The title of this post is a sentiment that I’ve heard expressed more than once recently in terms of being prepared and aware in one’s daily travels. Time and time again, we hear the phrase, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.” Of course, this is absolutely true. But what about after the incident? Even then, you may still be on your own. This may sound like a strange comment coming from a paramedic that responds to help those in need on an almost daily basis, but check out this recent robbery and murder.
Listen to the released 911 tape embedded in the news story linked above. If you live in a 1st world nation, you no doubt pay exorbitant taxes for services designed to improve your life and ensure your safety. One of those services is a 911 call center, ostensibly staffed by dispatchers that are trained to gather pertinent information quickly and competently.
Now, to be fair, I am not trained as a dispatcher. I am, however, somewhat familiar with what they do, as I am on the other end of the radio on a virtually daily basis. Listening to the 911 tape prompted me to write this post. Others are calling for the firing of the dispatcher. It’s obvious that a lot of things went wrong…
Besides the apparent failure of the dispatch system, several topics that we deal with here on the blog are applicable to a discussion about the incident. Some that immediately come to mind include situational awareness, pre-attack indicators, concealed carry, verbal agility, vehicle gunfighting, first aid, and mindset. The following discussion is not in any way meant to denigrate the victims of this crime. Rather, it is to hammer home the point that before, during, and after a violent attack, you are indeed on your own.
- In an ideal world, the delivery drivers would never have had to go where they did at the time that they did. Having said that, perhaps things would have been different had they been armed. I see this as vitally important in a scenario where they cannot necessarily control where they will be sent. Needless to say, the area where the robbery and murder occurred is not a nice part of town.
- Due to the part of town where they were sent, heightened situational awareness and knowledge of pre-attack indicators would have been appropriate and perhaps could have prevented this incident in the first place. Just this morning, I listened to Craig Douglas (aka SouthNarc) discuss verbal agility on Ballistic Radio. In line with that concept (and this is sure to stir the hornets’ nest), if you live in America, learn to speak English competently. While I don’t think it ultimately played an enormous role in the outcome, there was obviously some sort of language barrier evident in the recording and reported in the news.
- The fact that the attacks occurred in close proximity and against an occupant of a vehicle brings vehicle tactics into the equation. Sitting in the passenger seat of a stopped car, the shooting victim was essentially a sitting duck. In addition, it is worth noting that there were multiple assailants involved.
- Finally, since the “dispatcher” was apparently not concerned about the life status of the shooting victim, it is incumbent on you to have basic medical knowledge and skills in order to be the “Little Dutch Boy” with your finger plugging the hole in the dyke until medical professionals arrive on scene. While calling for help as the robbery victim did is important, so is bleeding control and/or CPR prior to the arrival of first responders and emergency medical personnel. Unfortunately, the robbery victim had to leave the immediate area to access a phone to call for help. I have no idea if the shooting victim would have been capable of any self-aid, but this underscores that in any gunfight, injury is a possibility and the need for self or buddy aid is a deadly serious possibility.
- Ultimately, I would also point out that even though the victims complied with demands and gave up cash and a cellphone to the robbers, a known gang member with a rap sheet murdered someone in cold blood for reasons unknown. So much for an effective justice system. While every situation is unique, if you are presented with a weapon or assaulted, respond appropriately. Compliance is no guarantee of safety or survival. Fight back!
I make all of the above points to emphasize the concept that even in modern society, you are on your own! Before, during, and after a violent encounter, you are the first responder and you are responsible for the safety and well being of yourself, your family, or your friends. If you don’t have the knowledge to take on that responsibility now, there’s no time like the present to start!