
You would also need to look for likely hidden areas where someone might place a bomb. You want to stay as far away as possible from things that can be used to hide a bomb.
By taking stock of the potential threat, you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim of a concert attack. You need to pay attention to people who are acting suspicious. They’re not dressed like they belong – such as wearing a heavy coat on a hot summer day or they’re carrying duffel bags, backpacks, or suitcases and they look out of place.
If someone does open fire in a crowded venue, you need to get low and try to see if you can tell where the shots are coming from so you can run in the opposite direction. Because if you don’t know, you can either run right towards it or you can stay where you are and lie down and still be a target.
If you can’t tell where the bullets are coming from, then you need to get out of sight.
A good rule to remember is if you know where the danger is, then run. But if you don’t, then hide.
You should know that the minute chaos erupts, there will be a mass exodus of people running toward exits or running away. In some cases, the shooter or terrorist is aware of this and has planned ahead to injure or kill people based on that.
When people are panicking and trying to get out of a building, they always rush the known exits and then a bottleneck occurs. Some shooters and terrorists want this reaction because it forces the panicked people into a more contained area where they can then shoot or detonate a bomb and make the victim count higher.
When there is trouble, don’t rush immediately toward the fleeing crowd. Know ahead of time where an alternative exit is or wait if it’s safe before you leave so you can determine if the people fleeing are being targeted.
Workplace violence is becoming more common as people decide to settle any real or perceived injustices against a place of employment. But you can raise your chances of surviving if you’re aware of a few things.
First, pay attention to any disgruntled employees. These are people who are usually not shy about voicing their displeasure. They might talk about how much they dislike a colleague, a boss or their working environment period.
There might be an ongoing altercation between the employee and another party. You might hear the employee mention how he’d like to get even or how he’d like to hurt the other person.
Or you might hear how the employee doesn’t like the company or he feels that they’ve wronged him or her. These people may or may not show incidents of anger or rage while they’re working or if it’s a former employee – they might blow up in anger as they leave or threaten to show back up and get even.
Incidents like that should be taken seriously and reported the first time. If you’re aware of an ongoing feud between two employees, you should report it. If the arguments are between a fellow employee and your supervisor, you should report that farther up the chain so someone can be aware of what’s going on and do a threat assessment.
Be aware of people who talk openly about relationship struggles in the office or out of the office – especially if someone seems despondent or talks about having nothing to live for.
If a coworker talks about a violent partner or family member and shares that he or she has threatened violence against them, the workplace could be the scene of an attack and this kind of knowledge should be reported.
In the event that workplace violence does occur, you need to have a plan already in place so that you can react instead of panicking. Know exactly what your exit plan is going to be, and if you can, then head for the way out of the building or area.
If you can’t get out because the violence is near you, then you need to know where you can safely hide. This might be an office, a conference room or a break room. Get into the room, turn off the lights and silence all cell phones if you’re with a group.
Everyone should be quiet. Block the door with things like chairs or other heavy furniture and turn over a table if you have that option and everyone hide behind the table. Prevent the door from opening by locking it or if it has a long swing hinge at the top of the door, fuse that hinge together with shoelaces or a belt.
If the person intent on doing violence enters the room, you need to be prepared to fight back. Throw heavy objects or use a smaller object to inflect injury on the other person. Fight as if your life depends on it – because it very well might.
More often, vehicles have become weapons used by those with a desire to cause harm to a crowd of people. The purpose in this type of attack is to injure or kill as many people as possible in a short amount of time.
Since plenty of people walk or bike on paths or sidewalks, you need to know how you prevent yourself from becoming a victim of one of these attacks. The first step is to make sure you’re aware of your surroundings.
You should be on alert – especially on the days when the threat level is elevated. These threat levels are often raised on days that have special significance to a terrorist. One thing to keep in mind is that the bigger the crowd of pedestrians or restaurant patrons sitting on a patio, the higher risk is posed for a possible vehicle attack.
If you are walking in a crowd, you can pay attention by doing a risk assessment of the area where you’re walking. Look for places where it would be easy for a car or truck to sail over the curb and plow into the people.
Some cities are putting in measures in an attempt to prevent vehicles from jumping curbs to drive into people, but not every single pedestrian spot will have preventative measures.
You must do your best to be your own prevention in that case. When you’re at a public event in a crowd of people, never stop paying attention. Don’t get lost in thought and not take stock of what’s going on ahead or behind you.
People who walk closer to the street have a high chance of becoming a target. Because of that, you want to make sure that you walk as far as possible away from the street. In the event that a car or truck does jump the curb and heads straight toward you, don’t veer sharply away from the road if he’s leaving the main road.
Most terrorists are expecting this. It’s why they’re angling their vehicles away from the road. Instead, you want to move closer to the road once the vehicle begins riding down the sidewalk.
When you’re planning to go out and you’ll be in a pedestrian area for an event, try to avoid peak times. Fewer people aren’t as appealing to a terrorist planning to use a vehicle.
Watch out when walking in areas where a car can go faster and there’s nothing in the way to slow him down. Look out for places where there’s no way for you to get out of the way, such as you’d be between the car and a building – because that’s a good way to get pinned by the vehicle.
For people who have to run from a vehicle, if at all possible, put a big object between you and the vehicle such as a concrete pillar, steps, a railing or another vehicle. If you’re walking in the street and a vehicle is bearing down on you, try to run to the side of the vehicle rather than remaining in front of it.
Public Transportation Threats
Public transportation has been the target of terrorist attacks in the past and will more than likely be more in the future as well. Not only is this type of mass transportation a choice for terrorist attacks, but it’s also an often chosen target by individuals who want to carry out a threat using a gun or a bomb.
There are some noticeable behaviors among people who target public transportation. One of the behaviors is acting shifty or cagey – constantly looking around as if he or she is nervous.
They may appear to be casing the transportation, looking for where the most people are grouped together. They may not look as if they belong – such as people dressed in long, heavily layered clothing – and they look misshapen such as the clothing protruding too much from the sides or abdominal area.
If you notice someone who’s acting weird or unhinged, that can be a warning sign. Pay attention to people who appear to be closely watching someone else or they’re watching the exit points of the public transportation and it’s clear they’re anxious as if they’re about to jump to their feet.
Pay attention to people who are just hanging around public transportation terminals or areas. They’re keeping watch, but they don’t appear to actually be waiting for the transportation.
Be aware of people asking strange questions such as how many people are on the transportation on a certain day or when it’s the most crowded. Watch out for people who are in areas of the public transportation where they’re not supposed to be – such as trying to get into the driver’s seat or trying to get into the subway cab with the conductor.
Be on the alert for people who are carrying packages that look out of place or abnormal such as heavy bags, thick backpacks or suitcases in areas where people wouldn’t normally have them.
Backpacks are commonly used to hide explosive devices on public transportation. If you know your public transportation doesn’t stop near a school or college and that it’s out of the way for a student to take the transportation, that could be a warning sign.
You want to be on the lookout for any bags or packages that are abandoned. This could be a briefcase, too – because most people would just assume someone forgot their briefcase.
Treat any package left behind as suspicious. Get away from it and notify the authorities. To protect yourself on any public transportation, you should always sit as close to the exit as possible so you can get out quickly.
You should also make sure that you have protection with you – such as pepper spray in the event that you’re attacked. Any type of defense you can have in any of the above situations is a good idea – including learning some self-defense measures in case you have to physically fight the attacker.