If you are anti-guns, or afraid of guns, or just don't like them and don't want them in your house, then this blog is for you.
(It might just change your mind)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How to mitigate violent crimes like the Connecticut Shooting

Crime exists.  It has always existed, and it always will exist, because it is part of human nature.  Not my nature, and hopefully not your nature, but for some, yes.  It's a fact that is evident throughout history and again in every day life.  Inalienable truth.  Indisputable.  Unstoppable.  Crime happens.  We can do many proactive things to mitigate it, but we will never stop it altogether.

The Supreme Court has ruled that police and other authorities have *NO* obligation to protect citizens from crime.  They can not, and will not ever be able to prevent all crimes from happening.  In fact, even if you are under assault and call 911, they are not obligated to come to your rescue.  They may not have an officer nearby, or maybe not even one available at all.  They can not guarantee that someone will come in time, or at all. 

Don't get me wrong.  The police are an invaluable community asset, and they do the best they can with what they have.  But they simple can not be everywhere that they need to be, much less all at once.  They don't have the resources.  And when they can be there.. when they can come rescue you, they get there as fast as they can... but that may still take several minutes, maybe more.  In a crisis like that, every second counts.  Average police response time depending on your municipality and current officer availability can be anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes.

That may be enough time if someone is cussing and kicking your garbage cans and spreading trash around your yard.  They may be enough time if you have come home to a home that was burglarized while you were gone and the house is now empty.  But not if you are under threat.  Not if someone is breaking into your home.  Not if a madman is shooting up your kids elementary school.  A lot can happen in 15 minutes.  Adam Lanza killed 26 people in about half that time.

So lets say you are a teacher at school and someone like Adam comes in and starts shooting.  You try to hide or escape and call 911 right?  And what exactly do you expect the police to do when you call 911?  You want them to send out a police officer, right?  One with a gun...  To stop the attacker.  Because despite our individual and personal beliefs on gun control, we all know that the only real way to stop an "active shooter" is to shoot them.  That's what the police can do.  Yes, we'd rather that the perpetrator gave themselves up - and we'll try and talk them down if we can.  But if you are unable to do so, your end game is: you shoot the shooter. 
So, not to put it too simply, but basically we are calling 911 in the hope that a someone is available to come shoot the bad guy, knowing that it may take far too long for them to arrive and assess the situation, in which time you could be dead.

Nice plan.
Here's a thought:  FEMA emergency operators and local crisis managers can tell you something about handling natural disasters.  These are people trained in things like first aid, logistics, organization, crowd management, and general crisis control.  But when a disaster occurs, they are spread too thin.  Much like police officers are spread too thin to prevent crime.  There is simply too much to do, and not enough of them.  What's a crisis manager to do?

They will tell you that you almost always see a lot of people on site - many of them volunteers.  It's the other side of human nature - Protection, compassion, generosity, assistance.  Crisis managers do what any good manager would do - make use of available resources to scale up work capacity.  They train and "enlist" the volunteers to handle the crisis.

This is what the police departments should do to further proactively mitigate violent crime.  They train and "enlist" the volunteers to handle the crisis.  That way, the police department has more resources - just like the crisis managers created, and the net result is that the waiting time for help may go down form minutes to seconds.

It's not as hard as it sounds.  Nor would it be expensive for the police department to implement.  There are literally *thousands* of honest, trustworthy, individuals in each state who are *already background checked and trained* that can help.  In Texas they are called CHLs, in some state they are called CCWs. 

These individuals are willing to risk or sacrifice their lives to protect those that they love, and other innocents.  They exercise gun safety and responsible gun ownership on a daily basis.  They are trained to shoot accurately, and to shoot to stop, not to kill.  They know the laws.  They know that every bullet counts, and they are responsible for every shot fired - they assess shooting conditions in a split second and know if it is safe enough to take the shot or not.  This is what is already required to be a CHL.

If we would relax the restrictions and let these licensed CHLs carry in schools, they could assist the police.  Teachers and principals could get licensed too.  

Yes, maybe that would require additional training, or special ammo, or any number of other precautions and due diligence.  Fine.  But we need to remove the restrictions from carrying in otherwise "gun free killing zones" where criminals choose to attack the defenseless innocent.

For more information on becoming a CHL or regulations on carrying a firearm, check your local and state laws.

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