No doubt - there are more frequent reports of criminals attacking citizens. It has become more commonplace at big events or where large groups of people gather together. These environments make easy targets for the criminals.
Unfortunately, when there are no "good guys with guns", the bad guys don’t really need to be very skilled at whatever attack method they use, as they are highly likely to injure someone.
Likewise, there are more situations where a citizen thwarts the criminal attack before any or further injury occurs. The news reports though are hard to find most of the time - due to the lack of mainstream media reporting - but it happens more than you might think and the stories are out there if you know where to look.
And personally, as an American, I think this is awesome. Citizens helping protect each other…what says "United We Stand" more than that?
From the news sound bite, though, this may seem all too simple. Realistically any "active shooter scenario" or other type of attack is a very complex and continuously evolving process. And difficult to successfully get through because there are countless scenarios and variables.
Decision Making 301
If an attack situation allows, it makes sense to 1) get away from the threat completely or 2) hide in a safe location until law enforcement arrives. Unfortunately, those options may not always be available.
What the situation requires at that point is advanced decision making; complex, chaotic decision making. Ideally, your decisions should be based on situations you have thought about, prepared and trained for (what ifs?) prior to becoming a responsible concealed carrying citizen.
How you handle the scenario starts with identifying what your priorities are or what you want to accomplish. Slight changes in the situation may change the priority or action you choose to take.
Everyone’s priorities are different… none are wrong, they are just different.
- If I am out with my family, friends or acquaintances, their safety will be my number one priority.
- If I am out by myself, the safety of the innocent people is my number one priority.
- If it is just me and the criminal, my safety will be my number one priority.
To break it down, we all have a built-in priority hierarchy when it comes to saving lives and preventing the criminal from trying to injure or kill. As stated above, my priorities are:
- Friends / Acquaintances
- All other people
I could further complicate this with the concept of life years saved, but I think you get the idea.
Let’s skip a couple of steps and jump right to response; you decide to take action and use your concealed Springfield Armory XD-(M)® pistol to stop the criminal. The very first thing to remember / consider is SAFETY - all of the firearms rules that everyone works so hard to learn and apply. Drawing your gun to stop a criminal does not relieve you of your safety responsibilities. Now, more than ever, you will need to adhere to them. If you inadvertently injure someone, other than the criminal, it will be a serious problem.
SUSPECT DOWN - heads up - gun away
Let’s jump ahead again. You have successfully stopped the suspect and saved some lives. #GoodSamaritan
But once the (only) suspect is down, the problems are not over.
At this point, another significant issue is of immediate concern: That others involved, citizens and law enforcement, do not recognize that you are the good guy. You and the suspect are the only ones that know for sure that you were the good guy who stopped the bad guy. You cannot assume that others recognize what transpired. There may also be more than one law-abiding concealed carrier on site.
In fact, this is still a very dangerous situation. If you can confirm the scene is safe, put your gun away. This is the best way to avoid another Good Samaritan or LE agent engaging YOU as if you were the suspect.
The 411 on 911
Since virtually everyone now has a cell phone, there will probably be multiple calls being placed to 9-1-1. If you can, call 9-1-1 yourself to inform the police of your situation. One of the most important things you can do is give the 9-1-1 operator YOUR physical description. It's also critical to then follow their directions. Most fine details about the incident are unimportant at this point, but responding officers need a quick description of you; gender, race, hair color, height, clothing, etc. #JustTheBasics
If you are with someone, instruct them to do the same, remembering only pertinent information is required at this point. There will be plenty of time during the subsequent investigation for the fine details.
PREPARE FOR POLICE ARRIVAL
Most police officers are extremely good at evaluating what is going on, before they take action. However, realize that they likely have received numerous (possibly inaccurate) reports of a shooter and may have been given more than one description. They have probably also received a description of you (the good guy) by those who saw you shooting.
When the police are on scene, they will most likely treat everyone (especially those with a gun) like a suspect until they can get some investigating done and figure out what actually happened.
Remember their goal is to make the scene safe and get aid to any victims. But they need to locate and stop any threats before they can safely do that.
My advice for when the police arrive - just comply with what they tell you do. Nothing new, as that's what you should always do. The responding officers don’t know who you are or anyone else for that matter. Trying to convince them that you are not the bad guy (especially while you are still holding the gun) will just make things more difficult.
If you are going to be a responsible, armed citizen; make it your duty to be prepared both physically (by becoming a competent, skilled, safe shooter) and mentally (by knowing how and when to safely take action, and what to do when you have stopped the criminal). Discuss, prepare and plan for this type of situation with your loved ones (also) on a regular basis. Preparation before an attack happens, may just save the lives of your very important "priorities", and that is absolutely worth the investment.