How to Protect Yourself in a Crowd in an Active Shooter Situation

Gunfire raining down on fellow concertgoers may be one of my worst nightmares. Knowledge of how deadly attacks on contained crowds can be is part of the reason I have trouble attending concerts, sporting events or other places where large groups of people are confined to a relatively small area.

What do you do in those situations when shots start ringing? Find Cover. If no cover is available, find Concealment. Cover is anything that physically protects you from enemy fire. The best cover is sand or dirt. Something that gives a little to slow a bullet.  Active shooter horrorists often use AR-15 rifles, which can’t shoot through 18″ of sand, but can shoot through most 1/2″ of plates of steel.

Therefore, an AR15 can go through telephone poles, mailboxes, cars (generally minus the engine block), speaker boxes at a concert, and most other fixtures at a concert venue. Ideally, you would look for microterrain, such as berms, retaining walls, or hills. If the concert is outside, see if there is a small depression or crevice in the ground that would allow you to better cover your body or vital organs.

Given that there isn’t much cover in a concert environment, especially from a shooter at a high angle, the next thing you should seek is concealment. According to initial reports and footage, the shooter at the Jason Aldean concert was using an automatic weapon. With such firearms there is relatively no ability to engage a point target, especially over distance. Therefore, he was aiming at masses of people. Being able to conceal your location behind a sign, a banner, or anything that obstructs the shooters view is better than being out in the open.

Quick, careful listening to determine the type of weapon and the direction of fire can help you make a lifesaving decision of what sort of cover or concealment you should take.

In closing, I echo the sentiments of the nation. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this horrific attack. Just as the Boston Strong united a wonderful city, let’s pray this nation takes initiative in routing out hate of all kinds.