In the past couple of weeks, there have been several attacks where innocent people going about their day got hurt or killed.
- Minnesota mall knife attack – On Sept. 17, a 22 year old man stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall before police killed him as he tried to lunge.
- Washington mall shooting – On Sept 23, a 20 year old man went on a shooting rampage and killed four women and one man
- Houston strip mall shooting –On Sept. 26, a disgruntled attorney shot and injured nine people before being shot down by police
I’m not even going to discuss motives or reasons these attackers may have had, but one thing I noticed was all the victims were just going about their normal business. No one expects to get stabbed or shot while going to the mall.
How do you prepare?
I have been thinking about this since I heard the witness and victim interviews. There really is not an easy answer. Even with the prevalence of online shopping, you can’t really say, “I’ll never go to the mall.” At some point you may need something and need to go to a brick and mortar store. The Houston shooting happened in a strip mall where people were doing early morning shopping at a Randall’s grocery store, or just passing through traffic on the way to work.
The only thing you can do is mentally prepare yourself that anything can happen, and become very vigilant.
Five habits that can help your survival chances
- Pay attention to your surroundings wherever you might be. Put away the smart phone and just make a note of who or what’s around you. Try some situational awareness exercises and train yourself to be observant. Learn to blend into your surroundings. and avoid attracting attention.
- Know all the exits. Whenever I enter an area, I automatically look around for other exits. It is not difficult to adopt this habit. Try it a few times and pretty soon it will become second nature.
- Know the difference between cover and concealment. Concealment is anything you can hide behind and keep you from being spotted. It will not protect you in any other way. Cover hides and protects you at the same time. One of the persons interviewed after the Houston shooting had gotten shot and wounded, but managed to hide behind a pillar to avoid getting shot again. A wide cement pillar provided him with cover. In a future article, we will look at possible sources of cover.
- Keep some distance between yourself and others. It is better to avoid crowds, but if you had to be around a lot of people, see if you can have maintain some distance from others so you are able to react.
- Believe in a positive turnout. Believe that you will get through an experience no matter what. If you have an unshakeable faith that you will turn out fine, you increase your chances of survival.
There seemed to be a lot of violent events this past few weeks. These are perilous times we live in. These habits do not guarantee survival but they may help improve your chances. This list is certainly not all inclusive. I am sure there are a lot more ways to stay safe. Please share in the comments your ideas on improving survival chances.
Stay safe everyone!