And don’t be first! I found this statement when I was going through a class I teach about staying out of trouble. I started this entire site years ago to talk to normal people about self defense. Not the physical fighting but more the mental. I wanted something someone could read or hear and start using in their life that day to make themselves and family safer. Now I’m writing an eBook on the subject and found this statement “Don’t be last and don’t be first” in the section about safety at work.
We always want to escape a violent act whenever possible. The shooting in Aurora Colorado shows that when a lot of people are involved we need to escape danger with care. When everyone ran to the exit the gunman turned and killed those trying to escape. This has happened again and again in the real world so we need to take care when we escape.
First of all, if you are first you could easily get killed, so don’t be first. Most people in emergencies are monkey see, monkey do. If you get up and sprint for the exit, likely a bunch of people will follow you. It’s okay if you can make it out and everyone follows you. The problem is we never know what is going to happen. During the Virginia Tech shooting the killer chained the exit doors closed. Talk about making a bad day worst. Don’t be the guy that finds the door locked unless you have a plan B (and always have a Plan B). If you are out in front you will be the first moving target, and humans are site hunters attracted to movement. The other problem is if you can’t get out the door you are headed to the crowd will easily crush you to death.
I had this problem when working overseas and running for a bomb shelter during a rocket attack on the base. The first rocket hit and then the second. I was only 10 yards from the hardened shelter so after the second hit I sprang up and printed for the door. The five local workers near me saw me move and ran after me. They were incredibly fast. I got to the door and stepped aside to pull it open when all five ran head first into the door and each other. It looked like something from the Three Stooges. Luckily they bounced off, I opened the door and ran in before the next rocket hit (they recovered and made it in also). Something as simple as the door opening out could get you crushed to death if there is a bunch of people.
Don’t be last is easy enough to understand. You simply don’t want to be the only person left with a person that is committing violence on that scale. Most mass killers start executing those that don’t get out.
I know this sounds cold and calculated, and it is. I will do what is necessary to take care of my family. People that haven’t taken the time to think about and study for their own personal safety aren’t my responsibility. My responsibility lies with my family. I also take it upon myself to teach anyone that will listen, to keep themselves safe. This will make the entire world safer and a better place to live.
I taught this lesson to an older gentleman when I was working for the armored car company in a bad part of Santa Ana, California. I went into a super market to collect the money from the manager. In this chain the safe is in front of the checkout stands for all to see and requires a key from the manager and a key from the driver. This makes it almost impossible to rob the store of all its money. The only problem is the manager had to verify how many bundles of money where dropped in the safe and put them in a bag where everyone could see it.
I walked in that day and found the manager trying to take care of a problem the gentleman had. I don’t remember what it was about, but remember the manager begging the gentleman to let him go for a second so he could get the money for me. The gentleman said he would not leave the manager’s side. We all met at the safe and I handed over my key. The manager looked apprehensive at the gentleman and then at me because the gentleman was standing so close. The manager asked if I was okay with him standing there. I simply turned to the gentleman and asked if he was going to rob me or hurt anyone. The gentleman said no with a scowl and said he was just there to make sure the manager didn’t leave. I turned to the manager and said he is fine, he won’t hurt us, and besides, if someone starts shooting he can take the first couple rounds and give me time to get my gun out and shoot back. The gentleman got the idea and waited off to the side until we were done.
Remember first and foremost you are responsible for your safety and that of your family, everyone else is a distant second.