How Hard is it to Stop Mass Murder?

How Hard is it to Stop Mass Murder? iStock-510069186

U.S.A. –-( It made the news today. A mass murderer opened fire in a food court. The murderer was armed with a rifle. He killed three people and wounded others before he was stopped by a 22-year-old who was carrying a handgun. All this took place in a mall south of Indianapolis, Indiana. Those are the facts, but most people don’t know what the facts mean. Was a young man stopping a mass murderer a matter of luck or was it the expected outcome that experts anticipated? Let’s look at the things you might want to know to make sense of the outcome.

Two-sided combat is a nightmare no matter how you are armed. A plastic sign at the mall said no weapons allowed. That sign gives the police authority to arrest gang members when the gangs gather at the mall. A plastic sign does not stop a mass murderer. All the wounded victims were women, with one exception. The murderer failed the victim-selection process when the armed defender recognized what was happening and decided to intervene.

Mass murderers go to “gun free” zones so they can engage in one-sided combat. They will kill about 14 people if we wait for the police to arrive and stop the attack.

If there is an armed citizen there, then the murderer is stopped after he has killed 2 to 3 people. Armed citizens who intervene are almost always successful in stopping the attack. The reason is obvious when you think about it.

We don’t have eyes in the back of our head. That means we are always vulnerable to being attacked from behind. In practice, our “blind spot” is far larger than that. Using a firearm means we have to focus our attention on our target. That blinds us to almost everything else. I’ve felt my perceptions narrow when I was in force-on-force training. It is the same reason we don’t notice a friend approaching us when we’re deep in conversation. We were busy doing something else.

That “blind spot” is how a defender with a handgun stops an attacker armed with a rifle. I bet the attacker never saw him, and that is simply the perceptual dynamics of armed combat in an open area.

We don’t know what we don’t know. If you’ve never done it, then the simple act of shooting a firearm seems like an unbelievable thing to do. You soon find out that almost anyone can make the gun go bang. Hitting your intended target is harder. At first you’re happy to put your shots on a piece of paper at 5 yards. Later you’ll find out that some people can hit a target the size of a quarter at 75 feet.. time after time. That isn’t a secret, but you wouldn’t know it unless you study shooters.

Yes, people carry a loaded firearm concealed on their bodies in public every day. You don’t know how many people are doing it around you because you can’t see concealed carry. National averages are about one-out-a-dozen adults are armed.

You might imagine that having armed individuals next to you is dangerous. Instead, it is one of the safest environments we have. To prove my point, I remember standing within a few feet of the son of a presidential candidate. I stepped back so he could talk to one of the vendors. I was armed, and so were about 15 thousand other people walking around in the convention center. I don’t know how the Secret Service felt about that.

One of the things that unarmed citizens might imagine is that people suffer uncontrollable impulses to shoot someone. I’ve never felt that. I imagine that I would not want to carry a firearm if I acted that impulsively. Do you fear that you’ll swerve your car into oncoming traffic? Is that why you don’t drive?

People learn to shoot. They learn to carry concealed. They can learn to move with a gun and to fight with one. They also learn to walk toward the sound of gunfire. I’ve worked with armed school staff in training exercises. They moved toward the sounds of gunfire time after time.

We should keep an open mind about what our neighbors can accomplish.

About Rob Morse

The original article, with references, is posted here. Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, at Second Call Defense, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob was an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.Rob Morse

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Talking about the blind spot brings to mind something I’ve always said. Unless I’m the first person shot, we won’t have a shooting, we’ll have a shoot-out.


To help answer the question asked by the title of this article, It may be easy to stop a mass murder, if there is only one shooter. The good guy with the gun has at times found it much more difficult, upon forgetting to consider the possibility that the shooter might have an accomplice waiting in the background. Such an important point in trying to answer this question.


I can’t believe what I am reading from the left on other sites. They want this hero turned into an example of what happens when you don’t follow the rules of the store because you are armed in a gun free zone. They are more concerned about that and condemn the fact that he saved lives because he broke a rule. That, is a twisted mind in my book and is the mindset of today’s left. Never mind the fact that the sooter did the same thing. Not one leftist response that I read said anything about him carrying in… Read more »


Would he be facing felony in OreGoniestan? Far as I know he was never asked to depart, so …. Far as I know mall had a policy, but unclear whether it was posted. Does Oregon outlaw carry without permission sign (as under new NY laws) or is it any sign, or does banning require some type of compliant signage? In Texas signs must be compliant (for LTC, not for permitless carry), and must be visible & unobstructed at EVERY entrance. Someone else posts that he enters “his” local mall through an attached store as there are no signs at entry… Read more »


This event took place in Indiana.

American Patriot

They all have twisted minds that’s why they’re Liberal Democrats!


Just when I believed Americas youth to be Junior Marxists and Woke idiots this remarkable young man steps forward and saves untold numbers of lives. I wonder if a deranged prosecutor will go after him for violating the malls no gun zone ?
Perhaps there is still hope for our Republic. But there are too few young men like him being born today. The birth numbers are stunning.


You may want to get out and meet some young people.

A teenager in a T-shirt (and other “civilians”) took care of business in Kenosha while body-armor-wearing enforcers sat in armored vehicles watching the town burn.

Also, just a small selection of elders:

  • Jimmy Carter, born October 1, 1924
  • Diane Feinstein June 22, 1933
  • Nancy Pelosi, born March 26, 1940
  • Anthony Fauci, born December 24, 1940
  • Joe Biden, born November 20, 1942
  • Jerry Nadler, born June 13, 1947
  • Hillary Clinton, born October 26, 1947
  • Chuck Schumer November 23, 1950
Last edited 26 days ago by JSNMGC

Spot on. In my part of the country things are a bit different. Kids grow up with a work ethic. When your town is noted for its number of churches and gun stores, and a large percentage of kids are home schooled (on ranches) you can expect a different outcome. I came to love this place decades ago when the Commandant sent me up in these mountains to recruit Marines. They still join in large numbers. I am willing to be the young men and women here will rise to any occasion and will be the foundation of the remnant… Read more »


Yes, I hike, shoot, hunt, fish, ski, and socialize with people from 18 to 40 years old. They are all productive members of society, pay taxes, and understand that, unfortunately, our government was well down the road to socialism over 100 years ago because a majority of Americans demanded socialism then just as they do now. They also understand the history of other countries and recognize that totalitarianism is only possible in America if it is supported by state, county, city/town enforcers and/or the military. They all are engaged in politics – they attend meetings where we discuss the policies… Read more »

Last edited 25 days ago by JSNMGC

Each and everyone you listed needs to stand trial. introduce them all to the Khmer Rouge. Or Khmer Red if preferred. Baggie and a special rice paddy


That was only a partial list and it started long before then.

Robert Owen, born May 14, 1771
Étienne Cabet, born January 1, 1788
Joseph Arnold Weydemeyer, born February 2, 1818
Uriah Smith Stephens, born August 3, 1821
Ferdinand Lassalle, born April 11, 1825
William H. Sylvis, born November 26, 1828
Adolph Strasser, born 1843
Samuel Gompers, born January 27, 1850
Edward Bellamy, born March 26, 1850
Daniel De Leon, December 14, 1852


Eugene Victor Debs, born November 5, 1855
Woodrow Wilson, born December 28, 1856
Victor Luitpold Berger, born February 28, 1860
Emil Seidel, born December 13, 1864
Fred C. Haack, born about 1873
William Z. Foster, born February 25, 1881
Daniel Webster Hoan, March 12, 1881
Franklin Roosevelt, born January 30, 1882
Charles Emil Ruthenberg, born July 9, 1882
Norman Mattoon Thomas, born November 20, 1884


Abraham Johannes Muste, born January 8, 1885
John Silas Reed, born October 22, 1887
Henry Agard Wallace, born October 7, 1888
James Patrick Cannon, born February 11, 1890
Earl Russell Browder, born May 20, 1891
Benjamin Gitlow, born December 22, 1891
James W. Ford, born December 22, 1893
Charles S. “Sasha” Zimmerman, born 1896
Jay Lovestone, born December 15, 1897
Harry Haywood, born February 4, 1898


Cyril Lionel Robert James, born January 4, 1901 
Francis Otto Matthiessen, born February 19, 1902
Edward Hugo Oehler, born 1903
Max Shachtman, born September 10, 1904
James Burnham, born November 22, 1905
Lyndon Johnson, born August 27, 1908
Paul Marlor Sweezy, born April 10, 1910
Raya Dunayevskaya, born May 1, 1910
Henry Hay Jr., born April 7, 1912 
Frank Paul Zeidler, born September 20, 1912


Grace Lee Boggs, born June 27, 1915
Charles Wright Mills, born August 28, 1916
Irving Howe, born June 11, 1920
Charls Edward Walker, born December 24, 1923
Jimmy Carter, born October 1, 1924
Edward Michael Harrington Jr., born February 24, 1928
Avram Noam Chomsky, born December 7, 1928
David Ernest McReynolds, born October 25, 1929
Charlene Alexander Mitchell, born 1930
George Soros, born August 12, 1930


I expand the list; all listed. Too bad some are not with us to pay the price. Don’t forget george soros nazi sympathizer.


Just saw george at the bottle of “pile” lower than whale sh-t


Pure evil.


It is only trespassing, to carry a gun in a non federal gun free zone. It is the federal gun free zones that older folks have allowed socialist enforcers and prosecutors to endanger our families because of black and brown violence. I have to carry Constitutionally in federal gun feee zones, to make sure my wife and kids are safe. That means I have to follow the saying about Liberty of “when the government outlaws guns, then those who value Liberty will become outlaws.” That doesn’t work out very well for the just following orders socialists enforcers, who are used… Read more »

Last edited 26 days ago by WeWereWarned

Your legal advice is flawed. Perhaps this is the case in your state, but in many states other GFZ have power of law with violations bringing misdemeanor or even felon charges far beyond trespassing charges. Heck even in Texas it is criminal to enter marked locations if one does not have an LTC – with LTC signage is more limited (must be 30.06 or 30.07) and erroneous entry only rises to trespassing if you refuse when asked to depart. My understanding is that new NY laws make stepping into a business with a gun is a felony if they do… Read more »


Correct, in my state of Commuerado.


Do some homework before urging folks to wreck their lives.

18 USC §924a4: Whoever violates the “Gun Free” School Zones Act shall be fined up to $5k, imprisoned up to 5 years, or both.

FELONY, if The Blue doesn’t kill you on the spot. Convicted = “prohibited person” (GCA68). NO GUNS FOR YOU!


How is an untrained 20-year-old civilian more successful than 400 armed tactical officers at subduing a shooter with a long rifle? (he asks rhetorically)

I would speak more on the subject but first, have to clean brain matter off the ceiling and walls.

Central PA Dan

Now that’s a funny article there! Especially this “At publishing time, Texas Governor Greg Abbot invited the “good Samaritan” to Texas to replace the entire Uvalde Police Department.”


because he was raised correctly by pack of wolves rather than by Ostrich

better to fight than bury your head in the sand


Lack of training, serious lack of commitment of going through the door. In the videos they look like their doing some non-committal training exercise. There were some who wanted to kick the door and deal with the threat but were held back.

Last edited 25 days ago by macdog

Good piece. More good folks carrying = more blind spots-offense-public safety.

“The sign gives authority to arrest gangsters” & un-American “authority” to arrest any civilian carrying.

2A groups should drop the baby steps, lobby carry states to ban ‘gun free’ zones, including privately-decreed ‘GF’ zones in public places. “That would violate property rights” is knee-jerk LoLibertarian nonsense. Same reason we ban cafes from serving rancid grease, rat parts & poo. ‘Illegal’ carry isn’t ConCarry. ‘GF’ zones are a public safety menace.

PS. Funny, thought of the car analogy today: narrow street, cars inches away, closing spd 80mph

Last edited 26 days ago by Russn8r

Do you feel lucky? Well do you punk?


Quick, TEX. Upvote yourself 20 times.


GREAT STATMENT from years gone by!!!!!!!!