Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ballseye's Gun Shots 105 - Why Didn't Anyone Else Have A Weapon...

...and use it against Jared Loughner? Think about that as a legitimate question to ask yourselves. While thinking about it, note that I did not ask why anyone didn't have and use a firearm, I specifically said a weapon. While a firearm would certainly be included under the header of 'A Weapon', so to would be a knife, mace, pepper spray, an expandable baton, a sap, and a stun gun. They are so common that they should immediately come to mind when the word weapon is brought up in such a context, and should pop into one's mind even quicker when the discussion turns to self defense. You would think that someone in that crowd of people would have had one of these fairly to very conventional self defense weapons when this apparent madman went berserk and started shooting. Yet, it has not been reported that anyone used a weapon against him to help bring him down. Why didn't they? Think about that long and hard because it is a very important question and your answer to it may just tell yourself an awful lot about yourself and about the society in which we live.

Then, after thinking about the answer to that question, pose another one for yourself. If you had been there, would you have been armed and would you have had the mindset to take out the madman. I can tell you this, had I been there, I likely would have been armed. I also am fairly certain enough of myself to say I would have at least tried to take some sort of action to stop him had I not already been incapacitated. Note I did not say had I not already been shot. If I was able to move, I like to fancy that my training and current mind set would have taken over and that I would have taken action to end the threat. also I would like to think that any action I would have taken would have come long before the action taken by those brave few who tried to and actually did stop him. In other words, I would hope that I would have acted by the time he had only got off no more than a few or several shots and not all 30 that it is quite possible that he fired. (I base this on reports that he was using a 30 round clip magazine.)

By now you may have realized that I have not said I would have shot him but that I would have tried to negate the threat; of course, the implication is I would do that with a weapon. You can bet that I would certainly try with a weapon if the situation presented itself. That is because I would want to inflict the maximum amount of damage to him that I could, in the shortest amount of time, to stop him as quickly as possible. You will also note I am not saying I would kill him. I have been trained to stop the threat, if that means I yell at him and he drops his weapon and surrenders then so be it. Yelling may be my only option in some circumstances but if I was close to him I would choose another more surefire method. So, on the other hand, if I put two in his chest and one in his head, and he winds up dead - well tough shit for him. I would not be trying to kill him though - just trying to stop him.

Now back to why I said I did not mention shooting him right off. In a situation like the one that presented itself that sad day, the chances could well have been that getting a clear shot might have been all but impossible. If I had a clear shot, I would have taken it and a followup or two. What if it was not a clear shot, what if others seemed to be in the way. Would you chance it? Would I? Maybe I would, depending on how much damage he was doing. Then again, maybe I would charge him and stab him with a knife or shoot him if a shot opened up. I always carry one or two knives on me - well almost always, just like I usually have a gun. Maybe I would be lucky and have both with me and have some great options.

Of course, it is quite possible that those options may not have been at all available if it was one of those rare days when I left both gun and knives at home. That is, that would be a rare day for me. Others quite likely would not be as well armed as am I on a regular day for me. Okay - what else to do if you don't have a gun or a blade. Go for the pepper spray, start squirting when double the distance from him you think is effective if you have too, maybe he will dick and someone else will get him down. maybe not - it would be a chance you could take that could make you the hero or the dead guy who tried. Mind you, even when trying to stop a crazed gunman, like him, with your own gun or a blade - you could still wind up injured or dead. Then again, standing there or cowering down and pooping in your pants might accomplish the same thing - you being injured or dead. This was a life or death situation and in such a situation I tend to think that I should try to gain control especially once the bullets are already flying. So what would you decide.

No pepper spray either - heh! ope most people do not carry Guns, knives or pepper spray. most don't have the other weapons I mentioned above like stun guns or expandable batons either. If I had one of them though, chances are I would act and try to bring the bad guy down. Even without such weapons at hand, I think I might try something. First I would try to make my ass stop puckering to hold in the crap that would be about to load down my drawers. I would do that by moving since a moving target is harder to hit. I would seek cover if possible. Once behind cover i would try to arrive at what to do having already assessed what was going on as I was moving for cover and crapping in my pants. Are you chuckling or thinking I am trying to be funny. I am not. I would fully expect to be so scared, if I was weaponless, or just if someone was shooting at me and others were falling shot all around me, that I figure I would either piss myself or shit myself or maybe both. It happens; the thing is I would not let that stop me from taking action.

Hopefully, whatever action I decided upon would be good enough to stop him or to get others to help me to stop him and we would do it. Maybe sticking my pen in his eye, or repeatedly stabbing him in the face with it would work. Maybe grabbing his gun if i could get close enough - and if I am close enough to stab him then a gun grab is definitely within the realm of possibilities. Maybe i could grab a shopping cart (this was at a supermarket) and ram him with it. Maybe I could pick up a rock and throw it at him - no rock - what about my cell phone; and as I did that I could yell get him - or go for him now - just as I throw because by the time it hits him others will have heard it just before he is momentarily stunned or distracted. No cell phone, no rocks, what about my shoe or shoes. Close enough to hit him with something but not close enough to grapple yet. Wow - how did my belt wind up in my hand, buckle end ready to swing at his face. There are weapons - weapons everywhere but not a soul to wield them. Well except for me if I am in the crowd - what about you!

Truth be told - I would much rater have a gun in a gun fight than have a knife or have a show or a rock or a pen or a belt or a gun take away move. The thing is though, when people are being shot all around you and you can get to the shooter within a couple or a few steps, then maybe you had best think of going for him even while he is still shooting. Why - because if you don't try - you may be the next one to take a bullet. Yes, hes, yes - I know - if you do try you may be the next one to take a bullet. You have to decide which is better - to die trying or to die like a cowardly lion or a timid mouse. You could live either way too. So you also need to decide which would be better - to live the rest of your life realizing you did nothing while others were injured and died or to live the rest of your life knowing you tried your best to stop the threat and maybe even to live realizing that had it not been for you stopping the bad guy more innocent people would have been injured or died.

I am not suggesting even for a moment that you try to go at someone like John Wayne if you are not that type of person. I am saying you want figure out ahead of time what you are willing to do to save your own life and whether or not you are willing to save others. Here is where that thing I mentioned above about learning something about the society in which we live comes to play. Most people - and this is a fact of life - do nothing - they expect someone else will do it. Even as people are falling bloodied all around them - they do nothing. They expect John Wayne and the U.S. cavalry to arrive in the form of law enforcement officers or in the form of someone else who will do something. The thing is, it is often too late for too many before that someone else arrives or comes to life inside of someone already at the scene. It happened this time, that some few at the scene had that cavalry come to life inside of themselves. The first one seems to have been the woman who grabbed the gun and magazine (or maybe it was just the magazine). That was all it took folks. Grabbing the gun, or the mag. It did not take The Terminator, not Wyatt Earp, not the cops, not a well armed citizen (though how I wish one or two had been there), not anything like that. It took someone who was driven to her limit to be a target, and to her limit to go with the flow of our society, who decided to turn things around. In that moment she became a shepherd, a sheepdog (if you will) and she protected not only herself but the flock of sheep all around her. So too did at least two others become shepherd at that moment and they went in fighting right along with her - but she was the alpha and the omega because had it not been for her and her actions it is quite possible no one else would have done anything. In that regard, our society is sorely wanting, we lack people like her and the others who brought the madman down. It was not always that way, once upon a time we looked out for one another. Sure most would watch but there were a higher percentage who would have gone in fighting than there is now. We need to turn around as a society to realize we need to take one anothers' backs in such a situation. It would save a lot of lives if we did so. Years ago, this guy would have been beaten to a pulp, lawyers have taken away our resolve to do something like that today but that is no reason to just stand there and get killed or injured. We have a right to fight to protect ourselves and others.

The sad thing is though, with regard to the lady (the hero) who grabbed the magazine (and maybe the gun too) she waited until he was reloading to do so. Now, I am not finding fault with her, not at all. What she did was courageous, maybe even foolish in your eyes but not in my view because it was what saved the day and nothing else was going to do that than someone taking action. Sometimes you need to throw caution to the wind and just do it and take the chance that what you do will win out. As I said though, it is sad she and the others, who then jumped on the guy and got control him, waited that long. Believe me - 30 shots is a long time to wait even though they may have been fired in only seconds. I tend to think this guy was aiming and took a bit longer but that is just guesswork on my part right now. Time, and the greater amount of information that will be released as time goes by, will tell.

So what is the point of all this. There are a couple or a few. You should, in my opinion, always be armed when at all possible. You should, in my opinion, always arm yourself with the most effective weapon that is practical. You should be, in my opinion, well trained and practiced in the use of whatever weapon you are carrying within reason. I say within reason because while I am trained with firearms, chemical sprays, batons and some other weapons, I have no knife training or very little of it. I carry a knife mostly as a tool, I know how to use it that way. Yet, I would not hesitate to use a knife as a weapon if need be. I truly believe in 'any weapon to stop the threat in an emergency' so long as it is not causing more of a threat to me and other innocents. You also need to have a plan as to what you will do in the event you ever find yourself in a situation where your life, or the lives of other innocents, are jeopardized and deadly force is being threatened or actually being used.

Besides having a plan, you need a mindset that will allow you to implement your plan and to take action when the action needs to be taken to save lives. If you do ever wind up in such a situation and then do take action and wind up winning the battle and surviving, you may realize something. That is that, the actions of one person often spur on other people to act. Not always, but often. It seems to have happened this time - one person took the initiative, the first step, and others followed in a heartbeat. Maybe they had all decided to act independently of each other but I think that when one saw the first moving, and then a third saw the second moving - that was what had been needed. It just went on from there and they won. I could be proven wrong on this if the heroes in this one are ever asked what made them move - was it seeing someone else going for the bad guy or not - but it really does not matter if I am right or not. What mattered was that people did act and they took control of the situation away from the madman - they stopped him cold and saved the day because he had another one of those 30 round magazines - didn't he! They just didn't give him the chance to use it, they put him down and saved more lives, maybe even their own. Think about that, think hard and long - then tell yourself what you would do in a similar situation. Yes - YOU!

I am not telling you to do anything like that, not even suggesting you ever do it, I am telling you though to make up your mind now as to what you would do if you ever find yourself in such a mess. If you decide that you would take action, then I am strongly recommending that you start planning, training and practicing now for whatever you would do. You though are the one who has to decide what you would do (and mind you choosing to play dead is even doing something). Read the news about this shooting, watch the news about it, pay attention to how many victims there were and how many of the victims had weapons (or not) and who tried to stop the threat. Think about them as opposed to those who did do something, those who stopped the threat and did it without weapons. Then think about whether it would have been more or less likely that the bad guy would have been stopped sooner if someone had a defensive weapon and knew how to use it and then chose to use it. Think about it all, think about it again and maybe again and only then - tell yourself, what it is you would do if faced with much the same. Think hard though, before you answer, because your life and the lives of others may someday depend on what you decided today.

All the best,
Glenn B

(I'll proofread this again later, just figured the message was worth posting as soon as I could.)

1 comment:

Kansas Scout said...

I will reread this more carefully. Thanks for writing this. When I was a Psych Tech when I was in school, I was attacked once while not in a "ready state" and found myself backing down the hallway to keep this drunk at arms length. My fellow staff and friend saw this and promptly took the guy down. Afterwards I found myself completely amazed at my poor response. (this was in the early 80's) Mindset means a great deal and I fixed that problem long ago. I can tell other relevant anecdotes from those days about other sheeplike reactions to serious threats by others not expecting this.
We are strongly conditioned to avoid violence in our workplaces and schools to the point that people are far more passive than they would have been in the past.
Your post provoked a checkup on my preparedness. I carry ccw all the time and usually have a knife.
recently, we had someone bang on our door at three am. I found myself clearing the garage with my pistol and thinking how small that was. Shotgun came down and under my bed. No one was there btw. Cops called and great timely response. No one found.