In Owatonna, a packed house preps to respond to mass shootings

It says something about the state of the nation, perhaps, that the room was packed in Owatonna yesterday when FBI special agent Joseph Malhoit gave a talk to the Steele County Safety Council on how to survive a mass shooting, the Owatonna People’s Press reports.

“If you don’t think about it ahead of time, you’re not going to respond very well,” Malhoit said. “It’ll be like a Mack truck hitting you.”

The best thing you can do, he said, is run.

“By running, you’re making it safer for not just for yourself, but everybody else that hasn’t left yet,” he said.

If that doesn’t work, he suggested finding a hiding place that is unappealing, though it’s not reported what that might entail. A bathroom? That didn’t work in Orlando.

But most mass shootings aren’t like Orlando. Malhoit said they’re usually over in five minutes.

And then there’s the gun question.

“If you don’t answer this question in your hearts and minds, you’re probably not going to fight. And I think everyone should be willing to fight to defend those around you,” he said, noting that citizens were able to successfully intervene and stop six of forty active shooters in 2014 and 2015 “Every minute the shooter has to fight to get into the room and fight with you is another minute law enforcement is running up behind him.”

Organizers said they were happy to see such a mix of attendees from companies, organizations, and churches.