Violence doesn’t have to be directed at us personally to put us in danger. Being the “Innocent Bystander” can have serious risks.
I found the picture above on my Facebook feed. One of my fellow Army spouses (Andrea), whose husband I once trained and cornered in MMA fights, had been a witness and innocent bystander to a shootout. She had her kids with her when it happened. Thank God she got them out of there quickly and safely (Good for her!).
I think she did a great job getting her kids to safety. That’s why I asked her permission to share the picture with you.
The first thing she did right was to be aware of events in her surroundings that could affect her family. The moment the fight broke out, she was aware of it. She wasn’t buried in her smartphone or MP3 player. She didn’t ignore it as “none of her business” or worry that paying attention to the situation would offend someone.
When the fight escalated, she didn’t hesitate to run to her children, giving them instructions “at the top of her lungs”. Imagine how crazy that must have looked, this woman sprinting across the playground, hollered orders and corralling startled children. Without knowing what was going on, we might assume she was some sort of lunatic. Luckily, she didn’t pause to worry about how she would look or whether it was politically correct to react this way just because some dudes were fighting across the parking lot. She had one job to do: protect her children (as well as others entrusted to her) and she was going to do it, appearances be damned. That’s how it’s done.
She then took the kids directly away from where the violence was happening and into an area that offered both cover and concealment. She kept the kids calm. She kept everyone where they were safe until she was sure the danger had passed. Police had been contacted and she told me they arrested the shooters a few days later.
I think Andrea did a great job.
So how do you think you would fair in a similar intense and unpredictable situation? Have you given it much thought? Do you have the mindset to deal with violence that happens near, or even to you? Or do you find yourself falling for the old lie that violence never happens to you or those you care about; violence only happens to other people?
We are all “other people” to someone else, my Friends, and that’s something to think about.
Until next time!
PS- The same day I saw Andrea’s post, another friend on my Facebook feed (a girl I once took to senior prom actually) had posted about the recently murdered journalist, James Foley, who had been beheaded by Islamic State terrorists. She had gone to college with and personally knew him. Further down another friend had posted about Steven Sotloff, another captured journalist. He was the man’s friend. I have no idea what the odds are of three of my friend’s having their lives affected by violence in the same day, but it reinforced that bad things can happen, and we need to be prepared in case they do.