Lessons From The Las Vegas Shooting


From Tragedy, Knowledge

I want to begin this post by mourning the deaths of Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo of the Las Vegas Metro Police. In a year in which it seems that open season has been declared on law enforcement officers, the loss of these two officers serves to weaken that “thin blue line” that stands between us and the criminal element. Rest in peace gentlemen, husbands, and fathers.

Remember too Joseph Wilcox, a concealed permit holder who attempted to stop the two murderers. It wasn’t his fight. He would have been perfectly justified in seeking cover and hiding from the duo. Instead, he chose to do the right thing. And was murdered for his attempt.

And yes, I know the names of the shooters. We won’t be fanning the flames of their infamy here. They’ll not be mentioned on the same page as Beck, Soldo, and Wilcox.

Rather than let the deaths of these heroes be in vain, let’s take the time to learn from this tragedy. So what is this post about? I constantly preach situational awareness. It consumes a large portion of my courses, especially my concealed weapon permit course. So, not surprisingly, that’s what this is going to be about.

Situational Awareness

Knowing what your surroundings consist of, what threats may present themselves, and having a plan of action to address those threats. If you’re cognizant of these things, you are situationally aware.

One thing we’ll not get into is Monday morning quarterbacking the Las Vegas shooting. With the advantage of time and safety on their side there are too many keyboard commandos who will pick the actions of the officers and Wilcox apart. We weren’t there, and we won’t do that.

Rather, let this shooting serve as a reminder that, regardless of where you are or what mundane daily task you’re engaged in, violence can, and will, make its presence suddenly known. Your best chance of survival is in stacking the odds as much in your favor as you can. While you can’t control the actions of a bad guy, you can control as much of your environment as you can.

While you may not be able to physically alter your environment, you can make it yours by seeing things that you can use, and can be used against you, before an event occurs. 

Shooting Locations

Two armed, uniformed police officers are assaulted and murdered in a restaurant. This was no back alley ambush, or attack from the cover of darkness. This happened in broad daylight.

You may find yourself in a crowded restaurant when the balloon goes up. Have you taken into consideration all the tactical considerations this entails? Have you allowed yourself to be seated where you don’t have a commanding view of the interior because you’ve already waited for half an hour? Have you identified where the best cover is? Know where the good backstops are in the event you have to employ your weapon? Ever practiced on moving targets, with other moving no-shoot targets passing passing between you and the threat? Beacuse you can count on as many fellow diners as possible will be running and screaming around inside the place.

When you’re in Wal-Mart, your grocery store, etc., have you ever taken into consideration the distances involved inside? Next time you’re there, pick the end checkout counter, and pace off the distance from there to the other end one. Have you practiced shooting at that distance? Not every gunfight is at twenty one feet. Do you know what your hold over has to be from one end of the aisle to the next? Don’t forget, along with the distances, you’re going to have the moving targets and innocents to contend with.

Target Fixation

Wilcox, while attempting to engage one shooter, is shot from behind by the second. It’s not known if the separation of the pair was intentional and maneuvering or mere chance.

Have you been trained to use your peripheral vision to identify ALL the threats, or do you tunnel in on the first one you identify? Remember, not all bad guys work alone, and that there are bad girls as well. Before you decide to take action, make sure you know where all the threats are and position yourself accordingly. You should have had a general plan already, one that you constantly fine tune as your environment changes. And remember, hope is not a plan. Gunfights are very dynamic situations. Never forget that while you’re maneuvering and shooting, so are your opponents. Always, always assume that there are more threats than the one you are engaging. 

In Conclusion

Take control of your environment. Be aware of what and who is around you, and have a plan to deal with situations before they happen. And survive.



The Tactical Pirate

View posts by The Tactical Pirate
President and lead instructor. Follow me on Twitter, and check out our blog.

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