One time I was sitting on a commuter train and the next thing I know, as we are going along, there is this guy sitting diagonally across the aisle from me and facing me – a stupid, young, dumbass punk – loading a semi auto clip. Some of the rounds are falling on the seat and onto the floor.
In that situation there’s nothing you can do. You cannot get up and walk away because that might provoke them. You cannot look at them or say anything to them because that might provoke them. Basically, during that time, I was captive and expecting that at any moment I could be killed or seriously hurt.
It would only have been seconds if he had wanted to kill me right then and there. But then again, what point would he have had to just randomly kill me and risk his own imprisonment for murder?
Yet something very similar to that did happen once on a streetcar in my city some years ago. A crazy guy had a gun and most people on the car were tuned out and didn’t even notice. But the surveillance camera caught it. When the car reached a stop and some poor student went to get off, the guy shot him in the back. So completely crazy, irrational shit does happen. You never know.
Every time I hear about a mass shooting I think what would I do if I were there. I imagine if I were behind the shooter and had a chance to jump on them from behind. Would it work? Would I take such a chance? I have no doubt that, in such a situation, a person would have a great reserve of emergency strength available. But would it help? And would I even have the courage to make such a move in the first place?
Also what would be the best way to attack from behind? To come up and grab both the shooter’s arms from behind? To jump up on their back and grab their head and try to take them down?
Then I also think of other things. In such a situation a baseball bat would be extremely useful. One very carefully aimed, extremely powerful swing at their head to crack their skull and instantly disable them. If not a baseball bat then perhaps some other object. A chair. A fire extinguisher? But with different objects one worries about their efficacy or possible lack thereof which could be terrible. If you only get one strike on an attacker you have to be sure that that strike is going to take them out for certain.
Another thing I thought of is just spraying a fire extinguisher to stun or confuse them. But this seems like a pretty limited idea.
This all leads to one, overwhelming realization: Above everything else, the number one thing that would be useful, that would absolutely be a lifesaver in such a situation would be to have a gun. Why fuck around contemplating all these other possible ways to take out an attacker when you could easily and with the most minimal risk to yourself and others, just shoot them?
We live in a country in which the right to bear arms is part of our Constitution. And, frankly, I am totally sickened that recently the 9th District Court ruled that local jurisdictions have the right to prevent people from carrying firearms. That is a direct and totally fucked up violation of the Second Amendment. There is no other way to read it. The right to bear arms is the right to bear arms. That means to actually bear them, to carry them with you.
For me and most people that would mean carrying a firearm in a purse, backpack, or briefcase. The fact that any citizen of the United States is not allowed to keep a firearm with them is a violation of our Constitution. People should be extremely pissed about it.
If anyone – anyone – in any of these tragic mass shootings which have happened had had a firearm, these tragedies would have been much more limited. We are talking about dozens of lives saved. All it would have taken was one shot to the attacker to stop them.
I am appalled and disgusted that any elected official in the United States advocates restricting a right so fundamental to every American citizen that it is written in our country’s founding document. It is entirely appropriate that such officials be immediately impeached.
Given that we have a fundamental right to use firearms, I think it would be appropriate that people take classes in how to not only safely operate, maintain, and carry firearms, but also on the nuances with respect to when or where they would ever be used. There is no question that, in the vast, vast majority of cases, they should not be used because they are simply not the appropriate response for a given situation.
That, clearly, is a huge issue. But to me its kind of like the drug problem. Instead of teaching people how to be wise, they teach people that something is bad and leave people ignorant about it, so that when and if they do eventually use it, the result is often destructive. But imagine if, for example, kids in high school took a class in how to handle conflicts and how to use firearms, taught by professionals.
We live in a society in which conflicts are inevitable. But people do not have conflict training. I am actually very pissed because on several occasions when I attempted to ask people in the police department in my city about how to handle various threatening situations, they simply refuse to help or give answers.
That is the total fucking opposite of what, if they are truly committed to community safety, they should be doing. Especially in communities with high levels of tension and conflict, such advice is all the more essential and valuable.
But its like they don’t give a shit if you know or don’t know how to protect yourself, or how to appropriately respond in a given situation. And they always act like, if you take any response at all, you are wrong. Just by defending yourself you are basically treated as a troublemaker in this fucked up society.
All I can say is that acts of violence are not just isolated things. They are usually breakdowns of a community at various levels. We live in these tense environments where there exist all these different, often weird types of estrangements which only cause people to be even more on edge. But rather than dealing with everything, its almost like law enforcement want to just ignore it and sweep it under the rug. Then, when something bad does happen, they come in and act like heroes, which I question.
Basically I’m saying that I think the whole spectrum of our system is kind of fucked up. And I also think that calling for bans against people’s basic Constitutional right to carry a firearm with them for safety is outrageous.
There are also things like pepper spray which has been around for a long time and which, most outrageously, is banned in many states. In other states the maximum allowable size is 2 oz which is a ridiculously small amount that might actually endanger a defender more than it could actually protect them.
There will no doubt be other new technologies to disable attackers. Certainly the government has no shortage of them. Police departments are keen on acquiring all sorts of ghastly new weapons which use things like radio waves to boil people’s skin and create extreme pain. But then people aren’t allowed to protect themselves and every attempt by them to do so brands them as troublemakers. Totally fucked up.
Frankly, I would feel a lot safer anywhere in public if I knew that civilized people around me had firearms. At the very least if key people had them. For example it makes sense for shop owners to have them. It would take away a lot of the fear and anxiety. Why is the government so hellbent on preventing civilized society from being able to ensure its own safety, which is our basic Constitutional right?
Personally I don’t like guns at all. On the few occasions when I’ve even heard one going off – for example someone hunting in the distance – the sound sickens me. Its horrible. But still, if I was trained in how to handle a firearm and knew that having a small handgun in my purse could potentially save people’s lives, I would feel much safer. If I knew that conscientious, well-intentioned, and responsible people around me had them I would also feel like this society would be a hell of a lot safer and saner.
What sickens me far more than guns is being helpless for no good reason.