by Justin Thyme, a GSL member
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what happened at that mall in Greenwood, Indiana last month.
There, Eli Dicken and his sweetheart dined in the food court at the mall. An evil man wielding a rifle and lots of ammo emerged from the men’s room and started shooting innocent people. Inside of 15 seconds, Eli Dicken drew his handgun and began shooting back from 40 yards away, ending the threat decisively.
Normal Americans called Eli a hero and a Good Samaritan. And those are my thoughts as well. Some detracted from the heroic, selfless act, claiming Dicken couldn’t be a Good Samaritan because he killed the bad guy. I wonder if the same thought would go through their mind if they or their loved one were to be the next victims of that shooter. I see no other way for this to have been stopped, after all the only thing that stops a bad person with evil in their heart is a good guy with a gun.
In Luke 10:35-37, Jesus uses the parable of the Good Samaritan to explain to a lawyer who is his neighbor. A man, traveling from Jerusalem, was stripped (clothing was valuable, Jesus’ clothing was divided between the soldiers after his crucifixion, see John 19:23, 24) and beaten and left half dead.
A priest comes along, and seeing the victim, crosses to the other side of the road so as to not have to deal with the situation, as did a Levite. Now a Samaritan comes along (Samaritans and Jews did not associate with one another) and seeing the victim renders aid, both physically and monetarily, as he treated his wounds, took him to an inn, and paid for his stay and care, offering to pay more if necessary when he returned. His efforts saved this man’s life. Which of these three men was neighbor to the victim? Obviously, the Good Samaritan.
While the circumstances are not exactly the same, there are similarities. Eli could have (1) ran, along with his sweetheart (2) done nothing and possibly been injured or killed along with many others or (3) stopped the threat, therefore saving his own life and the lives of many others. Eli gave of himself to help others. He literally put his own life on the line as the killer had a rifle which is far more precise than a handgun at 40 yards.
The situation continues on with more giving as injured people need immediate care. Shay Golden, Eli’s sweetheart and a nursing student, stepped to the plate to apply a tourniquet to a woman with a serious leg wound, saving her life.
This was not just one Good Samaritan, but a package deal. Shay said they had not planned on being at the mail that night, but also said she felt like they were meant to be there.
So what can we do to reduce these kinds of tragedies? I believe the effectiveness of gun free zones (GFZ) should be studied, and if ineffective, they should be shunned or outright banned. To me, it seems like these mass public killing sprees almost always happen in places where good guys can’t carry.
Perhaps it is time to consider GFZ’s unsafe and patronize businesses that value our rights, freedoms and safety. It might cost a little more, but what would you pay to avoid a tragedy in the next so-called “gun free zone” to get attacked by a lunatic?