FEATURED IN NEWS
- Chicago Paper Scrutinizes Metra Police Department's Overtime Usage
- Official: FBI Agents' Cause of Death Unlikely Soon
- Virginia Driver Who Hit Officer with Car Shot, Killed
- NY Police Look Into Links Between Fatal Shooting, Anti-Gay Attacks
- Colorado Sheriffs Sue Over New Gun Restrictions
- Wounded Massachusetts Transit Officer Eager for Work
- Texas Deputy Killed in Collision with Intoxicated Driver
All I know about this incident is what I’ve heard on the radio and seen on TV. What comes to my mind is--a lot!
1. Bad things happen to good people in nice places!
There's no doubt that Rep. Giffords was a good person and tireless worker for the citizens she represented. This said, we need to keep in mind that whenever anyone enters the public spotlight they become a potential target for the unhinged ... and the unhinged are everywhere!
2. When people know who you are and you don't know who they are, you're at a distinct disadvantage.
Many, many cops share this same predicament because we interact with hundreds, if not thousands of people, as we go about our duties and we have no idea how many we anger due to our actions. If we happen to interact with someone who is deranged (as Rep. Giffords appears to have done) then a violent attack might be the result. Whether you’re a law enforcement officer or politician, you interact with and affect the lives of the public. It’s wise to understand this and to stay on-guard whenever you’re in public. Proper mindset includes enhanced situational awareness anytime we are out of secure locations like our home.
3. Public officials will always be at risk!
Although it’s the president, vice president and other ranking officials who get the most protection, it’s lesser politicians who are the most at risk. A quick look at our history reveals that the most targeted official is the city mayor. The reason for this is simple--they are readily available and probably have more direct affect on people's lives that do officials of higher office. The closer the public official is to the citizens they serve, the easier the target they are. In the case of the Tucson incident, the appearance was publicized and took place without security, making an attack a likely success before it ever began. Publicity will always make potential violence easier to accomplish.
4. Handguns are effective because they can be hidden.
Although we often debate which handgun/caliber has the most "stopping power," this incident shows that caliber is not the single most important aspect to a handgun's effectiveness. It’s the shooters desire and ability to get in close, wield the gun and shoot fast without regard to what may happen.
5. Bad guys play by different rules.
This suspect was not concerned about liability, the end result of his actions or what would happen to rounds that missed their intended target. He got in close and cut loose with as many rounds as possible and achieved a great deal of death and destruction. If an armed officer had been in the crowd, his/her first thoughts would not have been engagement, but how to keep non-hostiles from being hit! Such concern will affect an officer's ability to effectively respond. We must keep in mind that the "rules" for the good guys are different than that of the bad guys and train accordingly. This is another case of reality sucks!
This is a tragic situation, of that there is no doubt. In the end there will be a great deal of finger pointing, political posturing and rhetoric, but nothing will really be done. What everyone should take away from this is that we live in a potentially dangerous world and we should take reasonable precautions based on our lifestyle(s).
For cops, it is a lifestyle of knowingly and willingly placing ourselves in harm's way. Act accordingly and prepare.