How to be Proactive Against an Active Shooter
In a world that is becoming more and more violent we see active shooters in businesses, malls, schools, colleges, movie theaters, airports, churches, parking garages or any place people gather. Most know the three tenants of an active shooter response: Run, Hide, Fight, but what can you do prepare yourself in your place of business or while out in public? We are going to run through all three of these but will highlight the Fight part as it pertains to the actual active shooter, Esteban Santiago at Fort Lauderdale Airport.
1. Run - At work, do you have a plan that in the event of an active shooter you can get out? If you are in your office or work place, do you have a route that will provide you cover (protect you from bullets) or concealment (allows you not to be seen) to one or more exits. While in public, like at a mall, do you constantly know where the exits are or the rear exit of the store you are in?
2. Hide - If you are in your office at work, can you secure the door so that a shooter could not get in? You might say, “Oh yea, I would just shove the filing cabinet in front of it”, well, can you even move the filing cabinet? Do you think about where you can hide while in public? Restrooms or the storage room in the back of a store are two places to consider.
3. Fight - Most colleges and institutions do not address this in their briefings and just let law enforcement handle the situations. That’s all good until you are the one getting shot at and you have no idea what to do. So, let’s take the example of Esteban Santiago, the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooter. Take a look at what he did on the closed camera and what everyone else did, or didn’t do.
There were a number of people all around and some just stood there and watched him shoot people. Some just laid on the ground. One lady is clearly seen hiding behind a baggage cart. I didn’t see anyone taking cover. What if one of the individuals next to Santiago tackled him? What if someone hit him with some type of field expedient weapon like an umbrella or small piece of luggage? I guarantee you that if one person would have known what to do or showed some leadership by tackling him or assaulting him, others would have joined in. Unfortunately, no one did and as a result, 5 people died and 6 were injured.
The Santiago shooting is a clear case of complete lack of training and having no survival mindset. The people in the luggage claim had just walked into the worst day of their life and had no idea how to react.