In Wake of Shootings, Sheriff Tells Armed Citizens To 'Be Prepared at All Times'


It’s the job of law enforcement to respond to the scenes of violent crimes in a speedy manner to eliminate the threat and save lives.

We saw this in Dayton, Ohio, last month, when a shooter opened fire on a crowded street and killed nine people in about 32 seconds, according to Time.

Police officers were on the scene in less than a minute, and their quick response no doubt helped save countless lives.

Of course, police officers can’t be everywhere at once.

And despite their best efforts, it’s unreasonable to expect that they’ll be able to prevent all crimes from being committed in the first place.

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With this in mind, a sheriff in New Mexico is encouraging citizens, particularly those exercising their Second Amendment right to carry a firearm, to be prepared for anything.

“In the wake of the recent mass shootings and several rumors being spread of more pending, I feel it necessary to address a couple of aspects relating to this issue,” Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage wrote in an Aug. 4 Facebook post.

Cage noted that “New Mexico is statutorily an open carry/concealed carry state.”

New Mexico requires background checks for all firearms sales, but you don’t need a permit to purchase or open carry a handgun.

Do you think armed citizens are an effective deterrent against violent crime?

You do need a permit if you want to conceal your handgun in public, though New Mexico is a shall-issue state, meaning that as long as you meet the requirements to obtained a concealed carry permit, you’ll more likely than not get one.

“My opinion is that concealed carry is a more tactically sound option, but it is ultimately up to the individual,” Cage wrote, noting that local and state police “can’t be everywhere at once in a county spanning over 5 thousand square miles.”

“In the event that violence breaks out, you may be the first line of defense for yourself and loved ones as law enforcement responds,” Cage added. “Although we still endorse the ‘run, hide, fight’ theory for non-law enforcement personnel, the folks present at the time will ultimately make their own decisions based upon their individual levels of expertise and the situation.”

Cage’s post boils down to this — for both armed and unarmed citizens, it’s crucial to always be ready for anything.

“My advice is to be prepared at all times. Train and plan for bad things to happen,” he wrote. “Even if you don’t carry, always have a plan for escape and defense.”

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Those who do carry, he suggested, have a responsibility to be wise firearm owners.

“If you carry, please do so in a responsible, effective manner,” Cage wrote. “Know and follow the four basic firearms rules, know your weapon and how to deploy it safely and effectively, and know your own limitations as well as the law.”

“None of the heroes who emerged in these tragic situations sought that role out; it was thrust upon them and they rose to the occasion,” he said. “Are you prepared to defend yourself and/or others if the situation arises? Are you confident and well-trained in the weapon you carry (if you carry)?”

It’s irresponsible, he said, to carry a firearm if you don’t know what you’re doing.

“Please don’t put folks in worse danger by carrying and deploying a firearm you cannot operate safely and accurately. Know when to run and hide and know when to fight,” Cage wrote.

Cage continued by advising law-abiding gun owners who find themselves in dangerous situations about what they should do once police arrive at the scene of a crime.

“When law enforcement arrives be aware that we may have no idea who the good guy is and who the bad guy is. Assumptions get people killed and we will be very cautious arriving at the scene,” he wrote.

“Show us your hands immediately and NEVER point a weapon in our direction. Follow our orders and understand that our immediate mission is to neutralize the threat as quickly and effectively as possible. We will probably not be saying please and thank you.”

Cage went on to reiterate his support for the Second Amendment and noted that it’s particularly important that citizens have the right to own guns in rural areas with police shortages.

“Be prepared, be safe and always be aware of your surroundings, escape routes and cover/concealment options,” he wrote.

Cage concluded by calling on citizens to avoid victimization by always being prepared for potentially deadly scenarios.

“Times have changed and they will continue to change,” he wrote.

“Avoiding victimization is your personal responsibility and how you choose to react to situations can have a very meaningful impact on the outcome for yourself and others,” Cage added.

“As Americans and New Mexicans, we are very resilient, resourceful people who always find a way to rise to the occasion and triumph. I have no doubt we will continue to do so. God bless those who have suffered and God bless those who have risen up to defend the defenseless.”

Cage’s advice is right on the money.

It’s important for Americans to realize that the Second Amendment is there for a reason — and that reason is to give citizens the opportunity to defend themselves from those who would seek to do harm.

Guns don’t kill people — people kill people. Or, more specifically, criminals kill people.

And one way to prevent violent crime is for law-abiding people to be armed so they can defend themselves against the criminals.

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Joe Setyon was a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who had spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon was deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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