[Update: During a disastrous post-Newtown press conference on Friday, exactly one week after the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the NRA’s CEO and Executive Vice President (and chief liar) Wayne LaPierre said: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” More on that presser now here, but the following article, published prior to the NRA debacle, goes a long way towards pre-bunking LaPierre’s main contention.]
Originally posted at Brad Blog
There have been a lot of absurd claims by the folks scammed by the NRA racket into believing that nothing can be done to decrease gun violence following last week’s horrific mass shooting in Newtown, CT.
(Our personal favorite was the one that failed the quickest: The claim that the stabbing of 20 schoolchildren in China on the very same day as the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre proves that putting responsible limitations on gun and high-capacity magazine ownership won’t help stop these types of tragedies. The reason that response failed so quickly? The wingnuts using it apparently failed to read the actual story to learn that none of the children were actually killed in that attack.)
The excuse for taking no action in the wake of Newtown that has had the longest shelf life to date seems to be the notion that if only someone in the school — or in the movie theater, or in the shopping mall, or in the Sikh temple, etc. — had been armed, the tragedy would have been averted.
BRAD BLOG commenter “JPack80” recently proffered the same silly notion:
If more law abiding responsible people had concealed carry permits and were able and willing to use their firearms when necessary, how many of you anti-gun nuts really believe he would have gotten off more than one or two shots in a school?
Setting aside his obvious strawman — folks like us are no more “anti-gun nuts” than the vast majority of NRA members (if not their con-man leadership) who agree we should have increased gun safety regulations — JPack80’s thin argument, and that of the millions of other wingnuts making the same weak case, is quickly debunked by a few fairly easy to understand points. (There are many more, but we’ll stick to two for the moment, since some folks making this case may have trouble counting higher than that.)
First, how many shots did the Fort Hood shooter get off when he opened fire — killing 13 and wounding 29 others — in the middle of a U.S. Army base, filled with people carrying loaded weapons and many more with easy access to them? (Answer: About 200 rounds, which also included shootouts with two armed officers, the first of which was hit three times before she went down. But, see update below for additional thoughts on this.)
It is also true that both Columbine and Virginia Tech had armed security officers on campus, as little good as that did anybody, during the mass shootings there. Let’s also not forget the trained New York City police who attempted to stop a gunman at the Empire State Building over the summer. They ended up shooting nine (9) innocent bystanders in the bargain.
And, during Friday’s ridiculous news conference by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, where he called for “a police officer in every single school” because “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” the Brady Campaign’s Sarah Brady, wife of Ronald Reagan’s press secretary James Brady, who was almost killed during the 1981 assassination attempt on the president, took to Twitter to respond to LaPierre’s point by noting: “Wayne, a gun in the hands of Secret Service didn’t stop Hinkley from wounding Pres. Reagan and 3 others including my husband.” Our coverage of that bizarre presser now here…]
But the more damning response to the foolish point that “more people with guns are the best way to stop mass shootings” is found in this 2009 ABC video showing how people with guns, and training, actually react when confronted by something like a sudden, surprise shooting. Watch the results of the experiment — using some folks with relatively little gun training as well as some who are trained marksmen — to see how well that whole “if only someone was armed during these shootings they could have stopped the shooter!” argument holds up…
So, what’s your next, dumb, non-solution for these problems, wingnuts?
UPDATE: Several commenters written to take issue with our description of the Fort Hood shootings having taken place “in the middle of a U.S. Army base, filled with people carrying loaded weapons and many more with easy access to them.”
They have noted that personnel on base, other than security officers, are not allowed to carry loaded weapons. Their point seems to be, apparently, that it would be easier for an elementary school principal to hear about a shooting on campus, run to her office (if she happened to be there that day), unlock her weapon, retrieve it, and respond to a mass shooting with at least as much speed and effectiveness as U.S. Army personnel were able to radio or call for military police to respond at the scene of the Fort Hood shootings where, by the way, the first armed officer to arrive was felled after being hit by the assailant three times. The second armed respondent, a trained member of the Dept. of Army Civilian Police, was finally able to take down the shooter and take him into custody.
We believe our original point still stands, and that a secured U.S. Army base is ultimately as capable of responding, if not more so, to such a shooting — or in the case of Fort Hood, not capable of responding to it quickly enough to prevent mass casualties — as an elementary school principal, or someone in a darkened, tear gas-filled, sold-out movie theater would be. But we’re happy to note that there are those who, apparently, see it differently somehow.
We’ve also updated the article above to cite the incidents where armed security officers similarly failed to prevent the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan, the mass shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech, and to note the nine innocent bystanders randomly shot by NYC police officers during their attempt to apprehend a gunman at the Empire State building in the summer of 2012.