“You sir are an idiot of enormous magnitude!” So begins a recent comment underneath my 2012 post Self-Defense Tip: Don’t Listen to the 911 Operator. “I think the thing that upsets me the most about this article is that it is written in such a way that what you are saying appears credible. Unfortunately the advice you are giving is dangerous, at best.” As you might imagine, this website does not want to give dangerous advice to armed Americans (or other nationalities). So, in the interests of personal safety, here’s 911 operator Sara’s takedown of my STFU with 911 thesis . . .
First off, in the call that you use as a demonstration of why callers should not follow the advice of a dispatcher is flawed. The dispatcher advised the callers to go back to a stated location. She (or he) DID NOT tell them to get out of their vehicle and place themselves in an unprotected situation.
I have been a 911 dispatcher for 24 years. We are trained to de-escalate a situation if at all possible. Therefore the advice that we give you is intended only to keep you or other persons at a scene from further harm. Therefore, I am going to tell you first to back away from an altercation. Then I am going to tell you to lay your weapon aside if at all possible so that my officers who are responding will not perceive you as part of the threat.
That being said, I have also been a gun owner for just as many years. I have carried my weapon many places and although I have known that it was handy I did not let it speak for me. In other words, I didn’t let the fact that I was armed increase my bravado so that an argument or incident escalated. I am not a small enough human being to need to do that. I have witnessed people just like you. People who feel more… more manly… more virile… like a bigger, badder person… just because they can point a gun at another human being and it gives them a sense of power.
So to all your readers, I hope that you scroll down through all the comments on here and take just a moment to read mine. If you are in a situation where you need to call 911, please PLEASE PLEASE!!! listen to what the dispatcher tells you to do. We do have training to give you the best advice possible to make for a positive outcome in a very negative situation. And the instructions that we give will be the same ones that we would give to our husbands, parents, and children. So would that not be the very best that we would want for them?