The mindless willingness of many people to be a victim and to rely on someone else to protect them. You can probably see where this is going.
Like everyone, I'm horrified by what happened at Virginia Tech. But I'm completely perplexed at the mindlessness displayed by the media and public regarding what should happen in such situations. Put yourself into the situation. You're in French class and suddenly you hear gun shots.
Quick. What do you do?
The only door in the room starts to open and the first thing you see is the muzzle of a gun blocking your only escape route.
WHAT DO YOU DO? YOU ARE ABOUT TO DIE!
Please think about it for a moment before continuing. Seriously. If you don't mind I'd like you to comment on this post about what you would do if this happened to you this very day.
My guess is that you'd do what many of the victims did, try to hide or play dead or beg for your life. The only problem is that you are facing a sociopath who hates you and is enjoying the rush and ultimate power of taking life. The only thing that will stop him is running out of bullets or someone physically stopping him.
At this point will you take any consolation in the fact that this is an exceptionally rare event? Probabilities are meaningless for the victims because the improbable is suddenly certain.
Will you dial 911? Will the police be able to respond in time? Not in this case. Even if they were already in the building they will not be able to arrive before many people are dead. Furthermore, they have no legal obligation to even respond to the scene. That's not theoretical; it has actually happened that victims have called 911 and then been victimized without the police ever responding to the 911 call. Even worse, in some instances the police have responded to situations like this and then waited outside the building for SWAT and hostage negotiators to arrive and formulate a plan while the gun man went office to office executing defenseless victims.
I'll be curious to hear your responses.
Here's what mine would be if it weren't illegal.
I'd move behind available cover (desk, table, podium, or whatever is available) and try to get as far away from the door as possible while drawing my pistol and targeting the door. As the gunman entered I'd shout for him to stop and drop the gun. If he started to shoot I'd fire my gun until the threat was neutralized.
I'm curious to know what your response to my action plan is. On a web site today someone asked how many people would have been murdered if someone had been legally carrying a concealed handgun. The predictable response was that there'd have been many more victims since everyone would have started shooting everyone else who had a gun. Do you agree?
Let me point out a few things about getting a concealed handgun license. I had to take a class that lasted over 12 hours that explained the laws pertaining to the use of force and the use of deadly force as well as non-violent conflict resolution. The class instructor has the authority to not sign my training certificate if he judges that I shouldn't carry and has done so for some students in the past. I had to have an extensive criminal background check that went back 10 years. I had to demonstrate proficiency in shooting my gun to prove that I could hit what I was shooting at. I had to be fingerprinted and photographed. I had to pay for the training, the fees, I had to purchase a reliable, accurate gun and also the means to securely carry it concealed. I've continued to train and practice and am comfortable that I can safely handle the gun and hit what I'm aiming at. I carry everywhere that I legally can.
Why? For the same reason I always wear my seatbelt. I'm not paranoid. I think that it's highly unlikely that I'll ever have to even draw my weapon for self defense, much less fire it. But, when victimized by a merciless criminal I'm not going to be a helpless victim. He may get me. But I'll at least have a chance to fight back. I've tried to take reasonable measures to be able to protect myself and my family from dangerous criminals.
When I heard about 9/11, it was very apparent to me how defenseless we normally are unless we take action to protect ourselves. The soldiers in the airport were a silly reaction. All a terrorist would need to do would be to go to a mall or grocery store or any other public place with a large number of people. Even more shocking would be a school or athletic event. We can't afford to have police everywhere so the only reasonable alternative is to have armed citizens ready and able to defend themselves. Realizing this fact I decided to get my CHL and carry.
But, unlike the clueless I get no comfort from the fact that it's illegal for me to carry in schools or churches or hospitals. As this week's and many other events have shown, all this has done is create a target rich environment full of defenseless victims who have been prohibited the most effective means of defending themselves.
What would have been the outcome if a few people like me had been in those classrooms this week?
Given the current laws it would have been the same because I respect the law and wouldn't have been able to put my action plan in place to defend myself and my peers because the laws prohibit CHL holders from carrying on school campuses.
If we had sensible laws then it is quite possible that the loss of life would have been minimized just as has happened in several poorly publicized school shootings that were stopped by armed citizens.
I realize that some people will be horrified by what I wrote above. But I'm equally perplexed at the kind of person who seems incapable of taking responsibility for the preservation of their own life. They think that that's civilized?