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Thread: Police prepare for terror strikes at local mall

  1. #1
    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    I have not open carried in a mall yet. I have not been to any mall in almost a year, so it is not as if I am avoiding it, but stories like this concern me. While I am glad to have the police training for a situation like this, I am wondering how people would react to an honest, sane, law abiding person carrying a firearm. I don't like the idea of going into a mall unarmed, because the exact scenario as described in the story could happen, but at the same time I don't like the idea of having a police force taking me out because I have a gun "so I must be terrorist or a crazy gunman." Last time I was at the mall, I didn't see any "No Firearms" signs, but that could have changed.

    Notice the part of the story that says it took less than 30 minutes to disarm the "gunman". I don't want to be stuck in a mall with a gunman for 30 minutes. That's 30 minutes too long for me.

    So what do you think? Would I be stupid to carry at a mall; am I just "asking for trouble"? I can live my life just fine without going to a mall if I can't carry there, and I could probably save some money, but I don't want to shy away from carrying.Do Idaretrust the police to be able to see the difference between a crazed gunman ready to take on the world andan honest law abiding citizencarrying a firearmso I can defend myselfin case that crazy gunman shows up?Here is a link to the story:

    Belden Village mall, and mall security officer John Day help scared patrons as part of a safety training exercise Sunday.


    JACKSON TWP. For 20 minutes Sunday evening, terror reigned inside of Westfield Belden Village mall as a man with an AK-47 fired off shots.

    The gun was loaded with blanks, the volunteer patrons screaming in terror were coached, but for the emergency personnel involved, the situation could easily become reality.

    "It's something we don't want to have to prepare for, but, certainly, we do," Police Department Maj. Dave Zink said.

    Closed to patrons after 6 p.m. Sunday, the normally bustling shopping center was host to an emergency preparedness drill for security and the township police and fire departments.

    "I hope and pray nothing like this ever happens," mall General Manager Katrina Barton said, "but it's our job to be prepared."

    Barton said the mall holds two internal security drills annually, but this is the first drill the mall has held in coordination with township safety forces. More than 100 volunteers participated in the drill including Township Trustee Steve Meeks.

    In recent years, malls from New York state to Washington state have had real-life situations such as the scenario acted out at Westfield. In February, a man at a Salt Lake City mall went on a shooting spree, killing five people.

    "It's so important to be prepared," Meeks said. "To be proactive instead of reactive."

    In Sunday's drill, North Canton Police Department officer Sean Bates played a shooter on a rampage in the mall.

    Bates entered the facility by the dining area at 6:32 p.m. unloading a shot that sent volunteers diving for cover under tables and running for safety.

    As Bates fired off more shots and moved deeper into the mall, police and fire personnel arrived, quickly accessed the situation and moved in on the shooter within minutes.

    As police tracked Bates, mall security helped evacuate the building, assist injured patrons and set up triage tents in the parking lot.

    Officers tracked Bates from the dining area into the center of the mall near JB Robinson Jewelers. The situation called for Bates being taken down by gunfire.

    It took police officers less than 30 minutes to remove Bates' weapon after he fired his first shot. Zink said the lessons learned was essential.

    "We had a lot of new officers and part-time officers participate," Zink said. "The experience this offered is invaluable."

    The mall security and the police and fire departments will break down the training exercise and use it to ensure the proper procedures are in place for the future.



  2. #2
    State Researcher HankT's Avatar
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    dngreer wrote:
    I have not open carried in a mall yet. I have not been to any mall in almost a year, so it is not as if I am avoiding it, but stories like this concern me. While I am glad to have the police training for a situation like this, I am wonder how people would react to an honest, sane, law abiding person carrying a firearm. I don't like the idea of going into a mall unarmed, because the exact scenario as described in the story could happen, but at the same time I don't like the idea of having a police force taking me out because I have a gun "so I must be terrorist or a crazy gunman." Last time I was at the mall, I didn't see any "No Firearms" signs, but that could have changed.

    Notice the part of the story that says it took less than 30 minutes to disarm the "gunman". I don't want to be stuck in a mall with a gunman for 30 minutes. That's 30 minutes too long for me.

    So what do you think? Would I be stupid to carry at a mall; am I just "asking for trouble"? I can live my life just fine without going to a mall if I can't carry there, and I could probably save some money, but I don't want to shy away from carrying.Do Idaretrust the police to be able to see the difference between a crazed gunman ready to take on the world andan honest law abiding citizencarrying a firearmso I can defend myselfin case that crazy gunman shows up?
    Some excellent and thoughtful questions.

    I think:

    1. Walking alone and being seen OCing (in a mall that allows it) should be no problem. Someone might react goofily but it should be OK. Likely case is security/LEO goes over to investigate.

    2. Walking alone and being seen OCing (in a mall that does not allow it)would ordinarilybe aproblem. Security/LEO will ask you to leave. That's not so bad, just leave (without harangueing the ejectors--like some like to do). But given the right circumstances....someone might react really goofily ("eeeek he's got aGUN!")an ifeverything (or many things) goes wrong for you,security/LEO willoverreact, thinking there is a REAL, RIGHT NOW THREAT. What happens if they think it isa RRNT is anybody's guess. They could calmly come over and check you out--or draw and shoot. Depends on which action movies the cop has seen or whether he had one extra biscuit for breakfast. Maybe, too, on how loud the "Eeeker" is screaming.

    3. I'd agree with you. Going to a mall is no place to go unarmed. One should have a gun if one normally carries. It's just another place where someone can assault you. I seldom go to malls but I can't remember the last time I did not carry in one.

    4. I think one of the most foolish things in the world would be fora civlian todraw a gun in the event of some kind of actual terrorist attack (e.g. with guns or bombs). The gun should stay in the holster (CC or OC) unless it is absolutely required. Get out of there pronto is Job # 1 unless there are some very extraordinary circumstances that would justify your attacking the attacker(s) or you are trapped. Remember: When attacked, escape. When cornered, kill.

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    In a fairly well populated (25-35 people) mall, how would security know that you had the gun, at first glance of the situation? I'm not the smallest guy in the world, and a 1911A1 ain't no peashooter, so unless I was one of 2-3 people and the 'EEEKER' was pointing right at me, it could take a security guard 5-10 seconds to notice me. Seems ample time to see that:

    1. Fairly harmless looking guy.

    2. Holstered weapon.

    3. Non-threatening behavior.

    4. Possibly accompanied by a woman/child.

    5. Possibly holding a few purchases in one hand.

    I'd say Condition Yellow/Orange should be sufficient to already have a bead on what's going on, and that you might even see the security guard before he sees you.

    As was mentioned elsewhere, people that would freak out over seeing OC, probably think that they are in fear for their lives. Which means escape without drawing attention. I think. Unless it was a MMM'er or somebody that knew you were legal (not going to hurt them) and they just wanted to cause a scene.

    Just what I am thinking right now ... I've never minded learning, so go ahead and knock my socks off

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    dngreer wrote:
    --snip
    Notice the part of the story that says it took less than 30 minutes to disarm the "gunman". I don't want to be stuck in a mall with a gunman for 30 minutes. That's 30 minutes too long for me.

    So what do you think? Would I be stupid to carry at a mall; am I just "asking for trouble"? I can live my life just fine without going to a mall if I can't carry there, and I could probably save some money, but I don't want to shy away from carrying.Do Idaretrust the police to be able to see the difference between a crazed gunman ready to take on the world andan honest law abiding citizencarrying a firearmso I can defend myselfin case that crazy gunman shows up?Here is a link to the story:

    Belden Village mall, and mall security officer John Day help scared patrons as part of a safety training exercise Sunday.


    JACKSON TWP. For 20 minutes Sunday evening, terror reigned inside of Westfield Belden Village mall as a man with an AK-47 fired off shots.
    --snip
    It took police officers less than 30 minutes to remove Bates' weapon after he fired his first shot. Zink said the lessons learned was essential.

    "We had a lot of new officers and part-time officers participate," Zink said. "The experience this offered is invaluable."

    The mall security and the police and fire departments will break down the training exercise and use it to ensure the proper procedures are in place for the future.

    I sure as hell hope they learn to do the job faster than this!

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    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    Exactly what I think! I don't dare walk in a mall without being armed if that's how long I have to try to survive. Oh well, I don't like the mall very much anyway.

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    I'd say that's an average time (maybe even fast)for police to deal with the shooter.

    Say 5 min for dispatch to receive calls and relay info to units. Another 5-10 min for a sufficient force of officers to arrive, assembleand prepare to enter. 5-20 min of searching to locate the shooter depending on the size of the mall (if found and still shooting). And lots of other variables like isolating the shooter and waiting for SWAT, any hostages, more then one BG, etc...

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    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    cato wrote:
    I'd say that's an average time (maybe even fast)for police to deal with the shooter.

    Say 5 min for dispatch to receive calls and relay info to units. Another 5-10 min for a sufficient force of officers to arrive, assembleand prepare to enter. 5-20 min of searching to locate the shooter depending on the size of the mall (if found and still shooting). And lots of other variables like isolating the shooter and waiting for SWAT, any hostages, more then one BG, etc...
    If that is correct, then the scenario of a terrorists invading a mall is even worse. If 20-30 minutes is good or average time, what would be bad time? And doesn't it seem that something always goes wrong? I don't doubt this is decent time, but that tells meI don't dare go in a mall without afirearmto defend myself if I had to.

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    dngreer wrote:
    what would be bad time?
    No such animal, because the police always to the best they could based on the information and circumstances right? It's a fluid situation with too many variables; how many officers available, how many jurisdictions are trying to coordinate response activity, how far away are responders; how long did it take to reach 911, etc...

    The only real hope for mitigating such an unthinkable act is for the true 1st responders, armed citizens, to be in the wrong place at the right time.

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    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    HankT wrote:
    3. I'd agree with you. Going to a mall is no place to go unarmed. One should have a gun if one normally carries. It's just another place where someone can assault you. I seldom go to malls but I can't remember the last time I did not carry in one.
    Does this answer the question that so many in the forum are asking: Does HankT actually carry? This could be interpreted three ways from what I read:

    1. You have a poor memory

    2. You carry "something"

    3. You carry a firearm

    Now the question will become: does he OC? I don't really care,but I decidedI'd jump on the bandwagon just for the fun of it.

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    I live in Jakson Township and I would not trust these cops to not do something stupid if they see you OC in the mall. In the winter months I walk in that mall almost daily. I CC, but I have never OC'd. I have also never seen an armed security in that mall. I don't see cops in there during the holidays. I'll assume they have armed plain clothes security in there. This is a police dept that is more concerned about DUI's' and raiding kids parties. This is also the same police dept that had a murder in their parking lot and never solved the crime. There was a sgt inside, but he called for a patrol officer to come and help the lady. By the time he got there she was dead and the perp was long gone.

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    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    I remember that murder. Doesn't really make one feel safe! There again, they do have their hands full pulling over Ferrari's andcatching rich kids smoking pot.

    I do not have a CCW, so the only option I have is to OC. I don't have plans to go there any time soon, but if you notice any "no weapons" signs posted, please pass the word on. I am guessing they still don't have any since you CC.

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    I have never seen any "No Weapons" signs. I check every time I go in. I usually use the main entrance.

    The strip in Jackson Twp. is posted at most entrances to the parking lot. They do have one entrance that is not posted. If I'm carrying I use the entrance that is not posted.

    I have never OC'd in Jackson Twp because I do not trust the Jackson Twp police. I have no idea how they would react and I think it would be different from one cop to another which is not good.

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    dngreer wrote:
    HankT wrote:
    3. I'd agree with you. Going to a mall is no place to go unarmed. One should have a gun if one normally carries. It's just another place where someone can assault you. I seldom go to malls but I can't remember the last time I did not carry in one.
    Does this answer the question that so many in the forum are asking: Does HankT actually carry? This could be interpreted three ways from what I read:

    1. You have a poor memory

    2. You carry "something"

    3. You carry a firearm

    Now the question will become: does he OC? I don't really care,but I decidedI'd jump on the bandwagon just for the fun of it.

    1. I have a very good memory. This usually p*sses people off as I can recallwhat they said (or wrote) previously. It's the d*rndest thing.

    2. Well, everyone carries something. Even naked shoplifters are carrying something.

    3. I've said this at various times in the last six months. Some people decline to read it, for some strange reasonOf course, I confirmed this specifically in the Does HankT Actually Open Carry? that BobCav started a month or two ago. Unfortunately, Bob decided to delete it for some reason....Anybody could have read what was in there to be informed, if they cared to be, about this issue.


    But back on topic--it is a good one! There were a couple of otherobservations I had about this situationthat I forgot to include in my prior post.

    5.Agroup of civilianOCers walking through the mall at the moment some kindof shooting spreeattack takes place would be very interesting. But probably not pleasant. Especialy ifsome or all draw their guns. Overreactionprobability goes way up, IMO, when the security/LEO forces spot the OCing group. The OCers wouldalmost certainly (but not certainly) be honest, sane, law abiding persons carrying a firearmsbut first responders would naturally be preoccupied with identifyingthe threat. If gunshots are reported....and there are some guys with guns they see....well, they might sense a connection...and if the group has some individuals with drawn guns....oh boy!

    Probably a bad situationfor a group of OCers to be OCing. I woudn't want to bein such a group. If I were, I'd exitgracefully and quickly.


    6. An individual carrying a loaded (or unloaded) rifle in a mall when a shooting spree breaks out. Let's say an AR or an AK. Something evil-looking and black. I know that some people (not me) actually want to walk around in public with an AR on a sling in, say, a Wal-Mart. Would they want to walk around in a mall the same way? I'd guess so.

    But an individual toting an AR or AK through the mall when shots are firedwill be an instantaneouswalking target, IMO. But probably not for long. It's really hard to hide a rifle quickly while in public. Worse, if the AR OCer decides to display a readiness state with the weapon.....wooo....instant bullseye on that guy! Which kind of raises the question of the efficacy of carrying a rifle in public for self-defense. It could be that carrying an AR/AK could be great--but would be TERRIBLE if anyone else started shooting. In such a situation, it might be a really good idea to ditch the (legal) rifle. But it would be awfully hard to do that, I think.

    Of course, there are other situations in which self-defense by AR/AK would be just fine (strong arm robbery attempt, gangsta attack, ex-wife attacking your vehicle,bank robbery, etc.). So it isn't all bad to (legally) carry anEBR in public. Plenty of good things to say about it.

    You know the more I think about it, though,the more evident are some detriments to carrying a gun in public has when a shooting spreeattack happens and it isn't clear to the responders yet who is doing the shooting. The scenario thatdngreer presents in hisOP is food for thought. I've learnedseveral things from it.

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    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    HankT wrote:
    3. I've said this at various times in the last six months. Some people decline to read it, for some strange reasonOf course, I confirmed this specifically in the Does HankT Actually Open Carry? that BobCav started a month or two ago. Unfortunately, Bob decided to delete it for some reason....Anybody could have read what was in there to be informed, if they cared to be, about this issue.
    Woohoo! It is answered! No longer will people wonder!
    You know the more I think about it, though,the more evident are some detriments to carrying a gun in public has when a shooting spreeattack happens and it isn't clear to the responders yet who is doing the shooting. The scenario thatdngreer presents in hisOP is food for thought. I've learnedseveral things from it.
    I think there are some risks if this scenario would occur while OCing. I would be on the phone with police if this was happening while I was OCing in the mall. I don't want to be mistaken for the shooter. But the risk of OCing is far outweighed in my mind by the risk of not having a way to defend myself. You are right when you said the best course of action is to get out, but if cornered, I would really hate to get shot while wishing I would not have left my gun at home.

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    You cannot carry at all in Westfield (Belden) mall. No gun signs are posted at all the entrances. So it doesn't matter.

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    BIG SHAFE wrote:
    You cannot carry at all in Westfield (Belden) mall. No gun signs are posted at all the entrances. So it doesn't matter.
    Is this the norm for westfield shopping centers, I have one by me, but havent been there in well over a year, I'd like to carry, but if this is policy for all of their shopping centers, well I'd rather not waste the gas to find out on my own


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    I don't know, but their signs list the building and the parking lot as off limits. Be careful next time you go.

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    This is new. I have not been there in a couple of months and there were not any signs the last timeI was there.

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    I saw them about a month or two ago at the entrances of the parking lot. I may be mistaken, but will take a look again.

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    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    BIG SHAFE wrote:
    You cannot carry at all in Westfield (Belden) mall. No gun signs are posted at all the entrances. So it doesn't matter.
    Well, I know one mall I will not be visiting. At least until they take down the signs. They probably won't miss me too much since I haven't been there in a long time. But I think the "no guns/no money" policy isa good one for this mall. Maybe it's time to write some letters to the mall and the stores in the mall?

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    dngreer wrote:
    BIG SHAFE wrote:
    You cannot carry at all in Westfield (Belden) mall. No gun signs are posted at all the entrances. So it doesn't matter.
    Well, I know one mall I will not be visiting. At least until they take down the signs. They probably won't miss me too much since I haven't been there in a long time. But I think the "no guns/no money" policy isa good one for this mall. Maybe it's time to write some letters to the mall and the stores in the mall?
    Writing a letter of protest/informing of boycottto amall management honcho or store owner/manager is a very good idea. Otherwise, they have noreliable way of knowing what you're doing or whatthe problem is.

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    Ya especially if they know they will be stuck with a mad man with a AK-47 for 30 minutes. Consider yourself dead.

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    I will drive over to the mall today to verify the signs. I will post later today on what I find.

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    I stopped by at lunch and stand corrected. There aren't any no guns signs, I thought the tow away signswere no gun signs from a distance. Although, I did see a no guns signs on the doors for the dentists office that is a part of the mall.

    Belden Westfield is not a gun free zone



    Sorry guys.

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    BIG SHAFE wrote:
    I stopped by at lunch and stand corrected. There aren't any no guns signs, I thought the tow away signswere no gun signs from a distance. Although, I did see a no guns signs on the doors for the dentists office that is a part of the mall.

    Belden Westfield is not a gun free zone



    Sorry guys.
    This is correct. I checked the entrances to the parking lot and the building and there are no "No Weapons" signs.

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