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American Handgunner Jul/Aug 2011 Digital Edition - Page 22
Massad Ayoob COPTALK OPINION AND FACTS FROM THE MEAN STREETS There are times when the off-duty cop is the only one who can stop the killing. When the time comes, Will you have The WhereWiThal? Being armed t the January 2011 atrocity in Tucson, no good guy with a gun got there before unarmed citizens had taken down the mass murderer by hand. By that time, more than a dozen and a half victims had been shot. Compare that to the Trolley Square Mall mass murder that was short-circuited when an off-duty cop with a 7-shot subcompact 1911 .45 engaged the shooter and pinned him down until responding officers could get there and finish the job. Common sense tells us to fight fire with fire. When lethal violence erupts, only lethal force is likely to stop it before there are dead innocents on the ground. Fight fire with fire, fight gunfire with gunfire. History confirms common sense. Surveys show a stunning number of American law enforcement officers do not regularly carry guns off duty. Imagine what would go through the mind of one of those if something like Tucson or Trolley Square did happen in front of them — and they were close enough to stop it — but didn’t have the tool for the job? Is that a face any of us would care to see in the mirror the next morning, or for the rest of our lives? The PrIce Of PreParaTIOn glock 31 a off-duTy follows you home. In the year 2010 in Chicago, five CPD officers were murdered. Four of the five were off-duty. Thomas Wortham was leaving his dad’s house when a gang of high-jackers tried to rip him off for his motorcycle. Thor Soderberg was attacked in Modern the parking lot of the police station holsters let Blocker as he was taking his duty belt off you carry a plainclothes after work, and killed with his own duty gun in holster and a comfortable spare mag in gun. Michael Bailey had just gotten concealment. a mach-2 home from body-guarding the mayor Here is 31 rounds pouch. when he was gunned down in his own of potent .357 SIG. driveway. David Blake was in his car off duty when shot to death. Had they “divested themselves of the job”? The price of preparation is high, and its line items include constant preparedness and vigilance, and constantly being armed with enough firepower to get the job done. In New Jersey some years ago, a retired police chief saw a mugging take place, and reflexively ran to the rescue, but had stopped carrying a gun. When the mugger turned on him with a weapon, the chief didn’t have what he needed and he was shot to death. human nature to divest yourself from your I t’s job when you come home from work. The trouble with “The Job” though, is it Things To remember W Today’s high-tech subcompact off duty guns give you shootability and firepower without compromising concealment. “Baby” XD9 mounts X2 InSight light, carries 14, 9mm rounds. hen you carry your badge, carry your gun; when you carry your gun, carry your badge. The common wisdom says a helpless, unarmed cop whose badge is discovered by felons has a short future. The tragic history of “blue-on-blue” mistaken identity shootings, such as the fatal incident in Baltimore in early 2011, tells us when guns are out and perhaps even being fired, the burden is on the unidentifiable person in plainclothes to let the identifiable responding officers know he’s the Good Guy as opposed to “Man With A Gun.” Power and responsibility are commensurate. When the equal balance between them is broken, bad things happen. Power without responsibility becomes tyranny; responsibility without power is the very definition of futility. Keep the balance. It’s badge and gun. Carry a gun you can win a gunfight with. Carry spare ammunition. If your department regs merely say, “Have a loaded firearm with you off duty,” a .22caliber single-shot Colt Derringer might suffice in theory, but not in reality. Onduty, you have a service pistol, at least two full reloads, body armor, shotgun and/or patrol rifle accessible and a backup handgun, not to mention instant radio contact with dispatch and backup. Off-duty, you have whatever you’re armed with — and a cell phone. You do carry a cell phone for emergency communication, don’t you? I remember a cop a decade or so ago who was off duty when he learned a mass murder was going down at a high school in his community. He got there with a 2.5" .357 revolver and an old vest he just happened to have in the trunk of his personal car. “It’s enough! Let’s go,” he reportedly told his partners before the ad hoc SWAT team he joined entered the building. Ask yourself: would you like to have a little more than that available on your person and in your vehicle when the mass murder in progress call reached you while you were out and about, off duty? The lessons are there, ineradicably written in blood. We are fools if we ignore them. * 22 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • JULY/AUGUST2011