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Old November 27, 2012, 12:38 AM   #1
Chris9472
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Best defensive place to sit at a restaurant, theater, etc.

We recently had fire extinguisher training at work. One of the questions the fireman asked was if anyone ever bothers to check where the exits are in the building they are in. I answered that I did indeed, but I'll admit I wasn't thinking about fires (which I should have as well), but robbers, mass shooters, etc.

I remember hearing someone say the best place to be in a room is as close to the exit as you can get, but that same door your sitting by might be the very one the shooter enters in through and you could be the first one shot.

It seems to me a much better place would be as close to the center of the room you can get while still having view of the doors, that way at least you would a chance to respond if someone walked in somewhere and started shooting up the place. A movie theater would be a bit different as you would want to be on the end somewhere so you can escape from the aisles, but being the center as much as possible.

What are your opinions about on this subject?
I'm by no means a tactical expert, but I guess I'm different then most people I know in that I think about these things. Not paranoid mind you, just different.

Last edited by Chris9472; November 27, 2012 at 01:05 AM.
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Old November 27, 2012, 12:46 AM   #2
allaroundhunter
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I don't go into restaurants and request a specific seat, at least not any more so than to request a booth over a table

However, the position offering you the best "tactical advantage" from what I have been told is in a corner that allows you to get to the back of the building quickly, but also have a clear view of the main entrance. It allows you to see where a threat will most likely emerge from and of the rest of the building so that nothing can come from behind you, and gives you an immediate exit away from said threat.

In a movie theater, the best place would be near an emergency exit, IMO, but that would mean I would have to deal with bad seats
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Old November 27, 2012, 12:52 AM   #3
David13
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I usually sit with a good view of the door, to see who comes in.
I'm always looking for the young good stuff.
Some of these short skirts today, ...
Oh, I mean:
Then also you can see if something looks like it might be coming in to cause trouble.
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Old November 27, 2012, 12:58 AM   #4
Chris9472
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Quote:
I don't go into restaurants and request a specific seat, at least not any more so than to request a booth over a table
Depends on which restaurant. You can't always have the ideal spot but you can try. If it's self serve/fast food, you can sit anywhere. The latter places are the ones most likely to have a robber/mass shooter.

Quote:
In a movie theater, the best place would be near an emergency exit, IMO, but that would mean I would have to deal with bad seats
The emergency exits are where the Aurora theater shooter made his entrance. Anyone sitting close to them would have been the first ones to go. Better in the middle towards either edge of the aisle. At least you may have had some time to react or flee to the front exits.

Not that is might have helped much in that awful scenario.
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Old November 27, 2012, 01:08 AM   #5
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The emergency exits are where the Aurora theater shooter made his entrance. Anyone sitting close to them would have been the first ones to go. Better in the middle towards either edge of the aisle. At least you may have had some time to react or flee to the front exits.
Yes, but it is rare for a shooting to go down similarly to Aurora. Typically shooters do not go to their car after entering their target area. And at every theater that I go to, the main entrance/exit is still near the front. Near the emergency exit will always be the "safest" seat.

And if you think about it, someone going into that situation to murder as many people as possible will not just hose down the first row. He (or she) will aim for the most target-rich area, which is the middle (right were you are sitting).
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Old November 27, 2012, 01:13 AM   #6
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Three things come to mind:

Maximize distance from the shooter.
Minimize the volume of space you can't see (such as what is behind you).
Keep your options open on means of egress.

You ability to achieve these ends will vary depending upon the layout of the place you are in.

If a shooting takes place in a crowded theater or restaurant, I shudder to imagine the chaos and the likelihood of my shooting an innocent person who darts into my line of fire in the confusion.
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Old November 27, 2012, 01:25 AM   #7
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If a shooting takes place in a crowded theater or restaurant, I shudder to imagine the chaos and the likelihood of my shooting an innocent person who darts into my line of fire in the confusion.
My feelings exactly. That's why I can help but laugh when I hear all the hotshots say what they would've done if they were in that theater in Aurora. Most likely they would have gotten themselves or someone else killed.

That was a bad scenario.
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Old November 27, 2012, 08:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
The latter places are the ones most likely to have a robber/mass shooter.
Really? Data? Cause and effect?

I've got Ludy's in Killeen, TX (seat yourself), McDonald's in Fresno, CA (seat yourself), and IHOP in Carson City, NV (variable). Then there is the Lakewood Police at the coffee shop in WA (4) gunned down (seat yourself).
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Old November 27, 2012, 01:45 PM   #9
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I have to sit with my back to a wall and be able to see the whole restaurant area. I call it my "Mafia complex".
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Old November 27, 2012, 01:52 PM   #10
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I know this is part of a plot by all y'all to murder me. You want me to state my secret tactics so it will be easier to kill me.

So I ain't tellin'.
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Old November 27, 2012, 01:54 PM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
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While I do prefer to not be sitting just inside the door with my back to it, I otherwise place no particular importance to where I might be sitting in a restaurant. There's always the possibility of "X". I simply choose to ignore a lot of those possibilities. So does everyone else. We all ignore all kinds of things that are more likely to kill us than is a choice of seating in a restaurant, they're just things that don't particularly interest us, so we ignore them.
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Old November 27, 2012, 03:49 PM   #12
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While I do prefer to not be sitting just inside the door with my back to it, I otherwise place no particular importance to where I might be sitting in a restaurant. There's always the possibility of "X". I simply choose to ignore a lot of those possibilities. So does everyone else.
Well... everyone else may choose to ignore it but not me.

Although I don't obsess over it or let it ruin my day, I always try to be aware of my surroundings. It's good practice for CCW as well.
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Old November 27, 2012, 03:54 PM   #13
Brian Pfleuger
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Originally Posted by ChrisLCR
Well... everyone else may choose to ignore it but not me.

Although I don't obsess over it or let it ruin my day, I always try to be aware of my surroundings. It's good practice for CCW as well.
Which "it" are you not ignoring?
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Old November 27, 2012, 03:55 PM   #14
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History teaches

Wild Bill knew better, but he did it anyway, and got the bad result. Don't sit where you can't see it coming. Just don't.
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Old November 27, 2012, 04:18 PM   #15
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Every time I walk into a location I look around and make note of who and what is where. I think about how "I would do it" if I were going to do whatever, and take a seat or sit at a table that is appropriate to that particular scenario.

It varies based on what I am doing and where I am.

But generally it is never in the "center" of anything as the human eye is always drawn to the "center" of anything and being "off the X" to begin with is usally an advantage.

Unfortunately sometimes the "center" will change based on the offenders intent. Middle of a large group of people vs cash register vs direct line for quick exit vs the middle window in a group of 5 windows and so on.

I remain alert without being paranoid and I try to enjoy myself. I keep myself alert by pointing out things to see if my wife is paying attention. It is great fun sometimes. Life won't be worth living running around in Condition Orange/Red ALL the time. You will probably die of a heart attack or stroke before you ever get shot from all the stress.
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Old November 27, 2012, 04:21 PM   #16
1 old 0311-1
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I have a back issue. As such I request booths rather than tables. Booths are always against the wall with a view of EVERYTHING, tables are in the middle. Request one for your 'back' so you don't look paranoid.
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Old November 27, 2012, 04:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rifleman1776 View Post
I have to sit with my back to a wall and be able to see the whole restaurant area. I call it my "Mafia complex".
+1

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Old November 27, 2012, 04:41 PM   #18
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I think its bad if you can't go to a bar or restaurant without having to think where to sit in case someone starts shooting. If you thought like that here a few years ago you would have never went out of the house. Example of the type of incidents that happened here regularly.


Eight people were shot dead when the UFF opened fire inside the Rising Sun bar in the County Londonderry village of Greysteel at Halloween 1993.

One of the gunmen shouted "trick or treat" before opening fire on customers.
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Old November 27, 2012, 04:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Quote:
If a shooting takes place in a crowded theater or restaurant, I shudder to imagine the chaos and the likelihood of my shooting an innocent person who darts into my line of fire in the confusion.

My feelings exactly. That's why I can help but laugh when I hear all the hotshots say what they would've done if they were in that theater in Aurora. Most likely they would have gotten themselves or someone else killed.

That was a bad scenario.
Indeed the phrase "intelligent mthodical mass killer" is a bad day. Fortunately that type is one of kind vs. more realistic scenarios.
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Old November 27, 2012, 05:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
I think its bad if you can't go to a bar or restaurant without having to think where to sit in case someone starts shooting. If you thought like that here a few years ago you would have never went out of the house. Example of the type of incidents that happened here regularly.


Eight people were shot dead when the UFF opened fire inside the Rising Sun bar in the County Londonderry village of Greysteel at Halloween 1993.

One of the gunmen shouted "trick or treat" before opening fire on customers.
Manta, you often cite the troubles in Ireland as being the end all be all of experiencing a turbulent existence and claim that people here couldn't have handled it.

As I have pointed out to you before, the rates of violence in Ireland during the troubles(over a decade ago) are roughly the same or less than the nominal rates of violence here in the US for many locales(past and present). People acknowledge that violent crime happens and try to be prepared, rather than not go out of the house as you would suggest.
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Old November 27, 2012, 06:16 PM   #21
marine6680
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I like to face the main entrance and have a minimum of open space behind me, like a corner in the back. I also sit on the outside of the booth or table. (so it is easier to get out, or protect the person sitting to the inside) Away from outside windows when possible.

Basically maximize visibility of the area, and potential entrances and exits, limit blind spots, and limit your visibility to others like passers by outside.

I don't make requests for seating, I usually make the best of the location I am given. Though I would make a request if I felt uneasy about the situation/area... but I usually would just avoid such situations in the first place.


This is habit from military training... They taught this for when we are out and about when deployed abroad, and it just sort of stuck.

They also taught basic situational awareness as well... turned out to be good training for CCW in the civilian world if nothing else.
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Old November 27, 2012, 07:27 PM   #22
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Indeed the phrase "intelligent mthodical mass killer" is a bad day. Fortunately that type is one of kind vs. more realistic scenarios
I might disagree. The NYPD did a recent analysis of mass killers (it's at work) and quite a few did serious planning.

Columbine
Jonesboro
Aurora
VT

all had worked out plans. There are more.
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Old November 27, 2012, 08:10 PM   #23
Chris9472
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Really? Data? Cause and effect?

I've got Ludy's in Killeen, TX (seat yourself), McDonald's in Fresno, CA (seat yourself), and IHOP in Carson City, NV (variable). Then there is the Lakewood Police at the coffee shop in WA (4) gunned down (seat yourself).
I'm not sure what your getting at here. I mentioned that chain type businesses would be more likely to have a mass shooting incident, and you proceeded to give a list of those very places. If you were questioning the data on this, I don't have any to give without searching right now, but it's pretty obvious you'd be far more likely to be shot or robbed at these type of places then stand alone restaurants. Why? Because they are everywhere, and usually always have a high amount of traffic in them.
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Old November 27, 2012, 08:31 PM   #24
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Learned way back in schoolyard days to always put my back to a wall when facing a bully (and his cohorts).

Do not want to be back-shot. In a restaurant the family know the drill, they hit the deck and Pops shields them and takes care of business.

The handgun must be appropriate to the task: very accurate, i.e. not a M442 snubby when a M22-4 will do a better job.

Check your 6.
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Old November 27, 2012, 08:31 PM   #25
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I always sit at the farthest away from the front door as I can & still see who enters, with my back to the wall. This will usually put you near the rear exit.
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