Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Surviving Drive By Shootings

Drive by shootings can happen anywhere, but being aware of your surroundings can aid you in surviving them.   Be aware of what is going on around you.  If you know someone is in a gang or is affiliated with the drug trade, standing next to them is not a good move.   Always look for cover: benches, cars, telephone poles, anything you can duck behind that can provide even minimal protection.  Remember to protect your core body parts, the ones most critical to your life; even getting parts of your body behind cover is very important to saving your life.

Cars slowing down without an obvious reason should be considered suspicious activity, as this could be the start of a drive by or even a kidnapping.  Windows rolling down as the car passes should merit your attention.  None of these mean a shooting is about to occur, but they should at least get your attention and you should be looking for the nearest cover.

I have been involved in a few drive by's...never the actual target, but way too close for comfort.  In one case I pulled two young men down behind my car as the shooting started.  Bullets can ricochet in  any direction; when President Ford was shot at in California, a bullet hit a sign pole and ricocheted  at a right angle and hit a bystander 60 feet away. You need to get down and away from the gun fire, in some cases if the target returns fire, even more bullets are going to be flying. 

In the Gaza strip I pulled back on a reporter who wanted to get a view of ongoing fire just as the doorway he was leaning on was annihilated in a hail of bullets.  You always want to move down and away from gun fire, and remember( as bad as it sounds) other people make great cover as you move away.  Don't put anyone in danger, but moving away from gun fire by ducking behind people already down on the ground is not cowardly.

Trying to get a description of the shooter, although laudable, is not a good idea. Your mind will probably not be functioning correctly to really get a good description, and if you did happen to glimpse the shooter, your mind already has what it needs. Just get down.

You can buy bullet resistant vests, if the threat is that high; they even sell bullet resistant back packs, similar to what students carry, that can be used to mitigate danger. In my view if the threat is that high, you probably should not be there in any event.  I do like the back pack system, since if you are moving down and away as you should be, it does protect key parts of the body.  But a few books in a back pack will do almost as well.

The main key is to be aware, even while talking with friends. Just keep your eyes moving and stay alert. If a car passes a few times, this in not normally a good thing and should have raised your suspicions, enough that I would be looking for the nearest cover, and begin to move in that direction.

Believe it or not it is very difficult to hit someone from a moving vehicle, and if you are moving as well, it will take a pretty lucky shot to get you.  Keep your eyes open, if something does not look right head for cover, and be ready to drop down and away from the danger.  If it turns out to be a kidnapping attempt, move, move fast away from the attackers, even ten to fifteen feet can make all the difference.  Every foot the attacker has to go delays them, and increases their risk of being recognized or even stopped.

Being aware gives you a few seconds on the bad guy, use them to your advantage.  Being embarrassed as you get up off the ground, is far better than being shot or kidnapped.  By reflex I drop down behind cover when hearing shots, I know how far bullets can travel, and cover is the only thing that stops them.

I hope this helps. Being aware is not being scared, it is being practical, and could save your life.


1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, it´s a very interesting article based in real propper experiences which i`m sure will be usefull for more than one in the future.
    Thank you very much Rich.