Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Just idly wondering about the correlation between those who say only police should have guns and those who go nuts when a cop busts a cap on someone.  I'm thinking it's probably pretty high, but certainly not 100%.

In the article about the deputy sheriff in Colorado who stopped the shooting at the school last week, some of the remarks from readers pointed out that the deputy was trained professional, and highly skilled in the use of arms, as opposed to teachers and janitors who are hopelessly and eternally unskilled.

Before I write another word, I want it understood that I am NOT impugning the dedication, integrity, or courage of police officers, in general.  Yes, there are a few who shouldn’t be in uniform, but that is only because we are limited to choosing our officers from the human race, a notoriously un-omniscient population – which is actually trenchant to this essay.

In this particular incident, the officer never fired a shot, so his skill or lack of it is not even a matter for discussion.  In fact, the very presence of an armed person stopped the attack.  Just the PRESENCE of an armed person.  How much skill and training is required to be PRESENT?  This fact is actually consistent with another statistic you won’t hear in the news:  Americans use firearms in defense of themselves or others at least 3 million times a year.  As much as the dipsticks in DC and the media would like us to believe we shoot 3 million of our neighbors every year, I hope it is obvious that we don’t.  That means that in millions of instances, firearms are used in the defense of life WITHOUT A SHOT BEING FIRED

See?  When you are speaking the truth, it can be verified from other perspectives.  I have been in at least a half-dozen situations in which my being armed prevented an assault or worse, without having to fire a shot – usually without even having to draw my weapon.  Just having it gave me the presence and the confidence to stand firm in the face of a threat.  No, that’s not true.  Just having a weapon did nothing, and if that’s all there were to me, I’d be a hazard to myself and others.  A more accurate statement is that having a weapon and knowing that I know how to use it effectively gave me confidence and presence, and I got that knowledge by spending a lot of time on the range with some great coaches.

Police officers are not a specific sub-species of humanity.  They are just men and women who have a fully-developed sense of duty and honor, and anyone could achieve that with the requisite effort.  Police officers have neither a gene nor an implant that gives them superlative powers of perception and tactical sense.  Nothing makes them infallible in any way.  They make mistakes of judgment.  They make mistakes in tactics.  They make mistakes when firing their weapons.  How many times in the last few years have NYPD officers shot innocent bystanders?  (It has been said that due to the ammunition shortage, NYPD has set a limit of five rounds per innocent bystander.)  That’s a vicious and demeaning joke, but it is not without reference to fact.

I started shooting a Colt 1911 pistol when I was 17 and borrowed my mom’s .38 Super.  I continued to learn in the Marines, and even though the pistol wasn’t officially my standard arm, I qualified expert with it.  Since I got out of the Marines, I have probably fired 10,000 rounds in concentrated practice.  I could count on one hand the number of state or city police officers whom I have met who have fired half that much.   The training plans for metropolitan departments devote orders of magnitude more time to filling out reports and sensitivity training than to focused marksmanship and gunfighting.  (And there’s a huge difference between those two!)  I personally know career officers who fire their weapons less than 100 times a year.  I have seen them turn their backs on potentially armed suspects.  I saw one take a pistol from a homeowner who had called about a burglary in progress, then lay the pistol on the hood of his car, in full view of that woman, and walk away!  I have shot next to them at target ranges, and observed that a lot of them couldn’t hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle.  I have heard them utter the most idiotic ideas about how guns and bullets work.

There is no reason in the world why any citizen possessed of normal intelligence and physical strength and coordination could not be as tactically savvy as the vast majority of police officers, and a hell of a lot better shot.  They will need training, and I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut the NRA would provide it for free.  I know I would gladly participate in that effort!  There is no question that it takes a special breed to become a hardened professional gunfighter.  There is also no question that few police officers fit that description, and even fewer teachers.

But it doesn’t matter.

We aren’t talking about turning Our Miss Brooks into Bonnie Parker or Annie Oakley.  We are talking about giving her enough training to protect herself and her students one time in her life, and the odds of any one teacher being called upon to do that are nearly zero.  We have the resources to train them.  Front Sight, in Nevada, has a 4-day defensive handgun course that would make any graduate a better, more savvy, more skilled gunfighter than the majority of professional police officers.  We have the resources to comfort and nurture and heal them if they ever have to shoot someone.  I submit that the resources we have spent on therapy for Sandy Hook survivors would have paid many times over for the training of a single teacher who might have put a stop to that outrage, and for any counseling or therapy she might need afterward.  Getting roses and apples and hugs from all those little children she kept safe would probably help as much as anything.

Here’s another little contradiction in the hoplophobe’s vast array of contradictions.  They say the lack of training prevents average citizens from competing with criminals in gunfights, but…  wait a minute… WHO TRAINED THE DAMNED CRIMINALS?  Criminals are, for the most art, mentally unstable and stupid.  That’s why they can’t work out their lives in other channels.  They are not gifted with superlative skill at arms any more than are police officers.  For the most part, they are not trained, at all.  Some, like the Aurora theater shooter, have gained some skill by playing violent video games for thousands of hours, but that doesn’t make them infallible.

Most significantly, it doesn’t make ‘em bulletproof, and THAT is where we can defeat them.

17 Dec., 2013

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