SHOOT AND SHOOT, AND SHOOT SOME MORE
Almost two weeks have passed now, since a monster snuck in the fire exit of a movie theater and started murdering innocent people.
It was a horror and a heartbreak.
And a nation still mourns.
Though some have chosen to play politics.
Like last week, when the president stood before the Urban League and essentially called for a ban on military-type rifles.
And this week, when Democrats in Congress called for new restrictions on the sale of ammunition. If you buy two 500-round boxes of .22 bullets, the store would be required to notify the police.
All of that is unfortunate. To turn tragedy to politics, or to use it as a lever to pry people from their rights, is a cynical and heartless manipulation.
But this isn’t about them.
It’s about us.
It’s about regular people, gun people, who look at this horrific crime and ask “What if?”
What if it had been you and your family? What if you had been there, on a happy outing, to see a much-anticipated movie, and this red-haired freak had come through the door?
When he started gunning people down, and the screaming started, and the dying started, what would your play have been?
Have you thought about that?
If you’re like many people, you probably have. That’s reflected in general conversation, and in the rush on gun stores in Colorado and elsewhere.
Most people, it seems, would hope to fight back. They would hope to have the ability and the grit to take on the gunman.
And they think they would stand a better chance armed.
They, of course, are right.
You have to fight fire with fire, and you don’t want to take a knife to a gun fight. And it’s better to carry a gun for 20 years and never need it, than need it for five minutes and not have it.
When the gunman comes through the door, you pull yours and you engage him, advancing and firing. You aggressively take the fight to him. You pop him and pop him and pop him some more.
But what about the body armor?
What about the fact that this monster came hiding behind Kevlar?
As odd as it might sound, that makes no difference.
Let’s look at why in a moment.
But first, it’s important to recognize that the old-west shootouts in the movies, where two guys draw down on one another and one of them gets hit and drops dead, that’s not the only way a gun fight can go.
It’s a nice way, if you’re the one who doesn’t get hit and drop dead, but it’s not the only way. And walking away at the end with the bad guy oozing blood is not the only objective or standard of success.
Deadly physical force is used for self-defense to stop the dangerous conduct of another person. The goal is to make the bad guy stop being a bad guy.
You can do that by killing him, by frightening him, by distracting him, by confusing him, or by wounding him.
Victory is stopping his murderous plan, no matter how you do it.
Which gets us back to the bullet-proof vest.
First of all, there’s no such thing.
A vest is not a brick wall behind which the bad guy hides. It is a last-ditch defense which is supposed to limit the lethality of being struck by a bullet. Some vests will stop some bullets, and some won’t.
But even when the vest keeps the bullet from penetrating the bad guy’s body, it still transfers to his body a great deal of energy. It doesn’t put a hole in him, but it gives him a body blow that’s mathematically not that different from getting whacked with a baseball bat.
You may not be able to put a hole in his heart, but you probably can break his ribs. Which means that, though he’s not prone to drop dead cowboy style, you have gotten his attention and you may be able to incapacitate him.
Which is why you keep shooting.
And all of that presumes that you shoot him in the chest.
He also has a head, and gas masks don’t stop bullets, and a bullet into the side of a Kevlar helmet is apt to leave brain juice dripping out your ear.
Sure, the head is a smaller target, but it’s not necessarily a difficult target. And a practiced marksman could probably hit a head shot on a pretty regular basis.
The point is that, vest or no, if you hit the bad guy with your bullets, you’re going to get his attention. At very least, you’re going to distract and confuse him. You may even injure or kill him.
Advance and fire, and fire and fire and fire.
And recognize this simple fact: Your goal, in using deadly force to defend yourself and others, is to save lives.
And that can be done in more ways than one.
It can be done even if you yourself become a casualty.
An active shooter like this has the initiative. He’s the only one who knew this was coming. He has the element of surprise, and he uses fear to his advantage. He is following a script.
And you have to interfere with that.
You have to get in his face, you have to attack the attacker. You have to take the initiative from him, and you have to introduce your own element of surprise.
When that happens, the bad guy all of a sudden faces a complicating factor, he has a new issue to deal with. And that issue is you. He suddenly has to stop the butchery to fight for his own life.
And you either want to win that fight, or make it last as long as you can. Because at that time, seconds equal lives.
And that’s the point. Even if you can’t stop the bad guy, you can delay him. And while you do so, people can run out the door, the police can get closer, and lives will be saved.
Yours might be lost, but others will be saved.
And you know that is a worthwhile exchange. Because you are a warrior, and you are a good person, and you are willing to defend the defenseless.
That’s your play.
When the bad guy storms in and starts shooting, you engage him as quickly and as resolutely as you can. Use cover if you can, use concealment if you can, but they are less important than actively engaging the bad guy. You be the boss, you be the one making the decisions, and you keep firing until he stops or your run out of ammunition.
That’s your play.
You fight. And you keep fighting as long as you have breath.
That’s what most people have decided, looking back on the horror of a week ago.
And that’s not about politics, that’s about common sense. That’s about survival.
- by Bob Lonsberry © 2012