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The following is an edited version of a comment posted under yesterday’s Question of the Day by Edwin Herdman.

CNN has an, er, interesting op-ed by Northeastern University (Boston)’s James Allan Fox today, “Gun control or carry permits won’t stop mass murder.” Here’s Fox’s main point: “While [concealed carry is] logical in theory, in the chaos of the moment, few gun owners would be prepared to mount an effective counterattack. And in a crowded setting, such as the movie theater clouded with tear gas and smoke, it would be virtually impossible to distinguish the bad guy with a gun from the good guys with their guns.” But would it? . . .

a) Why limit it to concealed carry? Perhaps Fox is merely reflecting the status of popular anti-gun advocacy here. However, many people (certainly almost all TTAG readers) would see this as dancing around one of the arguable benefits of open carry: You see people with guns, you think twice. Most people are polite when around the police, and part of that is motivated by their weapons and sanction to use force.

b) The statement that “few gun owners” could respond effectively appears to be entirely off-the-cuff, even unsupported by evidence. Why is this? In an op-ed, the usual pressure on newspapermen to disregard “academic” (i.e. useful and relevant) detail for the interested mind is probably absent, and he was invited to give us a full rationale. I think he clearly failed to do so.

Another CNN article quotes an attorney based here in Michigan – Steven Howard, who teaches legalities of CCW and is a former border patrol agent and a gunsmith – to emphasize that theaters are perfect “killing zones,” with many heads lined up at seat height. Nothing suggests that that an idiot standing tall below the screen with a weapon wouldn’t stand out sharply in most cases; in fact, it appears that the idiot with a couple guns did stand out, despite the tear gas.

At least one person in the audience remembered his gas mask and many others knew which way to run, even though this appears to be the most confused scene of a mass shooting in recent memory (rivaled only by the Moscow Police’s resolution of Nord-Ost Theater siege some years back with some kind of gas, which resulted in many hostage deaths).

c) There’s the typical assumption that “police and the military are special because they are legally empowered, and law is magic.” If, in Prof. Fox’s interpretation* of this event, target confirmation would be so problematic that a trained private individual who had been there and had some immediate familiarity with the area and some awareness of the other patrons, what would make responding officers more likely to get it right, even assuming that they were able to rush straight in from a connecting hallway? Nothing whatsoever.

Generally speaking, being immersed in a chaotic situation can make you biased. However, most people would agree that this was not a problematic situation for deciding to shoot at what looks like, sounds like, and probably smells like a bad guy. One could say that any bias is a problem, and that firearms magnify the opportunities for harm. But to categorize any dangers from bias as prohibitive ignores why you took the measure of carrying a firearm in the first place.

There are dangers from being around people carrying weapons; you might possibly have found yourself standing next to Tex Grebner while he fiddled with his SERPA – but then again, you probably won’t. I think the audience members would have preferred that Tex was in the audience fiddling with his SERPA than just sitting and hoping they could tackle the guy or flee in time. Personally, I would sit to Tex’s right side every time. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but nobody ever gets it in time.

The average defensive shooter probably wouldn’t be overly concerned about being wrongly targeted by the police or a confused defensive shooter in a case like this – if it was really unavoidable – so long as the guy doing his best to kill every last person is stopped. Sometimes that involves taking the risk of being shot. Firefighters don’t watch fires; they rush in and put them out (unless you didn’t pay your property tax, in some rare places and cases).

That’s a utilitarian rationale. Police often put their lives on the line (although I understand they aren’t legally required to do so, but the nature of their job puts them at risk). CCW and open carriers arguably do, too. An argument that it’s for their sake or that it would just make things more confused and more dangerous is condescending and wrong.

Additionally, moviegoers would have had time for their vision to adjust from the typical bright lighting of hallways connecting theaters in the typical modern movieplex design, which is yet another critical benefit denied to immediate responders. It’s not total situational awareness – it’s TOTAL SITUATIONAL IMMERSION. The best person to judge a situation might not be the one at hand, but if you can assume two people to be roughly equal in ability, the one who has had time to get acclimated to a situation will have a natural advantage. So goes the saying: a gun in the hand is worth two out in the bushes peering down at the theater.

The only real objection to concealed carry is, again, really a utilitarian one. How many lives might be lost across the entire nation? By expanding the problem to such a broad scale, however, this “big-picture” thinking immediately threatens to swallow up awareness of the individual defensive actions that demonstrate why and how defensive gun use can be helpful.

In any case, statistics can always be met with more statistics. I am not familiar with Fox’s work (or, actually, with the firearms statistics in general) but the utilitarian calculus should require that the measure of suffering avoided by justified DGUs must at least narrowly outweigh any suffering resulting from concealed carry.  Many people will prefer to talk about the deaths from one source versus another – since death is the greatest harm possible, it’s usually considered appropriate to take dramatic and expensive measures to prevent it.

It’s a funny thing, but nobody seems to ever make the claim that gun ownership is worse, on those scales, and get away with it. Instead we get a parade of individual, anecdotal cases. Tragic as each case may be, they don’t make up the reliable basis of a careful analysis. I’m not aware that the firearms statistics show that gun owners are more adept at harming themselves and innocents than they are at stopping crimes. And they often manage to accomplish it without so much as pulling the trigger or even pointing the gun at the bad guy – just like the police, in fact. It’s right to promote competence and professionalism in gun owners; it’s wrong to deny that it exists or attempt to use the assumed lack of it as a reason to deny gun ownership.



* You could call it that to be generous, but “fabricated” seems factually consistent with the information available here. He presents his case against permits as if dense gas and confused target environments are the norm in mass shootings, where the reverse is much more likely to be true. Shooters tend to make themselves conspicuous, often to indulge in self-worshipful head games. Given that nobody in the theater seems to have had a gun for self defense, we won’t be able to definitively judge whether anybody else could have identified the bad guy and shot him without injuring others, but the evidence we do have suggests that at least a few people could have made the right call.

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  1. Part of carrying a firearm is knowing when it is appropriate to draw and fire and when it is not.

    As Harry Callahan said, “A man’s got to know his limitations”.

  2. I had many of those concerns as well about being mistaken as one of the bad guys. You make a good point though that in that situation it really doesn’t matter, all you need to do is protect yourself as best as possible.

  3. if you’re afraid of being identified as the bad guy, when the police show up, drop your weapon. the cops don’t know who the bad guy or guys are and they will treat every person in the room as potentially hostile until the know otherwise.

    • Not afraid of being mistaken by the police, but by other law abiding gun toters and being shot as a perceived threat.

        • Have you ever heard the phrase “Target error”?

          How about “Killed by Friendly Fire”?

          Unless you assume every case of “friendly fire” in the history of war is really a cover for murder?

        • Please provide an example of this happening in an Active Shooter situation where a legally armed citizen is mistakenly shot by another legally armed citizen.

          Should be easy, unless it’s never happened.

  4. Ever since 9\11, when passengers in three of the four aircraft sat passively until they were murdered, the mindset of the flying public changed. People that act suspiciously or act out in some way tend to get tackled, if not beat down to the floor.

    This PROVES that people are quite capable of rising to the occasion. All it takes is focusing the mind on the possibility of having to confront evil as a matter of life and death. I think a great percentage of those of us that carry have thought this through and will fight back.

    The article in question seems to doubt our capacity to counter violence with violence.

    They don’t know us very well.

    Our main obstacles are a press and media that will try in some how to portray us as evil if use use arms in self defense, and a legal system that wants to jail and or bankrupt us if we try.

    • The people of Flt 93 heard what happened to the other 3 planes and new they were going to die. That is a huge motivation factor causing them to act. If you are going to confront someone causing that level of violence of the theater shooting you have to consider the possibility you may die and still act.

      If the average person with a CCW is willing to confront violence for the common good with a gun, would we confront that violence without a gun? Would we have taken the chance to tackle the shooter if an opportunity appeared?

    • It also proves that all those people who did not act deserved to die. Darwinism at its finest.

    • +1
      The apprehension of the “shoe bomber” by his fellow passengers, who tackled him and tied him up, speaks to the point that people will counter violence with violence.
      Funny, I don’t think any Left-wing wackos objected to that act of “vigilantism”, the way they so often do in cases of self-defense.

  5. And a kitchen fire extinguisher won’t stop a towering inferno. That’s not why they’re there. They’re to eliminate controllable threats and/or to give the carrier a fighting chance to escape or overcome.

    I fail to see what’s so hard about this and why this is even a debate point (yes, I know, the gun-hating media has to drag guns into everything).

    And, just like the Zimmerman case, there’s a whole lotta self-important talking heads who are oh so certain about what did or could have happened. Truth is, like the Z case, we’ll never know. But that sure won’t stop people from being slaves to their emotions and running their mouths.

    • From my experience I can tell that gun-grabbers are CONVINCED that they can disarm everyone, that they can ban all guns for everybody (save the police), and then it’s going to be all rainbows and butterflies, a violence-free utopia. And when you try to explain to them that while their intentions may be good, but no such thing will ever happen, they just get more irritated by your facts and logic. They honestly believe that cops can somehow be omnipresent to protect everyone, so why would YOU need a gun?

      • And if there were no guns, why would the police need guns? Oh right, because the bad guys are always going to have guns because they don’t care about breaking the law. Welcome to Mexico Amigo.

    • Your statement about “a whole lotta self-important talking heads who are oh so certain about what did or could have” reminds me of a certain TV shrink who was oh-so-certain that the Virginia Tech shooter was heavily involved in violent video game before the investigation had established ANY facts. In that case the facts turned out that the BG there had no interest in ANY computer games, let alone those that could be considered violent.

  6. As far as being shot because the po-po assume one a bad guy, yes it is definitely a concern. However, this guy managed to be taken into custody without being shot dead, and he WAS the bad guy.

    The individual in question is just going to have to do some quick OODA-fu, and take his or her chances with whatever course they decide is best. Life equals risk, some risks are just greater than others.

  7. I will give Fox credit for this: He says that gun control measures wouldn’t stop this, either. But could a person with a concealed handgun stop it? Let’s operate by the principle that anyone throwing lead my direction is a target. Is that person likely to be a cop? There was a single shooter. He enters the theater and starts firing at the audience. Neither of those are standard behavior for the police, no?

    As with every case like this (so far, I’m grateful to say), I wasn’t there. But I recognize that the world isn’t made up of many absolutes, and I carry a gun to improve the odds.

    • Gun control measures might very well have identified Mr. Holmes as an unfit person. Proper laws about multiple sales or 100-round magazines might very well have stopped him before he acted.

      What you guys fear is that your personal precious rights might be interfered with. You are so concerned with that that you would rather have guys like Holmes and Loughner buying guns legally.

      Shame on all of you.

      • Regulations only stop the law-abiding.

        Why do you think there was no one around with a gun to stop him?

        Because most people that carry in public do not go places like Caremark theaters, where we are clearly not wanted, or support politicians like Gabrielle Giffords that work diligently to take away our rights.
        “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”–Benjamin Franklin
        “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”–Thomas Jefferson

  8. This is interesting coming from MSNBC about how to talk to your children about the violence that occurred at the Batman movie or other times. I’m surprised that MSNBC did not quote a therapist specializing in counseling victims of violence who was an anti-gun nut. Of course it would have been great if the therapist also suggested saying that real guns can also protect innocent people, etc.

    “Talk about what real guns can do. Whether they’re playing with toy guns or simply making their fingers into the shape of a gun, preschoolers are typically aware of guns and need to understand the difference between a toy and a real weapon, says Hayley Sherwood, a psychologist who works with kids who are victims of trauma. “I would say, ‘it’s okay to play pretend guns, but real guns can hurt people and very scary things can happen with real guns.'”

  9. All you have to do is look at the situations where an armed citizen stopped a spree-killer (A few years ago in Colorado, a woman stopped one from getting into a church – she shot him on the steps leading into the church, after he had shot two people in the parking lot). Hard to see how an armed, honest citizen could have made this theater shooting worse. At the least, putting a few hits on the killer’s body armor would have distracted him, and probably upset his aim. And we see how useful Cinemark Holding’s “Gun Free Zone” policy was in this case – just like all of the other such “safe” zones, a better term for it is “Victim Rich Environment”. If any of the patrons who were shot or even terrified by this killer had a carry license, I hope they sue the living sh*t out of Cinemark. By prohibiting lawful concealed carry, Cinemark made themselves responsible for the safety of their patrons.

    And has anyone else noticed how “nuancey” the media is getting in their descriptions of the killer – James Holmes? A story in our local bird-cage liner (The Idaho Statesman) describes him as follows:

    “Colorado massacre suspect described as quiet, kind” [headline]

    “The biggest mystery surrounding Holmes, a 24-year-old doctoral student, was why he would have pulled on a gas mask and shot dozens of people, as police allege. … Neighbors recall him as a clean-cut, studious young man of sparing words. …

    Tall and dark-haired, he stared clear-eyed at the camera in a 2004 high school yearbook snapshot, wearing a white junior varsity soccer uniform . … Holmes was a brilliant science scholar in college. At the University of California Riverside, he earned merit scholarships. … Dan Kim, a 23-year-old student at the University of California San Diego, called the suspect a “super nice kid,” “kinda quiet” and “really smart.” … Kim said Holmes took multiple AP classes and had an academically inclined circle of about five to 10 friends. …
    In the age of widespread social media, no trace of Holmes could be found on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter or anywhere on the Web. Either he never engaged or he scrubbed his trail. … Holmes enrolled last year in a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver but left the program in June, said school officials, who didn’t provide a reason. … As part of the advanced program in Denver, a James Holmes had been listed as making a presentation in May about Micro DNA Biomarkers in a class named “Biological Basis of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders.” … In academic achievement, “he was at the top of the top,” recalled Riverside Chancellor Timothy P. White.”

    Gee, a brilliant, academically gifted PhD candidate, played soccer in high school, a circle of “academically inclined” friends, …

    Pardon my stereotyping, but does anyone want to take a bet on this killer being a Democrat, and an active supporter of Obama? If so, you will see the story disappear from the national news cycle in about a week.

    • Gee, a brilliant, academically gifted PhD candidate, played soccer in high school, a circle of “academically inclined” friends, … Pardon my stereotyping, but does anyone want to take a bet on this killer being a Democrat…

      So your stereotype of Republicans would then be border-line mentally handicapped students, who are too overweight to play sports?

    • Pardon my stereotyping, but does anyone want to take a bet on this killer being a Democrat, and an active supporter of Obama? If so, you will see the story disappear from the national news cycle in about a week.

      Why would the shooter support Democrats if they would have stopped him from buying the guns in the first place? Dawg, you make no sense.

    • I have a circle of academically inclined friends. Are you going to bet that I’m a mass shooter, too? While we’re at it, I don’t care if Obama’s never fired a gun in his life, he’s a goddamn mass shooter too, just ’cause, you know, he’s a Democrat.

      • I won. Turns out Holmes is a registered Democrat and a member of the “Black Bloc” of the Occupy movement. And for those who missed my main point, his left-wing affiliations explain why the antique media have stopped reporting on the shooter and are now focused on the guns.

  10. good insight. Pretty big admission from the lame-stream media. to back up that reality, interestingly enough this theater chain had a policy & signs posted: “No Guns Allowed”. How well did that work?

  11. I think an extremely brave, armed citizen or two could have effectively ended the situation as long as both identified the true threat and not shot at each other.

    It’s impossible to even guess how many lives may have been saved if such a counter attack had been mounted; however even if one life was spared out of the many who perished, it would have been worth it.

    Most of these shootings happen in places where people are prohibited to carry (by law or not) which, in my opinion, shows these criminals/mass murders are picking places where they hope to find the least resistance.

    I pray the families heal quickly from these losses. I hope that the shooter receives 3x more grief in prison than he has placed on the loved ones of the dead.

  12. A CCW carrier in the audience of that theater would have been facing the screen, which the shooter was standing in front of. I.e., nothing behind the shooter to worry about hitting. Lots of chaos in front of the shooter, sure, but people would have been running AWAY from him, effectively clearing the area in front of him. If the set up of that theater was anything like my local theater, I could stand up on my chair and get an almost clear, if not totally clear, shot at him.

    Have any of the news report said how he got into the theater will all that equipment?

    • If you would have read any of the articles, they all mentioned he went in thru the emergency exit. Not that it matters, he could have waltz in thru the front door, with all the hardware he had.

  13. Well we can debate whether an individual with a gun in the theater would have been able to stop or slow down the killer, but we will never know for sure, although I think it likely that it would have made at least some difference. But there are several facts that we do know: (1) Cinemark did not allow firearms on the premises. (2) The policy did not work (since criminals tend to ignore signs along with laws). (3) When criminals know there are a lot of firearms in a given area they tend to avoid them….for emprical evidence of this fact, there are no reported mass shootings that have occurred on a gun range or in a gun store.

    There are two logical conclusions: (1) The best place to go kill people is where you know there is unlikely to be anyone armed with a firearm. (2) The worst place to go kill people is where most people are likely to be armed with a firearm.

    Why is this so difficult for the anti-gun crowd to grasp? Because for them it is not, and never has been, about what is safest. It’s about control of and eventual servitude of the lower classes, simple as that.

    • It’s difficult for many gun-grabbers to understand because they are unable to grasp the reality of the human condition and the violence therein (they’re dumbasses). More to the point: gun ranges are not killing zones because of the lack of vulnerable targets. These degenerate psychopaths are not looking for a fair fight. If Mr. Holmes gave up to police without being shot, it is certainly possible to pose a legitimate argument that a single CCW holder could have slowed him down, interfered with his plan, etc.

      My understanding was that the shooting part of the incident was over in 70-90 seconds, and that police were on scene approximately 90 seconds after the shooting began. Holmes gave up to police without a shot being fired. I find that surprising as well. Many agencies now carry AR-15’s in order to more effectively deal with tactical situations such as an Active Shooter. Holmes would certainly have lost a shootout with police, which is an outcome I could certainly live with, given the totality of the circumstances. A shootout between Mr. Holmes and a CCW holder would very likely have caused the armed citizen to be killed, but would have very likely saved lives.

      There isn’t any easy way to deal with an Active Shooter, but slowing down his access to targets allows victims more time to escape, and more time for the police to respond. This is one of the reasons that I CC in cinemas, church, etc. Certainly I may die if I were to take on an Active Shooter, but I might die trying to escape or cower. I would much rather go on my feet than on my knees, and I’ve spent considerable time contemplating such things. I’ve also responded to shooting scenes and I’ve seen tragedy first hand.

      In effect, the gun grabbers want you on your knees. Don’t worry, they’ll light a pretty little candle in your memory.

      • It’s difficult for many gun-grabbers to understand because they are unable to grasp the reality of the human condition and the violence therein (they’re dumbasses).

        Aren’t you a gun grabber? As a California LEO, if you stopped a civilian with a concealed weapon, wouldnt you arrest him and take his gun?

      • With all due respect to your occupation Accur81, it bewilders me when law enforcement officers disarm citizens who carry for self defense (e.g. no criminal intent) and have no criminal record. Please explain your thinking behind your actions when you disarm citizens in violation of the U.S. Constitution … which you promised to uphold.

        • If you haven’t committed a crime with your firearm, or are not otherwise legally prohibited from owning one, you get it back. That’s pretty simple.

          If for example, I’d arrested Mr. Holmes for 5150 W&I(basically being mentally deficient and / or demonstrating that he is a danger to himself or others), he is separated from his firearm. If, based upon psychological evaluation by those more competent than me, that finding of mental instability is upheld, Mr. Holmes loses his gun rights. Is that a violation of the 2nd Amendment? I don’t think so. I have discretion, and I take the appropriate enforcement action based upon the totality of the circumstances. I absolutely, positively will take steps to separate the violent felon from his firearm(s), and from his ability to harm other people. Some people will say that I am spitting on the constitution by doing so. That’s their 1st Amendment right. If you were to spend a little time in my boots, I bet that you would feel the same way.

        • Thank you for your reply Accur81. I appreciate and agree with such actions when dealing with a criminal suspect such as the scumbag that attacked the theater. My question involves a citizen who has done nothing other than arm themselves for self defense. In jurisdictions such as California and Illinois law enforcement officers arrest citizens and confiscate their firearms solely for being armed. That is the scenario I do not understand.

  14. “While [concealed carry is] logical in theory, in the chaos of the moment, few gun owners would be prepared to mount an effective counterattack. ”
    Wasn’t a story posted on here two or three days ago about an effective counterattack from a 71 yr old man.

    • I think in this situation the CCW carrier would have the upper hand. The CCW would be able to clearly identify the target, the BG shooting people, but the BG has entered a room filled with 100+ people and isn’t likely to notice 1 of them drawing down on him while the SHTF. Unless you are the first person to be shot then you will have time to draw your weapon. At that point it would only take a moment of clear line of sight to start putting rounds on target. I believe a single person could ‘mount an effective counterattack’.

    • He’s usually giving me a hard time because I’m a police officer. Interesting fellow, that guy.

      • I hope that I don’t give you personally a hard time. You seem like an alright guy. In fact, you seem better than all right.

        It’s true that I don’t trust cops generally, but only because I’ve known so many of them who have abused their authority. But if you can tell me — and this is just between us — that you don’t know any cops who have abused their authority, I’ll believe you.

        • C’mon now, I know of cops who have abused their authority. I’ve seen and been around people who’ve been fired and /or incarcerated. There’s a reason that government has a system of check and balances (which doesn’t always work). Police officers need checks and balances as well (which doesn’t always …

      • i have a question for you which is not based on giving you a hard time because you’re leo. i live in california. i have a clean record and my firearms have been purchased legally. on occasion, because my neighberhood can get feisty, i carry concealed. i have no permit and can’t get one because of the leo admin in my area. if i’m caught by leo, how much trouble am i in? i don’t drink do drugs or hang with sketchy people and i would not resist leo.

        • I would suggest putting in an application for a CCW, even if it gets declined. I know that Orange County is granting them, but many other counties do not. You are basically at the discretion of the county sheriff. If they are pro-gun, they might grant you a CCW. If they are anti-gun, they need to be pestered with the applications as a matter of principle. I’m a believer of shall issue, but California politicians don’t ask me much about gun laws.

          That being said, your fate would depend upon the totality of the circumstances, and the discretion of the LEO who stopped you. You would not be stopped or contacted, at least in theory, unless you had broken another law or closely matched the description of someone who had. For obvious reasons, I can’t recommend breaking the law.

  15. “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  16. What Fox also ignores is that after two recent wars, with multiple deployments, many of us are much better trained than the average cop who qualifies with a handgun once a year on the range and has never fired a shot in anger.

  17. I don’t understand the angst here. Sometimes you face the famous Star Trek Kobyashi Maru scenario, i.e., the no win scenario. This is one of them. [The game controllers at the Naval War College put me through this type of scenario in 1991]About the only thing you can do is hope you get out alive but be prepared to die like a man.

    I repeat but myself there was almost no chance that anybody could have had a clear shot at Holmes given the smoke, darkness and chaos in the theater. Only a person right on top of him who didn’t get shot in the first moments of the attack would have a chance. Anybody else would have had a high probablity of hitting the wrong person.

    A CCW holder can stop a crime whether it is a robbery or a spree shooting under the right tactical conditions. If you are in the position to counter-ambush the attacker, like Mr. Williams in Florida, then you have a high probablility of success. The batman killer was alerted and engaged — not a likely candidate for a successful counte attack. I keep reading posts saying stopping power doesn’t exist and you can shoot someone in the heart and can keep going for x number of mnutes. Now some of the same people are saying it would be possible to get a guy with body armor in a crowded theater. It leads me to believe that there is not a lot rational thought going into this “analysis.”

    • +1

      I mentioned the same thing in my post. Trying to defend CCW or 2A in the context of this particular situation is useless. This event is an anomoly with in an anomoly.

  18. Mr. Fox should have picked a different atrocity to attempt to make his point. There was no defensive gun use in this situation, possibly in part because the victims were required to be defenseless. Even if the attacker had body armor, I’m pretty sure one or two .45 rounds to center mass would have rung his bell, and his gas mask wouldn’t have stopped a finishing shot.

    The debate needs to shift, with the burden of persuasion falling on those who have forced people into defenselessness, instead of on those who merely want to be able to defend themselves and others.


  19. Yeah, substitute the words “police officer” for “concealed carry holder” and then watch the person trying to make the argument against concealed carry lose their ever loving mind…

    So, I guess an off duty police officer in the theater engaging the bad guy would only have made the situation worse, right? He could never have stopped him so he certainly shouldn’t have even tried, right? Even a cop should not be allowed to have a gun in the theater, right? I guess the bad guy was so well armed and so armored up that the first police on scene should not even get involved with the chaotic situation because it would have lead to more dead and injured right? I mean with all the smoke and people running around, the bad guy was just completely unstoppable, right? Any police officer trying to return fire would only have made it worse, right?

    They just can’t wrap their brain around it. Its the “I’m the only one professional enough” bias that they just somehow cant get past. They’ve been all over Facebook trying to convince everybody that an armed civilian would only have multiplied the carnage…. dude, someone if shooting up the place… it would probably help if somebody could shoot back at the SOB. It cant get much worse. He’s already slaughtering people at will.

  20. One more thing worth bringing up, there were four active duty service members in the audience. Allow active military the same open carry rights as LEO’s. Fairly confident that four motivated, trained people with M9’s could have made this situation better.

  21. Not that I am insensitive to the needs or predicaments of others, but “mounting an effective counterattack” is not at the top of my DGU list. Protecting my family occupies the #1 position, which is THE reason I have a PA License to Carry Firearms and started taking my Ruger LC9 to the movies last year.

    If enough movie goers were carrying and protecting their families, then that would likely constitute an effective counterattack.

  22. few gun owners would be prepared to mount an effective counterattack

    Wow, another Ivory Tower genius who knows everything. Okay, Fox, what are tonight’s Powerball numbers?

    That who can, do. Those who can’t should STFU.

      • It’s only tear gas. Don’t they still make you sit in a room with tear gas and make you do pushups without a gas mask in the military? Maybe you could see, and maybe you couldn’t. Ditto for the body armor. If you fight back, you’ll either be target número uno, or a hero. Maybe both. Maybe a dead hero.

        Either way, I’m going down fighting. I’ll maintain that warrior spirit and positive mental attitude. I don’t see the value in giving up, and I don’t train to give up. There are people who shielded loved ones with their own bodies. That’s pretty badass. How much tactical training do you suppose they had? Would they have done better if they gave up?

  23. I got exposed to tear gas (while watching the NATO Day parade in Berlin). After that, I don’t think anyone could aim a handgun in that movie theater. It’s like 9-11, there’s nothing the people in the twin towers could do.

    There are a lot of interesting questions in this case. Did he act alone? I’m wondering how he got inside. Theater exits are usually locked and an alarm should go off if opened (so you can’t your friends inside.). If he was a homicidal nut, why the wimpy surrender? Where did this guy get the $ for all the armaments? Things to think about.

  24. Honestly, I think the entire discussion around this is wrong to begin with.
    Mass murders of this scale are an anomaly to begin with. Any gun use, defensive or otherwise, are an anomaly, or at least NOT the norm. Why discuss the merits of CCW or 2A in the context of an anomaly with in an anomaly?

    And personally, I find the argument around whether or not more legal CCW carriers in the movie theater could have changed the argument ridiculous. But less ridiculous than those who argue so adamantly that they would have been able to come to the rescue with their pistol in such a situation. Tear gas billowing, people screaming, shots fired, and then imagine 4 or five strangers around you, all licensed for CCW, coming into your vision. Your children are in tow, and you have your pistol. NO ONE trains for that type of scenario. Not one special operations force, not one police force, NO ONE.

    Because it is so much an anomaly, its not worth the time and investment. Just like the discussion around “Guns” and gun laws in this situation.

    Your much more likely to die on any given day, in a vehicular accident then being shot, let alone being shot by a mass murdering nut job while watching a movie. Yet we don’t talk about limiting drivers licenses, or eliminating cars that can go faster than 60mph every time there is a pile up on the highway, or a drunk driving accident.
    Still, I think a legitimate and objective “Gun Control” discussion can have merit. But only as a much bigger discussion in the entirety of our lives. Because I think once we do that, the discussion becomes much less about what we can do about “Gun Control” and much more about what we can do about Gun education, GUN PSA’s, Criminal Control, Mental Health in the US, economics, gender roles and race role in violence, and government.

    Right now, this is all fodder to feed a discussion being driven by people with an agenda.

  25. I agree to an extent with Coyote…I’ve grown tired of every CC’r and OC’r monday morning quarterbacking this event. In all honesty had I been there, besides the safety of my family, my next thought would have been George Zimmerman. A perfect example of how the best of intentions (maybe) coupled with a foolish decision, led to dire consequences. Do I want to risk over penetration and my bullet hitting somebody watching a movie next door? No. Do I want to risk hitting someone besides the BG? No. Do I want to take a center mass shot and…oops, he’s wearing a vest? Guess who he’s emptying all his weapons at now? While I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, I am not Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis or Sylvester Stallone. And yes, I would be concerned about cops rushing in and shooting me. I seriously doubt I’d be watching for them while I’m trying to take down some wacko.

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