A number of my (now former) Facebook friends have been expressing sentiments like this one:
“The shooting in Aurora would have gone a lot differently if people had been allowed to concealed carry. There would be only one death, the perpetrator.”
Just as those in favor of gun control tend to come out of the woodwork during a violent tragedy, so too come the gun supporters. I don’t necessarily think our national policy on gun control should be decided by our visceral reactions to tragedy, but by the same token thoughts like the one above need a reality check.
He was in full body armor
If someone had been concealed carrying and had tried to take James Holmes down they would have had a difficult time of it. His chest, head and neck were protected by SWAT grade body armor.
Who is the criminal?
It took a trained eye by the officers on scene to recognize discrepancies in Holmes’ armor and identify him as not part of their team. In a tense chaotic situation like the one in that theater, is it not reasonable to assume that anyone firing a gun might be assumed to be the cause and not the solution? Our vigilante hero might get a bullet for their trouble.
You’re not Rambo
I think what really gets to me about people who make this remark is that they are not the sort of people I would count on in a real crisis situation. They like to think that they’d be a hero, that they could take the criminal down, but it’s all talk. Until you’ve been in a tough situation you have no idea how you’d react, if you’d be able to assess the situation correctly and shoot the right target without hurting anyone else. We watch action movies and we think we can be part of them. I don’t care how much time you’ve spent on the range, how much training you’ve had, if you’ve never been tested in real life, then I don’t want you to have a gun.
It dishonors real heroes
There were heroes in that theater. Boyfriends who protected their loved ones by shielding them with their bodies. Best friends who gave life saving first aid, and carried their friends out of the fray. They weren’t armed, but they saved lives, sometimes by sacrificing their own. Anyone who fantasizes about saving those people through more violence dishonors the memory of the dead and the living.
It’s not a constitutional issue
You know what, the constitution was written more than 200 years ago. Maybe, just maybe, parts of it need to be revisited in the light of modern day. The 2nd ammendment back in colonial times would be like having the right to buy computers in modern times. Guns were tools, and tools far less capable of dealing mass death as the automatic weapons Holmes was legally able to get his hands on.
It’s not alright to disagree
In reply to my comment that statements like the one above were incorrect and insulting one former facebook friend said that he’s sorry I feel the way I do. He said that it’s okay that we disagree and that he would fight for my right to say what I want just as he’d fight for the right to keep his gun. Thanks, but no thanks. My first amendment rights are doing fine without your help. And sometimes ignorant and arrogant sentiments like this one need to be called for what they are. I support your right to be foolish, but that doesn’t make you any less of a fool.
As you can tell I’m a bit angry. Ultimately it’s Facebook. I can just unfriend this person and they’ll disappear from my life forever. But reality is there are plenty more who think the way he did. It’s not okay. We need to think more about the things we say (that’s why it took me a week to decide to even write this post). Maybe our twitter and 24 hour news based society has causes us to “shoot from the hip” (if you’ll parson the expression), but that’s never been a particularly good way to discuss anything. Whether you agree with me or not on gun rights, you can see how comments like the one above do nothing to help the current situation. We should be better than this.
Thankfully, many of us are. There have been more posts with prayers and thoughts going out to the families then I’ve seen for any recent tragedy. Christian Bale visited victims. It’s not all a bad world.