Monday, July 23, 2012

Let God sort them out

Stop wishing that more people in the theater had been armed. Just stop.

Problem #1: Bad Guy (BG) set off two smoke grenades. Not a problem for BG, since he doesn’t care who he’s shooting. Huge problem for Armed Good Guy #1 (AGG1), who is far more likely to shoot other people than shoot BG. Because the thing about a darkened smoke-filled room is that you can’t see very well. Adding armed good guys adds to the body count.

Problem #2: BG was also shooting bullets into an adjoining theater because his bullets were penetrating the wall. If AGG1 is in the adjoining theater when bullets start flying in that theater, is he going to shoot BG who isn’t even in that theater, or is he going to shoot other people who are in that theater?

Problem #3: BG starts firing. Then AGG1 starts firing. This is what you wanted, right? What does AGG2 do? He sees BG and AGG1 both firing. They’re not wearing signs saying who they are. He should, under your logic, try to shoot either or both of BG and AGG1. And thereby becomes a valid target himself for AGG3 through AGG9. And that’s with only a few percent of the audience armed.

Problem #4: Bullets don’t always hit their targets, even when the person firing is highly trained. There’s a good reason that cops don’t usually fire into crowds.

Problem #5: BG was wearing body armor. Exactly what type of ammo are you wishing was standard? Do you understand that if AGG1 is firing armor-piercing rounds in a crowd and hits someone who isn’t wearing body armor, he’s likely to hit the person behind as well?

Your fantasy that the shooter can be stopped by more people being armed depends on everybody else having perfect judgment, perfect aim, perfect sight, perfect situational awareness, and God-like abilities to identify the intentions of every person with a visible weapon. That’s a lovely fantasy, as long as you recognize it as a fantasy. Because a lapse or failure in any one element of your fantasy will more likely lead to a higher body count than a lower one.

If you try to turn your fantasy into a movie, you’ll find a willing audience. If you try to turn your fantasy into actual policy, you’re delusional and dangerous. Sadly, in this country you’ll still find a willing audience.


irilyth said...

It depends a little on what BG is trying to do. For example, if they've sealed the room and is going to kill everyone in the theater, then a couple of AGGs killing half the people in the theater, plus BG, is still a better result.

If BG plans to kill one person and leave, of course, then a bunch of AGGs turning the theater into a bloodbath is a lot worse.

And even if BG *plans* to kill everyone in the theater, if the cops are going to show up and take BG out after they've only killed a few people, then it's better if there aren't a bunch of AGGs killing people first.

Michael said...

It takes very few AGGs before there's no reason why the shooting would stop with only half the people in the theater dead. There's an occasional scenario where fewer people will die if lots more people were carrying weapons. Just like there's an occasional innocent life saved by the drunk driver who wraps his car around a tree and therefore doesn't have a bigger accident while sober.