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I am a Christian. This is only relevant insomuch as it relates to why I went to visit Northern Illinois University the day classes resumed after the mass shooting there. I went there to hand out Bibles and counsel some students from our church.

In the process I met several of the students who were impacted directly by the shootings. One was the roommate of one of the students who was murdered. I met others who were in the classroom at the time.

My primary concern wasn't to do anything but be there for them, as a man and human being.

When I talked to them,  I let them do the talking, as much (or as little) as they wanted. Those who survived told me a number of things they felt and thought when it happened.

Some told me they cried. Others screamed. They hid. They prayed. They ran. They thought of their families. They thought of what their loved ones would do. Mostly they just hid, terrified, caught in a seemingly infinite and horrible moment.

They had many reactions.

But I noticed one reaction none had. Not one of them told me they thought, "I wish I had a gun."

In the wake of mass or public shootings you frequently see advocates for gun control.

After the shooting of Ronald Reagan, Sarah Brady, the wife of one of the surviving victims, Jim Brady, led the charge to get the Brady Bill passed, which instituted the need to pass a background check in order to buy a gun.

In the wake of the Columbine shootings students reactions varied. One felt there needed to be stronger enforcement of existing gun laws. Another thought the nation needed to return to the principles it was founded on, the 10 Commandments.

My interest here isn't to dissect what their thoughts and reactions were, but rather what they weren't. Not one of them said, "I wish I had a gun." At least they didn't publicly.

Since Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot, along with 18 other people, in Tuscon, Arizona, she has sponsored a PAC with a goal of $20 million to counter the impact of the NRA.

In Newtown, they aren't calling for more guns, they are calling for more gun control.

Mass shootings are both dreadful and terrifying things. Imagine being 18, or even younger, huddled behind a desk, as a madman walks around, shooting and killing people, unsure if you'll survive the day. To some that fear has been real, not imagined.

Does it "prove" anything that survivors never lament they didn't have a weapon or push for more guns? Is it evidence that having been fired upon, they are more concerned with not being in that situation again at all than being in that situation again unarmed?

No, it's not. I don't presume it to be such. But to ignore the experiences of those who have been in the situation is to waste the value of their experience, and it shouldn't be so lightly set aside.

Originally posted to Backell's Big Blog of Bodacious Brewing Brainstoms on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 04:24 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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