Then I went to Reddit which is literally my first source of news these days aside from Twitter. Trending at the top was this post. Oh jeez not again. Sadly, among the things you can pretty much count on to happen on a regular basis these days (aside from Trump or Carson saying something amazingly perceptive or completely idiotic) is either a terrorism incident or a mass shooting. Last night it was both.
It is a sad commentary on society when "business as usual" means people being ambushed and mowed down by fanatics (either the mentally ill sort or the religious sort) on a regular basis. I'm about ready to move myself and the spouse (who would be protesting all the way) to a rural retreat in a Western state where I wouldn't need to deal much with people. Although that isn't really an option at the moment (protesting would be putting it lightly if I were to suddenly decide that an armed mountain fortress would be a better option than the current round of social events and restaurants the spouse--and reluctantly I--engage in on a regular basis). Which leaves me to determine how to best reside in a society where people are literally crazy and quite randomly dangerous.
Here's what I do:
- Make the house as secure as possible. Stopping short of an armed fortress, we do have a variety of security systems in place--from a video surveillance system to reinforced doors and windows to always having a firearm within reach.
- Avoiding crowded public places. I had already decided not to run the marathon tomorrow and lately I have been doing much more trail running than big, multi-thousand people running events. I'd rather take my chances with wildlife than people. While we do occasionally go to movies, shows, and the Las Vegas Strip, we opt more often for visiting with friends and family, eating in small, out of the way restaurants, and avoiding crowds as much as possible.
- Concealed carry. The only way to stop a shooter is to shoot back at them. Much as I would not want to be in a live fire situation, I would opt for having a gun and not needing it then not having a gun and really needing one.
- Being hyper aware of our surroundings. It is habit at this point but watching people and watching the crowd in general is just second nature. And there is a lot to see, especially in Vegas. Also noting all exits and entrances, memorizing not only building floor plans but where useful items may be found (fire alarms, janitor's closets, emergency stairwells, etc), and noticing things that are unusual or inconsistent are all part of being aware.
- Staying in good physical shape. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, you could find yourself in an active shooter situation. That's when your options of run, fight, or hide kick in. My first option will always be to run away from the scene if possible. To that end, being in good shape is rather necessary. Hiding effectively also requires a certain amount of physical fitness. And of course fighting, definitely a last resort, may require a good deal of physical fitness if you must fight physically (as opposed to with a firearm).
There is no sure way to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time and ending up in a terrorist/mass shooting situation. What you can do, however, is to prepare as much as possible for such a situation (while hopefully you will never need these skills) and be ready just in case.