The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Conference Center > General Discussion Forum

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old August 24, 2013, 12:12 AM   #26
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 20,904
I don't see where this mentality of it'll be too confusing-loud-scary-chaotic to-do-anything comes from. What do we think a defensive shooting is going to be like? A day at the range?
In a typical defensive shooting, the defender is the one under attack and therefore has a very clear picture of who is doing the attacking.

They typically do not occur in crowded surroundings where there are uninvolved bystanders milling about which means that there's not usually a signficant problem finding a clear line of fire.

Here's a good analogy. I have two fire extinguishers in my house and I know how to use them. I might be able to put out a small fire in my house with one of them if I'm there when it first starts. If my neighbor's house catches fire, by the time I find out about it, my dinky fire extinguisher isn't going to do any good and I don't have the training, support or protective gear that a firefighter has. I might be able to help out, but the odds are by the time I arrive on the scene the fire is already well underway. That means I'm overmatched and it's likely all I'll be able to do is get myself killed or hurt without really helping out in the process. I'm willing to help out, and I might even be able to help out, but it's going to depend heavily on the situation. My fire extinguisher doesn't make me an effective fire-fighter except in very limited circumstances.

In the same way, being attacked is one thing, intervening in an attack not specifically directed at you is another. In the case of the attack on you, you get to see the fire start. You know exactly what happened--who the bad guy is, who the good guy is. In the other case, you see things happening but you may not know exactly how things started which means you may not know who the bad guy is.

Remember the Giffords shooting? Let's say you were a permit holder near the scene and you ran towards the shots immediately upon hearing them. You arrive on the scene and see a man holding a gun and hitting another person. Do you shoot him? Hope not--he and another man had tackled the shooter and the man holding the gun had disarmed the shooter and was holding his gun.

The basic principle of medicine applies here. "First of all, do no harm." Unless you are sure that what you do won't make things worse then doing nothing is the best course of action. Doctors don't just start administering medication before they know what's wrong. In the same manner, if you aren't sure that you have an accurate picture of the situation, you shouldn't start trying to fix it.

Even a fairly simple self-defense shooting is a far cry from a day at the range, but that doesn't mean that it's as confusing or offers as much potential for negative outcomes and misunderstanding as a mass shooting in a crowded public place by a determined killer who has planned carefully.
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
JohnKSa is offline  
Old August 24, 2013, 01:04 AM   #27
Senior Member
Join Date: February 25, 2013
Location: Greenwood, South Carolina
Posts: 2,768

*I have an immediate and clear understanding of the situation (man walks in with an assault rifle and opens fire)
*I have a clear line of fire
*I can do so without putting loved ones in immediate danger
*I have balanced my risk for harm vs. the levity of the crime and deem it low risk -- dying a hero's death does nothing for the loved ones I leave behind
*I am confident in my ability to take the shot and make a difference
*I do not have to run towards gunfire or lose my only chance at retreat

I would like to say I would stop a crime committed towards an innocent. But, who knows what will happen when the time comes knocking and you have to decide?
dakota.potts is offline  
Old August 24, 2013, 11:02 PM   #28
Join Date: February 24, 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 20
In this context I often think of the mass killing that took place in a library at Cal State Fullerton many years ago. The gunman went through at least two floors systematically killing people, mostly women IIRC. Some brave fellow got into a wrestling match with the killer but sadly came out the loser and was executed. In such a situation, if I were armed, I would take on some personal risk to put him away to prevent further deaths. Not to do so would be to have some responsibility for any additional killings IMO. Let the lawyers argue about it afterwards, and let the jury listen to what I have to say about what happened and why.

No, I would not carry a gun only to protect myself or my loved ones. But I have cited an extreme case, in which it was clear who was the perp and who the potential victims. Often this is not the case and you had better have excellent situational awareness before acting.

Later: I just looked it up and most of the victims were in fact men (this happened in 1976, memories fade). I recall that a couple of female librarians witnessed the struggle but did nothing to help - not surprising perhaps. But who knows, one of them might have interceded had she been armed and proficient.

Last edited by WebleyBloke; August 24, 2013 at 11:34 PM.
WebleyBloke is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:08 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.07214 seconds with 9 queries