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.
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.