Chaotic Crowds & Concealed Carry
A city’s civic center, a high-school football game, and one bad actor in the crowd.
A shot rang out in the middle of a crowd of several hundred people. In an instant, chaos reigned: The formerly happy high-school football crowd ran away in all directions, fight-or-flight survival mode fully activated. All sane behavior and thinking was erased. Families with children were separated, and friends that were right next to each other, now found themselves on opposite sides of the civic center.
Some police were already on scene; back up showed up in force closing streets, setting up a perimeter, and gaining control of the area without further incident. The good news is that no real injuries were reported—in fact, the “shot” may have actually been a large firework meant to scare the crowd and police. But that didn’t matter in the moment. The emergency may not have been real, but the fear was.
You may have gone over what you might do in an active shooter situation, but have you given any thought to all the myriad situations that could split you from the people you need to get to? You don’t necessarily need contingency plans for every specific situation like fires, medical, terrorism, riots, etc., but more of a general plan of what to do. Here are some tips.
When I’m out with a group, I start with the basics. We assign a rally point if we are separated. Now I will warn you ahead of time that if you tell people that you are “assigning at rally point” you will lose them. Instead you can easily trick them into buying into your plan. Simply telling your kids on the way to the Friday night football game, “Hey everyone, if you can’t find us or get back to the car, everyone meet up at McDonald’s next door.” You have set up 3 rally points and your family is none the wiser! Find parents first, then the car, and if you can’t get to that go to McDonald’s.
Of course, it’s always better to have buy-in from family and friends. Any time I travel to new cities or locations I jump on Google maps to get an overview of the area. It’s part of my preplanning to scope out the best restaurants or other attractions I want to check out. This is also a good time to locate the area hospitals, gas stations and hotels in case you get stuck. A bonus is today’s live maps can show up-to-date road closures, construction or accidents to avoid. This is the fancy equivalent of a military terrain model to get you more familiar with the area. How else are you going to tell your buddies on the way to the Braves game if we get separated, let’s meet up at the strip club?
Once you are at your location, communicate your evacuation routes. Just like on an airplane during the safety briefing where emergency exits are shown. In places like movie theaters or stadiums it is good practice to point out to others where the exits are. Usually at larger locations you will have multiple evacuation routes. This saved me a bunch of time trying to get out of several NASCAR races. Where most of the crowd and cars headed towards the front two exits of the property towards the nearest freeway, I just slipped out the back, Jack. That was several hours of traffic avoided!
Communications is key and we all have cell phones. But what if the battery dies, or you drop your phone? How many of you reading this even know your spouse’s phone number? Gone are the days of payphones and phone books! At the very minimum we should all be able to memorize the family’s phone numbers. At least that way if you can borrow a phone you can let others know where you are and your condition. This should be a non-negotiable since phones die, get broken or lost all the time. Remember when we were kids? We had to know phone numbers to call anyone, so it can be done. The same advice goes with your home address, teach it to them young and reward them for learning it.
Take a picture of your kids the day of the event. Nothing helps staff and emergency personnel locate missing people than a good clear picture of what they are looking for. The bonus of the fresh picture is that others know exactly what kids are wearing and what they look like. Think about something like dog tags, I know plenty of kids that wear parents dog tags that can help law enforcement locate parents. Teach your children to show the ID if need be to those that are there to help them.
This last one might seem like a no-brainer, but you have to look at it from the eyes of a child. Teach them not to be afraid of law enforcement and ask for help. The police can represent an adult that deals with bad people, and a scared child might think that if they are lost or separated that they will be in trouble. It is important to teach and reenforce that asking for help is not bad.
About that football game? I normally would not find myself in such a large rambunctious crowd, but I was a volunteer. As someone who was working the event the situation found me. But I’m a pro, and many of my family and friends aren’t. That doesn’t mean we can’t get through an “incident” safely together if need be. It is not paranoid to think about reuniting with friends and loved ones, it’s being responsible.
James “The XDMAN” Nicholas Mr UnPewfessional
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March 6, 2023 at 12:44 pm
I don’t get this new click phrase “bad actor”, Alec baldwin is a bad actor, along with 99 percent of the other so called actors! The person you refer to is a criminal, all this other made up crap is just softening what he/she really is, a criminal! Stop codling these punks and remove them from society, PERMANENTLY! I don’t have a problem with people carrying, as long as they’re not criminals! Why are the judges and lawyers for these pieces of crap allowed to defend criminals, when they know for a fact that they committed these crimes and then they have the nerve to plead not guilty and judges let them out without bail? It’s called the criminal justice system for a reason, the criminals get justice and we have to live with these punks and their terror on society! They need the 10 cent cure!
March 11, 2023 at 8:44 am
Using “find my friends” on the iPhone is a great way to share your location with your family so they can see where you are all the time.
March 11, 2023 at 8:44 am
Now it’s costs $1
March 20, 2023 at 5:16 pm
Still a bargain!