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View Full Version : What percentage of people take cover at the sound of gunfire



billcameron
03-27-2004, 12:46 PM
I have a question for those who have investigated shootings. How many/what percent of people take cover at the sound of gunfire? I would suspect it is higher in inner cities where gunfire, drive bys, etc are common. I believe a case can be made that the number one tactic people should have in their tool box is to recognize gunfire and be prepared to immediately seek cover. I believe I remember Elmer Keith writing in the 60's mentioned that even then most people just stood around and wondered what was happening.

Deaf Smith
03-27-2004, 02:30 PM
Bill,

I would not think many would. Allot of people mistake gunfire in a city for backfireing of cars. Plus, the echos and other background noises may very well make gunfire not register unless it is close. Heck, with so many people having cell phones glued to their ears, and Sonny Walkmans screaming tunes, nobody might hear the shots!

DaveJames
03-27-2004, 09:36 PM
bill, I have found that even inner city types don't always look for dirt,unless they precieve that they are being shot at, their just as likely to stand on the corner and watch, I guess until you hear that MAD HORNET pass your ear they don't think its coming at them

Grey Wolf
03-28-2004, 12:51 AM
I would agree that a very small portion do, even in LE work.

About 2-3 months ago, myself, a training officer and a "rook" were in the area on a loud music call. I was facing west and they wre facing east as we were talking. We then had a mini van drive by and shot down the street. I immediately hit the ground on my side and drew my weapon. I then heard the shots again and realized it was a BB or Pellet gun. When I looked up the other guys were just standing there, not even going toward our vehilces to chase them. But hey, i guess it is all in the willingness to survive and train to do that.

Be safe...

Grey Wolf

HKinPA
03-28-2004, 04:43 AM
Just another example. That well televised incident from last year where the old man was shooting at the guy in the business suit. The suit was trying to dodge the old man from the other side of a big tree. Sorry I cant remember names or where it occurred at the moment :confused:

Anyway...after watching it a zillion times, I starting watching the background. Many people stood out in the open and watched; totally oblivious to the fact that this man could just as easy fire at them. Since they (bystanders) weren't actively being attacked, they appeared to feel safe enough to not take cover.

I'ts definitely not a smart thing to do, but didnt seem out of the ordinary since few if anyone that I could see did anything to survive other than hope the old man didnt start letting shots off in their direction. sigh.......

Vig Creed
03-28-2004, 08:56 AM
I never knew of any cops to take cover during real life shootouts on my department. No BG's either. As for gawkers, I'm not sure.

My personal reaction was always to draw and face the sound of gunfire ready to shoot.

Gunshot noises don't kill, bullets do. Even the chipmunks on my pistol range know that! :D

myke
03-28-2004, 10:47 AM
Just another example. That well televised incident from last year where the old man was shooting at the guy in the business suit. The suit was trying to dodge the old man from the other side of a big tree. Sorry I cant remember names or where it occurred at the moment :confused:

Anyway...after watching it a zillion times, I starting watching the background. Many people stood out in the open and watched; totally oblivious to the fact that this man could just as easy fire at them. Since they (bystanders) weren't actively being attacked, they appeared to feel safe enough to not take cover.

I'ts definitely not a smart thing to do, but didnt seem out of the ordinary since few if anyone that I could see did anything to survive other than hope the old man didnt start letting shots off in their direction. sigh.......

You are talking about the shooting at the Vanu nuys, CA courthouse. Where the guy was trying to shoot his lawyer.

here is the link to the video...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,101855,00.html

B0486
03-29-2004, 05:09 AM
Sounds of gunfire?

Can I get up now.

It's always been a big joke with the patrolman and buds I hang with ocassionally that I hit the deck pronto while getting the hand on the piece instinctively.

Guess all that incoming one year and the following career changed me for life. I used to be such a "country" boy until "Uncle" owned my butt.

There are those who have the presence of mind to react to a potential threat immediately and then there are those who would be cannon fodder.

Brownie

Gecko
03-29-2004, 05:37 AM
For me it always depends upon the proximity of the gunfire and the tactical situation I find myself in at the time. Invariably however I do take notice, scan and consider my options and available courses of action.

Al Lipscomb
03-30-2004, 07:24 AM
Many years ago I was working at a large automotive facility. One of the guys that was working the battery section was a vet but never showed any signs of any problems. One day someone was working on a car and it backfired LOUD!

Everyone looked around as Tom (the vet) had dissapeared. At the sound of the backfire he dove for cover.

Vig Creed
03-30-2004, 07:45 AM
arl,

I know what you mean. I once took a part-time job at a chemical processing plant that had blown up several years before and injured many employees.

Every time there was a loud crash, I'd be the only one left standing!!! Every once in a while , when no one was watching, I'd whack a steel pipe with a big wrench just for the fun of it. :D

firebasecrosby
04-19-2004, 04:00 PM
True story...my wife and I, with my new in-laws (father-IL, mother-IL, and brother/sister-IL) were walking in Boston about a month after we had been married. Wife is former paratrooper/Army Sergeant, I am former paratrooper/Army dude too. Father-IL is former Staff Sergeant, Vietnam-era Army.

We had been talking in the van on the way down from NH about CCW in the People's Democratic Republic of Massachusetts. We're all NH-natives, dislike coming to the city, but the Red Sox were playing and that's the only reason we'd ever come to Boston without our guns, legal or not. (It's next to impossible to get a CCW permit in Mass., and getting guns into Fenway park wasn't going to happen.)

Truck drives by, slows to a stop at the light, and when it takes off, POP-POP-POP (backfire). I hit the deck without even thinking about it, and got about a quart of adrenaline dropped into my system.

When I sheepishly realize that I'm on the ground because of a truck backfire, I look to my left, where my wife is lying also, turning red with embarrassment, and next to me is my father-IL, who is grinning like the Cheshire Cat. Mother-IL, brother/sister-IL are looking at us like we've lost our damn minds.

Good story that gets retold at all the family gatherings. I think my stock went up about 50 points in the father-ILs eyes; I had a newfound appreciation for my wife, and my other in-laws now think we're all certifiably insane. And the Red Sox won that day, too.

Anthony
04-21-2004, 11:52 AM
Interesting subject, - taking cover.
Of course it depends alot on the situation/circumstance etc.
During Basic, we are taught to take cover ONLY when the fire is effective. - That might well mean that someone gets 'slotted'.
But that is conventional war. The life of one soldier isn't all that significant. ( In comparison to the scope of the whole war.)
It's alot more significant during an internal security situation such as Northern Ireland was. Or for a police officer.

The first time I ever took cover at a gunshot ( 1980 ) it happened to be an N/AD, just a few yards from me.( Northern Ireland.) A few weeks later I took cover at the real thing, - and returned fire after perhaps a couple of seconds evaluating the situation.

In the Falklands, we quickly learned to determine what was & what wasn't efective fire. Unefective fire would just cause a turning of the head towards the sound.

Here in Rio many years ago, I was walking down a street in the city centre, with the company secretary ( we lived close by & got the bus together early in the morning.) It was about 07:10 in the morning & we heard shots close by. She & everyone else on the street stopped instantly & jumped into the nearest doorway/café to take cover. I on the over hand just got closer to the nearest open doorway ( a café ) but started to look for the sourse of fire. The secretary was shouting for me to get off the street, but I could see there was no imediate danger. - Just alot of noise ! Within a few seconds, a BG appeared from a side street, about 20 yards to our front. He ran off away from us, & a cop appeared behind him. They blindly fired off their revolvers ( I was whatching clearly ) at each other, - missing. The BG ran off. The police officer stood in the street, panting ( he was well overweight,) & started to re-load his revolver.

A couple of weeks later, whilst in a supermarket, a gang began to rob TWO banks at the same time, in front of this supermarket. Shooting wildly into the air with AR15s, to stop the traffic, we ALL took cover !

I've watched 'live' interviews here on local TV, during a gunbattle within a slum. The kids can identify the types of weapons being fired, they are so acustomed. It goes something like this:
Interviewer, - What weapon is that ? ( Loud shots close by.)
Kid, ( 10 maybe 12 years old,) AK47 !
More shots.
Interviewer, - and now ?
Kid, - AR15s. The police are returning fire.
Interviewer, - Are you not scared ?
Kid, - No. This is not close. It's over on the next street !
And so it goes on.

With experience one learns when it is really nescessary to take cover. When the fire is really a threat.

Regards,
Anthony.