There was a "fall festival" in the small downtown square today, where I work. Local PD had a couple Kawasaki Mules they were tooling around in, and of course they had an on-foot presence as well. I don't know any of them real well, but I have talked with most of them at least once before, and have interacted with a few of them numerous times, between small talk if I run into them somewhere, or chatting while I am fingerprinted for NFA stuff. In talking to a Kawasaki driver today, who's a Captain, I asked him if he had a carbine with him. He didn't. I thought it was friggen odd. Why not? I reminded him about rooftops (highland park), and he agreed that it may have been prudent to equip with carbines. I was in no way telling this officer how to do his job. I am not LE. I train with a neighboring town's department sometimes, because they are kind enough to let me do so, but I have never had a badge. I just think it's a bit aggravating that we don't seem to be learning our lessons, when it comes to these target-rich scenarios. What say the SIGforum LE folks?
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The mules are likely not equipped with a lockable rack to secure their carbines. I know ours is not. The last thing you want is for somebody to grab it out of the mule when you're not looking, and now you've armed the shooter. The alternative is wearing it on-body all day, but not only does that suck (heavy and cumbersome, and no fun to have to go hands-on with somebody when wearing one, which is a far more likely activity for the average patrol cop than shooting somebody with a rifle), but the optics are not good, and I don't see that going over too well with the local populace. I know it wouldn't fly where I work.
I spoke with two local police officers, from two different towns in my area, about this topic, specifically, since my previous post. They both responded with comments similar to 92fstech, concerning public perception, or "optics". I have crafted the following, to be submitted to the county paper today, in an effort to affect public opinion. I also intend to address the city council, with a letter more catered to them specifically.
Make a hard target
Independence Day, 2022; Highland Park, Illinois: seven people are killed and forty-eight more are non-fatally injured at a parade, when a deranged young man opens fire from a rooftop with a rifle. September 24th, 2022; _______, Georgia: a very similar target is created, in the form of our Fall Festival. By the grace of God, nothing terrible unfolded on that day. In my opinion, we apparently haven't learned from a horrific event that occurred not even three months ago. What can we do, though? We can't eliminate the possibility of a deranged individual reaching his tipping point; not until a lot more thinking and work is done, concerning our poisonous contemporary American culture. We also can't disarm him in any way that also disarms law-abiding Americans. What we can do is enable our local police officers to protect and serve in a way that primarily deters an active shooter, and secondarily eliminates him quickly and safely. In order to create and execute this attitude, the officers need to be equipped with rifles of their own. This is where some people seem to have a problem. In talking with three different officers from three different locations, both local and otherwise, I have learned that the public's perception of a rifle-equipped officer is what ultimately prevents them from being so-prepared. If our community's safety is a priority, it seems we'd do well to change our perception. I have been fortunate enough to attend a small amount of active shooter training, and participate in more than one discussion on the subject, with people more informed than me. The bottom line is always time. Time is of the essence, in these situations. Seconds; not minutes. An officer's ability to engage the shooter with the same kind of accurate, potentially extended-range gunfire is what saves our lives in those seconds, and a rifle in the trunk of a locked patrol car may as well be in the PD armory. Our safety is in our hands, as the people of _______ County. We need to be comfortable, even heart-warmed, in seeing an officer at the fall festival carrying a rifle, keeping a wary eye on the surrounding rooftops. We have a very professional and motivated police force in _______; it's up to us to ask them, to let them, serve us the way the need and want to. I hope you, dear reader, aren't clenching your fists in preparing a cry of “police state!”, as that would be quite foolish. I am talking about our officers weapons and eyes oriented outward; not inward. Another oft-repeated weak opposition to such a proposal is something like “we shouldn't need rifle-toting cops at a small town fall festival”, to which I say you're absolutely right. Right now, though, we do need them, and the fact that we shouldn't is not a good reason to prohibit common-sense moves to be pro-active about our safety. In order for all this to work, we need to communicate effectively. We need to use social and print media to inform potential event attendees that our police officers are in a heightened state of readiness, for our safety. That way no one will be nervous, with the wrong idea that “something's afoot at the festival”, when they see an officer that many might consider over-equipped. With this communication will come an understanding, and perhaps a more fruitful festival turnout that we ever thought possible, because attendees will keep coming back to our downtown square because it's the safest place in northeast Georgia for such an event. Choose safety, enabled by our brave public servants, over preconceived notions of what a police officer should or shouldn't look like or do. Reconsider your perception of police, and enable our community's safety.
Funny you mention Jack, I worked that shooting. He is a super cool guy and I made a life long friend during that investigation.
Not sure if this was mentioned above, but one serious thing to consider if you do have an opportunity to engage an active shooter, is you are very likely to be mistakenly shot by the cops when they arrive. Keep that in mind and put your gun away ASAP.
jljones shared a video, in the citizen training thread; it has relevance here. The interviewee, a retired SAS soldier, highlights the confusing nature of contemporary active shooter scenarios. This is nothing new, for anyone who's participated in any sort of active shooter training, or even just sat down and thought about it for a minute; but, it's one of those things that always bears repeating, I suppose. You've got you (the responsible armed citizen), the bad guy, other responsible armed citizens, first responders, and the fleeing/panicking general public; there's a lot going on. The interviewee states that he'd rather die at the hands of the enemy, than kill someone who didn't need killing. Certainly a no-brainer, but I thought it was a nice, boiled-down way of putting it. One thing I gleaned from a class I attended was the inclusion of a fluorescent sash or safety/hunting vest of sorts in one's emergency kit, to potentially help ID you as a good guy. Chances are pretty good the bad guy won't be dressed like that, and other good guys would see something like that, and assume you're a first responder, security guard, or other public servant of sorts. Obviously this can't be part of your on-body "EDC", but it can live with your medical kit, etc. It seems counterintuitive to make yourself bright and shiny, in any combat scenario, but the unique circumstances presented by the active shooter make it more beneficial than detrimental. Something like the vest helps mitigate you being mistaken for the bad guy; your critical thinking and self-restraint is what you'll need to rely on, to help you from mistaking someone.This message has been edited. Last edited by: KSGM,
My rifle stays at home. I can theorize a scenario where it doesn’t and I have some kit to support that but it is unlikely and rules would have already taken a backseat so it’s kind of moot to your scenario.
I do carry though and at least one of mine has a red dot. Many threads back I described using it on a dinner plate sized steel plate at 50 yards. I went 10/10 and my buddy who had never shot my 365 went 6/10. The red dot makes these shots a real possibility where I would struggle using irons (old guy eyes). I can see far away but the inflexibility of 56 year old eyes makes irons at distance a challenge. Dots take it back to trigger control which I have and can do. I love dots. If I only had 5 guns then every gun I owned might have an optic.
I think the fly in the ointment here is the factor that “if you KNOW he is the bad guy”. That’s like saying if you KNEW nothing bad would happen would you steal a million dollars. Maybe a bad example morally but I think you get my point. You rarely could be that certain. Then you add in I don’t want to get shot by someone thinking I’m the bad guy. Uniform are worn for a reason.
Under your scenario where people are dying as you watch, I believe I would take that shot. Add a bit of uncertainty though and I suspect I would get my family/friends out of harms way and not risk a lot of bad things.
I am reading my post and I vary from being disgusted by how cowardly that sounds and how reasonable that sounds. Launching a bullet isn’t the same as running into a burning building. You could kill someone if you are wrong on the former.
Absolutely. This thread is about exploring the risk and reward of intervention. The active shooter potentially represents one of the grayest areas, when it comes to employing a weapon in "self defense". Someone else had said something to the effect of "I would never discharge a round if I wasn't sure I had a good backstop behind the bad guy, and he was in bad breath distance"; if that's how we feel about employing our EDC, then we almost may as well leave it at home, because it so severely limits it's effectiveness. That ideal scenario represents the purest of "self defense", and a tiny sliver of potential circumstances. Your close proximity to an active shooter is far more likely than that ideal scenario, and it very likely requires a more pro-active response, not only in self defense, but in defense of others; your community. Maybe we don't feel strongly about serving our community that way, which would be fine. I have a family, like many conversation participants, and, even if I knew they were completely safe, I think I'd probably have to find my odds pretty appealing, in order to justify intervention. The thought is that everyone else involved likely has families too. I don't have a hill to die on, when it comes to an established opinion on the thread topic; not yet. Perhaps this discussion can continue to, at the very least, serve to refine our outlook on the scenario, so that we can make our decisions that much faster and more certain, if we found ourselves in a shitty situation; whatever our individual decision may be.
It’s good that this discussion considers varied situations. I believe that’s something that is overlooked more often than not, and not just regarding active killer events, but in home defense and other defensive situations as well. It seems to me that many people have very narrow assumptions about what the circumstances will be and how they would react to them.
The incident in which the defender in the mall fired his first shots from about 40 yards was very unusual, and could have turned out very badly for him. Had the BG not reacted to the first shots as he did because of their limited effect, because he was wearing armor, or just because they missed, he could have returned devastating fire almost instantly. If the defender had been much closer to the BG, his tactical disadvantage of facing a man with a rifle would have been significantly reduced.
Something much different was the incident in a (Texas?) church when the man with a 357 SIG P229 killed the attacker almost instantly after he started firing—but not before another armed defender was already killed. If the BG had first targeted the man with the SIG, he would have been the victim, and we have no way of knowing if anyone else would have stopped the attacks.
Even leaving aside the legal and—now—societal issues to be considered in deciding to intervene to try to stop an assault, if we can safely run from the scene with whomever we deem worthy of saving, would it make sense to endanger ourselves by getting into a possible gunbattle? On the other hand, in the Club Q incident in Colorado Springs, the man who ended the killing tackled the killer from the rear, and that worked. It would have been even better if he had had a gun and just put a bullet into the back of the BG’s head, but the hero didn’t.
These are of course just musings because there’s no way for me to know with certainty how I would react to different situations. It’s unlikely that any two will ever be alike, and that includes where I am and what my opportunities are. I do believe, though, that it’s a mistake to assume that our one idea about how something would transpire and how we would respond would be correct in all aspects. That’s one reason why I avoid saying things like, “I would (or wouldn’t) because ______ [fill in the blank].” I simply don’t know—and cannot know in advance.
Added: In thinking about what I just wrote, I won’t change the previous sentence, but I should also emphasize my absolute belief that it’s a mistake to live our lives like unthinking automatons and believe that because we can’t know everything in advance, we can’t be perceptive and plan for what we can. A most basic example is paying attention to where the emergency exits are, and having a small flashlight to help us find one in the dark if necessary. I carry a gun most of the time not because I can know what would happen in every possible circumstance in which I’d want to have one, but because it gives me the option of doing many more things in certain situations.
jljones replied yesterday, and later withdrew it. I thought his reply had some interesting points, and I hope he opts to participate again in the future. He suggested that it may not be so confusing, when it comes to bad guy identification; I think he's right, so long as the shooter is in deed highly active. The bad guy is going to be the one doing the bad shit; as jones said: shooting indiscriminately. My mind often conjures a scene at a shopping mall, when participating in this discussion. A setting like that creates maximum potential for confusion: people everywhere; more than a few of those people are potential good guys with a gun; security personnel; LE likely nearby too; architecture consisting of multiple levels and surfaces and corridors to throw the sound in odd ways, making it potentially difficult to determine where shots are coming from. I doubt that anyone participating in this discussion would go off half-cocked; however, well-intentioned Joe Blo very well may; maybe the interviewee's comment was for Joe Blo, and not us. jljones also seemed to indicate that he indeed believes in the "good guy with a gun", which I find heartening, considering his LE background. One might think that LE may not want citizens to inject themselves into situations like that, because of how much more complicated it makes the scene. Finally, jljones implied we may be overthinking all this; I prefer the term thoroughly discussing. I think the more we consider these subjects, and the more we train with our EDC equipment, the more efficient and effective we stand to be, when presented with those dire circumstances, no matter what our chosen course of action is.
I did my best to accurately recall jljones' post, in my reply this morning. I very well could have interpreted it wrong. I don't want to put words into jones' mouth; I hope he straightens me out, if I misunderstood.This message has been edited. Last edited by: KSGM,
So the scenario is a target who is firing on other people and moving. Can you rise to the occasion and focus to take out that threat? 150 yard shot - let’s say for argument sake you’re firing from below at an elevated target on a roof line. You have what looks like a clean backdrop. Your weapon is a 16” barreled M4 with whatever optic you have on it. Can you take out the threat cleanly or at the very least put suppressive fire on him and give him something else to think about. Several mass shooters have killed themselves the second they encountered resistance. In the Vegas shooting you could see the muzzle flash out of window. I kept shouting for someone to put some fire on him. My point is that you can positively affect the situation and allow friendlies critical seconds to escape if you engage. In this circumstance I would engage because I would feel it my duty to do so.
Maybe I am stupid or naive, but I would have to act.
Second scenario that was brought up - you’re walking through the mall with your wife (I know we don’t go to malls, but go with me) - you hear a shooter open up. In this scenario you are armed only with your carry pistol, spare mag, and your EDC knife. Do you:
1. Tell your wife to run back to the car and call the police, then move to the sound of gun fire to engage, or,
2. Start herding as many people out of the building as you can. Return to your car to get your IFAK/med pouch and then return to building to do as much first aid as you can?
Either way you’re going to be there. Which role do you take? Engage the shooter or manage the withdrawal and then help with casualties? I think your choice says much about how you view yourself. Are you a protector or a care giver?
Not to get too far off topic from the original thread, but this is a scenario I've run through mentally more than a few times since being able to carry.
My response kind of lies somewhere in between these two options. I feel that my first and foremost responsibility as a CCW holder is to get the hell out of the situation without even drawing my gun if I can, regardless of what the situation is. I would attempt to get as many others out as I possibly could in that effort, but in no way would I seek out the gunman or move toward them if I have a clean way out.
Now, if the gunman is in my immediate vicinity and I can get a clear shot to stop them, yes I'm fighting. If the gunman is between where I am and my options to exit, then yes, I'd be looking to cover/conceal whoever I could and begin positioning myself to try to fight a way out.
Ultimately, though, if the gun doesn't come out during, it won't come out after either. And if the gun does come out during the incident, it goes away the second I judge it to be safe enough to do so. I would prefer to be holstered prior to LEO arrival, but in the event it isn't, I'll deal with the BS that follows once I've dropped the gun and put hands up well in advance of becoming a threat to LEO, accidentally or otherwise. Hopefully I wouldn't be shot by LEO in that situation, but that's a risk you take with getting involved.
Just out of curiosity, I pulled up google street view images of the Uvalde school and found videos where the first responding officers pulled up.
Based on the information I could find, the officer who had the chance of a shot at 140ish yards had a cinderblock wall backstop behind the perp where the perp made entry. He absolutely should have taken the shot and was derelict in his duty for being foolish enough to radio for permission.
But I don't disagree with your thoughts that there may indeed be times and places where it wouldn't be prudent.
I might be able to find out. I know a detective who worked that case.
Mr. Nice Guy
Hmm, I don't buy into your conclusion.
Here in Utah we have Constitutional Carry, meaning every adult can choose to carry concealed or openly. This provides two significant considerations.
1) There are likely to be many armed people in that mall. Even if the mall is signposted no-guns, it is not legally enforceable and many people ignore those signs. This means there will probably be at least one armed person nearer the shooter than I. And armed people between me and the shooter. Running towards the gunfire with my gun out would make me a target of those well intentioned fellow ccw. And I would likely not be aiding the situation, only adding complication, because of the other armed citizens.
2) Since every adult has the option to be armed, it is not my obligation to risk my life for them if they choose not to be prepared. If I am in the immediate location of the shooter and can engage, yes I believe I would choose to do so.
(Children is a completely different scenario. A school or playground active shooter would have me wanting to engage if possible. But the mall is going to be adults.)
Evacuating people from the mall is probably much more beneficial than trying to hunt down the shooter.
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