January 30, 2023

How to be prepared in case of a shooting without living in fear

5 min read


In the beginning, Brandon Tse. He said he froze when a gunman pointed a firearm at him. He was sure these would be his last moments.

But then something dawned on Tsay, who was working the ticket counter in the lobby of his family’s Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio, a dance hall in Alhambra, California.

He lunged toward the gunman and was hit several times to get the gun away from the boat, he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday evening.

The gunman had killed 11 people and wounded 10 before Tsay arrived at his workplace.

Tse’s courage saved his life that day, said Ronald Tinkle, a former special agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who trained as a criminal profiler. saved countless.

Dr. Reggie Girgis, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City, said that while Tse’s actions show courage and bravery, what he did is more possible than people think.

“People have a great capacity to respond to tragedies like this. People don’t realize how bravely they can respond,” he said.

Fortunately, most people will never find themselves in a situation where they have to respond to a mass shooter, Girgis said. But in America, such incidents are very common and on the rise. Gun Violence Archive.

Girgis said there isn’t much research on civilian intervention in mass shootings.

Still, as America regularly sees mass shootings, companies, nonprofits and schools are training people how to respond. Tinkle and Jon Pascal, instructors at both Krav Maga Worldwide and the Force Training Institute, say they’re seeing more training and protocols for active shooting situations for everyday people.

A word of warning: If your awareness of safety causes anxiety or interferes with life in a meaningful way, it may be time to consult a mental health professional, says psychiatrist Dr. Keith Stowell. Chief Medical Officer of Behavioral Health and Addiction for Rutgers Health and RWJ Barnabas Health.

Tinkle said being able to respond effectively to emergencies requires two things: awareness and preparation.

Develop a “habit of safety,” Pascal advises. This means that people should routinely note the mood of the crowd they’re in, exits and entrances, and what tools they have around if they need to respond to an emergency. are available.

“We don’t want to be foolhardy and live our lives, but I think if we make personal safety a habit, it will become the norm,” he said.

Pascal adds that your worst-case scenario is probably never going to happen, but being prepared means you have ways to take care of yourself and those around you, if it does.

In addition to practicing awareness of your surroundings, Pascal recommends making a plan for how you will respond in the event of a medical, fire or violent emergency.

He said that it is always important to find two ways out of a building in case of danger or obstruction. And at home or in the workplace, he recommends noting doors that can be locked and objects that can be used as barriers.

Once you have a plan, stick to it, he added. That bookcase looks like the perfect barricade in your head, but then it would be impossible to move in an emergency, Pascal said. And you want to make sure your escape routes don’t have locked doors that you can’t open.

But preparation can also take the form of training — and it doesn’t have to be long-term, intensive and situation-specific, Tinkle said.

Self-defense or active shooter training can help give you the knowledge and strategies to use quickly if you ever need them, Pascal said. But even more general training can help you have the mental and physical responses you need in an emergency, Tinkle said.

Weight lifting And team sports can show you that you can respond physically, he said. Yoga And Meditation You can train your breath and mind to stay calm and make good decisions in a crisis.

Pascal said that in a dangerous situation, acting quickly and decisively is often the safest.

It’s hard to be decisive when shots are fired. Girgis said many victims of mass shootings have reported that the events were disorienting and that it was difficult to tell what was going on.

And if people don’t know what’s going on, they often rely on their instincts to decide what to do next, which can be scary, Pascal said.

The human brain likes to categorize things to simplify things, Stowell said, so it often defaults to associating new things with things we’ve been exposed to before. He added that when a person hears an explosion, they may assume that the sound is something familiar, like a firecracker.

Instead, Pascal advises people — whether they think they hear balloons burst or gunshots — to stop, look around to gather as much information as possible about what’s going on around them. Look, listen to see if they can learn anything from the sound, and smell the air.

“Where bullets go, there’s often ammo,” Pascal said.

Brandon Tse, who disarmed a gunman who opened fire at a ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park, California, speaks to the media on January 23.

Tinkle said that once one has gathered information, it’s important to trust one’s perception of the risk of what one can do.

Sensing danger triggers the fight-or-flight response, which humans have honed over thousands of years to respond to predators, Stowell said.

He added that when a person is in a dangerous situation that is far from anything they have experienced before, it is not uncommon for them to go to the gym.

This is where any type of training comes in. Even if it doesn’t teach you in every detail how to respond, it gives your brain a set of knowledge to fall back on in a fearful situation, Stowell said.

When there’s a mass shooter, wrestling away from guns isn’t the only course of action, Pascal said.

The US Department of Homeland Security developed a protocol called “Run, Hide, Fight.”

Pascal said that “run” refers to the first line of defense – to remove yourself from a dangerous situation as quickly as possible. You can encourage others to run as well, but if they won’t leave with you, don’t stay behind.

If running is not possible, the next best option is to hide, making it harder for the criminal to reach you in some way, he said.

If none of these are options, you can fight.

“You don’t have to be the biggest, strongest person in the room,” Pascal said. “You just have to have the mindset that nobody’s going to do this to me and I’m going home safe.”

Although most people have the ability to respond to threat in some way, it’s important not to judge how much or how little a person does, Tinkle said.

“What may be reasonable to one person in one situation may not be to another in another,” Pascal said.

No matter how well trained a person is, a mass shooting is “far beyond the scope of anything we’ve ever experienced in our day-to-day lives,” Stowell said. “Despite training there is no real expectation of a correct answer.”

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