Thank heavens for the Internet. In all the confusion over the Colorado theater shooting, all I need to do is come here and the truth shall be revealed to me. That One Correct and Moral Answer to violence in society will be laid before my wondering eyes.
I wonder why the answers are all so different.
And so, the curtain rises for that grand Kabuki theater we have every time a criminal nut goes on a shooting spree and makes page 1 of USA Today.
We can round up the usual suspects expressing horror. Hizzoner the Mayor of New York is venting his pious anger and “I told you so’s.”. The NRA stays on message but others who identify themselves with the NRA are wandering all over the communications map.
The funeral homes are busy. Trauma doctors have a few extra patients. Bomb experts are moving very slowly and deliberately, which is a wise thing to do. The paramedics probably have their rigs cleaned up by now.
All is not right with the world.
When has it ever been?
I favor the responsible carrying and use of firearms by civilians willing to do so. Always have. I have no reason to believe that I’ll change my mind. That’s not to say that I’ll quit listening to competing opinions - only a moron does that.
Everybody has an opinion.
The first people we really need to hear from about firearms and violence are those who’ve experienced combat in some form. What do the medics who have both seen combat and treated immediate firearms wounds have to say about Colorado? I really want to know.
I’m fairly far down on the whole totem pole in terms of experience here. Oh, I’ve seen several gunshot wounds and provided field-level treatment, but there are a whole lot of people with a much wider experience base. I really would like to know what they’re thinking.
A couple of things do strike me.
A “gun free zone”? You have to be shitting me.
Fundamentally law-abiding citizens will respect a gun free zone. That will have some effect on crimes of passion, although those usually are in private settings. The armed guy who sees his wife’s boyfriend in a gun free zone may have left his pistol back home or in the car. He'll beat him black and blue but won't shoot him.
For those law-abiding citizens who are also incredibly stupid, a gun free zone could have some effect on reducing firearm accidents. There was a news item a few months ago about a gentleman who took a pistol to church. He pulled it out to show it to someone. An accidental discharge killed a bystander. That was a criminally negligent departure from the great responsibility of handling a firearm.
So to say that gun free zones will have no beneficial effect whatsoever just is not so.
One incident does not prove much at all, by the way. It is a data point. Ignoring it is also a bad idea.
Gun free zones are still a dumb idea. An occasional topic in state legislatures is whether the state will have the ability for people to carry concealed firearms. That is really a stupid discussion.
There are concealed firearms everywhere. Criminals have been carrying firearms since the first pistol was invented. It’s the honest citizen who obeys the law.
The theater in Colorado was in a gun free zone. The “Joker” had weapons. The patrons didn’t. Had this occurred where I live, of the perhaps 50 people who would’ve had line of sight to the shooter, two or three of them would have been armed. This does not guarantee a good result. Most civilians do not practice or train sufficiently to maintain a really good skill level. Shooting among a crowd is really, really dangerous. Add a dark room and confusion? Wow. It may be justified to take down the rare random killer, but it’s still dangerous and the thought should scare the living hell out of any responsible armed person. The few people I know who have fired a weapon at another person lawfully all say that it was necessary but was still a memorably bad experience.
Some people in the blogosphere remind us that taking on criminals and running around armed is the job of law enforcement. Part of our Kabuki dance is to say once again, accurately, that a bullet travels a helluva lot faster than a police car.
At the end of the dance, we still have several dead people and injured people. And lots of self-righteous loudmouths are weighing in with their “it’s so simple” solutions.
It’s not so simple. Because [fill in the blank], the willingness of some in our society to do unprovoked violence is increasing steadily. Because [fill in the blank - I think the general “wussification” of America, but you fill it in as you please], our willingness or ability or effectiveness as a society to deal with violent offenses is slipping.
I do wish that a responsible armed person had taken a shot at the Joker.
Oh - carrying a firearm openly is still a bad idea. It’s impolite and it tells the criminal, “Hey, I’m dangerous, so shoot me first!”
If you want simple answers, go somewhere else. Try FairyLand.