As has been demonstrated time and time again, those motivated by evil or insanity will continue to do evil or insane acts, regardless of how the political Left postures or how many restrictions are placed upon the rights of the law-abiding. However, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in France, many people are awakening to the fact that police departments are, by definition, reactive in nature. No matter how quickly they respond once the shooting starts, they’ll never get there in time to prevent all casualties, and their resources are finite … they simply can’t be everywhere at once. The major venues and events might be reasonable secure, but as Paris demonstrated, it’s the restaurants, cafes, and theaters that are the more likely targets, and here in the US, it’s far more likely that the shooter will be a psychotic individual than a foreign terrorist.
For those of us who carry a firearm, either openly or concealed, on a daily basis (which women's holsters clearly supports), we have a responsibility as armed citizens when we are in a public venue. Our primary goal is not to enforce the law or to be heroes, but safety. If you should find yourself in a situation where you’re witnessing a crime being committed without an overt threat of violence from the perpetrator, then your principle duty is to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Be observant, remember details, and provide the police with as much information as possible after the fact.
However, circumstances change completely when you have an Active Shooter situation. Whatever a mass shooter’s motivation, the goal is the same, and it is a simple one: to kill as many people as possible before their life ends. In that situation, there is nothing to be gained by an armed citizen avoiding action, and much that may be lost through inaction. Law enforcement agencies invest millions annually in training their officers in procedures designed to respond to Active Shooter scenarios, a luxury we ordinary civilians can’t enjoy. Fortunately, by keeping some common-sense rules and guidelines in mind, we can be ready should the need arise.
Semper Paratus—“Semper Paratus,” the motto of the US Coast Guard, is Latin for “Always Prepared.” That’s just good advice in any situation, especially for those of us who carry. The simplest way to do that is to always follow the first rule of gunfighting—Have a Gun! If you carry, always carry … no exceptions. Speaking personally, I always have a firearm on me, unless I’m entering a location where carrying one is forbidden by law, and I tend to avoid those places as studiously as possible. When it comes to businesses that have decided to be “gun-free,” well, usually they’re also free of my patronage. On those occasions when I can’t avoid one of those businesses, what they don’t see can’t hurt them … or ruffle their sensitive feathers. In short, concealed carry is the key.
Being prepared also means carrying spare ammo for your weapon. For me, that means at least two full reloads. If you carry a reduced capacity autopistol or revolver, consider three or four reloads. Having twenty to twenty-four extra rounds of ammunition on board can make a huge difference in whether or not you survive a gunfight. If you find yourself in an Active Shooter situation, you can’t count on the shooter backing down simply because you draw your weapon, and don’t forget he came ready or wanting to die. He may be wearing body armor; it’s almost certain that he’ll be better, or at least more heavily armed, than you. You can’t depend upon just the rounds in your weapon being enough to do the job.
Other than your weapon and ammunition, the single most important item in your EDC (Every Day Carry) kit is your cell phone. The ability to communicate with the authorities in times of crisis is invaluable; never underestimate it.
Keep your Head—To paraphrase the Rudyard Kipling poem “If,” if you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs, then chances are good you can survive a violent armed confrontation. Be alert and aware of your surroundings. If you can possibly avoid sitting next to a window or with your back to the entrance, do so. Think about the possible threat axes, and your reaction should a threat present itself from each. Most importantly, do not panic.
React Tactically—If trouble happens, reacting quickly is good. Reacting intelligently, however, is much better. Don’t just run to the sound of the guns; think about what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. If you’re with friends or loved ones, get them under cover (know the difference between COVER and CONCEALMENT). If you’re able to work with another armed citizen, coordinate your plans and movement. Ascertain the nature of the attack—is it one lone gunman, or several acting in concert? Is the attacker armed with standard small arms, or do you hear automatic weapons fire and explosions? Know what you’re dealing with, and if the odds are overwhelmingly against you, don’t hesitate to find a safe location and assume a defensive posture. Your responsibility to assist in the protection of your fellow citizens doesn’t include banzai charges into machine gun fire.
Shoot … To … KILL!—Remember, if the opportunity to take down the shooter presents itself, you have to act decisively and without hesitation. You fire until you’re certain the threat has been eliminated. There is a very real possibility that the attacker has more weapons concealed upon him, perhaps even an explosive device of some type. Until he is dead, he or she continues to pose a threat.
The chance that you will find yourself in the midst of a terrorist attack on your hometown is incredibly remote. The odds that you will find yourself in some type of situation that requires you to act in defense of your family or friends, however, are much greater. If you have chosen to open or conceal carry a firearm, you’ve also chosen to accept that responsibility.
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