Recently, I sat through a presentation by an Orlando Police Department officer who was one of the first officers on the scene of the worst active shooting terrorist attack on U.S. soil, Pulse nightclub. On June 12, 2016 at approximately 2 in the morning, a lone gunman parked behind the Pulse nightclub and walked around the building carrying a rifle and handgun.
He entered the club and began shooting, creating a horrendous scene of carnage and death. In this article, I will not discuss anything tactical that was done or lessons learned by law enforcement, but I do want to talk about what did NOT happen.
In this case, a lone gunman opened fire in a crowded nightclub (there were an estimated 300 inside at the start of the shooting), and was able to continually shoot a full magazine of 30 rounds, reload, shoot another, reload, and continued this sequence through at least six magazines. If you know anything about rifles like the one used, (a semi-automatic carbine) you know that it takes a very skilled person to reload so quickly that there is not enough time for someone to try and stop the shooter.
In this case, the gunman was not a very skilled shooter and every magazine change was a chance lost for the victims to become fighters and stop him. I am not speaking ill of the victims, but one has to look and attempt to learn from these types of incidents so in the event that it happens again, someone may do something to stop or lessen the carnage.
After killing about 20 people on the dance floor, the shooter moved throughout the building, ending his spree in the bathrooms where a number of people had hidden. Ten people who were hiding in one stall were shot through the door, causing them to fall on top of each other burying a man on the bottom who was alive. None fought back, even knowing they were going to be shot. Even worse, it was discovered that the shooter had a rifle malfunction that prevented him from using his firearm and had enough time, with the help of the internet, to clear that malfunction.
That’s right, his rifle malfunctioned and he used his phone to watch a video on how to fix it. Now I do not know about you, but I have worked far too hard in my life to just let someone try to kill me without at least fighting back.
I was horrified by the fact that the shooter could walk around the nightclub and shoot people who were kneeling or cowering on the dance floor and in the bathrooms without one single person doing so much as throwing something at him. How hard would it have been for him to shoot with liquor bottles flying at him, or chairs, or something?
Better yet, imagine if people were allowed to carry their self-defense firearms in the club. Once the shooter started to fire, a good Samaritan with a concealed weapons license could have pulled their firearm and returned fire. But it’s illegal to carry a concealed firearm in a club or bar in Florida. This gun free zone did not stop the criminal from shooting, it only stopped law-abiding citizens from defending themselves.
Another thing happened during this incident that was notable to me. While crawling through a small hole in the wall established by the SWAT team, most victims were so focused on taking care of themselves and getting out that they did not help a critically injured patron in the same bathroom. The SWAT team had to tell the last person coming out to go back and pull the wounded man to the hole because they could not fit through with all of their gear on.
All of the victims in the bathroom were so self-focused that they were willing to let this victim die. They didn’t care; they were getting out. It was not their problem. This is a poor statement about the feelings many people have for their fellow man. This attitude is terrible and detrimental to our American way of life.
If you are ever caught in some terrible situation where you know that there is no way for you to escape without being injured or killed, think about trying to take the criminal with you. Like those brave souls on Flight 93 who charged the terrorists and crashed the plane in a field in Pennsylvania, possibly preventing further carnage to others. Those victims chose to try and take back control. Do not let your last action be kneeling on a floor somewhere just waiting to be killed. Think about your family and those you will leave behind, use that raw emotion to fuel anger and take some action.
Had just one or a few of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting attempted to fight back, shoot back, or even throw bottles at the shooter, the number killed may have been less. Where has our humanity for our fellow humans gone? It has not disappeared completely, proven by recent incidents where three citizens drove by officers being beaten to death.
They could have just driven by and not done a thing, but instead took it upon themselves to help save the lives of the officers by killing the attackers. That is what we need more of, people fighting for each other, fighting to stay alive, and refusing to give up! DO NOT LET THE BAD GUYS WIN!
If you want to start changing your thought process and work on making your attitude one where you are focused on survival instead of fear and cowering, I highly suggest that you listen to Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman’s audio presentation of “A Bulletproof Mind”.
It is something I have all of our police recruits listen to. You can change the way you think and turn your thoughts to survival instead of defeat.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chris Wagoner is a Senior OpsLens Contributor and U.S. Army Veteran. He has been in law enforcement the last 35+ years. He specializes in LE Firearms Instruction, and is in charge of a large Police Academy in North Florida. In his spare time Chris is a freelance Military Reporter and owner/founder of the Largest Military Videos Channel on YouTube “3rdID8487”.