The recent attacks at Fort Hood and on the Jewish community in Kansas remind us that irrational attacks happen. How can you respond if you find yourself in one of these situations?
Attacks on large targets, meaning areas where many people congregate, are meant (or hoped) to result in mass casualties. The attacker(s) most often choose soft targets — places which are weapons-free zones by either edict or custom. Schools, for instance, make tempting targets because not only are they often legislated as defenseless, their occupants are not usually trained (nor have they yet developed the attitude) to defend themselves.
Whether called spree killers or mass murderers, when faced with an attack in a crowd outside of your home you have options. Of course if you’re legally armed you have the ability to interdict the killer, but even if you’re not there are still things you can do to keep yourself (and those around you) safe.
You can, of course, simply exit the area (if you can do so.) Get out of the building or away from the crowd quickly, taking whatever cover or concealment you can in the process. If you can’t get out, you can barricade yourself in a secure position (particularly one that, in his haste, the attacker is unlikely to notice.)
Finally, if you’re confronted with a killer (whether of his choosing or yours) remember that firearms are not invincible tools! They run out of ammunition, they require a skilled operator, they sometimes malfunction, and — most importantly — they need to be pointed at you to hurt you.
You can use improvised weapons even against an armed attacker. A fire extinguisher, for instance, makes both a distraction weapon (unload it in his face) and a dandy bludgeon weapon (particularly when used battering-ram style, taking advantage of the cylinder’s sectional density.) Even sometime as innocuous as a heavily laden purse can be pressed into service as a makeshift sap and swung at the attacker’s head. Ideal? No. Usable? Yes.
Look around the environment in your office, place of worship, or favorite store; are there things that you could pick up and use as a weapon? I think you’ll find there are more than you might imagine. While I’d rather have a more efficient tool, like my own personal firearm, if I’m without it I’m not unarmed — I’m just less optimally armed!
That’s the attitude you need in these situations. These killers aren’t superhuman; they have weaknesses that you can exploit, and you have strengths that you can employ. The key is to act, not sit around and wait to be killed. DO SOMETHING!
There’s a ton of great information available to help you develop the attitude you need to prevail in these situations. To learn more about how to deal with these types of attacks, check out this great article (with some links to other appropriate articles) at the I.C.E. Training blog.
-=[ Grant ]=-