The Armed Citizen in the Age of Terror

The opening shots of this process have been fired - but what can the armed, or about to be armed citizen do about it?

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Due to the rise of Islamo-Facist terrorism, the 21st Century presents challenges never seen in America since frontier days, when the various Indian tribes directed attacks against un-protected settlements and farms as of way of driving the invaders out of their country. Women and children were not only not off-limits, but were frequently preferred targets.

The goals of Islamo-Facist terror are much different than those of the American Indian who sought to regain control of their lands. The long term goal is to force conversion of the "infidel" or "apostate" peoples of earth to their "one true" version of Islam. While this long term goal may not be readily apparent to the casual observer, it is part of a long term, gradual process. The opening shots of this process have been fired-but what can the armed, or about to be armed citizen do about it? What role can and should you play should you find yourself enveloped in a terrorist or active shooter incident?

This is something to be considered carefully, as I know many of you have purchased firearms, either handguns or long arms, for the purpose of protecting themselves, your families, and your friends from future terrorist events on American soil. But realize this. Your response for such an attack requires that you turn off the "Rambo Response" switch well in advance of any such event.

The San Bernadino attack got me thinking about what the correct response to an armed citizen caught up in such an event should be. In case you missed it on the other networks-which hate to give credence to the concept that civilians with lawful arms can be an asset to the community-Fox News reported that there was an armed citizen who played a critical role in the San Bernadino event. This individual, who owned a business across the street from the gun-free government offices where the attack occurred, heard the shooting and grabbed his lawfully owned firearm (not known if it was a rifle, shotgun or handgun), and posted himself across the street to observe. He did not go rushing in to directly intervene in the attack. When the terrorists exited, he was in a position to get their description, license plate number, and direction of travel, while he remained in a protected position with his weapon at the ready. According to him, the terrorists were in their SUV heading out of the driveway when they spotted him. They veered their vehicle towards him, apparently with thoughts of taking him out, until he pointed his gun directly at them; which caused them to veer away. He was able to relay this critical information to the police. Had he run into the shooting scene to try and directly intervene, he would have been too late to save anyone's life. He also would have been outnumbered two to one by people who were armed with full-auto modified AR15's and who were using explosive devices. He might have lost his life as well without relaying critical information.

Some of you may not want to hear this, but this armed witnesse's actions serve as a perfect example of how the armed citizen should act when they are in the proximity of, but not directly in, a terrorist or active shooter event in progress. Protect yourself, have your weapon at the ready, use a position of cover if available, and then start noting everything that you see and hear. If you can, get on 911 and relay as much information as you can, and keep feeding it. Make sure you tell the dispatcher your position, and that you have armed yourself for your own protection. Make sure you give your description and name. If the attack reaches your position, defend yourself, but DON'T insert yourself into the situation if you aren't already in it. There will be more cops and equipment coming to deal with the situation than you can imagine, and they are coming with guns drawn. Inserting yourself will put you at risk of becoming a mistake at the end of a very tense law enforcement officer's gun. My personal reaction may be a bit different. By the time you read this, I will have been under oath for 36 years as a law enforcement officer. Not only am I bound to intervene in situations like this, but I have been on SWAT, and have trained, and been trained, in responses to active shooter situations and terrorist events. Military veterans, especially active duty folks, may feel the same way, and will have to make that decision for themselves after weighing their options. But understand the risk to you is grave.

But what if you are already in a terrorist situation that is unfolding around you, such as in a shopping mall or other public place? First, seek a position of cover if possible before or while drawing your CONCEALED handgun. Your only cover may be getting as close to the ground as possible. Once you have cover or even some concealment, then you can use your handgun to deal with the attacker or attackers. You may have to barricade yourself in a good location such as a locked room if you happen to be defending others who are unarmed from the attack, or buying them time to escape from windows or through other exits. It is not a good situation to be in, but it is certainly better than trusting to luck or hoping for some mercy from the gunman.

Unfortunately, terrorism is our 21st Century reality. The best defense against it is through the individual exercise of Second Amendment rights by responsible citizens who have properly prepared for these threats by giving them full consideration in advance.