ONLY Good Guys With Guns? (Excellent Washington Post Article Link)

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Link to The Washington Post article, ‘There Were Three Shooters”

The Washington Post recently published an outstanding article about the National Rifle Association’s assertion that ‘The only  thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.’  It details an actual situation in Oklahoma which ended in  the death of an active shooter at the hands of two ‘good guys with guns’, but goes on to explore the many factors which may have led to a very different and tragic ending.  I’ve linked the article at the top of this page and I hope you read it because it’s very eye-opening.

I’ve always had my own thoughts on this subject.

Ever since the Sandy Hook mass school shooting in December of 2012, the ‘mantra’ of the National Rifle Association has been ‘The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.’  To this day I cringe every time I hear it.  I hate that it’s proven to be so effective, and it troubles me that it’s so easily believed, remembered and repeated by those who will vote in our elections.  To me it was obviously crafted for maximum permeation into the emotions of the American public, all while shutting the doors to any further thinking on the matter.  Someone in the NRA definitely knew what they were doing when they wrote it.

The only solution, they say — is a good guy with a gun.  The NRA’s intentional use of the word ‘only’ precludes any other possible idea or approach. We’re to believe that nobody but the NRA can possibly know how to end the mass shootings in America.   One can picture NRA members with their arms crossed over their chests, indignant and remorseless about fresh carnage in school hallways.  “Well, we told you so.  You didn’t arm your teachers.  Your schools are ‘gun-free zones’, so it’s your fault.  Just arm the good guys as we say and our mass shooting will disappear.”

Any time there’s a new mass shooting they repeat their mantra over and over as if it’s self-evident proof that they’re the only ones thinking the right way about guns and we’re the ones thinking the wrong way. If we believe the gist coming from the NRA, the only gun problem in America is that not everyone carries one. We only have ourselves to blame for gun violence because we’ve not armed every man, woman and child with guns to carry in public on the streets.  The NRA and their members insist they have it all figured out for us, so why bother to think any further into the subject? We should be thankful they’re here, right?


Isn’t it nice to live in a country where such a powerful organization like the NRA does all our thinking for us?

No, it’s not.

I personally like doing my own thinking and to me, the NRA mantra just doesn’t cut it.  It’s built on too many unrealistic assumptions that should be obvious to everyone.

It starts by assuming that the good guy with a gun has a clear and easy shot with the element of surprise on his side, and that he’s a much better marksman than the bad guy with a gun.  It basically assumes the situation will be quickly neutralized with a single well-placed round.  It goes on to assume that there’s only one bad guy and therefore only one threat, and then assumes that the good guy isn’t out-gunned by the bad guy.  It further assumes the good guys will not make matters worse by interfering with trained SWAT personnel or that the good guys will not be mistaken for the bad guys and become victims themselves. Finally, it assumes the whole situation will not escalate into a chaotic firefight with the good guys killing the very people they were trying to help, each other and the SWAT police in the confusion.

The NRA simply says, ‘The only thing that stops a bad man with a gun is a good guy with a gun’, and people – voters – actually believe it.

Not me.

After just a little bit of thought, it was easy to  conclude that the NRA mantra is just a pro-gun sales pitch based in fantasy.  So many things can go wrong when an armed citizen with a gun tries to stop an active shooter situation.  They know it as well,  but I notice they’re they’re silent on this.



  1. Awesome partner! It’s too bad the NRA and the other gun advocates never even consider nuance in how they approach this issue. It’s only black and white for them. All other opinions be damned. Way to speak the truth my friend


    1. Thanks much Sir! I don’t even know what planet the NRA thinks it’s on anymore. I truly believe it’s just about preserving their hobby…. and a way to convince themselves and each other that they’re Great Americans. 🙄


  2. This is an excellent post, and right in line with my own thoughts. I have asked the question many times: what defines a ‘good guy’ vs a ‘bad guy’? Under certain conditions, any of us can turn rapidly into a ‘bad guy’. I would never own a gun, a) because I do not believe guns belong in the hands of civilians, but b) because I know I have a temper and should never own any weapon with which I could murder another human being. That said, even if I could support private gun ownership, what the heck justification is there for AK47s and AR15s that can kill hundreds within minutes? And yet, the NRA refuses to even discuss banning assault weapons. Even after Sandy Hook. Even after Las Vegas. And even after Parkland. Bit I digress … this is a great post and I would like to reblog … do I have your permission?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Jill, and thanks much for your comments! Of course, you absolutely have my permission to reblog — Thanks very much, I’m flattered! 🙂

      I think you’re correct in how a ‘good guy’ can turn into a ‘bad guy’ due to a stressful situation or in a case in which a person’s temper gets away from them. Guns really do make such an action quick and easy, especially among those who choose to carry their weapons with them in a holster for instant access. I couldn’t agree more with AK-47’s and AR-15’s or any weapon like them. There’s no need, no justification at all, period. I think the bottom line for the NRA and it’s members is that they know their ‘hobby’ is protected by the 2nd Amendment… and they pretty much have us over a barrel. (Sad to say.) I hope things change, because it’s a wrong way to be.

      I’m an amateur photographer and wouldn’t it be nice if my hobby was protected in the same way as their gun hobby is? However, I’d be the first to give up my professional Nikon if I knew it could kill people in some way. That’s the difference between them and myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you much for permission to share your work! I agree with you … if my hobby put lives at risk, then the hobby goes! Twice in recent months, I have been at Barnes & Noble, enjoying perusing books and sipping a Starbucks, only to notice a man bent over the magazines with a handgun sticking out of his belt! The NRA says this should make us feel safer, but frankly I felt very unsafe, very much threatened, and I exited the store almost immediately.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I engage with the gun rights people on Twitter and it really does feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. You cannot reason with many of these folks. But we can’t stop. Hopefully some day, with the right mix of Congress/President we will see some common sense action. Hope springs eternal!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Jeff, there’s no benefit to giving up hope, not when hope seems to be all we have. Glad you engage the gun folks on Twitter despite it feeling like a losing battle. That you engage them anyway says an awful lot of good things about you!

      If we had a mass shooting when our country was under complete Democratic control, I’d still be skeptical about gaining any ground. I think the only way we’d see the NRA knocked off its pedestal of power would be as a result of a COMPLETE shift in peoples attitudes about guns. People would have to hate guns, and openly despise the people who carried them in public, and that attitude is out there (at least among folks who start blogs in response to mass shootings) but it never effectively takes root and grows. In America, people are already accustomed to our ‘usual’ mass shootings, and that’s part of the problem. We’re resigned to their inevitability.

      As I’ve written before, after every ‘bad’ mass shooting we have our usual shock and rage as news of the shooting dominates our headlines. But as we all know, it quickly fades as the days go on, until it is completely replaced by the next newsworthy event. People are so convinced (and rightly so?) that we are powerless in America to do anything about it. In America, I’m afraid the only way people would sustain their outcry would be if we had an ‘epidemic’ of shootings… one after the other, and continuous without letup. That’s sad to say and even more sad to believe, but that’s how I feel. Even when toddlers are blown to bits by an AR-15, our effective response is zero.

      We absolutely have a gun culture here in the USA, with a mentality that gun ownership is as American as baseball and apple pie. Worse than that, guns ownership is revered as being a major part of how we won our independence and became a country. People need to give that idea up. It was relevant in the days of the black powder, single shot musket, but it means nothing now. It’s been romanticized by low foreheads who think they can still use their AR-15 rifles to rise up against a ‘corrupt’ government, with all its armor, aircraft and advance weaponry. I once asked a rabid gun owning libertarian flag waver just how he could go up against an M1A1 American battle tank and his comment was, “Well, sooner or later you gotta climb out of that tank, and that’s when we’ll get ‘ya!”

      THAT’S what we’re dealing with here in the USA. People like that.


  4. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    We haven’t heard much about gun issues lately … Oh wait! School’s out for the summer break, so there haven’t been any school shootings, and no other mass shootings of late, so the gun issue just rather dropped out of sight in lieu of so many abominations taking place in Washington. Last night, though, I stumbled across a post that I found to be an excellent response to the NRA’s “good guy with a gun” rhetoric, and I wanted to share it with you. We will likely never completely abolish the 2nd Amendment, but we must not lose sight of the battle for much stricter gun laws and for putting the lives of people before the greed of the NRA. Please take a few minutes to read this excellent post by On The Fence Voters. Thank you, Greg, for permission to share!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for your insightful comments and for the reblog Jill! My co-blogger and I really appreciate it! It felt great knowing our post — and what it said — was seen by more folks than usual today! It makes all the effort worthwhile! Thanks again Jill! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The pleasure was mine! You guys do great work … I will make an effort to catch your posts more often — never enough hours in a day to do everything I need/want to do! Keep up the good work, and I will share as I can!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Writing from the UK, so I try and steer clear of this debate (most of the time)….however as shooting ‘bad guys’ is a sort of combat and as combat is war, there’s one phrase which crops up ‘friendly fire’….or am I just being a silly naïve brit who knows nothing about anything?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are anything but a ‘silly naive Brit’ sir! Thanks for writing and it’s great to hear from you in beautiful Britain! (I love the protests in London over Trump’s visit, and I especially love the Trump Blimp you folks had floating overhead!)

      ‘Friendly fire’ would be a major concern in the confusion of a shootout, and that’s what most people have not gone so far as to think about. The more guns that emerge on the scene, the more unstable the scene would become.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind comments.
        Yep! He had a good welcome, and it says it all about the fellow; he tried to say ‘The British People’ loved him!
        On the subject of guns I have a bit of a hair-trigger (pun intended) temper when it comes to the protection of my family, so if I was in the USA I should be one of the last people to be allowed near a firearm. Once that projectile leaves the barrel, who knows. After all if we were so sure the bullet would hit its intended target in the intended way there would not be Olympic Events in Shooting (or am I being naïve again- sarcasm)
        Best wishes to you and yours.


      2. Thanks Sir, I agree with you. As for me, I’ve owned 2 firearms in my life… a .22 caliber rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun. I admit it was kind of fun and challenging to hit targets and clay pigeons, but once I became pretty good at it the fun wore off, and I never had any desire to shoot animals, so the guns became silly (in my eyes) to own. Swapped my guns for an antique wooden airplane prop some guy had and hung it on my wall. I’ve had far more joy from the old prop than both of my guns put together. American would be a nicer country if people valued old aircraft propellers more than they valued guns of greater and greater lethality.

        Take Care Sir, and thanks for your interesting perspectives on this subject! 🙂

        — Greg

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you Greg.
        That does sound a worthy hobby; if that propeller could talk!
        All the best to you and yours


  6. The entire “argument” can be settled by statistics of gun deaths in no-gun-toting countries. The strongest argument against gun-toting is that people are emotional creatures and emotions can instantly lead to unforeseeable tragedies when deadly weapons are pulled. Common sense, anyone? Sorry, that’s probably about to be banned in the US of A. Your second amendment is being mocked by the NRA – it doesn’t give the right to anyone or everyone to pack a gun, but only to those involved in the militia, and only when the nation is under threat BY A FOREIGN POWER. You need constitutional lawyers, not bought and paid for registered liars, to interpret your constitution.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m always amazed how well folks from outside our country understand our loonies, our politics and our problems. You nailed it perfectly. I can’t add anything except that I wish we were on track for a solution to our gun whacks in USA. (We can start by finding a solution to the orange whack in the white house… that would help.)

      Your blog looks very interesting! I’ve followed you, and will be back to have a closer look once I’m not falling asleep at my keyboard (I worked 12 hours today!) Take care!!


  7. Your paragraph on “assumptions” says it all.

    Unfortunately, there is no easy answer … and when you have a multi-million dollar organization supporting politicians to continue and promote their rhetoric, the “average citizen” has minimal chance to change things.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks very much Nan, your comments mean a lot. You are correct, no easy answer. Very frustrating to stand by and watch our ‘gun mentality’ screw our country so completely.


  8. It is a fantasy, a fantasy that gun-lovers love, and that fantasy is that simply /having/ the gun will make you big, brave and powerful. Skill doesn’t really come into it, although I’m sure they all believe they’re ace shots. Then again, their weapon of choice is a semi-automatic that doesn’t seem to need much skill to mow down a crowd of unsuspecting victims.
    ‘Shooting fish in a barrel’?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I would only add that if we ever have a mass shooting where a machine gun was used, the NRA will just modify their mantra accordingly: “The only thing that can stop a bad man with a machine gun is a good guy with a machine gun.”


      1. lol – sorry, I know it’s not funny, but that just made me laugh in a sick sort of way.
        Whoever came up with that mantra is a) a rival to Freud and b) should be ashamed of wasting good talent on such a terrible cause.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. They’ll say whatever they have to to achieve their core mission: selling more guns. Everything the NRA does, from the fear-mongering to creating and perpetuating these myths, is a sales pitch. They sell more under Democratic presidents, and gun sellers are hurting under Trump. Hence the ridiculous lengths they are going to now.

    As for the good guy with a gun myth, you might enjoy this terrific op-ed by a gun owner:


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