Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ballseye's Firearms (and in this case possibly unarmed) Tactics and Training: 911 - A Reason To Be Armed...

...and a better reason is hard to find. Of all the reasons for allowing citizens to be armed, the one I am about to give you is one of the best I can think of - 911. No I don't mean 9/11 (September 11, 2001) I mean the standard fallback of those who reside in the USA when danger is near, that desperate cry for help of those who are about to be harmed, the call to 911. All too many police departments, mayors offices, and other government entities would tell you that if you are ever faced with a threat to life or limb you should immediately call 911 for help. Then truth is though that 911 is probably much less efficient at helping than would be the caller being a knowledgeable armed shooter. You see a 911 response often just takes way to long, and in a moment the caller all too often winds up injured or dead. I have little faith that my calling 911 would be of much help to me should I ever be involved in an imminent life or death situation, it just takes them too darned long to respond in most cases to avoid an immediate threat. That is not the fault of the 911 operators, not the fault of police in responding, it is just a fact of life and death. When the threat is immediate, it needs to be responded to immediately. Taking the time to call 911 can get you severely injured or even killed if you are not doing something to either stop the threat, or to get away from it.

Just look to the story of the not too long ago massacre of 5 women, and the injuring of another, in the Lane Bryant store at Tinley Park, Illinois. Look to a woman, the manger of the store, one Rhoda McFarland. She did what probably had been hammered into her brain cells for years. Maybe she did or did not resist the robber by putting up a fight. Maybe she did or did not get up and try to run away.What we know she did was this: she went to her phone and she called 911 - all while her store apparently was being robbed at gun point. She probably thought she had done the right thing. Maybe she did, maybe not. My bet is she did what she had learned she was "supposed" to do. I can tell you something of which I am pretty darned sure, it took all of her courage, and courage she had, to stay where she was and make the call. You can hear the fear in her voice if you listen to the recording. Yet, she faced her fear and tried to save herself and others by doing what we pretty much are all told to do - she called 911. Her 911 call was for naught as far as saving her own life, and the lives of the other 4 women. Soon after the call she was bound, then executed along with 4 others, and another woman was badly wounded. The killer had enough time to gather his victims together, bind them, then execute them - apparently all after this 911 call was made. He also had enough time to do something else, to escape.

Rhoda McFarland was brave indeed. She took the time to try to do what she probably always been told was the right thing to do; so just imagine what she could have done if handguns in the hands of citizens were legal in the Tinley Park area a suburb of Chicago where the anti-gun laws are some of the most restrictive in the nation. Allow me to digress from Ms. McFarland just for a moment and to point out something you may have gotten or maybe just missed - the gun laws there prevent good, hard working, honest citizens from arming themselves, but had little of no effect on the killer! Okay, now back to that brave lady who made the 911 call. Imagine if you will another Tinley Park, another outlook about allowing citizens to arm themselves with handguns for self protection from dirtbags, robbers, rapists, murderers, violent gang members, terrorists, tyrants and the like. Imagine that Rhoda McFarland had been armed with three things that day: her mindset, a concealed semi automatic pistol, and her cell phone. Imagine that everything happened just as it unfolded in reality up to a point - to the point of her uttering her plea of an almost muted, and certainly desperate, single word: "hurry". Imagine that when the 911 operator then told her not to hang up, just after she had muttered that plea for someone to hurry to save the day, Ms. McFarland had done something else instead of saying "I won't hang up" (possibly her last words to anyone other than her killer). Imagine that at that point, instead of becoming a victim of a killer, she had drawn her pistol into her shooting hand (if not already there), and that she had taken careful aim at her assailant, and then fired several shots until he stopped being a threat. This is what could have happened, and I think what should have happened, but did not happen because of the rabidly anti-gun, anti-self defense, crowd in Illinois.

Of course if some ardent anti-gun rights people read this, they will likely point out that if they had their way and there were no guns, this would not have happened. Maybe, and maybe not, but first let me say there will never be zero guns. Criminals always will have access to guns, they are just too easy to make, and if you doubt that just look to a place like Pakistan that supplied millions of home-shop made weapons to the Afghans during the occupation of Afghanistan by the then Soviet Union. Criminals today have guns in places like Australia and England - two of the most restrictive nations of the face of the earth when it comes to gun ownership. They are outright banned in England, yet gun crime keeps rising. So too do all other forms of violent crimes such as stabbings, clubbings, beatings, rapes, strong armed robberies and the like. Why is that? It is because the people have been disarmed and are now ready for the slaughter.

If on the other hand, regular law abiding citizens were regularly allowed to be armed, then dirtbags like the killer of these five woman (all daughters, some wives, some sisters, some mothers, some aunts) may not have killed anyone, and he may not have escaped. If Ms. McFarland had had a gun, my guess is that she would have been brave enough to have used it in the situation in which she found herself - no mater how strong was any possible aversion she may have had to hurting or killing another human being - to protect herself and the 5 other women (4 killed and one gravely wounded). Heck, she had the courage to stare death in the face and make that call.

Does having an armed citizenry work as a deterrent or counter to violent crime. Sure it does. Look too, not too far back, to the church killings in Colorado when the security officer shot a man who outgunned her with far superior firepower. I have not heard of another church shooting, yet school shootings wherein no oner is armed continue. Look to any of the accounts of individual bravery when armed citizens defended themselves as reported on in the Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog. (If you click on this link you may, as I do, get an seemingly almost blank page. If so just scroll down until you see the main part of the blog.) What you will not see on that page is story after story of armed bad guys taking away firearms or other weapons from armed good guys. Yet, over the years the police and anti-gun deviants have told us all that this is exactly what would happen if an armed regular citizen tried to protect him or her self with a gun. The truth be told, yes it happens, but rarely. The thing that happens much more often is that the armed citizen, the regular Joe or Jane, the good guys, wind up stopping the threat and protecting: themselves, their loved ones, their neighbors, even people they have never met, from harm that a bad guy was about to do.

Calling 911 is, in my opinion, just not as effective as defending yourself when the threat is upon you. Now I am not saying not to call 911. Let's get back to Ms. McFarland. She called 911, but she then evidently had little or nothing left to do except to become a victim. Why did she have nothing left? Well, quite possibly due to her mindset as taught to her by anti-self defense types, by anti-gun people, by weak minded politicians, and by police state nannies. You see, in actuality had she been of another mindset, and even then still not armed with a firearm, it would have been possible or even likely that she would have fought for her life with all her might and with anything at hand that she could have used as a weapon. Maybe she did, I don't know, but I sought of doubt it if only because had she been of the mindset to fight to live, chances are those other 5 women would have rallied behind her and they would be alive right now. What I am saying, and I mean no disrespect to Ms. McFarland, I think she was brave just to have made the call, is that we have been taught to allow ourselves to be led to the slaughter if the police are not here to help us. The thing is that they will not be there to help you, they will not make it in time, not even when you call 911 right away, if the threat is immediate and suddenly becomes more than just a threat by becoming a violent action directed at you by the bad guy.

So what should you do. Police, anti-gun lobbies, mayors, senators, congress people, church leaders, civic leaders, teachers, and others on the left say it is too risky to fight back because chances are you will get hurt. Truth be told, I think that if you do not fight back, if you comply to the wishes of the bad guy, if you surrender, well then you are at mercy of the bad guy - the guy who is pointing the knife, or gun at your face, the guy who is threatening you, the guy who is about to kidnap you, tie you up, sodomize you, rape you, rob you, beat you, cut you, shoot you, kill you. Think about it, and you tell me what is more of a risk - surrendering to a bad guy and taking your chances that he or she will be merciful, or fighting back like it means your life, or the life of someone else? Me, I cannot say what I will do for any future situation, but I can tell you what I have done and still do. I ready myself for such a situation by training myself to fight back if possible by whatever means I have at hand. I have fought back more than a few times in my life, and each time I have done so I have saved myself from either serious bodily harm, more serious bodily harm if already injured, or from possible death at the hands of my attacker(s). Luckily for me I can be armed at virtually any time, but I remember at least once when I was unarmed and fought back using myself as the best weapon I had at the time. I cannot tell you with certainty that fighting back will work for you, you may get hurt or even killed, likewise for family members. I can tell you with absolute certainty though that when I have fought back (and I am no body builder, no martial arts guy, not even very strong or agile) it worked for me because here I am telling you all of this.

If you cannot be armed, and think maybe it would be a good idea to be armed - well all I can say is that you had best start complaining to elected officials, and appointed officials, of all types regarding your right to keep and bear arms, and your right to self defense. Then make sure to vote in all elections, and vote to strengthen those rights, and to make sure you have the liberty to exercise them. Besides that, go to a self defense class. You do not have to be a 5th degree black belt in Karate and Brazilian Jujitsu to defeat an attacker, even an armed one.; but you should know something about how to defend yourself in the best manner possible if you are ever attacked. After taking self defense classes, train often in the techniques. This way you will remember what to do, have it come easily to you when stressed (more easily than if not trained) and you will more likely keep the right mindset. Take a refresher course now and then too.

If you do get a gun, or another weapon, get classes in how to use it to defend yourself. For example, go to shooter's self defense classes; don't just think 'hey now I have a gun or other weapon, and I am invincible' because that frame of mind likely will get you hurt or killed. As the Boy Scouts of America used to say, and maybe still do: "Be prepared". Get yourself to a level of competence, and confidence, then you will have other options than just dialing a hero by calling 911. You see, all to often the hero is busy saving someone else thus leaving you to either depend upon yourself, or to depend upon the mercy - if any - of your attacker. So learn how and when to run, learn how and when to fight, learn what you can use for a weapon and how to use it if you cannot carry a gun or other conventional weapon, learn how to hide or take cover, learn how to stop the threat or at least how to get away from it; then when something happens call 911 if you can do so safely. If you are not safe, if the threat is immediate, if there is no time for calling 911, and if you have learned your self defense lessons well, then maybe, just maybe, you can do what it takes to save your life and the lives of others. What others, well those like your spouse or kids, and maybe even the life of that stranger next to you - then call 911. As for that starnger, the one who you just saved at some risk to yourself; remember that someday one of them, a total stranger, may do the same for you or your loved one. One thing you should not do, do not call 911 and then expect a miracle to save you! Sometimes it is just more of a risk to not try to save yourself, sometimes you just have to be your own hero because help will just not get there in time.

One last thought, I don't want anyone to think I am faulting these 6 ladies for themselves being shot by the bad guy. They reacted to a bad situation probably in the best and only way they knew how, a way that has been hamered into people for many years in this country and others, one that says it is best to submit to and comply with the aggressor. The fault here lies mostly with the bad guy, but also with those in our society who demand that we should wait for a miracle save in the form of calling magical dial a hero 911 without defending ourselves. The truth be told, waiting for someone else to save us just fails all too often. I wish that Ms. McFarland and those other 5 women had thought of it that way - I wish they would have seen their options and chosen furious self defense. Really, I do wish that; but apparently they did what they were trained to do by a society that has given up on taking the risk associated with armed or even unarmed self defense in favor of taking the risk of depending upon the mercy of evil doers. That my friends is a shame because their loved ones have lost them forever; and maybe, just maybe, it could have all turned out much differently had we as a society given them a chance. How I wish the last words we heard in that 911 call had been:

"I am in Lane Bryant in Tinley Park, hurry." (Shots ringing out over the phone.) "I got him, he's down. Hurry. I won't hang up"; and then... and then the voices of police officers talking to Ms. McFarland, and her responding to them in a shaky but yet strong voice, when they finally arrived on the scene. All this as heard over the phone at 911 because, as she had said, she would not hang up.

My thoughts and sympathies go out to those 5 ladies, and their families and loved ones. To that one lady, the one who survived, I wish her a speedy recovery in body and mind.

All the best
Glenn B