Comparisons are sure to come on Elisjsha Dicken’s quick reaction at a mall in Greenwood, Indiana where he killed a gunman and halted what could have been an even more devastating loss of lives, and the failure of hundreds of officers in the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
The two deadly incidents are not the same, but Dicken’s heroic response is sure to resume debate about gun violence, First Amendment rights, and the arming of citizens.
And the situation in Indiana is complicated by the fact that while he was legally in possession of a firearm, he violated the mall’s no-weapons policy but that will probably be ignored given the lives he saved.
Moreover, what if Dicken had missed, then the possibility of a shootout would have occurred and that might have included even more fatalities.
The question of armed citizens has always been a puzzling one, and it gets another round of debate following the mall shooting. To be sure, armed citizens will not stop an assassin with murder and mayhem on his or her mind. To amend laws about citizens walking around with guns will mean altering other policies and procedures when it comes to gun violence.
With so many of the mass shootings and casualties occurring in classrooms, should teachers be armed? There is a long list of pros and cons on this. On the one hand, if shooters know teachers are armed they may be dissuaded from targeting them, although once they know they are armed they may be the first one killed.
Perhaps the only way around this issue is to post security at the entrance and keep the doors locked, though there’s no guarantee on these safety measures.
So, you get an idea of just how difficult it is to find a solution to gun violence in America, but something can be done about the access to the most lethal semi-automatic assault rifles so often used in the massacres, beginning with more meaningful policies against manufactures, and more aggressive mental health initiatives, and state and federal agreement on background checks for buyers.
We have no idea of what will be the fallout from the mall shooting in Indiana or the massacre in Uvalde, both are reprehensible and beyond comparison.