Good Shooting: Left Ignores Men’s Duty to Protect
A good Samaritan stopped a mall shooting last Sunday 15 seconds after it began, said Greenwood, Indiana police on Tuesday. At a Monday press conference, Greenwood Police Chief James Ison had said the good guy with a gun engaged within two minutes, but on Tuesday clarified that was due to misreading his notes. The abbreviated timeline only makes the courageous action of Eli Dicken that much more heroic.
The shooter exited the mall restroom shortly before closing time (5:56:48 p.m.) and began firing a rifle into the food court. He killed three people and injured two more, firing 24 rounds that the police recovered. Seconds later (5:57:03 p.m.), Dicken fired back at the shooter with a pistol from 40 yards (120 feet) away, hitting him with 8 out of 10 rounds.
Dicken was shopping in the mall with his girlfriend at the moment of crisis. His first instinct was to protect her; he pushed her behind a kiosk and told her to stay down. His next instinct was to protect all the other bystanders; he moved toward the shooter, took aim, and fired. His accuracy with a pistol at that distance is stunning — even more so because he shot not from the cool of a gun range, but in the heat of a mass shooting and the inevitable surge of adrenaline.
Despite Dicken having no professional training, the police chief called his actions “nothing short of heroic” and “very tactically sound.” He certainly saved many lives; police recovered more than 100 unused rounds of ammunition from the shooter’s body. But Dicken isn’t doing a victory lap of interviews. He hasn’t spoken with media at all, so far. He was simply a guy with grit in the right place at the right time, who stood up and did what had to be done.
The Left doesn’t understand the significance of Dicken’s manly behavior. CNN felt obliged to include this jab its report, “having more than one armed person at the scene who is not a member of law enforcement can create confusion and carry dire risks.” One gun control advocate insinuated on Twitter that the shooting happened because Indiana recently eliminated the license requirement to carry a handgun — which is, ironically, the reason why Dicken was allowed to carry a gun.
In fact, the Left doesn’t understand the solemn, masculine duty to protect — in any area of society. Just look at the way they treat police and the military. The two state-run institutions with the legal authority to use lethal force in most situations, police are tasked with protecting citizens from threats to domestic security, while the military is tasked with protecting citizens from external threats to domestic security.
The Left has been driving the military into the ground for decades, most recently through sponsoring gender transition procedures for servicemembers and emphasizing wokeness seminars over combat readiness. The result: the Left has successfully depicted our military as effeminate and weak, even as our geopolitical adversaries project manliness and strength. Now, no one wants to enlist. But when forced to choose with meeting military recruitment goals or meeting their wokeness priorities for the military, our leftist leaders choose wokeness.
What is the point of the military? Is it to advance ideals about diversity and gender queerness? Or is it about shooting bad guys so that everyone else can live in peace? Or, at the very least, deterring bad guys from perpetrating their evil schemes by the promise of retaliatory force? The Left refuses to recognize this objective as a necessary one, or even as a priority.
The Left has been driving the police into the ground more recently, increasingly criticizing the use of force, endorsing abolition or defunding of police and prisons, and reimagining departments of public safety that emphasize therapeutic and social work over punitive justice. Progressive prosecutors and city officials often side with lawbreakers against law enforcers. As a result, police departments are demoralized, and their ranks are depleted. Oh yeah, and crime is up; no one saw that coming. Crime has gotten so bad that cities like San Francisco have ousted leftist officials and replaced them with others who are cleaning house.
What is the point of the police? Is it to ensure equitable outcomes regardless of behavior? Is it to resolve every situation peaceably, no matter how incorrigible a violent offender proves? Or is it to stop bad guys so that everyone else can live in peace? The line governing the appropriate use of force is often blurry, but the Left often behaves as if no use of force is appropriate.
The animosity towards legitimate use of force, and the lawlessness plaguing our nation stem from the same root. We cannot recognize what the proper use of force looks like because we have lost sight of (or rejected) God, from whom all authority and proper use of force is derived. “There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” The authority “is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:1,4). Because authority is derived from God, good authority imitates God’s authority.
God is the ultimate protector of his people. He is a defender, a fortress, a shield, a rock, and a shepherd. Frequently throughout Scripture (at the Red Sea, the fall of Babylon, or the final judgement), God’s vindication of his people involves the destruction of their enemies. God has delegated to men the responsibility to protect life, and even the authority to take life to do so. But doing so should never be taken lightly. God tells Noah after the flood, “from his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Genesis 9:5-6). Because the Left ignores God and denies that man is made in God’s image, the Left doesn’t understand the sacred responsibility to protect life, even by taking it, if necessary.
All people have a responsibility to look out for, care for, and protect the vulnerable when it is in their power to do so. When matters of life and death are concerned, this responsibility often falls on the state. But the state can’t (or shouldn’t) be everywhere, all the time. Sometimes, ordinary citizens are presented with an opportunity to step in and save life, when it’s in their power (as the more powerful sex, that role more commonly falls to men). It’s difficult to know how you will respond until you’re in a situation that requires bold action. Will you run for cover? Will you shield the vulnerable? Will you take down a mall shooter in 15 seconds with a pistol from 120 feet away?
Good for you, Mr. Dicken. Way to step up and be a man.
Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.