Our Thoughts On The Virginia Journalist Shooting
Virginia Journalists Tragically Shot Dead On Air
By: Nick Dahlberg
With the circulation of the first person point of view video of the shooting that occurred in Virginia today undoubtedly many people in the firearms training world will cite the importance of situational awareness (many already have). That reaction is understandable; in the video the shooter is filming from his point of view approaching a cameraman, along side a reporter interviewing someone. The video shows the gunman approach them and extend a handgun out while standing right next to the three individuals and then seems to retract the gun and wait for the camera man to pan over to the reporter and the woman she’s interviewing before raising his handgun again and beginning to shoot. It seems as though he would be in plain view of any one of these individuals as he was handling his handgun but none seemed to take any notice. All of this appears to happen with all parties in fairly close proximity so it’s no wonder that some are using this horrific event to emphasize the importance of situational awareness. However if we take a moment to put ourselves in these people’s shoes and really think about this event as it unfolded we’ll realize that we need to look at ones capacity for situational awareness within the context of each individual’s lifestyle. In the same way that most in the firearms world understand that it doesn’t work to recommend only one type of firearm, or one method of carry too many different individuals with different lifestyles, careers, wardrobes, etc., we cannot assume that all individuals will have the capacity to be completely situationally aware 100% of the time. EVERYBODY will have various times or moments in which their attention is focused on something and they are either partially or completely unaware of what’s going on around them. This is just a fact of life.
The video shows a cameraman engaged in his work obtaining footage of the interview, a professional reporter engaged with the person she’s interviewing, and an interviewee answering questions probably deeply focused on getting her words out right. Of course there may be details we are unaware of at this point that could change the way we perceive this event and these peoples seeming lack of situational awareness. Did the camera man and reporter maybe see the man approach and ignore him? Did they know who he was or that he had was a fired former employee? We may or may not come to know these details but of what we know so far it appears to be a perfect example of a time when one could be completely focused and inattentive to their surroundings, and understandably so. How often do we see reporters on scene with some idiot jumping in the background waving his hands excited at the prospect of being on live television. These people have to make a point of drowning out background noise such as this otherwise they wouldn’t be reporters very long. The idea that they should stop mid story to identify the individual behind them and begin to create space is ridiculously unrealistic for that individual within that context.
This unfortunate event is a reminder of the fact that there are times in our day-to-day lives where we may be completely unaware. Instead of convincing ourselves of the delusional idea that we will be completely aware of everything that’s going on around us 100% of the time it would be better to recognize that there WILL be times when we may be partially or completely unaware. Recognition of this fact and preparing as well as you can for these times when your guard may be down, I believe, is the true definition of situational awareness.
National Carry Academy