One of the holy grails of evening news gun-related reporting is a simulation proving something definitively. Or at least convincingly enough for the average viewer. The infamous ABC test (much touted by gun control activists) that tried to simulate a school shooting and an active shooter response is the perfect example: no matter how idiotic the scenario and how astoundingly dumb the execution, if it reinforces people’s preconceived notions, it will be used forever. WFAA-TV decided to take another crack at that situation and ran a simulation of their own, this time seemingly proving that an armed defender can indeed make a difference.
There are some major problems here that jump out immediately.
Issue #1: the sample size is as small as a .9mm handgun. The news station only used four people in their testing, and while I applaud them for trying, that really isn’t a representative sample of the population. Things went well in this specific case, but in order for a test like this to be useful for actual analysis you have to have more data.
Issue #2: the scenarios are highly scripted. The defender in every scenario is the only one wearing protective headgear, meaning they are easily singled out by the attacker. The only way to combat that knowledge is by having a highly scripted attacker and scenario, something that negates the whole purpose of running live scenarios. If all the players know the tune, the result is inevitable and there’s no room for actual discovery.
In short, there’s no real scientific basis for any of their conclusions. These are a select handful of people acting in a scripted scenario against actors who are actively altering their normal behavior to fit the script. Its more of a theater production than real science.
That said, the results are remarkably pro-gun. Scenario after scenario seemed to show that an armed defender was able to successfully stop an armed attacker, proving the line that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” It would be a lot more convincing if the basis for the testing was done in a more rigorous manner, though.