It has been a little over a week since the lone gunman attacked the Washington Navy Yard with a pump action shotgun and the last few days have been filled with news from Kenya about the organized terrorist attack at a shopping mall there. Even though the events in Kenya aren’t over yet there are already lessons to be learned from that incident and the Navy Yard.
Lesson one: It can happen here
The mall shooting in Kenya seems far away and I’m sure many people feel it would laugh at the suggestion it could happen here. I’m willing to bet they were the same people who would have laughed at the suggestion that hijackers would fly planes into building on September 10 2001 too. While statistically the chance of ending up in such an event are small, a little just in case planning could save you or someone else’s life.
Lesson two: Medical training is just as important as weapon training
At the Navy Yard medical services were delayed for 30 minutes or more while police tried to secure the scene. I do not know how many lives could have been saved if medical help had been available sooner, but if you have training in dealing with traumatic injury as well as one of the many pocket kits available (though they aren’t absolutely essential) it would not hurt. Trauma training can also help if you are ever near an auto accident or any other incident such as on a farm where a traumatic injury could occur.
Lesson three: Concealed carry is best
When the shooting started at the Navy Yard the first target was the openly armed guard. He was the most obvious threat so he had to go down first. Open carry can serve as a deterrent, but if someone is intent on mayhem they will target you first. Food for thought.
Lesson four: Your pistol can save lives
In Kenya a former Royal Marine is credited with saving 100 lives with little more than guts and a pistol. Now I’m not advocating everyone behave like the former Royal Marine, far from it. However, you can use your pistol to get yourself, and those around you to safety. I got the following tips from Thunder Ranch’s Facebook page for dealing with a Mall shooting:
Have a plan when going to the mall: Some may read this and think its extreme…really? How much do you think these people in Kenya would give to have known where exits were to safety? So…IF there is a public place you go to often with your family…simply have a plan. If you get separated have a place to meet up….know the exits. TIM GREVE…if you are reading this…can you please tell me again and post it here the area you described that had great cover the day you were at the mall with the active shooter please. Heidi
Tim Greve Happy to add my observations: First, C&H talk about cover vs concealment all the time. It’s good to remember the difference in these types of situations. Many small mall shops are built with cheap fixturing and isn’t good cover. BUT – if you are caught in the middle of things, the cash wrap (where those big heavy registers are especially in the big box stores) are built with sturdy wood, are stacked with paper bags as another barrier, plus the registers. They are built to hold a lot of weight and abuse. All things that will hinder incoming rounds. Next while the picture above shows the store layout, remember that in all of the malls there are service exits, and a myriad of hallways in between stores behind stores etc. Every store in a mall has a back entrance to get to hallways where they take their trash and get their freight (the stores aren’t allowed to take the trash cans through the malls common areas). Those back doors HAVE to be unlocked in case of fire – at least one way. In the food courts, almost always the kitchen areas are joined in the back so you can get back there quickly and make it out. Plus, kitchen areas are filled with sturdy, steel appliances and equipment that will shield you well. . Run into one of the stores, through it and out into one of the hallways. So you have a myriad of ways out of the mall that aren’t marked. In many of the stores, especially big box stores like a Macy’s etc, all of the departments are surrounded by stock rooms. All of those stock rooms are interconnected. Get back there off the floor and you can get out. Plus, most of the stock room areas have heavy shelving and stuff that’s meant to stand the test of time in order to hold all of the backstock merchandise. Metal shelving, heavy wood shelving, all things that can stop incoming rounds, or at least gives you a chance at it. There are tons of phones back there too if you need to call out. Getting on the phone to talk with first responders gives them eyes on the inside (if you can’t get out). If you end up like I did, unarmed in this kind of situation, there are all kinds of things that can be improvised weapons, box cutters, scissors, Clint’s famous fire extinguishers (spray ’em with the foam and hit ’em with the red can). But be aware, if you are in the mall, there will be people all around you screaming, crying, not thinking clearly and will need help. How will you handle that? Something to contemplate. Let me know if I missed anything. Any questions are welcome.
Tim Greve Another thing I forgot to add, is that if you are in a store, you might be getting directions from a store manager or someone (non-LE) that is “in-charge.” Keep in mind Clint’s famous “Is it Logical” test when following their lead. Remember that the majority of these people are just kids working in the mall. They probably don’t have training, are scared, and aren’t really prepared for this. Sometimes you are going to know better.
Next week we’ll discuss training with your carry piece for the absolute worst.