Written by: Greg Ellifritz
Halloween is right around the corner. ‘Tis the season for scary houses and “haunted forests.” Have you ever thought about what you would do in one of these “haunted” houses or forests if real life gunplay starts to occur? Consider the following scenario:
You are waiting in line to enter a “Haunted Forest”. The event is in a deeply wooded rural area without any police presence. A man steps out of line, draws a gun and begins shooting at everyone in the crowd as he makes a beeline for the ticket booth. He continues shooting randomly as he grabs the money and retreats to the parking area. Several people are wounded and screaming. There is minimal light and you can’t really see what is going on. What do you do?
This exact scenario occurred in South Carolina. Read about it at the following link: Teen pleads guilty in haunted trail shooting, killing at park.
Here are some questions I’d like you to ask yourself:
1) Would you carry a gun to an event like this one where you are likely to be scared and jostled around by the actors in the forest? If you would carry, would you take additional precautions to secure your gun and ensure that it isn’t accidentally grabbed by one of the people trying to scare you?
Would you alter your normal carry position? Think about how someone might grab you in a scenario like this. They might grab your ankle from the brush or from a “grave.” They might grab your arm. The might grab you around the waist from behind. I think appendix carry or a shoulder holster provides the highest level of natural protection against these kind of grabs.
2) Do you always carry a flashlight with you? Without a light, you are hosed in a situation like this. Can you shoot with a flashlight? I mean really shoot…with lots of innocent people in between you and the killer in pitch dark conditions. It’s harder than you think…
Even more importantly, do you know how to “go dark” and disappear in a situation like this. If the killer can’t see you he can’t shoot you. If you aren’t actively engaging the target, the light is a hindrance in this scenario.
What about your spouse and/or kids? Do you think it would be valuable to issue them flashlights for an event like this? Do they know when and when not to use the light?
3) What is your plan should you be separated from your children during the shooting? Do you have a pre-established meeting place? Cell phones may not work in rural areas where these take place.
4) In a situation like this when you are potentially ½ mile or more from your car and 30 minutes or more from an emergency medical response, do you have any medical supplies on your person to handle traumatic injuries? Having a med kit in your car won’t help when the shooter is firing at you in the forest. Do you have the supplies needed to immediately stop life-threatening bleeding? Do you have the capability of carrying a wounded victim (maybe even one of your family members) out of the forest to help? If you can’t physically carry or drag a casualty and you don’t have any medical gear, what is your plan if someone gets shot?
A walk through a haunted forest doesn’t have to look like a combat patrol in Afghanistan, but you may need more (or different) supplies than you normally carry to be prepared for every eventuality.
Your homework assignment is to think about scenarios like this. Identify any situations where you might need more or different gear based on the character of the threats you face. Then figure out a plan to deal with any potential problems you may encounter when visiting that place.