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Surviving Public Shootouts

The question of a public shootout has become a more pressing one over the past few years. School shootings seem to occur on an almost weekly basis, and gang violence in cities can touch off shootings in urban areas. There is also a decades-long history of the government getting into shootouts with various groups, such as the Waco standoff. All of this adds up to mean that it is essential to have a plan for what to do in the situation of a shootout in a public space. There are several possible approaches.

The most important thing is to have a plan ahead of time to maximize your chances of survival.
There are two main categories of plans: plans that prioritize neutralizing the shooter or shooters, and plans that prioritize escaping. The right kind of plan depends on the situation, so part of the planning process is realizing that multiple plans are necessary to cover each potential situation.

The first kind of plan, the one about neutralizing the shooter, requires several conditions to work. First of all, there have to be a limited number of shooters, preferably one. The more there are, the harder it will be to do anything about them, even if you are armed. It increases the risk as well as the time it takes to complete the task, and that means it is harder to be effective. But if there is just one shooter, then the plan is easier to execute. The tools you have available also matter. If you are not armed, it is hard to overcome a shooter. But this depends on the terrain. Some areas are open spaces- that makes it hard to sneak up on a gunman. But obstacles that break up a space make it easier to get close to a shooter without being detected. This also depends on how close the gunman is. As you can see, there are many factors that influence the success or failure of any plan to overcome a gunman, and all plans need to take this into account. In fact, any plan related to a public shootout will need to have a certain element of spontaneity or adaptability to deal with unexpected characteristics of the environment.

The second category of plan involves the decision to avoid the gunman and not confront any armed person. This may be a safer approach than the first category, depending on the situation. There are two types of non-confrontational plan. The first is to try to run, and the second is to shelter in place.

Sheltering in place is a good idea when the shooter or shooters have their attention directed elsewhere and you are in a safe place, like a fortified room. Running away is easier in outdoor environments. Like the shelter in place plan, it is more likely to be successful when the shooter or shooters are looking at something else. It is that lack of awareness that creates your opportunity. The evasive plans depend on distance- if the shooter is in the same room or very close, it is hard to carry out either type of plan for avoiding contact. It is a good idea to scout around for potentially bulletproof structures and walls.

Those will provide you with the protection you need to survive. The most important thing is to carry out the plan at the right moment. For example, waiting until the shooter is distracted and then running away is more likely to succeed than just trying to run right away. Likewise, taking refuge in an area is not worth it if the shooter knows where you are and come after you.
Regardless of which type of plan you choose, you need to keep some things in mind. For example, you need to be able to react right away to changes. A shootout is a volatile situation, so it is essential to be able to adapt to changes like new shooters, the arrival of the police, and other factors that can change the context.

Remember that your objective is not to be a hero, but to survive. It all comes down to being alert and reacting quickly. In a public shootout, a plan is more like a set of guidelines that you create for yourself due to how much things can change if the shootout ever occurs. It is important to remain as calm as possible and not panic, because that will cloud your ability to figure out what to do next. Planning things out can help reduce the panic by giving you a measure of control over the situation.

When it comes to shootings, tiny amounts of time matter. It does not take long to squeeze a trigger, so you want to be out of the line of fire as soon as possible, one way or another. If the shooter is nearby and you want to try taking them down, that could work. Likewise, if you try to run or hide, those can take you out of the attention of the shooter. In any case, it is extremely dangerous to be near the place where bullets are flying, and that’s why you need to take some sort of action right away. As long as you keep these tips in mind, you will have no trouble making your own plan to survive a public shootout.


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