When You Least Expect It

by Drew Beatty

October 31st, 2015 started like many other Saturdays for me. I was scheduled to meet some friends in a field outside town to train our Labrador Retrievers for hunting. I had loaded up the dogs and was heading out to meet them.

On the main highway heading out to our training location, a police car with flashing lights and sirens came speeding by in the opposite direction, clearly responding to a call for help. Then another police car came speeding by. Then another. Next, two State Troopers came speeding by along with some County Sheriff's vehicles. A total of a dozen or more law enforcement vehicles sped by me going in the opposite direction, heading toward downtown. Something terrible requiring a massive police response was happening.

As it turns out, it was this incident. Someone had reached the end of their rope, and decided to kill as many innocent people as possible after setting fire to his apartment. He armed himself with pistols and a carbine, and began shooting people at random while walking down the street.

This was a horrible day for many people, including the 4 innocent victims and their families. It was a lucky day for me. Two minutes earlier, I had driven through the same intersection where police finally stopped the shooter, bringing his murderous rampage to an end. In fact, as I was driving through that intersection, innocent people were likely bleeding to death nearby.

That's all it takes to either miss being involved in a critical incident, or to be unwittingly involved in a critical incident. Minutes, seconds, feet, inches. Had I left the house two minutes later than I did, had I hit one more red light, or had there been a traffic accident blocking the way — could that have caused me to be right in the middle of the worst day of my life?

Over the next several days I had time to think about it. What would I have done had I been caught in the middle of this crime spree? Escape was the answer I came up with. Get away. But what if escape wasn't an option? What would I have done?

If anything bad is going to happen, it will likely happen when you least expect it, giving you no choice in the matter. It could happen when you are doing routine things, like driving out to meet friends with dogs crated in the back of the truck. It could happen when you are out to breakfast with your family. It could happen when you are shopping at the grocery store, or when you are taking out the trash.

It's important to take steps be as prepared as possible at all times. Be in condition yellow. Don't be in condition white. Keep your head up. Look around for anything out of the ordinary. Observe routes of escape. Know that your equipment does its job, and does it well. Carry it, or have it readily available (yes, I was carrying that day). Know the condition of your firearm. Seek competent training and practice the skills you've learned. Know where your vehicle is parked. Know where safety is, and where it is not. Know what to do. Have the mindset to act and not freeze if things go wrong.

When you least expect it, you may need it.

Drew Beatty is a 50 year old husband and father, and a lifetime resident of the great state of Colorado. He is an NRA Life-Member, and a long-time firearms enthusiast, as well as a strong advocate for The Second Amendment.