It doesn’t matter what your lifestyle choices are, there are evil people out there who want you to die for them. Evil doesn’t care about laws. In this particular case we are talking about a subset of ideologically inspired killers so motivated that they weaponize pressure cookers and regularly carry out gun massacres in countries where regular citizens aren’t allowed to own guns.
I already addressed mass killings and all the various regularly proposed gun laws in 2012 after Sandy Hook. This ended up being one of the most widely read articles ever written on the subject. If you want to have an in depth look at these events and how all the regular gun control proposals work, read this first: http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/06/23/an-opinion-on-gun-control-repost/
And everything I want to say about the typical media/government response to these atrocities, I said after San Bernardino: http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/12/03/guns-and-vultures/
In the aftermath of Orlando, a friend began putting together a list of firearms instructors and regular gun folks who are willing to take anyone—and specifically anyone in the LGBT community—to the range and provide some basic instruction so that they can familiarize themselves with guns for self-defense. That list of instructors is here:
If you are an instructor and you would like to help, EDIT:
Dear everyone: please Please PLEASE contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org your name, city & state, your best method of contact (email, cell#, IM, webpage, etc) and any other salient info such as instructor certification or if you are a business.Thank you so much!
She will get you on the list.
That highlighted part above is the important bit of this post, and now I’m going to explain why I think what she is doing is a great idea.
When evil people attack, you can either be in a position to do something about it, or wait for somebody else to come and save you. Being armed and trained doesn’t guarantee your safety any more than wearing a seatbelt doesn’t mean you’ll live through a crash, or owning a fire extinguisher means your house won’t burn down, but it may help.
Please read that first link where I go into detail how mass shootings work and how they usually unfold. We see every time that the best way to end a mass shooting event is an immediate violent response. If that response comes from somebody already present, the body count is usually lower. If the response comes from the police, then there are usually more casualties simply due to the response time.
Carrying a gun isn’t for everybody. Those who decide to don’t need to be Navy SEALs, just speed bumps.
No one is naïve enough to think that merely having a regular person nearby with a gun is a perfect solution. This last event had a lone security guard present, but the attacker still got inside and killed people. Guards have a purpose. They keep the riff raff out, but when you are dealing with a motivated mass killer, a lone posted guard is just an obvious first target. This is where the concept of defense in depth comes into play.
Defense in depth is a military term. You don’t just arm your troops on the front line, because the enemy is going to try and go around where you are strongest, to get to the vulnerable areas behind them. So you also arm your support troops, so no matter where the enemy strikes, they meet resistance.
For us, it is awesome if the Feds nab a terror cell, or somebody tells the local cops about a psycho building a bomb and the cops arrest him before he can use it. But the government can’t stop everything. Evil will inevitably get through those lines and launch attacks. Then the next line of defenders is whichever unlucky bastard happened to be in the way.
Even then, nuts and bolts, once the attacker is past the guards a permit holder may or may not be in a position to help. Gun fights are chaotic. Every one unfolds differently. You can do everything right and still die. You can screw up, get lucky, and survive. However, guns are a tool that provides options you would not otherwise have. When regular people do fight back during one of these events, they become an obstacle and a complication for the killer. At minimum they are slowed down. At best, the threat is neutralized.
Orlando is yet another example that Gun Free Zones are vile, stupid ideas. The intent is to prevent people from getting hurt. The reality is the opposite. Your feelings on the matter don’t change the results. The vast majority of mass shootings have taken place in areas where regular citizens are not allowed to carry guns.
I’ve seen a lot of people over the last few days saying that the “random good guy with a gun” is a myth. That is foolish simply because we have plenty of examples where a mass shooter was derailed or stopped by the intervention of a random person who happened to be near. Just in my home state alone, which is relatively peaceful, with low crime, a low population, and above average police response time in our urban areas, I can think of several instances where a killer was interrupted or stopped entirely by somebody other than the responding officers.
Sometimes these were regular citizens with concealed weapons permits (KSL shooting, mass stabbing at Smiths) and others they were off duty police officers in regular clothing going about their daily lives who responded first (Trolley Square, Salt Lake Library hostage situation) or even a parole officer who just happened to be at a hospital (Cache) for unrelated reasons, and ended up saving lives.
The identity of the responder doesn’t matter, just that there is one as soon as possible. The important thing is how much time elapses between the beginning of the massacre and the violent response, because that is time the killer is allowed to work unimpeded. In some cases the attack was in a gun free zone and the responders had to leave, go to their vehicles, retrieve a weapon, and then return (Pearl Mississippi, and if I recall correctly the Appalachian School of Law).
Traditionally the gay community has trended overwhelmingly statistically liberal in their politics, with a correspondingly low number of gun owners. But being unarmed also makes you easier victims for evil people. This has to change.
I don’t care what your personal beliefs are, or what your lifestyle is, self-defense is a human right. Take advantage of it. Please.
If you are responsible, and you’ve got the proper mindset, check Erin’s map, go get familiarized with weapons, seek out training, and then get a gun. If you live someplace where it is legal, get a concealed weapons permit and get used to carrying it everywhere you can. People like me are happy to walk you through the process. That way when something bad happens, you might end up in a position to help.
I had some buffoon sanctimoniously lecturing me yesterday that I must want people to live in fear. Quite the contrary actually, I want them to go about living their lives in peace, with the tools to survive if something bad happens. I have health insurance and smoke alarms, but I don’t live my life in fear of disease or fire. With proper training and practice, you can conceal a handgun as easily as you carry your car keys or cell phone. Make it part of your routine.
Fear is normal, and we have it for a reason. The problem is irrational fear that causes you to make bad decisions. You are right to fear murderers, because they exist. That is perfectly rational. Disarming all their potential victims because you are afraid one of them might potentially do something harmful is irrational.
In reality mass killing events are a statistical anomaly. The odds of you being involved in one are minuscule. You are far more likely to be a victim of regular, good old fashioned, non-news-worthy, violent crime, and in those cases a gun is often a great tool. Despite the breathless media coverage to the contrary, violent crime is at the lowest it has been in decades. Pull out a handful of urban areas and statistically America is as violent as Canada. You can guess what the gun control laws are like in those few urban areas.
Bad things will continue to happen. No amount of symbolic—ultimately useless—laws will change that. Like I said above, when bad things happen you can either be in a position to do something, or not.
I have seen a lot of wishful thinking, virtue signaling, and bad ideas bandied about over the last few days. Everything from banning guns (see the first link for details there) to more background checks (this particular psychopath had a clean record, went through multiple background checks, and even got through FBI investigations without being indicted, and was licensed by the government to be one of the armed people supposedly protecting you).
I saw some really outlandish ideas bandied about, including some from another author friend of mine (who will remain unnamed) how his tool for self-defense was a cell phone, which is an ironic statement in the wake of a case where the killer called 911 beforehand. Or how in the future to prevent crime you can take the bad guy’s picture and store it, then nobody will do anything bad because they’ll get caught. Only banks have cameras, yet they still get robbed. And in the case of mass killers, most of them are searching for infamy and think they are making a statement, so they’ll probably smile for the camera, then wait for you to upload it to Instagram, before shooting you in the face.
The Do Something crowd annoys me, because their suggested Somethings are either symbolic incompetent placebos which only harass the law abiding (NFA, GCA, AWB) or have the opposite effect and actually make the problem worse (Gun Free Zones, the multitude of regional regulations disarming law abiding citizens).
But the worst of the Do Something idea is the one where you want to block people from purchasing guns because they are on a secret government watch list. This is a horrible idea.
First and foremost, I thought liberals were supposed to be opposed to secret government watch lists to deprive people of their rights, compiled by unaccountable government employees, with no way to face your accusers, no way to get off the list, and absolutely zero due process. Yeah, I’m sure the government would never abuse such a power. Second, the DHS and FBI guys I’m friends with don’t want to block the legal gun purchases of somebody they have under surveillance, because then all a terror cell needs to do to find out if they are under suspicion is to go try and legally buy a gun. Third, the people who are supposed to end up on this list are suspected terrorists. Often planning and preparing for months in advance, and you think not being able to buy a gun in a store is a challenge? And none of that stops the homegrown psycho with the crazy pet cause that doesn’t show up on a government watch list.
Whatever your politics, whoever you are voting for this next election, just imagine the hated other side wins. Would you want that man/woman to have the ability to deprive you of your rights because they put you on a secret list? If you’re thinking my sainted man/woman would never do that, but the crooked conniving presidential candidate on the other side would totally abuse such a power, then maybe it is a really stupid power to give anybody.
I hate to break it to you, but prohibited persons try to buy guns through stores all the time, and they get denied by NICS. It is a felony for a prohibited person to knowingly falsify information on a 4473 background check form. Yet the government almost never prosecutes them.
Don’t be naïve, people. You can’t solve evil. We live in a world with violent, awful people in it. And I’m not talking about somebody not wanting to bake you a cake. There are a dozen countries where homosexuality is punishable by death, and the militant, fundamentalist death cult contingent of a major religion thinks the holocaust was a nice warm up.
But I’m not going to dwell on the identity of this particular killer, because fuck that loser. Nobody should ever repeat their names. They want fame, don’t give them what they want. When you find yourself in one of these events, it doesn’t matter if the killer’s motivations are jihad, or racial purity, or his wife left him, or he hates his job, or the voices his head told him to kill people, all that matters in that terrible moment is doing what you need to do to survive, and if you’re capable of it, saving anyone else you can.
It isn’t about guns. Fools and power hungry charlatans make it about the tools. Evil men have killed with fire and fertilizer. They have used guns to kill with impunity in countries where only the government is supposed to have guns, and the only differences between those places and here was the time elapsed before the violent response.
They will continue to kill, because that’s what they do.
Global geo-politics are out of your hands. Most of us can’t do crap about the sad state of entire world. What you can do right now is see to yourself, your loved ones, and your immediate surroundings.
If you don’t have the right mindset to carry a gun, or you don’t think you could shoot somebody, that’s fine. It isn’t for everybody. We are all different. But don’t stand in the way of somebody else who can.
I know a guy who did two tours in Iraq, one of which he saw a ton of combat. He’s calm, rational, clear headed, and from what I understand, a pretty darned good shooter. He’s also homosexual. If this guy, or somebody just like him, had been a patron in that club that night, why on earth would you want that man legally disarmed? Spare me the typical he would just make it worse projection nonsense. No. He’s not you. He’s better than you are.
I’ve seen a lot of cowardly projection over the last few days. Don’t be that guy. And don’t go the other way and be the macho warrior who would have rushed the killer with his bare hands, because you don’t know what the situation was, and you sound like a trash talking fool.
Regardless of whether you willing to carry a gun or not, at least go learn basic first aid. It is always useful. And after Paris, Boston, Mumbai, San Bernardino, dozens of others, and now Orlando have demonstrated these tactics achieve the desired results and get the coverage terrorists crave, this sort of thing is probably coming to someplace near you soon. When it comes to gunshot wounds and shrapnel from explosions it is all about direct pressure and tourniquets, so learn how.
But I was a firearms instructor, not a paramedic, so I’m going to write about what I do know, and that’s making speed bumps.
Hit Erin’s link. Get trained, get armed. You can’t count on anyone else coming to save you.