Black crosses with names and flowers.

The names of victims are written on crosses set up in a memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets mall on May 9, 2023 in Allen, Texas.

(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

'Broken Country': 2-Year-Old FBI Training Video of How to Survive US Mass Shooting Goes Viral

The video's recirculation comes days after the second deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. this year.

As the U.S. remains on track for a record number of mass killings in 2023, an FBI training video instructing people on how to survive a shooting has gone viral this week.

The video, which the FBI first shared on YouTube in September 2020, is making the rounds on Twitter and TikTok, with posters expressing a mix of incredulity and outrage at the state of U.S. gun control.

"TW: Violence. If you ever need to travel to Purgeland, United [States] of Idiocracy, follow [these] instructions," Rafael Contreras Rodríguez tweeted from Auckland, New Zealand Monday.

The video's message to anyone caught up in a mass shooting is there are three options: "Run, hide, or fight."

"In this FBI training video, customers at a bar are caught in an active shooter event," the FBI's description reads. "By employing the run, hide, and fight tactics, as well as knowing the basics of rendering first aid to others, they are prepared, empowered, and able to survive the attack."

The video includes tips such as, "Running makes you harder to hit... and improves your chances of survival," and, "If we control the weapon, we control the shooter."

"This has to be one of the most disturbing videos I have seen in recent years."

Ultimately, the FBI advises people to run for an exit if possible, hide if there is no safe escape route, and fight only as a last resort.

For those who do choose to fight, the FBI reminds viewers: "You're fighting for your life. Don't fight fair!"

While the video is more than two years old, it is sparking a new wave of reactions days after the second deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. this year. On Saturday, Mauricio Garcia opened fire with an AR-15-style gun on the Allen Premium Outlets mall in Allen, Texas, killing eight, as CNN reported.

"This has to be one of the most disturbing videos I have seen in recent years," Ephraim Gopin tweeted Tuesday. "I am without words. The craziest thing? It was made by THE FBI! The fact that they felt the need to get this out to the public is insane. Sad."

User Kat Abu shared the video under the two words, "broken country."

"I am from Australia—can someone please explain if this is parody or not?" Stu Mac responded.

"It's not," Abu tweeted back.

The video's recirculation comes as the U.S. is on track to reach a record number of mass killings in 2023. A mass killing is defined as an incident in which four or more people—excluding the perpetrator—are killed. According to Gun Violence Archive figures, the U.S. has seen 21 mass killings so far this year, a rate of more than one per week. If this rate continues,The Guardian reported, the country could see 60 by the end of the year.

Another database of mass killings from USA TODAY, Northeastern University, and The Associated Pressputs the number of mass killings for 2023 at 22, the most so early in the year since the database was launched in 2006.

A mass killing does not have to be carried out by guns, but this year, firearms were "almost exclusively" to blame, the APsaid.

This year has also seen a high number of public mass shootings, such as the bloodbath at the Texas mall. In a typical year, there will be six such massacres, but the Allen, Texas, shooting marked the sixth so far for 2023, Northeastern University professor James Alan Fox told USA TODAY.

"Those are the kinds of events that make headlines, scare people, and make them look around when they go into a supermarket or retail store," Fox said.

There have also been 208 mass shootings—an incident in which four or more people excluding the perpetrator are killed or injured by firearms—this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. This is the highest for this point in the year since 2016.

California and Texas have witnessed the largest number of these shootings at 17 each. In Texas, which has the most registered guns of any state in the nation, Democratic politicians expressed frustration at gun laws that have only gotten laxer in the state.

"I'm just so tired and hurt and devastated by the continuing mass shootings in this state and in this nation… Eight innocent people are dead—dead by gunfire. Guns again," Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said in a video shared on Twitter in response to Saturday's shooting. "Of course, I offer my prayers and concerns for those families who are struggling with the loss of their loved ones. But I also ask the question: 'When are we going to confront the real cause?' And that is a proliferation of guns, guns, guns."

Fox told USA TODAY that the number of mass killings in the U.S. began to rise in 2019, and he attributed their recent increase to an uptick in gun sales as well as the mental and financial strain of the coronavirus pandemic and political polarization. And he thinks these numbers are unlikely to decrease without a significant change.

"Will things go back to a more average level we saw a decade ago? Maybe," Fox said. "But given the condition of America and the weaponry that's available, I wouldn't bet on it."

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