Letter Re: How to Survive Something Like the Vegas Attack?

Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,

I would love to see some discussion about what people in the crowd in Vegas could/should have done to protect themselves, short of avoiding the crowd altogether.

If you find yourself in a crowd during a mass shooting like this, what should you do?

In such a chaotic environment, it would have been very difficult to know where the shots were coming from. Do you run to cover? Which direction? Crouch in place? How do you avoid being trampled?

Even if you had a concealed carry gun, it wouldn’t have been very helpful, and probably it would be unwise to pull it out.

Thank you for your thoughts. – A.M.

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48 Responses to Letter Re: How to Survive Something Like the Vegas Attack?

  1. Mr. Gray says:

    I’d look for hard cover. If none was to be had, I’d get out, trying to move laterally to the gunfire.

  2. Dave says:

    Vegas is an exceptionally rare scenario with the shooter so high up.
    The good thing is contrary to all the reports; being a victim of such an attack is rare. If you are involved in such an event it does suck, no doubt.
    I’m Pro 2A but call for the banning of bump stocks and the possession of them illegal.
    If they do not exist; this infringes my 2A Rights not one bit.

    • Ned2 says:

      If you call for the banning of bump stocks, you’ve been suckered by the media hype, and you are most definitely not pro 2a.
      Wake up.

      • Dave Whitney says:

        How does the elimination of this attachment infringe your 2A Rights?
        Near as I can see it does not.
        Without the; give an inch they take a mile argument, there is no other argument.

        • Ned2 says:

          Full auto is perfectly legal, right? You just have to buy a tax stamp.
          Personally I would never own a bump fire stock; they’re a novelty and do not allow the shooter to maintain accuracy as well.
          Banning a bump fire stock will have zero effect on gun crime, and is no different than banning hi-cap mags or suppressors.
          I have the right to bubba-up my tools however I want. The government, or any citizen for that matter does not have the right to limit what I can do to my firearms. Period.

        • caribou says:

          They have repeatedly stated that they want the full mile. They will take it an inch at a time if they have to but make no mistake their target is to take away your right to own a gun.

          The first I can remember is the gun control act of 1934. Then there is 1968 and many others. This is just another target of opportunity. What we need to do is to get our rights back not give up more.

          This is not the first step in that mile we are well down the road already.

    • Jason says:

      Dave

      Please elaborate on how banning bump sticks would have done a single thing to prevent this? The fact of the matter is they exist, and just as has been repeated ad nauseam here and elsewhere, if one has no compunctions about opening fire on a crowd of innocent bystanders, one would clearly have no inhibitions on illegally obtaining a piece of polymer. I do not mean to be insulting sir, but your words are the words of a slave, and not a free man. What was it Franklin said about sacrificing liberty for security?

      • Dave Whitney says:

        Had the piece never had been invented, I suspect a few fewer deaths. Maybe not a great many fewer, but some.
        If banned that would force one to “print” their own at the cost of another felony.
        You are correct, laws do not work on the morally deficient.
        But again, in this case, the elimination of such attachments does not infringe.
        That is the whole key.

        • James Wesley Rawles says:

          The willingness to concede ownership of one gun part signals the willingness to concede others. The same logic applies to full capacity magazines versus limited capacity magazines: If we concede that we don’t need 100 round drums then the gun grabbers won’t relent until they have us down to five round magazines. Our citizen militia will be effectively neutered if we negotiate away one piece after another. The terminal morrain at the end of this slippery slope is a citizenry reduced to owning just registered BB guns and archery equipment.

          • Dave Whitney says:

            In proper context I fully agree. That context being the manufactured gun. In this case the piece is an after market attachment that alters rate of fire.
            Elimination of this does not infringe.
            YES.
            I’m fully aware of the slippery slope, but based upon the actual wording of the Second, the banning of such does not infringe.
            Is it a feel good measure and not likely to have any true impact?
            Very likely.
            But using solely the logic dictated by the words of the Second; I see no issue.
            Elimination of the attachment renders the gun no less effective or functional as manufactured.
            That is my only point.
            Thank you.

          • Hugh James Latimer says:

            Considering that you can achieve much the same action using nothing more than your belt loop on your pants will you also support the banning of said belt loops?

          • Dave Whitney says:

            No “reply button” to HKLs post below.
            No. This is where that kind of supposition borders the absurd.
            To ban an attachment that affects the guns operation as manufactured in no manner is not an infringement.
            Further, this is something the gun community should not offer up as goodwill but demand as necessary.
            Why?
            Semi autos are the reality today.
            One pull. One bullet.
            To NOT offer/demand this attachment as unacceptable puts this very mechanism at risk.

          • Hugh James Latimer says:

            @Dave,

            It’s not an absurd concept. The device literally does nothing that you can’t do yourself without it and just using your belt loop. Do you consider a belt loop as a firearms accessories since you can do the same thing with it? (It just doesn’t look as “cool”). This is one clear cut area where the call for the ban is nothing more than progressive socialist seizing an opportunity and does absolutely nothing and addresses nothing. This is the path that leads to the UK’s limitation on acid and sharp pointy things.

          • RSR says:

            *Belt loop OR A RUBBER BAND.

    • Idahoser says:

      this is an unfortunate disease of those who wish to think of themselves as conservative. The basic stance does not change barring discovery of major mistakes in reasoning. It’s not that you refuse to learn, if you indeed had been ignorant; but this is no kind of new information, and has no ability to change the reasoning. Government bans are never a good idea. The behavior IS ALREADY ILLEGAL and no new law is going to change anything, except to add more burden to those who did not do it.

    • Charles K. says:

      Frankly I’ve watched several videos on the use of the bump stock. It can not make for any kind of accurate fire. The whole gun and the person holding it shakes like crazy. It has to be raw hell on the arms and shoulders and hands of the operator. I don’t see how an old man (relatively old anyway), without many hours and days of intense practice, would be able to effectively use the bump stock to put out as may rounds as had to have been shot during this event.

      The bump stock is a fancy toy. It should not be banned. However, as part of the preparedness community, I don’t think it should be a part of our arsenal. It is just not that effective as anything but a novelty.

      It would be interesting to know exactly where this old goat got all that practice time. I’d also like to know where he got the expertise to come up with the range, trajectory, elevation, and rate of drop, etc. that was found on that note in the room. This think stinks to high heaven.

    • Fred says:

      You’re not pro 2A.

  3. Jason says:

    The truth of the matter is that, in a situation like that, there is no guarantee. Other than surmising that small arms fire was being directed from an elevation at the crowd, very little certain knowledge can be gained. Use of your own concealed weapon in that situation is an invitation to be mobbed and beaten to death. So I personally fall back to the old saying:

    “In a gun fight, if you’re not shooting, you should be loading. If you’re not loading, you should be moving. If you’re not moving, someone’s gonna cut your head off and stick it on a pike.”

    Move, quickly, away from the area. Do not look for cover, you can’t be certain where the small arms are coming from, so you can’t be certain of cover. Just get as far away as possible, as quickly as possible.

    And it goes without saying, don’t be there in the first place…..

  4. L.O. says:

    If I am forced into such an uncontrollable, chaotic, environment I would stay on the outer fringes of the crowd, close to exits.

  5. Charles Klauder says:

    Situational awareness is key. No matter how safe you feel in any situation take note of exits and think about how you might attack that location. Take moderate precautions like sitting near an exit or near something that would represent cover in case of some emergency. You can be trampled to death just as easily as shot… At long range many items can be of some ballistic value. A backpack with two text books might well slow down or stop some projectiles. Put a light-ish ballistic plate in your backpack… Carry a small trauma kit at all times. You or others may well survive if you can can slow down arterial bleeding. Get them as stable as you can and get them to competent emergency medical help asap.

  6. Brad M says:

    A concealed weapon would have done you no good whatsoever. I always carry my IFAK with me, and with lightweight (read minimal protection level III) body armor, you can do a lot to mitigate injuries. Once the bullets started flying, especially with the use of an inaccurate bump stock, move radially outward from the crowd and away from the shooter (if you know his bearing) to cover. Concealment is useless with some Whack Job in full “spray and pray” mode. Once it was over get your head in the game and help other victims.

    Corpsman Up!

  7. Don Williams says:

    1) The Army field manuals have a lot of good advice:
    a) Camouflage yourself to blend into the background — including face and hands, which tend to stand out. Dark clothing/covering, dirt on face, etc.
    b) Distinguish between cover (stops bullet) and concealment ( hides you but doesn’t stop bullet)
    c) Fast motion draws attention — stillness or slow movement does not. In this case, lying on the ground motionless with dark cover would have made you less of a target than fleeing. On the other hand, given the distance and angle, rapid , zig zag running would have made you a difficult target to acquire through a scope at 400 yards. You need to know WHERE the sniper is — which brings up another point:
    d) You can pinpoint a sniper by looking for muzzle flashes. If you can’t see them then counting between the crack of a bullet passing nearby and the report at the muzzle will give you the rough distance. There is a noticeable lag which increases with distance, although this is something best learned in a target trench at a rifle range. Sound travels around 1100 feet per second while a rifle bullet travels 2600 to 3200 fps, depending on the cartridge. You get the bearing from the muzzle reports so with that and distance you know the rough location. At night/ artificial lighting, I would think its safe to run — random zigzag — at 400 yards. In daytime at less than 200 yards, you want to dash/ maybe crawl for cover — trained snipers know how to lead to hit a running figure.
    e) A sideways profile is less of a target than a person’s front or rear — well, for most people it is : ). A prone person in a small depression with only head partially shown is even smaller.
    f) The Army has a valuable concept: You can’t figure things out under the high stress of combat. So you figure things our in advance and develop “immediate action drills” — immediate, violent responses to various threats/events.
    g) In this case, I suppose the drill could be:
    1) Drop to ground
    2) Locate sniper
    3) Find nearby cover/concealment and run/crawl to it
    4) If none available, camouflage yourself as best possible (smear face/hands with dirt)
    5) Depending on distance and lighting, either remain motionless/play dead or run in random zigzag away from shooter (exposes backs but makes it hard to track you.)
    6) Find a weapon and counterattack. These killers need to be made an example. Even if this one committed suicide, he should have been tossed out the window and his suicide kept quiet. A few of this scum set swinging from the lampposts by an angry mob acting in self-defense would put a stop to this nonsense. Certainly better than the police sitting on their hands waiting for SWAT — with the killer being put on trial two years later and then spending many years smirking in a warm jail cell while his lawyer plays the appeals game.
    7) The American People need to lower the boom on our dysfunctional politicians and justice system. A mass murderer should get a quick, fair trial and then be hung in the public square. The victims deserve that. And any lawyer who disagrees should be disbarred and any judge impeached and dismissed from the bench. Any politican who refuses to reform the laws to implement this should be voted out of office and replaced with one who will.

  8. Bill in PA says:

    I disagree with anyone who says they are pro-2A but supports bans on bumpfire stocks. First of all, the ban would not have mattered one bit in this or any other case. In fact, the shooter could have done far more damage with carefully aimed shots rather than full auto. (Thank God that he did not!)
    Secondly, pro-2A supporters capitulating on any anti-gun bills will not stop the gun grabbers. It will only lead to a slippery slope where full cap mags are next, then all semi-auto firearms, then scopes and other optical devices, until eventually we are down to double barrel shotguns stored in our hunting lodges. Is that what you want?

    • Steve says:

      Bill, I think the conclusion that the shooter could have done more damage with aimed fire rather than area fire is debatable. He knew that the police would eventually zero in on his location, even though he was 500 yards away, thirty-two stories up, and in the dark. So it was a race to see how many bullets he could launch into the packed crowd before being eliminated. As for the bump stock. I’d be willing to trade putting them on the NFA list for nationwide CCW reciprocity.

      • James Wesley Rawles says:

        Steve:
        The approach of being willing to give up one right in exchange for securing another is not realistic. The enemies of liberty in our Nation are relentless. Any concession on our side just represents another incremental step in achieving their long range goals. Their timeline is multigenerational. We need to stand firm–even when a particular firearms technology is not in our personal collection or of any particular interest to us.

        • Jason says:

          Could not have said it any better. Simply because a man opts to not exercise a right does not make said right disposable. I’ve no desire to practice Buddhism, does that mean I should have no problem banning Buddhists practicing their faith? I personally think bumpstocks are stupid, and largely the domain of fanboys and mall ninjas. Does that mean I should stand by as fanboys and mall ninjas are stripped of their rights? How long until they come for MY rights?

      • caribou says:

        Reciprocity is already sitting in the wings, there is no reason to trade away our rights to get other rights back.

        I think that some here have trouble with the word, infringe. I have no interest in bump fire stocks. I do have an interest in my constitutional rights. If I don’t defend the rights of those that want a bump fire who will be there to protect my rights when they get around to something that I care about.

  9. wheedle says:

    https://vimeo.com/237257774
    Avoid large crowds outdoors. These are opportunities for False Flag events. You are expendable.
    New Years Eve
    Thanksgiving Day Parades
    Outdoor Concerts
    Outdoor Political Events
    The Vegas shooting has set the narrative for a agenda we do not fully understand yet. Don’t participate as you are now a potential random target.
    Also remember Nov 4 may become a national Antifa event that Homeland security has done nothing about.http://www.newsweek.com/antifa-waging-civil-war-november-4-right-wing-conspiracy-theory-681219
    Are we moving towards a planned martial law event ?https://www.salon.com/2017/01/25/donald-trump-threatens-to-impose-martial-law-in-chicago-and-it-may-be-over-a-feud-with-rahm-emanuel/
    Many who visit this site are aware of the U.S. debt crisis. A False Flag event during a market crash is no longer fringe speculation imho. We should all pray for God to protect us and guide us in these perilous times James.

  10. MAS says:

    It was a trifecta of danger that could not be predicted. The shooter held high ground, you’re among a large crowd (many of whom were drinking, at the least), with concert level sound systems. The very best advice is to avoid these events like the plague. Plenty of great advice above but head on a swivel begins long before going into danger and it’s not like there haven’t been enough prior events to help us consider the potential danger of large public events these days. Especially in places like Las Vegas or anywhere intoxicated folks tend to gather together in enticingly large numbers.

    “He who walks with the wise men will be wise,
    But the companion of fools will suffer harm” Proverbs 13:20

  11. Ned2 says:

    Avoid crowds.
    If that isn’t possible, exit the crowd as soon as possible and retreat.

  12. TimeHasCome says:

    In my lifetime I have had the misfortune of being in a severe train derailment and a severe hotel fire. In both cases I remarked to myself that this was just like in the movies. People act–or don’t act–in strange ways. About 75% of folks do nothing and 15% absolutely panic and about 10% do something. Be the “do somethings”. I witnessed extreme heroism on the part of others, yet I was no hero but I did something to help myself and others in this situation.

  13. Casper says:

    The target was an “area” full of people, not necessarily the individual people in the target area, even though mass casualties are the desired end for the targeted area. Therefore, you need to get out of the area as quickly as possible. Run as fast away from the area as you can, mindful of the trample threat, unless you can find a bulletproof cover site close by. It doesn’t matter which direction you run, unless you’re running for known positive cover. Either you’re running away from maximum effective range, or you are running under the cone that the shooter can effectively fire down into. Going to ground keeps you in the target area longer. Eastern philosophy – the elephant can’t stomp the tiger if the tiger is constantly moving away from it. Of course this assumes you can OODA loop fast enough to know this is an area attack, and not an attempt by the shooter to target anyone that runs.

  14. Ferdinand Reinke says:

    Seems now reasonable to avoid all crowds when at all possible. It goes without saying that a “gun free zone” is an invitation to being attacked. Hence avoid those without question.

  15. Steve T says:

    As difficult as it is to know what would have been the best action for this event, I cant help but assume that the shooter would continue to follow/aim at the crowds as they were trying to exit the area. Therefore, if cover wasn’t immediately available I would think that remaining still and using any possible concealment would work to your advantage.
    I would also expect some of the injuries to come from ricochet of bullets. By being low to the ground (i.e. prone) you would help mitigate these injuries.
    Focus on protecting your head and vital organs. Everything else will heal.

    • James Wesley Rawles says:

      On a grass lawn it does indeed make sense to go prone. But when standing on concrete, it is probably worse to go prone, since there will be lots of low angle ricochets and spalling.

  16. Robert Slaughter says:

    1. Be someplace else – avoid places with large crowds and other targets of opportunity

    2. Where you cannot avoid ToO, *actively* plan your escape if needed. At your place or work, your church, etc. know *ALL* entrances and exits, and their position to you. Once you have a plan, scan your surroundings looking for unexpected people and behaviors. If you notice something out of place, act appropriately and decisively.

  17. Rose says:

    You also gotta remember, it’s never exactly the same scenario. Also, how do we know that the next shooter(s) won’t be in the room? The eyewitnesses said that the exits were blocked also. I would say that the best tool to survive at the time is your brain. Assess the situation quickly and objectively. Do not freeze from fear. If it is someone in the room and none of the law abiding citizens have guns, use what God gave you and break their neck.

  18. Cris says:

    In Afghanistan I was shot at with direct and indirect weapons systems hundreds of times. I remember that the first few times, I had trouble reacting and processing what was happening as instantly. You construct something else to fill in the blanks and explain it to yourself, as in- why did that truck just explode vs. wow that truck near me was targeted and hit by enemy. And this is for people that are trained. Most folks are untrained and lack muscle memory and the instinctive reaction or battle-drill to respond to an attack. You must be trained as an individual but also collectively as a group, because a small force can take out rugged individuals one by one if so determined.

  19. armed citizen says:

    1 Peter 5:8King James Version (KJV)

    8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

  20. Garry says:

    Some of the videos in the crowd are chilling. A mass of people all packed in, unable to move. If you’re in the middle of that, all you can do is hunker down. You could try standing in profile to the shooter, presenting the smallest target possible. Theoretically the best choice if you can’t move, but would be really hard to overcome the instinct to get low.

  21. OLD BOBBERT says:

    1. do an immediate personal sit-rep – locate the general direction of the shooter, quickly – try to stay calm and do not panic. if you are with someone hold on to that person – if you are in a group take charge and tell the group members to physically pair up and to follow you.

    2.quickly locate the most probable locations of the exits, watch the people scattering towards the known exit areas – confirm the direction of the shooter.
    3. choose the apparent low volume of panicked runners to or from the exit closest to the direction of the shooter.
    4.run to the sound of the guns so as to be moving closer to the bottom limit of the area available to the shooters line of sight.stay calm – move deliberately and carefully.
    5. proceed to the nearest wall below the shooter and then move quickly to the least busy and available exit.
    6. go through the exit and stop at the least available to the shooter door or passage way.
    7. wait for the arrival of the police or the rescue efforts.
    8. leave and do not talk to others about the event, no one!
    (. it is okay to throw up once you are safe.

  22. Aubrey Turhun says:

    It will be second guessed to death, but I would have hit the ground until I knew what I was dealing with.

    Running with the herd would have been my last choice.

    I will not get into the bump stock debate, but if he knew how to shoot and was actually aiming, he might have done more damage one aimed shot at a time!

  23. cooked frog says:

    day one: 58 dead and 527 wounded.
    weeks later: 58 dead and 527 wounded.
    None of the wounded died? Since when?
    Guess what, we’re being played! Was this a staged event?

    • privateer 1775 says:

      I heard an interesting scenario of a possible setup. Take a look; https://youtu.be/hldt7XLzlUs
      The alleged shooter was an arms dealer selling weapons to the bad guys, allegedly ISIS. Bad guys got wind of the setup, whacked the dealer and did the fish in a barrel shoot and beet feet. Multiple shooters definitely plausible w/so many weapons available and a target rich environment?

    • VT says:

      False flag or gun deal gone bad. Full auto machine gun fire(belt fed). Full shut down of Police and media and government control of story. You are being lied to!

  24. Jack Veggie says:

    Let these “lawmakers ” set the example and lilt their security detail to single shot long guns.

  25. CM in Arkansas says:

    Your chances of survival in any situation increase dramatically when you know your surroundings and have a plan to move out of harms way or engage a threat before chaos hits. Whatever venue you visit, even if it’s a routine trip to the grocery store or church, have a plan. Know routes of quickest escape, know where you can take cover, sit or stand in places where you can easily observe others around you and those entering the area. Recognize when the attitudes, facial expressions or voices of those around you subtly or abruptly change and look for the reason. If things turn bad very quickly, do not freeze – look for the source of a disturbance, make sure you are not already a target and move in the opposite direction to the cover or exit points you’ve already identified (or if you are a sheepdog move into a zone where you can take reasonable action against a threat). It takes a long time but if you are constantly on yellow alert where you are always evaluating your surroundings it becomes part of your routine behavior. Then you will be in the best position to survive or effectively engage any threat. These activities that help you to plan your response to a threat need to become habits to the point where you feel like something is missing if you fail to do it. It takes about three weeks or 21 cycles of repeated, intentional behavior to develop a basic habit. It takes months or years to refine that habit. As a real world example I have been training myself to evaluate points of cover and concealment in every location I visit, along with an exit plan. At restaurants, I politely insist on a table where I can see who is entering and leaving, close to an emergency exit if possible and I also like being somewhere where I can see what’s going on outside. I’m happpy with two out of three. I’ve learned to always try to sit in a way that I have unobstructed line of sight and I can get up quickly in case I have to draw a pistol (I always prefer a table with chairs vs a booth). I am under no illusions that I’m invincible, but by doing these things I’ve increased my chances of survival dramatically. I’ve made it a point to briefly tell my wife my observations on date nights so she knows what I am thinking. Hope this helps. I am still learning but trying to teach my kids the same behaviors. One more thing. Put the phone down. It’s a sure way to lose seconds when just one or two seconds can save your life.

  26. Anonymous says:

    RE: Vegas

    First, Know and Plan. Avoid common target opportunities. Malls, concerts, festivals, gatherings are all localized, publicized and flagged common gatherings; approached them with caution. If possible, barter with excess, not local stores. Give away or bater excess away, not your base needs & stockpiles, Avoid secondary or tertiary excess; calibrate to a local threat assessment.
    Second, invest in level 2, 3 & 4 body armor. If you have a BOL, plan to head there quick, exiting the target area fast. Plan on a 100% calorie load over 2 to 4 wks, optimal 2-3 wks MRE issue. long term 4 -6 wks given local supplies. Plan to bug out of your primary BOL – hippies drain resources. Plan relocate well outside the reach of 2-bit edge/extremist groups.
    4.) Personal security. Obtain, become proficient with and carry a concealable sidearm. a Glock 9mm or 40 S&W makes a great carry piece, gender neutral.. Load mags, practice engagement and train for contingencies. 1 in the pipe 2 spares @ 11 or 15 ea will never treat you wrong. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

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