In the wake of the Cascade Mall shooting in Burlington, Washington Friday evening, two self-defense experts attending a gun rights conference at the far corner of the country had some advice for people caught in the middle of an active shooter incident.
Massad Ayoob, a nationally-recognized firearms instructor and author of several books and magazine articles on firearms and self-defense, and Chris Bird, author of the recently-published “Surviving a Mass Killer Rampage” are in Tampa, Florida. They’re at the 31st annual Gun Rights Policy Conference.
According to KING 5 News in Seattle, the gunman, who was still at large Saturday evening, used a .22-caliber rifle to fatally shoot four women and a man. The women all died at the mall and the man died later at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he had been airlifted. Police recovered the rifle, according to the Everett Herald.
Ayoob, founder of the Lethal Force Institute and author of “In the Gravest Extreme” and “The Truth About Self-Defense,” said that if someone is unarmed and helpless in such a situation, they should get out because “moving targets are harder to hit.”
An armed citizen may have more options, but is not obligated to place himself in harm’s way.
“There is no legal duty (for an armed citizen) to engage a gunman,” he noted. “Do not draw a gun until you are sure of your target. Identify the specific threat.”
And, he cautioned, be careful because an armed citizen might be mistaken for a perpetrator.
Bird suggested that if people buy guns for self-defense, they should get a carry license or permit, seek competent instruction and learn what to do in an emergency.
Ayoob acknowledged that ever since Columbine, the high school massacre in Colorado several years ago, “every loser in America” understands that if they want to get their photo on the cover of Time magazine, “they go out and kill a bunch of innocent Americans.”
He blames the media in part for such tragedies.
The shooting unfolded at about 7 p.m. inside the Macy’s store. The unidentified suspect was captured on store security cameras entering the store, then leaving and returning several minutes later with the rifle.
At this writing, there was no known motive for the shooting.