Check Out Paragraph Nine. Mind Blown.
The website “Raw Story” is, in general , almost as useless as Buzzfeed; at least Buzzfeed has some really cool recipes, which Raw Story utterly lacks.
Raw Story (henceforth RS) is as useless as “The Awl”. There. Got it.
Anyway, they ran a piece last week about the Oregon shooting that claimed that guns were useless for defending against mass shootings because…
…one shooter has a solid sense of physical and legal self-preservation.
But they sure think they’re onto something, as evidenced by their cool-handed, measured, sober headline:
Armed vet destroys gun nuts’ argument on mass shooters by explaining why he didn’t attack Oregon killer
So let’s look at the story and see what gets “destroyed”.
It relates the story of a Mr. John Parker, whom RS via MSNBC note is a veteran of an unspecified armed service:
A veteran who says he was carrying a concealed weapon on Oregon’s Umpqua Community College campus Thursday when 26-year-old Christopher Harper Mercer went on a murderous rampage, says he didn’t intervene because he knew police SWAT team members wouldn’t know him from the shooter.
So far so good. He’s right. Standing around with a gun when a SWAT team is responding to “a guy with a gun” is a good way to get killed. It happens; a few years back during a botched robbery in Saint Paul, a citizen picked up a shotgun dropped by one of the robbers – and was killed by the SPPD.
Discretion is, indeed, the better part of valor.
RS slips into editorial mode – but I repeat myself:
Conservative commentators — none of whom were caught up in the panic and confusion at the college campus — have complained that the school’s “gun-free” designation drew the shooter there and that a “good guy with a gun” could have stopped him.
And the conservative commentators – operating on decades of data and law enforcement’s current doctrine for dealing with active shooters – are right, and to the best of my knowledge “Raw Story”‘s “writer” (Tom Boggioni) and his “sources” (an MSNBC piece from which he seems to have cribbed his “facts) weren’t there, either.
Parker explained that his military training provided him with the skills to “go into danger,” but said he felt lucky he and others didn’t try to get involved going after Mercer.
“Luckily we made the choice not to get involved,” he explained. “We were quite a distance away from the building where this was happening. And we could have opened ourselves up to be potential targets ourselves, and not knowing where SWAT was, their response time, they wouldn’t know who we were. And if we had our guns ready to shoot, they could think that we were bad guys.”
Let’s take a step back.
Getting a carry permit in Oregon is substantially similar to Minnesota. In particular, there is a training requirement, although not quite as specific as Minnesota’s requirement.
You learn three vital things in carry class:
- Laws have meaning
- You’re not a cop
- Anything you do can be held against you
You Fight The Law, the Law Will Win: As we’ve pointed out on this blog countless times, in most states there are four criteria you have to meet to use lethal force in self-defense:
- You can’t be a willing participant. That clearly doesn’t apply to a mass shooting.
- You have to be in immediate fear of death or great bodily harm. We’ll come back to this.
- The force you use has to be appropriate. This means you can’t finish someone off after you shoot them, among a few other things.
- In Minnesota and Oregon, when outside your house, you have a “duty to try to retreat” if reasonably possible.
We’ll come back to II and IV in a bit.
Badges Only: And one of the most important lessons you learn is that a carry permit does not make you a junior G-man. It carries none of the protections the law offers law enforcement in the use of firearms in self-defense.
When a cop shoots someone in the line of duty, they immediately get a police union lawyer; there often a cooling off period before they can be asked questions; the presumptions involved in qualified immunity protect the officer from most criminal and civil liability, even if the shooting is ambiguously justified.
And while the prospect of injustice and abuse is there, it also makes sense; we ask cops to go toward the sound of the shooting. In exchange, we remove some of the risk, at least legally, of doing that for a living.
Civilians get none of those protections. Depending on the circumstances, and especially the jurisdiction, the shooting will be immediately investigated, often as a crime, often by cops and, especially, a county prosecutor that may well be deeply unfriendly to civilian shooters.
Legal Minesweeper: So let’s say you are a citizen with a carry permit.
Let’s say, furthermore, that you are a veteran, and moreover a veteran of combat arms – infantry, armor, artillery, combat engineers, whatever – and have some training in how to move toward the sound of gunfire.
And you and your handgun are out in public – at school, at the mall, at the post office – when you hear shooting. There’s no sign of cops – so you draw, and begin moving toward the sound of the shooting.
You round a corner, and there he is – an acne-ridden forty-something loser in a “Minnesota Progressive Project” T-shirt carrying an AK-47 with a drum magazine. He is blazing away at people; there’s screaming and blood and bodies…
…and you follow your training, block it out, draw a bead, and start firing on center mass, counting your shots until he falls to the ground. You follow training and turn your head to both sides to shake off the adrenaline-driven tunnel vision, and hear silence, slowly fading as the police sirens draw draw near. You holster up and follow your civilian permit training, and call your lawyer as you wait for the cops.
In a perfect world, yes.
The police question you. You are certainly taken downtown and interviewed. Maybe they arrest you, pro forma; maybe they don’t. It depends on the situation and the jurisdiction. In a Republican or rural area, assuming there’s nothing untoward, you will probably be congratulated and treated as the hero you most likely are.
But in a place where the County Attorney was elected by anti-gun Democrats? Who reports to a liberal mayor?
An ambitious assistant prosecutor could note that:
- Your life wasn’t under immediate threat. You had to run to get to the threat. Your life wasn’t in immediate danger until you chose to put it there. Your protestation that you were doing the right thing – as you were – is met by the simple fact that the law says what it says.
- You have a duty to retreat. And yet you advanced to the attack. What are you – some kind of vigilante?
You will have had split seconds to decide your actions, under mind-blowing stress; the prosecutor will have days, maybe months, sitting in room in a building secured by metal detectors and armed deputies, sipping on an espresso and poring over law books.
And if they decide to prosecute, your future depends on spending $50-100K on a lawyer, and hoping you don’t get a liberal Democrat judge that gives the jury instructions that basically ensure you’ll get convicted of something.
Tactics: No, Parker did the right thing under his circumstances:
Parker noted that he was hustled into a classroom with other students by a professor who asked if anyone was armed. He said he raised his hand and said he would attempt to protect his fellow students if they came under attack.
Way back when I was in carry permit training, it became fairly clear to me that…:
- The only time the benefits of using a gun in self-defense outweigh the legal risks is when the incident is right there in front of you, pointing a weapon at you or someone near you. Not one room over. Not outside the building you’re in. Right there with you.
- If you can leave without shooting, do.
- If you can’t get away and aren’t the immediate target? Hunker down and find a place to ambush the shooter. Just as Mr. Parker did.
So let’s try to get this straight: according to the left (who are, almost to a person, ignorant on the subject, as befits a party who are generals in the bedroom and whores on the battlefield), gun owners are angry white men who just want to kill someone, but carry permitting can’t help deter crime because carry permittees are too law-abiding and driven by common sense.
The Moral Of This Story: As always, on the subject of self-defense, you get better information from the raving dissociative homeless guy under the bridge than from any major-media or “progresssive” “news” source.
As we’ve shown elsewhere, when that citizen is in the line of fire, mass-shooters don’t do so hot.