While there isn't a checklist that you can follow that will ensure with 100% accuracy that you will be able to thwart a mass shooter should you find yourself in his sights, here are some things you should definitely consider:
- Watch this video for some good pointers. And this video. And if you have time, check YouTube for similar videos.
- Carry a concealed firearm with you at all times. Extreme? Yes. Effective in this sort of situation? Yes (obviously you want to be licensed to carry a firearm and WELL TRAINED to use it in tactical situations).
- If possible, work in a secure office/building. If that is not possible, hire a security expert to help you develop a security plan for your office.
- Research the topic. You can start here, here, and here. Also here.
- Carry a cell phone with you at all times to use it to report an active shooter situation. Besides calling 911, see if your local law enforcement/dispatch agency has a way to text messages for help in the event that you need to remain silent while hiding.
- Hold mass shooter drills at your workplace.
- While in public, play the "what if" game with your family. What if there is a mass shooter coming from twelve o'clock, what would you do? Then discus various scenarios.
Unfortunately there is no way to definitively say "do this and you won't become a victim of a mass shooter" but you should take the time now to research the topic and consider ways to react should you find yourself in this unfortunate situation. Ten skills that will help you, no matter what situation you find yourself in, are:
- Be in good physical condition. You may need to run to save your life. You may need to hoist yourself up through a false ceiling. You may need to climb over a fence or contort yourself under a desk.
- Have a way to communicate for help (from the obvious such as a cell phone, to the creative such as using a marker and copy paper to write "call 911" and hang it on your office window, etc).
- Be able to defend yourself. Let's hope it doesn't come down to a physical confrontation but if it does, you want to be able to rise to the occasion.
- Continually look for cover and concealment opportunities whether you are in your office, at your local coffee shop, at the airport, etc.
- Know that there is no amount of preparation that will get you ready to have someone stick a gun in your face. Your psychological and physiological response before, during, and after such a situation will be quite unusual compared to anything else you have ever experienced.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and watch people--how they act, how they move, what they are doing, if they are carrying, etc.
- Be consistently inconsistent. Never arrive or leave at the same time, never take the same route every day, in other words, don't be the guy that others can set their watch by.
- Whatever weapon you decide to carry--from a firearm to a tactical pen--practice with it and know how to use it. Just carrying it will do no good if you can't use it effectively.
- Be a leader and know how to work with others. Know how to think on your feet and give commands in no uncertain terms. Often times when you need to respond to a threat there may be others around but the difficulty comes from making a split-second decision and then garnering your "forces" to react effectively as a unit.
- Escape, evasion, hiding, fighting, turning whatever is at hand into a weapon...basically the same tactics that worked a thousand years ago are still useful today...consider all options.