Acrosst he span of the past two decades we have seen a strong evolution in police response tactics in reaction to various violent incidents such as Columbine, Beslan, Virginia Tech and now, Mumbai. Since I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and believe that every legally armed citizen should play a role in "homeland defense" I have gotten the same question a number of times from said civilians: how do we identify ourselves to the arriving police so we don't get shot? I've shared that question and some of the response I've gotten from law enforcement professionals is, "Tell them to stay out of it. Escape or take cover and leave it to the police." In my view this is the "big brother will take care of everything" answer that is unacceptable to those who refuse to be victims. America was built by men (and women) of conviction. They had strong beliefs in such things as liberty and independence; liberty from government control and independence from government care. Such folks - and there are plenty of them in our country today - aren't satisfied with the answer of "do nothing; let the police handle it." Indeed, as legally armed and properly trained citizens they feel duty-bound to take SOME kind of action beyond escaping or hiding. In their mind it is just as wrong to leave others to needlessly die as it is in the mind of the responding law enforcement officers. So what do we do? No matter what we (read "the establishment") tell them, they will take action as they see fit within the limits of their background, training, equipment and motivation. In my view that just means that we law enforcement officers have more good guys to help us. If we can accept that we once again come back to the question of IDENTIFICATION to avoid unnecessary shootings of the good folks. At one point I had suggested that every legally armed citizen should purchase and wear a "Concealed Carry Weapon Permit Holder" badge which can be bought online. My thinking was that most off-duty cops wear badges close to their weapons or in a manner permitting easy display in emergency situations, so the wear of such a badge would serve to slow the responding cops down enough NOT to shoot the good guys. However, there were several arguments that were immediately called to my attention in this regard. 1) ANYONE can buy a badge online including BAD guys. We don't want to train our police to slow down JUST because they see a badge in a crisis situation. 2) The badge is a symbol of authority and we (any law enforcement official) shouldn't be encouraging civilians to wear such a thing. On the other side of the argument are the legally armed civilians who are, shall we say, slightly concerned about the motivations of law enforcement since so many leaders (Chiefs and Sheriffs) have publicly voiced very anti-gun sentiments. The thought I've encountered a lot is, "The police officer doesn't need to know I'm armed. I'm not breaking the law. Him knowing that just gives him one more reason to harass me." Having encountered my fair share of legally armed civilians and not ever having harassed any one of them, it's difficult for me to see any reason why my brother officers would act in such a fashion. That said, it's clear that some do, further justifying that stream of thought for the "good guy" citizens. So, what do we do? Argument #1 above applies as much to off-duty or plain clothes officers as it does legally armed civilians. Given recent history (specifically Mumbai) we HAVE to develop a means - that can be trained across the board - for identifying those who are legally armed and exercising a justified use of force in response to a terrorist incident. Any thoughts on what that could be? I'm open to all suggestions. It's something we need to address as best we can and I welcome all intelligent comment.