“Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.”
~ John F Kennedy
Fair warning, this post might turn into a rant, and I realize I might offend some of my followers, but I do need to light up my fingers on the keyboard and vent a bit.
This past weekend we (My2ndHeartBeat CEO and myself) were in an area shopping mall in the middle of the afternoon when a stampede of screaming people of all ages came running down through the mall in our direction. My initial reaction came from many decades of training in both the military and from my 38 year career of working in a very dangerous area ….. my instincts kicked in and I immediately looked and moved towards the area where these folks were all coming from. As I stood there calmly, my eyes rapidly scanning and searching the scene for fire, for assailants, or anything that could be discerned as dangerous in my mind. I saw nothing unusual, though I heard the terms within the screams …. “gun” and “shooting” used by the folks as they ran by us. Then I saw some of the shop keepers starting to lockdown their stores and I turned and grabbed the CEO and we walked at a quick pace in the same direction the crowd was moving. (Editorial Note: I am NOT running unless I see a gun or a knife in fairly close proximity).
We made it to a larger store (Nordstrom’s) just before they closed not only the external gates, but also the internal “garage doors” as well. Then came the news that because of an “external threat” we were in lockdown until the threat was cleared. We waited patiently (with some new best friends) for about 30 to 40 minutes until they announced an “all clear” and they opened the doors to allow us out. While we were in “lockdown” mode we had already decided to head towards home once this was over. As we made our way back through the mall, in the direction of where our vehicle was parked, I noticed that all the other shops were still in “lockdown” mode, which I immediately thought was odd. Then a young security guard came running up to the small crowd of us that exited the store and said we had to get OUT now. He turned us around and took us through a doorway into the bowels of the mall and eventually to an exit to the outside of the mall. After a nice long walk on a chilly, but beautiful late winter afternoon we arrived at our vehicle and scooted on down the highway. (Within all that chaos there was a lot of what I would call “the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing.”)
The “incident” was described by the media as a “targeted” shooting. It occurred OUTSIDE at the opposite end of the mall from where we were located. Two or three shots were fired. The injured party was in stable condition and was (also) eventually taken into custody along within the assailant. The police entered one firearm and a “large” amount of cash into evidence ……. the shooting was “blamed” on a “misunderstanding” (whatever happened to talking through a misunderstanding?) between a couple of people and other “facts” are lacking because it seems we don’t have any real reporters these days. There was also another alleged shooting at the mall as well, the police weren’t sure if both shootings were connected.
Later, while reflecting on the day’s events I became VERY agitated. I was pissed that someone once again, that had absolutely NO regard to human life, attacked in a very public area with a firearm, and it could have injured (or worse) a loved one, a friend, or even myself. It was only a bit over a month ago that our nephew was in school at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL …. in the building next door to the building where 17 students and staff were killed.
I have been around firearms for a lot of my life. In the military I was married to an M-60 machine gun for most of my military career. I also used to be VERY efficient and effective with an M-16, a .45 ACP, the M-1 carbine, grenade launchers, tank weapons, .50 caliber machine guns, and a variety of other “small arms”. I’ve also owed a variety of weapons including 12 gauge shot guns, .357 Magnum’s, .45’s, 9mm’s, .22’s of all descriptions, and a number of others. I also reloaded my own shells. (Note – NONE OF MY FIREARMS HAVE EVER WOUNDED OR KILLED ANY LIVING CREATURE)
I used my personal firearms for target shooting. Especially long-range shooting. It takes a number of refined skills to accurately hit a targets at 200 to 500 or more yards on a windy day. And back in the day, I turned many clay pigeons to dust as well. (Note: Not so much now as the anti-rejection meds I am on have left me with a small amount of hand tremors that are difficult to overcome for high quality long range target shooting)
With all that said, I know guns. I also am WELL aware of the constant attacks on the 2nd Amendment from a lot of sides and “experts” that like to pontificate on the news each day. I laugh every time that someone uses the terms “assault rifle”. Any hunting rifle or even a shotgun can be changed in color and add a couple of cosmetic items (pistol grips, carrying handle, different sites, etc) to make it look MENACINGLY bad, or aka an assault rifle. In reality, these changes do NOTHING to change any function of that particular gun. It’s kind of like adding a spoiler to a Ford Pinto and calling it a race car.
There are a lot of things that can be done to improve our safety (in no particular order) without protesting, arguing and writing simply more “gun control” laws. School administrators can do MANY things to help kids … metal detectors, guards, changes to entrance and exit points, adding counselors, and counseling for troubled students and making note of people who make threats and follow up on these notations. Society really needs to look closely at mental health issues (and there are MANY – why is there so little regard for human life these days?). Records of juveniles should not be off-limits either, they can speak volumes. Gun owners themselves need to be vigilant about high security to keep their guns out of the hands of kids and wackos. The Police and “big data” need to get their act together too as there are a number of cracks where info is being sent into an abyss. Judges can STOP giving so many of these VIOLENT FELONS a get out of jail free pass. And, if you SEE something, SAY something and then follow-up! The list goes on.
And people on BOTH sides need to STOP yelling at each other and have an honest and open dialogue.
With all that said, while I may have some minor shakes, but I can still do a pretty fair job of hitting the “target” ………. Just sayin’!