Everything that’s wrong with the argument against protecting schools with guns

03Sep13

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A reader made a very interesting comment in response to my last essay, An unarmed woman stops an active shooter; what that means, and what it doesn’t (https://chrishernandezauthor.com/2013/08/27/an-unarmed-woman-stops-an-active-shooter-what-that-means-and-what-it-doesnt/). I think this comment deserves its own post. This comment is, in a nutshell, everything that’s wrong with the argument against armed teachers.

Of course, not everyone who opposes allowing teachers to carry does so for the same reasons. I don’t accuse them all of being stupid or unreasonable. But I do see these trends:

1) they tend to view the active shooter as so highly trained and skilled, resistance against them is futile;

2) they tend to view armed citizens as so untrained and unskilled they’re absolutely unable to perform even a task as simple as covering a door from six feet away, and emptying a magazine at an active shooter as soon as he enters;

3) they tend to have no tactical training, experience, knowledge or understanding (which doesn’t stop some of them from very arrogantly preaching tactical “truth” to people who actually do know what they’re talking about);

4) they tend to think the active shooter will enjoy every advantage, while the armed citizen will suffer every possible misfortune (i.e., police will immediately shoot the armed citizen on sight); and

5) they seem to think police can’t differentiate between an armed good guy who is being cautious and targeting one person, and a mass murderer who is targeting everybody.

This “Don’t even try to fight back” mindset has become so strong on the left that writers on liberal sites actually argue against anyone without a badge resisting an active shooter. Bob Cesca, in an opinion piece which also reaches ridiculously illogical conclusions about specific shooting incidents (http://thedailybanter.com/2013/02/good-guys-with-guns-will-not-stop-bad-guys-with-guns/), said “No. I don’t want some other dude with a gun in the room. Generally speaking, the addition of a second gun has effectively doubled my chances of being killed by one of the gunmen, intentionally or not.”

Somehow the anti-gun side of the argument seems to equate a coward trying to murder everyone, with an armed, trained good citizen who is trying to stop the killing.

As you read the comment below and my response to it, please look for the mindset I’ve described above. Correct me if I’m wrong, but all I see in this argument is, “Don’t even bother trying to fight. Just give up and die. It’s the best way to save lives.”

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Reader “ivyfree2″‘s comment:

Agree with much of what you said, but not all. The shooter could easily have been wearing bulletproof armor (like the Aurora theater shooter). In which case, shooting him first would have been completely ineffective. Second, it’s not easy to shoot a human being. It takes training. It takes reflexes. Even then, it’s hard to do. We are socialized not to attack others. Yes, that can be overcome with training. I doubt very much if university teaching programs will start courses on “shooting a crazed teenager.” Seeing somebody come in with a gun and start loading it after verbalizing his intentions? Okay, MAYBE somebody would have had time to shoot him first. That person would have had to be either carrying a loaded weapon on his person (while at a school) or have to unlock a drawer or shelf to get the gun, making himself a target. Even if you shoot at a human, can you hit him? Most people who use guns practice with paper targets. Hitting a moving target is different. Going deer-hunting or whatever, that’s also different. Killing a human crosses a line that most people can’t do.

But suppose you’re special. You have a loaded gun on your person. You comprehend the situation as soon as the impending criminal (who hasn’t done anything illegal yet) announces that he’s going to kill and pulls out a gun. You grab your gun and you shoot. Maybe you have great aim and hit him, and maybe he’s dumb and hasn’t bought a bulletproof vest off the internet. Maybe you shoot several times and he (the person who has still, at that point, done nothing illegal) is dead. At that point, anyone who has heard your gunfire has grabbed their cell phone and called 911, reporting gunfire at a school. You hear the sirens approaching and police in armor storm the building, looking for the man with the gun. Bang: you’re dead.

My response:

Ivy,

First, thank you for your comment. Despite the fact that I am about to tear your opinions to shreds, I do honestly appreciate your willingness to speak up here. As I’ve said before, I don’t want this site to become an echo chamber, where I write opinions to an audience that parrots them right back to me. Dissenting opinions from reasonable, intelligent people are extremely valuable to national-level debates, and to me personally as a way to ensure my views don’t contain logical fallacies.

Second, your post leads me to these conclusions: you have zero tactical training, knowledge or experience. None. Nada. Zilch. And you probably only discuss topics like this with like-minded people who never challenge your blatantly ridiculous assumptions.

I’ll start with this: “The shooter could easily have been wearing bulletproof armor (like the Aurora theater shooter). In which case, shooting him first would have been completely ineffective.”

This statement alone is enough to prove that you have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve been wearing body armor on a regular basis for almost 20 years. As a cop I wear soft concealable armor, and as a soldier overseas I wore either a military issue IBA vest with protective plates, or a plate carrier with no soft armor. I know the capabilities and limitations of body armor very well. “Bulletproof” vests leave significant areas of the upper body exposed (head, neck, abdomen, etc). They have seams that rounds can penetrate. Soft armor does not stop all calibers. I find it hard to believe that you’ve never heard of a single incident where a police officer was shot and killed, even though he was wearing body armor. It happens at least dozens of times every year. I can’t believe you’ve never heard of a soldier being killed by small arms fire, even though he’s wearing heavy body armor. As a cop wearing body armor, do I no longer have to worry about being shot? I know officers who were shot and wounded, and one who was killed, while wearing body armor. No, bullets don’t become “completely ineffective” if the suspect is wearing body armor.

Next: “…it’s not easy to shoot a human being. It takes training. It takes reflexes. Even then, it’s hard to do.”

As a longtime cop and two time combat vet, I’m aware that becoming proficient with a weapon takes training. I’ve actually had quite a bit of it. However, I’m also aware that we have about 20,000 gun homicides every year. Based on media reports and just about every gun-related murder scene I’ve ever been on, it’s pretty damn easy to shoot a human being. I don’t think the kids who killed the Australian student recently were weapon experts. Neither was the young mother in Georgia who repeatedly shot a burglar last year. Because actually, it’s pretty easy to shoot someone if you have the will. Weapons are designed to be ergonomic, easy to use with a minimum of training. The weapon I carry is extremely easy to operate, with no external controls [correction: it actually has one, not none]. You just draw, point it at your target and pull the trigger. With a few hours of training on the range and the correct mindset, just about anyone is capable of shooting a human being with it.

“Seeing somebody come in with a gun and start loading it after verbalizing his intentions? Okay, MAYBE somebody would have had time to shoot him first. That person would have had to be either carrying a loaded weapon on his person (while at a school) or have to unlock a drawer or shelf to get the gun, making himself a target.”

The entire point of allowing teachers to carry at school is to have them carrying at school. Yes, they should have the weapons on their person. With reasonable training, someone can draw and engage within a couple of seconds. Do you think an active shooter is an eagle-eyed, sharp-witted genius who sees all movements made by everyone in view? Why do you assume that drawing the weapon would automatically make the teacher a target? And what about situations like Columbine or Virginia Tech, where some teachers heard shots outside their classrooms for several minutes before they saw the shooters? Is it possible those teachers could have drawn their weapons long before the shooters were in view?

Your perspective is extremely common among many anti-carry people I’ve debated. You assume the shooter is a tactical genius, all-seeing and unstoppable, while the average good-guy with a gun is so outclassed that he might as well just give up and die rather than fight back. You are objectively wrong about this. Most mass shooters have been untrained, unskilled cowards who folded as soon as they were threatened by good guys with guns. George Hennard stopped shooting people at Luby’s as soon as he heard an officer fire a round into the ceiling. Cho at Virginia Tech shot himself as soon as he heard officers breach a door with a shotgun. Adam Lanza shot himself as soon as he heard police sirens outside. These guys are not SEAL ninja Delta Force Rangers. They are cowards, usually with no tactical training or even awareness, who are only enabled to commit murderous rampages by people like you who view them as mythical, omnipotent gods.

“Even if you shoot at a human, can you hit him? Most people who use guns practice with paper targets. Hitting a moving target is different. Going deer-hunting or whatever, that’s also different.”

You need training and a good understanding of your and your weapon’s capabilities to hit a human. At close, defensive pistol range, the average shooter can hit a human. We’re not expecting an armed teacher to take an active shooter out at 100 yards with her Beretta .380. We’re talking about shots fired within about 10 feet, within a classroom or office. Again, untrained criminals do it all the time. And trained people perform better with a weapon than untrained criminals.

“Killing a human crosses a line that most people can’t do.”

Standing there and doing nothing before someone kills you crosses a line. Taking no action at all as a murder massacres children crosses a line. You think the resistance to killing another human is so great, people would literally rather watch someone murder dozens of children than take action to stop them?

“But suppose you’re special. You have a loaded gun on your person.”

How is that special? Hundreds of thousands of Americans (and that may be a low number) carry a weapon on their person every day. That isn’t special. I’ve carried a weapon on my person daily for almost 20 years. Strangers have no idea I’m armed. Having a weapon doesn’t make anyone special and isn’t some far-fetched idea.

“You comprehend the situation as soon as the impending criminal (who hasn’t done anything illegal yet) announces that he’s going to kill and pulls out a gun. You grab your gun and you shoot. Maybe you have great aim and hit him, and maybe he’s dumb and hasn’t bought a bulletproof vest off the internet. Maybe you shoot several times and he (the person who has still, at that point, done nothing illegal) is dead.”

This is one of the more astounding parts of your post. So a guy walks into a school with a gun, announces he’s going to kill people and draws the gun, and you make the point, twice, that “he hasn’t done anything illegal”? In Texas he has, as well as any other state that doesn’t allow weapons in schools. Besides that, he’s presented an imminent threat to everyone in the area. The only reasonable response is the threat or use of lethal force. If you draw your weapon, he sees it and drops his, then no need to fire. If you draw your weapon and he’s still armed, engage and keep engaging until he’s no longer a threat. If you think the armed teacher has now committed a crime, you need to brush up on criminal law.

And the vast majority of active shooters and criminals in general are “dumb”. Do you think criminals always wear body armor? How many active shooters wore body armor? Can you think of any besides Holmes in Colorado?

“At that point, anyone who has heard your gunfire has grabbed their cell phone and called 911, reporting gunfire at a school. You hear the sirens approaching and police in armor storm the building, looking for the man with the gun. Bang: you’re dead.”

And here’s another beloved fallacy of the anti-defense side: don’t fight back, because the police will immediately kill you. Unfortunately, a police response takes time. At Newtown, police arrived in about three minutes. At Virginia Tech two fully geared-up SWAT teams were on campus when the shooting started. They still took several minutes to reach and enter Norris Hall. Chances are, if you encounter an active shooter at a school you’ll have several minutes before police show up.

And police today are trained NOT to shoot someone just because they have a weapon. We know many people can be legally armed at a shooting; teachers in some districts, off-duty cops, plainclothes cops, parents with concealed handgun licenses, etc. Simply having a weapon does not mean the police instantly shoot you.

And in your scenario, the armed teacher kills the bad guy, hears police sirens and hears the police “storm” the building (which is something else we don’t do; again, please take some time to learn something about this subject), but is still holding the weapon when police reach her? She couldn’t put the weapon back in the holster or simply drop it during the several minutes it takes them to arrive?

I hope you understood my point. Your views on this subject are devoid of actual experience or knowledge, riddled with fallacies, formed by unrealistic myths, and probably supported by legions of others with fallacious, unrealistic beliefs who tell you that you’re right.

What amazes me is that so many of you who oppose armed defense lack even basic knowledge on the subject, yet still feel justified making sweeping pronouncements about it. How does that happen? There are subjects I refuse to debate because I don’t know anything about them. I have opinions on them, but no actual knowledge or experience. So I stay quiet about those subjects because I know my uninformed opinion adds nothing to the debate and just makes me look stupid. I might ask questions, I might say, “I don’t know anything about this, but what about…” and ask a question. But I would never tell a doctor he’s wrong about medicine. I would never tell an economist he’s wrong about the economy. I’d never tell a pilot how to fly.

But many people who are anti-gun and have zero knowledge, training or experience with guns feel completely justified telling me, a longtime cop and combat vet, the “real truth” about armed defense. More often than not they say it’s futile to even try to fight back against an active shooter (as you did). Active shooters are just so amazingly skilled, nobody could possibly win against them. It’s better to just give up and die. It’s better to just let them walk into a school and mow down masses of children. “For god’s sake, please don’t make the situation worse by shooting the worthless, unskilled, untrained, cowardly piece of crap who’s massacring helpless people.” So help me, I can’t think of a more pathetic mindset than that.

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Am I off base, guys? Your thoughts?

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87 Responses to “Everything that’s wrong with the argument against protecting schools with guns”

  1. 1 6B45N

    Truer Words have Not Been Spoken. Unfortunately It Will Fall On Deaf Ears

    • You never know, man. I’ve been swayed when I was wrong, other people can be as well. I’ve actually had some success debating people who were ignorant about weapons (nothing wrong with that) but were willing to listen and learn.

    • 3 justafurriner

      Hi Chris,
      I have been reading your blog with interest for some time now. I feel somehow compelled to make a comment. First , let me clarify that i am not an american, nor do i live i america. I’m irish living in ireland. I would start by saying that the horror of gun crime in a school setting would be unthinkable to most europeans of my age, (50) and of course the reality is that while there is no overt problem in european schools, in the underbelly of socially deprived areas, gun carrying does exist among pupils. Berlin has a big problem in the lower schools. But, the pupils carry for protection…teachers refuse to carry at all. Shootings happen i am supposing but class massacres don’t and you can guess why. What i nevertheless find horrifying is that, when read aloud, the phrase “armed teachers” seems repulsive to me. I am sure that when you underwent military training in firearms, the only unarmed person was the gunnery instructor. Funny that, but natural i suppose since there was no threat. But here you are proposing that teachers be armed. Now, i get the argument, so far as it goes but to accept it in its totality, for me, creates a conflict of reason. To arm all the teachers in america would place guns in the classroom directly. I don’t know how many teachers there are but let’s say 500,000. probably a lot more. Now, as you have so clearly demonstrated throughout your blog, you have a very good understanding of the human condition and the application of the bell-curve to psychological stability. I know, that you are i highly trained, responsible human being who absolutely can govern himself in stressful situations and maintain a proper humanist perspective. The mistake you advocates seem to make is that your personality profile extends to all people in general (with a few misfits and wackos) but among specific cohorts (like teachers) the nutters don’t exist. The fallacy of class. Priests were holy and saintly and we know where that ended up. If you arm teachers, you will see a school massacre occurring again – this time from the teacher. The cohort is big enough to allow this possibility to become a probability. The hard problem of gun killings (perpetrated by the young) has the easy solution of “nothing can be done, but arm the teachers – hell arm everybody” but the hard solution is to diagnose, detect, treat the psychological conditions which prevail in this type of crime. The underlying drivers of course are based in a mire of social complexity.
      However, this problem with the gun doesn’t just find itself confined to schools but in the general populace itself. The birth of the USA finds its progenitor in the oppressed peoples of europe – for example the poor of ireland oppressed by the protestant landlords and the musket bearing redcoats of england – “waving scythes at cannon” as they tried to fight back. In this birth, the resolve to bear arms was crystallised in the 2A. You, above all, understand the phrase to “bear arms”. It is not a licence to personally carry a weapon, but rather to form a corps, a militia formed ad hoc in the defense of rights so that the sad massacre of the “croppy boy” would never take place again.
      However, a right is not a necessity. I support the philosophy of the 2A, i don’t support the argument that citizens should bear arms simply because they have the right to (however untenable the argument to personal arms is derived from the 2A) but i support the right of the citizenry to obtain and form an organised defense in the presence of a clear and present danger to their freedoms.
      Now, in talking about this, i feel the need to talk of a world citizenry. America occupies roughly 3% of the world population but consumes over 30% of the world’s resource. This is plainly asymmetric and downright wrong. The culture of the gun, enshrined in the 2A of the USA, has it seems by proxy extended itself into the world. It was frightening to read statements that “the american way of life” i.e gas consumption, goods derived from the extraction of oil etc would not be changed. It would be maintained. The unspoken assumption here is that if and when a resource crisis arises then america will maintain its supply at the end of a gun. Here we have the 2A writ large as a world agenda – the right of the USA to bear arms as a nation to prosecute any agenda it sees fit.
      This is why i see the current 2A support as wrong – it gives a sense that weaponry is a righteous tool – it confuses rights with a misguided obligation – it prosecutes the argument to necessity where no necessity exists – it inveigles the public mind with stupid and irrational arguments but avoids assiduously the core reality – a wealthy few have disenfranchised the many in the name of illegal profits and left the rest of us with no option but to prosecute the argument of the gun to solve the problem.
      I enjoy your writing and thank you for your effort.
      Kind Regards
      Paul

      • I don’t even know where to start with your post, but I suppose I’ll start to tackle your misunderstanding of the US 2nd Amendment and the Right to Bear Arms. Before I do that, I will say that I am a US Citizen living in the USA, a civilian (not in Military or Police), but I have training with firearms and do carry a gun for my own personal protection, and for those of my loved ones.

        First of all, if you are not in the US and are not a citizen, then you do not fully understand the true extent of the 2nd Amendment and the Right to Bear Arms. The 2nd Amendment (2A) is a universal and intrinsic right of a law-abiding citizen within the US to carry and own a firearm. It is an individual right and not a priviledge (compared to driving), and it IS a license and to own and carry a gun, not only as a group/militia but as an individual. No affiliation with the Military, Police, or unsanctioned civilian Militia is necessary to Bear Arms. In many states in the US, an actual license card is not even required to own and carry a gun i.e. Alaska and Vermont. Having the Right and Freedom entitled by the 2A is very important, and a necessity for the citizens, just as the Right to Free Speech and Religion. The 2A and carrying a gun legally IS a necessity, just as Excercising your own religion or Being safe and Secure in your own home.

        Second, about arming the teachers. Lets get one thing straight, there are unstable (“nutters” in your own words) people everywhere, including teachers, doctors, cops, farmers, or carpenters. That is beside the point. The important thing when arming the teachers is also give them proper training and background screening before allowing them to carry a gun. Not every teacher should be required to be armed in the schools, but if they choose to (and allowed by law) they can. A few armed and trained teachers at one school is better than none when that wacko with a gun starts shooting up a school.

        Your arguement to “necessity when no necessity exists” is absolutely incorrect. The necessity EXISTS absolutely. I don’t know if you follow US news, but there have been far too many mass shootings in schools, malls, and theathers. The necessity for armed law-abiding individuals exist in order to counteract the actions of the criminals.
        As a parting question, answer me this: How else would you stop a criminal armed with a gun from killing innocent individuals? By not having a gun? There is a reason why Police and Military carry weapons…

        • 5 justafurriner

          Hi Justice06rr,
          Thanks for your comment. If you have read my comment then you will have noticed that i accept the philosophy expressed in 2A but am dubious about the argument that extends that to individual and personal weaponry. I do not have to be a US citizen to “fully understand the true extent” of its meaning. That is a variation on the “no true scotsman” argument which is fallacious. The constitution is a body of written law and is understandable by anyone wishing to study it. Regardless of their nationality or citizenry. The US supreme court in 2008 in DC vs Heller debated the meaning of “the people” and whether this constituted an individual right or a group right. It ruled in favour of the reference extending to the individual but only by a margin of 5-4. It is for this reason that i said that the argument to individual rights was weakly derived and I stand by that assertion and you can look up the evidence and statements by Justices Stevens, Souter et al. I have nowhere in my comment suggested that despite this weakness in derivation that 2A should be repealed or have a body of law drafted to reinterpret it. Now, regarding the armed civilian and his/her intervention. There are some 300 million firearms in private possession in the US of which 100 million are estimated to be pistols. About 1 million instances of using a firearm for self protection or protection of property were estimated to have occurred in a 1997 study. I don’t have any figures regarding concealed carry – i.e what percentage of the 100 million pistols are being carried daily. If it were to be 10% say, then 10 million firearms are being carried concealed but still there doesn’t seem to be one available for use when it is needed – i.e in these utterly random tragic acts. It is not practical to speak of having every eligible citizen armed (although the industry would love it) for many reasons and i’ll offer one reason to serve as an example – not every citizen wants to carry a firearm, in fact a substantial portion are abhorred by the thought. Statistically, if 10% of arms are being carried (again i don’t know the actual figures) then surely there is an armed civilian present in most places. In the case of the Aurora shooting, that guy entered the cinema packing a tactical shotgun, a S&W MP 15 and a 100 round mag and.a Glock. Is it crazy to assume that out of the 200 or so people in the room, not one was carrying? In the same state which suffered the Colombine massacre? Colorado is a “shall-issue” permit state. Given the barrage of fire i doubt anyone carrying would have been in a position to do anything about it. How did this kid acquire this weaponry undetected? The homemade explosives, the rest of the paraphenalia without tripping anybody’s alarm? Herein lies the problem – it turns out that all of these terrible shootings were preventable. Adequate evidence did in fact exist that these individuals were heading for the ultimate breakdown. How can a person have any adequate reason for ownership of a machine pistol and a 100 round magazine? Who sold him this weapon? Who sold him the other weapons? Some joined-up thinking and yes…better gun-control and ownership records or better enforcing of current laws might have gone a long way to stopping this. Proper action and joined-up thinking would certainly have prevented Colombine.
          In answer to your question: I probably cannot stop an armed criminal without being armed myself. or to put it another way, I probably can stop him shooting by giving him what he wants assuming he’s an ordinary criminal. I probably cannot stop a crazed killer who is heavily armed and using a machine pistol, even if i am armed, in a situation such as a closed room. But it should have been prevented in the first place as it turns out that these events were preventable.

          In the case of schools, security is a front gate issue. By all means, it is justifiable to have armed security personnel and detection equipment, sad but true. Leave the teachers out of it though.

          • Justin,

            Sorry for the delayed response, been really busy lately. Your comment deserves a long and detailed answer, which I unfortunately don’t have time for right now, so I’ll address it later this week. My initial thoughts are that you have some valid concerns and observations, but you’re misunderstanding some tactical realities and don’t quite grasp the intent behind the 2nd Amendment. This is not meant to be a slight of any kind; I appreciate your comment, and hope you continue to come to this blog and share your perspective. Thanks and I’ll give a more substantive response in a few days.

      • Paul,

        Okay, I have a little more time now, although I still won’t be able to go into great detail in my response. I apologize for that in advance. Here are my main points:

        1) The 2nd Amendment does not apply only to organized militias. At the time the 2A was written, every male citizen was assumed to be a member of the militia. The famed Minutemen who fought the Revolutionary War were regular citizens who took up personal arms. At the time the 2A was written, individual ownership of weapons was common and was one of the reasons the colonists succeeded in defeating the British. The framers specifically stated they wanted personal ownership of weapons in order to prevent the type of tyranny so common in Europe. Individuals in the colonies/America had always owned weapons, had successfully won a war with those weapons and wrote numerous supporting documents explaining why individuals should be able to own weapons; it logically follows that the Bill of Rights simply recognized a right to own weapons which was already believed to be in existence. This isn’t just my opinion. The Supreme Court has also affirmed the individual right to own weapons.

        2) Regarding your comment “to arm all the teachers in America”, that is not what I support nor what anyone else has ever proposed. The fact that you perceive it this way is a testament to how effective some of the anti-gun rhetoric has been. Nobody wants to force every teacher, or any teacher, to carry a weapon against their will. The proposal is to allow those teachers who want to carry the opportunity to do so, if they undergo training and a background check.

        3) The huge number of teachers in America does not automatically mean one of them would carry out a massacre because the teacher cohort is very large. There’s a logical fallacy in believing that once a certain group of people reaches a certain population, one of them is guaranteed to commit a mass murder. Unless we have statistics showing at least one mass murderer has come from every large career field, there’s no reason to assume at least one armed teacher will mass murder her students.
        And the fact is, nothing prevents a teacher from carrying a weapon into a school now. Any teacher, if they were a “nutter”, could easily bring a gun to class and kill multiple students. The current ban on armed teachers doesn’t actually prevent anything; if bans like that worked, then we’d never have school shootings, because those are also banned.

        4) Regarding America using so much of the world’s resources, I’m not really able to comment on that. I don’t know if you’re statistics are correct, although I imagine China and Russia also use quite a bit. I do not believe that our right to own weapons equals a threat, so to speak, that the rest of the world should keep letting us use as many resources as we want. For all the hysteria about America invading Iraq (as one example) just to take its oil, there has been little attention paid to the fact that we didn’t take any Iraqi oil at all. My 2A rights do not mean I plan to dominate the world. And many people who support the 2A vehemently oppose American intervention in foreign affairs except when absolutely necessary.

        5) I really like your example of the oppressed Irish peasants “waving scythes at cannon”. That is exactly what the 2A was designed to avoid.

        Again, sorry for the late response, and I hope to hear back from you. Thanks,

        Chris

  2. It’s a systemic problem with the U.S. (and others), that people push responsibility onto others. You see it every day in the way people will ignore or show indifference to avoid involvement in a messy/awkward/dangerous situation. Protecting those who can’t protect themselves, is everyones’ responsibility.

    Bad situations like those mentioned above happened fast, with little to no time for LEO to respond and contain it before casualites, however, imho,, one armed citizen could.

    And I’m a socialist leaning liberal, but I’m a pragmatist. The reality of a situation should not be overlooked because it doesn’t match your political leanings, anecdotal experience, or world view.

    • Haggis,

      Thank you for that comment. I’m sure we’d disagree on a great many things, and we’d probably have some fantastic debates, but on this we both see a pretty obvious truth: when a mass murderer is trying to kill you, it’s better to be armed than unarmed.

      I hope to see you around more often, please comment anytime.

  3. Hey Chris, organized and well thought out response as always. It is really frustrating to deal with such intellectual incuriosity. There have always been “gentle lambs” truly incapable of self defense or defending others, to be fair, sometimes they have wonderful qualities such as taking care of the sick or are great at logistics.
    The problem arising in our culture is that even people with a natural sheepdog tendency are having it “beat out of them” by those wolves in sheep’s clothing that are “running” the country and the educational system.
    Sure doesn’t bode well for the country!

    • Juli,

      Your comment makes me think of Desmond Doss, the Mormon medic who won the Medal of Honor in WW2. He absolutely refused to carry a weapon or kill, but he was an amazingly brave man who risked death many times to save wounded soldiers. There is nothing wrong with being a pacifist. There is something wrong with trying to make others into the victim a pacifist has chosen to become. Beating the “protector” out of people is happening in society, and even the military. And you’re right, it’s a terrible thing for the country.

      Good to see you again, Juli. 🙂

  4. 12 KHorn

    You’re not off base at all. I’ve carried for over 10 years and no one, except my friends and family, has ever known. Like you I don’t debate on subjects I haven’t researched well enough and never undertood why everyone who has never even fired a gun is suddenly an expert. Just look at the idiots in the NY legislature who restricted magazine capacity to 7 rounds. Where the hell did that number come from? I don’t know of too many companies offering 7 round magazines. Clearly they just pulled the number from their nether regions (probalby went, let’s see revolvers have 6 rounds so let’s offer them one more for a semi-auto). Oh and they forgot to exempt LEOs so clearly the law was the result of careful deliberations.

    • K,

      I wonder how badly some anti-gun guys would freak if they found out just how many people carry around them every day.

      Also, you might want to read my essay “7 rounds”, I think you’ll find it interesting. Thanks for reading and commenting, hope to see you around more often.

      • 14 KHorn

        Yes, I’d read that post and thought it too was really well done. I always liked Larry Corriea’s point that no one, military or police, ever came out of gun fight saying I wished I hadn’t brought all this extra ammo. A somewhat amusing note on CCW, my son just graduated from the academy and is now on proby status. He was finding it difficult to carry his duty weapon concealed off duty, especially in summer clothing, and I suggested he borrow one of mine with a holster. He wasn’t sure if he could borrow someone else’s weapon and so asked his FTO if it was okay for him to use one of my Kahrs. The FTO just said sure, and by the way your dad has good taste. I’ve never met a line officer that seemed concerned about civilian concealed carry which should tell politicians a lot about the issue, but it clearly doesn’t sink in.

  5. 15 Scot

    Chris,
    I think i left a comment applauding your original reply to this, but your follow-up post is even more spot on. This “roll over and take it” (or bend over, depending on your attitude), is what is killing our rights, freedoms, and liberties in America today. I’m glad to here your voice of reason in an increasingly unreasonable world, and share it as often as i can. Sorry to plug another guy, but in my opinion, you and Mr Colion Noir are two of THE BEST voices in the pro-2A world today. Hands down.

    • I appreciate that, Scot. Being compared to Colion is an honor. I just missed meeting him a few months ago.

      Chris

      p.s. I’d say “bend over and take it” is more appropriate.

  6. 17 Heath

    Spot on, as usual.

  7. 19 SPEMack

    Chris,
    Don’t think your off base at all; in fact, I think you just knocked it out of the park. It boggles me how the notions of self-reliance and personal responsibility have been so degraded in this country that is now common place to leave any matter of personal protection to the police.

    Granted, I’m just a dumb ass Cav Scout who grew up on a cattle farm, but out here, you call the Sheriff and he’ll show up in time to write an incident report and call the coroner.

    I see a split between rural and urban areas, and views of the government, providing most of the differences in opinion concerning carrying personal weapons for personal protection.

    I can nothing think of nothing worse than laying around and waiting to get shot by some coward o, even worse, my future child merely just waiting for the first Deputy or Trooper to get to the school.

    A former girlfriend of mine showed me a YouTube video concerning six boyfriends who were killed in Aururoa shielding their girlfriends with their bodies. Noble yes, but when I watched that video all I could think of how much better it would have ended if one boyfriend could have shoved his lady friend down and returned fire with his Glock or S&W 642.

    Emiliano Zapata said it was better to die on one’s feet, rifle in hand, than to live on your knees.

    I would extend that to I would much rather take my chances against a coward armed with a long arm with my Colt Commander than cower behind a row of theater seats.

    • Mack,

      Well put. Yes our society is, in general, surrendering its protection to the police. And we cops who are honest will tell them, “Don’t do that, we can’t promise we’ll be there in time.”

      I also wish those men in the theater who showed such bravery and willingness to sacrifice had been armed. Holmes was another unskilled coward. One shot back in his direction and I bet he would have dropped his weapons and run away.

  8. “Am I off base, guys? Your thoughts?”

    I didn’t think you were off base at all You started off gentle and told him you were going to rip him to shreds (and did).

    “And police today are trained NOT to shoot someone just because they have a weapon.”

    You absolutely would know a heck of a lot more about this than me, but I thought I saw something the other day about the police chief in Chicago ranting about concealed carry and how it would result in his police officers shooting people because they had a gun. But, it was Chicago so what can you say? Lived there years ago and a lot of police there are not the kind of folks we normally like to respect (which we do, for most, but most definitely not for Chicago).

    lwk

    • lwk,

      I saw that stupid comment from the CPD Chief. I think it’s unforgivable. Fortunately (sort of), police chiefs of big cities are usually hand-selected yes men for the mayor, and have to support the mayor’s position or they lose their jobs. Most police chiefs of large agencies are so out of touch with street reality that their statements bear no relation to what the patrol officers think. Almost every cop I’ve ever talked to about armed self defense wishes more citizens would get training, carry and defend themselves.

      And the esteemed chief should know that his uniformed officers could easily encounter plainclothes cops at any major crime scene. Does he teach his patrol guys to shoot plainclothes cops?

      Good point about that chief’s statement, thanks for reminding me. I should write a post about that too.

  9. 23 Monte

    Your response seems spot-on to me.

    I’m wondering, though, was there ever any real evidence the Aurora shooter was wearing body armor? There were the initial reports, but there seemed to be some evidence he might have just been wearing some tac vest. Minor point, but I’m curious.

  10. You quoted this:

    “The shooter could easily have been wearing bulletproof armor (like the Aurora theater shooter). In which case, shooting him first would have been completely ineffective.”

    And refuted it, but I have a question about it. My son is in the Marines and has a friend who was in Afghanistan who was hit by a rifle round in the protective steel plate they wear. Knocked him down even though I understand it was a long distance shot (not sure how long). Shook him up pretty badly apparently.

    Of course that was a rifle and in the case of quote we’re talking handgun with probably considerably less energy (depending I guess on the range that rifle was fired from), but I would still think it would certainly “rock someone’s world” to get hit in the chest, vest or not. Lot better chance of jumping him then I would think that waiting for a jam or a reload.

    Regards,

    lwk

    • lwk,

      The plates are actually ceramic, and getting hit in the ceramic plate with a rifle round can still knock the crap out of you. There’s a really interesting video taken by an Iraqi sniper of him hitting a Louisiana National Guard soldier in the vest plate, you might want to check it out.

      I’ve heard some accounts of officers being shot by pistols while wearing armor, and not even realizing they had been hit. In other stories, the officers get the crap knocked out of them and have huge, deep bruises under the vest. Either way, if I’m wearing a vest and someone is shooting me, I have to quit shooting other people and focus on the guy who’s about to kill me. And if I’m shooting someone who doesn’t react due to body armor, I raise or lower my point of aim.

      • Great video! Especially like the part when reinforcements arrive and start heading towards the Iraqi snipers. Too bad no subtitles to translate what they are saying.

        • I have the translation. It’s “ohshitohshitohshitohshitohshit!” 🙂

          • Chris, now that’s funny, don’t care who ya are! 😉 Good video in that the medic, God bless him, is okay! Something real satisfying seeing that vehicle turn and the level of anxiety increase as they saw the can of whoop-ass on it’s way to get them.

  11. I am an elementary school teacher. I would have a lock box in the class if allowed. I don’t think I could openly carry and feel safe around my students. I also know that if came down to “shielding” students with my body then I could shoot. I am not trying to hard. I am wiling to die to protect even that annoying kid who drives me crazy. I am dedicated to these kids. I know center mass is my best bet. Even with body armor. IT WILL HURT and the force will probably knock the assailant off his feet. its not like he’s wearing a sumo suit; the force of the bullet is transferred into his body. I am not afraid of accidently getting shot by a cop. They would announce their presence. I am not going to run around a school and look for a lunatic, but I would make a basic fatal funnel and take out the bad guy. Now I am only BASICALLY gun trained. Enough to shoot and reload. I cannot take a gun apart. If I were to carry I would be sue to become REALLY trained for my safety and the safety of others. So why are you afraid to allow me to carry?

    • Jen,

      I advocate teachers carrying concealed. I agree with you that teachers shouldn’t openly carry in schools. That does invite problems. As for the rest of your post, I agree completely. Care to apply at my son’s school? 🙂

  12. On target.

    You have to remember that people have been trained that guns are bad.
    Their lack of knowledge of what they are and how they work is missing.
    The news and the often wrong antis bleat is every chance.

    More often than not they have not though about it or discussed it save
    for maybe with someone that had like mind set, Makes me wonder if
    they place value in their lives or are they chronically depressed?

    Very few of the people I have heard that pap from have ever held one or shot any firearm.

    As to bullet proof armor, the key to making all the many cases stated
    stop was typically one event or shot that broke their OODA loop.
    We know from the one true case where armor was planned and used (North Hollywood shootout) and even then the bad guys moved to
    cover rather than take hits. That was an exceptional case as well.
    I’ve worn a full IOTV with plates [non shooting] and I can say I was
    still very exposed. There was way to many places that could be
    punctured and bleed out or imoblized. That and the thing is heavy
    (over 33pounds with plates) and awkward. Aurora was not to my knowledge anything more than a tactical vest.

    No, I don’t buy Ivy’s excuses to do nothing. I truly believe she
    never put herself even theoretically in that place to ask the question.
    Why? because that only happens to other people.

    Eck!

    • Eck,

      Check, check and check. You’re right. Much of society is trying to condition everyone to believe that all weapons are bad, period, and their efforts are working way too well.

      The North Hollywood shootout was a great example to bring up. I remember watching those jumping jumping to cover when they were hit with pistol rounds.

  13. Spot on. You’ve got a new reader. I’m an elementary teacher and CHP (that’s what we call it in Nebraska) instructor. More people need to hear this from professionals.

    • Awesome, Thanks Dave! Spread the word, please.

      You’ll have an uphill fight convincing some teachers, though. I remember reading a comment from a longtime teacher in a discussion about active shooters: [paraphrasing] “In decades of teaching I’ve never met a single teacher who would have been willing to carry a gun in school.” Then she added, “Wait, there was one. He was always trying to pick up the high school girls and then got arrested for statutory rape.”

      • 36 Dave B

        I don’t get how me wanting to defend myself and my students makes me less of a quality teacher. Don’t kid yourself, almost every school in America has the “teachers die first while kids huddle in the corner” plan because most school boards are more willing to gamble with our lives than plan for what might actually happen. I’ve told my wife repeatedly that if I am killed or seriously injured in an incident where I could have defended myself with my gun, she is to sue the school for every penny she can get.

        • Dave,

          Unfortunately, I’m well aware of that policy. It’s everywhere, even in places where you’d never expect it. Hell, look at Fort Hood: a bunch of trained combat vets couldn’t shoot Hasan, because policy prevented them from carrying weapons.

  14. Well, Ivyfree and Bob Cesca don’t need to worry about me wasting my time protecting them there on there own Good rebuttal Chris

    • Understood Joe, but hey, if they’re there and I can do something, I’ll protect them too. Mostly so I can read their essays later about how they wish I would have just let the shooter kill them. 🙂

  15. 40 ExMonk

    It’s so nice when reality, logic, and experience step in to ruin confused and ridiculous meanderings. Unfortunately, reality, logic, and experience don’t mean much to many of those those entrenched in emotion-riddled dogma, but we have press the issue, especially when challenged as you were. You might not have changed the mind of that particular individual, but minds do get changed and a difference is made with sound and solid arguments.

    Your points were perfectly made. I would say you completely nailed it and I wouldn’t suggest you should have said anything different.

    The “…hasn’t done anything illegal yet” bit? I’m still shaking my head in disbelief. How can anyone be that confused about the world?

    Keep up the great work.

    • Thanks Monk. The “nothing illegal” comment floored me too. Someone walks into a school, pulls a gun and says “I’m going to murder people,” and Ivy thinks they haven’t committed a crime?

  16. 42 perilousvoyageofme

    Very well put and spot on. It’s refreshing to hear intelligence on the subject with deep insight instead of the usual “talking head” mentality we’re subjected to on a daily basis. I echo some of the others with, please keep up the great writing. We need it.

  17. 44 Scott Timmons

    Chris
    Well said as usual. On target, no changes, fire for effect! If a member of the volunteer victim squad can’t understand your arguements, then they are beyond hope.

    • Scott,

      I’m not so much concerned about them. We all make our decision about self defense, and some good, reasonable people make the choice not to carry. That’s their personal decision. The problem I have is with those who want to take everyone else’s right to self defense away. That’s what I’m fighting.

      • 46 Scott Timmons

        Chris,
        By beyond hope I meant that they were unlikely to be persuaded by any arguement or logic. You continue to hit the nail on the head every time. You have become one of my favorite blocs due to your clear thoughts. Although I have to admit that Jerry Pournelle’s Chaos Manor still leads the pack! Keep up the good work and stay safe.

  18. 47 RandyGC

    Add another to you being on base. You were a lot nicer and more patient with idiotic and morally bankrupt stupidity than I ever could, which is what makes you a MUCH better writer and spokesman for the side of the good guys.

    We have here 2 of the major issues with anti-self defense and anti-civil rights crowd, projection of their own lack of character and other weaknesses on others, and the inability to tell the difference between Wolves (violent and predatory) and Sheepdogs (Violent but protective).

    Good show.

    • Thanks Randy. I like to think that most of America doesn’t suffer from the issues you just described, which is why the recent national gun control effort utterly failed.

  19. One minor nitpick — the antis’ argument about Holmes’s “body armor” is even more invalid. He wasn’t wearing any. He was actually wearing a tac vest, specifically this one: http://tacticalgear.com/blackhawk-urban-assault-vest

  20. From Colorado: Scarily, we were going to take our kids to see Batman THAT NIGHT but ended up not going . Hubby and I have talked many times about that night. He said ‘if only one person had been armed…’. I support your stance on carrying. We are going to get the concealed permits as soon as we can. If only there was JUST ONE person who could have fought back in ALL of these circumstances. And we think about how we would react and I hope that it never happens. But if it does, and if I can, I WILL SHOOT A CRIMINAL. Just brandishing a gun in a school or a theater is probably enough to assume the person has bad intentions and if s/he is mentally ill or
    distraught over some injustice, well that’s going to be too bad because innocent people should not have to pay for your problem with their life.

  21. I’d love to see teachers carry concealed if they were trained and wanted to do so. When my child comes home and says they had a drill (for an armed intruder) and I ask what the drill entails her answer is “We lock the door and hide in the corner.”

    This is not going to help if the shooter decides to bust through the doors. What if these armed assailants decide to start setting fire to the buildings to flush people out so they can pick them off with a rifle? (I realize that’s not part of your argument, but I just think it’s gonna happen.)

    I suggested once in a discussion after the incident at Chardon High School happened here in Ohio that we needed to start teaching our children self defense, the younger the better. We teach them to fight back against potential kidnappers. Why not fight back if faced with someone who is armed? What would happen if faced with a lunch room incident, like in Chardon, the kids started throwing things at the perpetrator? Would it help? He was picking them off as they ran away. A book or a lunch tray isn’t as effective as a bullet, but it might have distracted him enough for someone to tackle him. He didn’t stop until a teacher took him down.

    My point was that most people will freeze when someone approaches them. They’re so afraid they don’t fight back. So if we teach them young to react, their chances of survival might be better. I was vilified and accused of trying to get more people killed. I didn’t say send our kids out to LOOK for the perp, just that if there’s an armed assailant in front of you, you don’t freeze. You use what you have available to fight back. I don’t know what the actual statistics are for assaults or kidnappings where the victim fought back, as in, is their survival rate higher or not. But when I took martial arts our instructor pounded it into our heads to always fight back, to never go willingly, that if the assailant was intent on removing you to somewhere else, you were toast.

    I’m going to be getting a concealed carry license. I freely admit that I’m much more comfortable shooting rifles than hand guns. Hand guns seem too easy to use, too easy for me to accidentally kill myself with. So I’m going to face that fear, get trained, and learn everything I can about them. Locked doors and video cameras on schools aren’t enough to keep our kids safe. The woman who talked that man down from shooting all those children was heroic for her actions, but it was LUCK that saved her. All he had to do was point and shoot her. She was unarmed, and managed to talk to a very scared, mentally unstable individual who had realized he didn’t want to be killed by the cops.

    Arm the teachers who want to armed. Give them free classes. Crap, I’ll figure out a way to help pay for it. Every day while my kids are at school, if I hear sirens I wonder if today is the day that I get the call. Instead of being frozen into inaction by our fears, lets get educated and face them and make it clear to these people that if they go into a school or shopping mall, they are going to be met by extreme prejudice.

    • Jennifer,

      Your comments remind me of a quote from a study about murder victims: [paraphrasing] “Many of the victims, through their appalling incompetence, practically assisted in their own murders.” The researchers pointed out that many murder victims didn’t escape when they had ample opportunity, didn’t resist when they had means to do so, and generally made the act easy for the murderer.

      For the parents who think their child is in more danger if they resist, tell them about the classroom full of dead children with their dead teacher at Newtown. They didn’t resist either.

    • 55 RandyGC

      Fortunately, some systems are getting a clue. daughter’s school has officially adopted a policy of get out any way you can and run, with at least one of her teachers prepared to engage with bare hands if necessary to buy the students time.

      And the one room with no easy exits? The Chem lab. THAT is going to leave a mark!

      An improvement over last year when her instructions from me were to take out anyone, including staff, that got between her and an exit while trying to enforce a cower and wait response. (Karate red belt)

      • 56 JustMa

        My children also have instructions to GET OUT fast. We have safe meeting places near each if their schools. My daughter (10 yes old) had words with her teacher when she told her she would not comply with hiding in a corner. Oops!

  22. 57 Andrea

    Unfortunately, the anti-gun arguments in general are based on emotion only and not logic. The reality is that for them to gain any ground, it has to be an emotional debate because logically, rationally, their stance won’t hold water.
    There is even a published “Manual” (http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/748675/gun-violencemessaging-guide-pdf-1.pdf) that has been in the news lately on how to manipulate and sway people’s opinions toward gun control by engaging them in emotional discussions on the heels of high profile shooting incidents . . .
    Regarding the issue of gun control, the Democrats are prepared; they published an 80-page manual titled “Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging” that instructs users on how to exploit the emotions resulting from horrific incidents to attack the National Rifle Association (NRA), supporters of the Second Amendment, and gun owners — ways to take advantage of events to get around the constitutional right to bear arms.

    Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/08/anti-gun_demagoguery_enshrined_in_political_manuals.html#ixzz2dwFSsXZa

    Key arguments in mind, the manual then offers a step-by-step guide on how to frame an intensely emotional discussion, beginning with Step 1: “Always focus on emotional and value-driven arguments about gun violence,” followed by Step 2: “Tell stories with images and feelings,” then Step 3: “Claim moral authority,” Step 4: “Emphasize that extraordinarily dangerous, military-style weapons are now within easy reach across America.”
    . . .
    For example, the manual suggests, if someone were to say, “If an honest citizen with a gun were present, this [tragedy] would not have happened,” a gun-control advocate should counter with, “There’s not a shred of credible evidence that more guns and more shooting save people’s lives. More guns and more shooting mean more tragedy.”

    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/08/democrat-manual-how-to-lie-about-gun-control/#sYxFpkWWi0A6eE4F.99

    • 58 Scot

      Andrea,
      I’ve seen this publication and it’s sickening. Sickening that there are actually people in today’s world that can be so blatantly blind and/or ignorant of reality and logic. Sickening that people make plays on other people’s emotions to further a personal (and political) agenda, when there REALLY ARE lives at stake (which obviously is what they’re ‘supposedly’ claiming to be advocating). It saddens me to say, but the only way to deal with a person who argues/debates/speaks from emotion (FROM emotion, not WITH, big difference) rather than logic and reason, is just to end the conversation there. It’s pointless. I can’t tell you how many friends i have that don’t speak to me anymore based on my position as a gun advocate, especially when talking to anti-gun Liberals that work in a school.

    • Jesus. I hadn’t heard of this, thanks for the info. It’s pretty damn revealing.

  23. 60 Tass

    When the ‘Teacher-carry’ debate first started a friend’s daughter (who teaches middle school) announced she would be terrified to know that someone could be carrying a gun near her (and she used all of the same arguments Ivy did-wonder if that is what they cover at in-service days)…I had to tell her that all those times we sat next to each other at restaurants, she was within mere inches of a loaded gun.

    I’ve been a CHL holder for almost 15 years. It’s my opinion that the anti’s have never experienced firsthand the fear of being vulnerable to someone who wishes to do them harm. While I usually don’t wish ill upon people, I think that will be the only way for these people to sit back and realize that doing nothing is not a strategy for self-defense. They cannot fathom that harm could come to them. It is all theory to be debated over coffee.

    • 61 Stuart the Viking

      A few years ago, I had a friend who had the same opinion about firearms. She just knew she would be terrified if she knew a gun was near. All my other friends knew that I carried, but we just didn’t tell her. No need to freak her out.

      Then one day it happened. We were hanging out at a party and she walked up and put her arm around my waist… hand coming to rest right on the butt of my 9mm.

      After we got her to calm down, she soon realized that she had been around a gun for many many years, having never once been threatened, shot at, or even in danger. Although, we first had to convince her that she didn’t almost shoot everyone in the room dead by accidentally touching my holstered firearm (yes, the gun ignorance was strong with that one).

      s

    • “It is all theory to be debated over coffee.” That’s brilliant. I’m going to steal that line, if you don’t mind.

  24. 65 Nono

    It needs to be understood that teenagers work together. What is to stop two large teenage boys from each grabbing an arm of mine, two more grabbing a leg and a fifth pulling the gun from my holster to shoot me and/or other students and staff?

    • 66 JBourne

      Nono,

      I would suggest not allowing the threat to get close enough to you to do that. I know you are most likely going to say ” they could be walking down the hall minding there own business and their hostile take over plan goes into affect with no signs or warning”. Teenagers have a very hard time controlling emotion and if you study them you can tell when they are up to no good. There are signs. Now, dont get me wrong im not saying draw down on the first teenager you suspect is up to no good, recognize the situation and position yourself physically and mentally to react if need be. You know something that they dont…. You are carrying a tool that can potentially save the lives of many innocent victims. Not only limiting bloodshed, but allowing kids that possibly could have been killed for absolutly no reason go home to their siblings and parents. Personally i would be indebted to a person for life if they were to save my children in this manner and allow them to come home to me

    • Nono,

      Has that ever happened? Officers in some schools openly carry weapons. Have they been tackled and disarmed? Yes that’s happened out on the streets. Has it happened in schools? I’m not aware of a single incident of an officer or an armed teacher (some districts have them). Are you?

      Mass shootings, however, HAVE happened, repeatedly. You’re probably aware of the list of incidents. The conditions that enabled the Columbine shooting also enabled the Newtown shooting and the Dunblane shooting and enabled Michael Hill to walk unopposed into the Georgia school last month. You can refuse to carry because of what MIGHT happen, or you can carry to prevent what HAS happened, over and over.

      Also, I don’t advocate teachers carrying openly. The weapons MUST be concealed.

    • 68 Mike_C

      Situational awareness.

  25. 69 BHPshooter

    That was an articulate, well-reasoned response… and you even did it without becoming antagonistic, which can be difficult when debating the uneducated-but-still-vocally-opinionated crowd.

    The only point that wasn’t addressed — which, I admit, is very minor — was this:

    You comprehend the situation as soon as the impending criminal (who hasn’t done anything illegal yet) announces that he’s going to kill and pulls out a gun.

    Specifically, I’m referring to the “You comprehend the situation” portion. What, I wonder, is there to ponder at this point? A person pulls a gun and broadcasts his intention to commit a forcible felony, and we’re supposed to meditate on the meaning of it before acting?

    Or is it an insinuation that our unenlightened, paleolithic brains can’t possibly recognize a threat before the floor is covered with innocent bodies and smoking brass?

    Either way, I don’t like the veiled jab that the average person is incapable of coping with a dynamic situation without curling up in the corner and sucking their thumb.

    When you boil right down to it, self-defense isn’t all that complicated. The laws surrounding it are, but that’s another topic.

    Chris, I don’t know how I haven’t stumbled upon your website before now. I’m a Utah CFP instructor, and this place is another valuable resource. Thank you very much.

    • BHP,

      I think you’re right, the anti-defense side of the argument literally believes only stupid people need guns. If you read my original essay about the Georgia school incident, you’ll see several comments from HuffPo readers that insinuate that very belief. Basically, “Smart people can talk their way out of violence”.

      As a side note, the concealed carrier who ran up to the scene just after the last shot was fired at the Gabby Giffords shooting did everything he was supposed to. He drew, advanced cautiously toward the scene, and aimed in on the person with a gun. Then he realized that man wasn’t the shooter, and didn’t fire. His reaction was written up on Mother Jones as a reason concealed carriers are ineffective at mass shootings. “He almost shot an innocent person.”

      Thanks for your comment, and I hope to see you around more often.

    • 71 JimP

      “Either way, I don’t like the veiled jab that the average person is incapable of coping with a dynamic situation without curling up in the corner and sucking their thumb.”

      That idea is pure projection: Ivy understands that he/she is going to react that way, so he/she assigns that inability to do the correct and necessary thing as “normal, average”, when in fact it is pure cowardice. “I can’t do it, so nobody can……. that way I don’t feel inadequate.”

  26. Great.

    Now somebody’s got to walk waaaaaaaay out to the parking lot behind the outfield bleachers and bring back ivyfree from that epic wallop.

    I used to think people would either freeze, run away, or get aggressive with would-be mass murderers.
    Clearly I overlooked the number who would obligingly walk towards them, and dutifully kneel at their feet and docilely wait for the coup-de-grace headshot.

    • Oddly enough, Ivy hasn’t come back. I was actually hoping he/she would, because I honestly am interested in their response to my argument. Ivy obviously wasn’t stupid, and was pretty reserved with the smartass, insulting tone. I was probably worse in my response. So I hope Ivy comes back, so I can measure my argument’s effectiveness.

      It’s easy to win an argument when everyone agrees with you. 🙂

      • Silence is a response.

        A good tracker could also probably find sign from someone leaving with their tail between their legs and headed outbound on tiptoe.

        I understand the wish, but one of the most polarizing parts of society in recent years has been the stupid side’s refusal to engage. They have two weapons and one goal: they want to tear your ideas apart, and they want to strangle your reply unuttered. They can’t handle give-and-take, because usually there’s a clear winner, and a clear loser, which upsets the harmony of everyone being a special snowflake, and it also leaves the side with the stupid argument with its collective pants around its ankles, which doesn’t advance The Cause.

        Thus they tend to not be interested in Reason and Logic, just Feelings. Mainly their own.

        Thanks for ignoring those ROEs, and presenting common sense. Their Inner Child needs to grow up.

  27. 75 Nick42

    I just saw a news report of an incident (captured on video) that’s a perfect demonstration of the interaction between an untrained criminal and trained citizen.

    This was an attempted convenience store robbery. The bad guy drew attention to himself right off the bat by walking into the store smoking a cigarette. The bad guy’s inept gun handling then lead to the good guy being able to take control of the bad guy’s weapon and quickly draw his own weapon.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/jon-lewis-alexander-clerk-army-gun-2013-9

    As you mentioned, it seems that many who are unfamiliar with guns (and likely crime) seem to have too high an opinion of the competence of most criminals. These guys aren’t Dr. Moriarty, they’re low lives with poor impulse control who lack the discipline to make their way through life legitimately or train sufficiently to achieve skill in the art of arms.

    • Actually, that was a very bad response to that robbery. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Alexander was armed and drew the weapon. But he never had control of the suspect’s weapon (he actually didn’t disarm the robber, he just pushed the robber’s weapon down), and I guarantee you he wasn’t watching the robber’s weapon when he stuck his own pistol in the robber’s mouth. The robber could have either shot Alexander or grabbed Alexander’s weapon since it was so close. Great outcome, but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone else respond that way to an armed robber.

  28. 77 Mike_C

    > docilely wait for the coup-de-grace headshot.
    Well, that is what we are being trained to do, on many fronts (“we don’t encourage self help” and learning to live in perpetual fear of somehow offending someone and thus letting the clearly crazy smelly ranting person into your personal space (stolen from Larry Correia IIRC), and so forth).

    But there’s another factor at work, one I’ve never understood. It’s some sort of warped belief that precisely being helpless gives some sort of power over the attacker. I recall an incident in college back when the USSR still existed: there was an Ethics class immediately before one of my classes, and student-instructor discussions would often spill over into the 10 minutes between classes. A youngish woman was loudly declaiming “We don’t need a military! If we laid down in front of the Soviet tanks, what could they do?”

    I piped up “Put the tanks in gear?” which earned me looks of withering hatred from most of the group. But the woman was horrified, “No one could do that to another human being!” THAT seems to be the mental wavelength of some of the evil scary guns crowd.

    • Jesus. Back when I was a tanker we would joke about a “driver’s engagement” in training. In the range training scenarios there were many “gunner’s engagements”, where the gunner aimed and fired the main gun like normal. There were also a couple of “commander’s engagements” where the commander took control of the gun. So the driver’s engagement joke was about the driver running over enemy infantry. That kind of thing has only happened in just about every war where foot soldiers faced tanks. And it also happened in situations where tanks faced civilians.

      It’s amazing how some people can think that barbarism is an aberration of human behavior, when we’ve seen barbarism in every culture and society throughout all of human history. The same “guns are evil” people probably don’t realize that this society, which they hate, is more peaceful than almost any pre-civilized society, all of which they love.

  29. 79 JustMa

    I am fairly new to concealed carry, in fact yesterday was the very first day I felt safe carrying with a round in the chamber (years of the “gun will spontaneously go off in a holster” had me scared brainless) Newtown did it for me. As a mom of 3 kids in elementary school, I needed to know I could protect them at least most of the time. I am currently taking private training in hopes that someday I will be able to be a volunteer, copying papers and running errands around the school with my firearm conveniently hidden at my side under our state’s new Sentinel law (that no districts are reportedly using yet) We have a very left wing school board so I don’t see it happening here any time soon bit a girl can dream 🙂 And as far as changing opinions go, I went from a gun hater ( more scared than anything), to shooting rifles and then a cwp within 1 year. It may have taken me 7 more years to become a gun carrying mama, but I’m there now and never looking back! Great article Mr Hernandez.

  30. It all comes down to one question: “if you had access to unlimited free training and the best equipment, do you think you could fight back and survive?” A lot of people, not just gun people, will answer yes. Those that believe they can win, can believe others can win. Most that say yes won’t act on it, because “someone else will do it for me”, or “that’ll never happen to me”, but they are OK with others training to win.

    Some will refuse to answer, which means their real answer is “no”. They won’t actually answer “no”, because they know, in their hearts, that “no” is a bad answer. They don’t believe they can win, therefore they cannot believe you or anyone else can win either. To admit that others can win and they cannot is an indication that they are lacking in some fundamental way. To protect their self-image, they must insist that “no” is normal, and “yes” is the flawed answer.

    There’s a third answer: “I can, and those people can, but People Like You can’t” — not for any logical reason, but just because they hate People Like You, and it helps them feel superior to People Like You.

  31. 81 karlrehn

    It all comes down to a simple question: “if you had access to appropriate training and equipment, could you fight back successfully?” Of those that answer “yes”, most are happy to let someone else do that for them. Some prepare and expect to act. But they all believe it’s possible.

    When I’ve asked this question in face to face situations, no one ever answers “no”. Those that do not answer “yes” are silent or try to duck the question, because they know that “no” is a bad answer. The truth is that because they cannot believe that they are capable, they cannot believe that others are capable either. If others can and they can’t, that means they are flawed or otherwise abnormal. Their emotional response is to declare that those that answer “yes” are delusional, and/or to hate those who loudly insist they (and others) can win — because those people are a constant reminder of their own failings.

    The third answer (the elite answer) is “I can, and they (special class of people) can, but People Like You can’t”. Not because of any logical reason, but because they can’t feel superior to you, if they believe you are just like them – or worse, can do something they cannot.

    • Karl,

      Sorry for the delayed response. That’s definitely an interesting insight, and I’m sure it does apply to some of those who oppose armed teachers. But in my experience not everyone who opposes armed teachers or citizen carry does so for the same reasons. Just as there is discord among the pro-gun side, there is on the anti-gun side. Hopefully there are many many people on the anti side who are reasonable and willing to listen to facts and logic, instead of just relying on overtly emotional arguments.

  32. 83 Mike9111

    Hello Chris

    Have read your blog and book and by and large I agree with most of it but I really have to say that I think you are way off base in how you responded to ivy’s post. I know this sounds harsh but I am surprised you were so us vs them in your response.

    I am all for sharing your opinion and disagreeing with someone but your being so sarcastic and belittling did nothing to change her mind as all you did was essentially tell her she was stupid for having these beliefs and you did not approach it from the standpoint of helping her see your point. You just hammered her.

    I do not think all of her assumptions are ridiculous and that some are of real concern and need to be dealt with as such. I am on the fence my self about many of these same questions and yes I do like guns, ex-military etc so how do I fit in. No I do not generally tell people I like firearms and my position on these things but once they find out I am ex military they make that assumption. Lol. I understand about being touchy on this.

    People need to dial down propaganda on both sides and listen to what the others say. I will be honest that I have family members who scare the hell outta me around firearms and have seen many at the range I would be reluctant to give a firearm to. There are others who are anti-gun that I know would run into a burning building to save me or my child or some they did not know.

    Please be the blog that is about valuing opinions even if we do not agree and the one that will listen and be willing to discuss it.

    On a side note, if she is at your site your assumption that she is an anti- gun person could be off base! Just sayin.

    Ok, I will wait now for everyone to unload on me. Lol

    Mike-

    • Mike,

      I did come off as insulting and antagonistic toward Ivy, and did assume he/she is anti-gun. Guilty as charged.

      I also understand if someone has negative feelings toward guns in schools. However, I feel that those negative feelings are based purely on emotion rather than logic. I can calmly debate anyone who presents rational arguments. In Ivy’s case, I just got pissed because he/she made grand, sweeping pronouncements about the “real truth”, while obviously having zero understanding of any of it.

      If I went onto a doctor’s blog and told him “You don’t know anything about health care, so listen to me!” even though I don’t know crap about health care, I would rightly be mocked, insulted and shouted down. What amazed me about Ivy was his/her absolute confidence with his/her beliefs, since they were backed by no training, experience or understanding at all. And yes, I see a LOT of that on the anti-gun side.

      So I guess I just got mad. That’s not an excuse, it’s just what happened. If Ivy comes back, I’m more than willing to apologize. And I don’t think anyone is going to unload on you for pointing out my lack of courtesy. But I do think it’s reasonable for me to expect commenters to have at least a basic understanding of the topic being discussed.

      Thanks for commenting, and for your service, and I hope you participate in more discussions here.

      • 85 Mike9111

        Thanks for the response Chris and I understand that feeling as my wife is more on the Antigun side (funny how things workout).

        I think it is all based upon fear. Fear about their children or them selves being gunned down but also fear in regards to many of pro gun / pro carry ninja types who talk a huge amount of shit and make sound like they will go in blasting and let god sort out the pieces. We both know it is the ones that talk the most shit that do the least. One of our guys refused to jump out of the helicopter on his first rescue but that fucker talked such a good game that you thought he was 8 ft. Tall and bullet proof prior to the call for swimmer in the water!

        Problem with general public is that they see this shit being spouted off by every obese, arm chair navy seal wannabe about how they woulda done things differently. They would shoot the guy non life threatening and have him zip tied waiting for the police while he was drinking a beer enjoying the attentions of grateful adults that he just saved.

        It takes someone to show them about firearms and that they are safe if handled in a correctly but in many places who is going to show them. I do not go to gun shops because I know about firearms and they still act like a dick to me let alone a woman who wants to understand more. Lol yea think how that conversation might go? Lol

        You mentioned that you expect her have basic understanding of the topic but maybe she had what she thought was and had no previous exposure. Her coming here is a big step if she unsure about firearms and even more so if she is anti-guns. You would be surprised the bad info people have around firearms or this issue regardless if you listen to fox or msnbc. The Media seems to more interested in pushing their beliefs / agenda than providing info in a reasonable and respectful way and if they educated more then perhaps they would not make these sweeping generalizations about guns.

        On a different note, thanks for the thanks for your service comment but it always makes me uncomfortable! Why you ask? Because I signed up for 4 years just to get the hell away from home and have some adventure and then perhaps college. As it turned out I went in and was injured in training accident and then discharged at the 4 year mark. Had great voc rehab with va for college but cannot say tons about med care overall. Yea the thanks for your service just makes me feel like it should be reserved for someone who went in after 9/11 and who was all into it. I enjoyed half of it and went to a bunch of different places and met lots of people, did and saw things best forgotten about and knew some really great guys and some total shit birds whom I could not stand. Lol lol no i was not special forces like so many people out there seem to be but then again I cannot put 10 rounds in the black while standing unsupported! Just a slacker i guess. Lol

        Thanks again for the blog and I have enjoyed the books so enjoy the royalties. Lol

        Mike

        • Mike,

          Sorry for the delayed response, my life is constant chaos lately. You’re right that way too many 400 lb mall ninjas scream incessantly about how they would have done everything perfectly. The, uh, “misguided young men carrying rifles in Chipotle” (being charitable here) are what a lot of people think of when they imagine gun owners.

          And hey man, don’t worry about not being SF. Neither was I, I’m just a regular Joe who stayed in long enough to get sent to war. It’s not your fault WW3 didn’t break out while you were in. So, thanks for your service!


  1. 1 Deconstructing the argument | Stuff From Hsoi

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