Responder Zero

By Clint Lake

In the world of infectious diseases there is a term called ‘Patient Zero’. This is essentially the first person to start the epidemic spreading to numerous points unknown. The Center For Disease Control has the job of backtracking from the most recent recipient of the disease all the way back to ‘Patient Zero’ in order to determine how the bug transported from person to person and to prevent further outbreaks in the future.

For those of us who choose to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense, I would like to coin a new term in describing the general benefit we provide to our community. We are ‘Responder Zero’.

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Many of us have heard the description “First Responder” when referring to the first police officers to arrive at an active shooter call. The police are generally going to wait for some type of backup, assuming one to four officers, which delays the time to confront the active shooter. Even a small delay of minutes can equate to dozens more victims as recent events have clearly pointed out.

Being ‘Responder Zero’ means you are there at the precise moment in time when the bullets start flying and people are going to lose their life unless you act. Being a ‘Responder Zero’ means that you have the capability, and the opportunity, to either stop the shooter or delay his actions long enough to get the ‘First Responders’ there with more firepower. The only variable which every man/woman must confront, is their willingness to do everything possible to make sure that the threat before them is neutralized.

I would like to call attention to two famous ‘Responder Zeros in history. Some have lived and some have died, defending innocent lives; but because of their actions, hundreds have lived.

July 25, 1993, St. James Church Massacre (South Africa):

During a Sunday church service, terrorists attacked the sanctuary with grenades and full-automatic fire from AK-47’s. As innocent churchgoers were diving for any type of cover, Charl van Wyck drew his snubnose 38 and fired two quick shots at one of the attackers. Unsure of having hit his intended target he decided to exit the building and attempt to flank the terrorists. Upon getting to the front of the building he saw the ‘getaway car’ driver, holding an AK at high ready, and unloaded his remaining rounds at him. Immediately after running empty Charl observed the remaining terrorist bolt from the church, get into their car, and speed away. Unfortunately 11 were killed, 58 wounded. How many of us would go up against a full auto AK? This man saved countless lives, in addition to his own, with a 5-shot 38 snub with no reloads. Investigative reports indicate that the getaway car had blood from one of the terrorists.

September 11, 2001 – Flight 93:

We all know this story and how it ends. The passengers who fought back were just regular people with regular lives. They didn’t have specialized training in unarmed combat or any type of weapon skills, but at the salient point in time they realized that if they did not act as a ‘Responder Zero’, hundreds, if not thousands, would die. Regular people, with unbelievable bravery and courage, refused to let evil claim more victims. This is the benchmark for which all of us will need to elevate when the time comes.

In conclusion: The times we live in are like no other in history. Terrorists and madmen are only interested in exponential body counts, and how often their story is told over the airwaves. Our community is their target across our land. If you carry you must prepare your mind, and your ability, to be ‘Responder Zero’.

Clint Lake is a Buckeye Firearms Association Central Ohio volunteer.

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