By October 4, 2017 Read More →

Terrorism, Active Shooter

I need to adjust my routines and disciplines I use to function in the world. Recently there have been too many mass shootings and too many incidents of people using cars to kill people. The sad truth is that if someone is motivated enough to get you they will get you.


Recently I was involved in an active shooter event at the Calgary International Airport. Thankfully the active shooter warning was a hoax. However, it was absolutely terrifying to realizing with my disability there was nothing I could do to help. Worse none of my methods for accommodating myself accounted for the situation and enabled me. In fact, I was totally at the mercy of others.


The active shooter event reminded me of a video I seen at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology regarding campus safety.

SAIT Campus Safety Video

The SAIT video was a brilliant way to reinvent my response to active shooter situations.  I’ve plagiarized the video and adapted it for me as a blind person.  I’ll let you experience the video yourself.   Essentially the steps to managing an active shooter event are:



As a blind person I am hyper aware of my environment. During my first excursion to a new place I’m doing my orientation and mobility work mapping the environment. I generally look for entrances, bathrooms, corridors and places to eat. Now I need to have an escape route.   Now when I enter any building, park or square, as part of a group or on my own, I am developing a plan B, an escape route, to get out if bad things happen.


During an incident it’s easy to fall back into panic mode. I panicked at the airport in Calgary during the alert. Despite what the movies show us gun shots or people being stabbed doesn’t make a lot of sound. We are so desensitized that we are prone to filter out warning sounds. You must remain in the moment and alert. When you find yourself in an incident the first thing to do is assess, this will take practice. Establish a training routine and include it in your discipline to assess determine your best first course of action.


The first best option is to get out now. Take your main route out of a location if possible, if not take your secondary route. It’s not always the smartest thing but sometimes you just have to follow everyone else out. Sadly, with the disability we have to rely on others to have a better view of the situation than we do. The other sad truth is everyone will be taking care of themselves first. If people panic we may be on our own to manage our response to the situation. Ideally, we don’t attract the shooters attention. We are targets, let’s face it we stick out lick sore thumbs with a cane or a dog. We have to manage our response proactively.


If you can’t get out of an area find a room or a space to hide. Lock and barricade the door, turn off the lights and shutter the windows. MUTE YOUR PHONE or whatever other devices you have on you, manage your guide dog. Don’t attract unnecessary attention and if possible stay out of the line of fire. Wait for te police to guide you to safety.


Fight For Your Life

The absolute last resort is FIGHT with all that you are, fight for your life. Disarm and incapacitate the attacker.


About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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