by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
When covering mass shootings, we prefer not to name the culprits. For the heroes, the opposite rule ought to obtain. Elisjsha Dicken, the 22-year-old Hoosier who halted a mall shooting on Sunday evening, is one of those heroes.
The problem of public mass shootings is extremely complicated, and, while it may be tempting or convenient to pretend otherwise, it is highly unlikely that a single solution can bring the scourge under control. To acknowledge this, however, is not to suggest that there is nothing that can help at the margins, and, clearly, the existence of lawful concealed carriers can help at the margins. Just 15 seconds elapsed between the beginning of the shooting at the Greenwood Park Mall and Elisjsha Dicken’s intervening. Had Dicken not been there, the three innocent people who were killed would have been joined by many others.
In 2012, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg noted that “anti-gun activists believe the expansion of concealed-carry permits represents a serious threat to public order,” before proposing that, if anything, the “reverse” might actually be true. At the very least, Goldberg concluded, “If someone is shooting at you, it is better to shoot back than to cower and pray.” Certainly, this was the case in Indiana, where Elisjsha Dicken’s heroism represented a one-stop rebuttal to a whole host of the most popular anti-concealed-carry talking points. Figures such as Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut are fond of insisting that the idea of the “good guy with a gun” is a “myth” or “a gun industry fiction.” But Elisjsha Dicken is not a myth. Activists who hope to prohibit modern sporting rifles are fond of contending that those weapons are far too powerful to be countered by civilians carrying handguns. But, by taking on a killer who had an AR-15 with just his 9mm Glock, Elisjsha Dicken proved them wrong.