The Omaha Nebraska mall mass shooting made me realize that I or a member of my family could have been one of the victims.
It has become apparent that mass public shootings are becoming more and more common in American society. We can no longer go about our daily lives with the belief that we are safe while out in public.
Those innocent victims in the Omaha shooting entered that mall with no concerns for their safety because malls are supposed to be safe.
I have never walked into a mall and thought to myself “I wonder if some lunatic will start shooting people here” In American society, we have always had the understanding that public places are rarely the scene of violent crimes.
A criminal would much rather find a potential victim who is not in a crowded public place because the odds of getting caught are high much higher.
The problem is that with these mass public shootings we are not dealing with a typical criminal who wants to commit his/her crime and then getaway.
The person planning the mass public shooting has no intentions of getting away because he/she fully intends to commit suicide or be killed by the Police.
The mass shooter chooses a public place because it is full of innocent and usually unarmed civilians who are easy victims. The mass shooter wants to kill as many people as quickly as he can which is why the crowded public places are chosen.
It does us no good to try and understand why these people decide to murder innocent people before killing themselves or being killed by the Police.
The human mind is complex and not fully understood and we may never know what triggers a person to commit mass murder.
The important thing is for civilians to understand that the mass public shooting rampage is a real threat and steps need to be taken to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Public Mass Shooting, Prevent Yourself From Becoming The Victim
Here Are My Ideas on Keeping Yourself Safer While in Public Places:
1. Obtain a Concealed Firearms Permit
Seriously look into obtaining a concealed firearms permit if your state allows it. More and more criminals are carrying concealed firearms so it only makes sense for you to carry one.
Having a concealed firearms permit is a huge responsibility and it is not meant for everyone. Each state has its own rules for who can apply for a concealed firearms permit and the rules are meant to weed out those individuals who have no business carrying concealed firearms.
You know yourself better than anyone and if you don’t think you are responsible enough to carry a concealed firearm, then don’t.
2. Purchase a Firearm That Is Right for You
Find a local shooting range or shooting club and talk with someone who is an expert in the field of firearms. Tell this person that you are interested in obtaining information on handgun models for concealed carrying.
This is an important step because if you intend on carrying a gun concealed in your waistband you don’t want to buy a big bulky gun.
Women have it made because they have a lot of options on what type of gun to buy because they can carry the gun in their purse. Men have to conceal a handgun in their waistband, pants pocket, ankle holster, or carry a fanny pack.
I prefer to carry my concealed handgun in my waistband because I feel that I can get to it quickly if needed. I like fanny packs but I don’t like the fact that I will have to take time to unzip the bag if I need my gun.
An ankle holster can be good if you practice drawing your gun quickly from standing and seated positions.
3. Become Proficient With Your Firearm
Don’t even consider being a candidate for a concealed firearms permit if you don’t have the time or desire to go to the shooting range. If you can’t hit the targets at the shooting range, how can you engage an armed homicidal subject in a crowded public place.
When it comes to becoming proficient with a handgun you have to practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more.
You don’t have to become an expert marksman but you need to be proficient with your handgun. Think of your handgun as a tool that you have to aid you in staying safe and you need to know how to operate your tool
4. Think Like an Off-Duty Cop While in Public Places
I have been a cop for over 18 years now and when I am off-duty I am constantly scanning my surroundings for signs of danger or suspicious activity.
This comes naturally for Police Officers because our job is all about watching and observing people and our surroundings. When I had 2-3 years on as a Police Officer I found myself seeing things while off-duty that my friends and family never saw.
I was beginning to think my friends and family were blind but I realized that my job had turned me into a human surveillance camera.
When I enter a public place I immediately scan the area immediately around me. I am looking for a person or persons who are acting out of the norm for a law-abiding civilian who is in a public place.
A person wearing heavy clothing during warm months or someone looking around frantically would be suspicious for me. When you start watching people in public you will see that 99.9% of the people go about their business in the same fashion.
When I am at work on routine patrol and I see someone acting out of the norm for a law-abiding citizen, I become suspicious.
When I am off-duty I also become suspicious when I see someone acting out of the norm for a law-abiding citizen. I scan the area the furthest away from me for signs of distress or danger such as people running, yelling, or a crowd gathering.
Think of yourself as a walking human surveillance camera. You are walking around the public place and the whole time you are scanning and analyzing the people around you. Do it long enough and it will become 2nd nature as it is with Police Officers.
5. Know the Layout of the Public Place That You Are Visiting
If you know the layout of the public place that you are visiting you will be better prepared to escape in the event of a life-threatening situation.
Know the exit/entranceways so you won’t have to think about an escape route during a dangerous situation. During a life-threatening situation in a public place, I would avoid using the main exits because those areas could very well be a trap.
Someone intent on murder would choose the most crowded areas of a public place which are typically the main entrance points.
6. Have a Plan in Case You Find Yourself in the Middle of a Public Shooting
Spending time on a tactical team taught me the importance of having a plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Have a general plan in your head that you will implement if you find yourself in one of these dangerous situations. A plan could be something like this.
1. Find cover and concealment
2. Call 911 if possible
3. Retreat from the source of danger when safe (don’t run blindly)
4. Have a handgun ready (if you have a concealed firearms permit) and be prepared to act!
As an off-duty Police Officer, my plan of action would differ from that of a civilian. As a Police Officer, I am obligated to protect the lives of the people in the area of the threat.
If I found myself in a public place and a mass shooting broke out my plan would be along these lines. Remember that a plan can and will change on the fly.
Be prepared to alter your plan at a moment’s notice. I would find cover and concealment for my immediate safety. I would arm myself and identify the approximate location of the threat. I would then move towards the threat in an attempt to neutralize the threat quickly.
Our society is seeing more and more of these mass public shootings and there is no reason to believe that we have seen the last shooting rampage.
The least you can do to increase your odds of staying safe is to be cognizant and aware that one of these mass public shootings can happen in any of the public places you frequent.
If you choose to explore the possibility of obtaining a concealed firearms permit, contact your local law enforcement headquarters for more information.