Ohio Mass Shooting
This morning, in a small town suburb of Akron, a man went on a rampage in two different locations, killing 7 and wounding one before being killed by the police. As it stands now, we don't know the motives or relationships between the killer and the victims, but I'd guess it will end up being a domestic situation.
How many of us have an ex-spouse or ex-girl/boy friend in our lives that could go this way? Not even necessarily our exes, but maybe the ex of our current... Perhaps the co-worker's ex... Maybe the baby sitter's or the next door neighbor's... We can never tell.
Of course, one defense is to be armed at all times. That works for some, not for others. Some of these things are so random or from out of the blue, there's no way to really prepare. It just shows that we really need to be alert to signs of potential violence from those we know (or used to), and that we need to have conversations with our currents to know what types of people their exes are.
At the Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee on Thursday night, reports of up to a couple hundred black youth were attacking white people on foot and pulling some from their cars. At least 24 were arrested. There have been several reports recently in large cities of racially charged mob violence, but this one looks like the biggest so far. Are tensions so high in your community that something could set off a group like that? Do you find yourself in situations that could go off like a powder keg?
Fifteen to twenty years ago, I had no concerns with going to the Virginia State Fair. In more recent years, we've made it a point to only go in the day time, during a week day. A couple years ago, we were there late in the afternoon, but still in broad daylight. As it got later, you could see the crowd's temperament changing. It wasn't racial, it was an air of aggression and tension that seemed to fall over black, white, young, old, male and female.
After a police shooting in Tottenham, on the outskirts of London, protesters have used Molotov cocktails to attack police headquarters, burned and flipped cars, and burned and looted stores. Dozens have been injured. Tottenham is a poverty stricken region of London, and no stranger to riots over the years. It shows how crucial it is to be aware of your community's issues and local news.
So What To Do?
Be aware. We've discussed situational awareness before. All three of these situation could have been mitigated by people being alert and not stuck in their view of "normal."
Stay away. Know where the "bad" areas are in town, and know what situations are brewing, then stay away from them. Sure, go to the state fair and have a corn dog and some fried dough, but keep an eye on the crowd and be ready to leave before it turns.
Know your weapons. I can't imagine a person being attacked and pulled from their car. You know, that 3,000 pound piece of steel that folks ride in? I try to always know an escape route, even if it means driving on the median or the sidewalk. A hundred angry youths beating people around me aren't going to have the opportunity to get me. If you are in fear for your life, your car can be used as a weapon. If you have pepper spray in the car, a few spurts of it out of a cracked open window might encourage the assailants to take on a different victim. I'm sure you've heard the warnings about being abducted or assaulted, and never letting the person tie or restrain you because then you loose all opportunity to fight; or not fighting in any way you can not to get into a kidnappers vehicle because the odds are, you'll die. Conversely, if you are in a vehicle, do everything in your power to stay in it, including running people over. They put themselves in danger by being a part of a violent mob... you are not putting them in danger by trying to get away and keeping yourself safe.
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