What To Do If A Terrorist Starts Shooting?

Published 9:55 am Thursday, August 25, 2016

Next time I’m in a foxhole under fire from the enemy, I’d like to have J.B. Davis beside me. He has always amazed me with his coolness under fire. He might be able to get us both out alive if …

As a Forsyth bicycle deputy in Clemmons, he once chased down and arrested a drunken driver on busy Lewisville-Clemmons Road. And there was the time he walked in on a bank robbery in Clemmons, chased the guy and fought with him in the back seat of a getaway car.

He was a Forsyth deputy for 20 years before taking a job in Afghanistan and Iraq as a private police trainer, dodging a few exploding land mines that rocked his vehicles. He’s now an officer in the N.C. DOT’s License and Theft Division and nearing retirement. But he’s as active as ever, still competing in races and staying on top of his game physically and mentally. He has always been one of my favorite cops.

Davis will lead a class next week on a timely topic: What to do if a terrorist starts shooting. His class will be Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. at the Clemmons Library auditorium. It’s free and will last about an hour.

So far, the chances of getting caught in a terrorist shooting are just slightly better than winning the lottery. But the headlines are awful, and the Islamic terrorists involved in many of the shootings are merciless killers.

Davis will offer tips on what to do if a person ever finds himself in that horrible situation.

Who hasn’t recoiled at the thought of being one of those inside the Orlando nightclub while a terrorist killed 49 people or at the  San Bernadino, Calif., government building where 14 were killed last December or at the various mass shootings in Belgium and France?

Davis contends the Orlando victim list might have been shorter had those inside the building banded together and fought back. That, however, requires quick thinking and personal sacrifice.

Davis said there are three possible responses: Run, hide or fight. “If you can run, go. Get out of there,” he said last week. “There’s no disgrace in running when a man has a gun. If you can’t get out, hide. Barricade yourself. Fight is your last option. People have literally died with their hands up. I’m going to die one day, but I want to die well,” he said.

Rather than be a passive victim, Davis advocates taking the fight to the terrorist even if the chances are dire.

“There are things you can do,” he said. The class will include First Aid basics and how to disarm someone.

Davis said there are two hard lessons from the recent spate of terrorist attacks: Help will arrive too late, and the terrorist will show no mercy.

“There is nobody coming to save you. It will be over before help gets there. You look at all the incidences, and they are typically over before the cops arrive. You have to save yourself,” Davis said. And then there is the false expectation of mercy. People follow the terrorists commands expecting to be spared. “They think they’re a nice person and he will give me a pass. That’s not the case. We used to be worried about Johnny at the high school getting a gun. Now it’s much more serious. These guys want to kill big numbers, and they don’t mind dying while doing it. They have no exit plan. They are going down to the very end.”

No hour-long class can produce instant heroes. But it can give us a better understanding of the sacrifice of our armed forces and police officer.

• • • • •

Congratulations to Coach DeVore Holman and the Davie War Eagles for the impressive season-opening win over Greensboro Page. This week that south-of-the-border nemesis West Rowan will come visiting. I am weary of repeatedly losing to the Falcons in recent years. If our boys could administer some Davie revenge, we in the stands would be grateful.

— Dwight Sparks