Answers that seem to be helping... (LONG)


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ArcherandShooter
March 7, 2008, 09:16 AM
I'm in email conversation in another group with a couple of people who are not anti-gun, but, I guess I'd say, nervous, about the whole thing. They've posted some questions that I've taken a shot at, and seem to be making some progress, so I thought I'd share some of the dialogue. Suggestions and other feedback welcome.

We started with the school shootings...
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Q. "Do you really think the guy wd have thought twice if he'd wondered how many students might be armed and ready/willing to shoot back?"

A. I don't know if he'd have thought twice, but whether he did nor not, either way, his potential victims are better off if there are people around to defend
the classroom. (1) if the potential shooter changes his mind, then none of them die that day. (2) if he does not, then the odds of his killing as many as he did are drastically reduced as he meets armed resistance instead of helpless hysteria.


Q. "Wd they have had the presence of mind to draw their gun, holler to everyone else to hit the floor (in a lecture hall, floor space isn't easy to find), aim and fire on target? Target practice at a range is vastly different from an adrenaline-charged situation."

A. You are perfectly correct that armed combat is very different from a calm Saturday session at the range. However, that is what training and forethought are for. CCW licenses are not just handed out lightly to anyone who can buy a pistol and prove they know which end the bullets come from. Every member of the CCW community that I know, and that includes myself, my wife, and our esteemed _______, engages in long and serious thought about issues of life and death and preparedness. The act of strapping on a firearm before going out in public is not casual, but a deliberate action proclaiming preparedness to act, to place one's self in harm's way if necessary, for the protection of yourself and your loved ones. You are ALWAYS aware that you are armed, and what that means, every time you carry a weapon.


Q. "What if there are 10 students/TA/profs who draw guns - how does each of them know none of the others is w/ the first guy?"

A. They would know there is another bad guy in the same way as they knew the original shooter was a bad guy - by their taking aim and firing on other innocents instead of the known bad guy. And by the way, all of the school shooters since Columbine, where both kids were obvious shooters from the first minute, have operated alone. This fear of an un-revealed accomplice has no basis in experience of school shootings.


Q. "Do you really expect a lecture hall to stay calm if one person comes in w/ an automatic and others throughout the hall stand up and tell everyone else to get out of sight and stay calm? How does a gun-carrier prepare to deal w/ that kind of hysteria and panic?"

A. Fair questions. I honestly would not expect the mass of students to stay calm. I WOULD expect the CCW-holders to act calmly, to the best of their ability. See my earlier comments about training and preparation. Of course, no one knows how they themselves will react until the adrenaline starts flowing, but once the bad guy is down and the shooting stops, I would expect calm to return rather faster than it would if there was no end to the murders.
btw - a small point, but an important distinction nonetheless - NONE of the recent shooters carried "automatics" in their crimes, rather semi-automatic pistols and a shotgun.


Q. "Is having a gun in the house going to protect against drive-by shooters?"

A. Of course not. Carrying an umbrella doesn't protect me from lightning strikes, but I still bring one with me most days here in Houston, where we have rain all the time, from which it is a fine protection. CCW is not a cure-all for all possible violent evils that might befall me and mine, but it sure is a good response to some of them.


Q. "If someone's being mugged on the street, what's to say the neighbor w/ a gun is going to hit the mugger and not send a stray bullet into the house across the street? Even w/ regular target practice, it only takes one stray bullet."

A. A couple of things. First, if I am inside my house and someone is being mugged on the street, I may or may not take out my gun and go intervene. There are many variables involved, including the law, which in some states does not allow that kind of action. One of the things to consider is exactly the potential for harmful consequences. If I am unable to intervene with a very high likelihood of success, I will take other actions: call the cops, yell out the window that I've just done that, shine a large spotlight (yes, I have one) on the scene, that kind of thing. Muggers like dark and quiet, and for things to be over very quickly. If he flees without anyone having to shoot at him, so much the better. If the attention drawn to him makes for lots of good witnesses to help convict him, so much the better.


Q. "What responsibility do you have to the person you hit and/or their family?"

A. If you shoot your weapon, you are completely responsible, morally and legally, for whatever happens as a result. If you hit someone you have no legal right to shoot, you will be charged in criminal court, you will almost certainly be convicted and imprisoned, and you will be liable in civil court for whatever damages your victim's family can convince a jury to award. You should know, by the way, that even if the shooting is legally justified, you will probably spend tens of thousands of dollars of your own money on your legal defense before you are cleared, you still may need to defend yourself in civil court, and you may lose your job if your employer doesn't like the publicity.


Q. "What wd it take for you to decide you no longer needed to go around armed?"

A. I don't think I will ever decide that. There is evil everywhere. I do not always carry (my employer forbids it, which TX law allows them to do), but while human society is populated by human beings, I acknowledge that the possible need to defend myself and others is always present.


Q. "How many months/years have you gone around armed, and how many times have you needed the weapon?"

A. I've had my license for a little over two years now. I've never needed to even draw my weapon, let alone shoot it, thank God. There have been one or two times I was glad to have it available, but those were brief, and the situations did not escalate, for which I am thankful.


Q. "Does lack of use show any implication of lack of need?"

A. Not at all. I'm well aware that by pure statstical chance I am unlikely to ever NEED my handgun. Heck, even most cops go years without drawing their sidearms. But if I DO need it, the need will be severe and immediate, and the stakes will be my life or the life of someone I love.


Q. "If you didn't go out armed, wd you be fearful wherever you went?"

A. Again, not at all. I would have fewer options at my disposal in tough situations, but that would not make me necessarily fearful. When I am out and unarmed now, just like when I am armed, I practice a consistently high level of what the military calls "situational awareness", and that, more than the presence of absence of a handgun, is the real key to avoiding trouble. Knowing your surroundings, learning to recognize potentially threating situations, and avoiding or defusing them are always preferable to walking into trouble and perhaps having to fight your way out. Indeed, this willingness to BE AWARE that evil is real, and that it might target YOU, is the largest emotional hurdle most people have to get over in deciding to carry a concealed weapon. And getting over it - and out of the denial that it engenders - is also a key accomplishment in practicing personal safety whether you get a handgun or not. The weapon is always a last resort, though one I don't like being without, given the stakes involved.


Q. "does a gun or other weapon rob a man or woman of other self defense skills that could prove useful? If we turn instantaneously to an object for our defense, do we not grow lazy in learning to use our bodies, senses, mind? Should not gun training be the final step in learning self defense, never the first???"

A. ____, you ask a perfectly on-point question, and the implied answer, that guns should not be our first response to a threat, is on-point, as well. In our home, we have guns available, but plan so that we are never likely to need them. The house has a monitored alarm. We lock our doors. We have two very noisy dogs who go nuts at the first sign of anyone approaching the house. In other words, someone who breaks into our house and keeps coming to the point where we have to use our guns in our defense has to all intents and purposes insisted we shoot him. While we don't ever expect that to happen, we still keep the guns handy just in case.

When outside the home, there's two things I'd ask you to consider. The first is what I wrote to _____ the other day about situational awareness as a means of self-defense. Using my brains, my eyes, and, if necessary and possible, my legs (don't fail me now!) to avoid or escape trouble are far preferable to pulling out a gun. As a good friend says, "better software than hardware".

Second, when that fails, not everyone is physically capable of other means of physical defense than using a gun. A 50+ year-old woman who walks with a limp is not likely to be able to learn martial arts. A 4' 10" woman, even in good shape, will want an equalizer if facing a 6' 5", 250 pound rapist. And for anyone, man or woman, it is a mistake to rely on pepper spray if assaulted by someone high on PCP, as they'll likely just sneeze twice and keep coming.

You are right that you shouldn't just reach for your gun at the first sign of trouble, but don't let that make you leave it at home.

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foghornl
March 7, 2008, 09:24 AM
BRAVO!

Very well-reasoned replies.

Nitrogen
March 7, 2008, 09:24 AM
Mind if I "steal" this and post it on some other blogs?
How would you prefer I source it?

Pat-inCO
March 7, 2008, 01:24 PM
http://www.w0ipl.net/ccw.htm
is a piece I copied from another forum (with the authors permission). He has many good points there.

As a P.S. I like to have a summary, rather than a link to a thread that you have to read and read and read to find what you want. :D

brighamr
March 7, 2008, 01:40 PM
Very good responses. I might plagiarize a few of your responses when talking to my in-laws :-)

ArcherandShooter
March 7, 2008, 01:53 PM
As for sourcing, the words in the answers are all mine, so have at it.

Just mention that they are from an incredibly wise and (according to springmom) handsome old man on the web. ;)

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