January 14, 2011
Mutually Unassured Destruction

If we all carried guns, the argument goes, there would be less gun violence. It is the mutually assured destruction argument.

Now we have a good example of how open-carry law has worked. In Arizona it is legal and common to carry sidearms openly so that in any gathering of normal size plenty of people are likely to be carrying sidearms for protection. Yet when the Tucson slaughter commenced, not one self-defensive weapon was drawn or used.

Why has this tragic occurrence disproved once again the gun lobby theory that an armed populace is safer than an unarmed one? Because, as the Tucson case demonstrates, events move too quickly for almost anyone to draw on the shooter.

Yes, you might say, but trained shooters would be able to react fast enough to prevent a murder. However the facts disprove that theory as well. Not once in all of the recent assassinations and attempted assassinations have the Secret Service guards, or anyone else, gotten a shot off at the perpetrator. In most the assassin, as in Tucson, is wrestled to the ground by guards or bystanders. Generally the assailants are taken prisoner immediately after firing their weapons.

Guns in schools, guns on the streets, guns everywhere. History has shown there is not much chance the proliferation of guns will stop murder and assassination.


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Posted by Bill Doolittle at January 14, 2011 09:53 PM
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Trouble is, only psychopaths are quick on the draw.

So, in an armed society, the psychopaths win.

Posted by: Peter on January 15, 2011 7:34 AM

This is a theory that I think has its roots in old westerns, where everybody carries a gun but only the bad guys actually get shot. Perhaps I'm being unkind. But you gotta admit, it's consistent with the sorts of fantasy-based solutions our friends on the Right tend to offer.

The irony is that the same people offering a solution straight out of old westerns are the same people who routinely bash Hollywood.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on January 15, 2011 12:37 PM

Rooted in the old westerns, yes, may well be. But then these are only historical fiction hardly based on reality.

What does that make of the theory that an armed society is a safer one? Fiction based on fiction - the original pipe dream.

Posted by: Peter on January 15, 2011 1:28 PM

One armed bystander, in a drugstore next door, did rush to the scene, with gun drawn, and nearly shot the man who'd just wrestled the shooter's gun away from him. (The shooter's gun was empty, and a woman had just taken his extra ammo clip.)

In real time, it's hard to tell what's going on---eye-witness IDs are often wrong---and trigger-happy bystanders, even if they're good shots, are as likely to shoot a good guy as a bad guy.

Posted by: JoyfulA on January 16, 2011 1:23 AM

Brings to mind an old saw, called situational awareness, something I haven't had need of since the RVN games.

Posted by: RH Brown on January 16, 2011 12:55 PM

Yep, this everyone armed thing certainly works out great in the inner city with gangs (a group of people who are all armed and solve their differences with guns more often than not amongst themselves) and as everyone knows they NEVER kill an innocent child or bystander and things are awesome.

Posted by: Julene on January 17, 2011 2:23 PM

If we all carried anthrax would there have been less anthrax attacks after 9/11?

Posted by: KayInMaine on January 17, 2011 7:33 PM

How many bystanders would be hit by flying bullets if a bunch of carriers opened up once they heard shooting. How're you gonna' tell who's the bad guy and who's, like you, trying to stop them? More guns = more gun deaths.

Here in Georgia, it's either legal or they want to make it legal to openly carry guns in bars and churches.

Posted by: Jim H. on January 17, 2011 7:36 PM
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