Monday, September 19, 2011
Active Shooter - don't just stand there!
An excellent article from Gabe Suarez, a combat firearms trainer known to most shooters. He has had some issues in his life, and there was talk at one time about financial ethics, but it is impossible to argue about the man's skill and the value of his training, even if you disagree with some of his specific techniques - I don't, because I don't have the knowledge or experience to question what works for him and most of those he trains.
When the Loughner shooting in Tucson took place, where a young girl and five other civilians were killed, and fourteen others wounded (oh, yeah, there was a politician involved as well, Giffords, IIRC ;-), a mail group I was a member of discussed the issues involved. One of our members questioned whether or not it would have been wise to become involved if you were armed and present. Not to put too fine a point on it, I questioned how anyone who was armed and present could not become involved. How anyone with the least bit of training (and all of us who carry should have received some training somewhere or we are fools) could stand by and not try to stop the psychopath who was shooting women and children. The induhvidual who thought this was an issue to be discussed became irate when I made that point, as if I was questioning his courage or moral compass. Well, he may have been morally challenged but he was at least bright enough to understand that I was indeed questioning his courage and moral compass.
Women and children. An imperative that has existed since we began to walk upright, I believe. At the very least, it is a biological imperative, to protect your genetic resources, your ability to pass on your genes to the human race. For many thousands of years it has also been a moral imperative, to protect those who are helpless, who need our protection. Finally, it is a function of love, as we should love our wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and our children, and by extension, the wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and children of others, and lay down our lives if necessary to keep them from mortal danger.
Mr. Suarez uses superb logic in detailing how, when it is obvious you are not watching a gun battle between gang-bangers, or an armed dispute between a couple of deranged individuals, a moral man will do what he can to protect the helpless, by stopping the shooter. One hopes "stopping" involves terminating the scum, but if it merely involves distracting him from shooting the innocent, that is fine. Perhaps it will also, as Gabe points out, cause him to shoot himself - as these psychos often do - now, instead of after killing more people first.
One of my favorite Clancy novels is Patriot Games, in which Jack Ryan takes out some Irish (IRA?) terrorists attacking the Royal family, being wounded in the process. Yes, it is a novel, but it took Ryan only a second to get his family down and safe before he ran to do what was right. Ran toward danger, not stopping to dial 911. Now, I am not suggesting we should always run unarmed into a gun fight - although there may be a time when it is a good choice, or the only choice, or the most moral choice - but in a situation where you are armed and able to respond, not doing so is IMNSHO an act of moral cowardice. If you are concerned for your family, I understand making sure they are not in danger, or are moving away from danger, but the best way to make them safe is to stop the shooter (we are talking a single active shooter here - the dynamics change if there are two or more shooters, as in Mumbai, as protecting your family becomes much more difficult).
Gabe Suarez makes the excellent point for those who - as did several in our mail group - claim their only concern was their own family, hang the rest. Would they have wanted someone to take that stance if it was their family being targeted? Or would they have wanted anyone armed to respond and try to save their wife and/or children from being shot and killed? I think we all know the answer to that one. If someone out there wants to say, "No, don't save my family, let them die even if you have no family of your own there to protect", I am afraid I would have to call that person a liar.
Please read the article. I am over sixty myself, and I know my eyesight isn't what it used to be, but I practice with my carry weapon at one hundred yards when I am at the range, and if I had a clear shot at that distance, I believe I could hit a man if necessary. If he were moving and not shooting, I might well attempt to get closer first, but if he were actively shooting at people, I would take the shot. Those of you who practice - as you should if you are going to carry - should try your hand at a B-27 (or B-21, 29, 30, etc.) silhouette at that range. It is life-sized, and you may be surprised at how manageable a torso shot is even at that distance.
Imagine that you are going to meet your wife and two children at your local IHOP and see a man shooting at the restaurant with an AK while you are still one hundred yards away. Think you'd take the shot? Or would you use your iPhone to contact your buddies on the Internet to ask their opinion as to what you should do? While the people in the IHOP are dialing 911 and dying (Dial 911 and Die).