On Tuesday of last week, I gave a class to a Homeowners Association that's been having some difficulties. They are in one of the California cities that has declared bankruptcy. They call the police, and unless someone is shot or stabbed, no one shows up.
The class was my Defensive Sprays and Stunning Devices [link] class. The bulk of the workshop is devoted to how to determine which type of spray or stun gun is best for you - and how they work.
A good amount of time, though, is devoted to safety awareness. In the class, I give the students 7 different scenarios to think about. Road rage, date rape, home invasion, etc. The idea is to think through each scenario before it happens so you can take steps to prevent it, or if you're caught unaware, how to best respond to the situation.
I've been working over the past few weeks on an eighth scenario: Active Shooters/Zombies.
And then Thursday happens. The whack-job in Aurora, CO went on the rampage and shot the hell out of a lot of innocent people.
What are Active Shooters or Zombies, and why are they lumped together?
An active shooter is someone (or a group) each with one or more guns whose intent is carnage. They're not using a gun to rob a store, or stick-up some old lady. Their goal is to kill as many people as possible. Usually, they don't care if they themselves live or die. Many times, they have "an axe to grind" to set some perceived injustice right (they may have been fired or romantically rejected). Many times they're politically motivated. They have a silver-screen vision of themselves going down in a blaze of glory and becoming famous for their acts.
Think Virginia Tech, Mumbai, Columbine, a Dutch gunman (6 dead, 16 wounded in shopping mall), the Chechnyan rebels (nearly 400 dead, 800 wounded), and the Norway attacks (77 dead, 300+ wounded - Hmmm. I thought all of these foreign countries were basically 'gun free zones'.....)
A zombie is someone who is usually chemically altered. They're high on something. With them, there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to their killing. They just pick someone in close proximity and attack them.
Think of the face-eating guy in Florida.
Their common thread is their lack of fear of death or capture. Or remorse. With a bank robber, for instance, you might be able to "talk them down" to convince them to put down their weapons. If no one's been hurt, the penalty won't be so bad.
The Active Shooters/Zombies don't give a damn. They're going to light your ass up regardless of your age, gender, race or occupation. They're Equal Opportunity Murderers.
The other common thread is that it is very hard to plan a defense against the threat. Part of my safety awareness is to stay away from certain parts of certain towns after dark. If I go there, my chances of being robbed, beaten or killed go way up. Thus, avoidance is part of my safety plan.
The Active Shooters tend to target areas with lots of soft targets. Malls, schools, theaters, hotels.
As Ol' Remus at the Woodpile Report [link] (you do read it every week, right?) notes, Stay Away From Crowds. Damned good advice.
But not always possible. You've got to go to the grocery store for food. To the mall for clothes and stuff. To Walmart to keep the Chinese economy afloat (sorry, cheap shot).
You can limit your exposure by not going to movies, for instance. Wait until they come out on DVD or Pay Per View. Order your clothes online. You get the idea.
Still, you don't want to become some sort of a paranoid shut-in. You've got to live life.
Plus, when you throw in the Zombies, it doesn't matter. They'll feast on your face where ever you are.
So your planning must revolve around your response to the actions of the bad guys.
This is still a work-in-progress, so I'm going to hold off on more details until I get everything together, plus I want the hype surrounding this latest act of a madman to die down.
I'll share one thought right now. Just as the USDA and the other alphabet soup agencies require warning labels on food, lawnmowers and coffee pots, I think they need to require "gun free zone" businesses to publish the fact that you are required to be defenseless against guns should their establishment be invaded.
Think how things in Aurora would have turned out differently if Mr. Redheaded Joker Dickhead had drawn his guns and seen this from the assembled movie-goers -
The immediate result would have likely been along these lines -
And the only public service employee that would have needed to respond to the call would have been this fellow -
Don't be a victim. Be aware of your surroundings. Be prepared to protect yourself. Work within the laws of your state or city if possible, but not to the point of putting your life at risk.
Copyright 2012 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com