the armed citizen


This is something I just wrote in response to a comment about the Paris Terror attack. Someone had commented on how he has firearms training and believes that he could have gone toe to toe with the attackers and had a good chance of prevailing. I replied with:

IMO It’s not really entirely matter of “ability” as much as it is simple availability.

Unless the Jihadi’s are assaulting your home or are on your street, or you happen to be able to take your AR and plate carrier to work with you, the odds of being there with the right tools are really not that good. In our society, the people driving around with the weapons/tools and the communications to co-ordinate response are the Police. Even with all of that and the specific duty to be cruising around to respond to trouble the odds of being able to counter-assault an attack like this are slim.

Certainly our citizenship being armed and prepared to defend their lives “in extremis” is vital. But IMO the odds are better that they would be able to exfil a terror attack than stop one.

Most armed citizens are going to be walking the streets with handguns. The odds of stopping two guys with AK’s with a handgun are NOT going to be good.

We need to work together. You may be able to contain a house fire with your extinguisher/garden hose, but you still call in the Firemen because they have the Engines/Pumpers. This is the same sort of thing.

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4 thoughts on “the armed citizen”

  1. Know your limits and your training AND your “authority” in situations like this.

    Well meaning help from private citizens without some serious
    pre-incident consideration on HOW and WHEN to jump in (With a firearm or even without) has to be done… otherwise that “Good Samaritan” can become confused for one of the bad guys and shot/killed by the police because things move really fast when the ” fit hits the shan ” and a guy in street clothes with a gun can quickly be mistake for a bad guy…

  2. Unfortunately I have to agree with both the article and comment. As much, and I mean it, as much as we want to help we never know the full story and are unable to make rock solid decisions. The video of the two terrorist killing the police officer makes one think what would I have done if I was armed? After the officer is killed, do you have a self -protection right? Or would shooting at them result in a volley of rifle rounds going into your apartment endangering many morepeople.

    Here’s some of my thoughts from an earlier blog.
    http://tactical-talk.blogspot.com/2012/08/save-princess.html

    1. In this situation, when you have directly witnessed this scumbag shoot the officer in the head, there are State level laws about use of force/deadly force that “allow” or “Justify” the use of force/deadly force when a citizen attempts to affect a citizen’s arrest but you better know your State law, know beyond a shadow of a doubt what you just directly witnessed AND know that, as you mentioned, your actions won’t cause more risk than simply acting like a ‘Security Guard’ and observing/reporting would do.

  3. Damn it, when will people understand that simply having a gun is not enough! Taking on trained terrorist is not a simple walk in the park particularly if they have rifles and explosives and you are armed with a handgun. The Paris shooters were working as a team and they managed to kill a couple of police officers on the 1st day of the conflict. They were not engaging in a game. It was real life, real bullets and real blood. Your reply is both realistic and very accurate. Escape should be the option. hiding the second option and confrontation the 3rd option in most cases.

    Your comment was right on.

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