“Growing up in Houston’s East End in the 1940s and ’50s, I learned a lot about guns,” Michael Wimberly writes at chron.com. “My father was a hunter, as was virtually every male on the block . . . A firearm, as I learned, is made for one reason only: to kill. And there was swift redress at home if the rules were violated. So I took my gun knowledge with me to the U.S. Air Force and was certified as a sharpshooter.” A certified Air Force sharpshooter? Hang on . . .
The Army and Navy have a Sharpshooter qualification (between Marksman and Expert) as does the Coast Guard. Here’s what wikipedia.org has to say about the Air Force’s marksmanship program:
The United States Air Force awards a single ribbon, known as the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon [above], for an expert qualification on either the M-16 rifle, M-4 carbine or the individuals AFSC’s (duty) designated pistol. The ribbon is issued in only one degree; however, a bronze service star may be worn on the ribbon for those who have qualified expert on both the service rifle and pistol.
I don’t see the word “sharpshooter” there. Maybe someone can clue me in. Anyway, Wimberly’s article is a rant against open carry in The Lone Star State. The ex-airman claims his fellow citizens can’t handle the stress of a defensive gun use, asserting that “hero-seekers are a danger to themselves and others.” Like this:
What I will not be comfortable with if open carry becomes law in Texas, as some state lawmakers are proposing, is encountering a gun carrier in a restaurant sporting a holstered 9mm with an extended magazine. I will wonder: Is this person really licensed, or is he an unlicensed bad guy casing the premises to commit crime or an act of terror? Is he of a proper mental state or has his mental health changed since he was licensed? Does he properly maintain and clean his weapon as required? Is his weapon housing a chambered round? When was the last time he qualified on a firing range? Can he really be trusted to take on the gut-wrenching task he obviously seeks? Should the business owner check the licenses and qualifications of gun-holstered patrons before allowing them to enter armed?
Why would a bad guy casing a potential crime scene open carry? And so what if he does? Is it preferable for him to do so with a concealed, presumably illegally-owned firearm? Or with no firearm at all? And if he is a bad guy, I mean (I guess) a good guy, the maintenance of his or her firearms is her or her responsibiity. And OMG! A chambered round? That’s . . . crazy! As for business owners checking the licenses and quals of armed Americans, go fish will ya?
It’s the same BS we see all the time from proponents of civilian disarmament: average Americans are not qualified to keep and bear arms. Because the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution clearly states that citizens have the right to keep and bear arms provided they are licensed and qualified sharpshooters. Oh wait . . .
That flies in the face of real-life experience. Estimates of defensive gun uses (DGUs) vary wildly. But even the lowest estimate pegs the number of annual DGU’s at 60k (as opposed to Gary Kleck’s recently re-checked estimate of 760k DGUs per year). I don’t recall any instances of good guys shooting good guys by mistake – unless you put the NYPD in that category. Speaking of anecdotes . . .
As a retired commercial bank loan officer, I have experienced two armed robberies. I stared down the barrel of a 45-caliber semiautomatic handgun pointed at my forehead. Children were screaming, and no one knew what might tip the scale of tense engagement. We were all forced to lie on the floor. Later, police told us, “Lucky no shots were fired. We know these guys and they are bad dudes!”
Today, I wonder had one of the 12 or so bank customers forced to the floor pulled a weapon, what would have been the outcome? Would I be now residing in a cement box in our family plot at Forest Park for the past 43 years, my just-born daughter never knowing her father and my yet unborn son never to be?
Mr. Wimberly is hardly alone in his belief that passivity in the face of an armed threat is better than taking the risk of using a gun to defend innocent life. When passivity “works” anti-gunners feel justified in holding that opinion. But I and many others don’t agree. We wonder what would happen if the bad guy or guys start shooting people. We want to carry a gun to either prevent that possibility or take action if it does – although passivity remains an option.
I wonder if Mr. Wimberly is aware of the Stockton California bank robbery where the bank robbers took a teller hostage when they left the scene. Highly-qualified police officers using properly maintained firearms fired 600 rounds at the robbers…killing the hostage.
The problem here is that Mr. Wimberly doesn’t believe we should have the option of armed self-defense. And certainly not openly. That’s because he feels threatened by our guns. Because he’s not willing to take the risk of unintended consequences that accompany armed self-defense he doesn’t want us to have that ability either. Simply put: he doesn’t trust us.
Open-carry advocates are unlikely to have minimal understanding of what I am trying to convey. I just hope our legislators who are dealing with this subject do and vote no.
I hate to say it, but tough sh*t. Just as racists’ opinions of minority voting rights is irrelevant under the law, it makes no difference what Mr. Wimberly thinks about Americans exercising their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Unless he can gather enough support to amend the Second Amendment. And maybe not even then. Meanwhile, I just hope that legislators ignore people with a minimal understanding of gun rights and get busy restoring our firearms freedom.