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News from the Bubble: Second Amendment vs. Crazy People

A Facebook friend posted this to his pics awhile back:

Despite my friend’s protestations to the contrary, this image apparently makes the argument that an armed population is a safe population. More specifically, if considered within the context of the recent shootings in Colorado, it seemingly argues that the Aurora shooter would have fired fewer shots if that theater had more armed citizens at the movies that night.

I suppose that some might think that this image simply says that “guns prevent crime” or that “guns stop crime” but it goes beyond those assertions (with which, by the way, I would never argue). The inclusion of the word “crazy” is significant and tells us that the author is not speaking just of criminals but of people that are insane. Furthermore, the author also says that she is speaking of insane people who are armed – i.e. the kind that can “get off shots”. These two specific word choices strike a very specific chord in our psyche: vengeance.

You see, the incident in Aurora and others like it both make us sad for the victims but also angry. Anger is an emotion that demands to be resolved. Part of that resolution is placing the blame. Obviously, we all blame the shooter but, depending on your political bent, we also are tempted to blame “the system” or “the media”. Some blame video games or music. Others blame guns and gun control laws that they feel are inadequate. We can all unite, though, in blaming the shooter (who I will not name due to my own personal “blame game”).

Still, identifying and capturing the shooter is not enough to bring the victims back. We still long to be able to make a difference and change history. I personally imagine myself as an observer in that theater and wonder what it was like to be a survivor. This image tempts our imagination to wonder “What would have happened if I were there and I had a gun?” Dive behind a seat and start firing, right?

And here’s where I part ways with my friend on this matter, I think. I’m not nearly as gun competent as he is and I would not argue if someone were to say that I’m gun incompetent. So I’m fairly certain that I would have made no difference with a gun. Worse yet, it’s likely that I would have shot the wrong person in that darkened theater. That theater with flashing images on the screen that translate nearly to a strobe effect on the visibility in the theater. Meanwhile, you’re choking and rubbing your eyes from the tear gas while the perp is free to breath by virtue of the gas mask he’s wearing. Furthermore, he’s wearing body armor and wielding multiple weapons. And he’s got the element of surprise but to the nth degree due to the fact that many interpret his presence and actions as part of the show. No, there is no way that I’m gonna get a shot at this guy. And, if I survive, it’s by chance because he did not shoot in my direction first.

But how would a confident, competent gun-wielding patron of the second amendment fare? It is my belief that these people – these people who “Like” this photo and add comments like “Hell yes” – these people think that they would have taken this guy down. They would have seen through the clouds of tear gas, taken cover and immediately starting firing directly at the suspect. Of course, they don’t even have to hit him. He’d retreat as soon as he heard the second or third shot, right?

Unlikely. That was and is my response to this image. A simple statement of odds. Shooting targets, playing COD and having a CCW doesn’t make you into a hero. In fact, in many eyes, it makes you a menace. Think Bernard Goetz and George Zimmerman and Jack Ruby. Did these make the world a better place by taking the law into their own hands?

But I digress. The Fort Hood shooter got off at least 150 rounds before being fired on by an MP. He was surrounded by people with guns and he still killed or injured 43 people. Do you really still believe that you have even a 50% chance of stopping one of these monsters? No way.


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2 Responses to “News from the Bubble: Second Amendment vs. Crazy People”

  1. Saw a bumper sticker yesterday, on a building contractor’s truck: “Guns don’t kill people. The gun lobby kills people.”

  2. I have heard and I think on fairly good authority that at Ft Hood most, if not all of the people, except the MPs would probably be unarmed. But, I agree with the points you made.

    Arizona has very lax gun carry laws. Yet when Gifford was shot no one pulled a gun out. In fact those in her staff who did carry, chose to tackle the gun man because it was too dangerous to pull another gun out in that crowd.