Comments for Decrepit Old Fool Schrodinger's tagline is both clever and banal at the same time Tue, 28 Aug 2012 20:56:43 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on For all you would-be heroes who think you’ll save the day by carrying a gun… by Links 8/28/12 | Mike the Mad Biologist Links 8/28/12 | Mike the Mad Biologist Tue, 28 Aug 2012 20:56:43 +0000 [...] The Progressive Way! OBL-killing Navy SEAL, outed by Fox, now targeted by Al Qaeda The Great Beyond For all you would-be heroes who think you’ll save the day by carrying a gun… Detroit Votes to Raise Taxes to Save Cash-Strapped Museum The NY Times embraces who it is [...]

Comment on For all you would-be heroes who think you’ll save the day by carrying a gun… by Nick Nick Tue, 28 Aug 2012 02:58:23 +0000 Robert,

I live in the state of Wisconsin – the 49th state to have passed concealed carry. I spent a good hour at Gander Mountain just outside Madison shortly after the law passed. I was there looking at the hunting rifles and hunting handguns but found the salesmen constantly pushing revolvers for home and self defense to everyone else there looking to buy a weapon under concealed carry.

As such, I call BS on your claim that no properly trained person would choose a revolver. They simply buy what they are told by the salesman as they believe his/her word. Training does not necessarily make you an expert.

Comment on For all you would-be heroes who think you’ll save the day by carrying a gun… by Last Hussar Last Hussar Sun, 26 Aug 2012 19:24:33 +0000 Robert, you are spectacularly missing the point. All you do is criticise the ‘fantasy’, which isn’t the point of the post. The point is that two professionals hit 9 bystanders. A civvie with a gun would have probably been a lot more dangerous.

Additionally, when the hero draws his gun, the cops see SOMEONE WITH A GUN. Or another hero does. What happens when they think he’s the shooter?

Comment on The uplifting broken knee of inspiration by Webs Webs Sun, 26 Aug 2012 19:23:02 +0000 Thanks for sharing. And agreed about Mitt… What a Douche.

Comment on Climate denialist catches up. One down, n to go by Webs Webs Sun, 26 Aug 2012 19:20:22 +0000 Did you see the Wired article. Its depressing. Dont worry, innovation, economic prospects, and technology will save us all. Ugh.

Comment on For all you would-be heroes who think you’ll save the day by carrying a gun… by Webs Webs Sun, 26 Aug 2012 19:13:36 +0000 Well the other problem is that issue of how Pros make it look easy. You see a pro in action and its natural to think “I can do that” because a Pro is so good they make it look seamless.

When it comes to shooting a gun I’m positive I would suck. I would try to help save my loved ones and friends and then hope it ends soon. I have no fantasies of being able to save anyone.

Comment on For all you would-be heroes who think you’ll save the day by carrying a gun… by decrepadmin decrepadmin Sun, 26 Aug 2012 15:47:48 +0000 My, you do go on at length, don’t you, Robert Woolley? Sorry about dropping the extra “l” in your name.

The very first words of my post are “An entertainment culture lives partly in the real world, and partly in a fantasy world.” You apparently missed these words entirely before going off on your rant about gun operation details and such. Yes, I am fully aware of how guns work; all that stuff about hammers and trigger fingers and so forth is Hollywood and first-person shooter games, which seems to be the driving concept behind many comments I’ve read on news stories. I didn’t say “typical CCW holder” because (as I made very clear) I was focusing on a specific subset of CCW holders and wannabes.

My comment about the homing mechanism was based on conversations I’ve witnessed and had personally with people who were considering purchasing a gun to carry. They thought they could just whip out the gun and save the day. They didn’t seem to have any concept of how much practice is required to become really proficient with a handgun.

But this isn’t a damn sociological study, you literal-minded doofus. Are you making the argument that all carriers are sensible, well-informed, experienced and trained people ready to confront crazed killers?

The person in the news story you reference had been a police officer and did very well in that situation, but that isn’t the model I’m talking about. As more people begin to carry guns, more idiots will be carrying guns. The selection process that once existed has been turned off. There will be a range of outcomes; some good, some bad.

My message to the new gun owner is this: please consider the possibility that you may be an idiot. At least as regards carrying a deadly weapon around, because even professionals find it a challenge. Because what they have learned from movies and video games are very different from the reality.

Comment on For all you would-be heroes who think you’ll save the day by carrying a gun… by Robert Woolley Robert Woolley Sun, 26 Aug 2012 14:27:22 +0000 1. You’re not particularly good an answering questions addressed to you. You’re under no obligation, of course, but it’s hard to escape the conclusion that you don’t do so because you have no good answers.

2. Your public shooting scenario was apparently to be understood to be in the fantasy world of the typical American CCW holder. I asked if you had any evidence that such a person actually was possessed of such a fantasy. I gather from your lack of response that the answer is no. Your story is, in other words, just YOUR fantasy about what somebody ELSE’S fantasy is. Could it possibly be any easier to knock down a straw man than that?

3. “I would think it self-evident….” This, I take it, is your way of admitting that you have no actual data, personal experience, or other evidence.

4. It is entirely possible to believe, in the abstract, that the presence of a well-trained civilian handgun carrier could bring a stop to many mass shooting sooner than having to wait for a police officer to arrive, and yet harbor no wish whatsoever to ever be the one stuck in such a situation. Given that, I don’t know how you extrapolate from a statement of the former to your elaborately detailed fantasy.

5. “I think that most people believe that bullets have some sort of homing mechanism in them.” There you go again making assertions about what “most people” believe. So again I ask, do you have any actual data to back this assertion, or are you just making it up? I have talked to dozens upon dozens of people about the subject of ammunition, and from not one of them did I ever get the impression that he or she harbored the kind of belief that you claim is held by “most people.” Where do you get this stuff?

6. “As yet, there has not been a CCW response to a mass shooting.” On this you are simply, demonstrably wrong, sir. See, for example, this well-publicized instance in Colorado Springs: So we learn that you are not especially careful about checking your facts before making assertions–though I think that was already apparent from your original post. (You couldn’t even spell my name correctly when it was right in front of you.)

Comment on For all you would-be heroes who think you’ll save the day by carrying a gun… by decrepadmin decrepadmin Sun, 26 Aug 2012 11:12:10 +0000 Wow, thanks Robert Wooley – I needed a laugh. I would have thought anyone but a moron would recognize the standard, Clint-Eastwood Hollywood scenario recounted thousands of times in movies and TV. This piece is directed at commenters on news stories who seem to think that if only they were present at a mass shooting, they could stop the bad guy. If their Internet-bravado is any indication, they see themselves with Clint’s steely gaze.

I would think it self-evident that most people do not have as much training with a firearm as an experienced police officer. Again, I am addressing Internet ToughGuys here.

Now me, if I were in this situation, I’d want a small semi-auto; I’d take cover and try to get the guy without announcing my presence. And in all the confusion, likely miss. I think most people believe that bullets have some sort of homing mechanism in them. At least, good-guy bullets.

Historically only people willing to go through a lot of filtering carried handguns, so they were a pretty select group. Now that more states and localities are opening CCW to anyone without a police record, the percentage of idiots with guns is likely to increase.

As yet, there has not been a CCW response to a mass shooting. I am pointing out that the average citizen should not expect to do better than a trained police officer. Of course with your extensive knowledge, you would do better, I’m sure.

Comment on For all you would-be heroes who think you’ll save the day by carrying a gun… by Robert Woolley Robert Woolley Sun, 26 Aug 2012 07:23:43 +0000 Several points of contention:

1. Do you actually shoot handguns? If so, on what kind of pistol do you manually pull back the hammer just before shooting? There are certainly no semi-automatic pistols where the manual of arms (do you know that term?) calls for such action. (To be sure, there are some common models on which this is an option, such as the good ol’ Colt 1911. But few people actually carry and use it that way. It is far more common to carry it “cocked and locked,” i.e., with the hammer back and the thumb safety on.) Are you thinking of a single-action revolver? If so, do you know anybody who carries a single-action revolver for self-defense? I have known and/or spoken to literally hundreds of permitted handgun carriers, and not a single one of them, to my knowledge, carries a single-action revolver. It would be a distinctly unconventional and awkward choice. All of which is to say that I’m baffled by your description of the fantasy shooter pulling back the hammer after presenting his weapon. My suspicion is that you just don’t know much about guns, and are drawing your knowledge from Hollywood. Am I wrong in that surmise?

2. The hypothetical shooter’s next action, in your mind, is to slip his finger inside the trigger guard. From that, I can be quite certain that you have never undergone any sort of firearms safety training. One of the cardinal rules of gun safety is that the finger does not enter the trigger guard until the decision to shoot has been fully formed, and the sights are on the target. People who really know little or nothing about guns, yet deign to write about them as if they do, nearly always betray themselves by slips like this, which stand out like sore thumbs to those of us who know the subject matter well.

3. Although this is not universal, I think you’d find that most professionals in the area of firearms self-defense would not advocate issuing a “Drop your weapon” warning in the circumstance you describe. Intervening on a mass public shooting in progress is different from intervening where one is merely threatened. Once he is firing at innocents, trying to get him to drop his gun is likely futile. You will likely not be heard over the gunshots. The shooter’s ears will be ringing from the shots he has already fired. And even if he hears you, most likely he will turn on you (as your hypothetical indeed has it). Waiting for that to happen means that you are left to react to his action, which could easily be a fatal mistake. If I decided that intervention were warranted, I would simply shoot, not challenge him verbally first. This differs from a criminal who is brandishing a gun, but has not yet pulled the trigger. There, one holds out some hope that he will decide not to take that final step if given sufficient fear that it will end badly for him.

4. If I did undertake to begin firing, I would certainly not pick standing in the open as my preferred venue, as you have your hero doing. I would make getting to cover my first priority, and taking out the gunman a secondary goal. I doubt that any self-defense instructor would advocate otherwise.

5. I suppose you might counter that this is not *your* scenario, i.e., how *you* would handle it, but that of a typical CCW holder. But my point is that your description is *not* how any well-trained defensive pistol carrier would handle the situation. Do you have even a shred of evidence that what you present here is typical of what the millions of permitted carriers imagine themselves doing? Have you talked to any? Or are you just pulling this stuff out of thin air? If the latter, why should anybody pay any attention to you?

5. You say that the typical police officer has “more training with the gun” than “you” (i.e., your reader) will have. How do you know this? What reader are you addressing with that “you”? I, for one, am confident that I am both better trained and more functionally proficient at using a handgun quickly, accurately, and safely than a typical police officer. I won’t bore you with my credentials, but suffice it to say that I’m quite certain that I could convince an impartial jury of that fact by certification, by expert witnesses, and by actual demonstration, should it be necessary. So either you are in error with this assertion, or I am not the “you” that you are addressing. But if not me, a humble, unbadged CCW holder, then who is the “you” there? Do you seriously believe that *no* civilians are better gun handlers than the typical beat cop? If so, where have you acquired such unfounded ideas? What is your evidence?

6. Can you point to actual episodes of innocent bystanders being injured by errant shots from the handgun of a CCW carrier firing at a mass public shooter? I certainly have heard of none. John Lott tracks such things carefully, and says (see that he knows of no such cases. There are millions of permitted carriers in this country. Can you not find one single instance in which the scenario you apparently fear has actually happened? If not, then it’s hard to for me to feel the same kind of fear of my fellow gun carriers that you do. I, for one, would not feel the need to worry too much about things that might hypothetically happen somewhere someday, but have so far only transpired in your fevered imagination.

I look forward to your reply.