Good Guys With Guns

May 14, 2018

I’m trying to think of a moment in my life when I saw a gun and thought to myself  “Oh Good. I feel safe now.” And ..nope I got nothing. Not once. Not one time has that gone through my head when I’ve seen a gun. Even on an armed guard. Some thoughts that do go through my head:
“Holy shit.”

“Fuck. A gun.”

“Holy shit, a fucking gun.”

“What if they shoot at a perp and miss?”

“What if I make a wrong move?” That’s a big one. I think “What if I make a wrong move?” I’m white and I think that. I can’t imagine what must be going through the head of someone with considerably more melatonin. Either way, I become overly conscious of how I take out my cell phone or wallet. Granted I didn’t grow up around them. Someone who did, might feel different about that. Which, hey, that’s fine. I don’t necessarily take issue with that. What I do take issue with is the toxic piece of propaganda that says:

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with gun.”

This chestnut of “logic” does more harm than good a lot of the time. For example, according to The Star-Telegram  in February 2018 a man held up a church in Amarillo, Texas. A man (who happened to be an ex-con) disarmed him, the cops showed up and shot him twice. He lived but this picks apart the slogan twice. One, the good guy didn’t have a gun, and still stopped the bad guy with the gun. Second, when the police arrive, they don’t know who the good guy is and who the bad guy is. In this case they just knew he was a guy with a gun. Similarly when an officer was shot during a protest in Dallas in July 2016? There was an open carry demonstration going on. No good Samaritans stepped up there. Just confusion. They guy was able to hide in plain sight among all the other people carrying guns. Not only that, they brought in the wrong guy. All the cops know is they’re looking for a guy with a gun. Oh, and they went after the wrong guy at first.

Houston September 2015, there was a good guy with a gun who tried to stop a carjacking, and shot the victim in the head, then fled the scene. In North Vegas September 2017 a guy tried to stop a convenience store robbery and got shot 5 times. Similar stories coming out of Akron and San Antonio all within a couple month span of 2017, and that’s the first page of a Google search. Or how about that cop that got shot during a protest in Dallas in 2016? There was an open carry demonstration going on. No good Samaritans stepped up there. Just confusion. They guy was able to hide in plain sight among all the other people carrying guns. Not only that, they brought in the wrong guy. All the cops know is they’re looking for a guy with a gun.

Another thing to consider is just because people are carrying and took the conceal carry class, and can hit targets doesn’t mean they have proper situational training. Even when they supposedly do it can get dicey. Like the cop who pulled a gun on a man because he pocketed some Mentos after paying for them, because he thought the man was shoplifting. It’s a question of trust. Speaking for myself I don’t want some random person standing up during an armed bank robbery and taking shots at the perps. I don’t know their skill level, might might hit me like that dipshit in Houston who shot the carjacking victim. Or they’re going to escalate the situation and they’ll shoot hostages. Right after they the hero. Taking on a mass shooter, is basically counter terrorism. A few hours at the range doesn’t prepare anyone for that. It’s a fantasy.  People want to think they’re John McClaine. But he’s a cop. And he’s fictional. I like Die Hard as much as the next guy but I don’t consider it a realistic scenario. Much less a basis for policy.

Let’s say you do save the day. A guy comes into a theater, starts shooting. You pull out your piece. Put two in his chest. Uh oh. Body armor. He’s phased, but not down. Mini shootout, someone calls the cops, they’re just told active shooter or shooters. You get the guy. Between the eyes. Cops kick in the door, they just see bodies and you holding a recently fired gun. It’s basically what happened to the guy who disarmed the would be shooter in Amarillo. He got lucky and lived. How do you think the rest of that will play out, huh? They shot Philando Castile. He was licensed to conceal carry. He told the cop that pulled him over that although he had a gun he was licensed to carry as he was reaching for his ID, not his gun. Did Officer Yanez wait to assess the situation before shooting the man to death with his girlfriend and a kid in the car? No. He didn’t. And that was just a traffic stop. How are you gonna fair if found holding a gun while they’re responding to an active shooter situation?

Of course, there are situations in which everything seemed to fall into place, and a good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun. I’m not saying it’s never happened. But the operative word in the slogan in question is “only.” Amarillo showed that wasn’t true. The Waffle House shooting showed that wasn’t true. There, he disarmed the man without having a gun of his own. 

We should be trying to fix the root of some of these issues/ This is especially true of mass shootings. People keep saying, “It’s a mental health thing. It’s a mental health thing.” The school should have noticed or done something about it. The problem is this argument often comes from the same politicians who cut funding for mental health services, and the people who voted for them. So if they really think the issue is mental health they should stop cutting funding those services and for schools. Chicago Public Schools are woefully underfunded they don’t have enough people to provide those services. Again, if you think that’s actually the problem, and aren’t just using it as a chickenshit deflection to take the focus off of reasonable gun laws, put your money where your mouth is and fund those programs. If you want to have a gun, fine. But to make a statement about mental health and not follow up on it is disingenuous at best. To use a major problem facing this country purely as a means of misdirection is flat out despicable.

If you think the answer is to arm teachers and licensed school staff. Mr. Castile worked at a school. He was licensed, and killed during a traffic stop. I can’t imagine things would have played out much better for him if there was an actual active shooter and bodies. It also brings up the question of who will train them? The local police? Recent events would suggest there’s some shortcomings in the training they receive. Arm school staff? I am school staff. I didn’t sign up for that.  If I wanted to be underpaid to carry a gun I’d have been a cop. There was an armed officer at Parkland, and he hid too.