An unfortunate fact of life is that evil exists in men. Fortunately, good people outnumber the evil men. An evil man with a gun is a terrifying thing; however, a good man with a gun can be a savior.
A good man without a gun may simply only be able to survive, as an evil shooter with a gun is in control of this situation.
In today's age, we have two kinds of evil shooters: the sociopath and the terrorist. The sociopath is the more common shooter in the United States. I personally classify the Ft. Hood shooter as a terrorist. Outside of the U.S., the terrorist is the most common evil gunman.
If you're a law-abiding citizen in a gun-free zone you are outgunned from the start. The majority of shooters attack these so-called gun-free zones because they know they won't meet resistance. This goes back to a coward's mentality. Defense IS NOT an option, but survival is. So what can you do?
Obviously, escape, get low and get away is the best idea. Locating an exit is the first step; be ready to run with a crowd who are headed the same way. Don't stop as soon as you think you're safe; keep moving until you have some real distance between yourself and this nut, plus cover. Then call 911.
If escape isn't an option, it comes down to hiding. This comes back to cover and concealment and realizing the difference. If you have the chance, take cover, as stray bullets kill just as well as aimed ones. If your children are with you and have backpack, put the backpack on them "BACKWARDS" on their chests. If they contain books or computers they may act as a make a shift bullet vest. If possible, lock yourself in somewhere. If you have the option to rely on something besides the door lock, use it: stack whatever you can in front of the door. This not only helps keep the door closed, but can also soak up bullets. Then call 911. Get prepared to fight.
Overcoming your attacker IS THE LAST OPTION. Violence comes into to play, so you want to attack fast and hard. You must be vicious prepare to inflict pain and death (disable or kill) on this attacker. Look for any makeshift weapons; for example, a fire extinguisher A fire extinguishter offers both a blunt object and distraction. Spraying someone while attacking gives you the element of surprise and as well as a few extra seconds.
Anything can be a weapon: a chair, a board, a belt, a water bottle, chairs, trash cans, brooms, etc. so keep an open mind. If you start an attack, you become target number one. You better be committed to it... until the very end... your very survival depends upon it. In tough siguations... tough men survive.
Finally, when calling 911, give them the best information you can, as calmly as you can. If you can, tell them the shooter's description, weapon, etc. I don't suggest calling the police directly until you're totally safe and can pass them new information; by the time you've called, they've probably received a dozen calls already.
Also, when it comes to pulling alarms, I don't suggest it. Pulling a fire alarm can scare people out of their hiding spots and into the gunman's line of fire. A fire alarm will only provide a few seconds of distraction anyway. Some may say the noise will make it easier to hide from the gunman, but this is false. If someone is shooting a weapon indoors without hearing protection, after the first shot he can't hearing anything already.
A shooter is a threat we continue to live with, and until the good men can be armed everywhere, these attacks will likely go on unopposed. This is not a question of gun control, but rather a question of sanity and morals (gun-free zone control).
Evil flourishes when good men do nothing... and stupid politicians do the wrong things (disarm the innocent).
Armed options for surviving are vastly different. If you're the situation with a sociopathic gunman and you are carrying a concealed weapon, there are a few things to remember.
- First, most sociopaths aren't planning on leaving alive.
- Second, these gunmen are cowards looking to murder and not to fight; the first sign of resistance could be a complete shock. A prime example of this is that these sociopaths often kill themselves before possible police confrontation.
If you're drawing your weapon in this situation, be prepared to fire. Don't just display your weapon. You have the element of surprise on your side and overwhelm your attacker with deadly force.
The value of violence of action is taught heavily in the Military. It is using a maximum amount of violence in an attack, never slowing down your attack, and never losing momentum. Your life depends on it. As a civilian in this situation, it's not much different.
What you can do is surprise your attacker and refuse to retreat. Pinning a sociopath gunman down can save lives and give everyone valuable time for police to appear. Be smart: your first step after an attack starts and your first action is to seek cover. Knowing the difference between cover and concealment is critical: tables, plaster walls, and desks aren't cover. Things like bookshelves are a gamble; maybe the books can stop the bullet, but maybe not. Brick pillars or steel stanchions are great cover, and if you're hiding behind a car, stay behind the engine block, not the door. WHEN THE POLICE ARRIVE, YOUR GUN WILL BE IN YOUR HOLSTER! Do exactly as they say! You don't want to be shot by the police. The first life to save is your own. You can't help anyone if you are dead.
Sociopathic gunmen attack crowded places, so before you take your shot remember that bullet can never be taken back. It may be incredibly difficult to take a shot with crowds panicking and people running everywhere. Emptying a mag in the shooter's direction can make you just as lethal to innocents as him. And in today's society you will have to account for every bullet you fire.
How can you prepare? It's hard without a lot of money, time, and resources to actively train against a threat like this. Training from someone with military experience can be beneficial. You may choose to participate in IDPA matches two or three times a year to get a minimum amount of training. Maybe the five rounds you carry in your revolver isn't enough, consider buying a speed loader or an extra magazine for your automatic.
Practice your shooting, drawing, reloading with the clothes you'll actually wear in public. Any practice will help. Look around the stores and malls to see where cover exists. Think through a scenereo.