Sgt. Patrick Hayes
It seems there is always a news story about some active shooter somewhere. This make gun owners cringe. The media plays up such events to give the gun grabbers a platform to push their agenda. These are, in fact, rare events. The streets of “gun controlled” Chicago are far more dangerous. The problem we have is while we can predict urban violence, there is no way to predict where and when a mass shooting will occur. It could happen anywhere at any time. What do we do when it happens? . . .
Police Officers spend countless hours training for these scenarios. We train to charge in, engage, and stop the threat. We have our side arms, shotguns, patrol rifles, precision rifles and distraction devices to perform that task.
The biggest problem is time. We have to respond to the incident. Unless an officer is already on scene, that could take seconds to several minutes. Most active shootings are over in seconds to minutes. Most end with someone, the police or an armed citizen, shooting the suspect, or the suspect taking his own life.
The most successful active shooter interventions have come from armed citizens. Armed citizens on the scene can stop the threat before there is a catastrophic loss of life. They are already there. They can react in seconds.
The question of what an armed citizen should do depends largely on what each citizen is willing to do. Do you want to engage a shooter, thereby placing yourself at risk? Are you skilled enough to make the shot? Are you responsible for the safety of others? Can you live with taking a life?
These are vital questions each of us who carry a sidearm need to consider. You can be placed in a deadly force situation anywhere.
At your job, at the mall, at the daycare, at the gym. Anywhere where people are.
You have the choice to run; leave the area. You can hide until the threat comes to you. You can engage the shooter. The decision is yours. If you decide to engage the shooter, you will have to accurately engage an armed target quickly. You need to be prepared. First and foremost . . . practice!
- Practice shooting until you are confident you can hit what you aim at.
- Make sure you know what “cover” is and how to identify it. Will it stop a bullet? How about 10 bullets?
- Carry high quality person defense ammo in your magazines. Carry spare magazines.
- Practice at different distances. Know how to quickly judge distance.
- Practice shooting from cover. Practice shooting while moving.
- Never hesitate. Hesitation kills.
What if the active shooter sees you and drops his gun? First, NEVER assume the gun the active shooter dropped is the ONLY gun he has. ALWAYS keep your firearm on him until he is on the ground with his hands visible. Second, NEVER assume he is the ONLY shooter.
If the active gives up, you are now in a very dangerous situation. You are pointing a gun at a person laying on the ground. Consider how this will look to the police or another armed citizen. Call 911 as soon as possible. ell them that you are armed. Tell them the shooter’s gun is secure. Holster your sidearm as soon as possible. As soon as you see or hear the police put your hands in the air – if it is safe to do so.
Hopefully, disptach will update the cops on what they are walking into. Keep in mind that dispatch will not take you at your word. They will advise the officers of what you said. They will still come in hot. Chances are you will be shot without a moment’s hesitation. If you can physically restrain the shooter without your gun, do so. Summon help from others to do this. Sit on him if you have to.
Develop a habit that all police officers use. Wherever you go, start looking at exits, places of cover, open areas. Practice knowing your surroundings. Pay attention. Have you ever noticed that cops stop right inside the door of a restaurant, looking around? Have you ever noticed that they sit in the back or to the side, facing the door? They do these things so that they can have a tactical advantage. They want to SEE everyone who approaches them.
Develop good tactical habits and you will be more aware when the unthinkable happens. As an Armed Citizen you could be the difference between life and death. For yourself and other innocent life.