Even If You’re Not the Intended Victim, Being a Bystander Can Be Deadly

Have you thought about being a bystander in a situation like this? Whether it’s an active shooter or a targeted hit, knowing how your Active Self Protection will affect your response is an important key to responding effectively in the moment!

Original video of the danger to each bystander: https://get-asp.com/qf0z


News story with details of the location (Google Translate from Spanish required): https://get-asp.com/2lxk


How do I protect myself as a bystander to an attack?


  1. Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. If you’re a bystander to this kind of attack, being aware of your surroundings gives you time to respond before the danger becomes acute, and that time is perhaps all you’ll get to save your own life.


  1. Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. These assassins used the transitional space to get in, ambush, and get out quickly, and that’s the stock in trade for criminals. When you’re in transitional spaces, whether a restaurant like these bystanders or a convenience store or somewhere else, recognize that the potential for being targeted goes up significantly.


  1. A life of self-protection must be dedicated to avoidance, de-escalation, and escape whenever possible. You win 100% of the fights that you don’t get in, so make a commitment to de-escalate, escape, or evade any encounter you possibly can. Having good situational awareness will give you more time and opportunity to see problems coming and formulate a plan to stay away and protect yourself without danger to yourself or others. This is always our first choice as self-defenders. These bystanders would have been well served to escape if possible, and the first bystander did just that!


  1. Many times the best solution to being attacked is simply to run, especially if you’re a bystander. Escape is a fine choice if nothing compels you to stand and fight! Clearly if you have kids or other vulnerable loved ones with you, you won’t be able to run away, but if that’s not an issue then running away may well be the best strategy available. If you can run from an attack and get to safety, then by all means do.


  1. Spiritual fitness is an important part of Active Self Protection. You don’t often get any advance notice of the last day of your life, but we see over and over that self-defense isn’t a guarantee of winning every fight you might be placed in. You want to be at peace with your loved ones and with God, because you’ll need that peace on the day that you meet Him. Since you can’t guarantee advanced notice, make peace today. I am not crying a river for the guys who were in the drug trade, but the bystanders were under deadly threat as well and so the lesson is applicable for them, too.


  1. In a gunfight, cover and concealment are important tools to know and use. Cover is anything that will stop bullets; concealment is that which will not stop bullets but will hide you from being seen by the aggressors. In many instances concealment works as well as cover against attackers who are not highly trained because they won’t shoot through it. Even so, cover and concealment only work for a few moments before the bad guys will start to work around them (if you’re an intended target…if you’re just a bystander, not so much), so use them judiciously to buy you time and give you an advantage in a gunfight.


Attitude. Skills. Plan.


(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

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