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Fight, flight or fright: Why don’t we run in threatening situations?

Article image for Fight, flight or fright: Why don’t we run in threatening situations?

A driver careens through Melbourne’s CBD, stops the car, arms himself, gets out in black clothing and a helmet and puts on a backpack, before pacing around an intersection.

And yet bystanders stood and watched, or filmed on their mobile phones.

Ross and John asked clinical psychologist Rob Gordon why no one ran.

Dr Gordon said people often cannot imagine the worst occurring so aren’t prepared for it.

“We may know that there are dangerous, crazy people in the world but unless we’ve encountered them ourselves we may not connect with it immediately,” he said.

“If we don’t have a ready established course of action, we just freeze.

“The best way around it is to have rehearsed in your mind what to do.”

Ross said perhaps Australians don’t run because we assume offenders won’t have a firearm.

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