Finding yourself in the middle of an active shooter situation can be a ll to real these days.
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What To Do In An Active Shooter Situation: Fight, Flee, Or Hide

It’s 2:45 pm on Wednesday.  You’re at your local mall inside Victoria’s Secret watching your smoking hot girlfriend try on some lingerie when all of a sudden you hear multiple gunshots and people screaming. You have a Glock 19 with a spare magazine in your fancy appendix-style holster that immediately gets deployed. After waiting about 10-20 seconds you decide to go out of the store to see what all the commotion is. You notice a middle-aged man pointing a pistol at people and screaming random words of hate.

This is the defining moment of your life that you have been waiting for!  So what do you do? Do you engage? Do you grab your girlfriend and run for safety? Or do you grab your girlfriend and hide somewhere in the shop? If you are reading this article, there is a high chance that you are either a Type “A” personality civilian or a first responder.  Be honest with yourself for a second with your response, before you rush to say you would come out blasting.     

The idea of this article is to open your mind and give you a mental taste of what would happen if you encountered an active shooter. Three stories with the same setup, but each with a different choice which alter the trajectory of the event. 

Unfortunately mall shootings are all to common of an occurrence.
(Photo by iStock Photo)

Option 1: Fight

In a perfect scenario, first responders are in the mall and handle the situation by putting an end to this disturbed individual. However, that rarely happens. So let’s play this back for a second using the same situation. Since you took it upon yourself to take some active shooter classes at the local shooting range you know what you’re doing, right? You decide to engage the threat with two to the chest and one to the head (guaranteed to make them dead) only to hear a loud bang and to awake at the gates of Valhalla.

In that situation, you came out blasting with full tunnel vision, only seeing the threat, and you didn’t look to see if any LEO were present.  First responders showed up and didn’t know who the real active shooter was, so they went with the most logical approach and took you both down.  Not the solution you were hoping for…but it is a possible outcome.

Option 2: Flee

Okay, okay, time for a do-over…because that wasn’t an optimistic ending.  This time, in the same situation (you’re still in Victoria’s Secret, shopping with your girl for lingerie and hearing the gunshots), you decide to take the fleeing option. While maybe less noble, you live to fight another day, and you saved your girlfriend’s life as well. Mentally, this might be a hard pill for most to swallow (myself included) as nobody wants to look in the mirror and see a coward. Most of us want to be a hero, but in this situation, while less glamorous, you are a hero to your girlfriend for leading her to safety. 

All to common of a sight these days is a news story on an active shooter situation.
(Photo by iStock Photo)

Option 3: Hide

The third time is the charm, right? Ok… the same scenario, you’re still at Victoria’s Secret, (this time the lingerie is getting a bit more lacey and skimpier). You hear gunshots going off, but this time instead of engaging or fleeing, you grab your girlfriend and seek cover. When the gunshots went off you took a 10-15 second scan of the shop and found the most strategic place to hide while still being able to observe. This time the bad guy enters the shop thinking he has easy victims, only to be greeted with three perfectly placed shots to his chest, ending his reign of terror. From there, you and your girlfriend communicate with the first responders that you have a firearm and you’re a good guy.  In this scenario, you were strategic, patient, and a real hero, but keep in mind we’re just storytelling.

4. The Instant Replay

For all you Monday night quarterbacks that would have handled one or all three of these scenarios differently…yeah I hear you. I get it, but this is one of those scary topics that every good guy knows best and is challenging to write about. While every active shooter case is different in some way or another, keep in mind every agency has different protocols about how to handle it.  And while civilians and off-duty officers want to be the hero of the day, make sure you keep a level head and really take advantage of the seconds at hand to make a decision on how to negotiate the situation. 

If you’re looking for “the million-dollar answer” to how to handle an active shooter, I’m sorry this is not that type of article. With that being said, be aware, know your surroundings, and be prepared for the worst, but always remember to live your life and enjoy your day.

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