Around 6pm on Sunday July 17th, a gunman armed with a rifle entered Greenwood Park Mall in Greenwood, Indiana with the clear intention of taking innocent life. The gunman, who will not be named in this article, killed three innocent bystanders, but was swiftly met with lethal force, from an armed citizen, who was able to begin neutralizing the threat a mere fifteen seconds after the gunman fired his first shot.
Elisjsha Dicken, 22, of Seymore, IN, told his girlfriend, 19 year old Shay Goldman, to “get down and stay down” before motioning to bystanders to exit behind him, finding cover and a supported shooting position, and engaging the shooter. Dicken fired ten rounds at the gunman, hitting him eight times at around forty yards, an impressive display of marksmanship, considering that Dickman has no military background or police training. The attacker attempted to retreat into a nearby bathroom, before collapsing to the ground.
“His actions were nothing short of heroic. He engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun. Was very proficient in that, was tactically sound, and as he moved to close in on the suspect he was also motioning for people to exit behind him. Many people would have died last night if not for a responsible armed citizen that took action very quickly within the first two minutes of this shooting.” said Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison.
Dicken has understandably not spoken to the media but the hero’s lawyer, Guy A Relford, issued the following statement: “I am proud to serve as Eli Dicken’s attorney and spokesperson. He is a true American hero who saved countless lives during a horrific event that could have been so much worse if not for Eli’s courage, preparedness and willingness to protect others. Because we want to respect the ongoing criminal investigation by the Greenwood Police Department and take time to honor the three innocent lives lost, we won’t be making any substantive comments on Sunday’s events until after the authorities’ investigation is closed. In the interim, we ask that you respect the privacy of Eli and his family.”
Indiana’s constitutional carry law went into effect on July 1st, following Governor Eric Holcomb’s signature earlier this year, making Indiana the 25th state to allow citizens to carry a handgun without a permit. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita published a ‘Gun Owners’ Bill Of Rights’ to alert Hoosier gun owners to the changes in state law. “I want everyone to know what the laws are in the state of Indiana, what they can do, what they can’t do and it’s done in an easy question and answer format,” Rokita told local news.
Gun control activists, politicians, and members of the media have long scoffed at the NRA and other gun rights groups who insist, as the saying goes, “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” In June, Peter Manseau, of The New York Times called this mantra a “myth” with “religious roots.”
“The protection offered by good guys with guns has emerged as an article of faith, supported with anecdotal evidence passed around like legends of the saints,” said Manseau. It it doubtful that the dozens of innocent citizens who were spared by the quick and deadly action taken by Eli Dicken would describe their lives as ‘anecdotal,’ and no amount of mockery regarding self-defense or religion by The New York Times is as effective in stopping mass shooters as a firearm in the hands of a law-abiding citizen who knows how to use it.
Over 100 million U.S. Citizens now live in states that allow permit-less carry. These citizens, as long as they meet all of the legal requirements, can now defend themselves, and their communities, without mandatory training, long wait times, and dealing with government bureaucracies. Unfortunately, the federal and state governments cannot legislate away the desire of evil men to do evil things, but Indiana, along with 24 other states and commonwealths give their citizens the ability to access the tools necessary to defend against atrocities, like the one Elisjsha Dicken at least partially prevented in Greenwood.
Brady Leonard is a musician, political strategist, and podcaster based in Toledo, Ohio. The No Gimmicks Podcast airs Mondays and Wednesdays at 1pm EST, wherever podcasts are found. Follow him on Twitter @bradyleonard