When A Shooting Strikes
Run, Hide, Fight
In that order!
I have been advising my nieces and nephews to run, hide, fight (in that order!) since Columbine, because cops and FBI agents quietly told me that's what they told their kids. It took more than a decade for this concept to reach a national audience, but thank God it finally has. They were really smart in making it simple and memorable.
Do these in order!
Run run run! Only hide if all escape routes are blocked. Only fight as a last resort.
If you have not watched one of these great Run, Hide Fight videos, take six minutes and watch right now. They illustrate great ways to react, ad hoc weapons, moments of weakness by the perp, etc. Watching could save your life, or the life of someone you will advise.
I often hear people give the advice of "be careful." That is useless. Nearly all these tragedies take victims completely by surprise, and no looking over their shoulders would have alerted them to a shooter blending into the crowd. That's not the solution.
You can't be careful, you can be prepared. The second the surprise is upon you, know exactly what to do, without stopping to think. Have that simple mantra ingrained in your psyche: Run, Hide, Fight. If you've thought it through, and pictured the excellent examples in the video, you can respond quickly, and save your life.
TSA's Active shooter pocket card
Thank God most of us won't ever face a shooter. But we are all bombarded by media coverage every time one of these bastards strikes. There is a lot you should know, so I wrote Skeptic's Guide to Media Coverage of Mass Shootings for The New Republic after maddening coverage of a shooting in 2015. To simplify, we created this simple graphic.
Stop Spectacle Murders
We are not powerless. In 2016, I added an epilogue to Columbine to address two key strategies to curtail this blight:
1) Teen depression, the great unlearned lesson of Columbine, and
2) the media's role in providing their platform. Read an excerpt. (And Parkland really demonstrated how survivors can snatch the narrative and the media spotlight from their perp.
Also see my Teen Depression 101 and Sue Klebold's wonderful memoir, A Mother's Reckoning.