I thought I’d pass along a link to William Saletan’s piece on Slate which attempts to make a case against Second Amendment carry based on Joe Zamudio’s admission that he nearly shot one of the heroes in Tuscon while responding to the incident. Zamudio’s explanation of his actions paint the picture of a man who, without military or law enforcement training, acted with near perfect composure and caution. Rather than imply Zamudio is a public menace lacking in judgment, Saletan should have noted that this sort of response is exactly what responsible exercise of Second Amendment rights is about . . .
The fact that Zamudio didn’t shoot is extremely important – often times exactly that kind of situational awareness and judiciousness under stress goes unreported, both for military and law enforcement. Note also that, in his haste to impugn Second Amendment carry, Saletan plays lip service to the fact that military or law enforcement personnel could make the same mistake, despite possessing exactly the sort of training Zamudio’s lacks:
That’s what happens when you run with a firearm to a scene of bloody havoc. In the chaos and pressure of the moment, you can shoot the wrong person. Or, by drawing your weapon, you can become the wrong person—a hero mistaken for a second gunman by another would-be hero with a gun. Bang, you’re dead. Or worse, bang bang bang bang bang: a firefight among several armed, confused, and innocent people in a crowd. It happens even among trained soldiers. Among civilians, the risk is that much greater.
We’re enormously lucky that Zamudio, without formal training, made the right split-second decisions. We can’t count on that the next time some nut job starts shooting. I hope Arizona does train lawmakers and their aides in the proper use of firearms. I hope they remember this training if they bring guns to constituent meetings. But mostly, I hope they don’t bring them.
No amount of training can ensure that every shooting is a good shooting. What Joe Zamudio illustrates, however, is that responsible exercise of Second Amendment rights can have multiple outcomes, including not shooting potential threats.
But before we embrace Zamudio’s brave intervention as proof of the value of being armed, let’s hear the whole story. “I came out of that store, I clicked the safety off, and I was ready,” he explained on Fox and Friends. “I had my hand on my gun. I had it in my jacket pocket here. And I came around the corner like this.” Zamudio demonstrated how his shooting hand was wrapped around the weapon, poised to draw and fire. As he rounded the corner, he saw a man holding a gun. “And that’s who I at first thought was the shooter,” Zamudio recalled. “I told him to ‘Drop it, drop it!’ ”
But the man with the gun wasn’t the shooter. He had wrested the gun away from the shooter. “Had you shot that guy, it would have been a big, fat mess,” the interviewer pointed out.
I was very lucky. Honestly, it was a matter of seconds. Two, maybe three seconds between when I came through the doorway and when I was laying on top of [the real shooter], holding him down. So, I mean, in that short amount of time I made a lot of really big decisions really fast. … I was really lucky.
When Zamudio was asked what kind of weapons training he’d had, he answered: “My father raised me around guns … so I’m really comfortable with them. But I’ve never been in the military or had any professional training. I just reacted.”
Zamudio exercised his Second Amendment rights responsibly, and deserves great credit for his courage and his quick wits. Saletan exercises his First Amendment rights irresponsibly by abusing Zamudio to make a political case, all the while clearly displaying that he has absolutely no idea of what kind of split-second mental calculus is necessary when engaging potentially hostile targets.
William Saletan has an itchy trigger finger, owes Joe Zamudio an apology, and should be ashamed.