While police in Burlington, Washington continued investigating Friday night’s horror rampage at the Cascade Mall that left five people dead with the suspect still on the loose, people attending a gun rights conference 2,500 miles away in Tampa, Florida were introduced to a new book that offers advice on surviving such an event.
Author Chris Bird’s “Surviving a Mass Killer Rampage” is ironically well-timed.
Police have reportedly recovered the rifle used in the attack. With few specifics, it was described as a hunting-type rifle, and an image of the suspect shown with the rifle suggests it has a wood stock and sling. Police did not immediately release the type, brand or caliber of the rifle.
Four of the victims were women and one was a man. All four women died at the scene and the man died later although he was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle about 60 miles away.
For Bird, the Friday evening shooting was a reminder that such crimes can happen at so-called “soft targets” that include shopping malls, supermarkets and other public places.
“I started working on the book about three years ago,” Bird told Liberty Park Press.
He based it on a chapter in an earlier book, and simply expanded the scope of his discussion. He looks at such tragedies as an alarm that the country has tried gun control “which just disarms law-abiding citizens.”
Bird said people should consider getting a concealed carry license or permit, pursue good training, and learn what to do in a life-threatening situation. To that end, he pointed to a strategy he calls “ALICE,” for Alert, Lock Down, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.
Indeed, officials at a nearby high school where a football game was in progress immediately halted the game and instituted evacuation procedures.
By no small coincidence, Bird’s perspective was shared by local gun rights activists who gathered on the Capitol steps in Olympia Saturday for an event that had been planned prior to the Burlington attack. One woman, identified as “gun rights advocate” Christina Sheppard, told KOMO that if people were allowed to carry firearms at the mall, “they could have possibly lowered the casualty rate.”
But is the mall a “gun free zone?” There does not appear to be any specific prohibition listed on the mall’s website. There is a reference to mall security, which apparently is available around the clock.
The mall remained closed Saturday and will re-open Monday, according to a message on that website which states, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic event that occurred Friday evening. Our prayers and condolences are with the victims and their families. Out of respect, Cascade Mall will remain closed throughout the weekend, re-opening on Monday, Sept. 26.”
Another question remains. How long will it take the gun prohibition lobby to exploit the Friday tragedy to further their political agenda, which includes an “emergency protection order” initiative on the November ballot, and a proposal to ban so-called “assault weapons?”