Eaton Centre Shooting – What To Do If You Are Caught In This Situation


Apparently there has been an arrest in the Eaton Centre shooting.  Well done Toronto Police Service.  At this point there does not appear to be any further details of the shooter or his motives.  As I was thinking about the Eaton Centre shooting last night I was contemplating what to do if ever caught in a situation like this.  No one ever discusses it.  We have fire drills in our office towers, we are told what to do in an emergency on an airplane, but never are we told what to do if someone opens fire in a mall or a school for that matter.  Unfortunately, these types of occurrences are no longer rare.  It’s frightening and people don’t like to think of something like this happening to them.  However, if caught in a situation such as this,  ignorance is most certainly not bliss.  Ignorance may cost you your life.  One thing you should never do is panic.  A pregnant woman was trampled as people were running for their lives.  Running is understandable, acting like animals is not.  Anyone caught in this situation who is not directly in the line of fire should quickly, but orderly get out of harms way.  I would not hide, I would look for the nearest exit and call the authorities.  Since Eaton Centre is normally crowded and in total, seven people were shot, the vast majority did get out safely.  The people in the food court were in an entirely different situation.  There really is nowhere to hide so you can either cower and pray or wait for your moment to strike assuming you are not immediately injured.  Depending on the type of weapon and the person firing it, will determine how much time a person or people have to strike.  Remember, screaming attacking citizens are as frightening to the aggressors as they are to the victims.  Trying to reload a weapon when facing aggression is not an easy task.  You would be surprised how much force a human being can muster when placed in this type of situation.  Physiologically, there is an adrenaline dump and your bodily functions switch to survival mode.  Your hearing becomes more sensitive, you develop tunnel vision, your body prepares to fight, assuming flight is not an option.  I am only advocating for this action in a life threatening situation.  Fighting for one’s life is a natural instinct and worth fighting for.  I tell my students never fight unless they have more to gain than they have to lose.  In this case, you have everything to gain.  A Martial Arts instructor can teach techniques, we can’t teach bravery or killer instinct.  Each of us has an innate will to live and will react accordingly.  But at the end of the day, it should be about returning home safely to our families.

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