What Would YOU Do?


Although I feel fortunate to live in a state that is not as “gun-friendly” as some others are … one never knows what a desperate/deranged person will do. And because of that unpredictability, I recently considered how I would react if someone “opened fire” where I might be.

My first thought was that I would try and find a place to hide … to become “invisible” to the shooter. But of course, that’s not always possible.

Perhaps drop to the ground and play dead?

Not sure that “running away” is always a good response …

What do you think YOU would do?

There are those who believe (and promote) that carrying a gun on their person offers “protection” in such a scenario. I strongly disagree. IMO, there are way too many variables that come into play during a mass shooting. Even if an individual has had extensive weapons training –or has an abundance of awards for marksmanship — adrenalin and self-preservation are very difficult factors to control. (Not to mention the police could see YOU as the shooter!)

Moreover, stopping a moving/shooting target … especially one with an AR-15 … presents a very real challenge of its own.

In any case, as I mulled over what kind of self-preservation action I might take, I couldn’t help but think … what a horrible way to live! To be concerned, worried, and/or fearful that every trip outside your home could mean facing gunfire.

Added to this unsettling thought was the sad realization that those of us who were born and raised in MUCH different (and safer) times will never again experience life in that same way again.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

49 thoughts on “What Would YOU Do?

  1. What to do is a matter of statistics, tactics, and doctrine. First, try to get away before the shooter gets to your location. If your area is under fire or observation by the shooter, seek cover and/or concealment. Cover stops bullets, concealment stops visual recognition. Something that is both is preferred.

    If you the means to start an offensive (you have a gun yourself) make sure the shots count. If you can’t end the situation, don’t shoot. If you do not have an appropriate weapon, remain behind cover/concealment until the shooter moves on or gets within arms reach. And then good luck, because it is now a cage match.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Statistics would indicate fairly clearly that carrying a gun considerably INCREASES your chances of getting shot.
    But why do we have to have these discussions? Protection of you or anybody else has to occur way, way before you are sharing a space with a shooter.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Certainly there is a much BETTER way to protect ourselves … but until this remedy has been put into place (don’t hold your breath) … the question remains. What would YOU do?

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’d probably just get shot. Maybe attempt something stupidly heroic.
        But I would argue that the discussion of self-protection on a national scale may not be a wise one to promote, as it sways thinking to accept the situation and construct solutions to counter it, rather that attack the problem itself.
        I know I sound like a broken record but I really don’t think Americans understand how utterly insane this ‘gun culture’ looks from just about anywhere else on the planet.

        Liked by 10 people

        • Definitely attacking the problem is, by far, the best solution! But as you noted in your final sentence, too many Americans seem to believe if they just don’t think about it, mass shootings will simply “go away.”

          Liked by 3 people

        • Yeah. I’m a fairly lazy individual and when there’s a choice between doing something and doing nothing I’ll normally go for the second option. But this is an issue which does not belong in the ‘too hard basket’.
          Problem: Innocent children are getting shot with military weapons in our schools.
          Solution: Mare sure the school teachers are heavily armed and trained to kill.
          That this is utter madness must be obvious to all but a few, and yet it is proposed by the very same people who claim that the main issue is mental health!!!

          Liked by 7 people

        • You make a good point though. We have proven to be fairly adept at ignoring things. Ignoring Covid 19, ignoring climate change, ignoring poverty and a million other gross inequalities and yes, so far you guys have done a terrific job of ignoring the misappropriation of an old amendment to an old constitution.
          The problem doesn’t go away, of course, but it becomes so common and accepted as such that you hardly notice it after a while.

          Liked by 6 people

        • So true, if anyone mentions going to the US the first thing said is “watch out for nutters with guns” or “don’t be foolish and go to a safe country” The most disturbing aspect I would find is that you do not know who has a hand gun jammed in his pants or an automatic firearm in his bag. Argue with someone like that and it could be fatal.

          Liked by 2 people

        • It’s literally a sexual fetish in these benighted states. Listen to the tone of voice(written) as they describe their feeling of power!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s almost impossible to say how one would respond under the actual circumstances really. We, Americans that is, all like to think we’re Mannix and we could whip into action on a moments notice. That is not the way this things play out since we don’t know when the attack occurs beforehand, or where it’s coming from, or how the person is armed, etc. What we do know is we can not count on police or security personnel or first responders since more often than not, people/children are dead way before help arrives. Lastly, I don’t think most people have any idea of how they will respond when their actual mortality is at stake; the wolf is at the door. That is anyone’s guess but more guns are certainly not the answer as we have seen time and again.

    The bottom line is we have been lied to over and over again; by our governments, federal, state and local, by our elected representatives, by the gun manufacturers, the gun lobbyists, by gun owners, the NRA, the media, and many others. There is no match between a bad gay with a gun and a good guy with a gun; no match at all, bad guys win everytime.

    Liked by 5 people

    • There were 19 good guys with guns in the hall in Uvalde. So much for that argument. Yeah, mismatched, indeed, when the bad guy always starts shooting first, a step ahead of the good guy. The bad guys never ask, “Anybody here gonna try to shoot me?”

      Now and then there is a factor in a catastrophe that can make a world of difference. I mention it only to celebrate a factor in human nature. Under stress, of course fear and lack of training or knowledge can turn to paralysis or stupidity. However, sometimes it triggers a mix of adrenaline, heroism, and fast thinking that can be virtually miraculous. Not saying it can be relied upon. Just one positive thought. Training and preparation can help make those “miracles” happen.

      Thinking about it is a good start, so it’s a great question, Nan, and the ensuing dialog worth having. Imagine THAT! Thinking and discussing! What’s the world coming to?

      Liked by 2 people

        • I like that point. Depends on the situation.

          I can only say in general terms what I want to guide my approach, a sort of philosophy for it, but the actual steps would vary greatly from case to case. Like the difference between strategy and tactics. One component of my general strategy would be to attack the attacker if at all possible, by every means I can make, and to any extent possible, enlist the aid of others. Think Flight 93 on 9/11/01. The tactical realities will define whether I can do it and how to do it, but the overall agenda is to fight back, and to go down fighting if necessary, to take risks to preserve life.

          I would put an emphasis on counterattack in any way I possibly could. I say this as one with no training or experience except routine military service over 40 years ago and no combat experience, unless you count wrangling drunken sailors while on shore patrol duty. However, I believe that 6 years of having drilled into my psyche the ethic, “Combat Readiness,” may have influenced my view. I will take the lead in fighting the attacker if I can, or follow the lead of someone who shows they know better than I know how to proceed.

          Having this pre-established attitude and intention will, I believe, help to make it more possible than if I had not considered it before.

          Does that make sense?

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Ok, shortly after I wet and/or shit myself (if you think I’m kidding…)

    I would try to get away. It’s time to panic. Active shooter training says hide and lock doors. Call 911 (unless you’re in Uvalde. Waste of time there.).

    We know these people are crazy and scared and often expect to die. As much as I might want to help make that come true, my training says duck and cover.

    It’s hard to hit a moving target. So I would move. Just get the hell out of there, if possible. I do not carry, but if I had he chance to kill a shooter, I am not a pacifist. I would if I could.

    Having not done it, I might freeze. Hope not.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I would duck, seek cover, locate the shooter and kill them with my own gun as my military training has programmed me to do. If I was not carrying a gun I would use my trusty knife as the stereotypic Finn, that I am, thus always carrying one, like so many among our neighbouring nations expect in their xenophobic & racist minds. Well no, not really. I would propably not run in erraric circles screaming and waving my hands, as past experience tells me I tend to keep relatively calm and focused even in life threatening situations, but who knows. The precise course of action depends on so many things, like are you in a crowd, in the open and so on. I would really not be likely to kill anyone, especially when I am not carrying a gun (or a knife – mostly, though sometimes a sword). I am in a place where the very professional police have a response time of few minutes and gunownership is regulated by the law, so I do not have to carry a gun, or any other weapon for protection.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I shop at a Tops supermarket so I think about it now & again. I think it’s instinctive, what you do. Hit the ground or run for cover.

    It’s not like I haven’t heard the sound of gunfire on Buffalo streets before this. Back in 2014, the nice young man who was selling drugs on my East Side street was shot when he was taking out his garbage one night. I remember hearing the shots, it was like pop pop. He survived the shooting but a week later, two other guys were shot as they were sitting in their car a few streets away. This is how it goes.

    I always figure if I get shot while I’m out & about, then it’s my time to go & that’s the way it is. I don’t worry about it. It’s out of my control.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hello Nan. As others have said I really don’t know how I would react. I would hope my old training would kick in but that has not been reinforced by training and action in decades. I also am realistic that my physical condition and health has changed drastically. A running sprint and dropping down to leap up and run again is not going to happen for me. I do carry a cane and my current one is a heavy axe head and I was taught / used the PR-24 (a police baton with a handle) but I would need to be in close quarters with the shooter and for arm locks and stuff I wonder if I have the arm strength anymore? So not really an option either. What would I do? I guess it all depends on what the situation is. With no way out you fight and struggle for survival, and if possible you get the hell out through any opening you find like going into a stock room, as others have said look for cover so get put things between you and the shooter. Unfortunately with the ammo / rifles used today the bullets will travel through a lot of stuff and still kill or maim. I would hope that if the situation presented a way to help others I would do it. But again realistically we all have to seriously understand our own limits and work within them. One thing Ron and I do more now than we did before is understand when one of us or both of us leave the house we may not both be coming home. We understand going into stores and other places that we not leave there together. As openly gay guys we faced that decades ago, we thought it was behind us, but it is back now. That is the reality in the US, the home of the unrestrained 2nd amendment and the land of the gun. Where freedom to live takes a backseat to freedom to carry so others can admire your pretend cosplay toughness. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Even though I was militarily trained it does not mean jack if you are caught cold in the open by the nutjob. I read once if you know the shooter is about to kill you next or is taking his aim in your direction you have but only one thing left to do, and that is charge at the shooter as fast as you can screaming at the same time. It sounds like a suicide mission but consider that you would be dead anyway if you did nothing and it is without doubt your absolute last chance. I believe it has been done before in war situations and depending on the mentality of the shooter and your own demeaner it is a tactic that may cause the gunman to panic and hesitate. Of course the distance and speed that you can run towards the shooter is the very relevant factor, I am old but agile and would not try it further than a10 metre distance otherwise I would rather turn and run away side stepping and swerving in rapid time, however a fast sprinter could likely do a longer distance.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I’d offer “thoughts ‘n prayers” to the shooter reminding him he is loved very much by JEEEEESSUUSSS!! This has worked very well so far in the States to stop unnecessary mass shootings and to greatly comfort the families of people needlessly killed during such shootings. $Amen$

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I have no idea what I’d do if I found myself in the middle of that kind of situation. I suppose my first instinct would be to either hide or run. I sincerely hope to never find out.

    A bit of clarification about weapons for a moment. Everyone is focusing on assault rifles and especially the AR-15. That “AR” doesn’t stand for assault rifle, it stands for ArmaLite, the company that first developed that style of rifle back in the 1950s. ArmaLite sold the patents to Colt back 1959. Colt sold the fully automatic version of that rifle to the military as the famous (or infamous) M-16. Colt then started selling semi-automatic versions of the M-16 to law enforcement and the general public as the AR-15. The patents expired in 1970 and other companies began making and selling their own versions of it.

    For years now the makers and gun lobby have been trying to sort of re-brand it as a “sporting rifle”, claiming there are legitimate uses for the weapon such as hunting, target shooting, etc. You can use them for hunting, but I wouldn’t. They typically use a rather small bullet, usually .223 or the NATO version, which isn’t very good at taking larger game, and is too powerful to take small game. They’re overly complicated, fiddly, the barrels are, at least in most versions, too short for long range hunting. They’re awkward to carry through the woods. If given a choice I’d rather have a decent hunting rifle any day when out hunting.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I would certainly consider wearing body armour if I was living in y’alls country.
    And these days, I’m so sure how much I am joking here either.

    Also, if I was over there on my hols’,I might consider applying for special dispensation to carry, and if I was visiting anywhere near Prof.T …
    Ye Haw… I would enquire what the rules are regarding shouldering an anti-tank missile launcher!

    Failing that, employ someone who was au fait with firearms to act as my shopping buddy, tour guide,body guard and translator ( I don’t speak American).

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ark, not sure even an anti-tank launcher is sufficient in Texas. You’d be heavily out-gunned, out-armed here with that measly pea-shooter. 😉

      A kinda wish I was indeed joking, but I’ve seen and been around way too many gun- and weapon-fanatics all my life here in this hyper-testosteroned up state! 😟

      Liked by 4 people

    • Ark: what is the violent crime rate in South Africa versus the United States? Even the wealthiest have to leave the gated suburbs, no? Let’s be realistic here, no?

      Liked by 1 person

      • @brian

        *Smile* You make it sound as if us ‘Sarf Efricans’ live in a war zone or like some parody of Colombia.
        Most folk in blogsville will probably be aware I hardly ever read the news, here or abroad, and I am only au fait with the mass shootings in the US from blogs like Nan’s.
        I have only the smattering of knowledge about the war in Ukraine for example and again, only through blogsville.
        In fact there have been occasions where John Z over in Brazil has asked me something about South Africa and I have had to either ask him what gives or go look it up!
        Bad news disturbs my karma.I have enough issues dealing with Liverpool when they lose.

        That notwithstanding … I’ll try to answer the question of SA crime as best I can without doing the whole Googly Search engine thing.

        Gated Communities

        Post Apartheid SA saw a flurry of applications from residents to gate certain areas / streets because of the sudden spike in burglaries and car theft / jacking as the criminal elements in townships that were once restrained because of the Group Areas Act were suddenly unleashed on suburbia in general.
        To be honest it was an inevitability and some might point out, serves them bloody right, too!

        Notwithstanding my lack of ‘News Awareness’ there seems to be little mention of such crimes these days. Which is not to say it doesn’t happen, as I’m sure it does, but they are not the bowel knotting siege mentality inducing acts that once made headlines all over.

        New, self-contained estates are still the ‘thing’, the property development slump that affected everyone a while back is slowly normalising from what I can see.

        Mass shootings:

        I truly am unaware of this type of devastation one reads about in the US happening over here. Especially regarding schools etc.
        While some schools do have booms at the entrance, from what I recall when my kids were at school these were put in place largely to prevent car theft or undesirables from simply wandering onto school property.
        Very sensible too, if you ask me. And the guards at my kids old school are not armed, as far as I know.
        The idea of arming teachers seems almost dystopian in concept and I have never heard of this topic ever having been raised here.

        About 20 years ago, I worked in a shopping centre( Mall) called Bedford Gardens when an attempted armed robbery of one of the banks took place. My own bank, Standard, as it happens!
        I was out with a client showing a property at the time so missed all the ‘excitement’, thank the gods.
        I was told it was a bit like the gunfight at the O.K. Coral. An off-duty policeman was shot and killed and immediately afterwards all banks across the land stepped up security, including metal detectors and double access doors. (as one might find at an embassy or such like). That ended on site bank robberies.

        We had a short period where armed in transit heists were the flavour of the month, but that too seems to have faded from the news.

        There was a time that SA was labelled the rape capital of the world, but, I am sorry to say, the vast majority of rapes were committed by and within non-white communities.

        Rural murders of farmers are probably the most notorious headline grabbing gun crimes we have over here, and again, I could not give you figures unless I specifically looked on line, which I have no real desire to do so.

        Like every country, it is ill advised to go wandering around dodgy areas irrespective of whether one is a tourist or a local.

        Personally, I don’t wander about for the sake of it and running our business from home and quite liking my semi-hermit status I have no real desire to change this.
        I walk the dogs most mornings around my suburb and have never felt threatened or ill at ease.
        Of course, having a big dog with me is likely a deterrent.

        On my Body Armour / anti tank missile comment

        There was an element of tongue in cheek and I hope that was obvious?
        I’m pretty sure most of the US is perfectly safe and the vast majority of ‘Yanks’ probably never even encounter a fire arm up close let alone are confronted with the scenario described in Nan’s OP.

        That said, there is no smoke without fire so … the best solution, in my view, would be to amend the 2nd Amendment and ban guns altogether.
        In SA as well!
        Hope that covers it?

        Phew! I have just realised this comment likely rivals one of Prof T smaller missives. Sheesh.


        Wild Bill Arkenaten … ye haw!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Actually, you provided a lot of information … and didn’t really wander all that much away from the topic, so … You’re forgiven, my son. 🙏

          Added note — our news media seems to be pushing the envelope now after this latest school shooting. Nearly every day they include blurbs about shooting incidents … even if only (!) 2 or 3 people are killed … but several injured. Personally, I think that’s what needs to be done. With it becoming so commonplace in this country, people tend to forget way too soon.

          Liked by 2 people

  12. Dog food. Bury yourself in bags of dog food. Essential part of “duck and cover” is the “cover” ~ put something between you and the shooter. Distance is nice but not if you’re exposing yourself running away. Duck is good too. Mostly just don’t be in the open.

    I’d like to think all that training and all the application of that training years ago has stuck with me, but really … speculation is speculation. Just because we know how to do something in a given situation doesn’t necessarily mean the given situation will present itself. Dogmatic, repetitious training leaves one locked into a very narrow frame of action with little freedom to improvise.

    Way back when … when I first went to work, on a cattle ranch, I was told you need to carry a pistol in case rattlesnake spooks your horse. Not for the snake. I was young, but I’d read a lot of Louis L’Amour, I wasn’t buyin’ it. Horse spooked, off at a dead run, your foot in the stirrup while you’re bouncing around on the ground getting your head kicked in annddd … you’re gonna’ slip the (holster) thong, pull the pistol, cock it aim it and shoot the horse. Riiggghhhhttttt. I think it better to shoot the snake before it spooks the horse. Better still, any place a rattlesnake might be isn’t a good place for a horse place to be to begin with. Yes, the topic at hand is what would you do?

    Not lock ourselves into stories of what we would do …

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Nan,

    Not sure if I’ve ever told you directly about my TWO first-hand experiences confronted with an armed man/men. In both incidents, I was unarmed and not wearing protective gear, and talked BOTH men out of their weapons: 1) a semi-automatic “hunting rifle” and 2) the other with a Glock 48 put on my temple.

    The first incident was while working at my Psych/A&D hospital. Fortunately with that sick man I had been dealing with him for seven hours straight getting him admitted into our Dual-Diagnosis acute unit; so we had a brief rapport where I had already been patiently helping him. The second incident was with an ex-g/f’s ex-fiancé who was mentally unstable with the fact that his ex- was now in love with me. Yeah, one of those soup operas. 🙄

    My point is that in both cases me/I did not present myself to them as a(n) (armed) threat—which more often than not DOES NOT deescalate a potential mad-man shooter, not in the least… in their hyped-up unstable minds in the heat of the moment and whatever circumstances the shooter is or has been dealing with. Now, granted your question is specifically when a shooter is already firing. Not the same as my two cases.

    Therefore, given my background in Psych/A&D rehab and many in my paternal & maternal families with military experience and combat deployments, and the fact that one can NEVER fully prepare for situations in grocery stores, hospitals, schools, churches/mosques, big concerts, night clubs, movie theaters, and an endless plethora of other still unknown “crowded” situations… the FIRST consideration/assessment must be HOW to bring down the shooter as fast as possible given the immediate environment. Second, can that be realistically accomplished and fast? If so, DO IT! No ifs, ands, or buts… no hesitations! If you are wounded or killed in that attempt, you might still save a few others from being casualties. No brainer. If you’re not hurt, then even better.

    If I ran from the scene, there is no way I could later live with myself while so many others perished. I never want that on my conscience for my remaining days. I could not handle those nightmares years and years after.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Additionally, not to be a Negative Nellie, but I’ve long lamented we can’t really speak of religion because the language we use is rooted in religion, evolved around religion, religion is the narrative; and it is becoming (though I have long lamented) more publicly readily apparent that a loud-mouthed few has come to dominate the narrative, a minority imposing a tyranny upon the majority* … yet here we are, letting the gun nuts dominate the narrative. Everyone here, regardless our backgrounds, are on the defense. Talking about what, wither or no or why not.

    This is terrorism …

    *There’s an Amendment for that

    Liked by 2 people

  15. One caveat though: statistically, murder rates and violent crime in general, even despite the Covid surge, are lower the past decades. Not sure the 70s, when I grew up, was a safer time. Plus, the bigger threats remain the maiming and death caused by our automobile addictions and these rates are going up because of distracted driving. What would I do? Cower-or run. Actually I would unsheathe my fathers massive sword and save you all!

    Liked by 4 people

  16. I don’t know what I’d do…hide, run, play dead….. just remember you can more easily die of a car accident, cancer or heart disease. I truly believe nothing will change even with some minor gun law changes. It’s simply not enough. Our society is sick and our culture is based on what’s good for me and my wants, not what’s good for my community or country and their wants. That’s how Western Europe and Canada differ so from us. We hold few wealthy people and people in power for any accountability. It’s a rigged system and the NRA and religious fanatics own the republicans.

    Liked by 1 person

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