My thoughts on the El Paso and Dayton shootings:
A very sad weekend. There were 20 killed and as many as 26 injured in a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas followed by another shooting about 16 hours later in Dayton Ohio, where another 9 people are killed and 26 more were injured.
First, I must send my thoughts and prayers to the families of these victims, but then, I feel like that is just not enough somehow. I feel like we owe them more than that. That we can do better.
Second, my thanks go to God for our first responders that they were able to get on each scene so quickly and act with courage and professionalism to stop the shootings and save the lives that they did. Law Enforcement has been getting a lot of criticism lately and accusations of abuse of power, racial profiling, and corruption. For them to put the accusations aside and to respond to the shootings as if their own families were under attack shows their caring and commitment to their communities. It also shows that no matter what you think of the Police and Sheriff's deputies when the shit hits the fan, you WANT them there, NOW!
So, as citizens what are we to do? Many politicians such as South Carolina State Senator, Marlon Kimpson were already calling for more gun control, even as the shooting was still being investigated. We did not have a known number of dead and wounded, much less a motive for the attack on innocent lives. Gun control clearly isn't the answer as demonstrated by the number of killings each month in the US cities with the most strict gun control laws in place. Some say well that's because of the immense population of these states and cities and that gangs run rampant and are responsible for most of those killings. They are in fact at least partly correct. Where City, State and sometimes even the Federal Government fails us is to make us believe that they can stop or reduce the killings if we elect/re-elect them so they can pass more effective gun control. It doesn't work! All it does is gives the government more power over the people while making citizens and
non-citizens alike more dependent upon them, while reducing the ability for people to be able to defend themselves.
As far as I can discern, these shootings occurred in areas that were not gun-free zones. I read a report that at least one person who was licensed to carry was at the mall in Texas. I don't know if he chose not to engage the shooter because he was too distant or because he was overwhelmed with helping screaming, panicking children get away from the chaos. I'm thinking that the latter may be the case.
But just one person carrying? In Texas of all places? Having lived my teen years in Central Texas, I have to admit, this strikes me as very odd. Have things really changed that much?
Reports I've read or watched on the news indicate that police response in El Paso was about 6 Minutes and in Dayton was only 1 minute. 1 MINUTE!!! Yet 9 were killed and many more injured! Even with outstanding Law Enforcement response times, one thing remains clear: YOU ARE YOUR OWN FIRST RESPONDER!
Here are some things we can do to minimize loss of life:
1. Always have a plan and be observant of your surroundings. plan an escape route, know where emergency exits are and where you can get to hard cover (something a bullet is incapable of penetrating, like the engine block of a car, or a stack of lumber at the hardware store). If there is no viable hard cover, at least seek concealment. Almost any bullet will easily pass through sheet-rock walls, but you're harder to hit if the attacker can't see you.
2. If you have the ability and the wherewithal, carry a gun. Always! Get a permit (if required in your state, or if you travel to other states that have carry reciprocity with your state) and carry a damn gun! Taking a life is one of the last things any sane person would want to do. Conversely, being trapped and watching loved ones get shot and die when you could do something about it is, to me at least, an even more unbearable thought!
3. Get first aid training. If your place of work or your church offers a class/seminar, take it. Sign up at the YMCA/YWCA or pay for a class at a local college if you must, but get it! Along with this, get some first aid kits and keep one at least as close as your car. Having one on you is better, but not always practical. But at least know how to use a belt or a bootlace as a tourniquet to stop severe bleeding. Know how to clear an airway and perform CPR. At least learn the basics.
Everyone please have a blessed day and keep your loved ones close.
- Roy Freeman