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"The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

We've heard it over and over again from the NRA.  "If only someone in the theater in Aurora had had a gun ..."  "If only one of the teachers at Sandy Hook had been armed ..."  "If I'da been there [wherever], I'da capped his ass!"

No matter how many people step up to disagree (I remember one very thoughtful writer, possibly here, saying after Aurora that he was a well-trained, excellent marksman, and after reading about the situation in Aurora felt he stood absolutely no chance of hitting the shooter had he been there, and probably would have ended up killing innocent people if he'd tried), the NRA keeps trotting out this old saw.

I think that perhaps after this weekend's shootings in Las Vegas, we may finally have some pretty strong proof of why they need to retire it.

Today's article in the Boston Globe has this very interesting bit of information:

The suspects fled on foot to a nearby Walmart, where Jerad Miller fired a single shot upon entering, police said. A patron at the store who carried a firearm confronted Jerad Miller, not realizing that he was accompanied by Amanda Miller, who shot and killed the man, police said.
(emphasis mine)

Not only did the good guy with a gun not stop the bad guys with guns - he was killed by them.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I am in no way trying to diminish him by writing this.  All I know about him is that he (a) was carrying a gun, and (b) tried to stop two very bad people.  For this I have nothing but respect and admiration for him, and my heart goes out to his family.

I would like to note that he "confronted Jerad Miller", rather than just opening fire in what was a presumably a crowded store, suggesting to me that he was probably a thoughtful, responsible gun owner.  Again, he has my respect.

I'll also note that one can assume that the two police officers killed were presumably (a) good guys, and (b) armed, and that this did them no good in this situation.  Carrying a gun is not a panacea.  If a bad guy with a gun ambushes you, you are dead, whether or not you are carrying.

The Globe article also says this:

As terrified customers fled the store, the Millers went to the rear and hunkered down for a firefight with police, McMahill said. Though they exchanged gunfire, ultimately, Amanda Miller shot and killed her husband, and then shot herself, police said.
(again, emphasis mine)

It seems to me here that the bad guys with guns were not actually stopped by good guys with guns - they were ultimately stopped by a bad guy with a gun.

So much for "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    "Males ae biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes." - Newt Gingrich "Some folks you don't have to satirize, you just quote 'em." - Tom Paxton

    by rsf1967 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 06:49:16 AM PDT

  •  Yup..3 good guys w/guns go down. (4+ / 0-)

    You can be armed and trained but the element of surprise wins a lot of the time, unfortunately.

  •  Ironic, isn't it (5+ / 0-)

    ...that the only victim in the building was also the only armed citizen.  When he drew and focused on one threat, he was killed by the other.  Meanwhile dozens of other bystanders fled instead of confronting an undetermined threat, and none of them was hurt.

    Bottom line, the man, courageous to be sure, was killed BECAUSE he was armed, not IN SPITE OF being armed.

    Orwell was an optimist.
    My Home Page

    by RepackRider on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 07:06:00 AM PDT

    •  In other words (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neo Control

      One armed man confronting the mass shooter with the AK may have given a whole bunch of other people a chance to escape....

      ....and this is a bad thing?

      ‎"Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor." - Norman Mailer
      My Blog
      My wife's woodblock prints

      by maxomai on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 07:22:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did you read the news stories? (5+ / 0-)

        The shooters allowed people to leave unharmed.  Wilcox's actions did not help anyone.  His actions only got him killed.

        •  You trust Republicans? (0+ / 0-)

          This Walmart is in an area near minority neighborhoods and near Nellis Air Force base, which has many minority airmen.

          How do you know that these Republicans weren't going to start shooting people with dark skin if their attention wasn't diverted to Wilcox?

          That's what they went to this Walmart. They didn't go to the one in Mesquite or even Henderson or Summerlin.  Fewer people at this Walmart were likely to shoot back.

          "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

          by Utahrd on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 09:38:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Reality: an increased risk of getting shot (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sagesource, Smoh, Joy of Fishes

      The advertising slogan of the gun industry is that having a gun makes you safer.

      The factual reality is that having a gun puts you at greater risk for getting shot.

      Having a gun makes you a target.  Anyone wishing to commit a criminal act will first want to shoot and kill anyone who has a gun.  When the police show up, they too will aim for anyone holding or shooting a gun.

      This is one of the reasons why many states opt for concealed-carry permits instead of open-carry permits.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 07:47:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not to mention that it is difficult to tell the (7+ / 0-)

    ... "good guys" from the "bad guys."

    The shooters, in this instance, told patrons to clear the store. It is very likely that Wilcox could have run out the door, like the rest of the patrons did. In fact, Wilcox was with a friend and his friend left the store, unscathed:

    Wilcox, 31, was near the cash registers when he saw events unfolding. He was armed with gun of his own, and told a friend he was going to do something.

    As he moved to confront Jerad Miller, Wilcox passed Amanda, not realizing the two were together. She slipped behind Wilcox and shot him at close range.

    The shooters did tell people to leave:
    After executing two Las Vegas police officers at CiCi’s Pizza, Jerad Miller entered a nearby Wal-Mart, at Nellis Boulevard and Stewart Avenue, fired a round in the air and ordered everyone to leave, setting off a panic. It was at that point, instead of running, Wilcox approached Jerad Miller from behind.
    Had Wilcox not been carrying a gun, he likely would have been able to exit the store, unscathed, like the rest of the patrons. In fact, his mother said he had just recently begun carrying his gun again:
    Debra Wilcox said her son in recent months had stopped carrying his handgun with him. “Only 10 out of 100 times he would take it with him. I don’t know why he took it with him yesterday,” she said.
    Carrying a gun cost him his life. He likely would be alive today had he not been packing.

    "Bob Johnson doesn't have special privileges, because really, why would I entrust that guy with ANYTHING?" - kos, November 9, 2013

    by Bob Johnson on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 07:08:04 AM PDT

  •  He's a HERO dontcha know. (5+ / 0-)

    At least that's what our resident gun nuts will tell you.  

    Only he's a dead 'hero' and he actually didn't really save anyone or do anything heroic.  He was fucking stupid and got himself killed.  Now his family will be without their breadwinner, father, husband, son because the dumbass bought the NRA bullshit and thought by being a good guy with a gun he could stop a bad guy with a gun.  Except this good guy didn't know what the fuck was going on and the bad guys were smarter than he was.  BAM he got shot in the chest before he even fucking knew what hit him.  That's not courage, it's fucking stupidity.  Instead of trying to be the next Wyatt Earp he should have left and today he would be sitting on his couch, not lying in a coffin.

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 07:15:15 AM PDT

  •  Two incidents showing the NRA line is wrong (4+ / 0-)

    The incident at the Walmart shows the NRA line is wrong, but let's not forget the shooting at Seattle Pacific University.

    The bad guy was stopped with pepper spray.

    And, let's not forget why pepper spray worked: he had to reload his shotgun.  This is a good reason why we need to limit the number of rounds in a clip.  (You don't need 100 rounds in a clip to shoot deer.)

    [Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security] do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

    by MoDem on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 07:49:28 AM PDT

  •  Say what? (0+ / 0-)
    Now, don't get me wrong.  I am in no way trying to diminish him by writing this.
    Yes you are. You absolutely are.

    A legally armed person attempted to intervene and stop someone who was terrorizing and shooting people. He got the jump on one of them, but then he got blindsided because he didn't realize there was another threat present.

    This man was a hero who put himself at risk for the sake of others and his death is a tragedy. He absolutely supports the thesis that a responsibly armed population is an asset. If there had been more like him perhaps the confrontation would have ended differently.

    •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neo Control

      As I said before, I won't judge this Wilcox guy until we learn more about him.

      But I've noticed that too many of us want it both ways - we wonder why nobody intervened when they saw the Millers pushing a grocery cart full of weaponry on their 4-mile jaunt through Las Vegas subdivisions and then we mock a guy who, wisely or not (with hindsight) DID try to intervene and got killed for it.

      If we make this about Wilcox and concealed carry instead of rightwing radio and conservative domestic terrorism we will once again lose the argument IMO.

      •  I'm with you on root causes: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oruacat2

        Domestic terrorism is on the rise, and needs to be brought under control quickly.

        Everything that I have read, which frankly may not present a complete picture, supports this man's actions. He got tunnel vision on the threat, which is totally understandable, and wasn't able to react quick enough when the woman drew on him.

        But he was there, and he was trying to do good.

      •  Right on! (0+ / 0-)

        That's why I said I wasn't trying to diminish him.  He's not really the point here.  The NRA and their ridiculous posturing and sloganeering is.

        "Males ae biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes." - Newt Gingrich "Some folks you don't have to satirize, you just quote 'em." - Tom Paxton

        by rsf1967 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 08:54:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, actually, I'm diminishing the blanket slogan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes

      ... not the man who tried to stop the killers.  He did a very brave thing, and got killed for it.  When I wrote this diary, I didn't know (as others have indicated) that the killers had told everyone to leave.  Maybe, knowing that, he shouldn't have approached them - I'm not going to judge him on that because I wasn't there.

      But to approach an armed person, with the intent to try to stop him or her, is an act of bravery in my book, and one worthy of respect.  Depending on the exact situation, your training, your weapon, and the person's weapon, it may also be an unwise move, but again, without knowing any of that, I'll err on the side of brave.

      However, the blind slogan that my diary targets is sheer ridiculousness, as I point out in two different ways in the diary and MoDem noted about the Seattle Pacific shooting.  And THAT is what I am diminishing here.

      Maybe Wilcox had the slogan in mind, maybe he didn't.  Maybe he was thinking "someone needs to cool this thing down; it might as well be me, and at least I'm armed if I fail."  Or maybe he was thinking "hoo-rah!  Rambo Time!"  I have no idea.  And to a large extent, I don't really care.

      I care about the sloganeering of the NRA.  If it did drive him to this, even more so.  But even if it didn't, they still need to cut it out.

      "Males ae biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes." - Newt Gingrich "Some folks you don't have to satirize, you just quote 'em." - Tom Paxton

      by rsf1967 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 08:52:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My point is that the "slogan" was relevant: (0+ / 0-)

        A person with a rifle was terrorizing a store, openly threatening others. Intervening to stop what must have appeared to be a crazy man on a rampage was brave, and the right thing to do.

        Leaving as commanded might have been the wiser course of action, of course, but that requires trusting that the crazy person isn't about to start shooting you and everyone else as you flee. Judgement call.

        Either way, I can't see how the NRA was involved, or even how this speaks against their advocacy of armed intervention.

  •  Maybe, maybe not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joy of Fishes

    The only thing it proves is that the NRA slogan is just that - a slogan.    There's more to a CCW than just slogans, political posturing, social media rants, and Gadsden flags.

    I've mentioned that I'm a KY CCW holder.  As such I took the mandatory class required to obtain the license.  I also took, voluntarily just because I enjoy shooting, what was called an Advanced Concealed Carry class from a really good instructor back in my home county up in northern KY.  The mandatory course was a joke, really, as it mostly dealt with the lawyerly side of carrying concealed but with a bare bones minimum of practical training. That advanced course wasn't mandatory, but IMO should be, as I learned a lot of new information/skills, plus learned  that much of what I thought I already knew was wrong.

    Over the course of a 10-hour day we did many drills - accuracy, "quick draw" (not at all like Hollywood westerns), firing with the "off" or "weak" hand, etc.  In one of my favorite drills all 20 of us took turns firing everyone else's weapon (because you never know, you might have to pick up an unfamiliar make/model of pistol and defend yourself).   We also were coached on "situational awareness".  

    I bring this up specifically because of what happened to that armed civilian in that Vegas WalMart - the so-called "good guy with a gun" who was shot and killed, from behind, by the female member of this little terrorist duo. We were taught to watch out for this exact scenario in that Advanced CCW class - identify the threat and confirm that there isn't more than one "bad guy", and even after you draw your weapon (if it comes to that) and fire, make sure there's not a "secondary threat" in the area. In "real life" you would take quick glances around - you know, the proverbial "head on a swivel". At the range on that day what it meant was 20 of us, after every firing-line drill, making these big, comically exaggerated head-turning motions so that the instructors saw us "scanning the area".

    It felt really strange and it looked even goofier, but it was a valuable lesson driven home by what happened to that guy in the WalMart.

    •  It's more complicated then that, unfortunately: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes

      He was shot in the chest, not behind.

      He, from what I have read, presented his weapon to the male attacker, who was the only one of the pair visibly armed. The female attacker then, with an apparently practiced motion, drew on him and fired before the guy even knew she was hostile too.

      There is no amount of training that could have saved him, short of almost inhuman reflexes. He thought he was fighting one person, when in fact he was fighting two.

      •  He assumed incorrectly (0+ / 0-)

        ....that Miller didn't have a partner and/or that the partner couldn't be a woman.   But that shouldn't be surprising considering that even we, on the enlightened left, have focused our attention on "dangerous white males".  

        It's a truly fucked-up situation all the way around.

  •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neo Control

    So let me get this straight. The Las Vegas shootings disprove the NRA's slogan about good guys stopping bad guys with a gun. Right so far? So to take that logic to the next level, the Las Vegas shootings prove the way to stop a bad guy with a gun is his bad wife.......with a gun? I dunno, but if it's all the same to you, I'll just as soon take my chances with the NRA.

    •  No.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluehammer

      The way to stop these bad guys was to get the hell out of the way and let the Las Vegas Police do their jobs. The idea that armed civilians (some w/ training, some without) are going handle bad guys with guns as well as a police department is nonsense.

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