I haven’t said anything about the Paris Attacks because I don’t feel my voice matters in this situation. I have never been to France, nor do I have any connection to the country. Nor do I have any expert opinions to add on the topics of terrorism or the Islamic state.
However what I can put out there is a story about the day after the Paris Attacks.
I was at work, currently managing a retail store in a shopping mall. At 10 AM it was time to open the store. I, along with most other stores at this time, were opening doors and bringing displays outside. When suddenly there was a loud BANG! Everyone froze. Employees, mall security, shoppers. Every single person. Within seconds we all realized a balloon had popped and continued about our days. But there was a moment before that realization. A moment when every single person thought of their escape plan.
No one said it but based on body language, every single person was ready to run away from the active shooter and protect at worst themselves, and at best everyone around them. Including myself. I was shocked at how fast an idea formed. Stunned that I knew right away what I was going to do and further more had a back up plan in case that didn’t work.
First idea was to lock the doors. But they’re glass, and wouldn’t stand up to bullets anyways. So forget the door and run to the back. As I’m writing this its entirely possible I would tip over displays too. Not enough to stop anyone, but enough to block a path and slow them down. Close the back door and run out the loading dock. There’s a good chance its one shooter and thus I, and anyone else would be safe in the back hallways. I was already thinking of what to say to my fellow employees and any customers to get them to understand the severity of the situation in order to run first and ask questions later. I think “Gun! MOVE!” would be sufficient.
I’m throwing in a little humor here because its a scary topic but seriously, have an escape plan at all times. Any public place you are at frequently for sure. Really though, all places. This isn’t about gun control or religion or anything. This is about these things are happening and the best defense is a plan. I am already revising mine. I will be talking to people about it. Work, school, apartment building. Most of us have an alternate route home should weather or an accident block our path. This is now no different. Have it ready. Hope you never need it, but make it a part of your day.