Adrian Alan
Performance on Demand Shooting

I’m sitting here watching video from the Ft. Lauderdale attack. I’m watching people by the baggage claim, shuffling around in shock or waiting for their luggage (newsflash – it’s not coming). In one video, there is a victim being attended to who appears to have a non-survivable head wound lying on the floor as passengers mill around. Aside from a few who are tending to the injured, the people I see have been completely overwhelmed by the situation and lost all ability to make a decision or act. They are in “condition black.” They are not safe where they are – there is always a danger of IEDs or multiple attackers, and at the least, they will be in the way of first responders who are trying to bring order to the chaos.

When I teach police recruits in the academy or in field training, I am constantly asking them “What’s Important Now?” It’s a clever mindset acronym (W.I.N.) that can be used by anyone who finds themselves in a bad situation. Traveling is stressful no doubt and the people getting off their planes in Ft. Lauderdale were likely pre-occupied with a thousand different things running through their heads: making it to their next flight on time, getting to their hotel or conference, meeting their family, losing their luggage, finding a cab, renting a car or what to order at Shula Burger. But none of that matters when something like this happens. What’s Important Now? Survival. For you and those you care about.

It’s a way to prioritize both the urgent and the important. Citizens I contact on the job fail to do this constantly. I had a woman recently who was in a car crash, blocking a busy roadway with traffic flying by, and when I pulled up, her back was to the roadway, and she was digging through her car to find her shopping bag. I had another person who was just robbed at gunpoint who called 911, but couldn’t stay on scene because he had to get home to let his dog outside. I recently watched a lady argue with a uniformed police officer about entering a perimeter on a SWAT standoff situation so she wouldn’t have to walk around the block to get her car. Her path would have interrupted officers doing their job and exposed her to the suspect’s location.

Life has a way of changing your plans at a moment’s notice, and the people who can adapt quickly will fare better. When bad things happen, the extraneous stuff needs to immediately be put on the backburner. Like it or not, your plans have just changed and your only plan at the moment has to be your safety and the safety of those you care about. You can get the shopping bag later. If you dog pees on the carpet, you can clean it up when you get home. You can explain to your boss why you were late for work. Some of those things may be important – but they aren’t urgent. They aren’t important NOW.

Once you determine what is important now – act on it. Get out of traffic. Wait for the police to arrive. Get to shelter. Run like hell. Whatever you have to do – do it NOW. Then continue to assess the situation. That other stuff will still be there when it’s over – at which point, you can start to worry about them again.