(WFXR) — According to the Gun Violence Archive, the U.S. saw more than 60 mass shootings during the month of May alone. While communities across the country are still mourning last month’s shootings, gun violence has not slowed down.
Following the deadliest of the recent mass shootings — including those at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York on May 14; an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on May 24; and a medical center in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 1 — WFXR News decided to speak with a criminologist in the New River Valley about what you should do if you find yourself in an active shooter situation.
Dr. Tod Burke, a former police officer and retired Radford University criminal justice professor, says the most important thing to do is leave the area of the shooting as quickly as possible. Better yet, run.
“If you feel you are in range of the shots, you can run in a zig-zag motion. That will make it less likely of being hit, depending on the type of gun being used and the shooter,” said Burke.
The next step is to hide.
“There is a difference between concealment and cover,” Burke explained. “Concealment, you are hidden, but it won’t necessarily stop bullets. Cover will.”
Burke says a tree trunk is a good example of full coverage because a bullet cannot penetrate it.
Lastly, the former cop says you should call 911.
“Give your location, what’s happening, if there’s a description of the individual, and particularly your location, their location,” Burke said.
If you can stay on the line with police dispatch, Burke encourages you to do so. However, he admits that if there is a mass shooting, the line might be busy, but try to keep dispatchers updated on the situation.
A Blacksburg resident, Maria Behnke, says the recent mass shootings have made her cautious when stepping outside.
She adds that she cannot help but think about it when she is walking around campus.
Another Blacksburg resident, Edward Becker, answered the same question, saying it depends because he currently feels safe in Blacksburg since the town has a history of gun violence and knows how to handle it, but he cannot speak for other areas.
“It’s something the community is very much aware of, but I think if I were outside of Blacksburg in the local region, I would be very concerned,” said Becker.
On Thursday, June 2, President Joe Biden made a speech calling for a ban on assault weapons, adding that that if a ban won’t happen, it’s important to address the age limit to buy these weapons, as well as the mental health crisis.