The Cornered Cat
Be a bad witness, part 2

There’s something else that I’m seeing on the bystander’s Love Field shooting video that I shared with you yesterday, and on the more graphic one the police released, which is embedded below. There are (at least) four different types of people we can see on both videos.

1) The people who see the danger, realize it’s a danger, and leave immediately without being told. The lady with the big orange purse in the center of the screen at the beginning of the video is one of those. So is the woman in the bright turquoise shirt who abandoned the black&white flower suitcase near the kiosk. I suspect there were more of these people who left when the dude first started yelling and throwing things, but of course they weren’t caught on video.

2) The people who plainly realize that danger exists — that they, personally, can get hurt or killed here — but who are still driven to watch and/or record what’s happening. The saddest example of these would be the guy cowering in the corner saying, “Oh my God oh my God” over and over again — who *still* has to keep poking his head around the corner to see what’s going on. He can’t quite bring himself to leave the area because he wants to know what’s happening, but he clearly knows it’s dangerous to stay where he is. (I think the guy who recorded this video is one of those; that’s why we see the camera jolt when the first shots are fired, but he goes back anyway.)

3) The people who don’t even realize that they, personally, could get hurt, and who have no place in their heads for danger or violence that could happen to them. Some of these people were holding cameras, but more of them were just … walking. Casually. Curiously. to find out what the noise is all about. Whatever they were feeling, it wasn’t fear of being injured or killed (though some of them glance around like they’re worried that someone else will tell them to stop). The guy wearing the blue shirt and blue jeans, and the guy in the yellow shirt with the papers in his hand, are clear examples of this.

4) The people who clearly see that the situation is dangerous to them personally, but who are “trapped” into staying there and don’t know how to effectively take cover. The guy by the left rear corner of the car bumper would be one example of this; he knows to put a car between himself and danger, but doesn’t know enough to duck. Or, on the police video, the woman inside the dark car on the right — it took her a _very_ long time to decide that she was in danger, and then all she could think to do was close the door to her car while she remained in the line of fire.

There were also a lot of people who were “trapped” into staying because of their belongings — like the guy you see in the doorway on the right, with his suitcase in the middle of the walkway. He “can’t” leave, because his suitcase is there. When the cop finally gets to him and tells him to get out of there, he steps into the maximum danger zone to retrieve his suitcase before he finally leaves.

Lots of different ways people can fail to protect themselves. So … here’s what I suggest for the take aways here.

1) Accept that danger can happen. To you. Today. Before the sun goes down, you might need to protect yourself from a violent crime.

2) Accept that you won’t necessarily ever know the end of the story. Decide now that it’s okay if you mistakenly leave a situation that you feel is escalating toward danger, but that it *isn’t* okay if you mistakenly stay.

3) Accept that you may have to abandon belongings in order to get yourself to safety, and

4) Learn how to effectively get behind cover in situations where you truly cannot leave.

 

 

Stay safe!

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