Michael Walsh- What would have happened had some civilian at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown or in that movie theater in Aurora, Colo., been armed and had shot back?
The assaults on the helpless and the unarmed would have ceased at that moment.
Nobody, even the craziest of shooters, can ignore gunfire coming in his direction; the instinct toward immediate self-preservation, however temporary, is too strong. The shooter would have turned to assess the threat, perhaps fired back, been fired upon again and possibly hit, retreated to cover – or, more likely, taken his own life — thus giving his victims life-saving moments out of the kill zone, in which to try and escape. But the kids of Newtown didn’t have that chance, nor did the Norwegian youth on that island in 2011, nor the students at Virginia Tech four years earlier. Because nobody was able to fight back.
We know now from bitter experience that the killers plan these assaults carefully, choosing their weapons, selecting their venues — in Colorado, the shooter deliberately selected a “gun-free” theater, even though there were theaters closer to him showing the same Batman movie. But, as military folks know, no plan survives contact with an armed enemy. Because, in the end, most of the shooters are cowards, hopped up on violent role-playing games, whacked out on psychotropic drugs, or just plain nuts. It’s no accident so many of them are young men, life’s losers, caught up in hormonal rages and frustrations, and unable to think past the next sunrise, who live in the moment — and die in the moment, taking as many people with them as they can.
Since the Virginia Tech massacre, there’s been a small trend away from “gun-free” campus zones and toward allowing responsible, licensed concealed-carry permit holders to bring their guns to school. Naturally, the Left immediately envisions running gun battles through the halls of academe, but then they had the same wrong-headed reaction when, in the aftermath of 9/11, pilots were permitted to carry guns in the cockpit. Until the current spate of school shootings runs its course — and they will end only when the prospective victims start shooting back — armed educators and administrators might not be a bad idea; or, indeed, armed civilians in general. As John Lott has argued, more guns, less crime.
Police chiefs and other political animals are against it, naturally, since they want a monopoly on the use of force, but beat cops and homicide detectives love the idea; they’re in the game for justice, not bureaucratic advancement, and in candid moments they’ll tell you they like nothing better than to respond to a shooting call to find a perp stretched out on the floor and a righteous homeowner standing over the corpse with a smoking shotgun. Some muss, less fuss.