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I'm going to tell you a true story, and it has relevance to the discussion about putting armed guards in schools.  This happened to us shortly after we were married and while we were living in Chicago.

Back in 1982, we were shopping at our local supermarket.  We had gone down aisle one and were turning to go up aisle two toward the front of the store and POP! a gunshot went off. Instantly, everyone who had been at the counters were running down the aisle in our direction. We turned and led them all to the back of the store, where I surveyed our route and decided that the only way to go was through the meat counter doors into the store room and out the back door. So, there we went only to find that the fire doors had been chained shut. The store room guy yelled at us to get out, and I told him what was going on and with a few choice words let him know I was not leaving. By this time, many of the shoppers had joined us in what was either a haven or a shooting gallery.  

A few minutes later a store employee came back and told us all the coast was clear. We came out and decided that that was enough shopping and we were going to leave. At the front of the store the scene was decidedly ugly. There were police and EMTs all over the place as well as a large pool of blood and a young man being carted away to an ambulance with his leg wrapped and an IV going. A store employee told us what had happened:

A young man had grabbed something and tried to jump the line and run out of the store with his stolen goods. The armed security guard had stopped the would-be thief. A scuffle ensued during which the thief grabbed and got the guard's pistol, and in pulling it from the holster it went off, shooting the guard in the leg. The assailant fled, and you know the rest.

So, what started out as petty theft elevated quickly into armed robbery and attempted murder. The only person hurt was the armed guard there to protect us and the store. I can only presume that because we were blocks away from Cook County Hospital that the guard lived. My other assumption is that the thief-turned-batterer got away with the guard's pistol.

If you believe, as many do, that putting armed guards in schools will make them safer, then ponder this story. Sure, you can find fault with any or all of the guard's actions, but remember that this was the heat of the moment, this man was armed, and he was presumably trained to protect us and himself.

Originally posted to dcnw on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 12:58 AM PST.

Also republished by Chicago Kossacks.

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