Make the right call, be smart in dangerous situations


By Paul deLutio, Columnist

Everyone has heard the news. The shootings on Green Street this past week are a travesty — an act of senseless violence that has no place in our campus community.

Slowly, as details became available and the story was pieced together, the student body began to understand the facts of the events that transpired early that morning.

What is most troublesome is the proximity of this incident. To think that this was as close to home as Green Street is beyond frightening, and student witness Camille Baer said it best in her interview with the Daily Illini, saying: “The scariest part about it was that could have been me. It could have been anybody.”

Baer’s concern is noted and is something to ponder. What if it had been me? We can even take this a step further and say: How would I have reacted in this situation?

When discussing these events with friends, it’s interesting to hear the range of responses you will receive. Almost invariably you will have the friend who truly believes they would be able to charge the gunman and wrestle the gun away in a miraculous effort of heroism, and conversely the friend who would exit a building, see the gunman and immediately re-enter the building they just exited (perhaps the more honest answer).

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As morbid as it is to think about, some of us may find ourselves in situations similar to the one that has recently struck our campus. Granted, these situations are an extreme rarity, but being prepared, despite the unlikelihood, will pay off greatly in the long run. These moments will call for us to act decisively to protect ourselves and the lives of others. In order to act decisively, certain measures must be taken to mitigate danger and take control of the situation.

It is worth noting that I am by no means an expert on active shooter scenarios. I do not speak from experience and my advice can either be followed or disregarded. In addition, my intent is not to undermine the victims and bystanders of the recent shooting. Simply stated, I ask that you consider this: Do you think that you will be an expert in active shooter scenarios when you are inexplicably caught up in a situation? To the majority, the answer will be no. This only underscores the importance of using common sense and good judgment when it matters most for your own safety and those around you.

Let the police handle the situation.

The police are trained specifically for these kinds of situations. If you can hold on until the police arrive, you will be in good hands. Simply exercise caution and trust that help is on the way. Taking matters into your own hands will be dangerous, and hence:     

Don’t play the hero.

Just like the friend who will claim they will wrestle the gun away from the shooter, being unarmed and attacking a shooter can be reckless. In most situations, bystanders do not have the training or experience to disarm shooters, and in these situations, the conservative call is the best one to make. That is to say, get yourself and others behind cover, contact the police if they haven’t been already and usher yourself and others away from the danger as quickly and discreetly as possible.

Slow things down.

A shot of adrenaline is bound to surge through your entire body the moment you understand the magnitude of your situation. If at all possible, find a safe place to take cover and get your bearings. Take deep breaths and think carefully about your next move. Acting purely on adrenaline and impulse can be ineffective and dangerous.

Personally, these are the steps I would hope to have taken if I had been involved with this situation. Will we ever act the way we plan in the time of crisis? It’s difficult to say. We can only hope that we will act in a manner that will minimize disaster and resolve the situation.

Paul is a sophomore in LAS. 

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