Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Important Side Story Regarding Firearms In Tuscon

Something that you often hear gun rights advocates come out with following tragedies like the one in Tucson is something akin to the following: "If there had only been good guys there with guns, they could have taken out the bad guy before so many people were killed." In other words, more guns on the streets would lead to less killing.

Although a thousand and one thoughts spring to mind about why that is a ridiculous assertion, here is one true story that illustrates a basic flaw in that logic: There was a good guy with a gun at the Tuscon shooting.
"I came out of that store, I clicked the safety off, and I was ready," he explained on Fox and Friends. "I had my hand on my gun. I had it in my jacket pocket here. And I came around the corner like this." As he rounded the corner, he saw a man holding a gun. "And that's who I at first thought was the shooter," Zamudio recalled. "I told him to 'Drop it, drop it!'" But the man with the gun wasn't the shooter. He had wrested the gun away from the shooter.

"Had you shot that guy, it would have been a big, fat mess," the interviewer pointed out.
In other words: Lucky. Lucky that the good guy with the gun managed to keep a cool head.

Add a couple more people with guns drawn running out of that store or coming up on the scene. How many people running around with guns drawn would manage keep a cool head? Better be all of them or... "big, fat mess".

Imagine if you are one of a couple or several armed people arriving simultaneously with guns drawn on a scene where there is still gunfire, not knowing anything in advance... where the gunman is, what he looks like, whether it is single or multiple targets, anything: Bang! There's a guy with a gun. Bang! There's another guy with a gun. Bang! Now two guys with guns standing over there are shooting. Bang! A guy with a gun just got shot by another guy with a gun. Bang! The guy is now pointing the gun at you. Bang!

Yeah... just what you need in a gun fight: A bunch of confused, scared, but heroic and well-meaning people with more guns.

I come from a gun family... avid hunters on my father's side, and my cousin on my mother's side is a gunsmith. But my opinion of guns is this: First, you carry a firearm only when you are hunting or sporting, or on the rare occasion of extremely dangerous situations of which I can only think of a few examples: My uncle carries his pistol when he is going cross-country in his camper, and uses store parking lots to stop for the night. My old boss used to carry his revolver when he took the evening till from the restaurant to the night deposit box at the bank. Both dangerous and reasonable places to go armed. Second, you only fire your weapon when you are 100% sure what you are shooting at, you are 100% sure why you are shooting at it, and (in emergency situations) you are 100% sure that shooting is not just the best option you have, but the only option you have left.

I personally would never carry a gun thinking that I might use it to protect other people (other than my family)... to "enforce the law" as it were: That's not my job. If I were in that supermarket in Tucson that morning, armed, I might have stayed where I was — given no other options, maybe found something to hide behind, and kept a lookout — and if somebody approached me with a weapon drawn who was not immediately identifiable as a member of law enforcement, I would have declared and then defended myself. But I doubt I would have gone looking to engage the guy doing all the killing.

But then I think about it some more: People dying... you're armed... you can stop it. What else can you do? What else are you supposed to do? I guess the fact that I can ponder those kind of questions is the reason why I wouldn't consider carrying a gun on a regular basis: It's a question I'd rather not be forced to answer. It's not a function of bravery or survival... it's a function of options: If you are armed and something like Tucson happens nearby, then morally you automatically become part of that life-or-death situation... you automatically become a potential solution. No choice. As a civilian, that's a choice I would prefer to make for myself, and not have circumstance make it for me.


Anonymous said...

Or how 'bout this scenario?There are twenty law-biding citizens who all have firearms visibly on their person and up walks MR. Dip-shit psychopath and he thinks he is out gunned and he decides that this is not a good idea,to shoot a duly elected offical, because he is going to get HIS head blown-off before he even gets 2 shots off,how 'bout that scenario?Y'know that the 2nd amendment of the U.S,constitution guarantees the right to bear arms,remember?With the basic freedoms guaranteed to U.S. citizens being trampled upon by a legislative body to cowardly to enforce those rights and a judiciary(the supreme court) that was never legally given the right to interpet the constitution it boggles the mind that 'we the people' are still putting up with the cowardly morons that once elected/appointed seem to do as they wish,rather than 'support,uphold and defend the constitution of the United States of America".The founding Fathers would never have put up with the shit that happens in the USA every day now.With crimminals the only ones allowed to have weapons how can a 'nation 'be'shocked'by this occurence.Up with this shit we should not put!!!

Jungle Jil said...

Yes: Good point there, Anon. Dip-shit psychopaths with murderous intent always stop to think about whether or not they are going to be killed as a result of pulling out a gun and assassainating somebody. Nobody who plans on killing a dozen people wants to die in the process. After all, look at how nearly every gun battle in America in the last 200 years winds up at the end with the gunman peacefully surrendering before anybody can shoot him.

And "a judiciary (the supreme court) that was never legally given the right to interpet the constitution"? My goodness, you're right! What ever made us think that the Surpreme Court was created to interpret the constitution? What a silly concept.


Mike said...

Jil, I am 100% with you on this and you have probably put up the best argument for NOT having guns freely carried and available. Full marks for voicing your (very convincing) thoughts. The police are TRAINED to use their guns correctly when most "Joe Public" does not have clue above point and shoot. I believe the ammendment meant guns for "defence" not "attack" when the country was still full of "hostiles" (it seems it still is!!)

Mike said...

off topic, this made interesting reading especially a knowing the local policy of ownership by foreign nationals!!

Jungle Jil said...

Anon, I deleted your comment because the "guns and glory" stuff was a little to tedious and Redneck Rampage, but there was one point you seemed to be confused on that I figured could be discussed:

While you are correct that an explicit instruction to "interpret the constitution" does not exist within the constitution, the original (and only) purpose of the Surpreme Court was to interpret the Constitution in order to determine the constitutionality of laws passed by the Congress.

You are confusing the narrow subject Kennedyesque "judicial activism" (versus Scalia-esque "originalism") with the overarching process of Constitutional interpretation. Even the founding fathers spoke of the Surpreme Court's function of constitutional interpretation in the Federalist Papers. The fact that the actual wording did not get written into the constitution hardly means that it was some usurped practice in which the Justices are not supposed to engage. It's just silliness to assume that the Surpreme Court shouldn't try to "interpret the Constitution" when applying it to the law.

The debate you are trying to have is whether or not the Supreme Court should find new interpretations of Constitutional doctrine ex nihilo to apply to new circumstances... not the actual process of interpretation itself (which even in the frame of originalism, can be construed to mean more than one thing, as in "the interpretation of the intent of the legislature" versus the "interpretation of the verbiage"... also called "textualism").

To quote Scalia: "The Constitution tells us not to expect nit-picking detail, and to give words and phrases an expansive rather than narrow interpretation -- though not an interpretation that the language will not bear."

Okay Anon? I hope this clears things up for you.

Anonymous said...

so if you are confronted with this situation you do not want to make a decision?
maybe if the gun was pointed at you,you would feel differently?
Maybe if you had a gun and used it and the grandfather of the little girl (who is now being buried) called you a hero,you would be glad you did what nobody else did that day?
if crimminals,or severely ill mental cases,are the only ones on the streets with guns,who will protect us,the cops?HA HA HA,u funny guy....
You should go out at night more often and not in a retirement community!Try the South-side of Chicago out.

Jungle Jil said...

"So if you are confronted with this sitatuion you do not want to make a decision?"

Anon, read what I wrote, as it is the exact opposite of that: "If you are armed and something like Tucson happens nearby, then morally you automatically become part of that life-or-death situation... you automatically become a potential solution. No choice. As a civilian, that's a choice I would prefer to make for myself, and not have circumstance make it for me."

If I have a gun in public and a gunfight erupts around me, I have no choice: I am morally obligated to defend the people around me... to stop the killing. Because I have a gun, the choice is not mine to make anymore. And after the gunfight is over, and I wind up looking at the corpse of an innocent person I mistakenly shot... and I didn't have a choice, because I was carrying the gun that "saved lives"... well, I'm not going to feel much like a hero.

How would you if feel you waded into that gun fight in Tucson with your sidearm and the 9-year-old girl who wound up dead was killed by a ricochet with your gun? You don't consider possibilities like that do you? It's all glory and heroism to you.

See, that's what John Bircher NRA gun nuts consider good/bad weapons balance to be: Intimidate first, shoot second, count bodies third, determine who is innocent fourth, realize the consequences fifth, and then quote the second amendment as an all-forgiving "amen"... sort of same process as the bad guys doing the shooting, but with a righteous heart and the "amen" at the end.

Civilized people with stable minds realize that fewer bullets flying from fewer guns being carried around by fewer nuts at shopping malls is the preferred way to avoid death.

You like to ask vapid rhetorical questions, here's one: Name one gunman who killed innocent people in American History who was not carrying a gun at the time he did his killing. Until you find a way to get crazy gun toting whackos like Loughner to wear a big sign that says, "I'm a crazy gun toting whacko," so that I (and the rest of the world) can tell Loughner apart from you, I would just as soon keep the number of non-police people walking around on the streets with sidearms to a bare minimum, thanks all the same.

Jungle Jil said...

Sorry Anon, I'm not deleting your comments because you are making winning arguments or sense, but because after having managed to read your first 2 rambling, majuscule-ridden comments about Marbury v. Madison and your "cold-dead-hands" style NRAisms, I simply lost interest in reading any more... and I don't publish comments which I haven't read. Seriously: While I doubt anything you are going to write will have any bearing on reality or common sense or modern times based on those of your comments that I did read, it is your writing style that simply makes me uninterested in knowing whether or not that is even the case. I really am just not reading it, and I doubt any of my other readers would take the time or have the interest to read it either... hence, yours, like a near-majroity of comments this blog receives, don't make it through to the site. If and when you write something that holds my attention for more than the first 20 or 30 words, I will publish it.

And, just to say so, because I know what you are thinking: No, I honestly do not think you are smart, educated, or well-read. If you were, you would possess the resultant ability to write in a coherent, well-thought-out, well-structured, legible, level-headed, non-confrontational manner that people could actually read, instead of sounding like some over-caffeinated teenager.

If you want to convince people that what you are thinking bears consideration... if you want people to even read what you have to say... you really need to go to college and learn how to write.

Anonymous said...

shot up jil...your the one who begin the topic then now you deleted the comments?wow your so bad.......

Jungle Jil said...

Yeah. You ever have one of those moments in life where some weird guy sits down next to you at a bar or bus stop and starts up some conversation... and you just know he's crazy and you shouldn't talk to him... but you try to be polite and say a couple of words in response to his statements. Then the next thing you realize is that yes, he is really crazy and you should have kept your mouth shut because now he's shouting and rambling on endlessly and incoherently about crackpot theories and blood of patriots and guns and obscure shit that nobody wants to hear, hurling insults, and showing no signs of stopping... and everybody at the bar or bus stop is staring and you're really sorry that you decided to patronize the lunatic in the first place? Now imagine that the crazy guy had a mute button... you'd hit it too.