Adrian Pracon, a 21-year-old official with the Worker's Youth League described on Saturday how he played dead and survived the shooting at a youth camp on an island near Oslo. The gunman, Anders Breivik, pretended to be a police officer and was on a shooting spree.
Pracon was on his way to a hut to buy chocolate and potato chips when he heard the commotion, he told Aftenposten.
I did not realize that it was a shot at first, but then people started to run, Pracon told Aftenposten.
The shootout got the youth fleeing in panic across a clearing trying to reach their tents, Pracon said.
Pracon described the gunman as cool and controlled. He said, the gunman went around systematically shooting people who were in the tents and also those who ran towards water for safety. According to Pracon, the gunman looked as though he had done this sort of thing before and as if it was perfectly normal for him.
Pracon told Aftenposten I lay on the ground and played dead. He came up to check that everyone was dead. He ? was so close that I felt the warmth of his weapon.
The last shot grazed Pracon's shoulder, the sound of which temporarily deafened him.
So what helped Pracon survive?
Well, the answer would be nothing else but his presence of mind. The number of public shootouts is increasing at an alarming rate, and there is a rising need for the public to be more cautious and alert.
Here are some common sense measures from wikihow.com that one can use in case of a shoot-out or a threat of a similar situation:
1. Report to authorities when suspicious: Don't wait till the situation arrives. Even if a classmate or colleague threatens to bring a knife or a gun to the workplace or school, it should be immediately brought to the notice of the authorities. It would also be a good idea to prepare school-going kids for a situation like that. People who lawfully carry weapons should explain the same to the authorities.
2. Seek a strong cover: In case the situation arrives, search for a solid cover to hide behind, where you think the shooter won't look.
3. Call 911: If you hear gun shots, run in the opposite direction, and immediately call 911, informing them of the situation.
4. Help yourself first: Do not try and play hero unless you have some kind of training to do so. Often, one attempts to help others without gauging the situation properly, which ends in disaster for oneself. The best you can do with least risk is to call 911 and help the wounded once the shooter leaves.
5. Don't scream HELP!!: It is normal human tendency to scream out the moment they see something dangerous or threatening. Remember in this situation, you are safe as long as you are out of sight of the shooter. Do not grab the killer's attention.
6. Trick the Killer: If you are within the killer's sight and are running away, run in a zig-zag or an unpredictable pattern, moving objects are always harder to target.
7. Play Dead : If the number of victims is large, the shooter might overlook people lying flat on the floor, considering them dead. Remain quiet and still; try to hold your breath.
8. Attack him before he attacks you: If you are within six to seven feet of the shooter, and you see him/her drawing the weapon out, it's always better to rush to him/her and attack, or try and grab the weapon yourself before he/she draws the weapon and shoots. As a reflex action, the gunman will try and get the gun back from you.
Follow the movement, gripping the gun and push your weight forward. Then, punch him in the face or the throat as hard as you can. Hit him on the nose, jab your fingers into his eyes, or strike him with the heel of your open palm. (This may not seem logical but if you are in a crowd it is very likely that those around you will help you subdue the killer, after all their lives are in danger too. Also note that within 5 meters (~15ft) target acquisition is usually inaccurate, i.e. you probably cannot be shot). If you turn away and run you'll only be 15 to 20 feet away when the shooting starts and are much more likely to be shot beacuse of the close range.
9. Throw things on to him/her : If you confront the shooter, in order to buy time for yourself to run away or grab his/her weapon, you can throw things at him like laptops, chairs, or anything heavy.