Aside from hardening every place a person would want to go (work, school, church, shopping places, etc), and preparing for a mass shooting event (practicing lockdown drills, learning to run/fight/hide), and having everyone carry concealed (probably not a good idea), I am fresh out of ideas on how to handle such a situation. I'm not sure what has changed in our culture (there have been several changes, pinpointing an exact cause has not been done, correlation=/= causation, etc) but 50 years ago many people were armed yet you could count the number of mass killings over a decade on one hand. Suicide rates are skyrocketing as well.
It seems that people are a lot more stressed these days, less connected socially, more prone to mental illness, and more hateful towards others. Are these issues exacerbated by the media/social media? Probably. 24/7 news geared towards triggering people can't be good for an individual's mental health or their social interactions. Throw in the very real possibility that if you are an American and need emergent healthcare whether for an injury, illness, or mental illness you will either #1, go bankrupt just for seeking such help, #2, be kicked to the curb after being "stabilized" in a hospital, #3, be told there are no resources for you so just go away and suffer on your own, and/or #4, be paying for your emergent health needs for the rest of your life.
Want to educate your kids? There's a good chance that will bankrupt either them or you or both (40% of student loans are currently in default). Want to dedicate yourself to your job so you can support your family? Good luck with that. If your job doesn't preemptively head overseas or become replaced by a robot, you will eventually be laid off because you are too old and/or too expensive to keep. Americans can look forward to a life of being fat, sick, and nearly dead at an earlier and earlier age and politics is an utter shit show.
What can you do as an individual? Off the top of my head I would suggest:
- Take care of your own health. The government doesn't care about you or your health and in fact subsidizes the most unhealthy of food...good thing they aren't paying for your healthcare, right? This includes mental health as well.
- Cut way way back on media/social media. Most of it is depressing at best, rage inspiring at worst.
- Live below your means and be debt free (this alleviates a lot of life stress).
- Pay attention to how you are being triggered. The media and social media are gleefully targeting messages to you, of the advertisement sort, of the political sort, of the social sort. And they definitely don't have your best interests at heart.
- Carry concealed if you choose to (the only way to stop someone with a gun is, well, with a gun).
- Always, always be hyper-aware when you are out and about. Watch what people are doing, know where all of the exits are, etc.
- If you see something, say something (in person, online, because your kids brought a rumor home from school, etc).
- Press for universal healthcare. I am far from a socialist and while I enjoy free healthcare for life thanks to the military, the fact that millions and millions of people have no access to basic healthcare--both physical and mental--means our communities are full of physically and mentally ill people, untreated and left to their own devices. I'll add that our mental health system, especially detention rules and bed space, needs a complete overhaul. Trying to get a violent, mentally ill person detained in an inpatient facility is virtually impossible these days.
- Press for our current gun laws to be enforced. ATF Form 4473 spells out the parameters for being able to buy a gun--not mentally ill, not a drug user, not a felon, not having a restraining order. Like restraining orders, this form is about as effective as the paper it is written on since mentally ill people can just not check the mentally ill box and be handed a gun. That makes no sense at all and allows the mentally ill to easily buy guns as there is no way to background check this requirement. Creating more gun control laws makes no sense either when the ones we have aren't even enforced.
- Learn basic emergency care such as "Stop the Bleed". There are a couple of ways to handle a mass shooter and unfortunately neither are proactive. One is to confront the shooter with a gun and the second is to keep people who have been shot alive long enough to get them to a trauma center. The new "Stop the Bleed" curriculum aims to teach bystanders how to stop trauma victims from bleeding out before EMS can arrive.
- Harden potential targets. This means securing your home and encouraging the powers that be at your office, gym, church, kid's school, etc. to do the same. People said today that a church shouldn't have to have armed guards. Well people shouldn't be shooting up churches either but they do. Everyone needs to take steps to block potential mass shooters from accessing their target.