Shooter at Tennessee Movie Theater Killed by Police

Editor’s Note: this is the FIRST posting to our new PDN Blog. This new feature of Personal Defense Network will allow our Contributors to post more frequently than we publish feature articles and to share their thoughts on breaking news and other Current Events in a more timely manner.

Earlier today, there was what appears to be an attempted spree killing at a movie theater just outside of Nashville, Tenn. The killer, who had begun his attacks with a hatchet and chemical spray, opened fire with a gun on a responding officer from the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department. The bad guy was shot and killed by subsequent responding officers, reportedly from the SWAT Team. It also looks like no one else was seriously injured. This is a great example of rapid and effective law enforcement response to a public threat.

NBC News: Police Respond to Report of Gunman at Theater in Antioch, Tennessee, Suspect Dead

When I shared the link above on one of my social media pages, the very first comment was from someone who felt it important to as the following rhetorical question:

“Wonder what the response time was and how much faster a law-abiding CCW holder could have engaged the suspect?”

My immediate gut response was this:

I wonder what would’ve happened if this guy’s family, doctors and friends had intervened and not let him have access to weapons or be out unsupervised? Or, if someone, or group of people, had tried to stop him without a gun when he started his assaults? ‪‬

The fact is that this is a People Problem on both ends, not a gun problem.

First, how many times do we have to find out after a rampage that someone had shown warning signs to those closest to him, but they failed to act? Granted, we know very little about the fifty-something year old man who attacked the people in the theater in Antioch, Tenn., today, but we can look backwards over the last several years and see a pattern of people who could’ve been handled more aggressively by family, friends, doctors and/or law enforcement before they made national headlines with spree killings.

Second, those of us who have accepted responsibility for our own self-defense, even during a so-called Active Shooter Situation, need to be spreading that gospel to others, not just talking about guns, CCW Permits and the 2nd Amendment. Creating the will to fight and an understanding that we all have a responsibility to meet evil when it shows up in our worlds should be our mission, not just lamenting the lack of dozens of private armed people in every theater, train car, restaurant and theme park.

Our community has always done a great job of spinning away from the gun issue when it comes to the bad guy… but, we need to do the same thing when it comes to the good guys and the issue of self-defense. It does not take a gun to stop a bad guy… even when he has a gun, but especially when you have many people in a close space and the bad guy is using a hatchet.

I truly believe that we can effect greater social change by preaching self-defense than we can by preaching carrying guns to the majority of Americans. I also believe that a big part of that change, once people accept their need to defend themselves, will include greater acceptance of firearms and the public carrying of defensive firearms. Once someone accepts responsibility for their own safety, the acceptance of the value of guns in the hands of a good guy becomes a lot more apparent.

Today was a win for the good guys. If there is a lesson to be pulled from it that we can share with those who aren’t currently carrying a firearm it is that, had that officer not arrived so quickly (reportedly he was on scene already and acted before the first 911 call), it would’ve been up to those in the theater to defend themselves, regardless of whether they were armed or not.


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4 Responses to “Shooter at Tennessee Movie Theater Killed by Police”
  1. Jack Foster
    Jack Foster

    I agree entirely with what you have said. However, I think you stopped short on one point.
    We all know that situational awareness and preparedness are critical to self defense. It should be stressed more to those outside our community as well as ourselves that those are the things that need to be exercised long before an individual reaches the point of doing harm.
    Awareness of the potential for someone we know to do harm to themselves or others AND being prepared mentally and emotionally to take appropriate action would prevent the majority of these cases!

  2. blindinn

    If it does not take a gun to stop a bad guy, especially with many people in a close space with a hatchet, what then do you recomend?

  3. rdeleon

    Very good points, Rob. Because carrying a firearm is a tremendous responsibility, we who carry can become “gun centric.” However, your first responsibility is the defense of your family and your life, regardless of the tools at hand. I’m not saying you have to become a black belt, but taking some martial arts classes will give you some tools and, more importantly, confidence coupled with resilience to deal with a high stress physical confrontation. If nothing else, it will teach you that it’s not the end of the world if you get punched in the face. Of course being in shape helps too. You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment; if you have gravity, you can work out.

    You also made a point that we don’t often hear. These people always present warning signs to those close to them, or sometimes even on social media. Sometimes they even have had contact with the justice system or the mental health system. Unfortunately, they fall through the cracks, mainly because we don’t know what to do with them once they have been identified. We need a support system for individuals and families to provide treatment and intervention for people who haven’t yet committed a serious enough crime to be incarcerated

    • rdeleon

      Sorry, I somehow posted before I could edit my post. To finish my final thought, we need to have something in place to identify and help those in crisis. Playing violent video games ten hours a day is not a crime, but it might be a behavior that someone needs to talk to the person about. This is not normal behavior, and the behavior itself removes the person from reality and any social support systems available. There are many other warning signs and red flags that are uncomfortably abnormal, but would not justify pressing charges or an involuntary mental health hold. These are the gaps that we as a society need to fill.