I don’t normally write about controversial topics—wait, who am I kidding? Of course I write about controversial topics, sometimes I even get around to posting them on my blog.
The shooting in Las Vegas on Sun, Oct. 1, has shaken the entire nation, not only because the monster’s motives are unclear, but the sheer ease at which he opened fire on a crowd of unsuspecting concert-goers from a 32-story hotel room. As of this posting, it’s the worst mass shooting in recent American history (before that, it was the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting).
But I’m not here to talk about the monster who committed this horrifying act of hate.
I’m here to talk about guns.
Don’t stop reading, hear me out.
After every mass shooting, whether it’s religious terrorism or good old fashioned hatred, the interwebs explodes with opinions and I’m inundated not only electronically but in real life with “well, if I was there, I would have shot first and asked questions later.” Or “this wouldn’t have happened if more Americans had guns.” But I’m not here to debate gun laws, because I have a higher chance of learning how to sing than having a civil conversation with people about gun control.
(And I can’t sing worth shit.)
No, this post is for those would-be heroes.
So you think you could stop a national tragedy with one well-placed bullet, that you’re a modern day Rambo. Great. I hope you send your loved ones a goodbye text before you pull that trigger.
You heard me.
Because there’s a damned good chance you’re not walking out of that situation alive. What do you think a cop is going to do when they see you, Joe A. Citizen, discharging a firearm with a bunch of people around? What was it you said, “shoot first, ask questions later?” There’s no way for them to know you’re the good guy, this isn’t the movies where you can say “hey! I’m a good guy!” and everyone believes you because of your rugged good looks, boyish charm and lapel pin that says “Good Guys 4Eva.” No. You’re just another person with a gun, and uniformed officers can’t tell the difference McClane and Gruber when bullets are flying and people are screaming and the blood of innocents is on the ground.
And don’t get me started on people actually using their guns to “protect the innocent.”
A lot of Americans don’t have enough finger dexterity to use a turn signal, yet I’m supposed to trust that you can disengage the safety, aim and accurately fire a weapon while people are running around and jostling you? Fuck you. I’m supposed to trust that you’re not intoxicated at a public event (like a concert) and thus able to adequately perform? Screw that. People flock to Walmart for cheap belts, TVs and underwear, whose to say that gun you’re carrying isn’t the shitty store-brand version of a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm? Yeah, right. I’m supposed to trust that your gun is in good working condition and won’t backfire, inadvertently injuring more people? Fuck that. I’m supposed to trust that you know which end is the murder end and which end is the bludgeon-when-empty-end? Ha!
You’re asking me to put a lot of trust in a stranger with a gun.
Police officers have required training with murder sticks. Citizens do not.
Pennsylvania does not require any firearm training before issuing a conceal carry permit, along with 24 other states1. If you can’t pass the conceal carry class in North Carolina, no problem, just drive to Virginia and get one there! North Carolina will recognize its validity and there’s less work for you!
So it’s entirely possible that Citizen Rambo has never shot a firearm. “But a responsible gun owner would never do that, they’d know how to use it properly.” Would a responsible gun owner pull out a gun in a fire fight if he’s not in a uniform and is an unknown to the police? Because if he does, he better tell his family he loves them and it’s not the police officers’ fault he got shot.
Do us all a favor: keep it in your pants.
And before you call me a liberal *insert slur here*, I have no problem with responsible and reasonable gun ownership. We own multiple firearms and I’ve shot many different kinds over the years. While I hope I never have to use it, it’s a good skill to have. This post isn’t intended to address gun control but common sense regarding personal firearm usage. Because at the end of the day, I’m selfish – I don’t want to be accidentally shot by Citizen Hero. Mass-murdering monsters are scary enough, I don’t need to worry about being collateral damage from Citizen Rambo too.
1Mascia, J. (2017). 26 States Don’t Test Your Shooting Skills Before Issuing a Concealed Carry Permit. The Trace. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.thetrace.org/2016/02/live-fire-training-not-mandatory-concealed-carry-permits/