This piece originally appeared in the fabulous Thee Optimist.
You’re going to die.
That’s a fact you’ve come to terms with already. But you’d prefer not to die abruptly at the hands of some gun-toting maniac you’ve never met, or even one you have met.
No, you want to die of a slow-moving illness, so you can linger on among family and friends, your loved ones fawning over you until your last breath, and the government expending copious amounts of taxpayer money to keep you alive long after you’ve stopped contributing anything remotely productive to society.
That’s fine. We all feel that way.
The problem is that your great dream of a years-long demise is unlikely to come true. Instead, you’re probably going to be gunned down during a meaningless and darkly absurd “active shooter” situation in a public place.
Contrary to popular belief, mass shootings are nothing new. They are, in fact, a time-honored tradition in the United States, dating to at least the University of Texas massacre on August 1, 1966. Uh, scratch that. Try the Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929 instead.
The difference, of course, is that nowadays, mass shootings happen every day, in fact slightly more than once a day. The recent 14-person slaughter in San Bernadino, CA, was not the only mass shooting that day. There was an earlier, smaller one in Savannah, GA, which was quickly pushed out of the news when San Bernadino happened.
But you don’t care about statistics. You certainly don’t care about history. You want to know how to survive. With that in mind, Thee Optimist has compiled the following survival strategies:
1) Don’t Go To School
This one is a no-brainer, so obvious that we made it #1 on the list. Schools are, by definition, the place where school shootings happen. Duh.
From the Columbine massacre, to Virginia Tech, to Sandy Hook, to the recent Umpqua Community College bloodbath in Oregon, school shootings happen nowhere else but at school. As such, the easiest way to avoid a school shooting is to avoid school.
You’re in college, right? Well, they have online colleges now. They’re actually cheaper than real colleges, and you don’t have to go there. If you don’t go there, no one can shoot you. See? It’s simple.
If you’re in high school, drop out. Fuck it. Lots of successful people dropped out of high school. Babe Ruth never finished high school. Neither did the rapper DMX. What are you wasting your time in high school for?
If you work at a school, call in sick. That’s right, until they fire you. Then claim unemployment benefits. When those run out, apply for disability. Your disability is you can’t work at a school because you’re afraid of getting shot. Yes, they would call that “a mental.” So what?
2) Don’t Go To Work
This rule is a corollary to #1. If schools are where school shootings happen, guess where workplace massacres take place?
You earned that degree, didn’t you? Yes, they happen at work. Ergo, work is another great place to avoid.
Luckily, in this modern era, you don’t have to go to work anymore. We have a little thing we call “telecommuting” now. It’s a bit of an archaic word, left over from a time when there were something called “telephones.”
Basically, it means you work somewhere, but you rarely or never go there. Thee Optimist has been rocking this style of work for more than 20 years, dating to when telecommuting involved talking on the telephone a lot, and sending packages back and forth using the services of a company then known as “Federal Express.”
Those days are gone and telecommuting is easier than ever. What’s holding you back? A death wish?
3) Don’t Go To The Movies (Or Anywhere)
If you’re serious about staying safe, then movie theaters are off-limits. So are malls and churches. Both have been hit several times. Restaurants are out. Pretty much anywhere people congregate is nowhere you want to be.
Since the Paris terror attacks, you know there are all kinds of freaks out there, thinking: “Hmmm. Rock concerts, very interesting. Football stadiums…”
Listen, movie theaters are unnecessary. We have live streaming now, right in the comfort of your own home. Rock concerts? The ticket prices are insane! You can watch just about any rock concert you care to see, for free on Youtube, or on one of the big bootleg sites.
Put the concert on, turn the lights off, sit back, smoke some dope and drink a beer. It’ll be just like the real thing. Even better than the real thing because there aren’t many concert venues left where you can light up a joint.
The mall? You can shop online for anything you want very easily. Often, it’s cheaper than buying stuff at stores. You want to eat? Order in. Domino’s delivers.
There’s really no reason to go anywhere. Which is a good thing, because that’s where people are getting mowed down by automatic weapons. Anywhere.
4) Live Alone
Here’s a piece of bad news:
Statistically speaking, the most likely place where you’re going to be shot and killed is in your own home.
Are nutjob Muslims going to climb in your window, hell-bent on committing jihad? Is a mall attacker going to escape the police dragnet and hole up in your upstairs bedroom, after, you know, gunning you down in the hallway?
No and no.
Instead, some crazy family member of yours is going to go berserk and kill you. Probably your husband or ex-husband. He’s also going to shoot your children, both the ones you had with him, and the ones you had with three or four other, somewhat random men.
Or it could be your dad, or your stepfather, or father-in-law. Or your brother. Most often, it’s a male (testosterone kills), but sometimes it’s a female. Sometimes one of your very own children will kill you.
A lot of times, alcohol is involved in these little massacres. Guns are almost always involved. Financial strains, jealousies, arguments of various kinds. People being people.
The best thing to do is eliminate the people from the equation. Hey, if you’re home alone, drunk, and decide to blow your own brains out, that’s your choice. Don’t let someone else make that decision for you.
Live alone. Keep people away. Lock the doors. And the windows. Bulletproof everything.
5) Arm Yourself
Now we’ve come full circle.
It’s increasingly clear that there are two types of people in this world. “Active shooters” and shooting victims.
I’m pretty sure you don’t want to be in the latter group, the pathetic victims. If that’s true, then of necessity you’re going to have to join the active shooter group.
This isn’t a hard thing to do. Lots of people are doing it. Buy a gun. Buy lots of guns. You don’t need me to tell you how. It’s absurdly easy to get guns.
Stockpile ammunition. Hole up in the house by yourself. As time passes, you’ll start to become aware of certain… grievances, you might say… that you have.
Nurture those. Fantasize about how nice it would feel to get revenge on the people who have wronged you. Or if not those people, really any people will do.
People in general, out there, doing things, spending time in public places, laughing, drinking, socializing, even getting laid, while you’re stuck inside alone. How dare they?
Begin to formulate a plan. Write some ideas down. A manifesto, of sorts.
When the time is ripe, execute the plan. Don’t overthink it, don’t agonize, just do it.