Dec 3, 2015
What To Do In An Active Shooting
I have an extended family member who is a retired homicide detective in Miami, Florida, and he sent us this story titled, What To Do In An Active Shooter Situation by Brett and Kate McKay, which gives some very good background and advice on the reaction psychology of civilians in crisis situations.
TL;DR (I take credit for any errors here and encourage everyone to read the full article in the link.)
- In a study done by the FBI in 2014 (link also in the article). it is noted that most shootings end in two minutes or less. That's not enough time for law enforcement to arrive. So when you hear gunshots in places you shouldn't be hearing them, you don't have much time to think about what you should do.
- When any emergency situation occurs - a shooting or a fire, for example - the natural response of most people is to not do anything. The authors also link to an article about why people freeze in emergencies - for example, the "normalcy bias" causes victims to act like everything is fine - our brains are predisposed to assume that things will carry on in a predictable way.
When the pattern is broken, the brain takes a long time to process the aberration. You overcome inclinations toward passivity by deciding ahead of time what you'll do.