Later today TTAG’s Bruce Krafft will take apart an anti-gun screed from huffingtonpost.com writer Sanjay Sanghoee. I’ve bumped Bruce’s piece back to the future to address Mr Sanghoee’s most recent effort Friendly Fire: What NYC Shooting tells us about Cops, Guns, and Armed Citizens. Before we dive in, a quick check on the pro-gun interpretation of the shooting outside the Empire State Building, during which two NYPD officers wounded nine civilians . . .
1. Cops need better firearms training. Across the board.
2. Cops are no better at shooting bad guys than civilians. All things being equal, worse.
3. Arguments against allowing Americans to exercise their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms based on the possibility of collateral damage (the “O.K. Corral” scenario) are fundamentally flawed.
Now, Sanghoee’s spin . . .
This weekend, after the NYPD announced that all nine of the bystanders injured in the shooting near the Empire State Building were shot by cops responding to the gunman, the predictable response from many readers was that since it was the cops’ fault, guns were not the problem.
Aside from the screwy logic in that, the fact is that the NYPD’s frank admission makes the case for gun control even stronger. What happened in New York City is an example of the mayhem that ensues when guns are used in any situation.
There’s the short version: guns are dangerous, period. And if they’re dangerous for cops—trained professionals—how could anyone seriously propose “letting” armed civilians loose upon society?
Sanghoee wants you to imagine “what would have happened in that situation if all New Yorkers were armed.” All I tell you! Every damn one of them!
With more guns in the mix and more citizens deciding to take matters into their own hands, many more shots would have been fired, and if the professionals themselves could miss their target and shoot innocent bystanders instead, you can imagine how ordinary citizens, most of them with only amateur shooting experience, would have done a hell of a lot more damage. In the madness that would have erupted, a simple take-down of a suspect by police would have turned into a modern day shootout at the OK Corral. Anyone who believes that a scenario like that would have resulted in fewer casualties is patently insane.
Suggesting that a ballistic free-for-all is the inevitable result of lawful gun owners carrying firearms lawfully is willful ignorance. It flies in the face of common sense and factual evidence.
Example given: in March of 2011, The Columbus Dispatch detailed Ohio’s 2010 concealed carry permit stats. The Ohio AG reported 60k permits with 720 permits suspended, 206 revoked and 655 denied. So the AG revoked less than one half of one percent of all the permits issued.
Even if we assume that the AG pulled a percentage of these permits for gun crimes—a wild stretch of the imagination—it’s not exactly a case for a plague of “concealed carry killers” is it? [FYI: Florida provides similar data.]
The Giffords shooting offers anecdotal evidence that an average citizen with a firearm is not a trigger-happy vigilante. Joe Zamudio, a civilian with a concealed weapon, physically restrained spree killer Jared Loughner, rather than plugging him.
As a gun blogger who’s spend the last three years scanning the web for defensive gun use, I can’t recall of a single instance of OK Corralage, where armed citizens made a criminal situation worse. Not one. And hundreds where they made it better. All by themselves.
The other important thing to recognize is why our police need to carry guns in the first place. It is because we have a proliferation of guns in America in private hands. As I have said earlier, the cowboy culture and the spread of heavy duty weapons like the AR-15 semi-automatic rifles make our society a dangerous place, which then necessitates a strong armed response by law enforcement.
Sanghoee could have argued that the sheer number of guns in circulation in America facilitates their criminal use, which led to armed law enforcement. (The counter: it is what it is.) But suggesting that Americans’ generally pro-gun stance (shamelessly derided as “cowboy culture”) and the popularity of AR-15s put Glocks on cops is patently insane. To steal a phrase.
Sanghoee goes on to offer the UK as an example: less guns equals less gun crime equals less cops with guns. We’ve been there, parsed that. So let’s move on to the coupe de grace.
. . . the only surefire way to avoid “friendly fire” is to obviate the need for guns all around – something that cannot happen as long as civilians want to be armed. Contrary to popular Constitutional lore and manipulative NRA rhetoric, an armed citizenry does not make us safer but destroys our safety completely.
If civilians didn’t want to be armed cops wouldn’t need guns thus avoiding (if not eliminating) friendly fire. Does the Geneva Convention allow logic to be tortured like that? More to the point, what about criminals? Aren’t they the reason civilians and cops tool up? How do you obviate them?
The Empire State Building incident may have had a lower body-count than the shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, but given how it played out, it should be a cautionary tale of what can happen when guns are used at all, and should be utilized to ramp up the pressure against gun violence, the gun culture, and the twisted arguments of the gun lobby.
Mayor Bloomberg, can you hear me?
Unfortunately, yes. Yes he can. Even worse he’s one with your twisted arguments. Which just goes to show that Voltaire was right: common sense is not so common.