As I posted my condolences to the family and friends of those murdered and wishes for quick recovery for those injured in the spree killing in Aurora, CO, today, I found myself thinking about what happened in that movie theater. The door reportedly flew open and the gunman stepped through, shooting.
As a police officer, when I enter a building, I am probably much more concerned about the details, such as the location of exits and where I am in relation to them, than most people. I worry about things happening. Bad things. It comes with the job. I also have a weapon with me at all times, because I see things that most people don't in my line of work. As a result, I take precautions that most people don't.
Cops don't generally sit with their backs to a door. They generally don't sit in places with limited egress and cops generally scan the area around them for threats. If you see two cops talking, they will be facing each other, each looking over the other's shoulder, protecting their brother or sister's sixes. It's who we are.
As the news broke of the killings, the inevitable cry of "Gun Control" was heard throughout the land, even as the dead still were being removed from the theatre. I was reminded of a woman, Jeanne Assam, who was faced with a similar situation on December 9, 2007. Assam, a former police officer, killed a gunman intent on killing people at the New Life Church. The gunman had killed two people the day before and killed two more before Assam stopped him.
Assam stopped a gunman in a church. If you thought it couldn't happen to
you where you live, that should make you reconsider your safety.
The individual who committed the crime in Aurora, CO, allegedly boobytrapped his apartment. If he didn't go in shooting, he could have done any number of other equally deadly actions that may have had even deadlier consequences. The shooter was intent on a body count. He happened to use a gun in this instance. The boobytrapping of his home was a move to kill and injure the responders tasked with checking the shooter's home. It's a way of increasing the body count and no gun would have been used there.
I mention Assam, gun control and the Aurora incident together for this reason: Assam stopped a spree murderer by herself. One trained person in any situation can stop the action. Without a weapon against an armed gunman, stopping an active shooter is a suicide assignment.
School buses in Israel have armed guards because Israelis understand bad things happen. I'm not suggesting we need armed guards in all public places. I'm suggesting a different attitude towards guns. That guy or girl you call a "nut case" because they carry concealed everywhere may just save your life.
People need to be prepared. I don't expect the average person to note where the exits are, scan the crowds for danger or sit facing the door. But those who can should be ready. Not everyone but those who have the courage and ability to handle a weapon in an emergency need to be able to have that weapon available to them.
Taking that weapon away allows people like this murderer to operate without the fear of being interrupted.
As a sheepdog who has run into danger, I, as well as undoubtedly many of my fellow sheepdogs, found myself wishing I could have been in that theater, wishing I had the chance to protect the sheep. But there are far too few police officers to be everywhere a gunman could be. That's why I support trained individuals who conceal-carry. People like Assam. Trained civilians who can act when the sheep are threatened.
The Second Amendment protects our right to carry a weapon. Knowing that an incident like this will happen again will make people consider taking their personal safety into their own hands, taking advantage of that right. Gun control would remove that right, remove that advantage and put their safety into the hands of the criminals.
When that door slams open and a gunman aims at you, will your answer be to say baaaah and die at his hands or will you try to stop him before he kills you and your family? The answer to that question is where you stand on gun control. The actions you take to arm yourself and defend yourself will help determine whether you survive an incident like Aurora, CO.
This person had one thought, one goal- to kill people, as many people as possible. Until we understand that kind of mentality exists- that monsters exist, we will continue to deny the only way to be safe is to be prepared. This type of personality would use whatever method he had available to him to achieve his goal of killing as many people as possible.
Just as banning fertilizer would not have stopped the massacre at the Murrah building, a gun ban would not have stopped this spree. There are wolves out there. We have to be ready to stop them before they stop us.