Why is it that whenever there’s a shooting spree in the US, people who are into gun rights (I have no beef with you people aside from this, just not my bag) assume that everyone who carries a concealed weapon would respond to sudden unexpected gunfire in the dark like some kind of stone Special Forces badass?
(It’s like these scenarios trigger in our brains the kinds of fantasies I sometimes put on paper as part of my job as a writer of movies.*)
Instead of what I think would actually happen which is more like “HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS I AM FREAKING OUT SOMEBODY IS SHOOTING AT ME WHAT IS GOING ON.” and then you fumble for your gun and forget how to load and your friend screams at you to GET DOWN! and you hide under a seat, sweating and crying in the dark.
Even actual soldiers who train for this like it’s their job (because it is their job) do not have 100% awesome response rates when fired upon. Are civilians, even civilians who train at the gun range a lot, going to be able to outperform working professionals in this type of situation? Especially when the crazy person shooting people in the movie theater is wearing body armor and a helmet? I find this so questionable as a line of reasoning. Like to be able to rescue this situation from the jaws of death you would have to be a SUPERHERO. You could have had SEAL team 6 in that theater and you would not have gotten the zero-casualty rate you’re looking for, because the SEALs would have been sitting in the dark, relaxing, cramming popcorn in their faces, waiting for the first appearance of that Bane guy they’ve heard so much about when all of a sudden POP POP WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING I CAN’T SEE. If even actual SF operators would have been TOO SURPRISED TO REACT LIKE THE BADASS HERO OF YOUR FANTASIES, you’re describing a no-win scenario that would not magically have been fixed because there’s one guy in the audience with a concealed-carry permit and some 2nd amendment stickers on his car.
Gun control is not an issue I can really dredge up a lot of outrage over at this point. If I had to rank my worries, it would be like
1. CLIMATE CHANGE YOU ASSHOLES.
2. This economy is not sustainable.
3. SERIOUSLY WHAT ABOUT THE CLIMATE.
4. Big money’s wholesale purchase of our democracy.
5. Health care reform.
135. Gun control.
So I am not frothing at the mouth about this and writing people letters or anything. But man, that kind of response, the IF YOU ALL CARRIED A GUN THIS WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED is so strange and graceless to me. I don’t get it.
*You know why we like these fantasies, why we like to watch movies like TAKEN or movies about possibly-psycho drifter Jack Reacher? Because we know in our hearts that real humans aren’t like this. Real humans do not respond to sudden, unexpected violence, terrifying violence, by squinting and flexing our jaws and saying “You’ll have to come through me first… pal.” That’s why these fantasies are attractive. Of course they are. Of course it presses a pleasure button in our brains to fantasize about people who are always decisive, who never waver, who never doubt, who never fear, who never fumble or miss the shot or freak out and fail.
But those fantasies aren’t real. I feel like a good life rule is to ask yourself if Tom Cruise would do something in a movie, heroically lit, with an explosion in the background? Because if yes, then it probably isn’t a thing in real life.