Active shooters: The killing will not stop until we stop it

You can’t predict where or when you may encounter an active shooter — whether it’s on or off duty — so be prepared always

Fact: Evil exists everywhere and good people must be prepared to confront it. Fact: The good people of Norway were ill prepared to confront the evil that walked amongst them in the guise of Anders Behring Breivik. Breivik brings to mind a quote from Shakespeare, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

One might ask how is it possible that such a violent attack as perpetrated by this man could be carried out in Norway, which is a “peaceful, gun-free society?”

The answer to this question must be countered with another question. How in today’s world can there still be government entities that do not arm and still others that disarm law enforcement officers?

It Can’t Happen Here
Norway as a nation suffered from a common attitude possessed by many still, even in this country. “It can’t happen here.” This attitude coupled by an unarmed constabulary required waiting for an armed response from SWAT. This did not — and never will — translate to a rapid response in the case of this active shooter.

Breivik benefited by this national weakness and chose Utoya Island, a target ripe with potential victims as well as a natural barrier to delay an effective police response. A diversionary explosion not only added to the body count, but also must have caused an added delay in the armed response to the Island.

Arm Cops Who Are Not Armed and Stop Disarming Cops Who Are
This incident should serve notice in the United States for every college campus, and Court room in America that still disarms police officers. Armed police officers are the solution to violence not the cause of violence. Arm your officers who are not armed. Stop disarming officers who are armed. Facilitate the carrying of weapons by trained off-duty and retired officers.

Active Shooters and 'Tombstone Courage'
Every cop in America needs to end the discussion about the lone officer active shooter response and prepare themselves for that eventuality. Not because someone promotes it, but because anyone can predict it. When you arrive at the scene of an in progress active shooter and realize your back up is a long way out your feet will take you in. You will know at that moment better than anyone now reading these words that the only thing that is going to stop the killing is a stealth approach by you to a position of advantage followed by a well placed shot.

The Utoya Island incident should illustrate clearly something we should already have learned in this country. The longer the response is delayed, the more innocents will die (more than 70 in Norway and still counting as of this writing).

What potential victims need when they are scurrying about, fleeing, hiding, pleading, praying and facing death is an effective efficient act of courage? This seems a good time to address the fact that one of the ten deadly errors police officers make is something called, “Tombstone Courage.” A career in law enforcement affords all police officers many opportunities to be accused of committing this error. Police officers need to train on their own time with their own dime to insure that when it comes to tombstones brought about by your courage, it will be the bad guy’s tombstone every time!

Decisive Action
In every critical tactical response there is a fine line between being brash and being decisive. Anders Behring Breivik demonstrated that when he was confronted by good people without guns he killed them mercilessly. When Breivik was confronted by police officers with guns he quietly surrendered (There are reports that Breivik ran out of ammunition). Breivik did not surrender because the Norwegians that confronted him were good and peace loving people. He surrendered because the Norwegians who confronted him were good and peace loving people with guns.

Fact: The in-progress active shooter will not stop the killing until a good and peace loving person in possession of a gun (as well as the will and skill to use it) stops the killer! Fact: You can’t predict where or when you may encounter an active shooter — whether it’s on or off duty — so be prepared always.

Wisdom for The Ages From Jeff Cooper
Jeff Cooper once said something that should be reiterated at this moment in history to every police officer in the world who has been disarmed by the sheep they are sworn to protect. “Remember the first rule of gun-fighting is… have a gun.”

Recommended for you

SWAT news from P1 to your inbox

Thanks! You've been successfully signed up for the Police1 SWAT

Copyright © 2023 Police1. All rights reserved.