For Concertgoers, Hitting the Ground May Have Made Things Worse

Shooter's high vantage point made a difference
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2017 9:19 AM CDT
For Concertgoers, Hitting the Ground May Have Made Things Worse
In this frame from video, people flee the scene of the shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night.   (Shawn Kilgore via AP)

One of the many jarring videos to emerge from the Sunday night mass shooting in Las Vegas shows a defiant man standing and taunting the gunman while most of those around him were on the ground or trying to find cover. You can see the video here, but note that it's disturbing. (The man emerges around the 1:10 mark.) "Come on," he can be heard yelling, while gesturing with his arms in the direction of the source of the shots. As the Daily Dot notes, many commenters have criticized the "hyper-macho response," but is it possible the man inadvertently had the right idea in staying upright?

A story at the New York Times that digs into the unusual nature of this attack observes that many people instinctively dropped to their stomachs when the bullets began flying. That's usually wise, "but on Sunday night, the decision potentially put them at greater risk," per the account by CJ Chivers, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, and Adam Goldman. The reason is that the gunman was firing from such a high vantage point, the 32nd floor of the hotel across the street. Any "inaccurate shots—the sort common to rapid or hurried fire, which typically sail high or strike the ground short—could still plunge into areas where people were huddled." Still, the choice was stark for concertgoers in the chaos. One puts it this way to the Times: “Either run and get shot and die, or stay and get shot and die.” (More Las Vegas shooting stories.)

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