Friday, April 05, 2013

Good Guys with Guns

The argument from the NRA goes that the only people able to stop bad guys with guns are good guys with guns, therefore we should have armed guards at every school and people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons anywhere and everywhere.  While there may be some twisted logic in what they are saying - after all police do carry guns as does the military.  The implication that carrying a gun will make you or your family safe is simply not true.  All of the data shows that when a household has a gun present, the likelihood increases significantly that someone in that household will die from a gun.  Obviously there are other factors involved here - the ages of people in the household, how the guns are stored and used, what the guns are, the stability of family members... 

Still, the argument goes that good people with guns are able to stop violence from happening.  I asked a police officer friend of mine whether he would want to respond to a scene where good people have drawn their guns and began to exchange fire with bad people with guns.  He shook his head sadly and asked, "How would I know which were which?"

And then there is the tragic event that took place earlier this week.  Mike McLelland, a Texas district attorney, and his wife were shot to death in their home.  After the March 19 murder of the Colorado Department of Corrections head, McLellan became more cautious.  Both he and his wife began to carry handguns everywhere.  He was a 23 year veteran of the military who assured everyone that he was better able to protect himself than most police officers.  He was trained.  He was cautious.  He was armed.  Yet, when two men came to his door, his wife was shot once and he was shot 20 times.  The killers used military style assault rifles.

Had they not been armed would things have been better?  Not likely, but it is possible.  Maybe the wife would have been more cautious and not answered the door to two strangers.  Who knows?  But things would not have been worse.  The myth of the good guy riding in and shooting all of the bad guys is just that... a myth.  Arming more people is not the answer to gun violence or to the larger issue of guns deaths.

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