[T]he optimal number of times for [incidents like the Arvada armed civilian shooting] to happen is zero. Sometimes you hear these kinds of stories and the circumstances seem like some horrific, star-crossed accident. Other times they seem like outright murder. And there are times in between. But in all cases, instead of making excuses or searching for reasons that this time was ok, these things are a call to say, “Ok, nobody wants this. So as professionals, what is each of us going to improve so that this doesn’t happen again?”
And this all becomes more nuanced as concealed carry continues its 35-year march to ubiquity. There was a time when “person with a gun” meant there was an active threat. Today, “person with a gun” means … nothing. The more we spread gun rights, the more it means nothing.
So police have to navigate the difference between “person with a gun” and “person who I need to shoot”. And the only time that matters is when it’s hard — when a situation is at its most chaotic. Getting to that level of performance has to mean enforcing extremely high standards.
There are two parts to making police better at this:
- Their training. Every ownership-minded department in the country should be incorporating this into their training scenarios.
- Our own work as gun rights people. Even when things are someone else’s fault, effective people think, “Ok, what can I do to make this better? How can I bring this into my control?” Well, the more we normalize gun ownership, the more exposure police will get to people both carrying guns and, yes, using them in self-defense on the rare occasions that the need arises.
If you work with police or in a police department, you can work on the first one. And all of us can work on the second one. Let’s go make it happen.
— Open Source Defense in “Person with a gun” doesn’t mean what it used to