Interesting Opinion Piece


April 30, 2007, 11:14 AM

Notice how the guy just mentions firearms in passing. And then proceeds to discuss "common sense things to do if you don't have a gun."

This is a classic "make people think" sorta thing.

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April 30, 2007, 11:22 AM
The text of the article

How to react in a ‘Virginia Tech’ situation
Written by Isaiah Kellogg
I was sitting in class, not paying attention, and wondering what I would do if the shooting started nearby. We’re on a college campus, and it’s no less likely to happen here than it is anywhere else, including Virginia Tech. What could you do?

Well, if you had a concealed carry license (like I do), you could shoot the guy when he came into your room to execute everyone. However, we’re not allowed to carry a gun on campus (not that the rules will stop someone determined to commit murder). So we have to rule out that option, and maybe discuss it some time down the road. Let’s talk about what you CAN do in that situation. You’ve still got one weapon, the one weapon that nobody can take away – your mind. There is a reason that humans are running the planet. One thing immediately came to mind, and that is, when the shooting starts, it’s too late to do much planning. So let’s start now, and examine three different scenarios that could play out here.

In all cases, you are on campus, you have nothing with you but what you take every day to campus (your books, pens/pencils, probably a backpack, house/car keys, etc.). The police may be 5 minutes away, or they may be an hour – and after they arrive, they may or may not be able to do anything. Remember, at Virginia Tech, 30 of the 32 victims were killed AFTER the police arrived at the scene.

Scenario one: you’re outside, probably walking between classes, when you hear shooting nearby. You’re really only left with “run” or “hide.” If the shooting is close enough that you have to hide, you’re likely to have been seen. Unless you need to immediately dive behind something because bullets are flying at you, running away is probably your best option. If you’re on crutches, in a wheelchair, or otherwise mobility-impaired, good luck.

Scenario two: you’re in a classroom, when you hear shooting nearby (in this building, maybe outside, maybe a neighboring building, or perhaps you can’t tell). You can either run, or stay put. If you run, you may be running right into the gunfire. Staying put is probably the best option, but if you can see the shooter, say, through a window, you may be able to get out through an exit on the other side of the building and safely get off campus that way. Keep in mind though, that there may be more than one shooter, and seeing one does not guarantee that there isn’t another on the other side of the building waiting for fleeing students to come his way. That’s why I’m planning to stay put. Then the problem becomes one of barricading the door to stop the murderer from getting in, and setting up an ambush in case he makes it through the door.

Scenario three: you’re in a classroom, when a madman bursts into the room and starts shooting. Perhaps this is where he decided to start his shooting, or maybe he made it through the barricaded door. Now you’re in the room with the bad guy, and he’s shooting people. What are your options? You could either hide under a desk or table, waiting for the bullet with your name on it, or you can fight back with precious little more chance of survival over the “waiting for a bullet” choice.

Me, I’m not waiting for a bullet with my name on it. Look around your classroom, there are lots of improvised weapons. You could throw a desk or a chair or even a textbook at the attacker for a momentary distraction to allow someone to get close enough to stab him with a pen or pencil. I’d even take an unarmed tackle over “waiting for a bullet,” after all, most pistol wounds are survivable - something like 80% of those wounded by a pistol survive, not to mention that he’s more likely to miss when firing quickly under stress at a moving target than when calmly lining up an “execution style” shot. Once you’re wrestling with the guy, hopefully someone else will jump in.

So, what can you do now to prepare? Have a plan. Think about what you could do if it happened. What equipment, that is allowed on campus, could you bring with you daily to help you survive in the event of a mass shooting?

First, and probably most helpful, realize that yes, it could happen to you. The shock of realizing that it is happening can stun a person for several seconds. People don’t like to believe that bad things can happen to them, and when bad things do happen, they can be rendered completely incapable of action by their own shock and disbelief. When you understand that, while improbable, it is quite possible, you may be able to react faster when/if the event happens.

Get into shape. How do you expect to run away if you can’t run more than 10 feet without gasping for breath? I started running and lifting weights for one hour, every Tuesday and Thursday morning, and since January I’ve more than doubled the distance I can run. If the shooting started next to you, could you make it off campus? You’ve got free access to exercise facilities and equipment, use it.

Daydream. Seriously. Think about what you would do. And no Bruce Lee kung-fu moves, limit it to what you could actually do. Thinking about it ahead of time will give you ideas to work with, and help form a plan that is likely to help if the time ever comes. This option is way better than just waiting and coming up with a plan at the last minute.

And finally, there is equipment. What could you carry on your person that would help you barricade a door against an armed whacko trying to get in? How about a miniature rubber door stop wedge? You jam these in under the door or between the door and the door frame. Remember how in the dorms people would jam pennies between the door and the frame, until it couldn’t be opened? Same idea, much faster and easier to do under stress. What can you do for weapons in the event that the attacker gets through the door? Remember, UMR only prohibits firearms on campus, all other weapons are subject only to state and local law (know the law, and don’t break it!). And there’s no law against carrying a can of pop and a spare sock, or a million other things I’m sure you all can think of. How about a first aid kit, with QuickClot to stop the bleeding if you do get shot? Make your own list, and keep a small bag in your backpack or in your pockets.

My point is this. Think ahead. Use the only weapon you have, and make a plan. And never, ever wait. for that bullet.

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