A close examination of mass shooting incidents revealed that the chances of survival increased when potential victims took steps to resist an attack by a gunman. The research, conducted at Texas State University, looked at 84 such incidents and found the rate of survival was higher in those cases where people fought or obstructed the attacker. For example, researchers noted that in the Virginia Tech University massacre that took place six years ago this week, in two classrooms where students and teachers tried to hide or play dead after the assailant entered, nearly all were shot and most died. In another classroom, the teacher held the door shut long enough for most of his students to jump out a window. The teacher was shot through the door and killed, as was one student, but the others survived. In a third classroom, the teacher and students blocked the door with a heavy desk, preventing the gunman from entering. Everyone in that room survived.
The most important message emerging from the study is this: in the event of a mass shooting, the police may not arrive until it’s over, as was the case in about half the incidents examined. The average police response time in the 84 shootings was three minutes, which may seem fast until one considers how much carnage a committed and well-armed gunman can bring down on a school, office, or shopping mall in three minutes.
When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.