Its been less than 12 hours since the tragedy in Aurora, CO. Amid the expressions of hope for the victims and their families and the sorrow over their losses that has filled my Facebook this morning, I saw this:
Ugh, this Colorado thing makes me sick...just awful..too bad no one else was armed and could defend themselves..such a tragedy.What? Seriously??? Armed people in the audience might have made this less tragic? Are you f*cking kidding me?
Look, I'm an RKBA kind of guy. I have no problem with responsible ownership of firearms. I have, perhaps, a stance that may be more centrist on this than my liberal friends and family. On the other hand, I was a Marine for 4 years. I know how to responsibly keep, maintain, and use a firearm. I know the power that it has and the proper circumstances under which it should be utilized.
However, what drives me up the wall are people that I term, "gun fetishists," that seem to think that the mere presence of an armed populace will deter violent crime, regardless of any extenuating circumstances. People who make the quote above.
Allow me to inject some reality into the discussion: Going to the gun range and knowing all the firearm safety rules are a far, FAR cry from being able to use a deadly weapon in a chaotic situation with very limited viability, high collateral damage potential, and no tactical awareness. In a darkened, crowded theater, the potential to cause more harm than good goes up exponentially. The average police officer doesn't even train to be able to handle that type of situation alone... that's what highly trained specialists using highly specialized equipment are for. The aggressor, after all, doesn't care who he hits, because he's targeting everyone. A basically trained person with a firearm taking him down without killing or injuring any of the hundreds of people around you is stuff that happens in the movies not in real life.
Bottom line: the likelihood of us waking up to even more horrific news because someone in the crowd was armed and decided to take the shooter on is far greater than us waking up to a story of a hero who defended a theater. Sometimes the idealized fantasy we wish for, if attempted to be put into practice, leads to a more horrific tragedy.
That's it. I'm done. Rant over.
Update: It saddens me to know that my first time on the Rec List was borne out of a rant in response to tragedy. However, I thank you all the same. Please keep good thoughts for the victims and their families, and if you want to do something to help, consider giving blood.