Defending in a Crowded Place

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

I just returned from a banquet; one of many that my wife and I are invited to attend. We ate an overpriced dinner, along with 300 other people, listened to speeches and congratulated those who were recognized, one of who was a co-worker of my wife.

I may have been a bit distracted during the speeches, as I must admit, the surroundings were a security nightmare. Three hundred people sitting around tables in a crowded room makes taking any defensive action extremely difficult. But being me, I had to look at it as a battle problem and come up with a solution, just like I always do.

Some might think I was being paranoid, as there were security personnel posted in the lobby of the center where the event took place. But the deadliest thing I saw on any of their belts was a radio. While I’m sure they could call for help, that would leave the police outside, and me inside with either terrorists or criminals, not an attractive situation to be in.

The event I was at seemed to me to be an ideal target for terrorists or criminals. Terrorists would look at that room and see, the mayor, a couple of city council members, and a judge, along with a whole bunch of the movers and shakers in our city; the people with the money. Hitting them would definitely make an impact.

The same group of people would be an attractive target for criminals, as they could see that the banquet was filled with people who had money. While they might not have been carrying much cash with them, they had credit cards, watches and other jewelry. It would be a nice haul.

And there I was, in the midst of it (actually sitting at a table right in front of the stage), asking myself what I could do, if the place got hit. Any of you who have read my writings for a while, knows that this is an exercise I go through regularly.

The big problem in a place like that is that there are too many people. If someone were to open fire in there, people would be running in every direction, screaming. It would be impossible to get a clean shot, without the risk of hitting an innocent party. As always, I had to keep in mind that I was responsible for any shot I fired. In such a situation, a miss might just mean that I hit someone else.

So what do you do?

At the premier of the Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012, a young man with a concealed carry license was faced with that very problem when a gunman opened fire. Even though he was armed, the chances of hitting the gunman, without hitting anyone else, were slim. So he did the best he could, he got his girl friend down on the floor and covered her with his own body.

That was probably the best he could do in that situation, and I’ve taken that lesson to heart. I’ve trained my wife and kids that in such a situation the best thing they can do is to hug the floor. Shots may be fired, but they would most likely be over their heads. Getting on the floor is the fastest and easiest way to get out of the line of fire.

I’ve also told them that if I didn’t see any other opportunity, I would probably be right there beside them. But I always try to look for opportunity ahead of time, so that I can take action.

In order to be able react in such a situation, the first requirement is to be able to get clear of the crowd. That’s the only way you can find a line of sight, which allows you to engage the shooters, with at least a manageable level of risk of accidentally hitting an innocent bystander. In the even I was in this evening, my plan was to mount the stage, as I was right in front of it. That had the added benefit of putting me above the crowd, where I could shoot over their heads.

Regardless of where I am, if I’m in a crowded place like this, I always identify the shortest route to a place where I can be clear of the crowd and have a clear line of sight to the entryway, where I assume the bad guys will be. If there are multiple entrances, I do the same for those other entrances as well.

That’s not an ideal solution, but it’s not an ideal situation either. You have to work with the situation as it is, not as it fits into your imagination.

Then too, it’s important to remember that it’s not your or my job to be a hero, no matter how much we might want to be. If the best thing we can do is to get ourselves and our loved ones out of there, than that’s what we need to do. Rescuing anyone else is a secondary consideration. If you can, that’s great; but don’t put your family at risk to do so.

And of course, to be ready, make sure you keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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