The real difference between Uvalde and Greenwood Park

AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

We’ve had too many mass shootings in recent weeks. I don’t think that’s really something we’ll find much disagreement on, all things considered.


However, when we look at them, we do happen to have a lot of points of comparison.

That’s especially true when we look at Uvalde and the Greenwood Park Mall shooting. However, there’s one big difference between those two incidents and it made all the difference.

In Greenwood Park, there was someone with the will to act.

By now, we’re all familiar with the failings in Uvalde. The police waited outside. They tried to stop others from getting their kids out. They waited for over an hour, time the killer had to gun down still more innocent children.

No one had the will to act.

Contrast that with Greenwood Park. There, a 22-year-old man who was able to carry due to the state’s constitutional carry law had that will. As a result, he was able to draw his weapon and fire his first shot in as little as 15 seconds after the shooting started.

Because of that will to act, only three innocent lives were lost compared to the 21 lives claimed in Uvalde.

And believe me, it matters.

You see, the presence of a firearm in and of itself isn’t enough. Having a gun doesn’t make you immune to violence. It doesn’t act like a magic talisman to ward off evil, particularly this brand of evil.

No, the will to act has to be present for that gun to accomplish anything.

The laws can’t mandate it. They can’t prohibit it. No legislation can do anything about the will to act one way or another.

That’s something we all need to cultivate within ourselves. We need to be prepared to engage, much like how Elisjsha Dicken was prepared. He ran toward the sound of gunfire and put rounds on target at a fairly impressive range.


Dicken did everything right. The Uvalde Police Department apparently did everything wrong.

However, the big difference wasn’t in procedures or tactics. It was possessing the will to act.

In Uvalde, someone somewhere was unwilling to take the necessary steps in ending the threat. We simply don’t know how many lives were lost because the powers that be refused to step up and act.

By contrast, we have the opposite question in Greenwood Park. We simply do not know how many lives Dicken saved.

I think I speak for all rational people when I say that the conundrum posed by Dicken’s actions is far preferable to the questions raised by the Uvalde Police Department’s inaction.

As for the rest of us, it’s vital we cultivate the will to act within ourselves. Having the latest red dot on our handgun, the newest tacticool concealed carry holder, or the spiffiest new ammo is completely and totally irrelevant without the necessary training to put rounds on target and the will to put your life on the line to get them there.

Having it changes everything. Not having it does too.

However, it’s far easier to live with the aftermath in one of those scenarios.

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