Hindsight is 20/20 a Great read about NE MAll
When I heard the first round of gunshots, I knew what they were but didn’t want to believe it. I tried to think that they were balloons or fireworks. However, I definitely took a defensive stance ready to run.
When I saw the shooter, I stood there for nearly 5 seconds just watching.
First, he was firing 90 degrees away from me. The thing is, this image was nothing new to me. I see people shooting all the time at the range, on TV, in video games. But what my brain was having a hard time processing was that was Van Maur.
Now back to the point I referenced earlier.
Honestly, and as God as my witness, when I saw him shooting and as watched for a few seconds trying to figure out what he was going to do and what I should do, the thought that when through my mind was, “If I had a gun, I have a perfect shot.”
Yes, a perfect shot. I had a full side profile, I was close, and no one was visible behind him execept a wall. I had a clear shot during the second round of fire. I told this to every cop I came in contact with. The interviewer agreed.
When I realized that I had no gun, fear instantly struck me, along with anger, and severe panic.
I ran hard.
I did not think to try to help people, I just got out.
While I was running, I kept hearing shots. In my mind, I could see myself getting shot in the back, bullets ripping through me and blood spraying in front of me.
Interestingly, I was still able to make decisions. I knew the dressing room was a bad place. When I realized I was trapped in a corner, more fear set in and I almost went for the dressing room, but then I saw the emergency exit.
I instantly started second-guessing that decision as well. For all I knew, there were more shooters waiting for people to try to escape. But realizing that I was wide open to attack, I ran out the emergency door.
As I ran down the stairs, all kinds of thoughts started occurring. What if a shooter was coming up the stairs? What if one followed me down? Every decision I made was second-guessed, should I just stop or keep going?
I kept going, and due to luck, I was fine. There was only one shooter, and he did not set any boobytraps.
That’s all. My decisions were fairly limited and all I could do is go where the doors and hallways took me.
After my interview, as I was being escorted by the cops to my car, I saw the nice, white coat still there by the garbage can. I pointed it out to my interviewer who was escorting me, hoping maybe he’d let me go pick it up to possibly save it. But, it was a lost cause. I would have gone back later and paid for it.
This part of the story may be removed later, but I will have it here for now.
I do not have a Concealed Handgun Permit. I have completed the training class, but I keep putting off applying for the permit because I think it is useless. In the places I would need a gun most, I am not allowed to have it. I will not be a person living in fear and not go to Van Maur because they don’t allow guns.
My point that Open Carry needs to be easier in Omaha, and places like Westroads need to take down their “no guns” signs.
If I had my gun deeply concealed, I wouldn’t have been able to draw it very fast. However, If I had open carried, I could of drawn instantly.
Either way though, I could have drawn and taken a clean shot. However, in both cases, regardless of the laws, I am not allowed to carry a gun at all in Westroads Mall. If the laws did not oppress my rights, I would carry a gun most places (except work). I would certainly have had it in the mall as mall shootings have been on my mind since the incident at a mall involving a shotgun back in February.
My wife is somewhat cautious about guns as is my sister-in-law. After this event, both are now pro-guns. In addition, I will never again be caught without a gun.
I later learned from the news that people were shot at customer service (to my right) and the children’s section (in front of me, off to the left). This means it was only luck this guy did not target me, as I was closer to him than some of the people he shot. I have a second chance at life.
What really irks my gut is that I was just there at Van Maur on Monday night with my wife and daughter. What if they were with me this time? Escape like I did would not of been possible.
I am very angry at the city of Omaha and the mall for their stupid laws that nearly cost me my life. The laws protected no one, and in my opinion, caused people to die.
Will I go to the media? Maybe. I can’t make a decision now because I am still shaken up. I got very little sleep last night. I need to let my head clear. Nothing I do right now is going to change the outcome and near brush with death.
Right now I have been practicing with my .40 S&W Beretta, replaying the situation in my mind.
I could have done it, no problem, no hesitation, no regrets. This was a test of my soul, and the results are in and I know them for certain.
I am going to go buy some “gear,” then go to the shooting range for some target practice.
My knnee hurts and my legs and lungs still burn. I cannot recall how high of jump I took, but I am going back to Van Maur to find out.
UPDATE 12/6/07 - I went to a local shooting range and purchased several silhouette targets. I then put the targets down range, to the approximate place I think the shooter would have been.
It seems it may be between 40 and 50 meters based on my memory. I used my Beretta 90-Two (.40 S&W) and shot each target several times with 6 round magazines. I mostly aimed for the head because that is probably what I would have done in the mall, as I didn't know if he was wearing a vest or not.
My accuracy to the head was about 4 out of 6, depending on how fast I fired. For the shots I missed the head, they still hit the neck or the chest. A few test cases, I missed the head by an inch. I would of been shooting up at a slight angle so the missed shots would of went higher than most people stand.
I then took body shots and my accuracy was near 100% on the target, though not necessarily in the kill zone. I conclude I could have taken the shots with decent accuracy and been effective. I cannot predict the outcome, except that I would of rather been shooting at the killer, instead of crossing my fingers, turning my back, and running away. Even if I only wounded him, I could of run in closer for more accuracy. Call me crazy, it may be true, but running away like I did was more crazy and more risky with my life. I just got lucky.
I do want to say that when I talk about that I could of stopped the killer, I am not trying to make a political statement. I am simply saying if
I were allowed to carry a gun, I would have and I would have used it.
That is a hard fact. I am not trying to be a hero and say that I would
have tried to save lives. I am saying that I was trying to save my life,
and if my family was there, their lives as well. There is nothing
"hero" about what I am saying, it's about survival.
I feel that I am alive today because of luck. I chose to run, but it was not a choice. I was forced to run. Many will say that is the right choice. I say it is the choice that requires luck. ALOT of luck with the position I was in.
Use of deadly force at times may also require luck. But, it also depends upon skill, awareness, and practice. These are things I can control, and these are things I trust far more than luck
The statements I am making today are my own, and represent my personal views and my views alone. It may or may not be the views of my family, friends, employer, other professional affiliates, or anyone or thing affiliated with me in any way of form other than myself.