While Firearms may be a great force equalizer, they may not always be the best tools to de-escalate a crisis. And like Pandora’s Box, once it’s opened, it may be too late to close the lid. With power comes great responsibility.
As the video reveals, a man disguises himself as a woman in order to shoplift less conspicuously. Unfortunately, they are about to have their crime spree come to a crashing halt. The video clearly shows the man stealing goods from the store, and in the moment, with one clerk on duty in the store, it appears to be your average example of shoplifting. That is until the Owner comes out of the back and retrieves a .38 revolver from under one of the registers.
The presence of a firearm in the altercation instantly changes the dynamic, and an Officer narrating the incident brings up some very relevant points when it comes to wielding, or utilizing a firearm in an altercation. When an individual enters any sort of conflict, if it is stress/fear inducing, they will experience such things as the ‘Adrenaline Dump’ whereby the body’s Fight-or-Flight Mechanism is activated and a rush of adrenaline fills the blood-stream. Scientific study has clearly demonstrated the effects of the adrenaline dump on the body and reaction times, and highlights the seriousness of issues such as tunnel vision, a decrease in fine motor control, and an elevation in heart rate and blood pressure. These do not combine to create the best frame of reference to make critical decisions . Understanding these effects, and training with them, which is truly a difficult thing to achieve, is necessary if you intend to be able to respond properly in highly stressful and dynamic situations.
You can see the Owner attempting to subdue and give directions to the suspect but the presence of the firearm is doing little to motivate. The Owner is holding the pistol one handed, and his body language is not confident or does not demand compliance. The suspect is able to close the distance with the Owner, an in fact, is able to attempt to strike the Owner while being underarmed in comparison. The Owner clearly does not have control of the situation while still being the only armed participant.
I think this video highlights the need for proper training, not only when dealing with firearms, but any type of conflict. Had the Owner had more training, or perhaps had policy in place to deal with such things, the event may not have cost one individual their life and left a terrible memory on another’s.
Personally, having the suspect drop the stolen goods, and exit the store would have been satisfactory to me. Even more so, having the suspect keep the goods and leave the store with the knowledge the it was protected by a firearm, awareness, and a willingness to use it, would have been a better end to this altercation.
My teacher used to tell us just because you can do something, does not mean you should do something. Because you have a firearm, does not mean you should rush to display or wield it, it may in turn prove to further aggravate a situation and with firearms, there can be lethal consequences.
Had the Owner adopted a more effective two-handed grip, a squared stance, and issued orders in a more commanding voice, the altercation may have had a different conclusion. Perhaps if a gun had not been drawn and rather the Owner made it known to the thief that he was aware of what was taking place, the conflict may have ended more peacefully.
I do not suggest we make victims of ourselves, or allow others to perpetrate crimes against us, I rather question the value of some commercial goods, and an individuals life. This suspect may have been a “POS”, but even so, I would not want their death on my conscience just because he decided to steal a few cartons of cigarettes from my establishment.
If you use a firearm defensively, either concealed or open, I suggest you learn how to use it, and ever more so, when to use it. While some may fantasize about being the hero and stopping a crime in progress, the reality of those actions rarely fit the fantasy.
Train Well, Train Consistently.