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I’ve taken ace gun snapper Oleg Volk to task for publishing photos that lacked tactical awareness. You know; pictures of people doing stupid things with guns (in that seamlessly glamorous Oleg Volk kinda way). But the Russian immigrant’s take-no-prisoners approach to armed self-defense occasionally wanders into right-on-the-money territory. Such as his response to gun grabbers who claim that an armed citizen would have been ill-advised to respond with firepower when James Holmes opened fire at Cinema 16 in Aurora, Colorado. “People say that any hypothetical defender at the Aurora theater would have run the risk of hitting innocent bystanders,” Volk blogs. Not so much, Mr. Volk reckons . . .

The risk existed but consider how typical theater seats rise rise towards the back. It’s the classic “second rank fires over the heads of the first” musketeer arrangement. A perp near the screen would have been on the receiving end of all armed theater patrons simultaneously…had any armed people besides the attacker been present.

If Cinemark hadn’t made their business a “gun free” zone, if James Holmes knew he might face that kind of tactical disadvantage during his attack, maybe he would have chosen a different target. Or used explosives instead. Or . . . who knows. But sometimes the best offense is a good defense.

Volk isn’t done. He doesn’t accept the idea that the cinema’s lighting (or lack thereof) presented an insurmountable problem for a properly equipped armed defender.

As for the aiming in the dark: gun lights exist for a reason. Moreover, in a smoky atmosphere, laser beams would have become visible and pointed to the attacker most prominently. Green lasers in particular provide enough scatter to light up the target fairly well. Worst case, the combination of screen light and muzzle flashes would have provided some idea of where to shoot — and the viewers eyes had time to adapt to the darkness.

Finally, Mr. Volk shares my and the rabbi’s opinion that the Midnight Movie Massacre was not as “bad” an event as it could have been. Especially when compared to one of the worst terrorist attacks in living memory.

So it would have been a tough fight but far from impossible — certainly not on the level of Beslan school takeover.

Again, we should take a lesson from the Aurora spree killing and prepare—at least mentally—for an even worse life-or-death self-defense situation.

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    • I’d be thrilled if my local range would just let me rapid fire, let alone practice in low light. That’s why I go out to the woods.

    • when I qualified for my CCW back in michigan years ago, my instructor was an ex-Air Force combat instructor. He MADE us practice controlled in the dark while using a flashlight over our heads to simulate gunfire. We had to demonstrate muscle memory and use cover. HE even made us practice on our backs as if we had been knocked down. Very powerful demonstration

  1. If I was in the hospital wounded from this shooting I wouldn’t want Obama to visit me except to take the opportunity tell him about the RKBA not that it would a difference. If I was in the hospital I would be fine with a visit from Christian Bale aka Batman.

    • I’d tell Obama to go the **** away since I have no use for someone trying to dance in my blood to score political points.

      Christian Bale would be cool, though. I’ve always wanted to tell him that I thought Rescue Dawn was a somewhat underrated movie and that he did an insanely fine job in it.

    • My understanding is Bale is in fact dawning the outfit and headed to the hospital for a visit. I think he wants to keep it on the down low though. I wouldn’t want Obama there either. If he was, I would question him in front of cameras. Why does your government pass laws so we can’t protect ourselves or our families?
      Real simple question that he can never answer completely.

  2. The risk existed but consider how typical theater seats rise rise towards the back…[etc]

    This was exactly my comment. In a stadium style theatre, every seat in the theatre has a clear view of the word EXIT over the door down front. The height differential between rows means your line of sight is over the heads of everyone except those in the row directly in front of you. That goes double in a situation like this when people are hitting the deck. Still not a situation I’d ever want to be in.

  3. and the point i made before. the goblin wanted to live. he left the theater before the cops got there and gave up at the first cops arrival. he wants to live and make sure his “manifesto” gets the attention he believes it deserves. return fire, no matter how inneffective would have sent him out quicker and maybe saved a few lives. we’ll never know for sure but i at least would like that option.

  4. if your shooting place allows you, get a strob light, place it at the base of the target and let it illuminate the target, engage//
    a bit of aluminum foil at center of mass, will give you an added effect to the target.

    might help.

  5. Every account Ive read so far has stated that the first cops arrived “within minutes of the first 911 call”. Well, that worked out well didnt it, the guy had already stopped shooting by the time they showed up, he almost got to walk/drive away from the scene. A better outcome would have been “at 12:39 a man opened fire in theatre #9, and at 12:39:30 the hostile was found dead in the front of theater #9 suffering several gunshot wounds from multiple CCW permit holders”.

    • the GANG UNIT arrived first. they didn’t have gas masks and didn’t enter until 10 min later. that’s comforting.

  6. I just remixed something I wrote here for a discussion elsewhere:

    The evidence we have indicates that the initial confusion by theater patrons was not that they couldn’t see him clearly, but was caused by their deference towards police or random movie interruptions by entertainers caused them to think he had a reason for being there. They certainly could see him and how he was dressed. He threw a tear gas grenade before firing into the crowd, at which point I believe any person with a handgun would be justified in at least drawing the gun, taking aim, and yelling at the shooter to stop. In fact, they could’ve started blasting away at him and none of us would be criticizing them for it, other than maybe saying “well that was a risky thing to do,” which is kind of a “mind the teacups” objection in my opinion.

    And let’s cap it off with a quote from Warsaw Ghetto hero and survivor Marek Edelman (quoted in an AP article at the time of his death in 2009):

    “No one believed they would be saved,” Edelman said. “We knew the struggle was doomed, but it showed the world there was resistance against the Nazis, that you could fight the Nazis.”

    Replace dead Nazi murders with dead mass murderers of any origin and you’ve still got a match.

  7. One thing I know about cinema houses, you always have to pause a few moments to adjust your vision to the gloom – something that the patrons would not have to do as their eyes have already adjusted. Combined with the loss of night vision from the glare of the guns going off, the shooter would have been at a greater disadvantage. Also as I understand it, his vision was already impaired by his wearing a gas mask.

    I think Oleg got it right, the advantage would have firmly been in the camp of any armed response by the intended victims.

  8. Volk has presented a tactical picture that I had not considered before. I had not thought about the South Wales Borderers at Roarks Drift formation. I am alway willing to admit when I am wrong.

    In a perverse sense guns may have saved lives in this case. Denied access to firearms Holmes might have chosen to build an IED to do the deed. Far more than twelve people would have died.

  9. I haven’t read any report that stated the shooter walked right in the middle of the screen and started shooting. At most theatres I go to, the exits are on either side of the screen, so unless I missed something, he probably started shooting from the darkened corner where the exit door is that he came back through. Depending on the position of any armed moviegoer, they may have had to shoot across the theatre. Reports indicated he didn’t remain stationary, so I don’t know if he went up and down stairs, back and forth across the screen, but okay if someone had crimson trace they could have nailed him? Would have taken more variables than that to be in a defenders favor.


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