A comment, reposted

I originally posted this as a comment to another blogger’s post, and to a commentary that resulted from that post.  Since it’s long and represents my thinking, I thought I’d put it here for anyone who reads MY blog to see.

I was a soldier; I served for 21 years on active duty and retired a Chief Warrant Officer-2 after a career that was most often performed as a non-commissioned officer. I was also a competitive shooter and won medals, a trophy, and was awarded the Schutzenschnoor by the German army, first in bronze, and then later in silver. Not many Americans earned that.
And then I became a teacher. I was teaching when this question began to be raised, whether to arm teachers in the classroom.
I didn’t want any part of it. It’s an incredibly stupid idea.
Teaching isn’t being an armed guard. It cannot possibly be. The mindset for the two activities are too different. After Columbine, I wondered what I would have done had I been there and been armed. The weapon, by the way, would have been a pistol. You can’t teach with a rifle or shotgun strapped to your back, and you can’t leave them in a classroom where they’re available to you because they would also be available to inquisitive students.
A question I couldn’t answer: which student should I shoot?
And keep in mind that level of expertise I have. Vanishingly few teachers have that qualification and the military mindset that allows targeting and killing a human being. Teachers develop empathy as a part of teaching. It’s as necessary as books and chalkboards if you’re to reach a class of some 30 juveniles. People who kill others cannot consider empathy. Do that and you’re the one who gets killed by someone who has no empathy for you.
Accuracy and target selection: it’s incredibly difficult to actually target a human and kill him with a pistol. Consider this:
” NYC police shoot suspect: 73 rounds fired, 2 non-lethal hits, 1 dead bystander…
The New York Times reports that police in Brooklyn responded to a report of a shooting last weekend and encountered an armed suspect who had just shot and killed a man.

The suspect ignored orders to drop his gun, and eight police officers then discharged their weapons, firing a total of 73 rounds, and hitting the suspect, who survived, twice, in his hip and chest. Two of those officers fired 15 rounds each from their Glocks.

A 56 year old woman nearby was fatally wounded by a 9mm bullet, and while the source of the fatal shot cannot be positively identified, police acknowledge it could have come from an officer’s gun.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/ny…ce-say.html?hp”

And keep in mind that these were trained, qualified, police officers. Not quite the mindset of an infantryman or a sniper, but a lot closer to that than any teacher will have.

I own guns. But I have no need for military grade arms. Neither do you.

The idea that a bunch of overweight couch potatoes with a newly acquired Glock and an M16 or AK variant will take on the US Armed Forces is ludicrous. I once trained for riot suppression duty; our weapons were rifles with bayonets, and we didn’t expect to be issued ammunition. But it was there, somewhere, if the necessity arose. And there was backup from armored vehicles and aircraft had we come under attack. They train for that sort of thing; what works in Afghanistan will work on the streets of Podunk, too. Would the armed forces respond? Oh, yes. I haven’t forgotten Kent State. Regulars would be more likely be prepared to use deadly force than would Guardsmen. So don’t expect soldiers to decide that you’re a citizen and that rioting is your national right and to be respected.

Civilians haven’t been equal to soldiers in arms for a century at least. The idea that the 2nd Amendment was there to prevent government from becoming despotic might have had meaning in 1776; that ended at the end of the Civil War.

You might read Dakota Meyer’s book. And consider what happens to civilians who join in battle. If you’re in a combat zone, you’re wearing a friendly uniform or you’re a target.

Add to that this fact: target recognition and selection isn’t easy. The FBI and Army Special Forces and Navy Seals train for this. They have special facilities with a mix of friendlies and enemies represented by life-size target photos. Civilians don’t do that. Police rarely train to that level. So consider what you’d have done had you found yourself in a semi-dark movie theater when an attacker begins shooting. If you see someone with a gun, is he the attacker, or another guy like you who had a pistol under his shirt? Is he a policeman wearing a uniform that wouldn’t be easily seen in a darkened theater?

The whole idea of arming everyone and expecting this to make crazies and criminals less effective is simply ludicrous.

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One Response to “A comment, reposted”

  1. bnmng Says:

    Opponents of round limitations will tell you that it can take a lot of bullets to kill an attacker. What they don’t say is one of the reasons for that is all those bullets can end up in the wrong people. In the headline grabbing case of the woman who shot an intruder recently, I bet the intruder wouldn’t have even entered the home if he knew she had a gun. No high-capacity rifle necessary.

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