A lone gunman decides to attack innocent moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado. Another stalks and kills at Virginia Tech University and still another shoots and kills at an Army base in Texas. In the more distant past, we have the shootings at Columbine High School and the carnage one man caused at 101 California St. in San Francisco. All of these events are inevitably followed by a call to expand the rights of Americans to carry guns, particularly concealed weapons. The argument proffered...if some of those in the audience in Colorado or classrooms in Virginia had carried concealed guns, they could have shot back and stopped or killed the perpetrator of such horrendous events.
Laws are being proposed in states across this land to allow people to carry concealed weapons in bars, (yes really), churches (I'm not making this up) college campuses, bowling alleys and anywhere else people gather. If trouble starts, stalwart and steeled Americans who are "packin' " would pull out their gun and take out the bad guy ending the threat. These people are on crack.
On Friday, August 24, a man shot and killed his former boss on the streets of mid-town Manhattan. After the shooting, he walked away. Two people followed him and yelled for two cops guarding the Empire State Building to help. The two officers approached the man 3 blocks away from the first shooting. In front of the Empire State Building they confronted the shooter. They were about 8 feet from him, in broad daylight, when he reached for his gun and pointed it at them. They both fired. They fired a total of 16 shots from less than 8 feet. Of the 16 shots fired, seven hit the assailant, nine did not. Those errant nine shots wounded nine people who happened to be in the area at the time. They fired 16 shots from less than 8 feet and still missed with over 50% of them. Each miss resulted in a wounded civilian.
A city like New York, or San Francisco, can spend up to $1million to train one police officer. Much of that training is aimed at teaching them how and when to fire their weapon. They are taught to control their feelings and not react emotionally or irrationally. (Think of the cops who pulled Rodney King over as being object lessons in the failure of their training) A significant amount of time is also spent teaching them how to hit what they aim at. Hundreds of hours are spent on ranges perfecting their accuracy. Yet, after all of that...in full daylight...with no obstructions...within 8 feet of their target...these cops missed over 50% of their attempts and wounded nine people. These are the pros. Imagine what would happen with slightly, if at all, trained amateurs?
I am tired of all the Old West, O.K. Corral, Dodge City, vigilante talk being spread by the National Rifle Association and its surrogates. I'm tired, and quite scared, of this rhetoric of people taking the law into their own hands and opening fire at any perceived threat. It is this mentality which leads to stand-your-ground laws and the acceptance of the use of deadly force by people who have no idea how to control their emotions or to hit a target.
That night in Colorado, the assailant starts by throwing at least one tear-gas canister into a darkened theater. People can't see and start diving for cover. Imagine the scene if from the other side of the theater more shots ring out. This guy is covered in body armor from head to toe. He is firing in one direction and now someone else is firing back from another. The people in between are caught in crossfire. Two New York cops wounded nine people with friendly fire when conditions were perfect. What would the dead and wounded toll be in Colorado if 3 or 4 patrons opened fire on the gunman? How many of their shots would miss? They would be lucky to hit him at all and even luckier to penetrate the body armor, but in their wake they would leave a scene of death and destruction geometrically more than what the one crazy man could cause.
We need to publically shame and embarrass any politician who proposes to allow hidden guns in populated areas. We need to condemn as unbalanced, anyone who suggests amateur vigilantes are the equivalent of trained professionals. We need to look at this incident in New York and understand it is typical of the accuracy of the police and understand how much worse the performance of armed "do-gooders" would be.
You and I both know, if one of these "John Wayne" types pulled a gun and shot in that theater and the errant round struck and killed an innocent person, the NRA and all the rest of the regressives would rush to their defense and demand they not be charged or prosecuted for their actions. We know further, if it was a white shooter and a black victim that would be treated differently than if the circumstances were reversed.
It is time to end all of this talk and make it plain. I don't want to go to a movie, or college or church and have to wonder who might shoot me in the back trying to act out a fantasy or some faux heroics. 16 shots...one dead...9 wounded is the best we can hope for by trained professionals. That's bad enough, and we can't let anyone else take a turn without admitting it would be much worse. The results would be tragic and unacceptable.