Yesterday, I made a post after watching the preview of a 20/20 segment about defending yourself with a gun. Here is the promised review. http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=7312540
As per my military training, I will give you the bottom line up front. If we grew up in a culture where children were taught proper use of firearms and our right to own them for our protection, we would not have many of the problems 20/20 alleges.
The First segment take college students and places them in an experiment. These students are given instructions on how to use a hand gun by a police instructor. Their experience with a firearm varies from none to a student who owns and uses rifles and hand guns. The student is told that some time later during the day, he will be “attacked” and will need to use the handgun.
After the instruction, the student is placed in a classroom with police officers and ABC crew disguised as regular people. These students are the only ones in the room armed. This group is getting instruction on safety equipment, when the instructor walks in the room in disguise and begins to fire something akin to paintballs (a soft plastic bullet with a paint tip) at the teacher and the students. The police officers and ABC crew are there to simulate the chaos of a crowd during a shooting.
The students did not fair well. Some have trouble getting the gun out of the holster. Some don’t duck when the intruder enters the room. ABC does get this right; the students don’t have enough training. But I wonder how many would have faired without the protective gloves and oversized shirts on? I’ve been in MOPP 4 (MOPP standing for Mission Oriented Protection Posture – 4 meaning full chem gear, suit, boots, mask, and gloves) several times during training in the Air Force. The mask makes it hard to see, and the gloves are not easy to work with either. I understand the safety issues with using the simulated bullets, but it decreases the realism, and skews the results of the experiment. There is also the issue of only one armed student. What if two or three students had been armed? This gives the intruder multiple targets, and while his attention is focus on one armed individual, the other has time to calm down, breath, aim, and make a shot to stop the attacker. Lastly, the student is up against a police firearms instructor. Who’s going to win this gun battle? Something else I learned in the Air Force, the aggressor always has an edge. The aggressor picks the time and place of engagement. The defender, in this sense, is at the aggressor’s mercy.
20/20 then goes on to replay an old segment from 10 years ago about children that find a gun in hidden in toys. Don’t get me started. I’m leaving this alone due to the sheer stupidity of the segment. This is a lead in to a piece about teenagers finding two guns in the drawer of an old dresser while cleaning out a garage. Ok, what gun owner worth half his salt keeps guns in an old dresser in his garage? This is only my first problem with this. Out of the 24 teens, only three go to find “help” (ABC’s words, not mine. I’m guessing the owner of the house, who in reality is an ABC producer.) Not satisfied with these results, ABC sends in an actor (another producer) to incite the students to pick up a gun. In one scene, this actor/producer looks straight down the barrel of one of the two guns in the draw. One of the teenagers he’s trying to incite tells him to put the gun down. The teenager says “I’ve had a gun safety class. You aren’t supposed to do that.” Here we see that the one guy with training and good sense speaks up. This restates the point I made up top. Training.
Now we go to our “Won’t somebody think of the Children!” moment. This is the most difficult segment to write about. I DO NOT want to make fun of the child exploited in this part of the 20/20 “You’re too stupid to own a gun” show. Damon Weaver lives in a tough section of Palm Beach County (Yes, THAT Palm Beach County, FL – The same county that gave us Alcee Hastings and Robert Wexler). He wants President Obama to do something about the violence in the town of Pahokee, Florida. Damon then goes on to talk to some of the residents of the town. Many have been shot, but will not go to the police, or will not testify in court. The segment then ends with Damon Weaver asking President Obama “What can you do to help Pahokee?” I’ll answer that question for you, young Damon. Nothing. If the townsfolk of Pahokee won’t go to the police to put a stop to this nonsense, then nothing can be done. On a side note, Damon wants to be a Democrat when he grows up. I guess because Democrats that run Palm Beach County have done such a great job keeping that place safe. He’s got great role models in Wexler and Hastings.
On to the next segment. 20/20 brings out it second victim. Omar Sumaha, the brother of a slain Virginia Tech student, his sister, is sent by 20/20 to a gun show in Richmond, VA. He’s given 5000 dollars to purchase firearms at this show. 20/20’s point is to show that there is no background check at the gun show, and any buyer and seller can meet and do business. 20/20 goes on to shot holes in its own argument, so to speak, by reminding us that the VT shooter HAD A BACKGROUND CHECK. After that, I quit listening.
The last segment was the summation of the “You’re not capable of defending yourself” theme of last night’s show. At the end they state that you are better off running away than to stay and fight. If you are not armed, I’m sure that is the case. Diane Sawyer then blew a hole in the entire show. 20/20 couldn’t find a reliable study on the effects of carrying a gun, and the ones they found were contradictory. We are not given the name of those studies. We are just presented with evidence that no matter what you do, you are not capable of defending yourself. You could get killed. You could hit a bystander. You could hit a family member.
Guess what? I don’t care. You could back over your kid in the driveway. You could get kidney failure. There are an entire host of evils that could befall the average man or woman. Government CANNOT take the sting out of life. We see what happens when government tries to protect us from ourselves. We get Tyrants like Castro or Chaves. We get regimes like China. I want to know that I have the option of defending myself with a firearm if I feel the need. I want to know that if I hear a noise in the middle of the night that is not my wife or daughter, I can meet that threat head on and not sit and hide in my house and hope to God the Police find my family before a murder, rapist, child molester, or terrorist (if some in congress have their way and bring Gitmo detainee’s to Northern Virginia.)
Here is the Conservative (and my) argument. Attackers are less likely to go on a killing spree if they know that average citizens are armed and know how to use firearms. ABC didn’t do any stories on an individual that was armed and alive after a gun battle. What would have happened if even a fraction of some of the teachers and students at VT were armed? Would 30 people have died needlessly? The law that was enacted to prevent such actions didn’t even prevent this shooting? So now what? We are going to trust the same people that failed to protect us with the first law? I guess so.
End of story. Thanks ABC. Even though I’ve managed to get married, buy a house, keep a truck running since 1996, and am raising a family, I’m so glad you took the time to tell me how incompetent I am when it come to protecting those I love.