There is very little you can do while standing shoulder to shoulder in a crowd of 22,000 people when an active shooter opens fire, as in the case of Stephen Paddock at the 91 Harvest Country Music Festival on October 1st, 2017 at Mandalay Bay, but there are some steps you can take to increase your odds of survival, most of which should be done prior to such an event happening.
- When entering a large venue such as the open air location of the music festival, take note of your surroundings. Be “situationally aware”.
- Ask yourself and remember where the entrances and exits of the perimeter of the park, amphitheater or concert hall are.
- Make a mental note of the entrances and exits of the interior of the venue including vending areas that may have a back door you can escape through.
- Look up. As in the case of the Mandalay Bay shooter, see where someone could fire a gun from with a superior vantage point.
- Many people have never even heard a gunshot except for on television. Now that footage of the Las Vegas incident has been broadcast on every news network and the video gone viral on all social media sites, people know what real gunfire from a real gun sounds like and can react immediately when they hear that sound rather than assuming it is fireworks or part of the show.
- Position yourself for safety. Many people purchase the closest, more centrally located seats possible to better enjoy the show but sitting or standing near an exit increases your ability to exit quickly, or near a pillar, wall or barrier makes it possible to take cover once the origin of the gunfire is determined.
This senseless act and horrific loss of life should never have happened but will not be the last time we see such a terrible incident. Being security minded prior to such an event, and survival minded when it happens is the key to staying alive when a twisted villain of such magnitude sets his mind on taking the lives of innocent people.