By Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman
In the aftermath of the Greenwood Park Mall shooting in which a legally-armed private citizen named Elisjsha Dicken was able to quickly take down the killer, stopping the attack and preventing further bloodshed, it is time for shopping malls to abandon their “no firearms” policies, which have left other victims around the country disarmed and dead.
Firing across the mall food court, and gradually moving closer to the heavily-armed killer, the 22-year-old Dicken hit the attacker with eight out of ten rounds fired.
Reportedly shopping with his girlfriend at the mall, Dicken was carrying under the state’s newly-enacted “constitutional carry” statute, which no longer requires a permit. His quick action dramatically affirmed the benefit of having armed citizens in public places.
Downplaying the significance of armed common defense in this case, the New York Times felt compelled to report—while lauding Dicken’s “act of pluck and composure worthy of a scene in the movies”—that the action “was also a statistical unicorn.”
“An examination of 433 active shooter attacks in the United States between 2000 and 2021,” the Times reported, “showed that only 22 ended with a bystander shooting an attacker, according to data from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University.”
So what? Last year, the FBI noted six incidents in which armed citizens intervened in mass shootings, including four where the perpetrator was killed. For years, gun prohibitionists have argued in support of every new proposed gun restriction, “If it saves just one life, isn’t that worth it?”
Now that shoe is on the other foot. Dicken’s armed presence inside the Greenwood Park mall—in violation of the mall’s “no weapons” policy—probably saved several lives, according to local officials.
“Many more people would have died last night if not for the responsible armed citizen,” said Greenwood Police Chief James Ison during a press conference on the day after the shooting.
It’s not the first time a mass shooting has been abruptly halted by a proverbial “good guy with a gun.” Earlier this year in Charleston, West Virginia, would-be killer Dennis Butler was quickly shot dead by a legally-armed woman after he opened fire on a crowd attending a party outside an apartment complex.
In February 2007, a murderer identified as Sulejman Talovic killed five people at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City before Kenneth Hammond, an off-duty police officer from another jurisdiction—arguably making him just another armed citizen—drew and fired. Talovic eventually was killed by Salt Lake lawmen, but Hammond’s actions may have prevented further carnage.
Almost three years ago, The Hill reported, “America’s largest retailers are rethinking their gun policies following a spate of mass shootings this summer in states including California, Texas and Ohio.”
Those retailers ignored the one gaping “loophole” in their decision-making process: Violent madmen do not abide by “no weapons” policies. Instead, wanton killers exploit such rules because they do not expect to meet any resistance in what amounts to a target-rich environment.
Elisjsha Dicken’s armed heroics changed that, and by now should have signaled retailers that it is time for a corporate change of heart.
Nobody wants to be a sitting duck in a maniac’s shooting gallery.
Alan Gottlieb is founder and Executive Vice President of the Second Amendment Foundation. Dave Workman is editor of TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press.