Today’s events at a school in a Pittsburgh suburb demonstrate once again that despite our best hopes we sometimes find ourselves in a dangerous world. A kid wielding two knives cut 20 some people. In such situations, the most important thing is to keep your head and avoid the paralysis of panic. A good way to avoid panic is to react to these situations by discussing what you could do in the situation. Families might want to have this discussion with their older children. The safest thing always, of course, is to run away, but what if you don’t see a safe escape path or you don’t feel that you could live with yourself if you abandoned friends or siblings in danger?
Knives, even the kitchen knives reportedly used in this incident, are of course very dangerous. Be cool-headed and look for improvised shields and weapons. Outdoors you might be lucky to find a metal trash can lid to use as a shield. In a school, probably you won’t have such a lucky find, but you could use your back pack or a fire extinguisher as a shield, or in the worst case, kick off your shoes and put them on your hands to ward off the knives. Using the sliding stinging technique with a long staff would be a very good way to fend off the attacker, stinging to the face, throat or groin. Where would you find a long staff in a school? If the janitor hasn’t left a broom or mop in the hall, there probably is one in his closet. Unscrew the handle from the broom head if you have time. And, speaking of the fire extinguisher, you might convert it from shield into weapon by squirting it into the attacker’s face.