Mass Shooting, Six Steps to Survival

John Matthews
CSI Publishing (2013)
ISBN: 9780988855625
Reviewed by M.Cristina Lanzi for Reader Views (12/13)


Nobody ever thinks it is going to happen to them; but despite what people like to believe, random public shootings are not uncommon episodes. “Mass Shooting, Six Steps To Survival” by John Matthews examines in detail sixty mass shootings that have occurred in the United States during the past thirty years, giving important information to get through such an horrific situation.

The author, thanks to an attentive examination of numerous cases, outlines some successful tactics to survive a mass shooting. Analyzing what common people who survived these dreadful events did, the book explains basic efficacious tactics: Locked or barricaded doors can slow or stop offenders; Playing dead (whether actually wounded or not) can save your life.

In “Mass Shooting, Six Steps To Survival,” John Matthews’ shows detailed data on the different cases, including information on the shooters' identities, the types of weapons they used, and the number of victims they injured and killed.

You’re in public, running errands, in school with your classmates or on your way to work and gunshots start to bang. We like to think that it is just sporadic, but this alarming scenario is becoming more and more common; it is definitely something that all of us should envision considering the increasing number of mass shootings. What I found extremely frightful is that Matthews’ research reveals that shooters usually choose a supposedly safe place, like a school, a mall or a movie theater, and rip it apart, with a personal motive being the only justification: everyday routines are suddenly transformed into chaos, reminding us that there is no place immune to shooters’ insanity.

The first part of the book is very absorbing and quick to read. I thought that the scrutiny of the sixty selected incidents was interesting and exhaustive but not too accurate to be boring. In the last section, the author shortly explains how to behave in case we get involved in a mass shooting. His advice is structured on a six-step model based on the actions taken by previous victims and he uses an easy-to-remember acronym to sum it up:

Exit when possible without presenting a target.

Seek cover to protect yourself from harm.

Conceal yourself from the offenders.

Assess all alternatives.

Present a small target.

Engage only as a last resort.

In “Mass Shooting, Six Steps To Survival” by John Matthews, we learn about the shooter’s troubled past and we sadly understand how easy it can be to get weapons. Unfortunately it is perhaps too easy to forget how many times this has happened, but I believe this is a good reading to learn how not to be found off-guard.

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