Like many of you, I watched and read the news about the tragedy that unfolded at a Town Hall type meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, at a Safeway store parking lot in Arizona. 21 year old Jared Loughner was among a crowd of people and allegedly opened up with a Glock 9mm handgun with a 30 round clip. Reports are that he randomly chose victims and the result was between 18 and 20 people wounded.
Six people were killed, including a 9 year old girl, who was at the store parking lot to meet her representative- Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
I was surprised that that there was little or no real personal security protection for Giffords at the event. Apparently neither Giffords nor her staff carried any type of personal protection for security sake.
There is a lot of history regarding violence toward elected officials. Even Congresswoman Giffords expressed concern to her husband that this very type of incident could happen. Then why no security?
Witnesses and surviving victims to this tragedy seamed to have one thing in common: They felt helpless when the shots were fired and the only thing they could do is duck down with the hope that he wouldn’t shoot them.
There was one exception interview of a witness that could have made the situation worse. The witness said he came walking up, realized what was happening, and began to pull out his own handgun. He decided against taking action because the suspect had already been forced down to the ground. What if he had arrived earlier and had pulled his gun to shoot at suspect- Jared Loughner?
More people could have been injured because of stray bullets and depending on the ammunition type used, even accurate shots could have traveled through several people before the bullet energy was expended.
What about non-lethal products such as gel pepper spray? In this case the meeting was in a public parking lot. If anyone standing within eight feet of Jared Loughner had carried gel pepper spray for personal protection, they could have sprayed him in the face. Gel pepper spray would have left him temporarily blind, immobile, in pain, and covered in dye for easy identification. This could have resulted in a lesser number of killed and/or wounded.
Instead Jared Loughner was able to empty a 30 round clip of amunition. It was then that several heroic people reportedly took Loughner to the ground before he could reload.
Of course these observations are reactive to an incident that has already happened, but what is wrong with being proactive?
As a result of this incident, other people in politics have vowed to carry firearms to similar Town Hall type events. In my opinion this won’t help in any way. It takes about 2 seconds to react to an incident. Who is usually the first target? The politician.
For security sake, trained protection security should be at these events and only they should carry firearms. They will have practice and know how to react in any given situation.
I don’t understand why there isn’t adequate security at these events, but if trained government agents, or security is not going to be used in a given event, why not issue gel pepper spray to trained staff. It could save injuries and lives.
The general public may be restricted from carrying certain protection to meetings with government officials, but gun incidents where people are shot and killed happen every day. It just doesn’t happen to politicians often, so normally only local media covers these events. Gel pepper spray for personal protection could save you from harm and might even save your life. When are you going buy yours for security sake?