Arm yourself for an active shooter incident off duty

Preparing for that moment when a person like Jared Lee Loughner opens fire in your immediate vicinity involves both hardware and software — solid hardware on the hip and sound software between your ears

Some in law enforcement will call him an “Active Shooter” — others will call him an “Active Murderer” or “Active Killer.” Some in the psychiatric world will argue about whether his mental illness was what fueled his hatred, or his hatred was what fueled the mental illness. As investigators continue to gather facts and evidence related to the mental state and motives of Jared Lee Loughner, there are two unvarnished facts, the first of which is the starting place of the investigation: Six dead and 14 wounded. The other fact is that Jared Lee Loughner dreamed of becoming a mass murderer, and he purposely made that dream come true.

He was about numbers. He did not stop after he shot Gabrielle Giffords in the head. He continued to shoot and shoot and shoot. He even leveled his weapon at a nine-year-old girl who was described by her mother as their princess, and who is now an angel heaven in the arms of her grandmother.

Loughner is a manifestation of evil that is one of the challenges of modern law enforcement.

It Could Have Been Worse
The only good thing that can be said of the slaughter on Saturday is that it could have been much worse. A community college recognized Loughner’s dangerous tendencies and banned him from campus. When the killer opened fire and mercilessly shot everyone in his sights, one citizen made their move during the reload and hit him with a chair. Another — a 74-year-old military veteran who received a minor gunshot wound to the head — tackled the gunman. A third citizen chose to advance rather than retreat and when he saw the struggle he dropped on Loughner’s legs to help hold him down until police arrived. This was an effective efficient example of American courage.

Arm Yourself!
Police Officers going unarmed off duty belong in the bygone when “Our Gang” was Spanky, Alfalfa and Darla rather than MS-13, the Bloods, and Crips.

Many of you are already carrying off-duty so this message is for those of you left who do not. Please take these steps immediately.

• Explain to your family that you will be carrying off-duty from now on
• Explain to them what they should do if something happens — tell them how to use cover, exit the kill zone, call in circumstances, location and your description
• Go out and shop for clothes that conceal your weapon, yet do not advertise “I’m armed”
• Choose an off-duty weapon, train with it, qualify with it and arm yourself
• If you are a retired officer follow your department’s procedure to carry retired
• If your department does not offer this option, lobby determinedly for one — be insistent!
• Scan and process when you are at malls, schools, events— pay attention!
• Prepare mentally and physically to take the shot and make the shot, on duty or off

Jared Loughner is a hater turned killer. He is not the first person to burst into the spotlight by killing anyone down range. He will not be the last. You must prepare for the eventuality of being placed at the right place at the right time to prevent someone’s “little princess,” from becoming “an angel,” by sending a hater to hell.

If not you, then who? If not now, then when?

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