How To Survive A Mall Shooting

If you’ve been following the news the last couple of days, you might have heard about the threat by the terrorist group Al-Shabaab against a particular “family” of shopping malls (blogged about this Sunday). The more I thought about the potential for a mall shooting, the more I wondered if there was anything out in cyberspace that might assist readers in surviving an active shooter situation within this type of environment. Enter SPIKE’s TV series Surviving Disaster from a couple of years back (blogged about here). In particular, the episode entitled “Mall Shooting.” For those of you who’ve never heard of the television series, from the SPIKE website:

What will you do when disaster strikes? Spike TV’s new original series Surviving Disaster, led by Navy SEAL Cade Courtley, vividly takes viewers through catastrophic scenarios and arms them with the knowledge needed to survive the unthinkable. Courtley tackles worst-case scenarios and equips viewers with the practical information needed to save their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. Whether the threat is natural or man-made or on a national or personal level, Courtley speaks directly to the viewers and guides them through a comprehensive, step-by-step process to not only survive the big picture disaster, but endure the many dangerous obstacles that may occur within each catastrophic event. While leading viewers out of danger, Courtley not only provides helpful tips and hands-on instruction, but swiftly points out common misconceptions and fatal mistakes. Unlike any other series, Surviving Disaster may actually save lives by providing actions that anyone can perform.

If Cade Courtley looks familiar, it may be that you recognize him from another survival TV series called America Unplugged that recently aired on the New Berlin, Wisconsin-based TV network The Sportsman Channel (blogged about here– good stuff). Or it could be from a different project of his.

“Who is Cade Courtley?”
YouTube Video

Getting back to Surviving Disaster’s “Mall Shooting,” from the SPIKE website:

A highly trained terrorist cell takes over a crowded mall in a military style siege. Navy SEAL Cade Courtley shows you how to survive a firefight using SEAL Team tactics and take on this well armed enemy by constructing improvised weapons, smoke bombs and night vision gear.

It’s been a few years since I watched the 42-minute production. But I think it still has a lot to offer should readers ever find themselves in a similar predicament. For example, I jotted down the following from the first part of “Mall Shooting,” after the terrorists had commenced their attack:

• Don’t play dead
• Spread out
• Priority is to clear the “kill zone” as fast as possible
• Move away from the kill zone, from cover to cover, avoiding mere concealment if possible
• If no clear exit nearby, escape through the back of a store to the fire-escape hallways
• If the exits from the hallways are blocked/booby-trapped, search for a different escape route from the mall, utilizing those “you are here” maps if necessary
• One possible exit could be the loading dock area, which might be difficult for the terrorists to seal off and a potentially-good spot for law enforcement/other rescuers to gain entry into the facility

Now, some of this might sound “basic” to a number of readers. However, Courtley did cover more “advanced” topics like:

• Individual/group movement (keep at least a foot off of walls because bullets could ricochet down their length)
• Obtaining makeshift weapons and gear from within the mall
• Ambushing terrorists
• Operating an AK-type rifle acquired from the bad guys
• Constructing a makeshift silencer for the captured firearm

There’s plenty more material in Surviving Disaster’s “Mall Shooting,” which you can view in its entirety over on the SPIKE website here.

Personally, I hope readers never have to utilize this information. That being said, I’m real glad SPIKE TV and Cade Courtley put it out there for the general public.

Know of other “how to survive a mall shooting” resources? Feel free to share it with everyone via the comment section.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (

Courtley’s SEAL survival guide…

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Survival And Prosperity
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