Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,
As part of my morning routine, I get up early and turn on the news while I make my coffee.
Unfortunately, Friday morning my day started with the terrible news that there had been ANOTHER mass shooting. This time at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas.
SAME STORY, DIFFERENT SCHOOL
Although accurate details are still being compiled, the suspect (identified as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis) was taken into custody with a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver, both belonging to his father. He also allegedly planted homemade bombs in and around the school.
The shooting began when Dimitrios unleashed a hail of bullets inside an art classroom just after 7:30 a.m. At some point, students reported that the fire alarm was activated, prompting everyone inside the school to evacuate.
Any time you are in a building and hear the fire alarm, your natural, trained reaction is to instantly exit the building. However, this instinct may have caused several more deaths as students filled the halls to get outside.
Just one more reaction we need to reconsider given the high rate of these mass shootings occurring…
HOW SHOULD YOU REACT?
I’ve said it many times before, but there are immediate actions you must take if you find yourself in the “kill zone” — i.e., get down and MOVE! That said, IF you are not in immediate danger, you may have the luxury of taking a few seconds to assess the situation.
What does this mean? Again, if you are NOT in immediate danger, you need to STOP, LOOK and LISTEN.
- What do you see? Is the shooter nearby? Which way are people running? Where are the exits? Are there flames, smoke or debris blocking any possible escape routes? What objects in your immediate vicinity can be used as cover?
- What do you hear? Listen for the sound of explosives (as well as firearms), material burning, people screaming in pain or fear and law enforcement/first responders giving orders.
In a closed environment, you can’t always trust your ears to determine the direction of gunfire. That’s why you should LOOK for muzzle flashes to determine the shooter’s location. These emanate only from the weapon and clearly tell you to move in the opposite direction.
MAKE A LIFESAVING DECISION
After BRIEFLY gathering the above information, you are going to have to make a decision that could mean the difference between living and dying. Every scenario will require a different reaction. That said — and this may be obvious — in general, you should try to move in a direction away from the location of the crisis.
Think unconventionally. Use windows or break through a penetrable wall (drywall) to increase the distance between you and the source of this danger. Remember to stay low and MOVE. Help guide as many people as you can in the direction of safety and MOVE!
The three human responses to these types of situations are FIGHT, FLIGHT and FREEZE. If you are going to die, don’t let it be because you could have escaped but chose to curl up in a ball instead.
I truly hope we are able to get through this terrible chapter in our country soon. Prayers to all of those affected by this tragedy in Santa Fe.
Be a survivor… not a statistic,