The headline above comes from reader Ryan C in response to this [via nytimes.com]: “When the first shots of automatic gunfire burst out, Raju, a member of a local gun club, was waiting in line in a bank at the Westgate shopping mall.
He crouched down, pulled out his phone and feverishly pecked out a text message: ‘I am inside and I can confirm this is not a robbery.’ Within minutes, his fellow gun club members, neighborhood watch volunteers, off-duty police officers and other armed Samaritans rushed to the mall.
They found no command center, no SWAT team — in short, no coordinated government response as heavily armed Islamist militants shot civilians at will.
Waiting for the police is a viable, indeed desirable strategy during a violent attack. Grab friendlies, hole-up in a safe space, assume a defensive position and wait for the cavalry to show up. If that’s doable, do it. It’s a lot better self-defense strategy than engaging the bad guy(s) and risking life and limb.
Provided it is. And even if it is, a defensive strategy has an expiry date. At some point, something will happen. The bad guys will go away, pretend to go away or attack—perhaps before help arrives. Cops can take a lifetime to arrive. They can go to the wrong address. They can go to the right address, look around and leave.
In a defensive gun use, in a defensive position, you need a plan B. What do I do next? When do I do it? How do I do it? What should other people with me (where applicable) do? More than that, you need to revise your plan constantly, in accordance with what’s going on around you. Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. Repeat. Even when “acting” means waiting.
One more thing: don’t assume the good guys will win. A cop or cops can show up and lose a gunfight with the bad guys. Then what? Then the stakes are even higher. What are YOU going to do?