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‘What is my country coming to?’ | Safety concerns linger after three Knoxville mass shootings this year

According to CNN, the United States saw 201 mass shootings this year.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 10:14 PM CDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knoxville was a part of a growing list of cities grappling with multiple mass shootings in 2022. According to CNN, the country saw 201 mass shootings this year. Five mass shootings in the U.S. from Friday evening to Sunday night has put a spotlight on safety concerns close to home.

The national Gun Violence Archive deemed an incident a mass shooting when “four or more people are shot or killed in a single incident, not involving the shooter.” These attacks can happen anywhere, including in an unassuming historic neighborhood in Fountain City where it’s taking residents like Joe Dixon weeks to heal from a mass shooting.

“I’m still sort of paranoid,” said Dixon. “I know the solution is out there and it’s going to take people from all political viewpoints to come together. What is my country coming to?”

Dixon heard shots coming from Knoxville’s second mass shooting, by GVA’s criteria. coming from what police call a biker gang shooting at Hatmaker’s Bar & Grill on April 29. Two people died and three others injured without a specific suspect to blame. Per GVA’s definition, the city’s first mass shooting happened in January when four women were shot sitting in a parked car in East Knoxville.

Safety experts told WVLT News it was time for people to think of a line of defense and not just with a gun. Instead, Eric Matson said consider adopting situation awareness. It’s a tactic that can keep you and your family alert.

“If I go to a certain place, and this happens, what do I need to do? Do I need to get out the nearest door? Do I need to stay and help people? Do I need to try to engage the bad person? And the very last thing you want to do is engage the bathroom because you want to save yourself,” owner of Windrock Shooting Range & Training Center and former officer Matson said.

Matson also encouraged families to have a plan suited around daily activities.

“Moving children in a critical situation. How are they going to follow you? Are you going to try to pick them up and carry them?” said Matson. “Are they going to hang on to your your belt loop in your pants? Is mom going to go first is dad going to go first? Who’s when are you pushing the baby carriage? There’s things that you have to take into consideration and what’s important. It’s not your stuff. It’s your family.”

You can learn more tactics by reaching out to various safety training classes in the area, including the Knoxville Police Department that offers free courses year-round.

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