This weekend I spent an indecent amount of time on teh internets
debating arguing with people men regarding their belief that, if only one person had been packing heat at Batman, things would have been so so much better. Forget for a moment that James Holmes was carrying a virtual armory on him, was decked out in full SWAT gear, had the element of surprise, gas canisters, and a well thought out plan of attack upon a darkened theater where the audience had already escaped reality and been lulled into the story. Forget, also, the massive blind panic that immediately followed with people climbing over each other, sprawling on the floor to avoid being hit, the screaming, the bodies, the blood, the smoke, the noise … the sheer horror of being caught up in your worst nightmare.
And yet I am led to understand that one person, who just happened to be carrying a piece would have calmly and with great presence of mind taken out the shooter just like he was Jason Bourne or whoever that guy is that Bruce Willis plays in those shitty Die Hard movies. Better yet, what if there were two or even three Jason Bourne-wannabes returning fire? Awesome! But how exactly would the brave hero in row thirty-two know that the guy in row twelve, who was also busy blasting away in the noise and the chaos, wasn’t James Holmes wingman? Then the guy in row twenty-one sees the guy in thirty-two shooting at the guy in twelve and he has to make the decision which one is the bad guy … or maybe both. Then the police bust in and the whole thing looks like Reservoir Dogs but with more collateral damage.
You get the idea.
The reality is that, when it comes to split second heroics, some people are lucky they didn’t almost screw up like Joe Zamudio who was there when Gabby Giffords was shot:
The new poster boy for this agenda is Joe Zamudio, a hero in the Tucson incident. Zamudio was in a nearby drug store when the shooting began, and he was armed. He ran to the scene and helped subdue the killer. Television interviewers are celebrating his courage, and pro-gun blogs are touting his equipment. “Bystander Says Carrying Gun Prompted Him to Help,” says the headline in the Wall Street Journal.
But before we embrace Zamudio’s brave intervention as proof of the value of being armed, let’s hear the whole story. “I came out of that store, I clicked the safety off, and I was ready,” he explained on Fox and Friends. “I had my hand on my gun. I had it in my jacket pocket here. And I came around the corner like this.” Zamudio demonstrated how his shooting hand was wrapped around the weapon, poised to draw and fire. As he rounded the corner, he saw a man holding a gun. “And that’s who I at first thought was the shooter,” Zamudio recalled. “I told him to ‘Drop it, drop it!’ ”
But the man with the gun wasn’t the shooter. He had wrested the gun away from the shooter. “Had you shot that guy, it would have been a big, fat mess,” the interviewer pointed out.
I was very lucky. Honestly, it was a matter of seconds. Two, maybe three seconds between when I came through the doorway and when I was laying on top of [the real shooter], holding him down. So, I mean, in that short amount of time I made a lot of really big decisions really fast. … I was really lucky.
When Zamudio was asked what kind of weapons training he’d had, he answered: “My father raised me around guns … so I’m really comfortable with them. But I’ve never been in the military or had any professional training. I just reacted.”
The Arizona Daily Star, based on its interview with Zamudio, adds two details to the story. First, upon seeing the man with the gun, Zamudio “grabbed his arm and shoved him into a wall” before realizing he wasn’t the shooter. And second, one reason why Zamudio didn’t pull out his own weapon was that “he didn’t want to be confused as a second gunman.”
And some are unlucky like police officer Michael Leach:
An off-duty police officer shot and killed his son after mistaking him for an intruder, New York State Police said.
Michael Leach, 59, an officer with the Parry Police Department in Wyoming County in western New York state, was staying at a motel in Old Forge. He called 911 early Saturday to say he just shot someone he thought was an intruder, troopers said, according to The Syracuse Post-Standard.
The victim turned out to be his son, Matthew S. Leach, 37, of Rochester.
Troopers said that the elder Leach used his department-issued .45-caliber Glock handgun in the shooting. He was hospitalized after the shooting for what for what troopers described as a “medical issue.”
He knew what he was doing and yet … tragedy.
I get the whole ‘middle-aged manly-man internet chest-thumping routine’ that includes, but is not limited to, extensive descriptions of guns owned, a history of hard drinking, cigar smoking, Harley riding, imaginary confrontations with “thugs”, sex talk, and so on. It’s stupid and dumb and kind of sad but like I have said before: virtual manhood is better than no manhood at all, I guess. But when I read shit like this (no link for obvious reasons) written by someone with a well known history of having to take medication for anxiety and panic attacks, I am somehow not comforted:
Put a couple major calibre rounds centre mass and he will not like it, armour or not; put one in the melon, and he will stop.
Yup. I have a streamlight TLR-2s with a disorienting strobe at like 200 lumens and a laser, and I have a Trijicon amber dot site, to go with 45 APC rounds. Provided I’m not hit before I know what’s happening, I guarantee he’d have felt what it’s like to be shot — likely 12-15 times, depending on which firearm I had with me.