I can’t stand it when someone shoots up a bunch of people at random. It’s just so senseless. If you’re going to hurt a group of people, at least make sure they deserve it. Like Dallas Cowboys fans. Of course I’m kidding. I don’t want to see Dallas Cowboys fans get shot or even hurt. They’re a part of God’s creation, too. Like mosquitoes.
Speaking of wannabe cowboys, every time these shooting rampages happen, someone who’s watched too many westerns steps up and insists if only someone had a gun, they could have killed the shooter.
Now hold up right there, pard’ner. Do you see the assumption you just made? You’re assuming nobody was armed. How do you know someone wasn’t?
Just for fun, I recently tried some amateur journalism, like they do at Fox News. I contacted some pro- and anti-gun groups and I asked them all the same question: “If a citizen is armed, and a shooter begins a rampage, is the armed citizen legally obligated to return fire?” Just like the girls I knew in high school, they all said no.
“If a citizen is armed, and a shooter begins a rampage, is the armed citizen legally obligated to return fire?”
So, maybe someone was present and armed during the rampage, but they didn’t shoot back, because they did what anyone would do. They ran. Booked it. After every one of these rampages, slimy gun companies say, “Hey, buy our product and you won’t die.” You don’t see sneaker companies saying the same thing, but I bet sneakers have played a bigger part in keeping people unshot than guns ever have.
If I’m there with my friends, am I going to return fire or run and make sure my friends gets out? I’m going to run, because that has the added bonus of getting my ass to safety too. A wannabe cowboy says they would abandon their friends and engage the shooter. Yeah right. The same people who flip out when someone scams five bucks off welfare are suddenly going to enter life-and-death combat with a suicidal maniac just to save a bunch of strangers? I don’t think so.
I bet even if every single person was armed at a rampage there’s a good chance no one would shoot back, because of human nature. They’ll all be like, oh someone else will take care of it. That’s why debris can sit in the road for days and everyone just drives around it. Or a computer system goes down at work and no one files an I.T. ticket because everyone is certain someone else already did.
So let’s assume I’m correct and someone has been armed at these rampages but didn’t shoot back. We’ll never know. no one is crazy enough to come forward and admit that: “Yeah I was armed, but I was there with my four-year-old and I wanted to make sure she got to safety, so I didn’t shoot back.” That person would never live in peace again. They’d be called a coward, there would be death threats on their dog at the very least. At the very, very least.
Their life would become a living hell. All because of the supposedly sane people.
(A slightly different version of this totally awesome essay was originally an exclusive contribution to Yahoo! Voices editorial pages in 2013, but since Yahoo! has discontinued that feature, the rights revert back to me. It seems the point here is still very relevant. I hope you found it interesting. Cheers.)