Off-duty police officer Jason Falconer shot and killed a man who went on a stabbing spree in a St. Cloud, Minn., mall on Saturday. ISIS claimed the assailant was a “soldier of the Islamic state.”
Falconer is also obviously quite the gun enthusiast outside of his law enforcement experience and training. CNN reported Monday of Falconer:
He owns a firing range and firearms training facility called Tactical Advantage. He’s considered an expert in firearms training and education and has helped teach classes on law enforcement skills at St. Cloud State University for nine years, his company website says.
He’s a member of the United States Practical Shooters Association and has won medals in various shooting competitions.
Falconer is trying to avoid the limelight. He was shopping when the attacks occurred and just happened to be in “right place at the right time,” according St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis.
CNN broke down how events unfolded Saturday:
The attacker, (Dahir Adan), confronted Falconer after Adan had already stabbed nine people. Falconer ID’d himself as an officer and when Adan lunged at him, he fired, Kleis said.
“Not only did he fire, the suspect went down, came back up on three different occasions,” Kleis said.
“He protected others from being injured and potentially loss of life. Clearly, a hero,” said the mayor.
It is absurd to simply hope gun-carrying citizens will always be present to stop these types of attacks, similar to what Falconer did, and leave all our concerns in that basket. That’s not enough. We should be more alert than that and certainly more proactive.
When our President and presidential candidates speak in the wake of terrorist attacks, it is almost always tough talk about what we might do militarily to thwart ISIS. But it is absurd to believe that military interventions abroad will stop lone wolf terrorists at home. All it takes is one person. St. Cloud is a good example.
It is also absurd to suggest that a more absolute mass surveillance of citizens is the answer. France already has surveillance powers that go far beyond what the U.S. has, and those methods still didn’t stop a coordinated massacre in Paris last year. In fact, this kind of heavy-handed surveillance could increase the chances of terrorists going undetected.
Even Donald Trump’s extreme proposal — that banning Muslims is the answer to domestic terrorism — would not have stopped the majority of recent domestic terrorist attacks, though the assailant in Minnesota was a Somali immigrant.
But we do have example after example of American citizens stopping violence and saving lives through armed defense. Mistakes can be made, and innocent people can end up getting shot. Those worries are valid. This is not a terrorism cure-all without shortcomings or reasonable concerns.
But does anyone wish Jason Falconer had not had a gun on him on Saturday?
In protecting ourselves against similar terrorist attacks, wouldn’t most Americans prefer that we have more carry-and-conceal, or trained gun advocates in our midst?
I think they would.
A heroic man did a good thing in St. Cloud Saturday, and it was his gun that saved lives. Thanks to our Second Amendment, this country has many other responsible, gun owning and most importantly, gun-packing men and women just like him.
We should hope their numbers increase.