Whether you are pro-gun or gun-control, the fatal conceit is the belief that your side has an answer to the next Aurora. It doesn’t.
The gun control folks like to suggest that if only nobody had guns, incidents like this would never happen.
Fair enough, but back here in the real world, we understand that “no guns” is not a possibility (mass shootings continue to happen in countries with very strict firearms laws). Firearms are merely a convenient scapegoat that allow us to feel less powerless over situations where we really are quite powerless. Laws against guns are not going to prevent the next psycho from obtaining some, or building a bomb, or something else, just as laws against murder didn’t stop this guy. That’s a perspective that most people ignore.
And although fewer guns, or harder-to-get guns may prevent some incidents like this, the calculus is not favorable overall. In the US, there are between 1 million and 2 million incidents each year where a firearm is used defensively. Even if disarming everybody was within the realm of possibility (which it is not) disarming everybody because there is a 1 in 350,000,000 chance that some ordinary law-abiding grad student goes postal and kills a few people is likely to result in a lot more deaths.
The pro-gun folks, hopped up on internet bravado, will posture some hero fantasy about self-defense and how a few armed citizens would’ve thwarted this attack.
Bollocks. Tactically speaking, there’s little reason to believe that a handful of uncoordinated theatergoers packing Colt 1911’s or S&W Model 10’s would’ve stood much of a chance to resolve the Aurora incident with less bloodshed.
Aurora was a well-calculated ambush; the environment chosen deliberately to ensure minimal immediate opposition, overwhelming firepower plus the element of surprise created panic and confusion, ensuring maximum casualties. It’s important to keep this in perspective, too. Even adequately equipped professionals acting in unison would have had some difficulty in such a scenario.
It’s important that we not allow what happened in Aurora to color our worldview. What happened in Aurora is literally a “27 Ninjas” scenario. It is such a fantastic, extraordinarily rare and unpredictable occurence that any conclusions we might hope to draw from the experience are unlikely to be of much value when transposed on to every day real-world situations.
Guns don’t kill people. Bad people kill people. The only thing that can ever really stop that is good people — with guns. Yes, I went there. No, you don’t have to like it but it’s true.
Remember this? Happened right down the street, so to speak.
What happened in Aurora this morning, may not have been prevented or mitigated by a better-armed citizenry, but it’s the only chance they could’ve had, and it was taken from them by the “good intentions” of policies the effects of which always amount to victim disarmament and piles of dead bodies.
This should be the ONLY ARGUMENT YOU EVER NEED AGAINST GUN-FREE ZONES. Unfortunately it will be spun by anyone with an anti-gun agenda to push or axe to grind as they clamor for even more control, more regulation, and more restriction.
I fear that this case will be spun by the anti-gun folks as further ammunition (no pun intended) for the argument that “civilians” should be further restricted or denied their right to own or carry firearms, and/or as evidence that communities are incapable of self-policing for fear of shoot-first-ask-questions-later vigilantism (an agument which conveniently ignores numerous examples of police misconduct which also falls under the “shoot first” umbrella).
What are overshadowed in these tragic cases are the multiple failures of the municipal police that lead to tragic outcomes like this.
In the Martin case, for example, the police’s previous failures to protect the community created a need for supplemental security which was in this case filled by George Zimmerman. Were police forces at at all capable of protecting the public from legitimate threats at reasonable costs, communities would have no need for supplemental security. Another narrative is that the police failed to protect the community from George Zimmerman. And last but not least, the police failed to protect Trayvon Martin from Zimmerman by 1) not giving explicit instructions for Zimmerman to back down and/or 2) failing to respond quickly enough to diffuse the situation with (one hopes) a lesser amount of violence.
The Martin case, and others like it, need to be viewed as evidence that the municipal police forces are abject failures not only at a department-specific level (i.e., the “few bad apples” argument), but that the entire model is irrevocably and institutionally flawed.
Failure is built-in because municipal police forces are essentially monopolies of the worst sort: not only are competing defense/security agencies crowded out of the marketplace for such services, in some cases legally precluded, but consumers must pay for the services rendered, whether they like it or not, whether they are performing adequately, whether they are keeping anyone safe, etc. Furthermore, municipal police departments are generally not accountable to their victims (in the case of misconduct/negligence/wrongdoing) or to the members of the public if/when they fail to protect and serve.
Whatever the outcome of the Martin incident, one thing is absolutely certain: justice will not be served.