EPISODE #152: Friendly Fire – Part One of Three

This week’s Broadcast will be a short one, but it’s an important message and it relates to Friendly Fire.

It’s the concealed carry permit holder’s worst nightmare:

You are in public, and from nearby come two explosive gunshots followed by screams and pleas for help. You instinctively crouch low and look around, you don’t see the threat but you believe he’s around the corner. You make eye contact with the couple people immediately around you, you put your finger to your lips, and you draw your gun. They understand and begin backing away. You can see one of the bystanders is mouthing a prayer – for your safety and for the safety of all.

You move toward a wall and you approach the corner. Suddenly from the opposite direction: more gunshots. Bullets are tearing into your body. You jerk around to get a look at who is shooting you: it’s two police officers! You drop your gun and fall into a crumpled ball. You try to scream words like “friendly!” “Stop!” “Hold your fire!” But now you’re bleeding on the ground. Two more bullets tear into you and you can’t talk any more.

Seconds go by. The police slowly approach, keeping their guns pointed at you. One of them kicks your gun away. For the next two minutes, they stand around you. Talking to each other, talking on their radios. They make no effort to help you or communicate with you in any way. You try to speak to them but your voice and energy are gone. Blackness surrounds your vision and you begin nodding off. You try to stay awake, but you slip away.

For the next three days, your family watches in disbelief as your name is plastered around the country as being the latest active shooter. Good thing the police were there to stop you! Your family is at first confused and in disbelief, but after a couple days even they begin wondering. Could it be true? There’s just no way! Right?

Only after 4 days and only thanks to the testimony of one witness do the police begin to see the truth. After a while, they realize: you weren’t the shooter. You were an innocent man. An apology is issued to your family. Your family considers filing a lawsuit, but your spouse is of a sound mind and realizes: well…. What the heck were the police expected to do? They heard gunshots… they saw a man with a gun… they knew that if they issued any kind of warning, they would almost certainly have to accept incoming rounds in response, if the gunman was really a threat. So, even your spouse comes to the rotten conclusion that you and I are coming to or have already come to right now, along with every one of the tens of thousands of listeners to this broadcast:

Being a plainclothes armed good guy in public and the threat of friendly fire really, really stinks.

And this is almost exactly what happened last week, on November 22 of 2018, a man named Emantic Bradford was shot in an Alabama shopping mall as he moved toward a shooting with his handgun drawn.

As people who carry concealed, we face the possibility of being shot by other good guys. Either by uniformed police officers, by plainclothes cops, or by other people with concealed carry permits. And this possibility has become much, much higher in these last six years, as the number of people licensed or able to carry concealed has grown from six to fourteen million.

The nature of concealed carry means that you never see anyone else carrying. I like to make a game of trying to guess and discover who else in my vicinity is carrying, but even I can’t tell most of the time. And so, the possibility is always there. You draw your gun with your eyes locked onto a threat, and you get shot by someone else. Either before or during or after your attempt to deal with the violent threat in front of you.

Now, fortunately the nature of predators and violent people means that most violence doesn’t take place in public. Most of the time, they attack in private. But some of the time, they don’t. And it is in those situations where we have to heavily weigh the possibility – in real time, as we’re beginning to react to a sudden threat – that other armed good guys may be seated around us.

Okay. Now at this point I have about six main points about preparing for and avoiding friendly fire as an responsibly-armed citizen. But I want to save this for next week, because on this topic, I actually want to open up the airwaves to the listenership. What do you think about this problem we face? How have you prepared for the possibility of friendly fire, and what are your plans?

I’d love to hear from you. Email us, and we’ll be analyzing your responses and we’ll be including them in next week’s broadcast.

Thank you, my friends. Be safe and be well.

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