Gregory Paul: "More Reasons the Gun Lobby is Wrong and Childish"

In the wake of the Sandy school slaughter the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre infamously proposed that only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. Two new events further expose the obvious errancy of the gun industry propaganda. The amazing talk down of the potential school shooter in Georgia, and the thrill seeking murder of an Australian in Oklahoma. 

According to firearms lobby theory, when a bad person packing heat is entering a school, workplace, or whatever, said person must immediately be confronted by a good person with their firearm directed towards the hopeful shooter. Perhaps a perfunctory demand that the bad person disarm can be issued, but the basic idea is that the good guy quickly shoots down the bad guy, thereby precluding bad person from harming others, or at least minimizing the death and mayhem. That, the gun lovers claim, is the only good, solid,  American Way of dealing with the evil doing shooter. 

Antoinette Tuff of Decatur Georgia failed to follow NRA instructions. She does not pack heat as LaPierre wants her to. So when Michael Brandon entered her school armed with a Kalishnikov, she instead relied on her guts and her brains. She talked Brandon down. Talked to him like a caring mother or sister. Got him to calm down and realize someone cared about him. Persuaded him to put aside his weapon and surrender to the police. No one injured, no one killed. 

The gun fanatics are hard pressed to comprehend this act of incredible, cool bravery and brains. One in which a good person does not use a gun as a shield, but uses their wits to disarm the shooter before they do harm. To the gunphiles, the way you counter a person with weaponry is by taking refuge behind and using your own weaponry. It’s all about raw firepower versus raw firepower. About who is better armed, better armored and a better shot. Talk to the gunman to get them to give up? What’s that about? That’s not Dirty Harry. That’s not John Wayne. That’s not the noble shooter, the law abiding gun owner and carrier who is always ready and willing to skillfully kill another to protect the innocent. And it disproves that the only way to stop a criminal act is with firepower. Unable to process and accommodate the event, the NRA and FoxNews and their followers are pretty much ignoring what Tuff did. They have to ignore it. 

Would I have the nerve and savvy to do what Tuff did? Probably not. And she had the advantage of being a woman who could offer motherly/sisterly sympathy. What is true is that not hiding behind a gun for protection is braver than depending upon a firearm, yet is safer according to the statistics.  

According to firearms lobby theory all good persons must be armed at all times for instant self protection. The horrific slaughter of Australian Christopher Lane in Oklahoma by three bored teens (of whom one is white, and all of whom were looking to shoot a black acquaintance when they were caught -- contrary to FoxNews etc. attempts to make it an example of a black against white hate crime) is another example of how the right wing theory is fatally flawed. Lane was shot from behind. Never knew he was in danger. Had he been armed openly or covertly, he would have been taken out before he could protect himself. That happens all the time. Drive by shootings, ambush killings, the criminal firing as soon as they see their intended victim is getting out their gun. The NRA has no advice for those who are gunned down without knowing they are being targeted, or find themselves in a situation where they cannot use a gun quickly enough to prevent being ripped up by a bullet.

It is a sad but telling irony that Christopher Lane is from a country of mature adults where it is understood that using guns to try to stop gun crimes is impractical madness. Australia boasts very strict gun laws that allow hunters to hunt and ranchers to protect their livestock, but so limits the availability of guns to the general public that there are not enough firearms in circulation for criminals to obtain and use heaters for nefarious purposes. When the necessary laws were passed in the 1990s some conservatives decried the abortion of liberty, warned that criminals would go wild, and that the government would become a tyranny.. Instead rates of murder are very low, and mass shootings no longer occur in the flourishing democracy down under. Tragically for Lane, he chose to live in a nation where enough of the adults are sufficiently childish to imagine that legal guns are the answer to ill used guns, so we live in a gun saturated society afflicted by the highest homicide rates in the prosperous democracies, topped with repeated mass slaughters. 

The Georgia event also reveals another gun lobby myth. That criminal shooters are “bad” people. Some are, as per the callous premeditated brutality of the Oklahoma shooter and his buddies. But Brandon was clearly a tragic person who had gone over the edge. He was not cold evil, he was sadly depressed and hopeless. All it took was for a fellow human beimg to show him some concern for him to give up his out of control killing scheme. A large portion of murders are conducted by normal law abiders who for a brief period lose their cool and get angry enough to lash out with bullets. An angry argument in the kitchen can leave one dead and the shooter horrified at what they just and suddenly did without thinking about it. Did because they had access to a machine that makes killing quick and easy. The best way to prevent such murders is to keep the hyper lethal gun out of the hands of imperfect humans.  


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