The other night I watched a segment on The Daily Show about what it actually takes to be the “good guy with a gun” who can theoretically stop the “bad guy with a gun”. For starters, statistically the good guy with a gun only gets the bad guy about three percent of the time. It takes more than eight hours in a classroom and on a range and having a loaded gun at your disposal. One requires a lot of training, involving countless drills, simulations, and scenarios over and over again until they by ingrained, before one can hope to successfully take on an active shooter or survive a fire fight. The average good guy with a gun simply doesn’t have the resources to do that. Neither does the average school teacher that everyone is so anxious to outfit with a handgun or an assault rifle.
The amateur good guy with a gun is more than likely going to shoot an innocent, cause substantial property damage, become a prime target for the shooter and get himself shot, or be mistaken for the shooter by the police and get shot by by them. There could be another good guy with a gun who mistakes the first good guy with a gun for the shooter. No thanks, but I’d prefer to leave my life in the hands of the professionals, not an amateur self-proclaimed Rambo. Maybe businesses, schools, and other institutions should train people what to do in an active shooter situation and how to increase their odds of survival.
Stricter gun control laws and designating gun-free zones won’t solve the problem but they are certainly part of the solution. Calmer heads need to prevail and cut through all the emotion and the rhetoric on both sides of the issue. There needs to be a major shift in attitudes about guns and violence in general. The America of the late 18th century was a very different place than what it is now. Then a gun was often a necessary survival tool used to hunt food, defend oneself, or to provide for one’s own security. The importance of a gun as a tool has decreased since then. Maybe it’s time to take a new look at the Second Amendment and perhaps redefine the terms.
I don’t own a gun and it’s probably been more than 25 years since I’ve handled one. I’ve had the training and I know that the controlled conditions on a firing range are much different than a real-life shooting situation. On the range, there is no one shooting back at you and you don’t have to make split-second decisions evaluating the situation and your target. I have never had to point a weapon at someone and decide whether that person would live or die.
I do not own a gun and, at this time, I have no intention to acquire one. That could change but it would be a very carefully considered decision. A gun is a lethal weapon whose only purpose is to kill and once the trigger is pulled there is no way to undo whatever happens when that round finds its target which may or may not have been the one you intended. Owning a weapon is a huge responsibility and I’m not sure that many gun owners are fully cognizant of the enormity of that responsibility or the potential consequences should you actually use that weapon.