Betting Our Lives on Pieces of Paper

Let’s face the unfortunate reality: Restraining orders are not printed on sheets of kevlar. They won’t stop a knife or a gun. You can’t use one as body armor, and legal paper isn’t even absorbent enough to make a really decent bandage. Restraining orders also don’t magically disarm the violent ex or unbalanced stalker.

And if restraining orders do nothing to protect the innocent would-be targets, they do even less to protect the innocent bystanders — her co-workers, the customers in her workplace, the guy behind her in the line at Starbucks when the angry, hate-filled, predatory monster comes calling. At least the woman who took out the restraining order knows that trouble is gunning for her, but the collateral victims don’t even have that edge.

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TTAG on Lessons Learned from Aurora

Brannon over at TheTruthAboutGuns (or TTAG) has a great article today about lessons learned from the Aurora shooting. Here’s one part I wanted to highlight:

Escape or Retreat is always an option. One must always weigh the cost vs. benefit of standing and fighting versus turning and extracting themselves from the encounter. Clearly escape was the option most obvious and chosen by many.

That said, when you enter a public place, do you look for alternate exits? Do you look for those exits that the other 99% of people who are not as aware as you will not default to? I do. That said, once the shooter murderer started specifically targeting those he noticed were attempting to flee, he certainly removed that option from those without a back-up plan.

Escape in the context of a large confined space like a movie theater, sports stadium, large restaurant, or auditorium adds additional cause for concern. Where are you seated relative to the exit? Is it possibly better to hide and shelter in place, hidden among the chaos? This was not an option for those in the first few seats of the rows the murderer decided to target. For those higher up and deeper into the seating, perhaps it was.

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Mass Murder: Blame and Responses

With three mass murders in the past few weeks, the predictable froth is getting whipped up in the media and the court of public opinion about who’s to blame and what should be done about it. Predictably, some quarters are calling for renewed restrictions on firearms and associated components, despite decades of evidence that there is at best a net zero correlation between gun control laws and violent crime rate.

In a superficial sort of way this response makes sense. This murderer used a Scary Black Rifle with a beta mag, so let’s ban SBRs and beta mags. That murderer used ammo he bought online, so let’s ban ammo purchases online. This murderer used a pistol he bought at a gun show, so let’s ban sales of pistols at gun shows.

But it comes back to the divide between feeling safe and being safe: Taking a potentially dangerous item out of the hands of law-abiding citizens (who, by definition, won’t abuse that item to cause harm to others) won’t keep criminals (who, by definition, won’t abide by the laws and rules of society) from behaving like criminals. It might make us feel safer, but we won’t actually be any safer. In fact, since we’ll make it harder for people to use those tools in defense of themselves and their neighbors, we’ll actually make them less safe, even as they feel more safe.

So, who is to blame for these acts of mass violence, and what can we do about it?

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Deconstructing the Aurora Shooting

Bryan over at the IT’S Tactical blog has a terrific post deconstructing some of the myths, media hype, and reality behind what’s come out so far about the Aurora shooting. This part struck a chord with me:

Something important to ask is whether carrying effective medical equipment to treat gunshot wounds would have saved lives. That’s the first thing that crossed my mind, what if many people in the audience had a pack of Combat Gauze in their back pocket, would they have been able to treat people quickly at the scene until EMS arrived?

As mentioned earlier, the first dispatch was at 12:39 a.m. and shortly thereafter in the audio recordings, you hear an officer ask for permission to take some of the victims by vehicle to the emergency room, as there are no ambulances on scene yet. I’m willing to bet that they didn’t have proper medical equipment in their squad cars to treat people either, but I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

This is what I’ve been preaching for years; when you need it, help isn’t coming. You can just look at typical EMS response times vs. the time it takes for someone to lose enough blood to be beyond saving. Not to mention in a situation Law Enforcement might find themselves in where it’s still to dangerous for EMS to even enter the scene.

At the very least you should get trained in basic First Aid, understanding direct pressure, how to pack a wound and place a tourniquet. Then carry what you need to do so.

Personal protection is about so much more than simply carrying a weapon. If you’re not prepared to deal with the aftermath of a criminal encounter, having a gun doesn’t make you less vulnerable.

You might have a Glock in your pocket, a CCW permit in your wallet, and good-quality ammo in your mags. You might (I hope) have the training under your belt to use those tools effectively. But does your CCW permit share wallet space with a current CPR and first aid certification? Do you have even basic first aid supplies somewhere you could get to them quickly? Don’t ignore this part of your preparation, or you may find yourself winning the battle and losing the war.

It’s Not About the Tool

Mike McDaniel over at Stately McDaniel Manor has another great piece about why gun control laws won’t stop mass killings. Here’s a bit of what Mike had to say:

If we could, with the wave of a magic wand, eliminate all firearms in the world, It would be a wasted gesture. Long before the invention of gunpowder, men slaughtered each other with other weapons, killing many thousands, even tens of thousands in a span of hours in single battles. The tool is never the issue; the issue is the character—or lack thereof–of the man or woman wielding that tool

To this, I would add that it’s hard to argue that anyone who would commit mass murder is truly sane and rational, and for the not-truly-sane-and-rational, character is irrelevant.

Anyway, check out Mike’s piece and let me know what you think.

Gun Control, Mass Murder and Training

In response to the Aurora movie theater shooting, Northeastern University professor James Alan Fox had a terrific opinion piece on CNN about the desire of both pro- and anti-gun groups to use the tragedy to support their viewpoints. Prof. Fox argues both sides are incorrect to do so, and I won’t debate the point here. I did however, want to quote something Prof. Fox wrote to use as a springboard to talk about training.

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Colorado Movie Theater Shooting and Situational Awareness

There’s a great post over at the Gun Divas blog about the terrible, tragic shooting at a movie theater in Colorado a couple days ago. I’ll let you read it because it highlights a number of questions I had in my head after reading the news coverage of the shooting. But I wanted to underline two points from GunDiva’s post:

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My thoughts and prayers are with those in Aurora, CO who were touched by yesterday’s act of senseless violence. I’m heartened that the shooter is, apparently in custody. I’m saddened by the toll of destruction he wrought, and also relieved – give news reports about the weapons he carried – that more were not killed. May the justice system deal swiftly and justly with him for the tragic, devastating decisions he made and the lives that were forever altered.