Surviving Mass Shootings and Ambush Tactics
I feel compelled to write something in the wake of what I would categorize as a shocking tragedy in Las Vegas.
Simple tactics and mindset for surviving the unthinkable.
The threat of mass shootings or a terror attack continues to be a major concern and time has proven that it’s a very real threat.
The problem is you never know where or when one will strike. The most important thing that you need to do is to make sure you’re prepared so that you know how to survive an event like this.
While preparation is key, itís also important to know what to do as an act of self defense right in the moment, because it can mean the difference between life and death.
Sometimes you’re caught with none of your gear at hand, so how do you handle a terror attack using a self defense mindset?
The best thing you can do is stay aware of your surroundings. If you see someone suspicious, get out of the location.
Notify authorities if you feel compelled to. Watch for unattended bags or boxes, and listen for people shouting before an attack so you can flee immediately.
Much of this strategy revolves around being tuned in and situationally aware. I watch people operating in the white zone so frequently it is a wonder we even survive as a species.
Surviving an Explosion
When an explosion happens, it can be nerve wracking. The sounds of the bomb, shattering glass, the rocking of buildings and the screams of people can render you immobile.
Even when you expect it.
I have participated in hundreds of explosive force entry operations and the concussion from the shot can overwhelm you. It is important to keep your wits and focus on where you want to go immediately post blast.
You cannot allow yourself to be paralyzed by fear and confusion.
As you can imagine projectiles and shrapnel fly through the air with rapid force. In the event of an explosion, the first thing you should do is visually look for cover and then take it – especially if the place you were in took the direct hit.
One of the tactics is to create an initial blast, wait for emergency response to arrive and then detonate a second blast.
You don’t know if there’s going to be a second explosion where you are and you might not be able to see through the dust and chaos to know whether the bomber is waiting to pick off survivors. If possible get out.
If you have to shield in place then try to find something that might act as a shield from the blast wave. If you can find two tables for example, flip them on their side and make sure you snug up tight and stay low.
Blast waves carry enough energy to decimate your internal organs, and they will bounce around a room, off walls and off objects. Using a table or two and keeping them right against your body will deflect these waves to some degree and keep you alive.
Generally speaking your instinct is to run from explosions but how you run from the event does matter. Keep your head down and make tracks until you reach a place that’s going to offer you some protection.
If youíre inside a building that was weakened by an explosion, you must get out because the building could collapse. But don’t make the mistake of running right out in the open.
Keep yourself close to other buildings and stay down to make yourself less visible as a target. Head for another building if you can and look for the strongest point of the building.
If you can’t escape the building that you’re in, find the strongest point of the place that youíre located. You must remain calm, breathe and not panic if you want to survive. Panic can kill you as easily as the blast because you will make poor decisions based on bad data. Oxygenate your brain with good deep breaths, scan the area and plan your move.
Once you get to a safe point in the building, do not go near the doors or any of the windows. If you’re inside an office building and there’s an explosion, the debris and fire could cause secondary injuries, and threats.
In the event of a fire or heavy dust, try to cover your mouth with a scarf or even a tshirt to filter out the toxic fumes from dust or smoke.
If you are in a group, try to make sure everyone remains calm and works together.
Once it appears the threat has passed, set up a triage area to make sure the injured get help first. If youíre injured, take care of your injuries first if they appear life threatening. There may be difficulty in determining injuries to those who have suffered concussion injuries, so be alive to the fact even though you cannot see any signs externally, they may be in grave danger.
Mass Shootings and Surviving Gunfire
It only takes one hit from a bullet to a vulnerable spot of your body to end your life. Yet people have managed to survive horrific situations involving gunfire throughout history by following survival tips.
Military tactics teach you to run toward and through enemy fire with complete and relentless aggression, but that’s when you are armed. Chances are in a surprise civilian attack you are not armed.
First, and always, remember to have good situational awareness. Where are your escape routes, identify points of cover and a quick route to get there before the event even gets started.
Consider positions of enfilade and defilade.
Enfilade and defilade are concepts in military tactics used to describe a military formation’s exposure to enemy fire.
A formation or position is “in enfilade” if weapons fire can be directed along its longest axis. A unit or position is “in defilade” if it uses natural or artificial obstacles to shield or conceal itself from enfilade.
So for example if you are at a live event surrounded by high ground or buildings, look for positions will defeat even the best angle of attack.
These types of positions will often be found next to a cement wall the exceeds your height, so the trajectory of any incoming rounds is such that it either hits the wall or goes overhead while you are tucked safely against it. This is a position of defilade.
Granted you must first be able to identify the location of the shooter which isn’t easy, but if you can, then you can utilize cover and angles to stay safe.
The second you hear gunshots, try to locate an escape route. Even if everything is confusing, try to take a second to know where the shooter or shooters are and go the opposite way and at right angles if possible.
In a situation where it is a high ground ambush on a crowd, it is likely the shooter is not tracking individuals, but rather they are operating in a random fashion. You want to move laterally as quickly as possible out of the arcs of fire.
Donít assume that there’s only one person doing the attack. As you make your way toward an exit, don’t run away in a panic. Instead, go as quickly as you can, thoughtfully and with a warriors mind, which is clear and purposeful. Keep your head down, and stay out of sight as much as possible.
Trying to escape might mean not following the crowd of screaming people. When people are screaming and making a lot of noise, it lets the shooter or shooters know exactly where they are.
In the event that your escape routes are blocked, you next best bet is to find a place that you can hide and stay until the threat is over. Look for a place where you can get completely out of sight.
You may find a location such as a room you can lock, a janitorial closet, a bathroom, a break room, a walk in refrigerator or in an office. Once you get inside the room, youíll want to block access to the door.
While youíre in the room, quietly add layers between you and the door. Keep your head down and lie flat on the floor. If it comes to a point where you must escape from a safe room and run, constantly be aware of your surroundings.
If you get cornered, fight back with whatever you have on hand such as a computer monitor, desk items and anything else you can throw or beat the assailant with.
For shooting cases in large public places such as a mall, use whatever you can reach to defend yourself if you have to.
Never make a move blindly. The shooter or shooters are actively searching for victims. If you run directly into his path, you could be next. If you can’t see where you’re going, avoid it. Try to only step into known ground where possible.
Enlist your sense of sound and smell along with your vision. Listen for gunfire, smell for gunpowder etc.
If you barrel through a door without checking first, the shooter could be on the other side. When you’re in the middle of gunfire, don’t take the time to call anyone except emergency authorities. If the event becomes protracted and you are in an extended lull text someone rather than call them.
Keep your phone off or on silent so it doesnít distract you or call attention to your location. Save yourself and not your possessions.
You need your hands free. Llet go of your bags so you can run unencumbered and have your hands free to fight back if necessary.
If the worst case scenario occurs and you happen to end up in the shooterís line of fire and you canít fight back, then you must run.
To keep yourself from becoming an easy target, never do the expected – which is to run in a straight line. Run from side to side in a zig zag line, and try to keep objects between you and the shooter.
The reality is these types of events are tragic. I have no interest in engaging in the politics of it as I am acutely aware, the politicians will do whatever it takes to retain power as opposed to what’s in the best interest of the people.
If these or other survival strategies are important to you I wrote this manual to provide you with some guidance and simple strategies for survival.
Take care of yourself and your family members.