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First Responders: By Guymon Chief of Police Eddie Adamson

March 25, 2011

I was reading an article in a Law Enforcement trade magazine the other day and it was talking about how since 9/11 the shift has been in the direction of preparing first responders to deal with terrorist incidents in our country. To those who have done the job of a first responder for more than a day there was a collective sigh of “No Kidding.” Anyone who has done any kind of job knows the person who is first to the problem is the one likely to lessen the amount of damage caused by the problem itself. This is just common sense. Thankfully more training and equipment is being delivered to those Emergency Responders who are first at the scene and that is a good thing but not necessarily the best thing. I think most people would agree that the best thing would be to deal with the problem as quick as possible.
Recently we have seen an attack in a supermarket parking lot in Tucson Arizona where a US Representative was speaking and nineteen people were shot and ultimately six died at the scene at the hands of a lone gunman. We also have fresh in our minds when thirty-three people were shot to death at Virginia Tech by a lone student gunman. We also recall a gunman murdering twelve people and shooting thirty-one others at Fort Hood. This past week in Foley Missouri in an all too familiar case of domestic violence, a woman and her boyfriend were killed at the hands of her ex-husband.  What do all of these cases have in common? Emergency Responders were not the first to encounter the problem which was a gunman who was bent on murdering innocent people. The first person to encounter the gunman was the victim.
Often our modern society wants to shift responsibility to others for a multitude of things. The one that I have dealt with the most in my career is that, “The police should stop the criminals before they commit a crime so everyone can be safe.” I wish that statement could be true, but it simply can’t be expected to happen and the public should not be naïve in believing it. Police will respond to cries for help but in an instant that cry can be silenced by a criminal who preys on those who are not prepared to protect themselves. However, when a person is prepared to take action, they can quickly turn things around from being a victim to being an effective First Responder to a criminal attack. Each person makes a conscience decision to be prepared for a violent attack by the savages we know walk among us, or makes a conscience decision to allow others to control their destiny and hope for the best. This conscience decision must also be made by our collective citizenry on a national level to deal with the threat of terrorism.
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a decorated veteran with an astute mind when it comes to dealing with terrorists such as those behind the 9/11 attacks, speaks to groups on that topic around the country. He recently penned an article dealing with information regarding what we can expect next from terrorists using information gathered from captured members of terrorist organizations. The terrorists talk about “The Perfect Day” when they will all attack everywhere. You can imagine what would happen if every member of a terrorist group would carry out an attack at a school, a hospital, a government building, a sporting event, or a host of other situations you can think up. By now you should be asking yourself what can we as a country do to try and prevent this. The answer is simple. We can do the very same thing that we can do to stop a criminal. We can be prepared to be an effective First Responder.  Terrorists and Criminals are the same; the only difference is the motive behind what they do. 
Why do terrorist shy away from countries such as Israel? Their general population is prepared to take action and do not rely on the government to immediately deal with the incident or expect the government to be omnipresent to protect them. This same mentality was once common in our country when dealing with criminals much less terrorists. As we have time to prepare ourselves, it is time to make that conscience decision to either be a prepared and effective First Responder or hope for the best and read it in the headlines.
If the attacks I mentioned earlier in this article had started and one of the intended victims had been prepared to deal swiftly and deadly to protect themselves and others from a criminal trying to slaughter them, would the headlines have read differently? I would hope that in the event something similar to the incidents mentioned above had occurred with any number of my friends or family being there, the news accounts would have been quite different.
I am a person knows the police are not likely to get there in time to help you in cases such as the killing sprees and you must defend yourself and deal with the threat or you will likely be a casualty. No matter if it is an act of international terrorism, domestic violence, or a robbery…. YOU should be prepared to deal with the threat IMMEDIATELY. In Oklahoma right now there is a bill before the legislature that will broaden where armed citizens can carry weapons for their own defense (HB 1652). There is also a bill to allow open carry of a firearm to be decided by Oklahoma voters (HB1796). These types of legislation are what it will take to make a criminal or terrorist think twice about committing their illegal act but it will take citizens who are prepared to take action for it to work.
 

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