What Would You Have Done Differently?

There has been a lot of chatter about the shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday, June 8, 2014 where two suspects (to whom I won’t give credit), carrying two handguns and a pump-action shot gun, shot and killed police officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo as they were eating lunch. After gunning the police officers down, the shooters took the officers’ weapons and ammunition before heading to a nearby Walmart. Upon entering the store, witnesses stated that they heard the suspects fire off one round and say “This is the beginning of the revolution! Everybody get out! You will be shot!”

wilcoxJoseph Robert Wilcox, a 31 year old civilian, was at that Walmart with a friend when he heard this begin to unfold. Even though they were at the checkout line, and could have easily exited the store, Wilcox told his friend that he was going to go after what he thought was a lone gunman. He drew his legally owned and concealed handgun and moved toward the male shooter to confront him when the female shooter approached Joseph Wilcox from behind fired, killing him before he could act.

In the end, police officers arrived, and more gunfire ensued. The male shooter was shot and killed by a police tactical team, after which the female shooter turned her gun on herself, ending the standoff.

lvpd Officer Alyn Beck was 41, a husband and father of three, and Officer Igor Soldo, 31, was also married, with a baby. Joseph Wilcox, who had unsuccessfully applied to the Metropolitan Police Department years earlier, left behind his parents and three siblings.

Since this occurred, many people have been criticizing NRA Spokesperson’s comment about “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”, saying that Wilcox, the epitome of a “good guy” didn’t stop the bad guy. People have gone so far as to say that it is the NRA’s and politician’s fault that all of this transpired, and although in times like these it may be difficult to make heads or tails, we have to remember the facts.

The fact is the National Rifle Association does not support anti-government extremists, or try to put guns in the hands of felons, and the politicians (both pro and anti-gun) did not decide to go to that CiCi’s pizzeria to kill those police officers. The fact is, we don’t know how many more innocent people could have been injured or killed had Joseph Wilcox not made that valiant attempt to stop the shooters. The fact of the matter is, the shooters made a personal decision to use inanimate objects to harm as many people as they could, and no one else should take the blame for that.

In all of this chaos and madness, I think it’s very important for all concealed carry permit holders to stop and really think about their decision to carry a firearm. One has to remember that, like Joseph, your effort to do good can cost you your life, or the life of an innocent bystander. This is why it is so important to do more than simply meet the basic requirements that qualify you for your permit, and strap on a gun every morning. Every person who carries a gun should constantly train and prepare, both mentally and physically, to constantly assess the situation around them, minimize the time it takes to draw the firearm, and improve their accuracy. You can start by asking yourself, would I have known that the woman behind me, just pushing a shopping cart, was a threat to my life?