Lorie Johnson

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Lesson from Colorado Shooting: Protect Yourself


Thank God for our Navy SEALs. What brave, strong, smart men! I always listen intently whenever a SEAL, or former SEAL speaks.  Yesterday, former Seal Brandon Webb, author of the book, The Red Circle, was speaking about the Aurora, Colo., shooting. 

He offered practical advice about how to avoid such mass killings. Also he suggested a number of useful tips to get out of such a situation, alive.

First, he said, just change your mindset. Begin thinking about these things on a regular basis. Be aware.

What does that mean? Well, it means for starters, get your head out of the clouds. Realize the world in which we live is a dangerous place. Therefore, wherever you go and whatever you do, be aware of your surroundings and where you are placed in your environment.

In practical terms this means heads-up. Literally.

Stop messing around with your smart phone when your eyes should be up, scanning the street, the hallway, the room, noticing what's going on around you instead of focused downward.

Brandon Webb said, for example, that when he dines at a restaurant, he always has his back to the wall. Smart.

Speaking of being aware of your surroundings, when you enter a room, notice the exits and the widows and think about the ways to get out .

Brandon advises always backing into parking spots. You never know when that will come in handy.

Also, be aware of higher than normal risks. Let's face it. People who want to do harm, want to do it in a big way. In other words, killers, whether crazed home-grown gunmen or radical Islamic terrorists, want to kill as many people as possible.

Therefore, when you make decisions about where to go, choose the less populated options. For example, Brandon Webb says when he takes his kids to the amusement park he chooses the time it's least crowded. Same for taking them to a professional ball game.

"They (terrorists) want Yankee Stadium packed, as opposed to the San Diego Padres at 50-percent capacity," he said.

He mentioned that's why he would not be in London right now watching the Olympics. This is not to imply that the crowds they are in are any danger, but rather demonstrates his choice to avoid what might be considered high target events.

I think the most interesting things I heard Brandon Webb say were the comments about what to actually do if, God forbid, you were in a shooting such as the one in Aurora.

As many of us know, there were some military personnel in the theater, even some who were killed. They were unarmed because, for one thing, the theater had a "no weapons" policy to which they adhered.

But Brandon said there is a "weapon" we can take anywhere that might mean the difference between life and death: a tactical flashlight. It's so bright, 500 lumens, that it will blink someone for three to four seconds, even in the daylight, and longer at night.

These precious few seconds would buy you time to make a run for it. By the way, this would be useful in many situations, such as a street incident. He said the tactical flashlights are sold by companies such as Sure Fire and Princeton Tech.

And speaking of making a run for it, Brandon Webb is a trained sniper. As such, he divulged the difficulty, the extreme difficulty of shootingi a moving target. Since many of these mass shooters are not trained marksmen, you have a much better chance of survival if you try to run away, than if you freeze-up.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly understand the instinct to curl up in a ball, cowering in fear. But we should do the opposite, according to Webb.

And speaking of becoming a difficult target to hit, while running away, opt for the zig-zag pattern if you can, as opposed to a straight line.

I'm grateful to Brandon Webb for sharing his insights. It's ridiculous to assume that they will be effective in every situation. But there may be instances where they could mean the difference between life and death.

And if nothing else, they at least give us the feeling of empowerment in the wake of an even that has so many people wondering what we can do to protect ourselves from such savagery.

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 5:17 PM



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