Uncomfortable Truth for Our People

Tam is also right, and much like NDT, I’m not sure a lot of people will want to hear it:

Most people don’t get carry permits, and even those who do mostly don’t carry their guns. The odds of a mass shooting are already like a lightning bolt or meteor strike. The odds of a mass shooting happening within 25 yards of a truly skilled shooter with a USPSA GM ticket or FAST coin* are “meteor strike in your back yard that goes through the hoop of the basketball goal in your driveway and gets nothing but net” rare.

I’m not a USPSA GM and I don’t have a FAST coin. But I’m better than your average shooter. And to be honest, if I’m near a mass shooting in progress, and I can find an exit from the situation that doesn’t involve return fire, I’m taking it. If I a shot presented itself, I’d take it. But I’m not going to go looking for it. I’ll let the guys with body armor handle that.

If you ask me, politicians don’t have the answer for this phenomena, and anything they try will just do more damage. A mass public shooting is lightning strike in terms of probability. It’s a symptom of an increasingly disconnected society and marginalizes and isolates a lot of young boys. I think the causes are multiple. But ultimately, I think it boils down to a destruction of community, family, and connectedness, and social media is only making the problem worse.

24 thoughts on “Uncomfortable Truth for Our People”

  1. The problem is you don’t need “just one person with a gun” you need a decent % of the adults there armed so that some of the people who have no means of escape will have a means to resist.

    I’m not a tactical guy, but I can hit a target well. And like all humans I’m capable of defending myself when I have to. But I’m not running towards AK fire in a Walmart. There’s no cover there, the bullets will go through several rows of shelves generally unhindered, and for my little pop-gun pocket pistol to be effective I’ve got to be close.

    And what if there are people behind him? Can’t imagine how I’d feel if I tried something, missed the shooter, but then afterwards the coroner found my bullets in a victim I hadn’t even noticed standing behind him. I’d feel devastated, another innocent would be dead, I’d most likely lose every penny I had in lawsuits, and I’d quite possibly go to jail.

    I don’t always carry my firearm by any means. but after one of these incidents I try to get more serious about it as they seem to come in groupings.

    1. I have heard a good suggestion (from “Gun Talk Radio”) that when you are going to shoot an active murderer, you should kneel, so that you are shooting up at an angle, and are less likely to hit innocent people.

      Having said that, I have never received any training for how to respond to an active murderer situation; I’m not even sure how widespread such training is!

      I’d also add that theoretically, if you act it self defense reasonably and hit a bystander, it is the attacker, and not you, who is liable, but like all acts of self defense, you’re always rolling the dice — and you might be unlucky to have a prosecutor who doesn’t see things the way you saw them, maybe even ignoring the law to do so. It’s nice to win in court, except when you now have to figure out how to pay those big fat lawyer bills…

  2. I would only add that I am better than average, and even with body armor I would only assault a guy wielding a rifle (vs my pistol) if I had a lot of numbers (other people) to back me up. Superior firepower, superior numbers, or I am headed for the exit. This is one time when open carry might be a tactical advantage: 1- as a deterrent and 2- to easily identify other good guys who I might band with to assault the shooter.

    1. “Superior firepower, superior numbers, or I am headed for the exit.”

      This is a typical police officer mindset, and the better of the probably more common one that was exhibited by the FL cops at that school. Even lots of non-cops seem to think it is the only way to do business. Perhaps it originates with the military? Share the risk, and maybe we can overwhelm the enemy in the process. Group-think.

      If you don’t have confidence you can hit a target at a useful distance with your carry gun, it also makes sense.

      There is also the problem that some people have difficulty with the idea of deliberately killing humans, even when it makes sense morally. Much easier to be a member of a group that are all blazing away at the Bad Guy, so you don’t have to own it yourself.

      Lots of variables involved in making the decision to actively counter a mass killer. The situation needs to be personally examined in detail BEFORE you encounter this in real life.

      Some shooters I’ve talked to have stated that they could only pull the trigger if their target was actively attempting to kill them. The gunfight mentality. This is a problem, as the better way to engage them is to essentially snipe at them with your handgun.

      If I’m armed, I could not ignore the problem. I’m going hunting. I’ve seen a t-shirt that covers how I’ve been programmed. It reads: “I run toward the sound of guns”

      1. Statistically: There is about an 80% chance someone survives a handgun shot, about a 20% chance a rifle. Plus you have to actually hit a moving target, possibly wearing body armor, which means a 3 inch (moving) circle. Skill-wise, confronting an active shooter is way beyond hitting a stationary A-zone at 25 yards (which most people cant do to begin with). I have seen a lot of well-skilled people miss the 3-inch paddle on the steel hostage target from 15 yards, and the target was not even moving.

        The reason you need numbers on your side is simple probability – its going to take a *lot* of attempts to get a hit. Watch the video from Dayton, you will see the cops reload. Alone, you might empty an entire mag without hitting the target, by which time you are dead because they only have to turn and hit you once.

        I have no problem killing an animal killing other people, but running at an active shooter alone with a handgun is suicide, unlikely to stop the threat, so it does not one any good. You will save more people getting them away from the threat.

        1. dwb:

          Unfortunately for the public, the average police officer ranks about dead last in shooting ability. Especially since the city depts, back in the 90’s, started screening out applicants that were members of the gun culture, for political reasons. For most cops, their gun is just another implement hanging from their belt, and lots of them would just as soon not carry it. They never practice on their own dime or time. “If I’m not being paid to do it, it’s not happening”.

          The last data I saw was that the hit percentage for officers was 18% nationally. That was from ALL shots outside of a training range. The nation’s best is the CHP, at 25%. They are required to hit the range once per month, and the reluctance exhibited on the radio when dispatch would remind them of this was notable.

          So, I don’t use the police as a benchmark when deciding what is possible or feasible. Frankly, I consider arriving officers to be at least as big a threat as any of the BGs that might be encountered in these situations.

  3. It is incumbent upon us to restore family, community, and connectedness. Quite honestly, I can’t think of much better ways than grilling some burgers and pork chops then go to the range with some .22 and 5.56. We have the means to reach out to people and connect them with our culture, and to restore culture at large. We can squash the anti gun stigma and ideology in the same moment. As you point out, the odds of these rare events and needing the preparation for them are miniscule, but alleviating the societal condition which is producing dysfunction and the anti gun culture at the same time is a 100% probable concern we need to solve NOW.

      1. except that most culture is online these days, along with the people most in need of connection. See also Tinder, and a whole lot of other dating apps I am not familiar with. I am happily married not in the dating scene, but I am told even that can happen entirely online through facetime these days. And then there is ESports, which is a substitute for (in my day real sports.

        To get people offline, you first have to find them online. All I tell people is that action shooting is a whole lot more fun in real life than in a video game. And its does not take a whole lot of athleticism, a 65 year old guy I know can regularly kick butt vs some 30 yr olds. It does take practice and concentration.

        1. We’re actually pretty good for cultural presence online. The biggest task is linking the non-gun people to us, breaking the apparent segregation which has existed as elsewhere.

          1. “We’re actually pretty good for cultural presence online.”

            This is about the only place I participate but my observation is that when I do cruise other gun/shooter sites, it doesn’t take long to find people making statements that I’m sure they believe “everybody will agree with” but I know that many outside the “culture” would find somewhere between provocative and offensive. So, I question the concept of “cultural presence.” Too many people seem to have a tin ear, in terms of what they’ll say, and other people will hear.

            At this point I’ll again play the Old Guy Card, and say I don’t remember anything like that in the past. When I was a kid you couldn’t predict whether an adult would like Stevenson or Eisenhower, based on whether they were hanging out at the range,

  4. “But I’m not going to go looking for it. I’ll let the guys with body armor handle that.”

    Yep, I’m not going looking for the scrutiny, legal, media and otherwise, that going after the shooter represents. Not in our legal environment. I’ll let the guys in uniform dripping with qualified immunity handle that…

  5. I understand the response to flee. But for me, if I’m involved in a mass shooting I’m going looking for them. I believe it’s my duty as a carrier of a weapon to defend innocent life. Even at the expense of my own. Even in the face of superior firepower. The more they are dodging bullets and shooting at me the less they are shooting at innocents and they more time they can flee. I could not live with myself if I just ran and didn’t try to help.

  6. A big whopping proportion of active shooters are people with significant mental illness or extremist ideological motives, IOW nuts or terrorists.

    Nuts and terrorists are not stopped by any kind of gun-control laws. Fire, cars, airplanes and who knows what else are perfectly suitable and probably more deadly substitutes for firearms for use as tools of mass murder.

  7. To add to Tam’s points–which are fantastic–if I have the ability to run away from such a confrontation, and do so without firing a single shot, I probably just saved myself something like $100,000 in lawyer bills. And that’s one of the better case scenarios. Shoot the wrong person(s) in the process and the dollars and prison time compound exponentially.

  8. The chance of you specifically being in the right place at the right time and armed, to confront an active shooter is freakishly low. Yes indeed.

    But lets look at those numbers again.

    Active shooters typically pick soft targets and keep going until confronted by armed opposition. And when confronted a very high proportion of the time active shooters either surrender or kill themselves. Not always, but very often. The death toll of an active shooter typically is inversely proportional to the reaction time of armed opposition.

    So is the increase in the numbers of armed citizens really so insignificant to the problem? How do the numbers of armed citizens compare to the total numbers of police in our nation? And more critically, how might the distribution of armed citizens possibly alter the arithmetic of reaction time to an active shooter?

    I’m not suggesting that you should engage an active shooter if presented the opportunity. But it is a question worth thinking deeply about.

    1. If presented the opportunity, I’ll take it. But if I can exit the situation safely, I’m not going to go looking for opportunity.

    1. Target fixation and tunnel vision. One must ALWAYS assume the Bad Guy has a backup, and safest to figure that there are multiple BG’s that haven’t shown up yet, but are just waiting in the wings.

      For actual video coverage of this sort of problem, peruse the U-tube site of ASP. Lots of action shown from all over the world. Human dynamics don’t change, though some of the details may be more specific to various nations. John’s video library is a very comprehensive school on how violence happens in real life.

  9. We are like the generals who are always fighting the last war. The handwriting is on the wall and it’s our duty to read it.

    The handwriting I’m referring to includes: Beslan (Russia) school attack 2004; U-TX-Austin Tower attack 1966; and, Mandalay Bay attack 2017 as just three examples Why couldn’t these tactical situations present themselves – massively – in America?

    There are large numbers of people who don’t much like America and have political/commercial ambitions. As a very open society with modest police presence, we are very vulnerable to coordinated and massive attacks such as have occurred elsewhere. Our borders are easily penetrated.

    We ought to stop concentrating our thinking on lone mass killers with mental health problems. It’s perfectly clear that this source of risk is statistically unlikely to occur and highly unlikely to grow massively.

    We ought, instead, to learn – more broadly – where our vulnerabilities to a mass attack might be. What if, just for example: trans-national drug cartels chose to attack us? Members of some religious group with designs on global domination chose to attack us? Some foreign country run by mentally unstable leaders sought to hire a band of assassins from some unrelated country to attack us in a manner that would be difficult to trace back to them?

    How could we respond? Our army is dispersed around the world. Our police force is too small, even with the aid of National Guardsmen. We have to dispatch armed defenders to every venue with large concentrated populations (schools, malls, theaters, sporting venues) and we would need to do so within minutes of sounding the alarm.

    What would be called for to mount such a response is a force of “minute-men” as from the Revolutionary era. Men, and women, who carry handguns with rifles in their trunks and homes. Defenders who are already on-scene in many cases and who would be able to dispatch to sensitive venues (schools, hospitals) when notified of an emergency.

    The huge difficulty with such a scenario is our unwillingness to envision our vulnerability. (We couldn’t imagine that Japan would launch a naval-air attack on Pearl Harbor). And so, we won’t prepare because we can’t bring ourselves to think about it. That makes us all the more vulnerable. Conversely, should we think about it and prepare, it is much less likely to be attempted. And thus, we make ourselves vulnerable to being accused of being “crazy Preppers” who imagine that the electrical grid might fail for 6 – 18 months.

    Our founding generation was not so naive. They had – within lifetime memories – experiences with attacks by hostile tribes and pirates, to say nothing of British troops. We have only news reports from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Paris, Mexico and the like. It can’t happen here; or so we assure ourselves.

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