One question I always ask of CCW Class participants, “Are you going to carry your gun after receiving your license?” Frequently the answer is, “Only if I think I will need it.” How do you know when you are going to need your gun? We don’t. The idea is to always be prepared for the unknown, the unexpected – the danger before it raises it’s ugly head.
We will never see every threat before it happens but we can see and prepare for most of them. The one threat that is the hardest to see in advance is the “sniper”. Snipers have been very successful in obtaining high body counts. The fire service has seen several incidents where the sniper will set a fire and then wait for firefighters to arrive. A soft target is an easy victim for the sniper.
On August 1, 1966, Charles Joseph Whitman used knives in the slayings of his mother and his wife in their respective homes and then went to the University of Texas in Austin with multiple firearms and began indiscriminately shooting at people. He fatally shot three people inside the university tower. He then went to the tower’s 28th-floor observation deck, where he fired at random people for some 96 minutes, killing an additional 11 people, including an unborn child, and wounding 31 others before he was shot dead by Austin police officer Houston McCoy. Whitman killed a total of 17 people; the 17th victim died 35 years later from injuries sustained in the shooting.
More recently the Washington D.C. sniper attacks were a series of coordinated shootings that occurred in October 2002, in the states of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Ten people were killed and three others were critically wounded in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area and along Interstate 95 in Virginia.
No amount of planning will stop the threat of a sniper. They are usually very well concealed, hard to see and usually have an excellent vantage point. Once the sniper starts shooting it is extremely difficult to identify the direction shots are coming from. The only recourse is a defensive deportment and to find cover and stay secluded. If the opportunity presents itself, try to obtain the origin of the gunfire. Look for muzzle flash, which may be difficult to see during daylight hours. Stay behind the cover until the police deem the threat has been eliminated.
The likelihood of ever encountering a sniper is very slim. However, we can’t ignore the fact that we live in a very unpredictable world. Therefore we must remain vigilant in all that we do, to stay aware of our surroundings at all times.
No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.