We were having a discussion today about mall shootings and what would happen if you were there. The question came up if you were in the mall when the shooting started and you had a weapon, what would you do? Do you think you would hesitate when faced with the possibility of having to take a person's life. We all would like to think of ourselves being akin to a Hollywood movie star and blaze away without emotion. However if you have never really placed much thought to this matter and prepared yourself mentally, could you do it without hesitation when needed. I am not talking about execution without cause. One needs to remember action is faster than reaction and hesitation, in the wrong situation, could prove fatal to you and others. One of the cases we talked about was the Tacoma Washington mall shooting. This was November 20 2005 when 20 year old Dominick Maldonado entered the mall with a Norinko MAK-90 rifle and a pistol. He shot 6 people and one of them being Brandon McKown. Mckown was carrying a concealed handgun and drew down on Maldonado after he had started his shooting spree. In his own words he says that he told Dominick to drop the gun and Dominick spun and shot McKown multiple times. McKown would not be in this position had he not been at work on Nov. 20. He managed a store inside the mall and was chatting with a friend when he heard gunshots. "Bam, bam, bam, bam, high rate of fire, people wer diving for cover," he says. That is when McKown pulled his pistol, the gun he has carried for 17 years, not imagining he might actually have to use it. That is, until he came face to face with Dominick Maldonado, who had a rifle. "I said - 'Young man, I think you need to put your weapon down.' He apparently didn't appreciate that and he brought his gun around. I drew and right as I aimed at his head, he hit me in the spine," McKown says. "Each blow is throwing my arm back into the air and I'm just praying to God, something really un-Christian, just please let me kill this guy before he shoots somebody else." As McKown was bleeding and believing he was going to die, police say Maldonado took hostages, keeping officers and paramedics outside for another hour and twenty minutes. It appears that McKown had time to assess the situation and become aware that Maldonado was truly a threat. As the good person McKown seems to be, he gave Maldonado one more chance to stop his rampage. In my OPINION, McKown had every right to stop Maldonado without giving commands and waiting for him to turn around. Maldonado had already started shooting at people and was an immediate threat to McKown and the others in the mall. Lucky for him he survived. Another shooting we spoke of was the Trolley Square shooting from February 12th 2007 in Salt Lake City Utah. This was where an 18 year old male walked into the mall and killed five and wounded four. An off duty police officer was in the mall and responded by pinning the shooter in an area until police arrived. An off-duty police officer having an early Valentine's Day dinner with his wife was credited Tuesday with helping stop a rampage in a crowded shopping mall by an 18-year-old gunman who killed five people before he was cut down. A day after the shooting, investigators struggled to figure out why a trench-coated Sulejmen Talovic opened fire on shoppers with a supremely calm look on his face. The teenager wanted to "to kill a large number of people" and probably would have killed many more if not for the off-duty officer, Police Chief Chris Burbank said. Ken Hammond, an off-duty officer from Ogden, north of Salt Lake City, jumped up from his seat at a restaurant after hearing gunfire and cornered the gunman, exchanging fire with him until other officers arrived, Burbank said. "There is no question that his quick actions saved the lives of numerous other people," the police chief said. "I feel like I was there and did what I had to do," Hammond told reporters. After spotting the gunman, he told his pregnant wife to take cover in the restaurant and went to confront the suspect. Police said it was not immediately clear who fired the shot that killed Talovic. Talovic had a backpack full of ammunition, a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol, police said. Investigators knew little about Talovic, except than he lived in Salt Lake City with his mother and three younger sisters, police said. Police say they have no motive for the rampage. Talovic had some minor juvenile incidents and dropped out of the Salt Lake City school system in November of 2004, reports CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes. "He was such a good boy. We don't know what happened," says Ajka Omerovic, Talovic's aunt. Talovic drove to the Trolley Square shopping center a century-old former trolley barn with winding hallways, brick floors and wrought-iron balconies, and immediately killed two people, followed by a third victim as he came through a door, Burbank said. Five other people were then shot in a gift shop, he said. The victims were identified as Jeffrey Walker, 52, Vanessa Quinn, 29, Kirsten Hinkley, 15, Teresa Ellis, 29, and Brad Frantz, 24. Four people were hospitalized a 44-year-old woman and a 53-year-old man in critical condition, and a 34-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy in serious condition. The card store Cabin Fever had been packed with Valentine's Day shoppers Monday night when the shooting started, store owner David Dean said. Dean said his assistant manager called him, saying "someone's in the store killing people." The place was "all shot up," Dean said. He said three or four of the victims were shot inside. As investigators began interviewing the 100 to 200 witnesses, people placed candles and flowers at two memorials outside the mall for the victims. Business owners surveyed the damage, and shoppers who had fled returned to pick up cars they had to leave parked overnight. Marie Smith, 23, a Bath & Body Works manager, said she had seen the gunman through the store window. She watched as he raised his gun and fired at a young woman approaching him from behind. "His expression stayed totally calm. He didn't seem upset, or like he was on a rampage," said Smith, who crawled to an employee restroom to hide with others. He looked like "an average Joe," she said. Outside the mall, candles and flowers were left as memorials to the victims, who were identified as Jeffrey Walker, 52, Vanessa Quinn, 29, Kirsten Hinkley, 15, Teresa Ellis, 29, and Brad Frantz, 24. Hammond's boss, Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner, said the state Senate wants to honor him. "Thank goodness he was there," said Greiner, who is also a state senator. "You don't want to ever say it's good we were there and killed somebody, but it's probably good someone was there." Accountant Jeff Barlow was on a date at a restaurant when he looked outside and saw the gunman firing from the hip. "I thought it was some kind of joke some kind of movie or stunt," Barlow said. "I didn't believe it was happening. And then I saw a man go down in a courtyard. I realized this was serious. These are real bullets flying around." His date, Stephanie Bronson, added: "Just crazy. Absolutely terrifying." What was not listed, but brought up, was that Officer Barlow was carrying a Kimber 1911. When the shooting was over he apparently only had one round left in his gun as he only had the rounds in the gun with no spare magazines. This lead to the discussion of what would be the proper number of magazines to carry with a concealed handgun. The difference between the two shootings is also that Officer Barlow ran and engaged the suspect where most people would more likely defend their ground. The discussion just reminded me that if we choose to carry a weapon we might be placed in a situation that we may have to use it. With that comes an immense amount of responsibility and possible good and bad consequences. Being mentally prepared prior to that situation may be a life saving action. These shooters along with the Westroads Mall shooter were all young men or boys. When you role play in your mind the different situations that you could be involved in, do you also think that it might not be some large angry dirty smelly biker dude that you confront? I realize this is a long post, but this has been on my mind most of the day. If my few random words help just one person think, then it was well worth the time.