Thursday, June 05, 2014

You Don't Need a Gun: Mass Shooters

The shootings in Isla Vista have left me too angry to blog. But now we have yet another shooter on a college campus, at Seattle Pacific. Fortunately, this murderer was stopped after killing one and wounding three. And he was stopped in the way the gun-rights community says he can never be stopped: he was stopped without a gun.

If you'll forgive me repeating parts of a blog post from two years ago, written after another of our endless repeated mass murders:

if you are attacked by a shooter in a public place, and if you ever get a chance to stop the shooter by force, you will get that chance when the shooter stops to reload.
You are not guaranteed to get that chance, or any chance.

Tonight, thank God, the Seattle Pacific shooter was tackled by a student security monitor when the gunman paused to reload his shotgun. [I salute that brave person, and hope the press finally covers the hero of the day instead of the murderous failure of a villain.] If the gunman had used a gun with a larger clip, such as a Bushmaster, he would have been able to shoot many more people before he was vulnerable.

Why does this matter? Because:

If you did get a chance to attack the shooter, in that moment when he needs to reload, you would not need a gun to stop him. When he is temporarily unable to fire, he can be attacked with bare hands or hit with anything handy. And there are documented incidents where shooters have been stopped, and further killing prevented, in exactly this way.

On the other hand, if you happened to have a handgun on your person when the shooting started, it still wouldn't help much until the shooter had to reload. Most mass shooters are using semi- or fully-automatic weapons with a high rate of fire, designed to provide suppressing fire that makes it hard for anybody to fire back.

Now, the NRA fans will tell you, every single time one of these shooting happen, that "The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." But this is clearly not true. In fact, it's the opposite of the truth.

You do NOT need a "good guy with a gun," to stop a mass shooter. More than one mass shooter has been stopped by good people who were totally unarmed. There are real cases we can point to, and another, thank God, tonight.

And if by, "a good guy with a gun" you mean, as gun-rights advocates usually mean, an armed bystander with a gun, that is completely wrong. I can't think of a single mass shooter who has been stopped by a random civilian with a gun.

Shooting incidents like this end in three ways:

1. The police kill the gunman.
2. The gunman kills himself when the police have him cornered.
3. Unarmed bystanders rush the gunman when he reloads.

The police don't count as "good guys with guns" in the discussion over gun rights and gun control, because no one in America advocates disarming the police. So when the NRA/open-carry/Second-Amendment-absolutist crowd talks about the need for more guns, they are talking about something that never happens. Private citizens who happen to be carrying a gun do not stop mass shooters.

So, the gun-rights crowd demand that everyone have guns to stop this violence that everyone having guns has never, ever stopped. On the other hand, their insistence that everyone have untrammeled access to serious firearms means that mass shooters do have guns. We need to let emotionally-troubled criminals amass the firearms they need to massacre people, so that it will remain hypothetically possible that someone, somewhere, at some time might possibly use a gun to cut a senseless gun massacre short, although that has not happened so far.

That's the logic, if you can call it that. Keep gun laws loose, no matter how many lunatics use them for mass murder, so that private citizens with guns can continue to not stop those mass murders. It's hard to imagine a worse plan than that.

cross-posted from Dagblog


Texas TopCat said...

There are obviously two things that this article that mis-lead readers. 1) Most of the mass murders happen in No Gun Zones and "good guys" are prevented from having guns in these areas.
2) A lot of "mass killings" are stopped by good guys with guns before criminals kill enough to be called a mass killing.
2.5 million times every year someone with a gun stops a violent crime.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Feel free to run at a mass murderer with a weapon! I *dare* you to try it. No? You're not going to take that risk?

The only reason the murderer was tackled was because he was not trained. He did not know how to manage the effects of adrenaline and operate his weapons. It would have been much more difficult for an unarmed man to tackle the murderer. Attend some classes at The Firearms Academy of Seattle and you will learn all about why that student was incredibly lucky.

"Monday morning quarterbacking" such incidents with no knowledge or skill in tactics and fighting only makes you look stupid.

MrApple said...

"I can't think of a single mass shooter who has been stopped by a random civilian with a gun."
"Private citizens who happen to be carrying a gun do not stop mass shooters."

The author must be unaware of these 10 situations where a private citizen stopped a potential mass shooting (it isn't called a mass shooting until a group of people are shot) with a firearm.

And once again the issue of the illusion of safety offered by "Gun Free Zones" is completely ignored. Not to mention that at the security guard was forced to use pepper spray on the nut since he was by policy unarmed.

Unknown said...

Oh yeah I seem to remember hearing about that mass stabbing down in Santa Barbara...

BeGe123 said...

There's nothing wrong with pepper spray. In the right situation, it can work (and the right situation presented itself here). That's why police carry it.

But if you told a police officer that they don't need their sidearm or the long arm they keep in their car, because the pepper spray is all they need to stop an active shooter...well...I think we actually both know how that would go over.

Pepper spray can work, and is a good idea when you can have it.

A sidearm can work in even more situations, and is an even better idea when you can have it.

That simple.

I, for one, simply celebrate that it worked. That guy had a lotta bravery to go after a guy with a shotgun with pepper spray (it was not exactly a high percentage move). I'm happy it ended as soon as it did. Hardly means I'm going to leave my sidearm at home though. Pretty sure my officer friends aren't going to either.

Doctor Cleveland said...

Wow. Thanks to the new commenters. But honestly, you guys are only cementing the impression that you're from fantasyland. Let me try to go through some of your specific posts:

1. You say Gun-Free Zones are the problem. Two words: Fort Hood. And two more: Fort Hood.

2. You guys do know that i countries with gun restrictions, these things happen very rarely? Don't tell me about this incident or that incident. This doesn't happen multiple times every year in countries with gun control. Period.

3. The 2.5 million figure is something I've talked about here:

2.5 million people do not defend themselves from crime with a gun every year. A survey was taken where people were asked if they had defended themselves from a criminal with a gun, and based on their answers, the survey takers decided that there had been 2.5 million uses of a gun to stop crime, in a year when there had been barely more than a million crimes committed with a gun.

In that survey, the respondents also claimed to have wounded or killed more criminals in the relevant year than there were actual gunshot cases of any kind in the country. Those numbers don't tell us about actual gun use. They tell us about some gun owners' fantasy lives.

And, no offense, the fantasy lives of those who are willing to believe such ridiculously improbable numbers. I mean, seriously. Use some common sense.

4. Anyone who thinks I'm urging people to run at a shooter should read the original post I linked to in this post. I won't repeat myself here.

But since I wrote that post in 2012, it wasn't inspired by the Seattle Pacific case. More than one mass shooter has been disarmed when he had to reload, most prominently the shooter who wounded Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

5. On the other hand, calling Jon Weis stupid IS Monday-Morning quarterbacking. Also, an ignoramus.

Would Weis have been smarter to let that shooter reload? Please.

6. Anyone who thinks I'm proposing disarming the cops didn't read THIS post.

7. The fantasy that armed civilians are keeping the rest of us safe from crime is a fantasy.

The worst thing that has happened to the gun-rights movement in America is that it has been co-opted by amateurs and fantasists. And all the talking points you guys are rehashing here doesn't do much to reassure me about your grip on reality.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy travels.

The Big Man said...

What the real pro-gun narrative - the one beneath the convoluted logic of No Gun Zones and "good guys" - appears to be is this: we must have guns so that white people can protect themselves from black people. And, of course, laws that allow them said protection with impunity.