This, therefore, is a law . . . if our life be in danger from plots, or from open violence, or from the weapons of robbers or enemies, every means of securing our safety is honourable ~ M. Tullius Cicero, For Milo
Aurora-Colorado, Montreal-Canada, Columbine-Colorado, Oslow-Norway, Virginia Tech-Virginia, Baku-Azerbaijan, Tasmania-Australia, Ft. Hood-Texas, San Ysidro-California, UT Austin-Texas; some of the Active Shooter incidents that have occurred here and abroad. The incidents are not new and gun control will not reduce or prevent them. What will help to prevent them, is You. You need to be prepared to act and to survive in these types of incidents. You need to act on contact with the threat and to act post incident to save others who have been wounded.
In law enforcement, we all speak of our inner sheepdog and for our female partners, of our inner momma bear. But, are we really ready to step up to the plate and to do what needs to get done when that time comes? That is the gut check question that you need to answer before you hear the rounds go off. Are we carrying our weapon off-duty or is it too heavy and inconvenient? Are we being observant of our environment or just feeding at the trough like everyone else? Are we being the "gray" person or are we giving our tactical advantage away with our tacti-cool training pants, t-shirts and sunglasses? Are we getting our training time on the range and on the mats through defensive tactics? Have we prepped our family on what to expect and to do should an incident like this occur? Is your agency willing to mandate that you carry off-duty?
These are my observations, but if we are honest with ourselves, and check with your shift and others, you will find many of these observations to be true. It is fair to say that approximately 95% in our profession never carry off-duty (not even a knife). Why, well because it is “too uncomfortable”. Of those that don't carry off-duty, a majority of them are the ones wearing their tacti-cool clothing, and tacti-cool stickers on their vehicles drawing unnecessary attention to themselves. The adage of the "smell" of a cop just like the "smell" of a Fed is very strong, and it doesn't require much experience to recognize (it is what it is, so don’t go getting all offended on me). Think like the threat does, who would he target first based on these observations.
The murderous bastard at Aurora like at the other incidents is the only one to blame. The tools used are only that, inanimate tools that alone do not cause any harm. As the late Col. Jeff Cooper stated, “the rifle has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own”. The scalpel in the hands of a trained surgeon does not make him Jack the Ripper. Plain and simple, only the murderer is to blame not the tools. There is no need for talking heads and politicians to rant and to opine on matters they do not understand, such as the need for control of the tools that were utilized to commit these horrible acts. Rather, they should opine on how the law can better be applied to more efficient prosecution of the offender in these cases.
Cower in fear, hide, pray that he thinks your dead and wait until help arrives. Sadly, our code blue exercises in our schools and in large corporations teach this to our children and families. Any attempt to not stay quiet in lockdown mode until rescued is met with resistance by leadership in these agencies. Why, well mostly because it is what was taught to them by law enforcement. It was the most expedient method, aimed at reducing more casualties; and when the active threat is distant, a reasonable suggestion. But, when the active threat is close quarters the situation dictates a different and active response.
What would you do? What would I do? I would pray that I like you would be ready to take that fight to the sick bastard who has made it their plan to take innocent lives. It is not the task of SWAT, and more often than not it becomes patrol’s job, but ultimately it will be your challenge if you are there. You didn’t start the fight, but you sure as hell have been trained to end it.
Be prepared to act and to survive these types of incidents. Does this guarantee your survival? No. Does it guarantee that everyone else will survive? No. If you wanted guarantees then you chose the wrong profession. But, at least your selfless act will breed confidence in others to act and to take the fight to the threat.
We aren't given guarantees in the path we have chosen just a choice - to act or not to act . . . that choice is yours . . . sheepdog/momma bear . . . or cower in fear and pray that he thinks that you are dead . . . will you be ready . . .will you act?
Lawrence Lujan is a decorated field operations and training sergeant with 22-plus years of service to the El Paso, Texas Police Department. A longtime member of the EPPD SWAT team, he was a key player as team leader, lead firearms instructor and overall tactics instructor of that Unit. Sergeant Lujan brings a very unique set of skills to the law enforcement arena, and has a wide and varied background in leadership, firearms and operational tactics. Lawrence is also President of TCG-Tactical Consulting Group and Armory Industries LLC. He can be contacted at Lawrence.Lujan@gmail.com