When Things Go Sideways - In Public Settings

When Things Go Sideways - In Public Settings

I was on a flight into New York City shortly before Frank James was arrested for the April 12th shooting in a Brooklyn subway station. My cell phone lit up when I got off the plane, filled with alerts asking for the whereabouts of Mr. James. I thank God that no one died, and Mr. James was peacefully arrested.

I often think about how terrible it is that people have to worry about protecting themselves from some random shooting, or any attack, while just going about their everyday lives.

The last couple of weeks I’ve been talking about safety-mindedness when things go sideways at private and public events. But public settings like mass transportation stations, fairs, and amusement parks are different. They feel like an attack against the heart of a community. An effort to break its spirit and scare us all.

Let’s strengthen our spirits and our mindsets about being prepared for these types of attacks.

I suggest three things:

Take an active shooter course. There are many of these available that can help you be better prepared to handle yourself in case you face this type of situation. Sadly, we have seen too many of these events in recent years. Depending upon where you live and work, the question is not if it will happen again, but when.

Take a self-defense course. There are also many of these available. If you can’t find one near you, get a group of family members, friends, and/or neighbors together and hire someone to train you. There are also experts who specialize in training women and other specific groups of people. Make time to find them by searching online, in local publications, and at local fitness and health facilities.

Carry personal protection. Some self-defense courses train you to use a stun gun, pepper spray, expandable baton (my favorite), and, of course, a side arm. If you choose a weapon, make sure you know how to use it properly. In addition, you must follow the laws about owning and using your weapon of choice in the areas where you are most likely to have and use the weapon. Take time to read about your state rules and regulations. It’s another way of protecting yourself.

Dress for survival as well as success. There are clothing lines designed to help protect you from penetrating wounds caused by weapons such as knives and bullets. You can find items ranging from vests to backpacks online and in many stores. Carefully check their protection rating and pricing. This may seem extreme, but we’re in increasingly dangerous times. Depending upon where you live and work, it may be worth it to consider this necessary evil.

None of those suggestions matter if you don’t use your head. No, it’s not your fault if you are attacked. There was probably no way for the people in the Brooklyn subway car with Mr. James to know what was coming.

But, you can always do your best to give yourself a fighting chance at staying safe. Pay attention to your surroundings, keep the volume on whatever device you’re listening to low enough for you to hear what’s going on around you, and always know the best exit from your location.


I share a variety of security tips in my book Rent-A-Cop Reboot and on the Leumas Publishing YouTube channel. Check them out and subscribe!

Above Image: nydailynews.com

Items and courses are mentioned and/or linked to for informational purposes only.