The most alarming thing said on this NPR story is that mass shootings or attempted mass shootings have tripled. But that just means we have gone from 5 a year in 2009 to 15 a hear more recently. That is too recent to prove a trend line. Furthermore, the odds of you getting involved in a mass shooting are still astronomically small.
There is helpful encouragement in the story and interview (I’m especially referring to the audio), but the presentation also had a nightmarish surreal quality. The justification for this story was a recent study.
Two of the study’s authors, J. Pete Blair of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University and Terry Nichols, a retired commander from the San Marcos, Texas, police department who now works at the response training center, tell Morning Edition’s David Greene that it’s clear to them that Americans need to think about what they would do if they get caught in such a terrifying event.
Yet it is apparently not clear to them that Americans need to think about acquiring a concealable handgun, learning to use it, and adopting the habit of carrying it on their persons at all times. That possibility is never mentioned as a rational option. Much better to engage in Jason Bourne fantasies.
While they say nothing about the right to bear arms in general, they are only too happy to recommend better weapons and body armor for school resource officers. I thought their case was reasonable, but in the absence of any suggestions that normal people consider arming themselves, it was hard to not be alarmed.
The good news is that, even disarmed, proactive people can make a difference if they will take a chance.
According to Blair, in “roughly 1 out of 6 attacks … the people on the scene take action and stop the shooter themselves.”
It is wonderful that the “experts” are telling NPR’s audience that they need to be ready to defend themselves. They even point out that the librarian at Columbine High School was not being rational when she yelled at everyone to hide under tables. They should have barricaded the doors.
But the interview demonstrates what utterly domesticated captives Americans have trained themselves to be.
Interviewer: I mean it is sort of amazing to think about that everyone should be prepared to fight a gunman. But the civilian you describe who was on parking lot duty [who tackled a rifleman and saved live]… I mean should anyone who has a job like that or perhaps just anyone be ready to do something like this, and think about what their role should be if they’re ever in an active massacre like this?
The answer is yes. People should run through scenarios in their heads so that they have a “script” to guide them if an active shooter attacks. Running, and hiding are first options (since, again, it is assumed that you are a disarmed sheep and no police sheepdog has arrived yet). “And, as a last resort, if it comes down to it, defend yourself.”
The next response is at about 6:17 in the audio. If you have time you should listen to it to get the full effect.
Interviewer: Terry Nichols, as a police officer is it dangerous to even suggest to civilians that they should get in the way of a shooter—even if it’s not in every case? But even suggesting that seems like you’re telling people that they… should think about… playing a law enforcement role that maybe they’re not trained for.
Terry Nichols: I think, instead of “playing a law enforcement role,” we’re trying to get them understand they have a role in their own survival.
Basic self-defense is “law enforcement role”? We’re “civilians”? What, does NPR think that police are an occupying military force?
I’m glad Nichols said the right thing at that point. But the fact that the question was even posed that way is humiliating and dangerous. We don’t need to go whining to a police officer to make sure we have permission to defend ourselves.
That aspect of the interview made the whole thing a sickening experience.