Saturday, December 8, 2007


You may not have picked up this fact, but most of the victims of the recent mall shooting in Nebraska were retail employees. This brought up the big question online of what do you do when something like this happens in your store? Responses from store owners were varied, as is usual for anything you ask independent business owners. We're an independent lot. Personally, if I feel the need to carry a firearm, I'm done running a store. Nevertheless, some store owners see that as one answer.

I own firearms, have professional training, and have no problem using one in the right situation. For me it's an issue of life choices. Do I really want to put myself in a situation where people want to kill me and? Certainly not at my pay grade. Being the victim of property crime twice in the last six months, what is the likelihood that someone steals my gun? Then there are the strict concealed carry laws in this area, but if you thought you needed one, that would be insignificant. In any case, if I thought I needed one, my environment would have to change, not my armed response.

The important thing for me is employee training. They already know they're fired if they resist an armed robbery. It's just not worth it, and to rob a game store is already a sign that someone is deeply out of touch with reality. The employees at the mall shooting apparently didn't flee with the customers, feeling the need to stay at their posts. Some were temps, doing the usual holiday inventory and related tasks. My strategy is simple: Lock the door. Call the cops. Keep the kids and customers locked safely in the back until help arrives.

Perhaps a store owner with a firearm could have ended this freak occurrence and reduced the number of fatalities. To get to the point where I personally consider that requires that I accept this as commonplace. So far I still see these things as freak events.


  1. An off duty cop or CCW holding customer could have ended this tragedy earlier.

    I think Mike and Kat are both smart enough to lock the doors, call the cops, and possibly even evacuate the customers through the rear of the store (if that seems the safest thing to do).

    The best weapon for employees to use to defend the store is probably a large flashlight - which could be kept on hand for power outages.

    In my experience (both LE and retail) you are more likely to face the threat of violence from the drugged out or mentally ill criminal (not a slight of mentally ill people, just the ones who are delusional and violent). This is best handled by giving them space, talking them down, and having a couple of medium to large people restrain them if they start hurting other people (or themselves).
    While it is not worth risking your life for a retail job, or even your hand painted miniatures collection, putting yourself at risk to protect other people is still a valid choice in my book.

  2. The "volunteer security guard" (ex cop) at the church in CO saved a bunch of lives by putting that shooter down.