A psychiatric outpatient opened fire Thursday inside a psychiatrist’s office at a hospital near Philadelphia, killing his caseworker and slightly wounding the doctor, who shot the gunman with his personal firearm, authorities said.
However, what should be a clear-cut case of self-defense may run afoul of that well-meaning but dangerous myth: The Gun-Free Zone.
The hospital has a sign at the entrance to check weapons when entering. ABC says their official policy is that only on-duty law enforcement can carry on the premises.
Here are the problems with pretend-gun-free zones.
Another staff person heard arguing and saw the attacker with a gun. They closed their office door and called 911. This is reasonable. However, it took many minutes until SWAT arrived, and the first thing they did was to evacuate the area and lock it down to make sure there wasn’t another gunman. Fine, they don’t want to be shot, and that’s well and good. I don’t want cops getting shot, either. But the minutes needed to secure the area equate to many shooting victims when an active shooter is present.
The Supreme Court case Castle Rock v. Gonzales proves that police have no duty to protect you, and like any reasoning human being, police entering a danger zone may be inclined to protect themselves first. This is reasonable, because a dead cop can’t protect you.
What ABC conveniently left out was this gem provided by the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Donald Molineux, chief of the Yeadon Police Department, said that if Silverman returned fire and wounded Plotts, he “without a doubt saved lives.”
But the Inquirer also reported that it’s against hospital policy for “anyone other than security guards to carry weapons.”
So, now what happens to the man who risked everything to stop a potential mass murder?