That’s your choice. That’s it. When a maniac shows up with a gun, you do not get to choose a happy ending, where everyone walks away unscathed. You are going to have a bad day, regardless, and the choice you are faced with is between “bad” and “worse.”
Earlier today, a would-be killer showed up at a baseball practice, where GOP Congressmen, Senators, and staffers were preparing for an annual charity game. Opening fire on the players, the attacker was apparently taken under fire almost immediately by an armed protective detail assigned to Rep. Steve Scalise, and by responding police officers. The gunman was hit and fatally wounded, while all of his victims are expected to survive.
Later the same day, a disgruntled former employee entered a UPS processing facility in San Francisco, and shot multiple people, killing three (as of this writing). Understand that San Francisco is, for all practical purposes, a gun free zone. Since local sheriffs in California have pretty wide latitude as to whether or not a concealed carry permit is granted, and that UPS officially prohibits “unauthorized possession and/or use of weapons by any employee or UPS representative while at work,” it is pretty safe to assume that no one in that facility was armed.
Which would you choose? There’s the ballgame…where armed guards stopped the attack, but not before innocent people were hurt. Then there’s the “gun free zone,” where victims waited for police to respond…and died.
When the topic of eliminating “gun free zones,” comes up…whether in places of business, schools, or wherever…a common objection is that armed citizens will “only make it worse,” by loosing inaccurate and indiscriminate fire in all directions. First of all, there is to date no example of any such thing happening, ever. It is mostly just a hobgoblin raised by people who don’t understand the reality of mass killings and killers, and those who stop them…except for those who do understand, but are simply lying to you.
So what is the reality? The simple truth is that if a psychopath bent on mass murder shows up at your workplace, or school, or church, or ballgame…it is going to be a bad day. There is no realistic scenario where this sort of situation is resolved without blood. There is no realistic solution which ends with no one hurt. From history we know that how many are hurt depends almost entirely on how long it takes for someone to confront the killer with the force necessary to make them stop. The longer it takes, the more blood will be spilled.
So we don’t know…we can’t know…how many lives might be saved if people are allowed to defend themselves with guns, and we know there is no perfect solution. As evidenced by today’s attack in Virginia, even with an outstanding response, people may still be hurt. But one thing we do know for sure is what happens when a mass killer is allowed time to murder unopposed. We’ve seen it time and time again, as all but two mass public shootings since 1950 have taken place in so-called “gun free zones.” (Today’s attack in Virginia might make it three.) As an eyewitness to the Virginia attack, Senator Rand Paul put it:
No weapons and no place to hide? So much for the mantra of “run, hide, fight.” When the only choice is between a shootout and a massacre, I know which one I’d choose.
~ David Cole
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