I really need to stay away from reading the comments — particularly Facebook comments — on articles and posting on things about which I know a bit.
Whether it’s the flat earthers that infest the NASA Facebook comments, to suburban housewives who think silencers completely eliminate the sound of gunfire, I can only deal with so much BS in the day.
What takes the cake, though, are those that are saying that the shooting in DC will (or should) somehow be a “Come to Jesus” moment for Congress so it will pass some gun control bills which will make everyone safer. Somehow. For reasons.
On what world would they think that would be the outcome? You have legislators (one of whom had his 10-year-old son at the field), staffers, and others who were the victims of a violent madman. Had it not been for the immediate, decisive action of two armed “good guys”, they all might have helplessly perished in the time it took for the police to arrive…and you expect the lesson they learn from this event is that making more people defenseless against violent criminals will somehow make things better?
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. I can’t grok that at all. It’s by far the most ignorant thing I’ve read in a long time.
The correct answer is for people to take some goddamn responsibility for their own lives and safety. But that takes effort and thought of Unpleasant Things, so people won’t even consider it.
Sure, members of Congress will likely get some improved security, at least for a while, but us ordinary folks don’t have the luxury of having police or armed bodyguards to protect us. We need to be able to have the means to effectively protect ourselves wherever we are. Anything less — and especially attempts to curtail what little we have — is simply monstrous.
Today’s shooting of Congressional members, staff, police officers, and others in DC (as well as the workplace shooting at a UPS center in San Francisco) prompted me to come out of my frantically-writing-my-PhD-thesis self-imposed eremitism and point out a few observations:
- The bad guy starts with the initiative. They choose the time, place, and manner of their attack. Thus, they hold all the cards when the shit hits the fan.
- Immediate armed resistance is crucial to taking the initiative away from the bad guy. The Capitol Police officers on protective detail responded immediately and in a coordinated way, were able to suppress the shooter, draw his attention toward them (and away from unarmed, defenseless people), and hold his attention until they were able to neutralize the threat. (“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”)
- Being skilled in martial arts or having short-range weapons (e.g. baseball bats) are not bad things in and of themselves, but are essentially useless when the bad guy is armed and out of your immediate reach.
- Being unarmed in a gunfight means you lose. You may make it out alive, but that’s a matter of luck.
- There’s only two types of people guaranteed to be present at a crime: the perpetrator(s) and the victim(s). Even for an extremely high-priority emergency (bad guy shooting members of Congress in broad daylight, in a public place in the DC metro area), the police are still minutes away. You need to be able to provide for yourself as best you can until they show up and, even then, they need time to evaluate the situation and act.
- Cover and concealment are not always available. Still, be constantly aware of where cover and concealment are, and how you can get there from where you are if the need arises.
- Hits from a rifle are not always lethal or incapacitating. (I’m curious if the shooter used FMJ ammo. CNN says he had an SKS, but we’ll see if that’s actually the case in the fullness of time.)
- Although most shootings involve only a handful of shots, not all are so lucky. You don’t need to be Rambo, but having a spare mag or two won’t hurt.
- A gunfight is not likely to be a stand-up, bad-guy-at-7-meters, in-open-view, with-good-lighting type of affair. Train accordingly.
- You or others around you may be injured in the course of a gunfight. Train accordingly (e.g. off-hand shooting, shooting while immobilized, etc.) and ensure you’re equipped and trained to effectively provide first aid.
- Having good training and good coordination with others (e.g. a partner, family members, etc.) is crucial.
- Having a gun is not a magical talisman that will protect you from being shot.
- Gun-free zones aren’t. Every UPS facility I’ve visited requires visitors and employees to go through metal detectors and remove anything from their pockets whenever they enter or leave the facility. This didn’t stop the bad guy and didn’t help the victims.
- Gun control groups are ghouls.