Monday, November 21, 2005

The Day You Forget Your Gun

Your family wants to go to the Tacoma Mall this Sunday.

You lock your defensive pistol in the trunk of your car as you all go inside to shop. It's just the mall, what could happen?, you think.

You and your family are walking down the mall when you hear it -- BANG! BANG! BANG! CRACK!

A man falls in front of you, clutching his calf. You scream "GET DOWN!" as you push your kids to the floor.

Other stunned shoppers are standing around, looking at you like you are crazy. You yell at them too, "GET DOWN!" Further up the mall you hear some screams echoing and someone else begins to yell, "gunfire, gunfire!".


You try to remember "what am I supposed to do when gunfire erupts?" You look for something to get behind, a planter, a wall, anything. You look over to a store where the clerk is standing, open-mouthed, looking up the mall. You push the kids and your wife towards the store, half scuttling, half crawling.

You glance in the direction of where the clerk is looking and catch a glimpse of a young guy wearing a light blue shirt, a tie and a tan jacket, walking backwards shooting a rifle from the hip. He's getting closer...

Thankfully, the clerk's brain has engaged and he has jumped up and caught the metal security gate for the store and is pulling it down.

You push your family towards the back of the store, taking up a defensive position and your hand instinctively moves toward your hip...but your pistol is safely locked in your car. It might as well be a million miles away right now. And the gunman is moving closer to the store while still firing.

Yesterday, 20-year-old Dominick Sergio Maldonado walked into the Tacoma Mall in Washington and opened fire, injuring six and holding three hostage for several hours before being arrested by SWAT personnel.

The shooting lasted a scant 45 seconds, which probably seemed like an eternity to those at the scene. Typically active shooter scenarios last between 4 and 17 minutes -- a short enough timeframe that it is very unlikely that law enforcement agencies will be able to respond, deploy and terminate the threat. It's probably going to be up to you to save yourself and your family -- and you don't have your pistol. Several mass shootings have been stopped by responsible citizens, but only after they retreived their handguns.

Your defensive handgun does nothing for you when it's tucked away somewhere. For that reason, make sure you don't choose a platform that is too big, bulky and inconvenient to carry. Do what the professional protection agents do, they routinely carry small, compact and easily concealed handguns.


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