The statistics say it all… It does not matter where you are at, your safety is at risk. Walmart is not safe. Elementary schools are not safe. Government buildings are not safe. Your home is not safe. And over the weekend, we watched in horror as places of worship (knife attacks at a synagogue in New York and church shooting in Texas) were attacked, demonstrating once again, they are not safe. The Texas shooter was known to police and had a criminal record. The suspect in New York was reported to have no criminal history. In the synagogue attack in New York, the suspect entered the Rabbi’s home and stabbed five people, fracturing one their skulls. In Texas, during church services, a man stood up, removed a shotgun from under a long coat, and pointed it at the parishioners. Two innocents were killed. At least one of them can be seen in the video reaching for a concealed handgun before being shot.
The entire Texas attack took no more than about six seconds. Fortunately, the victims were not the only ones in the congregation who were armed. At least two other armed good guys in the congregation shot, or shot at the attacker—one making a head shot. Another half-dozen or so armed parishioners quickly converged on the downed murderer.
The death of innocents is, of course, never a reason for celebration. However, defending and saving an untold number of additional potential victims in public venue is a lesson we can all learn from. People with evil intent exist. No sign, zone, or designation will stop a person bent on committing murder.
Murder is already illegal. Passing more laws, making it “more” illegal to commit murder, will not stop evil intent. The mere suggestion of making murder “more” illegal is asinine. Yet, that is exactly what is often proposed in regards to firearms. Even the armed parishioners could not prevent two murders. However, their quick, heroic actions did limit the number victims. The same is true of gun laws. More laws against firearms will not stop or hinder evil intent, but an armed citizenry is the best first responder force.
If you cannot stop murder, or in the case of the New York synagogue, attempted murder, what make politicians and the anti-gunners think another law against firearms will stop these tragedies? That did not stop failed Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke from coming out and blaming Texas Governor Greg Abbott for passing legislation that allowed the parishioners to carry firearms in a place of worship. Even after watching the video and seeing the armed good guys preventing further tragedy by killing the shotgun-wielding murder, the Democratic hopeful could resist the chance to bash our Second Amendment right to self-defense.
For me, the solution is simple: being armed 24/7. If a person with a clipboard knocks on the door, and that person attacks as soon as you open the door or is ready to kick it in, a firearm in the safe, den, hidden cabinet, garage or basement is not going to do you any good. Sadly, we must admit to ourselves that we live in society where you must accept responsibility for your own security and safety and have a gun at the ready.
I am not advocating breaking any laws, so for places we cannot carry legally, we need to change the laws. Likewise, I am not in favor of leaving firearms unsecured in every nook and cranny of the home, office, or vehicle. On your body is always your best option, but there are other solutions for when that is not possible.
While out and about, there are places you may go where you cannot carry. For example, certain government buildings, schools, or in some states, even places of worship. That does not mean you cannot be armed when transiting from your home to these places and back. However, you’ll need a way to properly secure the firearm when you are not legally allowed to carry it. The center console, glove box, under the seat, or a bag in the trunk are far from sufficient solutions. While I hate having to leave my firearm behind, there are several great solutions from Hornady, Gun Vault, Gun Box, and others that have solutions to safely secure your firearm when leaving it behind in your vehicle.
The same is true for the home. Long gone are the days of leaving a handgun at the ready in the nightstand beside the bed. That solution has, all too often, ended in the tragic death of a curious youngster or a firearm easily accessed by a thief who breaks into the home. Owning a firearm comes with a level of responsibility for your personal safety and for those around you. That means having a firearm in your hand when the wolf comes knocking at your door and ensuring the firearm is secured and not accessible by those who should not have it.
Train and Have a Plan
A gun does not shoot on its own, and once the bullet leaves the barrel, it has no friends. Training, practice, and a plan are key to any self-defense scenario. In the Texas church shooting, Jack Wilson managed to bring the murderer down with a shot to the head. However, the wrong angle, an errant shot, or an over-penetration scenario could have resulted in more casualties of innocents. Fortunately, Jack is a firearms trainer…
The following video is included, not because it shows the actual shooting, but because the analysis centers around the response of the church security team and offers some great insight into the necessary actions, roles, and materials for anyone forming or reviewing the operational plan for a church security team.
Tactics in the home are important as well. In homes with children, parents often talk about things such as fire safety. Is there a fire extinguisher in the house, how to use it, how to get out of the house in a fire, etc. Self-defense is no different. Topics of discussion should include, zones of responsibility, routes of egress and when to move, safe lanes of fire versus ones that may endanger loved ones, first aid, who is responsible to call 911, and contingencies should the primary assigned person be unable to perform their tasks. Will one person be armed or more than one? How will they communicate, both verbally and through non-verbal communication to the other armed individuals in the house? Who will take responsibility for minors or the elderly to ensure they do not wander into the field of fire or make themselves easy hostages when the commotion starts?
Watching the video of the encounter in the church shows they had a plan. Multiple people, dispersed throughout church, responded from different angles and parts of the church. The man who delivered the fatal head shot from about 30-35 feet away was a firearms instructor, but as the video points out, there were some errors or things that could have been performed better. The main thing was the bad guy stopped and lives were saved. No criticism, just an opportunity to learn from a real world incident and get the conversation started.
Stay safe and be prepared, most of all, be armed.
Are you committed to 24/7 carry? Do you have a family security plan? What about a workplace or church security team or plan? Share your advice, tips, or lessons learned in the comment section.
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Regarding the opening question, “What is safe”, given the ever present possibility of “bad people”, the realistic answer would likely be “Nothing is safe”, which I submit is harsh but reality.
Therefore, when someone poses what I consider the really dumb question of Why do you need those things, those things being guns, I’m inclined to politely offer the following. The answer, perhaps unfortunately, is or should be self evident. Should the questioner choose to be unarmed, entirely their option, I would quite reasonably expect to receive the same courtesies from them. Such courtesies being offered, no problem. Unfortunately, the referenced courtesies are not always offered, therein lying the problem, a large problem.