Every single person in the country—except the perpetrators—agree we need fewer deaths from school / mass shootings. Those of us in the gun community know more guns in the hands of good guys means the bad guy gets neutralized (killed) faster. This would greatly reduce the number of casualties. Unfortunately, outside of a few locations, that kind of action is a non-starter… because of politics. However, even if it wasn’t, there is another angle to attack this problem. You also have the potential to increase the survivability of those injured.
Notice, I am not focused on preventing school / mass shootings. That is not something that will ever happen. Evil people do evil things, and they greatly prefer to do them in low-risk, high-emotion, high-casualty areas. Regardless of where you are on the gun debate, and I am pretty sure I know where you stand if you are reading this, we should all agree that reducing the number of deaths at school or other mass shootings is a great goal. Ask yourself, “How can we reduce the carnage caused by mass shooters if the law prevents carrying a firearm in the most likely areas?”
The law prevents you from carrying a defensive handgun, and in some places even from carrying a knife, but it does not prevent you from carrying a tourniquet. These laws do not stop you from carrying rolls of gauze, compression bandages, or chest seals either. Think about that for a minute. At the most recent school shooting, how many casualties died due to blood loss 10–30 minutes after being shot? More than half of the people killed at Pulse Night Club died 20–45 minutes after being wounded. How many of those people could be alive today if someone had applied a tourniquet to their leg or arm?
Sometimes you have to work with what you have or what exists. Of course, I carry a gun (sometimes two) everywhere I go. That often means, I don’t go certain places because my life is worth it. The Post Office is a prime example. In all 50 states, it is illegal to be armed in a Post Office. However, there are alternatives.
- Buy stamps at the grocery store.
- Use Post Office kiosks as those are not Federal Property and you can most often carry there.
- Use parcel businesses that do Post Office functions.
- My late wife and I had a plan for when we absolutely had to go to the Post Office. One of us went in, the other stayed in the car armed and vigilant.
The same thing applies to gun free zones, when considering the reduction of the death rate. Have emergency medical supplies on you or in your vehicle. My everyday bag is a tactical backpack (Drago Assault Pack) with a medic bag on the left side and a tourniquet holster and Gen 7 Cat tourniquet on the right side. Along with basic band aids, Tylenol, etc., my medic bag has:
- North American Rescue CAT tourniquet
- 2 Hyfin Vent Chest seals
- 3 rolls of wound gauze
- 2 rolls of medical tape
- 1 nose vent – nasopharyngeal airway opener
- 2 packets of quick clot
- Trauma shears
- 6 pair of blue 6 mil nitride gloves
I also have a moderate amount of training on how to use these items, but that isn’t even really the point. Quite often there is someone in the crowd who knows how to use them, but a sucking chest wound is likely fatal without a vented chest seal. Even if a doctor, nurse, or EMT is around, they can’t do much without the proper equipment.
My backpack, with the medic cross on the side bag and the exposed tourniquet holster on the other side will alert any professional to possible useful contents—even if I am already a casualty. If I am still active, I can use them or provide them to a more qualified person. The contents of my EDC medic bag can save between one and three people until proper medical attention can arrive. The med kit also works for more common issues such as car wrecks, industrial accidents, or stabbings.
Let’s make the Mandalay Bay Concert shooting a teachable moment.
Of the 51 people who died:
- 21 were shot in the head or neck – Likely, a med kit would have been of little help for them.
- 21 were shot in the chest – A vented chest seal may have reduced the death rate by +/- 30% (4 to 7 additional survivors).
- 15 were shot in the back – A vented chest seal may have reduced the death rate by +/- 30% (3 to 5 additional survivors).
1 was shot in the leg – A tourniquet would have provided nearly a 100% survival chance.
If my numbers are anywhere near accurate, the 51 deaths drops by 8 to 13 people. No one will suggest that roughly 40 deaths would have been good thing, but I think a 20% reduction would have been a great thing. I also know the families of those saved would be much happier with them still among the living.
The concert had an attendance of approximately 20,000. If one person out of 200 had a kit similar to mine, there would have been 100 such kits. If we assume 90% of those people fled the scene or hunkered down, that still means there are 10 usable kits in the area. These would be immediately available for those who were fighting to save the wounded. As it stood, the Las Vegas PD and other first responders did a great job and did have a fair amount of this equipment on hand. Unfortunately, when seconds counted, they were miles and minutes away.
When you, a loved one, or a fellow country music fan is bleeding out, a delay of seconds can be crucial. A delay of minutes… fatal.