Gun control advocates argue that the key to lowering gun crime is a combination of gun control (prevention) and the police (intervention). Gun rights advocates say that gun control doesn’t prevent bad guys from getting guns (ipso facto) and the police mostly mop-up after gun crime. The bumper sticker version of the pro-gun position: when seconds count the police are only minutes away. Here’s the thing: it’s true. Even when highly trained police response teams are ready to rock and roll, they can’t intervene fast enough to stop the killing. To wit: the recent University of Pittsburgh (a.k.a., Pitt) hospital shooting [via cfnews13.com] . . .
Six Pitt officers had responded to the clinic within two minutes of the first emergency call, Pitt campus police Chief Tim Delaney said. They were trained to split into two groups of three to outflank the gunman and draw his attention . . .
“We practice this,” Delaney said. “A lot of these (law enforcement techniques) came out of Virginia Tech. They engaged in gunfire as soon as they entered the front door.”
The first three officers returned fire and killed [John] Shick. So many shots were fired in the brief gunbattle that smoke hung in the lobby afterward, Delaney said.
Brave men. Great job. Only Shick managed to murder one worker and wound six others before the campus cops made the scene.
Did the police—armed and trained to respond to an active shooter—prevent Shick from shooting other innocents? Perhaps. The account above indicates that he was attempting to flee the hospital when the campus cops cornered him.
Could an armed civilian have shot Shick before the cops arrived? Perhaps. Wait. No. Here’s the 411 on Pitt’s policy from the university’s website (safety.pitt.edu):
Q: Can I carry a gun on campus as a means of self-protection?
A: No. The carrying or possession of firearms and/or other weapons on campus by anyone other than authorized law enforcement officers, such as Pitt police or city of Pittsburgh police, is absolutely prohibited.
I guess Shick forgot to read that bit.
Gun control advocates believe that Pitt’s anti-gun regulation–and others like it—help protect the population from gun violence. They believe that the reg’s obvious and catastrophic failure in this and other instances is an enforcement problem. In other words, outlawing guns could work. When, clearly, it can’t.
Fortunately, Americans are endowed with an attribute which gun control advocates like to claim as their own: common sense. Common sense says that when push comes to shove, you will have to defend yourself and your loved ones and (if you choose) other innocent life.
It’s a grim prospect, but you don’t really have a choice. Never have had. Never will do. Not if you value your freedom. Or your life.