By now we all know who James Holmes is.
In case you have been at the bottom of a mine shaft, Holmes bought a movie ticket at his local multiplex and gimmicked an emergency exit so he could sneak back in. He made his way into the midnight premier showing of the much ballyhooed summer blockbuster “The Dark Knight Rises.” No, he wasn’t sneaking in to catch a free show.
Dressed in dark clothing, bulletproof vest, ballistic leggings, riot helmet and gas mask, he set off some type of smoke bomb and proceeded to shoot people. Lots of people. He was heavily armed with an AR15, shotgun and a Glock .40. It must have been like shooting people in a barrel.
The people in the theater next to them thought the gunfire was part of the movie. In retrospect it’s a sad commentary on what we consider entertainment when gunfire next door is mistaken for the show.
By now every blogger, talking head, legislator (aka empty head) has put their two cents in, proposed laws and held news conferences.
Why should I be any different? Well, maybe I have some advice you could use.
In these cases of gunmen killing the people around you here are some operational rules.
1 Protect yourself.
Get down and get behind something solid. Nothing solid? Get invisible, use cover and move somewhere safe. Don’t be a hero. Being killed and leaving your 12 year old child or spouse to deal with a masked gunman in a dark room doesn’t make you a hero.
2 Protect your loved ones.
You can only do this if you are alive. Get them to safety, get them down and safe and invisible to the gunman. I can’t imagine the pain and guilt associated with burying loved ones because I didn’t act.
3 If possible, stop the carnage. There's a lot of ifs here.
Are you trained and competent to shoot in a room full of moving, terrified people and only hit your target?
Do you have the tools needed? Are they the right equipment? Shooting at a rifleman 20 yards away with a short barrel .32 Seecamp may not be your best option. You may have to close in on him. Are you prepared for that?
Did you bring a reload or two? What about a flashlight? Train to hit with your weapon, but even professionals miss.
Can you stay in the fight? Expect to be wounded.
Do you have a contingency plan? This animal had a vest, helmet and throat protector and had planned to keep killing for awhile. Can you shoot and hit other body parts that would stop him or at least immobilize him. Do you know what they are or is your plan just some vague idea about head shots?
Can you talk and shoot so you can start identifying yourself as a rescuer and perhaps control the crowds?
Are you prepared for a second person, maybe “seeded backup” coming from another angle?
4 Be prepared to deal with confused and excited police/first responders or other armed citizens.
Are you taking command? Are you telling everyone who you are and what they should do? Are you telling the victims to stay down or get help?
Can you reholster and still stay prepared to respond to the “incapacitated” criminal if need be? You don’t want arriving police to see a gun in your hands and his victims’ bodies on the floor.
Will you position yourself to see police arrive and not to do any thing stupidly fatal?
Expect the media to get it wrong and for them to drive by without an apology or correction.
The police arrested James Holmes in the theater parking lot. He didn’t resist arrest. That is not too surprising. My limited reading suggests that assholes of this stripe, when faced with an armed response may bluster, but surrender meekly. Or perhaps he simply finished what he wanted to do and now wants to bask in the attention.
I don’t believe in the death penalty. But there are those crimes that make you question if the actor is human by any social definition. James Holmes is a mad dog. Can there be any question that he planned and pulled the trigger that took so many innocent lives?
The police should interrogate, confirm his story, arrest any responsible or involved individuals and simply shoot Holmes. Our news media should treat it like any other disposal of a dangerous animal.
The fourth page second column headline should say “Rabid dog shot by police to protect community.” No picture, no name, just one reporter and judge to witness the shooting.
I can support that.