I was a babe of the cowboy era: Randolph Scott, Wild Bill Hickock, Roy and Gene, Andy Devine, the Lone Ranger, Tom Mix, and so, so many others. Ropin’, ridin’, shootin’ and rustlin’ up posses to chase bad guys into the hills was a several times a week occurrence on our black and white TV and played out over and over again on the streets with our “finger-guns” or cap guns.
All these memories flooded back as I listened last week to the post-massacre chase, 21st century version, in small town Texas. Pick ups replaced horses, real rifles and bullets replaced sound effects, and the dust left by the posse was replaced by the dust left by a 95 mph chase after the bad guy. G-d love Texas.
Mind you, it is important, especially in the face of the modesty of the two good guys, to know I think them real heroes. Without thought they they could become as dead as the folks in the church, they gave chase until the “cavalry” caught up with them and took over. Who amongst us who isn’t trained in such stuff can honestly say we would have done the same? So it is not about these men and their actions about which you detect some “attitude.” No, not at all. It is about the insipid suggestion by a Texas official, and many church officials around the country, that the preventative solution to the next mass murder at a house of worship is more guns not fewer. Guns in the parking lots to be exact.
Now there could be some merit to this. That would come from the leadership of the house of worship appropriating enough money to hire off duty police to be on patrol. Even armed security guards will not solve the problem. For one thing, they are not the police, they have to call the police. Secondly, very, very few are as well trained as law enforcement officers. If they were they wouldn’t be security guards they’d be cops. The idea of having civilians, legally entitled to “carry,” as the flock’s protectors is idiotic. Here’s why.
Two incidents come to mind. One was from Detroit, the other I believe Baltimore. A recently returned Vet from Iraq was sitting outside on the steps of his building getting some air. Next thing anyone knew he was dead, shot by a bullet. Another was a child shot dead in her room by a bullet that had nothing to do with her, as the other had nothing to do with the veteran, but pierced the wall of her home and killed her. Both were gang related shootings.
I put in gang related shootings just so you’d have the facts, but it is irrelevant. What is relevant is that people who should not have had guns had them and killed unfortunates they had not meant to kill. So now let’s us populate a church parking lot with “snipers” watching carefully for danger. They sense it or actually see it. They probably do not call 911, they probably confront the danger. Now the bad guy wheels and takes a shot at his confronter. Scenario one: he kills or mortally wounds the person and escapes or just keeps shooting. Scenario two: he hits the person but the bullet, designed to stop an elk or bear goes right through the guard and wounds or kills someone behind him or her. Scenario three: he misses and hits someone, anyone, anywhere within a 3 mile range of the shot who had nothing to do with anything nor was even aware of any danger. Bullets not only have no conscience they have no radar. They travel in the direction they come out of the muzzle and don’t stop until they hit a force that’s stronger that they are.
Let us now take our guards and put them inside the congregation. Someone either rises from a pew or barges in through a door or window guns blazing. Let us say that the security committee has planned for this and has the guards posted in spots and angles that will cover all the open space. The plan is to either have parishioners drop in place or rush them to the exits. This is a fine example of “the best laid plans….” Look at Paris. Look at Orlando. Look at Las Vegas. Anything resembling those best laid plans happen? So you have dozens, or hundreds, or maybe if its a mega-church thousands of people trying to save themselves and into this chaos the Lone Ranger and Tonto are trying to pick out and pick off the bad buys. Nothing good can come of it. It’s “friendly fire” released into unfriendly mayhem.
So are we doomed to the results of the “fickle finger of fate” and whomever it happens to point to? No, for sure not. In a future writing, or if you need it sooner contact me, I’ll tell you the what’s why’s and wherefores of active shooting scenes. Here I will tell you even in war more guns is not necessarily the answer. It isn’t how many, but how they are used and by whom. Think. What did one Gattling gun do to a hundred armed Indians?
That the answer to this latest tragedy is more guns–or the raving insanity of open carry laws–is just…well…hooey. Sheer, unadulterated nonsense.
Bill Gralnick vents his spleen, and on other occasions, indulges in playful humor, most every Sunday: http://www.atleastfrommyperspectiveblog.wordpress.com.
More spleen and more humor can be found in his volume, “Mirth, Wind, and Ire” at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/696523 for the grand sum of $2.99.
Soon to come, the sequel “More Mirth, Wind, and Ire.”
The author can be contacted through this website or by email email@example.com