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More Debate on Gun Free Zones

From our favorite Brady Board Member:

If you spent any time with Colin Goddard and heard him describe the scene at VT, you would know that his having a gun would not have made a difference. In fact, he has said that if he had had a gun that day, he probably would have been shot to death by Cho.

This is the scene as described by Colin Goddard at the time of the Virginia Tech mass shooting:

Goddard’s ordeal began during French class, when he and fellow students first heard gunfire coming from a hallway, his mother said.

Professor Jocelyne Couture-Nowak told her students to dial 911, just seconds before Cho entered the room and sprayed bullets, wounding Colin in the leg. Cho “went first through one row of desks and started shooting just randomly,” Ann Goddard said.

Cho then left the classroom, she said, and returned minutes later.

Colin lay on the classroom floor, playing dead. He “turned his head and actually saw the shooter’s shoes come right up next to his body,” Ann Goddard said. “The shooter was standing right next to him.”

Her son was “absolutely scared to death,” she said. “He kept his wits about him, but he was scared to death.”

If you had time to hear the gunshots, you had the time to draw a gun had you had one. Probably even time to find or create reasonable cover. A reasonably trained shooter can go from leather to well placed shot in under 2 seconds. You had the advantage of knowing where the shooter was going to appear from and that he was coming. It’s certainly not a guarantee you won’t get shot. Gunfights aren’t exactly safe, even if your opponent is a lousy shot. The key to winning a gun fight is to be mentally prepared to win, and to keep landing well placed shots on your attacker until he’s down. I’d be curious to know what Colin thinks the fundamental tactical difficulty would have been in taking Cho down had he had a firearm that day, other than his emotional state, which can’t be discounted.

Goddard was frightened into inaction, by his own account. I don’t mean that as any kind of admonition; the same thing happens even to trained soldiers and police officers. No one can predict what their reaction is going to be when bullets start flying, and I won’t blame anyone for being petrified by fear in a situation like that. Since I’ve never been in a situation where someone is shooting at me, I have no idea whether I’d react any better. Dan McKown certainly wasn’t exempt in a similar situation, even though he was carrying a firearm.

But just because being frozen by fear was one person’s reaction doesn’t mean it will be everyone’s. Many of the young adults involved in the campus carry movement are people who are not unfamiliar with being shot at, since a lot of them are veterans completing their education after serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m skeptical that enough college students are going to carry firearms to make any significant difference in a potential mass shooting situation, but the odds at least won’t be zero. I don’t see any reason why someone who is licensed to carry everywhere else shouldn’t be able to carry onto campus. In short, I just don’t see any reason not to allow it.

11 Responses to “More Debate on Gun Free Zones”

  1. Patrick says:

    “I’m skeptical that enough college students are going to carry firearms to make any significant difference in a potential mass shooting situation, but the odds at least won’t be zero.”

    Not to mention that these nutjobs won’t know who is carrying and will start moving to other “Criminal Safe Zones”. And then we can get the laws changed for THOSE CSZ’s as well until there are none and the world will be a safer place. At some point, criminals will have to assume that every encounter may just be their last. I like it!

  2. I stayed in that thread far longer than I should have. Trying to talk to her gives me a headache. I swear I literally cannot comprehend the words she is stringing together sometimes.

    There is no converting the hard core zealots like Joan and Colin. They are unable or unwilling to reason. They are unable or unwilling to compromise. All you can do to them is isolate them, discredit them, and push them to the margin of the debate as much as possible.

    Also, if you extend her views to their logical conclusions, I find them hateful and bigoted. That may not be intentional on her part, but it is how I interpret it.

  3. Camarath says:

    I have been seeing this contention that collage students 18-21 are as a group too irresponsible to carry guns from many of the opponents of carrying on collage campuses and it is very disturbing to me. Their argument boils down to a justification of restricting the rights and freedoms of a group based on a perceived inferiority of that group. I would be surprised and terrified if they found this acceptable for any other group and any other right.

  4. The best comment that I ever heard on “gun free zones” came from Massad Ayoob:

    “So-called gun-free zones are nothing but hunting preserves for psychopaths that hunt humans.”

    I think that about sums it up.

  5. Dannytheman says:

    Look this is a crazy man talking. This is like Ben Rothlinsberger coming out against no helmets for motorcycle riders after the he crashes.
    I don’t know how many people on campus would have a gun, but that’s the point. No one would know, but I truly think the perpetrator would have to think about that before attempting to slay supposed defenseless victims.It changes the complexion of the issue. It also changes it to my advantage.

  6. Carl from Chicago says:

    What galls me … Goddard seems to assume that because he was (and is) a helpless victim, everyone else is too.

    That he was scared and unable to do anything is, well, understandable. I think that it’s a fairly common reaction and I can’t fault him (too much) for that. But action under pressure is also another common reaction in those scenarios, and I criticize Goddard for dismissing the existence of the latter. I disagree with his thinking at a fundamental level.

    At any rate, when people like Goddard react to danger by cowering, I say “that’s unfortunate, but I understand.” When people react to danger by taking charge of the situation to eliminate the danger, I say “that’s great, I commend you.”

    What’s interesting (and pleasing, to me) is that the tide is strongly turning against arguments like the ones Goddard and Helmke make.

  7. hecate says:

    The larger issue here is that no-gun-zones appear to also be no-resistance-of-any-kind-zones. Jack Rumbaugh ran training scenarios at Warrior’s Forge after VT, some of which had the “students” unarmed when the Airsoft-armed “spree-killer” entered the room. The scenarios had to be stopped when the trainer playing the bad guy was in danger of real injury from the “students” using only improvised weapons.

    Had the people in even one classroom thought to throw books, distract and destroy, do ANYTHING except cower in total submission, how different might the outcome have been?

    Mindset comes first.

  8. Heather from AK says:

    “Mindset comes first.”

    I agree. I work in a school, and I’ve already planned out my response if there ever is an active shooter situation. It doesn’t involve just corralling my kids into one big target and praying, either.

  9. Jake says:

    If you spent any time with Colin Goddard and heard him describe the scene at VT, you would know that his having a gun would not have made a difference. In fact, he has said that if he had had a gun that day, he probably would have been shot to death by Cho.

    This statement may be entirely, 100% true. What she completely ignores is the fact that those particular circumstances did not apply to everyone that day. Goddard may or may not have had enough warning to protect himself, but others certainly did.

    In fact, there were at least two classrooms where they had sufficient warning to barricade the door and at least delay his entry. Prof. Liviu Librescu managed to keep him out – at the cost of his own life – until most of his students were able to escape. How much differently would the situation in any of those classrooms have played out had just one of those students been armed?

    In the face of these facts and the sacrifices of Prof. Librescu, Instructor Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, and student Henry Lee, the fact that anyone can claim there wasn’t enough warning for a CHP holder to defend themselves and those with him or her just make me angry and sick.

  10. Hank Archer says:

    You’ve got to feel really sorry for Dan McKown. He did the right things but was a victim of bad timing. It’s too bad he beats himself up over it.

  11. “I have been seeing this contention that collage students 18-21 are as a group too irresponsible to carry guns from many of the opponents of carrying on collage campuses and it is very disturbing to me.”

    I agree with your comment…

    I would love to introduce MikeB or Joan to some 18-21 year old servicemembers that have been to Afghanistan or Iraq and are now back in the states pursuing their studies. It is somewhat common for reservists or guardsmen to do a deployment overseas in the middle of a traditional BA degree so they might be in college and be that young. Folks in their young to mid 20s who did their one 4-6 year enlistment then are going to school on the GI bill are even more common.

    Of course, the anti-gun people argue that young soldiers overseas have tight supervision and constant control. I think they don’t understand the nature of modern war, the “strategic private” concept, and the high degree of tactical autonomy we give to jr enlisted personnel.

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