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Old December 12, 2012, 10:31 PM   #26
Koda94
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so if you had to engage or chose to engage the mall shooter, would it not be ideal to reholster your weapon immediately after the threat is stopped?

to break this down; realistically your either going to be immediately involved or your going to have to make a choice to get involved and engage or retreat. The latter affords your best bet to retreat to safety there is no need to draw any weapon putting you in jeopardy of being mistaken by LE or other CCW civilians.
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Old December 12, 2012, 10:35 PM   #27
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Old December 12, 2012, 10:44 PM   #28
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Oh yes, reholster immediately if the threat is over. IF, you removed the threat, try to get anybody that's not running from you to secure that immediate area and wait for PD. Have them help keep people away from where you were, where the shooter is, and try to get calm again. Don't touch anything, raise hands when PD arrive and tell them who you are, and where your holstered gun is, etc.
Odds are, you'll be treated fine.

Of course, if you're in NYC, Chicago, and your bravery saved the Mayor, you'll still get life, just for saving lives. Go figure.
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Old December 12, 2012, 11:43 PM   #29
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My very general plan if something like this happens near me:

1) If escape is an option, I would get out of the building as quickly as possible, by whatever route seemed safest and most do-able, including exits marked "alarm will sound" or "employees only." Once outside, I would get in my car and drive away. I would not stand around outside the building with the crowd waiting to see what happened next, because flying bullets don't respect police tape.

2) If I could not get out of the area, I would find a small, controllable area where I could hunker down -- a bathroom with a door, a changing room, a supply closet, a break room. I would shove anything up against the door that I could, then I would train my gun on the door and await events.

3) On my way to either type of safety, I would push - shove - grab - pull as many people to safety with me as I could, waking up the ones that were frozen, but I would not stop to argue or plead. Exception: family members. I would do whatever it took to get a family member to safety, and I would not leave someone I love behind.

4) If, on my way to safety, I saw the bad guy as he was in the very act of killing innocent others -- which means and if, only if, I could see and clearly identify that he was in fact the bad guy, and not a plainclothes or off-duty officer or a good citizen who was shooting the real bad guy -- and if I reasonably believed I could take that shot without endangering others (more than they were already in danger) then I would take the shot. Otherwise, I would not.

But it's far more likely I'd be among those who flee the scene or hid in a closet, because I'm not going to go looking for the killer. I will do what it takes to save myself, my family, and those immediately around me, but running toward danger is above my pay grade.

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Old December 13, 2012, 12:13 AM   #30
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I could see and clearly identify that he was in fact the bad guy, and not a plainclothes or off-duty officer or a good citizen who was shooting the real bad guy
I wish there was some secrete CCW code that identifies us, like I'm here your here and no matter what goes down I've ID'd you and will not shoot.

sorry for that side topic,
There are so many variables here but in general my plan is to get myself and loved ones to safety and help as many along the way. If the situation was in my face the choice is obvious, but otherwise removing myself and helping others is the best plan.

I think this was a good thread to bring up because it highlighted for me anyways the importance of keeping concealed unless there is no choice. I never gave much thought about what it looks like to others to draw and defend yourself in a mass shooting, its something to think about. I think if I had to defend myself I would reholster to concealed condition immediately then either call the police and identify myself or continue any exit strategy (especially if there 'might be other criminals) then call.
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Old December 13, 2012, 01:08 AM   #31
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I could see and clearly identify that he was in fact the bad guy, and not a plainclothes or off-duty officer or a good citizen who was shooting the real bad guy
Probably the gun shots in the background, and not the guy in front of you looking toward the gun shots...
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Old December 13, 2012, 02:50 AM   #32
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4) If, on my way to safety, I saw the bad guy as he was in the very act of killing innocent others -- which means and if, only if, I could see and clearly identify that he was in fact the bad guy, and not a plainclothes or off-duty officer or a good citizen who was shooting the real bad guy -- and if I reasonably believed I could take that shot without endangering others (more than they were already in danger) then I would take the shot. Otherwise, I would not.
That strikes me as a lot of thinking and evaluating, which takes precious time under such conditions. I am not as gracious as pax. I am looking to get myself out of there, or in hiding, just as quickly as I can. I like the thought of getting in ones car and making tracks.
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Old December 13, 2012, 03:14 AM   #33
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Being gun people, we tend to think "how would I use my gun?"

Yet, in the Palm Bay massacre in 1987, IIRC the hero of the day was a guy who used not a gun, but a pickup truck. He picked up wounded, and used his vehicle like an APC, letting some on foot use it as moving cover between them and William Cruse as they retreated.

Assisting others in a crisis may not require violence; there may be non-violent good that can be accomplished, depending on what we consider to be acceptable levels of risk.

My personal level of acceptable risk is reasonably high, based on my long-term career (military aviation as active officer and/or contractor), but it would be significantly reduced if I were with my wife and unborn son.

That said, if on my own or with an armed friend, and I had a clear shot at a positively identified BG, I would feel a duty to take the shot.
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Old December 13, 2012, 09:27 AM   #34
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I hate to sound like a sheeple, but there is no 'real' planning for this case.
There is never really a plan but there are things to help deter it from happening. Many businesses in my neck of the woods hire LE for their security year round. It being the holidays if you go down to the mall right now there is a mobile command station and about 8 sheriff units parked out front. Its like that every year. We have an officer in every school and the larger schools have 2. Thats not a security for hire either Safe School is a division of the sheriff's office. Shootins will still happen though, the last few shooting we have had in public places were personal vendetta or gang related drive by against specific people.

Last edited by teeroux; December 13, 2012 at 08:54 PM.
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Old December 13, 2012, 12:13 PM   #35
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A lot of great thoughts and information.

What I've taken from the discussion is:
1) The obvious: get yourself (and friends/loved ones) out if possible without putting self/them at risk. No brainer. Interesting tidbit I picked up from the news last night: they said the mall went into "lockdown". Not sure how soon after shooting started or if it happened after shooting stopped. Could that mean that at some point people couldn't get out of the mall while the shooter was still active? That could really change the thought process if you know that the doors may be locked before you could get there.
http://news.yahoo.com/why-more-peopl...225031988.html
2) If you cannot safely get out, the best move would be to try to get to a safe, defendable area and take cover. Again a no-brainer.
3) Many replies confirmed my initial thoughts: drawing a weapon out in the open in such a chaotic situation is probably a bad idea unless ABSOLUTELY neccessary. Going on the "offensive" (towards the shooting or after the shooter), while it may be brave, is just not smart. Too many facotrs can work against you once you make that decision. It's an individual choice as to whether it is worth the risks.

I appreciate the feedback.

Last edited by Blade37db; December 13, 2012 at 12:48 PM.
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Old December 13, 2012, 12:49 PM   #36
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So if were trapped in a lockdown, what can we expect from the swat team that arrives to clear the mall? Do they pat down every shopper looking for more suspects? Do they interview each and every shopper?
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Old December 13, 2012, 01:19 PM   #37
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I hate to sound like a sheeple, but there is no 'real' planning for this case. We can only be aware of our surroundings at all times and hopefully be able to 'do' something correctly when/if the time comes because we're always running scenarios through our minds every time we go anywhere.
The planning comes from an analysis of these types of situations. what are you likely to face? As Kathy puts it, Are your skills up to task?

Is you equipment up to task? Are you a world class shooter, if you had your tricked out 1911 but find yourself armed with you pocket 380?

Hope is NOT a strategy, you will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your training. Running the scenario though your mind is an important part of training, it is the mental preparedness.

Situations like this are why I train hard, why I practice 50-100 yard shots with the gun I carry, why I carry a fighting gun and not a pocket gun. The situation may not call for a gun, but it may. My first responsibility is my family, I will see them safe first.
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Old December 13, 2012, 02:37 PM   #38
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I'm not good at elaborating on things.
I've had some training in military, etc. Thing is, no matter what scenario we run through our minds, it most likely won't go as we envision it. In a place like that, trouble can start behind you, across from you, down the mall, etc.
Most of us know to duck down, freeze and try to ID the threat. Blindly running could get you killed fast. Training kicks in, but never seems to fit the reality of what's happening. There is no such thing as thinking "I'll get the drop" and it happen. Nor may I be able to herd people to a true zone of safety, not knowing how many are involved or where they may all be. An exit may be blocked.

Plans tick through your mind in nanoseconds and you may go from Plan A to Plan N,of even T-5 in less than 3 seconds. A miss 300 feet away could take you out before you even know where the shots came from. Vigilance is the first line of defense.
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Old December 13, 2012, 02:43 PM   #39
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Tool wise, I carry G19, or 26 depending on my mood or which I pick up. I don't train all the time at 50 yards, but should. I don't spend all my time quick drawing either. Maybe I should. I do spend lots of eyeball time keeping track of surroundings, and who's where, etc. and what they seem to be doing.
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Old December 13, 2012, 03:08 PM   #40
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That strikes me as a lot of thinking and evaluating, which takes precious time under such conditions. I am not as gracious as pax. I am looking to get myself out of there, or in hiding, just as quickly as I can. I like the thought of getting in ones car and making tracks.
Pax's first three points agreed with your plan. There is nothing ungracious about putting a higher priority on one's loved ones than strangers, and that includes caring enough about your loved ones not to want to grieve them with your own death.

Pax brings up something that I was also thinking about: We talk about taking steps to be sure that we are not misidentified as the BG, but those who talk about going after the shooter don't bring up the possibility of misidentifying an undercover or off-duty LEO or another CCW person as the shooter. While some might excuse such an error, it is not one I would want on my conscience. Like Ms. Kathy, I would have to be certain.
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Old December 13, 2012, 03:57 PM   #41
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I have the figure from somewhere that 1 out of 6 undercover cops have been drawn on by fellow officers.
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Old December 13, 2012, 04:35 PM   #42
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Rule Number Four

Rule Number Four is to be sure of your target and what's behind it. In the case of a mall shooting, it's almost virtually certain that there's an innocent person behind the shooter. If he's standing in front of a wall, it's probably drywall with shoppers on the other side.

Where to run to: every store has at least one emergency exit in addition to the front door. Run in a store, head to the back. The fire exit may be alarmed, but that's OK. I'd feel a lot better running through the parking lot than being in the mall with a shooter.
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Old December 13, 2012, 05:10 PM   #43
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Where to run to: every store has at least one emergency exit in addition to the front door. Run in a store, head to the back. The fire exit may be alarmed, but that's OK. I'd feel a lot better running through the parking lot than being in the mall with a shooter.
Can you confirm that from experience? Do all the little boutique shops have exits in the back (I assume to a service entrance). Not being critical. I've never worked in a mall so am only surmising they do and was hoping you can confirm.
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Old December 13, 2012, 06:07 PM   #44
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Modern public buildings (stores, restaurants, malls) all have multiple exits. Fire codes require it.

Older buildings may not, but many of these have been retrofitted with back doors even if they weren't part of the original building. Again, fire codes.

Re malls, the stores do not stock from the customer entrances. They all have back doors, and often storerooms, behind the showroom.

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Old December 13, 2012, 07:23 PM   #45
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For me, my decision process will revolve around:

1. proximity to the shooter - I'm not going against a sea of human panic to try to take the guy down. However if he's close, I'll make the decision then.

2. whether or not my family is with me - getting them out of harm's way is paramount

Everything else is tertiary or "what if".

These incidents remind us that if/when the wolf shows up, the situation may be very, very far from anything we've done at the range, the IPDA match, or have brainstormed on the internet.
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Old December 13, 2012, 09:02 PM   #46
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Thing is, no matter what scenario we run through our minds, it most likely won't go as we envision it.
That my friend is a thing called "My gunfight" and they never happen as you imagine.

Use sound tactics, be proficient with your weapon, don't panic.


The police response to these things takes 5-10 minutes usually. If someone engages the BG you can and will stop them from slaughtering more. Look at what happened at Trolly Square.
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Old December 13, 2012, 09:47 PM   #47
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I have thought about these situations and it seems like the best plan is one of escape and defense, instead of being the hero. I would not take my gun out, unless I had to shoot.

Protecting loved ones would be my first concern. Protecting myself would be my next concern, but if the opportunity arose to take the bad guy out, to keep him from killing others, I just don't think it's in my makeup to not try to stop him. I am probably going to take him out if I can. However this is not a situation for a mouse gun, and for certain a mouse gun that can't be shot well.

But no one knows what they will do, until put to the fire. It will never go down like you might have for seen in your mind. There is hardly anything positive that is likely to happen to the person that decides to play the hero and a whole lot of bad things can develop from getting shot by the bad guy, or another good guy, or shooting a good guy yourself, to getting sued by the bad guy's family, etc. or getting mistaken by the cops for the bad guy. But knowing all of that, I just don't know if I could cower down, and watch innocent people being killed and do nothing if I had the means to stop it.
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Old December 13, 2012, 10:27 PM   #48
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Re malls, the stores do not stock from the customer entrances. They all have back doors, and often storerooms, behind the showroom.
Thats what I thought but good to know.
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Old December 13, 2012, 10:32 PM   #49
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I don't worry about. On a micro level, each situation is different and I can't imagine each scenario. I'll deal with it when I see it. All this theory and assumptions is just so much BS from mall ninjas. IMHO!
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Old December 14, 2012, 12:43 AM   #50
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Some good advice and some that will get you killed by a guy like me who caries a badge and gun in plain clothes.

As soon as you pull a gun w/o any LE identification you are a suspect/threat until proven otherwise. Be prepared to drop the weapon w/o a word if directed by LE.....assuming they don't shoot you first. Yelling "Police" is not always the best COA for police/agents if it gives up a tactical advantage in a deadly force situation. So, I would not count on hearing "Police, drop the weapon" prior to being shot. Putting down suppression fire (as suggested by someone) will make you just as much a danger to the public as the BG and probably get you shot by LE.

I have thought this situation through a number of times and there is no easy answer.....especially if my family is with me (probably only reason I would be in a mall). The FIRST thing I would do is get my family clear. I personally would engage because that is what I have been trained to do. However, I would (if possible) get my badge high on my chest, because COM is generally going to be the point of aim by the responding officers.

Unless you are tactically trained and can end it with one good shot and holster, a running gun battle or showing a gun w/o any LE ID is not a good COA and confuses who is who. Most likely you are not mentally, physically or tactically prepared for this kind of situation unless you have been trained. No matter how good a shot you think you are, this is not a paper punching exercise like at the range and a whole number of physiological factors come into play when you get shot at for real. These factors will hugely impact everything you do from breathing to thought process to marksmanship. A 30 second firefight will feel like you were on the tread mill full speed for 30 minutes. Those who have been in combat know what I am talking about. When the thought process is blurred in the "heat of battle" you fight instinctively the way you are trained.....or without training you may vapor lock and die. Just having a gun does not necessarily make you value added to the situation. Also, unless you are in a LE uniform, even with a badge on your chest, it is still 50/50 you will be shot by LE when you pull a gun in plain clothes.

Most can save themselves in active shooter situations by simply closing and locking a door. I am not saying you should stand by and watch if you can do otherwise....that is a decision you will have to make individually. However, there is much to be said for maintaining a defensive position and calling 911. I am just pointing out some of the realities of pulling a gun in this type of situation. I hope this helps you to make an informed decision.

Last edited by colbad; December 14, 2012 at 01:56 AM.
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