Pulse nightclub (courtesy nydailynews.com)

When contemplating the aftermath of a mass shooting like the Orlando Pulse nightclub slaughter, gun rights supporters point out that a good guy with a gun may have prevented the tragedy, or at least limited the carnage. In fact, an armed security guard rushed outside the club as Omar Mateen began his attack. There was an “exchange of gunfire.” Mateen, equipped with a SIG SAUER MCX and a GLOCK 17, entered the club. Officer Adam Gruler, equipped with a handgun, left.

desantis blue logo no back 4 smallLt. Scott Smith and Sgt. Jeffrey Backhaus arrived at the Pulse shortly after Gruler called for backup. The two officers immediately entered the club and exchanged gunfire with the killer, who retreated to a bathroom — with hostages — and stopped firing. The officers failed to press their counter-attack any further, but dragged victims to safety.

There are plenty of people who would have done the same as Gruler, Smith and Backhaus: retreated and called in the cavalry. Yes but– Gruler was an off-duty cop getting paid to protect lives. And given the body-littered floor, Smith and Backhaus knew that as long as Mateen was breathing he was a grave threat.

The same knowledge possessed by the SWAT team that responded to the shooting. And waited three hours to take out Mateen. While victims bled to death.

It’s hard if not impossible to know what you’ll do in a high-stress life-or-death situation unless you’ve been in one. But if you’d been the paid security outside the Pulse, do you think you would you have re-entered the club in pursuit of a well-armed homicidal maniac?

By the same token, if you were Smith and Backhaus, would you have confronted the killer in his last redoubt? Remember: you’d have to live with your decision for the rest of your life.

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137 Responses to DeSantis Gunhide Question of the Day: What Would You Have Done if You Were the Armed Security at the Pulse Nightclub?

  1. Everybody’s answer should probably read: “I don’t know, I wasn’t there”.

    Best case scenario, look for a chance to take a headshot he doesn’t see coming.

    • Agreed on both points.

      I’d like to think I’d have engaged him before he got to cover, but if I didn’t manage that I doubt I’d have done any better because I wouldn’t try to breach the bathroom without flashbangs.

      • The problem with uniformed, stationed (generally), armed security is that you’re target #1. Particularly so if the shooter is familiar with the venue. So the knee-jerk answer to the question is “I would have been shot.” That said, I would have insisted upon being plain-clothed with a staff polo shirt and constantly mobile. Once the shooter engaged I might have an opportunity to find cover and return fire. If you’re the first one out of the game, you’re no help at all.

    • Absolutely agree. Your second point is a huge reason for practicing a 25 yard head shot with your carry gun, as well as carry ammo.

      And of course being able to change the trajectory by dropping to a knee or shooting around furniture.

      Other than that, it’s really hard to say what one would do unless you’ve been in that spot before. It would be impossible for me, and sure others here, to sit and “hope” he didn’t open the door in front of me. Flight 93 comes to mind.

      • Well my EDC is an airweight J-frame, so I’m not making any 25 yard head shots with that. But then if I was there working as armed security, I might think to be carrying my 1911. 25 yard head shot is then within the realm of possibilities.

        • Am I missing where a center of mass shot would not have been a desirable option?

        • ^ When the obvious terrorist attack is that obvious then you can make the assumption that he is rigged to blow himself up for the virgins.

          In such case, you need a central nervous system hit to avoid any chance they can detonate themselves. Unless of course they are using a dead-man type switch, which, quite frankly, you would never know if they did or not.

          Hit them in the chest or back and they still have a few seconds to flip a switch or press a button.

        • Chrispy, this is just a dude who forced his way into a crowded and dark nightclub with an AR-15 similar weapon. You guys are really going to analyze this instantaneously as a terrorist attack with possible dead-mans switches or just shoot at him the best you can with a pistol. No AR-15’s, no night vision, no magnification, no scopes. No Navy Seal training. Mind boggling.

        • One of the Istanbul attackers was shot, squirmed for a bit on the floor, and then detonated himself. Given that, I don’t think that “hope for a head shot he doesn’t expect” is a perfectly cromulent answer to the question posed.

        • Tomorrow is another ttag day…

          You set it up perfectly for me in your comment… The guy just forced his way into a crowded nightclub with an AR platform rifle and started shooting… I don’t think it would be difficult to make the quick logical jump that yes, it is an act of terrorism.

          I think you misunderstood my comment about dead man switches.

          I categorize any type of DGU in two categories. It’s either a civilian DGU or a terrorist DGU. In a civilian DGU you shoot to stop the threat. In a terrorist DGU you shoot to kill.

          The shooting/bombing at the airport is the perfect example of what I’m talking about. In that situation at least one terrorist was shot and while on the ground he detonated a suicide vest. If he was outright killed with the shot he would likely not been able to detonate it. And if his explosive device DID have a dead man switch… well then that sucks and it blows up anyway. No way you could stop it, no way you could have known about it in the moment.

      • Agreed.

        My EDC is a Glock 21 and I do practice 15-25 yard head shots. And yes, i know a range is no substitute for the reality of an actual armed confrontation, but with 2 1/2 years doing contract security in Iraq I’ve had a couple of those too.

        Bottom line, when you accept the responsibility to protect people’s lives you have to be willing to put it on the line to do so. I wasn’t there, so I have no idea what actually happened when they exchanged fire, so all I can do is hope I would have done the best i could.

    • Lessons from FBI/Miami firefight. Looks like the first responders failed on every single point.

      1) Be Prepared For The Unexpected. You cannot afford to relax, ever. Even if your mission is a discreet surveillance, you must be both physically and mentally prepared to deal with, and survive, an unexpected encounter with violent well trained, heavily armed, and aggressive individuals like Platt and Matix.

      2) Have The Means To Survive. Weapons, ammunition and body armor, must either be on your person or immediately accessible at all times. You may not have the time to get ready once the shooting starts.

      3) Take Training Seriously. Targets may be partial, fleeting or obscured by dust, smoke or foilage. They may be 30 or 40 yards away. You must be able to shoot accurately under these difficult conditions. The only way to acquire the skills, necessary to survive a firefight is to take training seriously and to practice frequently.

      4) Do Not Underestimate Your Adversary. Although outnumbered and outgunned, he may not surrender. Although seriously injured, even fatally injured, he may not quit fighting. All the blood on this car, came from Platt, from hits he took before he killed Grogan and Dove.

      5) Danger Is Our Business. Law enforcement is a hazardous profession. As special agents, it is our job to confront dangerous people like Platt and Matix. We have an obligation, to our associates, and to our communities to persevere, despite that danger.

    • The real question should be if 50 or 100 of the people in that club had been armed and Mateen had known that would it have even happened. Likely NOT.

      Now, if 50 or 100 CCW persons were there and they whipped out whatever they had and started returning fire they may well have incapacitated him at the onset of the attack and the responders could have gotten to the already wounded sooner. Even if there had been some collateral damage, it would have been much less that what it ended up to be.

      • You are right. That is the real question. Heck, even if 10 or 20 patrons pulled out their LCP/Airweight/Shield, it would have been over a lot quicker, with far fewer than 50 deaths.

      • If “but’s” and “if”s” were candy and gift’s, then every day would be christmas.

        There are pleanty of well armed and trained Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. A gay night club full of well armed homosexuals would be VBIED’ed or rice cooker IED’ed.

        If I was security, I’d get get blown up, just like security at the soccer stadium durring the parris attacks.

    • Thats a cop-out. Obviously, nobody who was not there could provide a detailed, step-by-step account of what they would have done. The question isn’t asking for that kind of specificity.

      Rather, it’s asking what your general reaction would have been: engage, flee, hunt down, etc. Or let’s just say run, hide or fight, to keep it simple. Your answer goes to your general emergency strategy and preparedness to execute on it.

      That second element particularly applies in this scenario because of the location. It’s a club in a vacation city, so you’re likely unfamiliar with its detailed floorplan. It’s dark, loud, possibly smoky, and you may be intoxicated or on a drug.

      All of those factors influence strategy and capability. You might do something differently there than you would at, say, your local grocery store on your way home from work tonight.

    • Not really. That hole in the wall is on the poster for Stupid people in Stupid places, doing Stupid things (and nothing good happens after midnight).

      What to do? Get a job protecting a worthy place/cause/person.

      Why would a any self-respecting tough guy cop take an off duty “security” job at the joint unless was to troll? IE: taking a paycheck for screwing off.

      • New Orleans cops do it all the time…. Sometimes you got bills to pay and there’s no department OT available…. You take what you can get (construction site, KFC, gay club, whatever).

        The cops were within policy and common practices. Delta Force, HRT, SEAL team 6, GSG9, etc would have done the same thing they did; engage the active threat, surround and contain when the bad guy hunkers down with hostages….. The fact that the police SWAT team stormed the place in 3 hrs means that operational command was working at light speed to resolve the situation.

        Its either a stupid question or a question posed to ferret out idiots.

    • Not at all, I know exactly what I would have done:

      a) try not to die.

      b)take a shot if I can get one, keeping in mind that I cannot get a shot if I am dead, and if I hit anyone behind him in the process that’s fewer people that he(they?) would have shot.

      c)no, really, try not to die

  2. It is shocking to me that no one has asked this question yet. CLEARLY, this man needed a BETTER, BIGGER GUN. With bigger, better bullets. Everything gun control was designed to prevent. Trump should use this language; “Americans will have the best guns, I mean the biggest and the best calibers, magazines, everything…”

  3. Your instinct is only as good as your training. Then your performance is only as good as what you may or not be allowed to do by the Leo above you. Protect and serve. Not retreat and wait.

      • “Well there’s also: Make it home alive at the end of your shift.”

        That is constantly made clear to them, and I suppose some take it to heart.

        As Chrispy noted, I wasn’t there, so I don’t know.

        Even though some my wish it not to be, cops are human.

        With that comes all the assorted baggage that goes with that…

      • When they say go home at the shift, I hope they mean minimize risk and be vigilant. Not put others in mortal jeopardy over yourself.

        • I really doubt cops are being trained to nor expected within their departments to risk their lives for much of anything. Except other cops.

      • In the military, there was no excuse for not pressing the attack so you could “make it home at the end of the battle.” That was known as cowardice in the face of the enemy. I think the saying should be “Make it home at the end of your shift unless there are lives to be saved.” If cops don’t see a duty to act in the face of danger, I’m not sure what they’re good for. And remember, they will be the ones coming for your guns when their masters tell them to.

        What would I have done? If I couldn’t take the guy out because I was outgunned, I would have taken cover and kept him in sight, perhaps done some harassing fire to keep his mind off more victims and possibly wait for him to reload and come in blazing away. I would have also gone in with the two cops who showed up and not just disappear. I would have at least tried to get some people to safety. I would at least act like I was taking some responsibility.

  4. Having been a security guard. How much risk do you expect me to run for near minimum wage?

    The cop wasn’t a cop at that point. He was private security. Unless the city routinely assigns on duty cops as door men at clubs.

    • The whole point of hiring an off duty cop for security is that you are NOT getting some minimum wage rent a cop who can’t find a better job.

      You assume your security then has the training and experience to handle threats, and a willingness to engage.

    • That sounds like what the Iraqi army said when ISIS came to town. What the hell is the point of an army (or armed security) if they flee from danger? (This all assumes the security guard still had ammo for his firearm) What do we think of firemen who flee from fires? What do we think of paramedics who faint at the sight of blood?

      The only honorable thing the man could have done was to stop Mateen, or die trying. He apparently valued his own life more than the lives of everyone in that club. That is the definition of “cowardice”.

      We honor those who risk their lives for others, and despise those who allow wicked men to slaughter the innocent.

      None of us really know how we would react under such circumstances. I hope that I’d choose to be a hero, rather than a coward. I don’t know. As a Christian, I’m not in dread of the final judgment, and thus do not fear death the same as the unbeliever. Still, who knows? I might chicken out. We all have the potential to be a hero, and the potential to be a coward.

      If I was ever in that kind of situation, I hope I’d have a double stack auto on me, rather than my EDC J-frame revolver.

      Also, I’d bet that he was being paid far more than minimum wage. Keep in mind that he is an off duty police officer, not glorified minimum wage mall security. Him being off duty police probably indicates that he was carrying a Glock 22 with several backup mags, rather than a Security Six or something.

    • Of course if you stop a mass shooting, then quit, then get that rep job, you’ll pull in bigger bucks ’cause you’ll be famous.

      • But if you flee the scene ’cause you’re scared of mean people with guns, you can make the rounds of all the big talk shows, write a book, and get employed by some anti-gun Bloomberg subsidiary.

  5. Better… I hope. I HAVE been involved in altercations-and I was totally unarmed. This whole thing is PATHETIC..

  6. Well, you’re absolutely right, it depends on training. I think quite a few veterans would be hard pressed to not immediately assault the position. But it does take years of getting “act rather than react” beat into your head.

    • This.

      I know its very keyboard commando of me to say this, but if you have a known single threat and already a dozen people shot and bleeding out on the floor, YOU DO NOT FALL BACK AND ESTABLISH A PERIMETER, YOU TAKE THAT F*KING HILL!

      • Most gunshot wounds are eminently survivable. The decision to fall back and wait was an absolute death sentence for about 20 people who could have been saved.

        The second wave of death sentences were self-issued when 30 people packed themselves into a one-exit bathroom and waited to die. It was the ‘perfect’ target-rich environment.

      • That’s great to say, but it takes YEARS of training and institutional doctrine to get the “flight” response out of people’s heads. History is full of officers who didn’t assault into an ambush even though that has been doctrine more or less since the Romans. On the balance, I think that training the average civilian to attack into a threat is going to cause far more problems than it solves.

        • You might be right, but allowing people to continue to avoid taking responsibility for their own lives and safety isn’t working too well either.

        • You do realize that there is a middle ground? Right? Between running away screaming and charging like a berserker.

        • I would argue that the armed security guard took the middle ground in this case, and a lot of people died as a result.

          So, we have every reason to believe the shooter in this case used 30 round magazines. Let’s assume for the sake of the argument that he loaded it fully, plus one in the chamber just because, and that the gun functioned perfectly.

          He walks in and starts to shoot, but people quickly charge him. Even if he managed to hit 31 people with a lethal hit before he had to stop and try to reload before being overcome by the force of a few dozen scared and angry people that is still almost 20 lives saved.

          I know this one case is just one case, but there is certainly the possibility that even this completely unarmed room of people could have stopped him with the sheer force of their numbers.

        • Agreed. The fact is that most people will freeze when something bad goes down.

          Or they’ll huddle in the corner.

          The one thing they never do is charge. Flight 93 was the exception, which is why we all remember it.

        • Thats like saying the 6million jews could have over powered the 10,000 camp guards. Human nature doesn’t work that way without a cental and common impetus. “Never Again” comes to mind. But, 6million people had to die in order for that to mean anything. “Never Forget” is why we wont have another air plane hijacking. But 2500 people had to die first.

  7. It is what it is. I don’t know if/what I would do differently than the security guard and cops. We like to think of LE/security as the all-knowing, omnipotent entities but they ARE us.

    I’d encourage anyone who claims they would rush in and execute Mateen to apply for an LE position or armed security. Once you’ve been in those shoes, come back and tell us how well you did.

    • … as I pointed out, it’s not the LE reaction that would cause the response you describe. Military reactions in a LE position are BAD most of the time. It just so happens that THIS TIME, it would have been a better reaction.

      • Truth. Most of the time we are criticizing cops for a “militarized” response…. and here we’re criticizing them for not going in guns blazing.

        • I am more than willing to admit that I would make a terrible cop. My first reactions to situations have been beat into me by years of military training. (I once had to stop myself from putting somebody into an arm lock because they came up behind me and grabbed my shoulder to get my attention.) That’s why I am very skeptical of anybody who goes from a combat arms military role to a civilian law enforcement role. The ingrained responses are inherently contradictory. The very route responses that would make you an outstanding combat soldier would make you a terrible cop.

    • Hindsight is 20/20.

      Before 911 no one (except Tom Clancy) considered airplanes as terror weapons. Before Pulse it is likely that the average nightclub owner and security considered a lot of potential problems, but NOT someone with an AR-type rifle walking through the front door.

      I have worked club security (unarmed) many years ago. I did one night and told them it was suicide and I would not consider it again. Talk about “security theater”! And I was the one who was least secure the entire time.

      Security at these types of venues relies on appearances to deter the standard types of altercations that might arise. The presence of the uniformed guard has a deterrence value, A guard with a visible pistol has greater deterrence value. A guard that stands out like a neon light and has no cover or reasonable line of sight to trouble is essentially zero deterrence to a person determined to enter and commit mayhem, especially if that person has little or no regard for surviving the attack. The guard is essentially only the first target to be eliminated.

      I would contend that every owner of and security person for a night club needs to completely re-think their security protocols following this attack. I’m pretty sure that if I were to visit any such club in the near future it would be my habit to arrive early, assess the security and available exits, and if I did not feel comfortable walk away.

      If I were security at such a place, as I have mentioned previously, I would establish my position with a clear view of the entrance, with a defensible distance to the door, and demand a Lexan barrier at a minimum capable of stopping an AK-47 round. Nothing will reliably stop a determined attack, but that should be the minimum. If there are multiple attackers, all bets are off. I hope I would stand my ground to the best of my ability to minimize casualties, then un-ass the AO along with everyone else who could get out the exits. Retreating OUT of the building while the attacker is going into the building seems like exactly the wrong tactic otherwise.

      • “Before 911 no one (except Tom Clancy) considered airplanes as terror weapons.”

        That’s not correct. Rick Rescorla, the head of security for Morgan Stanley, predicted the 9/11 attack and the method that was used.

        Because he planned and prepared for 9/11, no Morgan Stanley employees were killed on 9/11 except for security personnel who reentered the tower to search for stragglers.

        • To be fair, Rescorla also had the perspective of the 1993 WTC Bombing when he developed those procedures, which were to evacuate as soon as a threat appeared.

          The best analogy is that pre-9/11, hijackers took hostages and negotiated. It wasn’t within the realm of imagination that they would crash the plane as a weapon.

          Pre-Columbine, the doctrine was to secure the perimeter and negotiate. Post-Columbine the procedure has been to enter the building and engage the shooter immediately. We have yet to hear why the initial responders, who did not exchange fire with the shooter, were withdrawn.

          Like Columbine, people bled to death waiting for to help to arrive. In both situations, that help didn’t arrive for hours.

      • Actually, I suspect that nearly everyone who played with a computer flight simulator from the late 80’s on thought about crashing planes into buildings.

  8. For the first guy, he should have gone after the shooter as soon as his call for backup went out. For everyone else, from the collection of after the fact articles I’ve read, it sounds like the shooter had retreated into the bathroom by that point, and turned the active shooting into a barricaded hostage situation. Standard doctrine there is that the use of negotiators to talk the guy down is more likely to save lives, with no more information available.

    My opinion is that it wouldn’t have turned into the hostage deal if they had put him down immediately. Also, the 911 call pledging allegiance to ISIS should have been the info that turned the generic hostage negotiations into a “not going to be taken alive terrorist,” which I think means go in now with whatever you have and kill him.

    Unfortunately, with bureaucracy in police departments being what it is, it’s not easy to get people to deviate from the standard play book. Almost as hard as it is to write new pages for it later.

  9. There is something wrong with being a Monday night quarterback, to second guess the people on the scene. But, it would be wrong to avoid analyzing what happened, and learning by it.

    In a typical DGU, the best option is to retreat. The best chance of surviving a gun fight is to avoid it, of course.

    In a terrorist style shooting or mass shooting, the best outcome has been because the good guys took an immediate, aggressive action against the shooter. Sure, it is extremely dangerous. It exposes the good guys to being shot. After, some people may even declare the move as stupid. Who in their right mind would run toward the sound of a gun? But, the stats do not lie.

    Of course, I am not talking about doing something totally stupid. If you can advance while taking cover, do it. I am simply referring to the fact that advancing on the shooter immediately after the shooting starts works more than is doesn’t.

    Several decades ago while in the military, we trained relentlessly on how to respond if ambushed. At first I thought our instructors were crazy. They told us when ambushed, part of the team provides covering fire and the remainder advance. We were told to essentially charge the attackers. The point was this: If you simply take cover and slug it out from a static position, the advantage goes to the attackers. The attackers had time to plan the ambush. They have already planned for you to lay there and take it. What they cannot plan for is the randomness of the counter-attack.

    It is up to everyone who carries what they are willing to do. The safe thing for the carrier to do is retreat. To save lives, however, the best thing is likely to be to go on the offensive. This is where I say “train and do it right” and “if you are scared, you are human.”

    • Very well said.

      I remember learning that as well. And it holds true. Only way to defeat an ambush is to fight through it.

    • Yeah… Attacking into an properly set up and executed L shaped ambush is going to get a lot of your unit killed. But it’s better than the results of attempting to retreat from said ambush or fighting from the exact position your ambusher wanted you to be in.

      As I said elsewhere, reactions are going to depend on training. Few civilians or (thankfully) LE have the “attack into the ambush” mentality beat into their heads. In 99.99% of situations, this is a GOOD thing. However, in this exact instance, it was a very bad thing as it gave up the initiative to someone who only had one objective.

      • It’s such a good point that you just made. There are so many variables. My Grandfather was old school PD he used to say “the first thing to do in a gun fight if you can is to take cover”. At the same time we here a lot about speed of action and advancing on the threat to take away it’s cover.

        Great post.

  10. Here in New Jersey we are not allowed to have concealed carry. Therefore we only have 2 options. 1 rush the nut. 2 run like a nut. Given that we have a duty to retreat in this state and offensive action is illegal the only legal logical thing to do in New Jersey is to run, run fast, run far, let the hurt bleed out and hope you don’t get hit by the M855s zinging past your melon.

    • Option #3: Stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things. Don’t go there. The best way to survive a gunfight is to avoid a gunfight. I survived the Pulse massacre, as did you. How? Neither of us went to that club that night.

      Keep that one rule in mind anytime you are tempted to have a night out. If you cannot legally defend yourself and your family/friends, know where the exits are and spend your time near to them. If you can’t fight the threat, be the first one out the damn door!

      • I hate to say it, but its true. If I have to go to a crowded place where I can’t carry, my first thought is to position myself in a location where I won’t be among the first ones hit, and I can get to an exit without running towards the incoming shooter(s).

        Mind you, “can’t carry” means locations where there’s a legitimately good chance of discovery and felony charges, not just a stupid sign on the door of some private property. Getting asked to leave is not something any of us should give a sh*t about. I’ll happily risk being embarrassed in front of my friends if it means a better chance of keeping us all alive.

    • Well there’s what you are “allowed” to do, and then there’s what you do.

      As far as I know there are no Duty to Retreat laws that tell you to sit there and wait to die when you can’t retreat any further. You have a duty to retreat if you can safely do so, but if not then you defend yourself.

  11. I would have let loose with everything I had against that animal and only stopped until one of us was dead.

    If I end up in a situation like that I think God meant for me to be there and I’m not going to disappoint.

  12. I spend roughly 8 hours a day in a polyester uniform at the front door of a children’s clinic with a gun on my hip. I’m getting whopping $10.50 from a company that has benifits so great that I’d be better off without them. Still for all the primary directive is observe and report I could not stand by and let a threat pass. My most likely senerio is first shot is I’m down and they hope out. Still if I get a chance I will not stop until they are. In holding this job that is my word. My employer or the clinic most likely do not see it that way but for me either I hold the line or I should quit right now.

  13. I would have returned fire. I would not have followed after he retreated into the bathroom.

    Or maybe I would have shit myself. I’d like to think it’s the first one.

    As others have said though my real answer is “I don’t know”

    After the Charlie Hebdo attacks and having been in combat before I realized I am not proficient enough with my EDC to deal with something like that. It was a sobering feeling. I now train much more often and actually invest in courses.

    At the same time I think of that officer in Texas who returned fire at the terrorists, advanced, took their cover away and then killed them. It can be done.

    I guess the lesson is the one who is more committed to the fight often wins?

    • “I guess the lesson is the one who is more committed to the fight often wins?”

      Reading that reminds me of the old adage about the size of the fight in the dog. I like to think I’m a pretty big dog, both inside and out. (Even if on the outside I more closely resemble a polar bear…)

      I’m with a lot of others, I’d like to think I’d have given my all to neutralize the shooter by any means necessary. Then again, who the hell knows?

      In my mind it really drives home how important training is, but how the hell do you train for this? I get training, instincts, and muscle memory and all, but…this? Can any training, (other than being in the middle of something like that, having enough of your conscious mind left to think, and think fast enough to keep yourself alive) even begin to prepare you for that?

      On that note, even if training could realistically simulate such a situation, what kind of permanent scars would the training alone create?

      We train for years, for something we pray never happens.

      • I don’t think you would be scarred by that kind of training, simply hardened.
        You mental capacity to handle violence/gore/distress is just like any other muscle. The more you work it out, the more strain it can take before you become fatigued.

        • I took his comment to mean training scars…bad habits formed by the very artificiality of it being training (fake).

  14. “I don’t know, I wasn’t there.”

    …but I would’ve liked to have been armed with more than just my EDC Glock 19 and the two extended spare mags that go with it.

    Basically, have a bigger gun.

    Started working on that 6 months ago and I’m another 4 months away from completing the new plan. No thanks to NFA ’34 and the ATF.

    My reaction to these horrific incidents is “Time to gun up, people.” I consider that a very American reaction. Too bad more of our fellow citizens don’t do the same.

  15. Your timeline and events differ from what Dean Weingarten posted earlier today. It sounded like there was no exchange of gunfire between the DB and police until SWAT took him out at the end.

  16. I’m not trained as a LEO or a security guard. That said, I have trouble finding fault with their actions. The LEO on guard duty apparently tried to stop him, failed, and made a judgment call that he was incapable of stopping the threat on his own. The next two officers to arrive apparently judged that it had become a hostage situation and made the call not to attack immediately.

    Given what they knew at the time, I would say they probably were right, and I hopefully would have done the same.

    • With 911 calls coming in reporting shots fired for well over an hour and a half? They knew damn well people were being killed, and they just sat there. The decision-makers in that situation should be stood up against a wall and shot.

      • Maybe, but I’m referring to the first to respond, the guard and the two who came next.

        Actually, this whole thing is worse than MMQB’ing. At least on Monday morning everybody can find out what actually happened. On this thing, it’s still not clear who did what and when, so judging their actions seems to be an exercise in futility.

        • It seems clear enough to me with the 911 call logs that have been released. The victims were reporting intermittent gunfire from the goblin for well over an hour — during which the police sat outside. No one in their right mind could hear that information coming from dispatch (or see it on the internet 10 days later) and truly believe it was a hostage situation.

          As far as the first couple of patrol officers who responded to the call for backup, you’re right. I wish they had been more effective, but can’t fault them; at least they actually tried.

          It’s the “people are dying but at least we’ll go home safe tonight” contingent that should be shot for cowardice.

  17. In a situation where you have two responders, this should be a no-brainer.

    Even if you can’t disorient the guy with flash bangs, the guy can’t both shoot hostages and you. He also can’t know what you’re doing at that second. You go in, and accept that one of you might get shot. Who goes in first? Rock Paper Scissors?

  18. I don’t know about then, but if I was them now I imagine that I’d be looking for a different job.

  19. The guard at the Texas Mohammad Cartoon Fest stood his ground and saved what could have been a massacre like this one. Columbine, on the other hand, was similar to the Pulse, the deputy sheriff on the scene declined to engage the shooters. It’s a crapshoot.

    Places like this nightclub with controversial patrons should really have interlocked entrances that can seal off the interior from a threat at a moment’s notice. But then an attacker will use a tanker truck to destroy the place. You can’t avoid violence in today’s world until politicians man up to strike at the source of the problem — Mecca.

    • On further consideration of my earlier comments regarding the security position I would like to add two essentials: 1. At the guard post there should be a master switch that turns on bright lights throughout the club. The shooter does not need the light to pick targets, he is shooting randomly at anything that moves. The patrons need to be able to see the threat and react by moving away. 2. The switch that turns on the lights should also trigger the fire and burglar alarms – LOUD. People who are drunk need a wake-up call to get them to understand that the situation has changed and is serious.

      Those two actions – Lights and sirens, would most likely have a better response from patrons than the sound of a few shots that might not be recognized immediately as a threat. To the uninitiated gunshots generally result in a stop and assess condition, not the drop to the ground or RUN response you might expect. That time of hesitation and evaluation could be the difference between life and death.

      • This is a very good point. All the lights going on and sirens going off might also have freaked the jihadi. He might have run out, at that point into the SWAT police. He might have been disoriented to the point that the patrons could have rushed him.

  20. “Lt. Scott Smith and Sgt. Jeffrey Backhaus arrived at the Pulse shortly after Gruler called for backup. The two officers immediately entered the club and exchanged gunfire with the killer, who retreated to a bathroom — with hostages — and stopped firing. The officers failed to press their counter-attack any further, but dragged victims to safety.”

    Reports are conflicting on this, and current state of things suggests that only Gruler exchanged fire and retreated, the other officers entered the club but did not engage the killer, who was already in the bathroom/charnel house.

  21. Everybody’s talking about the cops. How about the dumb bastard who got out and then blocked the only escape route? Way to go A-hole.

    • General rule of thumb: Never expect a rational and logical response from anyone who is inebriated. And scared.

  22. Without knowing the layout and contents (tables, chairs, stools, etc.) I wouldn’t venture to say, because I don’t have enough information, especially about concealment, cover, and possible diversions.

  23. My pistol one-on-one against the jihad assh0le’s rifle? That’s some bad math right there.

    Now for my epitaph: “He died fighting. Not “He died at a gay bar.” No offense, gay people, but I have a reputation to uphold.

    • See, and I don’t get the need for a rifle in a close quarters situation. Yes, it is more powerful, and you can make the ranged shot, but in a small nightclub it is harder to aim properly with a rifle, so I don’t see the pistol being a limiting factor. Ammo capacity? If I’m in a small room one on one and miss 17 times, I deserve that tombstone saying I died in a gay bar.

  24. I used to run door/security at a gay club, though I wasn’t gay myself. This was considered a good thing, since I wouldn’t be tempted to let people in illegally, even if they were attractive. Same bonus for a gay doorman at a straight club.
    I still considered my job as “keep the people alive and safe, no matter what.” Then again, I used to be in the US army, so I had an oath to keep. The safety of the people under my charge was sacrosant- I’ve actually had to testify in court for situations where random nutjobs would try to enter the club, specifically to be violent. If I was in the situation, I might have died defending them.

  25. I’m going to go out on a limb and say most people on this site haven’t been to or experienced a shooting scene. It was dark at the time of the Pulse shooting, loud from music and gunfire, and undoubtably confusing with the hundreds of people there.

    Real stuff, for me at least, doesn’t happen like the movies where time slows down, it speeds up. It’s chaotic. So for anyone, especially those who have never even seen a dead body in the wild, to come out and say “this is what I would have done” are kidding themselves. We all would like to think of what we would have done, even based on actual experience, but every situation is different and the Pulse shooting was undoubtably absolute chaos.

  26. Hindsight may be 20/20 (or even better), but I would have pursued Mateen before he could even close the door to the bathroom. When in a fight for your life, fight to win, or die. You have no guarantee that if you hold off he won’t kill more people (like he did) or even come after you as soon as you lose the advantage of surprise. You must stop the threat.

    If he has his back to you, shoot him. Closes a door? Shoot through the door. Do what you have to. Wait 20 minutes for SWAT? Why? That gives him time to take hostages and hole up. Hell, with three on the scene, or person can begin triage and you still outnumber him. Two angles of attack he can only respond to one.

    Again, hate to second guess actions taken in the heat of the moment, but you can’t give evil a chance. You must crush it with overwhelming force, or it will do that to you.

    • Don’t disagree with the philosophy of your comment, but inthis case, once he was in the bathroom, there was not two angles of attack. It was more like a fatal funnel.

      • True, but they should not have let him even close the door. Granted I don’t know all the details (such as if they lost sight of him and *then* discerned he was in the bathroom, in which case you are definitely correct), but provided they saw him move or even break contact in any fashion, they should have continued firing.

        It’s easy to say these things after the fact, but it is disheartening to see the boys in blue act the way they did given my own experiences.

        It doesn’t help that my mind is still blown that no one, NO ONE in everyone present fought back. A man with a gun says he wants to kill me? You can bet I’m going to whatever I can to stop him, or at least die trying.

  27. Lessons from FBI/Miami firefight. Looks like the first responders failed on every single point.

    1) Be Prepared For The Unexpected. You cannot afford to relax, ever. Even if your mission is a discreet surveillance, you must be both physically and mentally prepared to deal with, and survive, an unexpected encounter with violent well trained, heavily armed, and aggressive individuals like Platt and Matix.

    2) Have The Means To Survive. Weapons, ammunition and body armor, must either be on your person or immediately accessible at all times. You may not have the time to get ready once the shooting starts.

    3) Take Training Seriously. Targets may be partial, fleeting or obscured by dust, smoke or foilage. They may be 30 or 40 yards away. You must be able to shoot accurately under these difficult conditions. The only way to acquire the skills, necessary to survive a firefight is to take training seriously and to practice frequently.

    4) Do Not Underestimate Your Adversary. Although outnumbered and outgunned, he may not surrender. Although seriously injured, even fatally injured, he may not quit fighting. All the blood on this car, came from Platt, from hits he took before he killed Grogan and Dove.

    5) Danger Is Our Business. Law enforcement is a hazardous profession. As special agents, it is our job to confront dangerous people like Platt and Matix. We have an obligation, to our associates, and to our communities to persevere, despite that danger.

  28. 1. Mag dump. If either survives, go to:
    2. Unass the KZ to cover. Reload.
    3. Hook back in. Re-engage. If either survives, go to:
    4. Shooter barricades, continues shooting. Look for injured survivors outside the barricade to extract so EMS can collect them. If I charge in alone, more than likely I’ll simply end up among those bleeding out, which helps nobody.
    5A. Backup arrives in minutes. Team up, inform, go back in, and stack up near the barricade. If brass orders a desist and retreat, give them an emphatic “GFY, I’m off the clock”. And if backup still retreats, I guess that means it’s hero-or-zero time.

    5B. But if they stay, during the final assault on that bathroom, the first one in almost assuredly will get hit. Without flashbangs or CS, that’s a given. Would I go in first? I’ve done it once before (albeit with a frag first), got lucky, and it was the most terrifying experience of my life. Can I reasonably expect the guys with no real experience clearing rooms with active shooters? Probably not, so that leaves one option. The best I can hope for is that somebody brought a plate carrier to hand off.

  29. Reading through all the post regarding this, I think people arguing the police (and security officer) failed to rush in and take out the gunmen are delusional.

    These people seem to believe the inside was very well lit and wide open and it would have been very easy to ID the gunmen. I believe this is crazy. Every night club I have been in is very disorienting with the extremely loud music, strobe/fluorescent lights, smoke machines (or just smoking in general). I would be very, very cautious and slow and methodical going in a place like this.

    If I was in a club in a similar situation being armed, I would not go rushing after the gunmen to take him out. I would hunker down and find the best defensive position is could and wait for him to approach me. This way I know where he is coming from and focus my attention in that direction.

    I think people are forgetting, this is not your normal thug robbery with a handgun. He had a rifle and was on a mission. You know the old saying; “Never take a knife to a gun fight”. “Never take a handgun to a rifle fight”.

    As one of the post has said before, the club security is really there for your routine “club” problems and is not prepared or capable to deal with situations like this (off duty cop or “rent-a-cop).

  30. The club was a “gun-free zone” and under Florida law firearms are prohibited wherever alcohol is served.

    • Would LEOs be exempt from this ala “LEOSA”?

      If so, then maybe it would make sense to not only have a paid officer at the door, but a couple more inside (and armed) similar to what they do with the Marshalls on airline flights.

  31. If I was LEO, I would have tossed in some CS immediately. Not sure why that wasn’t done right away…

  32. I wouldn’t put myself at risk to save a bunch of flamboyant queers. No disrespect to the LGBT community, but i value my life more than theirs.

    Now if the shooting occured at a school, i suspect my instincts would be very different.

    • In that case you would certainly have no business being either a LEO or a security professional, so I would imagine you’re neither. Having done close protection for people I disliked enough that I would cross the street to avoid talking to them off duty, I can say that if you take on the responsibility you fulfill your obligations.

  33. Woulda….coulda….shoulda

    It happened the way it happened.
    End of story.
    Collect the data and learn from it.
    All the speculation in the world won’t recreate what actually happened so this exercise is a waste of energy.

    • The problem is the reams of data already collected from prior events that first responders already did “learn from”. They completely dropped the ball on this one, thus all the speculation on what could have been.

  34. If had the chance, I would have run the heck away. If I was a bouncer, I would consider terrorists way above my pay grade! Every one needs to take responsibility for their own personal security. If someone else needed a gun to defend themselves and didn’t have one, I didn’t decide that for them. They live and die by their own choices.

    • If your job description is “Security” or “Bouncer” and you accept pay for this position, your own personal security is forfeit. You have agreed that the security of the location and its patrons are your responsibility. If you turn and run, leaving them to die, you are not only a coward, you are a liar, a fraud, and a thief.

  35. As a transplant from the Los Angeles area, I saw the words “protect and serve” on every police car.

    It’s a question to be discussed between him and God.

  36. Was the security guy uniformed?
    Things might have gone better if plain clothed security had the opportunity to surprise attack from the back or flanks.
    The two cops breaking off the hot pursuit was a mistake as it allowed the terrorist to work up a defensive position with hostages.
    SWAT Team was inexcusable.
    Monty or Patton; take your pick.

    • Monty or Patton – interesting. I am a student of WW II military operations and in recent reading I have found that many of his peers and many British historians believe that Monty was a closet homosexual. Cannot be confirmed, but that was the impression.

      Having said that, I would expect Monty to be totally ineffectual (as in spend 3 hours getting ready for the assault) at the Pulse and Patton, who was most definitely NOT queer, to have gotten the job done in short order without regard to anything except stopping the bad guy.

  37. Eh? If you are being paid to tote a gun and being paid to use the gun (i.e. deadly force) to protect people if the need arises, then the actions stated here are inexcusable. This $#it has happened enough now that armed security better know how to use the arms and deploy them with extreme prejudice when the need arises. Don’t want to get shot at? Find another job. And as for the SWAT waiting 3 hours, WTF? Have any lawsuits been filed yet?

  38. With my military background, training, experience, and moral compass, I would have engaged him. However I’m not sure what the outcome would have been. An armed security guard should be the first target if the bad guy knew the place, but security would have been completely outgunned. I could only hope that any action I took would have saved some lives. Probably not my own.

  39. probably die trying to stop this Islamic pervert! Unlike the professionals I consider myself as having a set!
    if I only wounded him I would have to take his head off with a K-Bar (always with me) if I’m DRT at least I tried
    not waiting for permission! this was a Government ordered stand down to increase the carnage for better issue,s of subverting the 2nd Amendment

  40. This is the wrong question.

    A better question would be: “What would you have done if you’d been cornered into the bathroom by Mateen and you were armed?”

    The answer to THAT question is the one that could have saved numerous lives, probably including your own.

    It’s not about a hero. It’s about defending yourself and others around you.

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