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Let’s Not Be Defenseless

When a crazed Bernie Sanders supporter opened fired on a group of Republican lawmakers and others practicing for the Congressional baseball game recently, the unarmed people on the field found themselves in a horrible position: in an open field without cover and with no means to return fire.

I can only imagine the horrible feeling of utter helplessness those people had when they realized how tactically compromised they actually were. Thank God the security detail was able to return fire and draw shots away from those caught in no-man’s land.

When Guns Are Involved, One Had Better Be Yours

What all the people on that field learned in the most terrifying way possible is that it really sucks to not have a gun when the shooting starts. Being defenseless is a horrible feeling.

So the first step in effective self-defense is to not be defenseless. But how can you do that when you want to participate in a sporting event? In a word: overwatch.

Posting an overwatch simply means that you have someone nearby keeping a lookout, ready to sound the alarm and fight back if needed. Do you have a designated driver when you go out on the town? Maybe you should think about having a designated defender if you are in a place that leaves you helpless.

I know what you’re going to say: “I don’t have the money to hire security guards the way our elected officials do.” You’re right; most of us don’t have that kind of money lying around. And most of us won’t always have a friend with a gun who wants to come watch our baseball practices and games. But let’s put into practice that old adage, “Do the best you can with what you’ve got where you are.”

I carry a gun just about everywhere. And most of the people I hang out with carry guns just about everywhere. We routinely check with each other before we sit down to dinner to determine who is armed and who would like to have a view of the door. Some nights I go out with people who may want to have a drink, so they leave their guns at home. In that case, I’ll take my gun and stick to water. I serve as the overwatch.

Caught in the Open?

But this does not apply on the ballfield. What on earth are you going to do out there? Even if you have a tiny gun inside a concealed holster somewhere on your uniform, that little pistol won’t help you much if you are playing center field and the shooting starts near home plate. Your six rounds of .380 and those crappy sights on your little get-off-me gun will likely not make an impact (pun intended) on the shooter. Still, a gun is better than no gun.

Maybe you could consider having a friend with a defensive pistol, spare magazines and first-aid gear in a duffle bag. This friend could be your substitute in the game. At least each of you would get to play half the game. And you would ensure the gun was never left unattended.

If you are caught in the open when the shooting starts, hit the dirt and look for the source of the gunfire. You should have, as a matter of course, made a mental note of all the safe areas nearby. Where is your cover? If the shooter is not aiming at you, you might be able to get small and stay unnoticed. If that is the case, you win.

If the shooter is firing rounds your way, well, remaining a small target out there in the outfield still means you are a target. Don’t wait for the shooter to finally hit you while you are lying still in the grass. Get moving. Try to move laterally across the line of fire. Forget about zigzagging. That only leaves you out in the open longer. Sprint to cover. If your argument is that the shooter might zero in on you while you are running, then you must have considered that he could zero in on you while you are lying still. It will be more difficult for him to put a round on a moving target. So keep moving.

There is really no good answer to this type of scenario. It’s a bad deal all around. You have to do something. Don’t just freeze; you will likely get killed where you stopped moving.

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