Active Shooter Situations: The Unsung Heroes

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

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According to an FBI study on 160 mass shooting events, here are some unsettling statistics. About 25%of shootings happen in schools, and about 45%happen in businesses. Sixty-nine percent of those are over in 5 minutes or less. While these stats may be things we have heard before, consider that in 81%of these cases, the shooter told someone beforehand, and in 59%of these cases, two or more people knew beforehand. How is it that we knew about 81% of these shootings, and they still happened? Or how about the 13%of shootings that were stopped by unarmed civilians? Let us emulate the examples of these heroes.

Honestly, it is sad that mass shootings are so common that it is actually a hot topic to blog on. While we hear about the tragedies and we mourn the lives that are lost, this blog is about the heroes that either stopped a shooting or saved lives during one. These are the people we don’t hear about. So, here is to our unsung heroes.

Let’s start with the most recent shootings:

An Indiana schoolteacher named Jason Seaman was shot three times as he tackled the shooter in his classroom. One student was shot, but no one died. If he had not acted when he did, the Indiana school shooting would be another terrible tragedy instead of a heroic story.

Isabelle Laymance of Santa Fe High School in Texas acted quickly when she realized what was happening. She led eight students to hide in the classroom closet, saving six of those students, including herself.

James Shaw, Jr. stopped the Antioch, Tennessee Waffle House shooting in April 2018 when he tackled the shooter and wrestled the gun away from him. He threw the gun over the store counter.

Colton Haab shielded 60-70 students with a Kevlar sheet in Parkland, Florida. His JROTC training made his instincts kick in, and he was able to save many lives.

Now let’s look at some of the more well-known shootings:

In 2016, during the shooting at the Christina Grimmie concert, her brother Mark Grimmie is the unsung hero. While Christina was killed, Mark’s quick reaction in tackling the shooter kept other lives from being lost.

Liviu Librescu had already survived the Holocaust when he was killed during the Virginia Tech shooting. He barricaded the door to his classroom to allow his students to escape. Twenty-two of the twenty-three students escaped with their lives. Their dear professor was shot five times before he tragically died.

Personally, the most tragic unsung hero is the six-year-old Sandy Hook student who saved eleven children. Jesse Lewis had been taught to run if he ever heard gunfire. When the shooter walked into his classroom and crowded the children into a corner, Jesse shouted for everybody to run. Eleven children escaped from the classroom, though Jesse was tragically killed.

While these stories are truly tragic, there is much we can learn from these unsung heroes. 1)While only 13% of shootings are stopped by an unarmed citizen, how much more could we do? 2)Several of these stories are about students who knew what to do. It is not enough to train the adults or even arm the adults. The children need to know what to do. They know what to do if they catch fire or are in a tornado. Why are we not teaching them what to do in an active shooter situation, a tragedy that is becoming sadly more frequent? 3)Use your instincts. Take your mind to a place that you pray your body never has to go so that when the time comes, you have the necessary instincts. Remember that the body cannot go where the mind has never been.

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