You Can Survive and Active Shooting and Gunshot Wounds

For the past few weeks we have examined statistics and encouraged training around active shooter scenarios. This week we are concluding with some final thoughts regarding mindset and survival – should you ever find yourself in such an unfortunate circumstance.

I want to briefly mention the active shooters themselves. The ‘good news’ is that most of these attackers are not well trained. They typically have a grudge, varying degrees of mental imbalance, and are seeking to show off or make a ‘statement’. But they are not often accurate marksmen with any tactical experience. In the aftermath of these shootings, investigators reveal that the perpetrators often seek to emulate other mass shootings, but rarely does their preparation extend to any real practical training. (If you missed it last week, go back and read the MDACC method covered in the Active Shooter 2 article.)

Often in active shooter situations, many more people are wounded than killed (which relates to poor marksmanship mentioned above and the stress the gunman experiences during his/her rampage). In one of the largest attacks to date—the September 2013 shooting at a mall in Nairobi, gunmen killed 63 people over four days, but wounded 175 more. It is important for wounded victims to understand that (unlike the movies) most gun shot wounds are not immediately fatal. In fact, most gunshots are survivable and even after being shot, your body can continue to function well enough to get you to cover or concealment–or escape.

Marcus Luttrell (author of Lone Survivor) happens to be a personal hero of mine. There is no question that his physical and mental strength are nothing short of extraordinary and are not comparable to the capacity of untrained private citizens. But perhaps, for just a moment, we should consider the injuries this man survived. This is what Luttrell said about the injuries he sustained in Operation Red Wings (on which the movie is based):

“I had eleven through-and-through [gun shot wounds]. I broke my pelvis…a broken back requiring major reconstruction. My knees were destroyed…pretty severe facial damage. I bit my tongue in half. My right hand was destroyed. You want me to keep going? I got shot-fragged by RPGs and grenades—shrapnel sticking out of my legs and everywhere. All the skin off my back and the back of my legs was gone.”

Luttrell also suffered a torn shoulder muscle, a broken nose, and is still dealing with the effects of the bacteria that was in the water that he ingested as he tried to quench his severe thirst while struggling to survive. He was also shot in the back the day following the attack (which is not shown in the movie).

Should any of us ever find ourselves wounded while a threat still presents itself, realize that you have it in you to muster up the courage/will/determination–whatever you like to call if–to get up and save yourself. And for extra motivation (or to keep from feeling too sorry for yourself) remember Marcus Luttrell. He survived; so can you.

Finally, get some training! If you get close to an active shooter, put some Krav Maga on him/her. Fight until the fight is over!

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