Las Vegas, NV - After the shooting started in Las Vegas on Sunday night, footage of the scene shows the mass of people at the Jason Aldean concert dropping to the ground, afraid to move. However, dropping to the ground may have only increased their chance of getting hit.
There's no way that most of the concert-goers could have known how to react. Unless you're in law enforcement or military, almost nobody trains for coming under heavy gunfire.
Below, you can learn how to avoid making similar mistakes if ever faced with a similar situation.
When the shooting started on Sunday night, people didn't initially know where the bullets were coming from and they dropped to the ground to avoid gunfire. After the shooting had gone on for a while, footage from the scene and witness accounts show that many victims were able to determine that the shooter was firing down on them from an elevated position.
This makes dropping to the ground a poor tactical decision for a few reasons.
Bullets Are Traveling Downwards
If a shooter is firing from the same level as their target, the bullets will generally travel parallel to the ground. That makes diving for the ground a good way to avoid getting hit if you're just in proximity to a gunfight, and not being shot at.
However, if the shooter is firing downwards, then the bullets are already traveling toward the ground. Laying on the ground will only make you a stationary target, and do absolutely nothing to protect you.
Bullets Generally Ricochet At Shallow Angles
When bullets hit a hard surface at an angle, they do not bounce off at an opposing angle angle like a ball would. Instead, the nose of the bullet deforms and redirects the bullet at a very shallow angle from the surface being hit.
When the shooter fired towards the crowd from an elevated position, any bullets that hit the ground and ricocheted would have kept going, flying just above the surface of the ground.
If people are laying on the ground, then they are putting their vital organs at the same level that the bullets would travel after ricocheting off of the ground.
Below is an image which shows how this works.
In An Active Shooter, Dropping Make You A Stationary Target
If you are dealing with an actual active shooter, whose goal is to kill as many people as possible, dropping to the ground and staying there may be a poor tactical choice. You can assume that the shooter will want to shoot you, and staying on the ground just makes you a stationary target.
NOTE: Dropping to the ground is a great way to avoid gunfire if it is not an active shooter situation and you are not being targeted.
What You Should Do In An Active Shooter
Fight: If you can fight, then fight. The victims in Las Vegas had absolutely no way to fight back due to to the distance of the shooter, but most shootings happen in close proximity.
Even if you are unarmed, you should fight. Charge them and throw anything you can at the shooter's head, small objects like keys and change work too; anything that could force them to move or protect their eyes. You will be at a major disadvantage, but fighting could be your best chance for survival and saving others.
Run: If you can't fight, then flee the area or get to cover as fast as you can. Don't bother with any zig-zagging, just run as fast as you can to get out of the area or at least get behind a bulletproof object. If you're being shot at, you can take cover behind a fire hydrant or below a curb if you have no other options.
Running would have been the ideal choice for shooting victims in Las Vegas.
Hide: If you can't fight or run, then get somewhere that conceals you and hope that you don't get found.
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