Any firearms instructor worth his or her salt will try to teach their charges to break tunnel vision during a criminal attack. Heaven knows police officer trainees have “scan and assess the scene” drilled into their them too, and for good reason. It’s far too easy to concentrate on a perceived threat in front of you and miss other equally dangerous threats that might arise.
For example, a good guy with a gun in Phoenix recently decided he wanted to make contact with a pair of shoplifters. He (foolishly) put them at gunpoint. A cop nearby heard the commotion and approached. He shouted for the armed man to drop the gun. However, the armed man was concentrating so hard on his interaction with the shoplifters, he didn’t hear the police officer or the woman with him who was yelling at him that the police had arrived.
When the man holding the gun failed to comply with the officer’s command, the cop shot him. He died five or six days later in the hospital from his wounds.
Here’s the bodycam video of the incident.
Good guys and gals who carry every day also need to be thinking something else after a situation stabilizes following a defensive use their gun, even if they don’t have to fire a shot.
Put the gun away as soon as possible!
Every moment your gun (or other defensive tool such as a blade) is exposed to plain view, your life is in potential danger.
Take the man who shot a cop-killer in a suburb outside Denver. After putting the murderer down, the good guy with a gun – for whatever reason – picked up the bad guy’s AR-15. A responding officer saw “a man holding an AR-15” near where his fellow officer was mortally wounded. The responding officer fired and killed the hero. Yes, it was a tragic mistake, but the good guy is still dead.
We all know the threat criminals present, but we also face potentially mortal danger from responding cops as well as fellow concealed carry license holders. Or, for those who live in one of the twenty-one Constitutional Carry states, any another everyday good guy with a gun.
The “put the gun away ASAP” doctrine even applies to off-duty cops or plainclothes security. That badge in your pocket or on the other side of your body won’t stop incoming rounds. And in low light conditions, absent an easily recognized uniform, a badge may not convey one’s good guy status no matter its location.
With the ever-increasing number of good guys carrying guns in public, you never know who is nearby. Gun handling and tactics skills run the gamut from highly trained to well-meaning but utterly clueless. As a trainer (and a trainee) for almost 25 years, I’ve seen them all.
No matter what, if at all possible, you absolutely don’t want to be standing over a downed individual holding a “smoking gun.” Or even a not-so-smoking gun or knife.
If the immediate threat has ended, scan and asses for other potential threats and then put the gun away as soon as feasible.
Your inner ring of protection (at least from the responding good guys of every flavor) is your own non-threatening behavior and demeanor.