Tuesday morning’s apparent false alarm “active shooter” incident in San Diego underscored the new approach to how authorities, and maybe everyone else, should react if they are caught in the middle of a mass shooting, and the advice came from the Facebook page of the Naval Medical Center where the incident didn’t take place: “All occupants are advised to run, hide or fight.”
It was reminiscent of what Washington, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said on “60 Minutes” to a CBS reporter last November following the Paris terror incident that took more than 100 lives. It was a remark that surprised a lot of people.
“Your options are run, hide, or fight,” Lanier said at the time. “If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there.”
What the Navy, and Chief Lanier overlooked is that it is tougher to fight or “take out” armed terrorists if you don’t have something with which to shoot. Washington D.C. has handed out a paltry number of concealed carry permits. It’s a definite violation to be packing a gun in a military hospital facility unless you have authorization, and most people do not, a fact the initial “breaking news” Washington Post report this morning overlooked.
Since Paris, and more recently San Bernardino, a growing chorus of law enforcement leaders, mostly county sheriffs but also some gutsy and candid police chiefs, have encouraged private citizens to arm up and legally carry defensive sidearms. That’s because they are willing to acknowledge that when seconds count, the police are minutes away, sometimes many minutes. In rural parts of the country, that becomes maybe an hour.
Today’s story out of San Diego has vanished from the headlines because it’s not news to report something that didn’t happen. It also doesn’t fit well with the gun control narrative to have a message publicly posted that advises people to “run, hide or fight.”
But there it was. It serves as a reminder that self-defense is a moral thing, and perhaps a responsibility, rather than cowering in a corner hoping that some madman, gang banger or religious fanatic isn’t going to put one through your forehead.
There’s a famous bumper sticker that is sold by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms that simply says: “Fight Crime, Shoot Back.” That, of course, requires that one be armed for a situation that hopefully will never unfold. But it’s like having car insurance or a fire extinguisher. They’re nice to have but one hopes to never have to use them.
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