Ultimate Survival At The Movies

Ultimate Survival… at the Movies

“It was an ordinary moment, an ordinary night, and it turned into an extraordinary situation.”

-Colonel Michael Edmonson, Louisiana State Police

On Thursday night, moviegoers, people just like you and me, fell victim to an extraordinary situation — they were attacked by a lone gunman as they began to enjoy their evening.

This attack occurred one week after the shooter at an Aurora, CO movie theater was convicted of 24 counts of murder.

Imagine yourself, with friends and family, twenty minutes into a movie. You are enjoying a snack and drink when gunfire erupts. What do you do?

This article is written for the everyday citizen. Those without special training or special equipment, but with the will to survive, and the need to protect family and friends.

Your survival begins now. Before you are faced with a dire situation. We react how our brains tell us to react. If you prepare and practice, there will be less of a chance you will freeze or react inappropriately. Mentally placing yourself in a similar situation will help. In the case of the Aurora, CO movie theater shooting, the shooter had a plan. You should also have a plan.

Part of the Aurora, CO shooter’s plans.

Your plan should begin by thinking like the shooter. Shooters want to inflict mass casualties and seek a position of advantage. You should also seek a position of advantage. For example, consider where you would like to sit.

Imagine yourself on a long cross-country airplane flight. Which seat is easiest to get out of to stretch your legs or take a restroom break? Correct, the aisle seat gives you control of ingress and egress. In a theater, you can get out of the aisle seat and move toward an exit quickly while also giving your friends and family an avenue of escape.

Step 1: position yourself with an advantage. Seat yourself in a place easily accessible for you and your family. This will put you in a position of control with access to multiple escape routes. Seat yourself with the high ground and seat yourself early. You will be able to see who is entering the theater. If there are no exits behind you, you will also be able to maintain visual contact with anyone who may be a threat.

In the Aurora, CO shooting, the shooter was in the theater for 15 minutes before exiting to the parking lot and obtaining weapons. In the latest shooting in Lafayette, LA the shooter was in the theater for 20 minutes before the shooting began.

Step 2: pay attention to other patrons. Watch for any suspicious signs. People do not normally exit and reenter the movie so early and without a reason (snacks, drinks, etc.).

The Aurora shooter wrote, “Targets random. The cruel twists of fate are unkind to the misfortunate.” Do not be misfortunate. Prepare your mindset and that of your family to survive an attack.

Step 3: have a survival mindset and share this with your family. Have a warrior’s mindset that you WILL SURVIVE. You do not have to be paranoid to be prepared.

Keep out of sight. It is difficult to shoot what you cannot see. Use cover and concealment. There are not a lot of items in a movie theater that will stop a bullet, but there are many places to hide. Stay low, below the seat backs, as you move.

Moving by feel. Keep your head up.

Move quickly, but under control. Have your loved one place a hand on your shoulder and each family member hold on to the family member in front of them as you exit. You will intuitively know where they are. This technique is similar to how teams of law enforcement officers move toward threats. They know where everyone is without losing visual contact with the threat.

Have your loved ones close enough that you can feel their location. Then move as a group. This way you can keep your eyes on the threat and can take cover if the suspect points the gun at you.

Practice your technique. You can practice this every time you exit a movie or are moving through a crowded location like a shopping mall. Practice makes perfect and you will not look weird doing this. Lots of families hold onto each other when they are walking through crowds or leaving a dark location.

Step 4: when the shooting begins, keep your eyes up and your head down. Use techniques to move as a group that free your senses to pay attention to the threat. Know where the shots are coming from so you can escape. The sounds in a movie theater will be disrupting. Look for the muzzle flashes and move from away from them toward your nearest, pre-identified exit.

This article is written for the everyday citizen who may not have a firearm with them. If you have no other choice, you may have to fight. You must be ready to fight.

Use whatever you can as a weapon. You can use any object at your disposal. Swing a purse as a distraction or as an improvised weapon. Hold your cellular phone in your hand and use it as an impact weapon to strike the suspect. You can also use personal weapons such as your fists and feet.

Prepare your loved ones.

Your loved ones must know what to do if you are forced to fight the shooter. If they are not actively involved in fighting, their priority should be to flee as you distract the suspect. This is a personal decision each person will have to make. Many people will choose to fight for the lives of their loved ones.

Step 5: If you cannot escape, fight. Fight hard. You have nothing else to lose.

First responders will be coming to help. They will be moving to eliminate the threat and will be providing assistance to other patrons. Be prepared to help first responders by providing information. You will have to balance providing information with not getting in the way.

Step 6: After exiting, provide information to first responders. They will be moving toward the threat. The information you provide could be valuable.

In the world we live in, you should not be paranoid, but you should be prepared. Think about what you will do when the worst happens, so that if it does, you will be ready to act, to move, to survive.

1 Comment on "Ultimate Survival At The Movies"

  1. You left out a big step. When you exit the theater have your hands raised high and empty and follow police instructions. You don’t want to be a distraction to them. Take the FEMA Active Shooter class for free. https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-907

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