When the murder rampage began in a darkened movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, Chicago native John Larimer – a 27-year-old sailor – acted instinctively to protect his girlfriend:
Julia Vojtsek was watching “The Dark Knight Rises” with her boyfriend, John Larimer, on Friday at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., when a gunman fired into the audience.
Larimer, a 27-year-old Navy sailor from Crystal Lake, immediately shielded her from the gunfire, Vojtsek told WBBM radio Sunday.
He “held my head, and protected my whole body with his, and saved me,” said Vojtsek, who is from Algonquin. “My boyfriend saved my life.”
Three other genuinely heroic men died while shielding their girlfriends from the attack:
Three survivors of the Colorado movie-theater massacre escaped with minor wounds, but were left with broken hearts because their heroic boyfriends died saving them.
In final acts of valor, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves used their bodies to shield their girlfriends as accused madman James Holmes turned the Aurora cineplex into a shooting gallery.
Blunk’s girlfriend, Jansen Young; McQuinn’s girlfriend, Samantha Yowler; and Teves’ gal pal Amanda Lindgren made it out of the bloodbath — but they would have been killed had it not been for the loves of their lives.
“He’s a hero, and he’ll never be forgotten,” a tearful Jansen Young told the Daily News of Blunk. “Jon took a bullet for me.”…
[Blunk] pushed Jansen on the ground and under her seat, then threw his body on top of her, the mother said. “He was 6-feet-2, in incredible shape, which is why he was able to push her down under the seats of the theater,” the mother said. “He pushed her down on the floor and laid down on top of her and he died there.”
McQuinn and Teves took nearly identical action, interposing themselves between the assailant and their loved ones.
After the shooting rampage ended, a thirteen-year-old girl named Kaylan administered CPR to six-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, who was the youngest victim to die in the murder spree. That the effort to save her life didn’t succeed in no way diminishes the instinctive heroism displayed by that now-traumatized young girl – or the value of acquiring and retaining emergency skills of that kind.
Mental conditioning is the most important dimension of preparedness. This includes situational awareness – the ability to assess, and prepare for, dangers in even the most apparently innocuous surroundings. When an emergency occurs – whether an accident, natural disaster, or sudden outbreak of criminal violence – the difference between survival and extinction is often measured in the seconds spent recognizing and reacting to the danger.
Like a high-performance athlete who spends hours working on fundamentals – such as shooting free throws in basketball, blocking drills in football, fielding grounders in baseball, or performing “katas” in various martial arts – preppers need to develop “muscle memory” for certain survival-focused tasks. The objective is to train the mind by rehearsing the body’s movements, until the actions are carried out as a matter of reflex. This not only enhances the chance of immediate survival, it also frees up the conscious mind to deal with the unfolding situation.
In an apparently hopeless situation, being able to react quickly and effectively in the face of a mortal threat may mean retaining the composure to throw a loved one to the ground, and the strength of will to protect that person with your own body. It may mean being able to recognize potential cover or escape routes, and preserving sufficient clarity of mind to use them. It may mean improvising a weapon, or making suitable use of the weapon(s) you have with you.
All of this requires spending time developing a survival mindset — and never abandoning it, no matter how harmless the immediate situation may appear.