I’ll never forget my tactical training – particularly my live-fire course. For five minutes, I had to wend my way through a mockup of a detention facility, making split-second decisions on which pop-up targets to shoot (and firing with high accuracy). Is it an armed suspect? A civilian? An officer? That five minutes felt like an eternity. It was for a worst-case scenario that was extremely unlikely, but the training was important.
I had a rifle and a pistol and I was sweating bullets the whole time. That five minutes felt like it would never end. I cannot imagine being unarmed and trapped by a maniac with guns who is shooting at everything that moves. That must be a hellish experience, one I pray no other human being ever has to face. After the Ft. Hood shooting, a friend who was much younger than I asked how a psychologist could attack a room full of soldiers and be the only one holding a gun.
My response confused the hell out of her at first:
One of the very first acts that Bill Clinton made after being elected to the Presidency was to declare military installations “gun-free zones”. He immediately issued an order making it illegal for soldiers to carry personal firearms on base. More than that, though, he also made it close to impossible for XO’s (executive officers) to issue firearms to their troops to carry on base for protection. Since March of 1993, our troops – highly trained individuals who spend weeks learning everything about their rifles and pistols – have been disarmed on their own bases. It is because of President Clinton, an outrageously liberal and breathtakingly arrogant man, that our troops were disarmed and vulnerable at Ft. Hood and, tragically, yesterday at NAVSEA.
I can certainly appreciate the desire to make people safer. For many who have never been victims and have never had anything resembling law enforcement or tactical training, it seems to be logical to want to make all guns illegal. The problem comes in when they refuse to let go of that belief even in the face of overwhelming evidence that proves banning guns only makes things worse.
One of the biggest factors that determines how many deaths there are during a mass shooting is the amount of time it takes for an armed good guy to show up. In almost all of the recent mass shootings, the longer it took for police to arrive and return fire, the more deaths and injuries resulted. The only exception is the Tucson shooting – Loughner’s extended clip (as many of them are wont to do) failed to load a round properly, causing a jam that he hadn’t trained to clear quickly. Folks who want to ban extended clips ignore this fact; the springs in those clips have to do more work and they’re no more sturdy than the springs in standard clips, causing loading issues after the first few rounds.
That’s beside the point, though. All anyone who wants to ban certain cosmetic features can see is that it “looks more dangerous”. Never mind the fact that the term “assault weapon” is nauseatingly redundant.
At NAVSEA yesterday, it took seven minutes for the first armed police officers to arrive and begin an actual response. Seven minutes of terror for those innocent people. Seven minutes where any of the military members in the building could have pulled a weapon and taken Alexis out before he could kill twelve people. For those that were hiding, it was actually closer to an hour or two before police were able to locate them and lead them out of the building. In all of that time, not one of the highly-trained sailors or Marines in that facility was able to do what they were trained to do: take the fight to the bad guy.
It is a sin and a shame that we train these men and women and then tell them we don’t trust them with the very tools we trained them on. It is unforgivable that they are almost safer in a war zone than they are on their own soil. The history of mass shootings the statistics that come out of them tell us that they always target gun-free zones and they are deadlier with every second that ticks by without a good guy with a gun responding.
Aaron Alexis should have been prosecuted on felony charges in 2004, when he first walked out of his grandmother’s home and deliberately fired several rounds at a car. We don’t even need to have a discussion about his obvious mental illness – his actions nine years ago should have been enough to make him a prohibited person. The whole point of current gun laws is to identify those who will be dangerous with guns, prosecute them, and shut down their ability to legally purchase a gun. The system failed twice. He was able to carry out this shooting for two reasons: because police and prosecutors failed to do their jobs and because innocent people were disarmed and unable to defend themselves.
Side note: it’s hilarious to me that with all of the problems going on in The District, lawmakers there are focusing on the evils of body art. They’re trying to pass a law requiring a 24-hour waiting period for getting tattoos or piercings.