I was in the hospital when the mass shootings in El Paso, Gilroy and Dayton happened. This is a post I wrote after the shootings in Aurora, Colorado, and I’ve reposted it every time there is another mass shooting. It makes me sick that I have to repost it each time.
I wrote this in response to comments on a friend’s post in regards to owning a gun to protect family. I thought I’d post it here. I am not a gun owner and I have no desire to be one. I also have no desire to restrict legal gun owners from having one of their own. But I wonder how many who do have guns have thought about these things?
Okay, I’ve been thinking about this all night, and let me share my thoughts about this. While it’s admirable that people would want to protect their families in this kind of situation, but what is the likelihood that you could or would… and let me tell you why I wonder this.
People who have never been in this situation forget some very tangible and intangible things when it comes to fear… the five senses.
First is sight. You are in a dark theater, maybe with your family on each side of you. You have a bright picture on a large screen in front. If someone with an assault rifle comes in from the back and starts shooting, the bright flashes from the shots are most likely going to disorient you about where he actually is. Also your first thoughts will be for your children, second thoughts will be for where the shooter is.
Now sound… the level of the sound volume of the movie is very loud and at first will muffle the sound of the gun shots. Even when this happens in another venue… school, mall, whatever, it takes most people a few minutes to realize what is happening because they are not use to hearing these kind of sounds.
Touch… most likely, if you are in a movie, you are eating popcorn and drinking a soda and your hands will slick from that… add in the fear and adrenaline factors, and your hands are going to be cold and clammy and your reaction time slowed down because of it, if and when you able to get your gun in your hand.
Taste. Fear tends to cause your stomach to churn which causes bile to move up from your stomach into your mouth and taste buds, which in turn makes you queasy, and this will slow your reaction time and reflexes even further.
Smell.. this is the one that no one thinks about. Fear often causes people to lose control of the muscles of their bladder and bowels which causes people to literally piss or shit in their pants. Say 10% of the audience does that, the stench in the theater will be overwhelming very quickly. This will cause more fear, and the desire to get out of their very quickly, which is what gets most people killed the quickest.. from standing up and running.
Now suppose at least two other people have the same idea you have.. they have a gun, they want to protect their families too, if they are even thinking clearly at that point. One is behind you and one is in front you. You all now react, without thinking and stand up, the one guy behind you slightly before you do. Focusing on the shooter, you don’t focus on the other man, and you shoot, shooting him in the back, while your children watch. What makes you think the three of you can get off one shot at a time against someone who can get off multiple shots in seconds, especially when you can’t see him in the dark and are being blinded by the flash of his multiple shots? Unless you are trained as a sharpshooter, it would be dumb luck at best.
Now say the guy in front of you tries to get a shot off but is hit by several shots from the original shooter just as the guy in front of your pulls his trigger. Now he has lost control of his own aim and gun and it’s pointed down at your child huddling on the floor as the bullet leaves the chamber. You’ve not saved anyone, in fact helped to kill two people right there, including your own child.
Guns do not magically protect anyone.
Having one will not protect you, especially if the original shooter has a much bigger and more powerful weapon.
Also, remember.. as a sane, rational person, you are not starting out your day thinking about killing someone. The shooter is and has probably been thinking of nothing else for days. He knows what he is going to do and how you are probably going to react. He goes in with those expectations in mind.
If you do own a gun, how much training have you had with it? How often do you go to the gun range to practice? I’m quite sure no matter how much you do, it’s still not anywhere what the original shooter has done. Why? Because you have other things to think about and to do. He has a sole purpose and that is to kill as many people as quickly as he can. Your single shot pistol can only do so much and from just a certain distance. His automatic weapon can do a whole lot more. Even if you walked around with a similar gun, would you be able to react fast enough to make a difference?
Please consider all of this before you buy a gun and think it’s the answer to all of your problems. This is true life, reality, and it’s not like in the movies. You could end up creating more problems than you solve.