It’s been 72 hours since the partially successful massacre in the food court at the Greenwood Park Mall. I grieve for the victims of this stupid, senseless tragedy, but I also want to learn from it so that others can be served by what happened. Here are my takeaways:
- “Gun Free Zone” signs don’t work. Like Florida, the “No Guns Allowed” signs do not carry weight of law unless it is a school, government building, courthouse, civic space or similar places. As Jeff Street told me recently, it’s like going barefoot into a restaurant. They can’t arrest you, but they can ask you to leave*.
- If you can, avoid large groups of people in “gun free zones.” That’s what the bad guys target, so don’t be there when they show up.
- We still don’t know the gunman’s motivation, and quite frankly, unless it can help me avoid the next (really bad words redacted) who decides to do this sort of thing, I don’t care. You don’t care WHY the bear wants to eat you, you just shoot the bear.
- Details are still sketchy, but at the time of this writing, it appears that Elisjsha Dicken, the young man who stopped the shooter, did so from concealment, at distance of 30-40 yards, in a total of 15 seconds from the first “BANG.”
Damn, son, that is fine shooting. He then closed the distance and yelled at people around him to get down and clear out. There are also reports that his girlfriend, a nursing student, help set tourniquets afterwards. Wow.
- Once again, Ed Monk‘s math has been proven correct. Trying to achieve “zero active shooter deaths” through “gun free zone” signs is folly. There is a clock running in an active shooter event, and the sooner the shooter is stopped, the lower the damage he or she can cause.
It’s just math, people, that’s all it is.
- The skills needed to do this sort of thing aren’t going to pop into existence when you need them. Being able to make the shot on demand is the payoff for hours and hours of dry fire practice at home and live fire practice at the range.
- Training for the long shot is not a bad idea, and yes, you can do it at distances of less than 40 yards. Accuracy is a cone: If you can hit a 5 inch circle at 20 yards, you can hit a 10 inch circle (more or less upper torso) at 40 yards.
My friend and mentor Michael Bane has an active shooter drill that I work into my practice routine on a regular basis. Start position is your hands at your sides, gun is loaded and concealed in a holster. Target is a head-sized steel plate 25 yards away. Using a shot timer, set your par time for three seconds. When the buzzer sounds, draw and engage the target with one round. Hit the target, and you pass.
This sort of stuff seems to happening quite a lot as of late. I’ll leave the whys and wherefores on this to other people, and simply acknowledge the fact that is happening, and that it might be me who as to respond to a madman, not someone else.
Reality sucks right now, but fleeing from reality will get you killed. Plan accordingly.
* I shouldn’t have to tell you that neither Jeff nor I are lawyers and that this is not legal advice, right? Right?