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Good guy with a gun: Armed citizen kills mass shooter

(Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

In the gun-control narrative, we never see any uses of firearms that end up saving lives. In the real world, we see them often enough, although they don’t get nearly the same media attention as the shootings that take place regardless of firearms restrictions.

Yesterday, an armed citizen stopped a mass shooter mid-spree, and in an Indiana shopping mall that had declared itself a “gun-free zone.” The shooter had carried several magazines for a rifle into the mall and shot several unarmed victims before a man legally carrying a firearm shot and killed the suspect. Three of the victims died, but without an armed citizen to defend the rest of the people in the mall, the number of dead could have been much higher.

Police know it, too. They called the armed citizen “the real hero of the day,” even though he technically broke the law:

Three people were fatally shot and two were injured Sunday evening at an Indiana mall after a man with a rifle opened fire in a food court and an armed civilian shot and killed him, police said.

The man entered the Greenwood Park Mall with a rifle and several magazines of ammunition and began firing in the food court, Greenwood Police Department Chief Jim Ison said.

A 22-year-old from nearby Bartholomew County who was legally carrying a firearm at the mall shot and killed the gunman, Ison said at a news conference….

“The real hero of the day is the citizen that was lawfully carrying a firearm in that food court and was able to stop the shooter almost as soon as he began,” Ison said.

First off, the Greenwood Park Mall might have found itself entirely defenseless — if the man had abided by their rules. The mall forbids the carrying of firearms onto its property:

Police say the 22-year-old from Bartholomew County had a legal gun permit. However, according to mall policy, the man should not have been carrying his handgun in the mall in the first place.

Last updated in April 2020, Simon Property Group states in its code of conduct that no weapons are allowed at their shopping centers. The group is the owner of the Greenwood Park Mall. …

Despite not following the mall’s code of conduct, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers says the man saved lives.

“Someone we are calling the ‘Good Samaritan’ was able to shoot the assailant and stop further bloodshed. This person saved lives tonight. On behalf of the City of Greenwood, I am grateful for his quick action and heroism in this situation.”

It’s long past time to rethink so-called “gun-free zones.” Simon Property Group is hardly alone in posting such signs in response to progressive pushback on carry permit laws, but they have little effect — except to leave their customers more vulnerable to such attacks.  Those signs certainly didn’t prevent the mass shooter from picking it as a target. In fact, the expectation that law-abiding citizens would honor that restriction may have been one of the reasons that the mass shooter chose that target in the first place.

Thankfully for the others in the mall at that time, it didn’t dissuade one law-abiding citizen from carrying in self-defense, either. But it’s certainly a lot more likely to dissuade law-abiding men and women from providing effective self-defense on their properties, who aren’t at all likely to commit crimes while carrying in the first place.

That is especially true in schools, which have become the target of choice for insane and malevolent mass shooters because of the softness of the targets — and the lack of response in dealing with mass shooters, as seen to a ridiculous degree in the Uvalde police response. That is an outlier of incompetence from law enforcement, but it reminds us that police do not exist as a personal defense force, nor should we expect them to be. That would require a police state that would be so onerous as to be a tyranny. We are expected to provide our own defense of self and to a lesser extent our community.

Even a fast and aggressive police response would likely have taken several minutes, allowing this mass shooter enough time to kill perhaps dozens of others in the mall. That clearly appears to have been his intent. The property owner would have left them defenseless by prohibiting their customers from the option of effective self-defense, too.

Police and the mayor of Greenwood are calling this man a “real hero” because he mustered the courage to use his legal firearm to end this threat to his community. I’d argue that his heroism started at the decision point to carry his firearm into a “gun-free zone” in the first place and be properly prepared for effective self-defense. And if we finally realized how useless “gun-free zones” really are, we could change the incentives in mass shootings — or at least make sure that such evil actors have the briefest of periods to indulge their insanity.