I’m reading the NYTimes’ coverage of the Aurora shootings, and this quote jumped out at me:
Luke O’Dell of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a Colorado group on the other side of the debate over gun control, took a nearly opposite view. “Potentially, if there had been a law-abiding citizen who had been able to carry in the theater, it’s possible the death toll would have been less.”
It’s nothing I haven’t already read a hundred times on Facebook and Twitter in the last 24 hours, but there it is, in print, impossible to block or delete.
Okay. First of all, when Mr. O’Dell says such a thing, there is a zero percent chance that he is picturing anyone other than himself as this heat-packin’, justice-servin’, massacre-mitigatin’ motherfucker. And let’s just say for the sake of argument that his self-image is completely accurate. Let’s assume Mr. O’Dell would stay ice cold in the middle of that turmoil. Let’s say that in a pitch-dark, packed theater that has been thrown into chaos by unexpected gunfire- and that also has big-budget gunfire on the big screen, and pumping through the THX sound system- Mr. O’Dell would instantly know exactly where to shoot, would have an unobstructed line of fire, and would have perfect aim. Great, then! The theoretical you is so sanguine in the face of death, Mr. O’Dell! You are theoretically an American hero.
But what if there’s a third person who’s able to carry in the theater? And what if this person isn’t a justice machine like you think you are? What if this person doesn’t handle real-life bloodbaths like a professional to begin with, and on top of it, now there are two people shooting into a dark, crowded theater? Does he choose the right target? Does he hit that target?
And what if there’s a fourth person? What if she just got her gun that very day and hasn’t ever shot it? What if she wants to be a hero? Which of the three gunmen currently firing away in a dark room does she try to take out?
What if there’s a fifth person, and it’s one of these garbage people who brings an infant to a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises? He’s defending his family now, and there are four people who might murder his child. Which one does he aim for? Does the Baby-Bjorn affect his accuracy?
What if there’s a sixth person, who had a few drinks at the ESPN Zone before the show?
Or a seventh person? Or a tenth? Or a fiftieth?
Are you sure more guns would have made this situation better? Are you sure?
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