October 12, 2017
By Ed Byrne
The Brillion News
WRIGHTSTOWN – Many people survived the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, but 58 did not. Some others, among the more than 500 who were hit by gunfire, are likely to end up permanently affected by their injuries.
Some people referred to the victims of the semi-automatic gunfire as being “sitting ducks” while others described it from the vantage point of the shooter as being like “shooting fish in a barrel.”
The gunfire went on for many minutes, with pauses where the killer likely reloaded or switched guns.
For Wrightstown Police Chief Greg Deike, there are lifesaving lessons to be learned.
As a deputy with the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department – where Deike was a school resource officer, a detective, a crime scene investigator and a SWAT team member – Deike trained people in ways to survive a shooting incident, including mass shooting assaults.
He has experience teaching gun assault incidents at major crowd events, including Lifefest.
The preparation begins as soon as you enter a venue, such as a concert.
“You have to know where your exits are at certain events,” Deike said. “At indoor events, you want to know where those exits are.”
That includes arenas, night clubs and movie theatres.
Then, you need to think through a scenario where you can’t exit quickly.
“Where are you going to go? Where can you shelter in place? You want to be out of the line of fire,” Deike said. Out of sight of the shooter is a good thing, but not foolproof. “Just because I can’t see you doesn’t mean a bullet can’t travel through a wall. If you’re going to hide behind a barricade, can that barricade stop a bullet?”
A cement wall, for example, is better cover than a sheet rock wall.
At Las Vegas, the first gunshots were mistaken for being firecrackers, so there was a delayed response from the crowd even as the first bullets were raining down on them.
“Nobody wants to prepare their minds and think that something bad is happening, especially at a concert or a venue like that,” Deike said. “People are thinking ‘Is this part of the show?’”
A lot of concerts include sound effects, light effects and pyrotechnics – all for effect – and that can lead the crowd to mistake gunshots for special effects at first.
“They’re not prepared to think this is something really bad, and then, all of a sudden, they start seeing people drop,” Deike said. “Then it takes a minute [to come to grips with the reality] and then people start realizing this is bad. It takes a while for people to register something, because their minds aren’t really prepared for these types of events.”
When you do figure it out, there should be no hesitation.
“Get out – run. You’ve got to get away from the situation if you can,” Deike said. “You’d like to say ‘Be as orderly as possible,’ but when you’re scared, order goes out the window. That’s where you see people getting trampled.”
Running is more likely to be effective it you are quick to respond to the reality of imminent danger – and have prepared yourself mentally for the situation.
“Have that escape route in mind whenever you go to any of these places. No matter what anyone else is doing, if the shooting is still active, get out of there,” Deike said. “Who cares about your belongings – just leave everything.”
If you have children, other family members or friends, help them escape with you.
Getting trampled is a concern, so Deike suggests sizing up the various exits close to you and choosing the wider or bigger exit whenever possible.
“If you have 100 people running for a door at one time, there’s not much you can do,” he said.
Please see the complete story with additional information in the October 12, 2017 edition of The Brillion News.