Today in America another Good Guy With A Gun stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park. According multiple news outlets, a 43 year-old man decided that his need for the money inside the Warren, MI Citizens Bank was more important than the rightful owners. So, he robbed it.
All was going according to plan and to the standard bank protocol:
In-need individual walks in and demands cash
Teller hands over money
Enriched felon leaves with his future secured, never to offend again
Nobody gets hurt
Well, it went according to plan until we get to step 3. At this point in the involuntary charitable donation from the bank to the robber, he decided it was time to leave. On his way out, our assailant met an as-yet-unnamed 63 year-old (not really all THAT old) and menaced him with a handgun.
In the normal course of events in the criminal underworld, when you point your gun at someone, they cower in fear and do what you tell them to do. Our unnamed Good Guy With A Gun standing in for the police (who were only minutes away as we understand it) decided to go off-script and drew his own gun, firing three times, striking the poor victim of society once in each arm and once in the leg.
We all joke about it with our friends, but the truth is very simple: DO. NOT. MESS. WITH. OLD PEOPLE.
They will laugh at your gun in their face and, as you stand there in shock at things not going as you expected them to, they will beat you down with their cane, their walker, or pull a handgun out from the side of their wheelchair, fanny pack, or their gigantic purse.
It’s not just because of all the medications that A. Grandma’s purse was off limits and, B. Grandma’s purse weighed a TON.
While we laud our hero and condemn our villain, who has a nice, shiny pair of handcuffs waiting for him on release from the hospital, we have to ask ourselves, “What’s the lesson I, as a student of the art of the gun, can take away from this?”
1. Be prepared. Our hero was going about his day with probably no more thought of having to use his gun than his nitro pills. But it happened anyway. We carry a gun not because we are looking for trouble, but to be prepared when trouble comes looking for us. To view it any other way would be vigilantism or burying our heads under the blankets so the monsters can’t see us. Unless you’re up against the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, this is, as they say, contra-indicated
2. As we have said before, police have a definite place in our society and we here at Interritus honor them for their sacrifices. But we do not live in a police state. Police are, barring any advanced notice they may have, a reactive organization. There is no Department of Pre-Crime for them to know when the next violent criminal misguided victim of society is going strike.
3. This is why we train. It’s why we seek out instruction and non-traditional shooting ranges. While the mayor of Warren is praising this gentleman’s marksmanship, I’d bet my next paycheck that this gentleman was aiming center-mass, but missed. Stress changes our reaction times and throws a monkey wrench into our fine motor skills. You can aim center-mass all day long, but when the adrenaline is flowing and it’s your butt on the line, you might make a few mistakes, like pushing the trigger because you didn’t get your finger pad situated before beginning to press it to the rear (criminal’s right arm is shot), jerking the trigger (criminal’s left arm is shot), or anticipating the shot (criminal’s leg is shot). To reduce this, you need to train until your draw, presentation, and trigger press are muscle memory, controlled only by the decision to shoot or hold fire.
4. At the time of this writing, according to national-level news outlets, this hasn’t happened. Strangely, it only took five minutes of googling on a smart-phone to find the local news stories. Can any of you imagine how this may have been different if the robber had done the shooting? It would have been blasted across CNN, FOX, The New York Times, and all of the other major outlets decrying the evil of guns. This incident? Not newsworthy enough.
5. Lastly, and as always, when something bad happens to you, you are the first person on scene. You, as a responsible adult, have a moral obligation to yourself to provide as much of your own care as possible. Whether you need a cop, a fireman, or an EMT, providing even basic assistance to yourself will make their job easier and, quite possibly, save your own life. You Are Your Own First Responder.