“Shooting Back”

By now, most of us have read or heard about the (very) recent Nevada shooting. And once again, after these events, I ask myself the following question:

Why don’t we ever hear of anyone “shooting back” during these mass shootings? Some have taken place in states where concealed (and even open-carry) weapons are legal, yet I don’t recall reading or hearing about anyone whipping out their pistol or rifle to stop the shooter. Surely at least one or more individuals would be present at such events and be willing and able to take steps to stop the shooter?

Of course in the Nevada shooting, it would have been impossible since the gunman was in an entirely different location. But what about in a movie theater (as happened some years back)? Or in a mall? Or some other place where the shooter is “accessible” and could be “put down”?

Could it be that FEAR overrides the noble idea of protecting oneself and others?



23 thoughts on ““Shooting Back”

  1. This is certainly the case. And more often than not in such a crowded area with people panicking, being able to find a shooter and calmly take him down without collateral damage seems extremely unlikely unless somebody has a super amount of training. And if such people were present, that still wouldn’t be an argument for letting more people carry guns.

    Liked by 3 people

    • “Without collateral damage” are the keywords. Yet those who “carry” and claim this is part of the reason they do so seem to think it will be a cakewalk to just kill the guy and be the hero. SMH

      This is a very personal issue for me because someone close carries. Although he’s a Vietnam veteran (and thus has “training”), I agree that the circumstances of most of these “mass shootings” simply are not conducive to being able to stop someone.

      Unfortunately, this event will be just one more for the history books … and no changes will be made to current gun laws.

      Liked by 4 people

        • Unfortunately this is so true.

          I am more and more convinced that a person’s worldview is more important than underlying facts in regard to the conclusion people tend to reach in regard to most issues.

          I should emphasize here I am not seeking to stigmatise people of a particular political persuasion as I see the seem the same tendency in people across the political spectrum (it is just that each segment has their own particular area of weakness).

          In this case it seems that there were no early warning signs that could have alerted officials to the shooter. As I mentioned on Zoe’s blog, I am genuinely surprised that there are not more such events in the U.S. given the preponderance of military style automatic weapons in the society.

          Liked by 3 people

          • I agree with you. Identity politics makes both sides less open to facts and reason to be sure, and what Trump has done to the nature of civil discourse isn’t making having productive conversations any easier.

            Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for this. I hadn’t ever heard about these stories. It would seem that it’s at least possible a mass shooting could be stopped — although the writer acknowledges the shooters may have intended to kill only one individual rather than an entire group. Moreover, it was a limited number of examples. Nonetheless, at least a few people had their wits about them to do something.

      I suppose, as Swarn mentioned, even if a “carrier” were in the crowd, the collateral damage might not be worth being a hero.

      Liked by 3 people

      • In Europe there was a situation a year or so ago where two off duty US soldiers disarmed a terrorist. In that case the soldiers were unarmed and the terrorist seemed to have fumbled.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nan please let me use my own life to answer some of your questions. For a period of my life I carried a gun for a living. I was well trained. We went to the range every three months. We were required to be tested every 6 months. Failure meant loss of our jobs. I can say we were very well trained. However even on the range in stress situations that the instructors tried to create, there was goofs, stupid mistakes, and people who had to re-shoot to qualify. Then the Nuclear plant I worked at spent the money to bring in a total situation simulator. We were run through it. I am proud to say I saved my civilian but I died from my wounds because in the real situation I did not realize the threat fast enough and failed to use enough cover. I fired five shots and hit about center mass with only three. That was being young, military trained and then sheriff department and trained to the federal standards for nuclear plants. I did rather well, many of my co-workers failed out right. I knew it was a simulation, I knew I would be tested, I was pumped , primed, and ready. I can’t imagine now years later, with adrenaline , fear, confusion, worse eye sight, and a body not anywhere near as strong and steady. No thank you, I will leave the heroics to those well trained and whose job it is. I am not saying I would not try to help or save someone, I just understand that being the hero gunslinger is not real. Far too many people think they will get to be the hero and everyone will love them if they carry the big gun and get to shoot a gunman, in their minds. But that requires them to get off the couch, keep their body and mind in good shape. Too many will be like the woman I posted about in a Home Depot parking lot, who decided to help the store people catch a shoplifter. She pulled her gun from her purse and gallantly shot a few cars and nearly took out the store employees and then the arriving police. She was furious that they arrest her and she had to pay a fine. She thought she was the hero. I felt she was a danger. Hugs

    Liked by 5 people

    • EXCELLENT input, Scottie.

      Of course, those who “carry” would never admit they might react in less than admirable ways under stress. But your examples clearly indicate exactly what would/could happen. Thank you for this.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Just read this related to the Nevada shooting:

    … members of the band’s crew have concealed handgun licenses, and legal firearms on the bus.

    “They were useless,” he said. “We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us.

    ANOTHER reason why it’s useless to even think about being a hero.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Some years ago I worked as a bank teller. We were not armed, though in past years the Tellers had been armed. Apparently the decision was made to disarm the bank tellers when one teller pulled out his gun and held it to the temple of a bank robber.

    It was decided it was better to let the bank robbers get away with the money than start a gunfight inside the banks. I should add that armed robberies of banks are extremely rare in city where I live, especially as at that time we had just rolled out security cameras. It is service stations and late night convenience stores that are in the robbers sights.

    One day when I was serving a customer I turned over a withdrawal slip (our practice was to write down the break up of denominations on the reverse of these slips). I saw on the reverse the words ‘this is a stick up’. I froze for a moment and looked at the customer, a little old lady, and concluded she had no idea about the words, which were likely written by some kids passing time waiting for their parents to be served. But I did ponder what might have happened in other circumstances, especially if I had a gun.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter your comment made me think of the credit union I used in West Palm Beach. They were robbed. Once. They closed the place down for a few weeks. When they reopened we were all shocked. To enter the credit union you now had to enter the outer door one at a time, the inner door was controlled by a security officer and could not be opened until the outer door shut and locked. It was an air lock. The walls had height markers everywhere. Cameras watched everything. the way up to the tellers was controlled and the tellers were behind huge thick bullet proof Plexiglas type stuff. There was just a tiny slot to stick something through. IF there was something large there was a drawer the teller controlled that could be opened that had a back so that if it was open you couldn’t reach in past it. Yes I forget all the other things, but basically they turned the place into a security building. It was a fort. To the best of my knowledge it has never been robbed again. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

      • Scottie some banks introduced a bullet proof security barrier that could be raised in the event of a robbery. The barrier would separate staff and customers. However in practice they proved problematic, in one case a robber straddling the counter was crushed to death when the barrier was raised, in another case the robbers started shooting the customers until the barrier was lowered.

        We used to have a device, called a ‘scorpion device’ that looked liked money but contained ink that could only be removed using a secret solvent. We were instructed to always put this in with the money given to robbers. I was never involved in a robbery so I don’t know whether I would have deployed it.

        There was a safety period of a few minutes before it went off and some tellers used to play chicken (tossing it around the office), when one failed to put it back in the safety container in time, there was a huge mess and absolute hell to pay.

        Scottie the security technique you suggested would not have worked in my day at my branch. I worked at the government owned bank in my country and we had lots of customers who were welfare recipients (these were the days before direct credit to bank accounts). On the ‘Pension Day’ there was a large crowd milling at the door before the bank opened who charged in when the doors opened. Thankfully I was only a teller for six months, it was the most tiring job of my life.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Nan, Scottie, and Everyone,

    To Scottie’s excellent background story above, here in The Hill Country Texas — less than 2-hours from the University of Texas campus and the infamous 1966 UT Tower shooting with Charles Whitman — several Austin police officers who responded first found that when they arrived on the scene, several armed citizens were carrying scoped hunting rifles, shotguns, etc, in an effort to “help”. However, when the shooting and Whitman were finally stopped by those 3 men getting up to the roof, they later stated how UNCONTROLLABLE the scene was for them! In other words, a few officers were never quite sure WHO the gunman/gunmen were with so many civilian-dressed weapons everywhere… until of course they figured out the shooter(s) were up in the tower!

    But to what Scottie was pointing out above, even our highly-trained officers and SWAT members are human, can make mistakes during the Fog of War/Mass Shootings, and MISidentify Friend or Foe in the chaos of the moment. 😦

    So I always ask… How does adding MORE weapons into more human hands HELP the crisis, especially for law-enforcement!!!???

    Liked by 1 person

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