The city of Houston recently released a video advising citizens what course of action to take in the event they are caught up in a mass shooting. The video suggests three options: Hide, run, or fight back. It emphasizes the first two and suggests the third is a course of last resort. They are now under fire, pardon the pun, for the content of their advice.
It seems a number of Houstonians, and Texans in general, are upset the video doesn't call on people carrying guns to be a primary option in stopping a shooter. Critics of the video say it ignores all the pistol-packing Texans who could turn a theater, shopping center or school into the Alamo or the O.K. Corral.
In San Francisco, in any city or community, it costs hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to train a police officer. A great deal of the training is focused on how to control adrenaline in a tense situation, and how to avoid using your weapon. More time is spent teaching emotional control and how "not" to shoot then on actually firing a gun. The tension levels after a high-speed chase, a long chase on foot, or an excruciating step-by-step search of a building in the dark not knowing if someone is there who means to use deadly force, are through the roof. Tragedy occurs when the officer doesn't control the tension and pressure and succumbs to the easy solution of using a weapon only to discover an unarmed "victim" or a child or another cop.
Inside a dark theater in Aurora, Colorado, a man throws tear-gas canisters at the crowd, fires a shotgun into the ceiling and then starts shooting with an assault weapon. Imagine for a moment some members of the audience jumping up and firing back. Imagine all the others in the crowd caught in the crossfire. Imagine several audience shooters shooting from different directions and angles. As they are shooting, they are hit and jostled...as they shoot, they also have to duck to avoid being shot...as they shoot, they have to identify a suspect dressed in black in the midst of tear gas...as they shoot, they have to figure out if the other shots they see and hear are from more bad guys or are friendly fire...as they shoot at a man wearing body armor from head to toe, they attract his attention to them and everyone around them.
How many times have you read news accounts of police shooting 40 or 50 times and their target sustains two or three wounds? In one case, police fired over 100 shots and only hit the suspect once. These are trained officers, certified at their gun range, who fire their weapon regularly in practice and under stress-induced scenarios. How many more victims would there have been in that theater if patrons had opened fire at the original gunman?
This lunacy has to stop. Someone has to stand up and say the emperor has no clothes. I am much more frightened of an armed citizenry, spraying the air with bullets as they try to play Dirty Harry, than I am of the occasional deranged individual. Every police shooting is considered so serious it automatically requires a full investigation and, in many cases, people are shot who should not have been shot. Who is responsible if an amateur shoots someone by accident? If while trying to stop an alleged crime I shoot someone, can I be guilty of a crime too? Will regressive legislatures, in states all over this nation, pass new versions of "stand your ground" laws immunizing citizen shooters from arrest if they are shooting "in good faith"?
The gun lobby is pushing to let people carry concealed weapons at church, college campuses, IN BARS, and then, like in the movie Casablanca, they will be "shocked", "shocked", when more innocent people are the subject of gun violence. Pogo is right again.