ORLANDO, Fla. – There have been three shooting scares in Orange County in July that sent people scurrying in fear for their lives.
Shantala Boss, a licensed counselor, said she understands why many people panic in these situations, but she does not want to call this the “new normal.”
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A sudden, loud noise, yelling and people running are all things that have triggered large crowds around Central Florida, causing mass disruptions.
“Right now, people are extremely anxious, and they are overreacting to a lot of different situations — and sometimes that can cause more harm than good,” Boss said.
The latest scare happened Saturday evening in a parking lot at Universal Orlando. People told News 6 they were terrified when they thought they heard gunshots.
Orlando police said teens were fighting, and no gun was discharged. However, the false alarm created a buzz on social media.
Multiple people questioned why this keeps happening, and others said they were thankful it was not an active shooter situation.
“My biggest fear with these crowded places and with all the mass group shootings is for myself, my family or anyone, for that matter, to be a victim,” one person said.
Boss said many people are hyper-alert, but in these situations, it is best to stay calm.
“I think a lot of times, people will start running, they’ll start flailing, they’ll start yelling, they’ll start screaming. We need to remain calm, stay focused and just focus on what we can do to be safe,” Boss said.
Hours before the incident at Universal Orlando Saturday, dozens of people were spooked at the Florida Mall and began running and hiding.
We learned it was because of a man who fell and allegedly started yelling threats.
On Independence Day, hundreds of people scrambled at Lake Eola Park after mistaking fireworks for gunshots.
“I understand that we need to be careful, but we also don’t want to (overreact) every time we hear a loud noise,” Boss said.
Boss said she does not think the trend will last long-term, adding that over time, people will adapt, human behavior will change, and there will be less panic.
“It’s a new fear. I think there are a lot of rumors, and I think we can be proactive in learning ways to protect ourselves,” she said.
She admitted it is difficult to stay calm when you see everyone running and screaming, but Boss said panicking in those situations only make things worse.
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