As with all tragedies, there are lessons to be learned in the aftermath of the Neenah hostage shooting incident last December. We heard a lot things we already knew in Attorney Brad Schimel's press conference last Friday--including "officers were just following their training" and that "no jury would have convicted them" of acting negligently in shooting one of the hostages instead of the hostage-taker.
But there were some new elements revealed on Friday that the rest of us should all keep in mind--especially if we ever find ourselves in the same situation. For starters, if you have a Carry Concealed Weapon permit, you should probably use your gun as soon as you can. In one of the 911 calls from Eagle Nation Cycles, the owner tells the dispatcher that the eventual shooting victim has a CCW but "must not have his gun, or this would be over already". On surveillance video you see several instances where the hostage-taker is distracted (especially by police attempting to storm the building while he opens fire on them) but the armed hostage takes no action. In fact, the only time he is seen drawing his weapon is while he is trying to escape into a back alley--where he is shot once by the suspect and eight times by the police.
Which leads to lesson learned number two: If you have a Carry Concealed Weapon permit, you want to get rid of your gun the second the police show up or they will shoot you. Neenah Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson was asked Friday what the victim should have done to avoid being shot and initially tried to dance around an answer--saying it would be "disrespectful". But after finally being pinned down to offer advice to anyone else who may be in the same situation some day, Wilkinson could only offer up "Show us your hands"--because if those hands have a gun in them, shots are likely heading your way.
Which leads us to our third lesson learned: Police don't have to identify their target. If they are only looking at your hands, how do they know who you are? Anyone who has ever taken a Hunter Safety Course is told repeatedly: "Know your target and what is beyond it before you pull the trigger". That doesn't apply to those using deadly force on our streets. Although to be fair, there is little possibility of animals and waterfowl firing back at you in your blind.
Once again on Friday we were assured by officials that "the lessons of this tragedy will be learned" so as to ensure it never happens again. Hopefully the rest of us learn the lessons I just mentioned to avoid being the next "tragic victim". Although, there will be more "lessons to learn" after the next incident too.