5 July 18

Getting involved in other peoples’ business!

Last Friday, officers with the Portland (OR) State University Police confronted a man on campus, who had a gun in his hand. The man appeared to represent a threat.

Officers shot the suspect.

Suspect was DRT.

No other injuries.

Details such as numbers of shot fired, distance, verbal challenges by police, etc have not been reported.

Suspect apparently had a valid state-issued CCW permit. Witnesses say he was in the process of trying to “break-up a fight,” in which he was not otherwise involved.

Witnesses also say the suspect’s holstered pistol (apparently legally carried) somehow fell out of its belt-holster (assuming it was actually carried in a holster) as he tried to pull one combatant off of another.

When the suspect attempted to retrieve his pistol, officers arrived and saw a gun in his hand.

Of course, arriving officer knew few details, aside from the fact that they were confronting a man with a gun in his hand!

The suspect/decedent turned out to be a postal worker with no criminal record. It is likely that he had no criminal intent at the time and place in question, but of course, we’ll never know!

Predictably, many on campus have since called for the campus PD to be disarmed. The controversy, and the investigation, are ongoing.

Predictably, critics of the police are censuring their actions, citing facts and circumstances not known to police at the scene.

Among the ignorant, this is typical!

Sometimes, armed police officers have no choice but to employ deadly force, making their decision in dangerous, chaotic, and rapidly-evolving circumstances.

They are armed for a reason!

They do the best they can, but, they don’t have x-ray vision, nor are they able to read minds!

With the foregoing in mind, here are important lessons for the rest of us, particularly those of us who have valid CCW permits, and routinely go armed:

(1) First and foremost, do your best to avoid places and times where the foregoing is even a probability!

(2) Be extremely disinclined to precipitously insert yourself into any potentially violent circumstance, in which you were not otherwise involved!

In these cases, the best strategy is usually represented by withdrawing a safe distance away, and then calling the police.

That’s why we pay a police department!

Unlike you, they are equipped, trained, and organized to effectively deal with these kinds of things.

The foregoing advice also applies even to ununiformed and off-duty LEOs. You usually don’t know enough to go blundering in there by yourself!

You carry that pistol so you have an effective means immediately at hand to protect your life from precipitous, deadly, and otherwise-unavoidable threats! Don’t be anxious to manufacture a situation where you have to use it!

Stepping forward on your own initiative in an effort to “break-up fights,” or “settle arguments” is very unlikely to bring forth a “happy ending,” in any event, and once your gun is exposed and involved, nothing “good” is going to happen!

(2) Who have “good intent” or “evil intent” don’t normally wear labels identifying them as such!

Arriving police can’t look at you and instantly tell that you’re a “good guy.”

When you have a gun in your hand (no matter in what direction it’s pointed), you’re just “… a man with a gun!”

Under cross-examination, I was once asked if a particular person “looks like a ‘bad guy’” I replied, “I’m not all sure I know what ‘bad guys’ look like, Counselor. Do you?”

(3) When instructing on these matters, we cannot specifically address every conceivable situation in which you might every find yourself. The best we can do is provide you with sound “guidance”

My purpose is not to tell you what to do. It’s to make sure you know and understand what is probably going to happen when you do!

(4) I believe it takes an evil person to do an evil thing. I don’t think good people do evil things, but sometimes good people do stupid things, and consequences can be just as bad!

Who go armed need to be genuinely good people, but smart as well!