I’ve read quite a bit of analysis from the theater shooting in Aurora Colorado and while I don’t think we know all of the facts yet I do think there is enough information available to start thinking about what we could, would or should do in a similar situation. People a lot more experienced than I have chimed in, I’m just going to try to consolidate the points they have made into the ones I have taken to heart the most and add a few thoughts of my own.
The best line so far I have read about this comes from Travis Haley in this facebook post:
The majority of concealed carry and open carry armed citizens are a liability. Just because you go through a 1 day course doesn’t not mean that you can problem solve an armored active shooter in a never expected, dark, tear gassed disruptive environment with screaming people while stepping over dead bodies. You must understand advanced applications under stress. Just like a pilot graduating flight school doesn’t mean he’s ready to jump into air to air combat
Now before you go off on Mr. Haley I recommend you read his whole post. If you choose not to ponder this line he wrote a bit further down:
When American citizens take an anti-Second Amendment stance, we seriously need to wonder about their status of “American”
Personally I see his point loud and clear and it dovetails with something else I’ve been meaning to talk about; the Zimmerman case.
Some of you are aware of AGirl over at “A Girl and Her Gun” if you’re not go read her story. Recently she was injured while training in unarmed combatives with an MMA fighter. This is training of a type I’m not sure Mr. Zimmerman availed himself of. If he had he might not have ever needed to use his firearm. If he just took the course strapped on his gun and went on his way he would be a liability like Mr. Haley talks about. In all fairness so would a good number of Police Officers who just do the required training and qualifications. However, there are citizens and Police Officers alike who take extra training, spend their own money and time to practice on the range and study critical incidents to increase their abilities. So while I wouldn’t begrudge a CCW holder their right to carry a weapon I know I would rather have someone like Mr. Haley or AGirl with me in a situation like they faced in Aurora.
So what could we have done in Aurora or in a similar situation? Well first off let’s look at a 100% guaranteed way to win a fight, don’t get into one. That’s right every fight you don’t get into you win and as Massad Ayoob puts it “Do not go where you are not wanted.” This means that as happened in Aurora the potential rescuers will not be there. However, what if CCW was welcome in the theater and you’re there? One of the best initial responses may not be your gun. In my case I would consider a bright flashlight like the Elzetta ZFL-M60,
particularly if it has the High/Strobe Tailcap installed. The bright light will blind and disorient the attacker. This could help people escape and give me time to gain a better tactical advantage. Of course at this point the shooter may just leave, but I can’t count on that. So I may need to actually shoot and my shots have to go where I want them to.
Lately I’ve had the opportunity to work with some products from Crimson Trace. I was a laser skeptic who now sees the light. So now my opinion is that if at all possible your defensive firearm should have a laser sight on it. Even if the perpetrator is armored (and there is some debate on how armored the Aurora shooter was) incoming fire is going to hurt. It’s also the one thing Active Shooters generally prefer to avoid. If I can I would use my laser to help me hit an unarmored spot or maintain sustained hits while I close and remove him from the fight.
Once the encounter is over though you’re still not done some people may be injured and in need of help. One of them may even be you. Fortunately companies like ITS Tactical have come up with individual trauma kits that are small enough to keep in your pocket. I really like ITS’s EDC Trauma Kit.
It’s small, light and has the very basic essentials one needs to help reduce blood loss. Like Mr. Haley’s comments above this is not something you just buy stick in your pocket or EDC bag and consider yourself ready to render aid to a trauma victim. You need training like a red cross first aid class at a minimum, the more training you can get the better, but at least get the Red Cross training and stay current with it.
Long story short, avoid trouble if possible, but if you can’t be sure you have as much training as you can and that you have done your best to remain proficient with your skills.