Civilians, Police, and Active Shooters.

Looking through FaceBook “Memories” today, I saw one from last year  in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas school shooting.  Many people have been pointing out that places like Utah have had apparent success with allowing school staff and faculty who so choose, and who are licensed to carry concealed in the State of Utah, to do so at school.  None of the horror stories about what would happen if that were permitted. (Really?  A teacher upset at student misbehavior would draw a gun and start shooting?  A teacher would be so careless as to leave the gun where a student could get it?  Basically, teachers are stupid with poor impulse control?  If you’re serious about those arguments, then I need my kids out of those teachers’ hands right now–guns or no guns.)

Someone made the “counter argument” as follows:

“How would you like to be a black armed teacher at a shooting when the police show up?”

Excuse me?  Can we count the things wrong with that?

First, the police are late of course.  They weren’t there when it began.  This is implicit in “when the police show up”. Statistics show that the sooner armed resistance to an active shooter–a “spree killer”–shows up, the fewer casualties.  Armed resistance already there vs. armed resistance showing up later.  The FBI’s own studies (which I have talked about before) show that when an armed civilian is present when a spree killer starts his rampage, 75% of the time, the armed civilian totally stops the attack.  In another 19-20 percent of the time (depending on rounding) they at least slow the spree killer down reducing the number of casualties.  So, 94-95% of the time, having someone on. the. scene. armed and ready to respond saves lives.

As opposed to police arriving later.  Okay, there’s that additional 5-6% where they don’t seem to help (and which will be trumpeted to the skies by the anti-gun folk, as though it never goes any other way).  Well, nothing’s perfect, but I’ll take that 94-94% chance of improving the situation over zero percent–which is what you get with no armed citizens present.

Second, the police in the given scenario are incompetent.  They may have a point here.  There have been cases of police coming late to the party and shooting the armed civilian who had just stopped the active shooter.  So, yeah, I’m willing to acknowledge a problem of police incompetence.  I mean, sure, they could notice which one is pointing his weapon toward innocents and which has the innocents behind him, defending them.  They could see which one obeys a verbal order to put down the weapon.  They could do an actual threat assessment and judge who is the threat and who is defending against the threat.  But so long as police are trained and act as though anyone armed who’s not a cop is “a threat” we can only expect them to act like it.

But, I’d argue that we really need to take a second look at just who needs to be disarmed in that case.  Hint:  It’s not the armed civilian who just stopped an active shooter.

Third, why did they have to say “black teacher”? Oh, right.  They’re assuming that the police are racist.  They’ll automatically assume the black guy is the bad guy, regardless of circumstances.

And, again, I’d argue that we need to take a third look at just who needs to be disarmed.  Hint:  once again, it’s not the armed civilian who just stopped an active shooter.

The person apparently thought they were making a “Mic drop” argument against armed civilians but, really, if anything, they were making a pretty good argument for disarming the police and arming civilians instead.

But I won’t go that far.  I’ll merely suggest that the problem can, and should, be dealt with by proper training of police and weeding out those incapable or unwilling to engage in proper threat assessment, to determine who’s the bad guy and who’s not, to see who complies with orders and who doesn’t. (Hint:  if one guy puts down his gun when told to do so and the other turns to start shooting at you, the latter guy is the one you can shoot.  And if they both put down their guns?  Fine.  Great.  Cuff them both and sort it out later.)

But disarm the citizens so that incompetent, racist police can arrive late? (Hey, I wasn’t the one making that case.  I was just responding to it.)

I’ll pass.

4 thoughts on “Civilians, Police, and Active Shooters.”

  1. Odds of being shot by leos in the aftermath are … not good. I knew exactly one person who lived through a big shootout. It was in a jewelry store, the goblins were shooting off the witnesses. He played dead, and put five .38 specials up the guy’s crotch as the guy was stepping over him. Then he spent 3 weeks in jail.


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