Whenever you board an airplane, there is always a safety demonstration before the pilot takes off toward the destination. You know, the one that tells you to “note the exit nearest you” and explains how to use the drop-down oxygen masks. The safety demonstration is how the crew lets you know that there is always a risk attached to flying, but that they have accounted for the risks and provided possible solutions to make an unfortunate situation, like a plane crash, as safe as possible.
What if there were no safety demonstrations and the plane did in fact crash? No one would be equipped with the knowledge they need to handle a plane crash properly. Everyone would be in a state of panic and many more would die than would have if they knew the safety procedures.
Mass Shooting Knowledge
What are the equivalents of the nearest exits and oxygen masks for a mass shooting? What kind of knowledge should I possess in order to best protect myself from a mass shooting? I wondered that myself when I stumbled upon gunviolencearchive.org. The website gives you access to information about any and all gun-related incidents in the US since 2014. What I discovered to be most interesting on the website was its information on mass shootings. Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as an incident involving a gun and 4 or more people. Regardless of whether the victims were killed or injured or neither, if there were 4 or more people involved it is counted as a mass shooting.
I decided to do some data analysis on the mass shootings from April 2016 to April 2017 (there were 451 of them). The results of this analysis were very telling. For instance, the most common months for mass shootings are the summer months–June, July, and August. The most common days of the week for mass shootings are the weekend–Saturday and Sunday. I was not aware of these facts, but it didn’t totally surprise me.
Body Armor + Knowledge = Safety
Though it didn’t surprise me, it was a call to action. When I am headed out the door, I need to assess the risks associated with my planned activities. Knowing when a mass shooting is more likely to occur gives me the power to better protect myself, but, my best protection is taking action based on my acquired knowledge. You don’t buy body armor in the hopes of using it, but you buy it in case you have to use it.
At the end of the day, you cannot control when, where, or how a mass shooting will occur. Someday you may get caught in a bad situation on a Wednesday in the middle of Winter–you never know. That is why body armor provides the ultimate protection. Body armor plus knowledge creates the perfect ability to stay alive in a risky and perhaps deadly situation.
Bring Rex Back
Back in the 1940s, The cartoon character Rex Riley was created to inspire US airmen to stay safe. Rex Riley’s purpose was to spread messages of safety, but ultimately to save lives. Safety and protection are just as necessary now as they were to the airmen of the 1940s. In today’s world where shootings are happening every single day, we also need Rex Riley to remind us to “Keep Calm and Get your Safety On.” Let’s use our tools, like knowledge and body armor, to be like Rex and save lives. Let’s bring Rex back.