Friday, July 20, 2012


So. Another loon armed himself and stepped into mass murder. You will have heard the details by now,  I won't belabor them. A crowded movie theater, a crazy with guns, a dozen dead so far, scores wounded. A terrible, terrible thing, it could have happened anywhere. Any of us might have been in that theater, or our children might have been. 

An abomination, this, vile. There is no penalty dire enough for this monster. No torture too great. 

Predictably, the left and right will offer up their opinions on guns as a result. Here's mine: The shooter had an assault rifle, a shotgun, a couple of pistols, at this report. Too many?

Actually, I think there were too few guns in that theater. There needed to be a couple more.

Reports aren't complete, but I didn't see anything about anybody shooting back. 

Maybe it wouldn't have mattered. Or maybe, like that seventy-one-year-old CHL holder down in Florida who tagged a couple of armed robbers last week, some off-duty cop or legally-armed citizen might have cut this nutso down before he killed as many as he did. 

Even if he was a bad shot and he hit a bystander along with the killer? Look at the numbers.

We'll never know. 

We don't live in a civilized society. The wolves and rabid dogs are among us. Until they are all tamed or cured, the flock will always be at risk.

I feel for the families of those who lost people in this awful event. There are no words to comfort them. The family of the man who did it must feel overwhelming grief and pain, too.

Yes, he is crazy–sane people don't do shit like this. But that doesn't help, does it?


Shawn R. said...

I'm not opposed to conceal carry permits for citizens. And I think in many instances, legally armed citizens can have a positive & effective impact on scary situations.

In a situation like this, though, I can also see multiplying the tragedy. A dark theater, with a loud sound system, and (given the movie) probably violent scenes including gunshots. Plus, I gather there was tear gas involved. So, there's darkness & confusion & increasingly diminished visibility. So there's difficulty processing what's going on. Add to that the fact that most people live peaceful lives, and aren't at all prepared for this kind of violence. And different people process things at different speeds.

So in this case, I'm wondering, if somebody doesn't take the guy out immediately, you end up with the potential for many people pulling out guns at different rates, and in the confusion some folks won't know who started the shooting, and they'll end up shooting defenders.

Plus, I also think conceal carry permits require a bare minimum of training; they certainly don't require the training to deal with this kind of "how to properly apply deadly force in extreme panic & chaos" situation. You've said yourself, even well trained police officers make mistakes with deadly force in the heat of the moment. I shudder to think of the mistakes that poorly (if at all) trained civilians with absolutely no experience in this almost worst-case scenario could make, compounding the tragedy.

Like I said, I'm actually FOR concealed carry permits, but there are caveats. I'd like to see a lot more training in the use & application of deadly force for civilians, because when the time comes to use that deadly force, the vast majority of civilians are sorely under-prepared.

We'll never know what could have happened if there'd been a well-trained civilian or off-duty professional there. And I could be totally wrong, some 80 year old grandma might have dirty harry'd the guy with panache. I just don't think it's always as simple as "if only we had a well-armed citizenry ..." Because without serious training, you have a well-armed citizenry with poor judgment and potentially tragic reactions.

Justin said...

I just heard about this, Steve, and the second place I went for a perspective - after a news site - was your blog.

Apparently, while Colorado is a conceal & carry state, the theater itself was a "gun-free zone."

I fancy myself pretty tough, and able to adapt to any situation. However, this F'ing coward chose a time where there was the least risk for anyone to be able to stop him -- loud, dark theater, him with 3 or 4 weapons and armor, using tear gas, in a gun-free cinema.

It's so damn distressing. I don't own a gun myself, but this pushes me toward that direction.

Will Nelson said...

BTW,remember the Dec.'93 Long Island train shooting;6 dead 19wounded. Check this out The guy who first grabbed the shooter had come from the opposite end of the rail car...sometimes one person can make a difference,even on the way home from work.

Steve Perry said...

I'm not saying it's simple; I'm saying that if push comes to shove, I want a choice. That if somebody opens up on the gathering in which I am, I have some option other than duck and pray.

Maybe it wouldn't make a difference -- dark, gas, surprise, all that -- maybe there were folks packing who couldn't bring themselves to draw and return fire. I don't know. What I do know is that having an option doesn't mean you have to use it, but that having it is better than not. If I am going down, I would rather go down swinging. And coming from the shoulder doesn't beat coming from the holster most of the time.

Shady_Grady said...

Right-that's what it's about choice. Unfortunately some people want to prevent anyone from being armed. I don't know if an armed citizen could have made a difference. But they would have had some chance to survive, which is better than nothing.

Travis said...

Notice that when the shit went down who did everyone call?

That's right, people with guns.

Steve Perry said...

Part of what I hear is that the armed citizen might have caused more trouble than he would have solved in such a case. Maybe so. But if you are lying on the sticky floor of a theater and the crazed gunman comes to loom over you and your family, you might be able to save them, and that's the crux of it for me.

You don't have to stand up and engage. You can wait until the threat gets to a place where you won't miss.

The NRA catches a lot of shit, some of it justified, but the old saw of having it and not needing it versus needing it and not having it makes sense to me.

Yes, the fog of war, the heat of real slaughter will make things incredibly difficult, no question. Maybe a theater full of armed citizens turns into a melee. Maybe not. Each instance will be different.

No guns at all? That's one thing, and frankly, not achievable now. One gun in the wrong hands? Bad.

You don't have to save everybody. If you can, that's good, but some are better than none, aren't they? Especially if they are your own family.

Everybody dies. Sometimes, there might be an option that you can pick to not-die. I want that choice.