Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Aurora Massacre: The Case For Armed Citizens

(And Why Gun Free Zones Don't Work)

This past week has certainly been one of tragedy.  My heartfelt prayers and thoughts certainly go out to the victims, the families and the people of my home town of Aurora, CO.  I was in high school when the Aurora Mall, where the theater is, was brand new. And the apartment of the alleged gunman is just down the street from where I went to junior high school.  The apartment evacuees were relocated to my old high school.  But what really is disappointing to me (not surprising, but disappointing), is that the gun control wonks are coming out of the woodwork to use the blood of these innocent victims as a means for forwarding their agenda.  So, since everyone else is “Monday morning quarterbacking” this massacre, I thought I would jump on the bandwagon as well. 

That theater was a “gun free zone.”  More massacres have been successfully carried out in gun free zones than at places where good people were allowed to carry their gun.  Virginia Tech, the 2008 Chicago Mall shooting, and Fort Hood, just to name a few, are stark examples of this point.  On the flip-side, just take a look at the New Life Church incident in Colorado Springs a few years ago.  The gunman was armed similarly to the Aurora shooter.  But an armed woman was present and took him down before he could cause more than only a few casualties.  I carry all the time for that very reason.

Without an armed person present, those people had ZERO chance.  With an armed person present, their chances sure as heck would have been greater than zero!

On a Facebook discussion thread there was a comment made that one armed person in that theater could not have stopped the gunman. That's a perfectly valid point.  While it may be true (that one armed person may not have stopped the gunman), one armed person would have distracted the gunman long enough to allow more people to escape, or for others to take action.   It doesn't take much to distract a gunman who is as narrowly focused as this guy was. He was focused on killing as many people as he could. What I am talking about here is the concept that I wrote about in a previous article of getting off of your "X" and putting the bad guy on his "X." The other concept alluded to here is what we in armed self-defense circles call “gaining the half-second advantage.”  If you can distract the bad guy for even half a second, you can at least do something to take swift action and change the outcome - hopefully to a good outcome.

Yes, he had body armor. But, as the media likes to spin things, they called it a "bullet proof vest."  There is no such thing.  Different levels of body armor can protect against certain levels of ballistic performance, but no body armor is completely bullet proof. And depending on what he had, it is quite possible that he only had a low level of ballistic protection.  This guy didn't seem to know a whole lot about guns, to be honest.  So it isn't a far leap to say that he probably knew even less about ballistic protection.  An armed person would have tried to at least penetrate the body armor, and if that didn’t work try for a more vulnerable area.  At that distance (within that theater - a movie theater is way less than 25 yards), a head shot with a handgun is not out of the question. A proficient person with a handgun could have stayed concealed just long enough to un-holster and get a well-aimed shot off, then move to become a huge distraction to the shooter and attempt to take him down.  Either way, if the gunman had someone shooting back at him, he wouldn’t have been trying to shoot the people who were trying to escape.  

This why I am an armed citizen

The bottom line here is that the gun control crowd has got to finally realize that gun-free zones DON’T work, and allowing citizens to practice their right of self-protection DOES work.  This has been proven time and again.  Most sheepdogs I know are well trained to keep moving, and find shots that have a low perceived penalty for a miss. The shooter's main threat at that point would be the moving sheepdog with the gun that is shooting at him, so he wouldn't dare turn his attention to anyone else. Many more people would then be able to escape.
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So what can you do to be more prepared?  Take some form of “Active Shooter Response” training.  Even if you don’t carry a gun, this type of training will give you a good foundation of things to think about to increase your chances of survival.  I took some of my training through the FEMA Independent Study Institute, and I refresh the training annually.  For those of you who do carry a concealed handgun, I also encourage you to keep up on your live-fire training and keep those skills sharp.  See my previous article about the need for continuous training to learn more ways to stay polished.

This was a horrible event.  But let’s not continue to enable future similar events with more criminal enabling “gun free zones” and this insane insistence on taking away people’s rights to self-defense.  If guns were banned, he would have found another way to cause harm.  As Charlton Heston once said:  

"Here's my credo. There are no good guns, There are no bad guns.  A gun in the hands of a bad man is a bad thing.  Any gun in the hands of a good man is no threat to anyone, except bad people."