And for Elisjsha Dicken, 21, it was being armed at a mall in Greenwood, Ind., last month.
Dicken, who was legally carrying a concealed firearm, squeezed off 10 rounds and neutralized a potential mass shooter who had already killed three people when he opened fire at a crowded food court, according to reports.
According to police, Dicken was shopping at the mall with his girlfriend when he stopped at a cookie shop close to the main walkways. After the gunman exited a nearby restroom, he opened fire on the crowds.
Police went on to say that what Dicken did in response was the stuff heroes are made of.
Armed only with his handgun, police say that Dicken first engaged the shooter from a distance of about 40 yards and that he was extremely proficient and very tactically sound. Officers who responded to the scene said that Dicken struck the shooter from 40 yards away with his Glock 9mm on the very first shot.
According to an autopsy on the shooter performed by Johnson County Coroner Mike Pruitt, the suspect had suffered eight gunshot wounds, none of which were self-inflicted. Dicken managed to get off 10 rounds with an 80-percent strike rate, the report continued.
As he began making his way toward the shooter, Dickens motioned for people near him to leave the area and get behind him. The gunman attempted to retreat back into the restroom but the hero continued advancing on the gunman and firing until he fell from his wounds.
Law enforcement officials said the mall surveillance video shows the gunman leaving the restroom at 5:56:48 p.m. He was effectively neutralized at 5:57:03 p.m., just 15 seconds later.
As is standard procedure in shootings, police took Dicken to the Greenwood station and retrieved, then watched, the surveillance video. In addition, officers spoke with other witnesses in order to confirm what Dicken told them. Throughout the process, police said Dicken was completely cooperative.
The hero, by the way, had no police or military training or background. Also, police confirmed that Dicken was carrying his firearm legally under a constitutional carry statute -- meaning, no need for a permit -- that had taken effect July 1.
Meanwhile, contrast this with what happened in Uvalde, Texas, when video shows that after the gunman crashed his vehicle into a ditch near Robb Elementary School, a couple of police officers who were walking over to investigate turned tail and fled when the shooter emerged from the vehicle and began firing.
Pay close attention to the time stamp in the upper left hand corner.
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) July 12, 2022
Steve McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, confirmed that nine officers were inside the building within three minutes of the attack. He has also been extremely critical of the officers’ actions as well as those of the on-scene commander who reportedly issued orders for police to wait.
“There’s compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre,” he said during testimony before a state Senate committee last month.
“Three minutes after the subject entered the West building, there was sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract, and neutralize the subject,” McCraw added.
“The only thing stopping the hallway of dedicated officers from entering room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” McCraw continued.
“One error; 14 minutes and eight seconds,” the director said of the young students waiting in a classroom for police to save them. At one point, he noted, officers were waiting for a “key that was not needed.”
“I have great reasons to believe it was never secured,” he told the state Senate panel. “How about trying the door and seeing if it’s locked?”
“Obviously, not enough training was done in this situation, plain and simple. Because terrible decisions were made by the on-site commander,” McCraw added.