I am sorry to see that once more a mad man with a gun(s) has come forth and provided us with data to test the NRA memes about how much we need “Good Guys with a gun”. Before I start I wish to say I am heart broken that so many people have had to suffer and die. To all the friends and families of the victims of the Las Vegas mass murder I can only say I grieve and sorrow with you. My grief is not your grief, my sorry is not your sorrow. I say this to you in the small hope that you get some small comfort knowing a total stranger grieves with you in some small way.
I do not know, and I will not even attempt to predict why this massacre in Las Vegas happened. It is too early and we know too little to say anything definitive about motive of the perpetrator. Nor will I enter into any discussion of pro and cons of gun control, this is not the time for this to take place. What I will be talking about is the meme that the NRA is always pushing that the only way to stop a bad man with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
This is a very insidious meme. Without a doubt this bad man with a gun was stoped by good guys with a gun. The problem is that the good guys in question were highly trained professionals. These good guys were not just someone who likes shooting, they were not just great marksmen, they are men and women who train for just this kind of crises. They train individually and they train togeather. They know what they are doing and they know what their team mates are going to doing and going to do. An this is why the meme of a ‘good guy with a gun’ is so insidious.
This meme gives the impression that any good guy with a gun would be an asset in the kind of situation that happened last night in Vegas. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Don’t just trust me, go ask any policeman or other first responder just what the effect of a bunch of armed civilians running around in the CF that Las Vegas was last night. I won’t even attempt to give you any of the many scenarios that come to my mind as I write this. What I will do is talk about ‘seeing the elephant ‘.
Let’s do a little experiment here, go find a combat vet. Find an marine, or an army fire team member. Someone who has been in actual combat. Someone, as Bill Malden put so eloquently “a member of the benevolent and protective order of those who have been shot at” and ask them this: What happens to someone the first time they are in combat, the first time they are shot at? I think they will tell you there are just three things you will do
1) Break and run-a-way
3) Follow training/orders
An they will tell you one other thing; until you are in actual combat you have know idea which one of the three you will do. If you are real real lucky and well trained it will be 2 or god helping 3. But you will not know till you really do see the elephant.
This is why I will always fight this meme.
Incloseing I’d also like to point out that Nevada is a functionally ‘Open Carry’ state. That is to say that the state laws regarding the open caring of firearms are enforced with a very light hand. Next Las Vegas was getting ready for several gun shows and there was an influx of people with many many guns for these show already. Given this there should be a good number of ‘good guys with a gun’ in the area of the shooting. I await with great interest to see the data on just what all of these gun toting good guys did when the massacre started.