Staying Alive during an Active Shooter Incident


Staying Alive Concepts Exemplified by SPU Student

Friday,  a shooter, who was not a student at Seattle Pacific University, used a shotgun to shoot and kill one and wound three students.  While he was reloading, Jon Meis, a student at SPU, used pepper spray to subdue the shooter, then tackled him.  This act exemplified several concepts taught in the new book, Staying Alive: How to Act Fast and Survive Deadly Encounters.

In Staying Alive, one of the first concepts the reader learns is situational awareness.  Situational awareness is the ability to quickly assess and act on a situation.  Given the high stress, life-and-death situation that was developing right in front of him, Jon Meis knew that the shooter was reloading. Another concept is the Window of Time, the critical first few seconds in which decisive action can make the difference between life and death.  Being able to recognize the shooter was reloading, then deciding to act showed that Mr. Meis had great situational awareness.

That brings up another concept from Staying Alive, base of knowledge.  In Jon’s past, he had developed a base of knowledge that gave him the information he needed to act as he did.  From the article, the Facebook Pages he liked included Remington Arms, Kel-Tec, and the NRA, indicating he may have had prior experience with weapons.  His actions certainly bear this out.

Another concept from Staying Alive that Meis exemplified was preparedness.  The human brain and body react in specific, somewhat predictable ways under life and death stress.  Training can overcome some of the low-level effects of crisis stress.  It would not be surprising to find such preparedness in Meis’ past.

Jon Meis, acted bravely to help end a tragic incident. The lessons he teaches us by his actions are those we have tried to put forth in Staying Alive.   It is our hope that by reading Staying Alive, more people will be in a position to positively affect such incidents should they find themselves in danger.