Your Brain in a Shootout: Guns, Fear and Flawed Instincts

A third of U.S. public schools have armed guards. After Newtown, more may get them. But do they make kids safer? The answer will surprise you.

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Illustration by Joe Magee for TIME
Illustration by Joe Magee for TIME

In the roiling national set-to over whether guns would make schools safer, most of the debate has been a caricature of itself. One side wants to install guns in every school, and the other wants to banish them. “I wish to God [the principal] had had an M-4 in her office, locked up,” Republican Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas said on Fox News after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre, “so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out … and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.”

But the research on actual gunfights, the kind that happen not in a politician’s head but in fluorescent-lit stairwells and strip-mall restaurants around America, reveals something surprising. Winning a gunfight without shooting innocent people typically requires realistic, expensive training and a special kind of person, a fact that has been strangely absent in all the back-and-forth about assault-weapon bans and the Second Amendment.

(MORE: America’s New Gunfight: Inside the Campaign to Avert Mass Shootings)

In the New York City police department, for example, officers involved in gunfights typically hit their intended targets only 18% of the time, according to a Rand study. When they fired 16 times at an armed man outside the Empire State Building last summer, they hit nine bystanders and left 10 bullet holes in the suspect—a better-than-average hit ratio. In most cases, officers involved in shootings experience a kaleidoscope of sensory distortions including tunnel vision and a loss of hearing. Afterward, they are sometimes surprised to learn that they have fired their weapons at all.

“Real gun battles are not Call of Duty,” says Ryan Millbern, who responded to an active-shooter incident and an armed bank robbery among other calls during his decade as a police officer in Colorado. Millbern, a member of the National Rifle Association, believes there is value in trained citizens’ carrying weapons for defensive purposes. He understands what the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre meant when he said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” But he knows from experience that in a life-or-death encounter, a gun is only as good as its user’s training.

(MORE: Cover Story: The Gunfighters)

Under sudden attack, the brain does not work the way we think it will. Millbern has seen grown men freeze under threat, like statues dropped onto the set of a horror movie. He has struggled to perform simple functions at shooting scenes, like unlocking a switch on a submachine gun while directing people to safety. “I have heard arguments that an armed teacher could and would respond to an active shooter in the same way a cop would. That they would hear gunshots, run toward the sound and then engage the shooter,” Millbern writes in an e-mail from Baghdad, where he now works as a bomb-detection K-9 handler. “I think this is very unrealistic.”

As lawmakers in at least seven states debate whether to allow teachers to carry firearms in school (something already allowed in Utah and Texas), it is worth considering: What happens in the human brain during a gunfight? And how much training would armed teachers or security guards need to prevail?

The Adrenaline Surge

At 3 p.m. one autumn day in 2004, Jim Glennon found himself being shot at without warning. He was a lieutenant, a third-generation cop who had decided on the spur of the moment to help out on a routine shoplifting call. The suspect, a white man in his mid-50s, had walked out of a liquor store with a bottle of vodka without paying for it, and the police had tracked his license plate to a condo complex in a suburb of Chicago.

The officers knocked on the door at the end of a long hallway and got no response. After a few minutes, Glennon started to suggest they come back with a warrant. That was when the man threw open the door and began firing a black snub-nosed revolver from three feet away.

Glennon was a police-academy trainer, unusually well schooled in survival skills. But from the moment he saw the revolver, his mind entered a state unlike anything he’d experienced before. “Oh s—! Gun!” he said, spinning his body hard to the left, missing a bullet by inches or less.

Without his conscious knowledge, the sight of the gun had sent a signal to his brain stem, passing a message to his amygdala—the primal, almond-shaped mass of nuclei that controls the fear response from deep within the brain’s temporal lobe. The amygdala, in turn, triggered a slew of changes throughout Glennon’s body. His blood vessels constricted so that he would bleed less if he got wounded. His heart rate shot up. A surge of hormones charged through his system, injecting power to his major muscle groups should he need to fight or flee.

His first actual thought was that the gun must have had only five or six rounds. He knew this because it reminded him of the revolver his grandfather gave his father years earlier. As he and a fellow officer turned and began racing down the hallway to take cover around the corner, he counted the number of shots he heard behind him, waiting for the suspect to run out of ammunition. Relying on his training, he pulled his .40-caliber Sig Sauer pistol out of his holster.

(FROM THE ARCHIVES: TIME’s Gun Covers, 1968-2013)

As happens for most people in life-or-death situations, his brain began to manipulate his perception of time, slowing down the motion as he fled down the corridor. “The hallway looked like one of those dreams where it is just really, really long,” he says. Later he would guess that it was 250 ft. long; it was really 79 ft.

But for each superpower his brain gave him, it took one away. In a flash, his brain reprioritized, shifting finite resources to the cause of survival. As he ran, rounds bursting behind him “like cannon shots,” he suddenly fell flat on his face in the carpeted hallway, tearing skin off his hands and knees.

“I was a 48-year-old guy wearing 20 lb. of equipment,” he remembers, “and I was running faster than I think my body was capable of handling.” In life-or-death situations, human beings often lose basic motor skills that we take for granted under normal conditions. (Attackers, not just those they’re shooting at, also experience such trade-offs, though they usually have the advantage of not being taken by surprise.)

Instantly, Glennon bounced back up and kept running to the corner, which seemed to get no closer with each step. Just then, his fellow officer fell down in front of him, screaming that he’d been shot. So Glennon’s brain reprioritized again. He grabbed the officer’s belt and heaved him the rest of the way around the corner. He remembers feeling pain in his back and thinking, Son of a bitch got me. It had taken seconds to get to the end of the hallway, but it felt like minutes.

Then, having finally taken cover, he turned and pointed back down the hallway toward the shooter. It was a chilling sensation to see his bare hand in front of him, pointing in the shape of a pistol like a boy on the playground. Where was his gun? “I looked at my hand. It wasn’t there. I looked in my holster. It wasn’t there.”

Without being aware of it, Glennon had dropped his gun in the hallway when he’d reached over to help the wounded officer. In moments of extreme stress, the brain does not allow for contemplation; it does not process new information the way it normally does. The more advanced parts of the brain that handle decisionmaking go off-line, unable to intervene until the immediate fear has diminished.

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167 comments
TargetIsMoving
TargetIsMoving

Like everything training is the only way. People who want the responsibility of a handgun need to be able to use it. This goes for civilians as well as law enforcement. The typical training most people do is just not adequate and that needs to change. We live this and push for better training. http://www.targetismoving.com

RoccoJohnson
RoccoJohnson

It's nice to see an informative and balanced article on this subject.

mdmd
mdmd

Why are so many of these articles written by people who have never actually handled a weapon?  In the magazine version of this article, the infographic claims that "There are 600 round magazines for as low as $25.95"  These magazines are for airsoft "guns", which fire plastic pellets at low velocity.  Toys.  If this was the only massive factual error in this piece, it wouldn't be so bad.

wavejumper
wavejumper

I have tremendous respect for the discourse occurring on this topic. Much of it is thoughtful, well informed and heartfelt. Personally I'm generally for smaller government whenever possible. However when it comes to gun safety and responsible gun use there should be little debate. The article indicated that training could not be more highly recommended but that the cost was high. We must engage in a very objective national discussion because I for one would support some type of private training facilities with at least some government oversight which mandated intensive firearm training of every weapon from pea shooters to shotguns and crossbows to machine guns. The individual must exhibit a high degree of comfort with and respect for the lethality of whatever weapon they seek to master. Extensive training must be the first and most absolute requirement. Our second amendment referring to a civilian based militia defined that militia as individual citizens to be highly trained in military techniques and weapons use. In those days weapons were not nearly as varied or lethal as those of today. Therefore it is only logical that the greatest emphasis must be directed toward training. Today almost anyone can buy a 12 gauge shotgun with absolutely no training or certification whatsoever. Think of the millions out there who own shotguns for home security but never fired a round for any reason. At the very least let's back responsible and extensive training my friends - it will be money well worth paying to help ensure that only the bad guys get what the good guys are aiming at. 

AndyClark
AndyClark

The article is excellent, thank you.  It is well-researched and balanced.  It is the truth as anyone who has been really scared will tell you:  almost everyone freezes and becomes powerless and those who can run.   No matter your stand on the firearm issue, this article It is a rare treat in today's world of otherwise-shoddy reporting.   

msalup
msalup

I am in favor of anyone having a gun (with exceptions for criminals) but, treat guns like cars: pass a profficiency test: fire an entire clip fast into a target 25 feet away, and if you miss more than 1 out of 6, you fail.

Nothing could be more stupid than a whole bunch of untrained people firing away, killing and wounding people randomly, with the screams, feces flowing out of the stomach, blood, smell of feces, the coppery smell of blood... all happening at the same time. Gross, uh? Yet, very true.


Kenster
Kenster

Indeed, it does require a lot of training and a special frame of mind.  This is why I don't advocate encouraging or requiring teachers to possess firearms.  We don't want people who are incompetent or uncomfortable with firearms to feel compelled to bear arms.  

On the other hand, it's important to note that merely 'being a police officer' does not necessarily mean that one will possess those critical skills and attributes.  

The average public has a distorted idea of the training that police officers receive.  They aren't Steven Segal.  On the other hand, many 'average citizens' (and officers) do have the requisite skills and attributes to be effective in a shootout wherein innocent lives are at risk.  There is no guarantee that good will triumph over evil but we have to give the good people a fighting chance.

Jay-Way
Jay-Way

Teachers aren't hired for their marksmanship. They are not trained SWAT officers. The concept of a kindergarten teacher turning into a Kindergarten Cop is a fantasy.  If the principal at Newtown had an M4 in her office she'd still be dead. But I'm still in favor of allowing teachers to be armed.

No serious thinker would ever consider forcing ALL teachers to pack heat, so the teachers saying they would quit before wearing a gun are being ridiculous. But I personally know several teachers who own guns and are decent shots. Are they trained SWAT sharpshooters? No, not even close. They don't have to be. Their job in this situation isn’t to “take his head off.” Their job is to slow the shooter down. They are speed bumps.

It's easy to say guns don't belong in schools. Actually, I agree with you. But guns are real, and creating a zone where only people willing to break the law are armed is stupid. Schools, especially elementary schools, should be places of hope and learning and Teddy Bear Parades. But in a real world, if a madman is shooting at my sons, I would prefer it if their teachers had the ability to defend themselves and my children instead of being forced by federal law to just stand there and die.

MdLachlan
MdLachlan

What  does it say about your society, when you even have to consider these questions - panic rooms, arming teachers, bullet proof glass?  Is that the environment you want your kids to grow up in? It sounds like you've got a civil war going on.
  I live in the UK and one of my basic, fundamental freedoms is that, when I drop my children off at school, I don't have to worry that a disgruntled teenager is going to come in with his dad's gun and start shooting them. 
US society seems to have been disfigured by the gun, to such an extent that gun ownership is seen as more important than a child's life.  The statistics are plain - guns endanger the owner more than any would-be assailant. That's why UK cops concluded they should only be issued to intensively trained firearms units - they were a danger in the hands of ordinary officers. How much more so the semi or untrained civilian?
The idea that guns are there to resist the government is abhorrent to anyone who believes in democracy and, besides, many uprisings - the Soviet Union,  the old Soviet bloc, the 'colour' revolutions, have been conducted with hardly a shot fired.
There is a current of infantilism in US gun owners - the idea that the individual is more important than the group, the idea that wild 'what if' scenarios might come true.  What if, in the middle of the night, there's a noise? Seven men are in your home etc etc. That happened to my wife. She made a noise and they ran off. In the US, those men might have been armed with guns or she might have felt she could confront them with a gun - if she could have got her contact lenses in in time. Who knows how that would have gone? Probably they'd have taken it off her and run away with it.
 Even if there is an instance where a gun protects you  it is outweighed by the threat it poses. The argument 'it's OK for me to own a gun because I would never shoot my family, or be shot by them, or shoot myself, or miss while attacking a perceived threat, or accidentally shoot anyone, or allow my weapon to fall into criminal hands, I'm only going to use it to fight off murderous criminals, who are vanishingly rare' is similar to that of people who say 'you know, I actually drive better after a couple of drinks. I know what the statistics say but, really, trust me, it'll be fine.'
Say you arm the teachers. What happens when the teacher goes nuts, or leaves his gun in the bathroom? Accidental firearm death is common. I wouldn't want a gun in my child's classroom, held by anyone.
I think the gun owners have such a dark view of their countrymen - the idea that without guns crime would explode. That says to me that they believe civil society has entirely failed, in fact that the USA is a failure.
I don't believe that. I think that if the guns went away there would be a period of readjustment while the nation was disarmed and then you'd see your murder rate collapse. Certainly your police would die less often. We've had 300 officers die in the line of duty since 1900, including heart attack and accident. They are overwhelmingly unarmed, even on some anti-terrorist operations.
What gives me the right to comment? The same thing that gives anyone the right to comment on anything going on anywhere in the world where people are needlessly dying.  If 30,000 people a year were needlessly dying anywhere else on the globe we'd be staging Live Aid concerts and calling for UN intervention. If you think this is hyperbole - it's just short of the figures for the Somali civil war.

NatalieA.Sera
NatalieA.Sera

I taught school for 23 years, and have experience with both rifles and pistols. Would I want to carry a gun at school? NO WAY!! Reason? If I heard shots, and had to stick my head out of the doorway and locate the shooter, and then get in position to actually have a chance of accurately firing at him, he would have already seen me, and had a LONG time to train his sights on me and kill me. For what? The chance to get into my classroom and gun down my students. Nope. Won't have it. 

Instead, teachers need to have the following: a door that can be locked from the inside, a peephole or a window with bulletproof glass in it to see who might be knocking on the door, and a school emergency plan to protect against false invitations to unlock the door. That's because the principal might be coerced into saying everything's all right when it isn't.  If Vicky Soto had had such a classroom door, and had locked it when she heard the shots, she would still be alive today. If everyone else had done the same, those children might still be alive, and if the principal had been able to lock herself into her office and call 911, she might have been alive today as well. A shooter who can only roam empty corridors with no one in sight isn't going to be able to kill anyone if there are cinderblock walls and strong doors. But even firing through weaker doors and walls is still less dangerous than having a shooter actually come into the room. The cafeteria and gym are a little harder, because it would take longer to lock the doors, but it could still be done.

So, yes, there ARE ways to prevent school massacres, but teachers carrying guns isn't one of them. 


DonaldSmith
DonaldSmith

So because poorly trained cops can't manage a gunfight, the rest of us must die?

DirkDaknife
DirkDaknife

This article failed to address how many bystanders are shot when armed civilians engage a shooter versus when police engage a shooter.  OR the fact that quite often the mere presence of another gun stops the shooting.  This was a nice breakdown of one shooting but it was just one incident where the officers were completely surprised.  I don't care how good you are with that degree of surprise only the fact that the perp was shooting a snubnose kept that incident from being far worse than it was.

And nobody is expecting an armed citizen be they teacher, janitor, Principal or visiting parent to move forward to find and engage a shooter.  But what if Vickie Soto had ushered her kids into the closets, then opened her desk drawer, opened her quick action safe and readied herself to defend, where she would be the shooter at the ready with the factor of surprise.   Columbine did show that having an armed guard isn't a total deterrence because they knew who and most likely where he would be, and that he was alone!  What the concept of arming teachers allows for is creating a situation where the deranged kids looking to become famous don't know which or how many teachers are armed on any given day.  The columbine shooters knew if they could deal with the one guard, who was easily identified, they would have free reign of the school (which is exactly what happened).  But would they have still tried it if they faced the possibility of every teacher in every classroom returning fire?  

The scenario given in this article was everything against the officers, factor of surprise, lack of cover and the need to get to it.  Note how once he realized he no longer had the upper hand the shooter surrendered.  Time and again when another firearm is introduced into the situation, the shooter either surrenders, runs or most commonly ends his own life.  Decent article, but still only one side of the story is given, the one trying to prove that citizens can't be trusted to defend themselves or others, when in fact it happens millions of times every year with very few innocents being hit (unlike with the police).

BellaMia7
BellaMia7

it's time for parents to demand that schools guaranteed their children's safety.  Same with teachers - they should demand that barring act of God - like tornados - that school guarantee their safety.  Other wise they should be allowed to be armed.

BellaMia7
BellaMia7

Are you seriously making the argument that after a teacher and her entire class of children are massacred that she was better off not having had a gun?  That's an insane position.  Clearly she would have been better off - even if she accidentally hit a kid and killed or disabled the gunman.  Without a gun - they were ALL massacred.  In the last moments of a person's life shouldn't they have the right to use deadly force against an attacker?  I can't believe that people disagree with that principle. 

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@mdmd And your point is...?  IS the main subject - that an idiot with a gun is far more dangerous to innocent bystanders than a well trained idiot with a gun - invalid because of some factual errors in gun types?

 I'll tell you Sparky, read my post above and learn something from someone who probably knows far more about firearms than either the author of this article OR you.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@msalup 

How about the tools out there that call a MAGAZINE a clip? Can we beat their heads in with bricks?

Like in Bootcamp we were told : If you call a magazine a clip you are too stupid to use my weapon sailor!

AndyClark
AndyClark

@Kenster Send all the children to school with appropriate weapons, break them into platoons and set up guard towers and checkpoints.  That way they learn skills that are important to our military-prison-industrial complex.

TBBikeman
TBBikeman

@MdLachlan TheUK has nothing to do with the US.  Why would you compare the two?

Garzhad
Garzhad

@MdLachlan

The USA is not like the UK, never has been, never will be, everything all the way down to the electrical sockets is different here. Rebellion is part of the American spirit, it's what the country was founded on and exists to this day in it's citizens. For most, that rebellious spirit exhausts itself in youth; our kids do crazy stuff, then after a few years, they mature and enter the work force as responsible adults.

For some though, it never subsides, and turns to darker intents. Criminals here, will take every advantage they can get, you give a yard, they take a mile. Norway can get away with coddling their criminals. The criminals here are very, very different. These people are oft part of nation-spanning criminal gangs and syndicates, operating inside and outside of even the highest security prisons, these are people who, despite being in solitary confinement for weeks, somehow manage to send out execution orders to members outside the prison, as well as carry out assassinations of rival gang members and even prison guards all behind bars.

The idea of giving these animals Internet access of all things, in a Norwegian style prison? Utterly ludicrous, they'd be ordering a dozen executions a day, and that's if they didn't just break out and do it themselves. 

"use it to fight off murderous criminals, who are vanishingly rare" Vanishingly rare? Your joking, right? I've had people murdered less then 1000ft from my house. They are Far from 'vanishingly rare'.


"Even if there is an instance where a gun protects you  it is outweighed by the threat it poses." What threat? I know scores of people that own guns personally, that have never had an issue, with themselves or with the kids they brought up teaching them firearm safety, instilling in them that these are /Not/ toys, that they are very dangerous and should never be raised at another human being unless your own life was endanger, and still put the guns under lock and key at the end of the day. The danger comes from a child raised in ignorance(or one mentally deranged) that finds a gun somewhere, and not appreciating or respecting what it is and what it's capable of, shoots themselves or someone else accidentally.

Statistically speaking deaths involving legal fire-arms and law-abiding citizens is what is 'vanishingly rare', nearly every gun-related death across the nation is the result of a criminal killing an innocent civilian with an illegal handgun bought off the streets for pocket cash. And no, that's not pulled out of the air. I know for a fact you can go out and buy an illegal handgun off the streets of nearly Any major city with no questions or paperwork for petty cash, and that is precisely why gun controls haven't done SQUAT here, because the criminals don't care and will sell/buy them anyway, they'll either smuggle more in from overseas or through mexico or just go underground with manufacturing facilities right in our backyards.

The reality is that bans don't work here, the people will always find away around the law. Look at what alcohol Prohibition brought to the United States: an increase in consumption of hard liquor, organized crime taking over legal production and distribution and widespread anger with the federal government.

Look at what the war on drugs has brought to America: $1 trillion down the toilet, over half a million people incarcerated for petty drug crimes, more people in America use drugs now then ANYWHERE else on the planet, the war on drugs has cost tens of thousands of American and Mexican lives and is directly responsible for the meteoric rise of gangs and drug cartels the world over, who have stepped in to fill the demand for substances branded illegal by the law, and who carry out the lions share of the gun homicides in this country.

Banning guns will only do more of the same. The production and sale of previously legal firearms will be taken up by the gangs and cartels, whose profits will go stratospheric, who will continue to put instruments of death in the hands of those who would do us harm.

And gun owners arn't the ones that think the individual is more important then the group. There are over a hundred million responsible gun owners in this country, they ARE the group. The people that want to strip away fundamental liberties from every single citizen, due to the actions of an insane few, from the Patriot act and all the disgusting violations of our freedoms since all thanks to Al-Qaeda and Osama, to attempts at online censorship and control due to despicable pirates that by and large operate outside of the united states, to this disgusting Adam Lanza scumbag, because of whom they are trying to violate the privacy and property of responsible gun owners nationwide, /These/ people think the individual is more important then the group.

These people want to punish and inconvenience and criminalize the vast majority of this countries citizens because of the rogue actions of a handful of Scum. They attempt to pass broad, sweeping bans and restrictions that will do nothing to curb gun violence all in the name of 'protecting the children'. Gun free zones have done nothing to protect our kids, and neither will these new proposals, only criminalize law-abiding citizens and damage an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of americans.

Norway didn't let Anton Breivik change the way they did things there. They refused to let that scumbag change who they are and what they stood for, what they believed in, they didn't pass pointless laws as a result of what he did.

I don't support criminals and murderers, and neither does the NRA. Neither do we support pointless and useless laws that would do nothing to stop the gun violence in this country, only strip the rights from and criminalize law abiding citizens. We Do support measures that actually Would have a meaningful affect. The only things suggested so far that would make even the slightest difference is increased security, active and passive in our schools. A long, hard look at the state of mental health in this country and an overhaul in how we identify, diagnose and treat these troubled individuals. Increasing efforts to combat criminals and gangs, up to and including rethinking the way we are carrying out this war on drugs, this 'war' that is directly responsible for their meteoric rise and all the suffering that has accompanied it.

There are many little things that can be done to help. The point is to target the specific causes of the gun violence problem, to hit them with a laser-guided legislative bomb and eliminate them without harming everyone else around them. A gun ban is like dropping an atomic bomb on where a lone terrorist Used to be; it gets everyone but the One you want. I don't know about you, but I don't like collateral damage, I don't like needlessly punishing millions of people for a crime they never committed with laws that do nothing to prevent the crime in the first place.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@NatalieA.Sera 

Having armored steel doors with bulletproof peeps in going to be a thousand bucks or more a door...


good effing luck paying for that.

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@NatalieA.Sera Is the USA truly willing to INVEST in the solution?Wouldn't it be less expensive to take the proactive measures NatalieA Sera proposes?Arming teacher is filled with chaos and uncertainty.  Paying for armed guards is an expense that never ends ( like unaffordable wars). Some classrooms don't even have walls to separate each class and kids of various grades are just separated by cubicle dividers (3/4 height). Where are the safety measures? These ideas you post are worth repeating:

 A door that can be locked from the inside.

A peep hole or window with bulletproof glass in it to see who might be knocking on the door.

An emergency plan to protect against false invitations.

Add more ideas:

Transform "open architecture" schools  where kids of many grades are now in a big pod area and grades are separated by 3/4 height cubicles. Make them SAFE: take away the cubicle walls and build real walls in between classes.

Review classrooms that are being held in mobile units to see if they have any safety measures, and if they are not safe, get rid of them.

Review policies and figure out ways to make phys ed and lunch period safer.

We must do more.

Garzhad
Garzhad

@NatalieA.Sera 

This was exactly my line of thinking. Prevent them from getting to the kids in the first place, so they have to resort to wandering empty hallways until a swat team graciously sends them into the next life.

jp
jp

And you are better trained than the poorly trained cops?  Cops who face danger almost every single day  while people like you are in your gun ranges shooting at stationary paper target?

The NRA and gun manufacturers are all trying to scare you paranoid people to buy more guns.  Guess what?  It has worked so far.  The gun manufacturers and the NRA are all rolling in the dough.  Meanwhile,  over 85 people in the US die because of guns every day 

I guess in some people's minds,  paranoia trumps safety.  

Yup,  the government is out to get you!  Yup,   you are well prepared to win a gunfight!  Yup,  in the gunfight in your minds,   innocent bystanders will not be hurt.


pseudonymousinnc
pseudonymousinnc

@DirkDaknife "what if Vickie Soto had ushered her kids into the closets, then opened her desk drawer, opened her quick action safe and readied herself to defend, where she would be the shooter at the ready with the factor of surprise."

And what if Santa Claus had landed his magic sleigh, which has mounted .50 automatic rifles, through the roof?

Stop fantasizing in public.

hobbes
hobbes

@BellaMia7 and are you willing to foot the bill for that?  because it's going to come out of your taxes and it's going to be very, very expensive.  

hobbes
hobbes

@BellaMia7 i do disagree, because there is recorded and factual evidence of what happens to people in a crisis, have YOU ever been in a car accident?  it happens in a split second, in many cases...people "that are not trained and trained on a regular basis (i am talking weekly or monthly  can and will freeze, stumble, make the decision too late, turn away, and a whole lot more...BECAUSE they are not conditioned to respond to their own possible death.  this is why the military and on a lesser scale police train so much....even an ex-military will respond much more slowly and hesitate because they have lost the "edge" that training provides.  i'm sorry, i want to protect our children also...but i don't believe more guns (i own guns) is the answer, arming teachers is not the answer.  

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@BellaMia7 Please respond to the issues at debate. Very specifically-that  most teachers would not have the appropriate gun skills to appropriately defend themselves and it is likely to cause more harm than good. People who have guns and who are unskilled create a dangerous situation in numerous ways, as outlined by Ripley. 


s0516122
s0516122

@Garzhad @MdLachlan

I'm a student from Hong Kong and have only followed the gun-control issue via various news agencies. I find it strange that Americans are allowed access and ownership of firearms. I understand that the second amendment confer US citizens this right. However, i cannot but feel that it is no good and continue to uphold this particular law. As i understand it, the second amendment is enacted because during the birth of the US there was a huge shortage of manpower to provide law enforcement for everybody and so most people had to fend for themselves. To do so, everyone is allowed access to a gun to fend off enemies. However, with state-of-the-art weapons, the best military on Earth and the mighty carrier groups the States now have, where is the case for citizens having to defend themselves? Although the second amendment is fully justified at the time of the founding fathers, it is now outdated. So if you ask me what is the root cause of the problem at hand, i would say it is the originally well-intended but now outdated second amendment.

In addition, i am disappointed to read on Wikipedia that the Supreme court hold that "the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia". The law is not only outdated, but distorted.

Now, before you lash out on me, saying that i do not respect American rights or do not understand your virtues, i wish to say this: how you ever wonder why that this gun-ownership that you have is illegal in most countries on Earth? What makes Americans so special that demands universal gun ownership? I think it is because that three centuries of gun ownership is the reason that makes you think gun ownership is essential to Americans. Gun-ownership is somewhat arbitrary (in the sense that some have it while others do not), just like bowing before giving a formal speech in Japan is. If the second amendment instead say that all restaurants have to provide hamburgers for free, any government attempt to tax the food (in the name of health, perhaps) will cause public outrage. If homosexuals are allowed to wed as well as enjoy the same rights as straight couples now, a century later any attempt to devalue homosexuality will be said to violate their "rights". Gun ownership is more of a custom than a right in the States. Americans feel strange when they are denied the "right" to own firearms, just as the Japanese will think that politicians who do not bow before giving a speech is impolite (remember, Japan used to be governed by laws of ethics not written laws). The issue now boils down to this question: do you value the arbitrary "right" of gun ownership or your (and others) precious life?

If you cling to the latter, than i have the following suggestions:

1. Revise the second amendment to make it illegal for anyone except expertly(by this i mean those who have been in the battlefield, virtual or real) trained law enforcement units and the army to own ANY firearms

2. Enforce the law with all the might and resource of the US. Search every last house, storehouse, caves, etc. for "illegal" firearms

3. Tighten boarder security

I must admit, however, that i agree with Garzhad, American rebellion is a part of the problem and i have no solution for that except to enforce the ban so long that Americans do not feel that carrying a firearm is normal.

s0516122
s0516122

@Garzhad @MdLachlan

I'm a student from Hong Kong and have only followed the gun-control issue via various news agencies. I find it strange that Americans are allowed access and ownership of firearms. I understand that the second amendment confer US citizens this right. However, i cannot but feel that it is no good and continue to uphold this particular law. As i understand it, the second amendment is enacted because during the birth of the US there was a huge shortage of manpower to provide law enforcement for everybody and so most people had to fend for themselves. To do so, everyone is allowed access to a gun to fend off enemies. However, with state-of-the-art weapons, the best military on Earth and the mighty carrier groups the States now have, where is the case for citizens having to defend themselves? Although the second amendment is fully justified at the time of the founding fathers, it is now outdated. So if you ask me what is the root cause of the problem at hand, i would say it is the originally well-intended but now outdated second amendment.

In addition, i am disappointed to read on Wikipedia that the Supreme court hold that "
the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia". The law is not only outdated, but distorted.

Now, before you lash out on me, saying that i do not respect American rights or do not understand your virtues, i wish to say this: how you ever wonder why that this gun-ownership that you have is illegal in most countries on Earth? What makes Americans so special that demands universal gun ownership? I think it is because that three centuries of gun ownership is the reason that makes you think gun ownership is essential to Americans. Gun-ownership is somewhat arbitrary (in the sense that some have it while others do not), just like bowing before giving a formal speech in Japan is. If the second amendment instead say that all restaurants have to provide hamburgers for free, any government attempt to tax the food (in the name of health, perhaps) will cause public outrage. If homosexuals are allowed to wed as well as enjoy the same rights as straight couples now, a century later any attempt to devalue homosexuality will be said to violate their "rights". Gun ownership is more of a custom than a right in the States. Americans feel strange when they are denied the "right" to own firearms, just as the Japanese will think that politicians who do not bow before giving a speech is impolite (remember, Japan used to be governed by laws of ethics not written laws). The issue now boils down to this question: do you value the arbitrary "right" of gun ownership or your (and others) precious life?

If you cling to the latter, than i have the following suggestions:

1. Revise the second amendment to make it illegal for anyone except expertly(by this i mean those who have been in the battlefield, virtual or real) trained law enforcement units and the army to own ANY firearms

2. Enforce the law with all the might and resource of the US. Search every last house, storehouse, caves, etc. for "illegal" firearms

3. Tighten boarder security


I must admit, however, that i agree with Garzhad, American rebellion is a part of the problem and i have no solution for that except to enforce the ban so long that Americans do not feel that carrying a firearm is normal.

hobbes
hobbes

@Garzhad @MdLachlan Garz...i agree with some of what you said...but there's a lot i don't agree with...i am NOT for a gun ban..you are right.  what i am for is responsible gun ownership....if your gun is used to kill someone like these kids...you should pay for it. that woman did, with her life, but so should the people that "trained" her, they did not do their jobs otherwise her son would have never been able to get hold of her guns.  please calm down, because most people wanting change, including the president of the united states, do not want you to give up your guns.  read what he said in his points...look  we have to start somewhere...something has to change.  so i ask you a question...what are "specific causes of the gun violence problem, to hit them with a laser-guided legislative bomb and eliminate them", what are they?  what do you consider those specific causes...i really want to have a calm discussion of what you think they are.  


Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2013/01/16/your-brain-in-a-shootout-guns-fear-and-flawed-instincts/#ixzz2IZp6eOP6

NatalieA.Sera
NatalieA.Sera

@Hadrewsky @NatalieA.Sera  Yeah, there is an expense. But is money as important as the safety of our children? Our governments (and corporations) waste a LOT of money (including overpaying themselves), but can't be convinced to spend a little for a reasonable cause?

Coach63DH
Coach63DH

@Garzhad @NatalieA.Sera One thing I've never understood is that most of the year the outside doors of my school are locked during the school day with a buzzer and a adult monitor at the main door.  But on election day, the building is wide open to allow the voters to enter.  Either they should not use the school as a voting location or close the schools on election day. 

nenue
nenue

@jp For one thing, police officers do not encounter dangerous situations every day, some never do during their whole careers. It's more risky to be a fireman or coal miner or construction worker. For another, cops practice on paper targets the same as civilians do. The gun manufacturers are making money? Sounds good to me. At least that's ONE industry in this country that is.


CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@jp I had dinner with some friends this weekend and one person said that they purchased a gun last week. The reasoning for the purchase was eerily similar to what you post:  "Yup, the government is out to get you". 

OMG. What has Fox News done to people?

DirkDaknife
DirkDaknife

@pseudonymousinnc @DirkDaknife It's called a what if scenario, the gun grabbers always claim that armed citizens will result in streets running with blood but it doesn't happen.  

What is real is that any shooter who tries a Newtown in Utah is going to get a very unpleasant surprise when a large percentage of the teachers do just what I suggested.  Vickie Soto is a hero for putting herself between her students and the shooter.  What if she'd actually had the means to present an effective defense.  You don't like guns, but they are here, they are real, and armed citizens use firearms to deter or outright stop criminal acts between 1 and 2.5 million times a year.  Take a look at the mother in GA last week, the vice principal in Pearl Miss in 1997, the Students at Appalachian College in 2002, the Salt Lake stabbing in April of 2012.  My post was grounded entirely in fact, unlike your post.

tsvskibum
tsvskibum

@CerebralSmartie @BellaMia7  so know the teacher who is likely not receiving sufficient training for their job now has to take firearm and tactical shooting training? Where are they going to find the time and who's going to pay for it?  Also, they are always not going to be as good as it as Professional police officer?  I say train the Cops, not the teachers!

DirkDaknife
DirkDaknife

@CerebralSmartie @BellaMia7 Please cite proof of this.  Pearl Miss 1997, Appalachian Law College 2002, and many many more non-school events prove you wrong.  This article is correct in that nobody is going to do well in an ambush, but everybody in that school except the front office people had ample notice and warning of the coming attack.

Wildkat
Wildkat

@msalupThat is not a stupid remark at all. Many people commenting on these articles make simple mistakes such as that and betray their ignorance on the subject. If you don't know the basics about firearms, then you do not have all of the information needed to participate in these discussions.

msalup
msalup

@Hadrewsky @msalup that is an amazingly childish reply. Who cares about clip or magazine? Dont you have capacity of abstraction? I am sorry but this is a stupid remark

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@msalup @Hadrewsky 

A 'clip' is not a magazine... it is an ENTIRELY different method of putting ammo into a firearm. Look up rifles that use clips, a stripper clip has the ammo Clipped onto a small metal holder that can quickly be stripped through the weapon to load in... a clip is simply a piece of metal with rounds attached and is used in mostly WW2 era firearms,

The device you called a clip is called a Magazine. a Magazine holds the rounds under the tensions of a spring for rapid entry into the chamber.

a A Magazine and Clip are different pieces of hardware... calling a magazine a clip is like calling a wrech a screwdriver... If you had ever been in the military you would have had your ass chewed and probably ITd for using the word clip --- it was one of the most vile sins one could do in boot-camp firearms training... a magazine and a clip were simply different tools.

KoffeeCake
KoffeeCake

@s0516122 @Garzhad @MdLachlan 

Theres a fundamental difference in the relationship between people and government when comparing Hong Kong with the USA. Viewed in a positive light the dynamic between the Chinese government to its citizens is one similar to parents(Government) and children(the people). That's fine for the Chinese I they want that but that's not how America works, nor how Americans want it. The (Ideal) dynamic between the government to people is servant(the government) to master (the people). Ideally the American government is subject to the populations will, and rules as the people permit. As such the government in America (ideally) could not act on any issue, guns included, unless given permission by the majority of American citizens...which will not happen

60Gunner
60Gunner

@s0516122 

1. Revise the second amendment to make it illegal for anyone except expertly(by this i mean those who have been in the battlefield, virtual or real) trained law enforcement units and the army to own ANY firearms

2. Enforce the law with all the might and resource of the US. Search every last house, storehouse, caves, etc. for "illegal" firearms

3. Tighten boarder security

Well, I agree with number 3, but 1 and 2 are blatant violations of the 2nd and 4th Amendments to the Constitution...unless you want to abolish the right of protection from unwarranted search and seizure...Do they need a warrant to search your crib in Hong Kong? 

This is the stuff I love about everyone else offering us advice on our "Constitution" ...especially from places like China (how is Hong Kong now that the boys in Bejing are running things?)  

Since you don't live with the essential freedoms we take for granted, because they are not granted by our government, but by the people who empower the government, , you cannot understand the concept by which we go about our daily lives. I don't want nor do I need permission to buy a house, a car or move from one part of the country or another. I don't have to tell the police when I move into a neighborhood (like some places in Europe). I can have as many children as I want and the government can't interfere, unless I abuse them or fail to provide. I can buy as much property as I can afford anywhere I like as long as it's for sale. Can you do any of this...in Hong Kong?  I can call the president of the United States the most foul insulting name I like...as long as I do not make a credible threat against his life, I cannot be arrested,jailed  or otherwise harassed (well, maybe this regime is different, we'll see).

I chose my occupation, which university I attended and whether or not I wanted to serve in the military. My local government officials answer to me, I don't answer to them. If I confront them on an issue at a public meeting, I don't get arrested and I certainly do not kowtow to them or beg for their attention. Most importantly, if they don't act in the best interest of the people, we send them packing...when was the last time that happened in China?  

I would wait for an answer, but I would grow old long before it came. Look young scholar, one reason we remain a Constitutional Republic is the presence of firearms in the hands of the populous and the fact that we  draw our volunteer military from that populous. A military that understands it's first responsibility is to the people. Not the government. As a soldier I didn't fight for the president, the generals or the "cause du jour", I fought for my brothers on either side of me and my family back home. Unlike China - where you call your military the "People's Army" because it  sounds democratic, our is an army of the people, because our soldiers understand their part in the nations defense and the defense of their families. 

With all due respect, keep your political advice to yourself...you have enough problems...when you can protest in the public square without getting run over by tanks, come back and share some more insights into why we should be disarmed. 

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@s0516122 @Garzhad @MdLachlan 

Confiscations of guns will never work especially on the levels you suggested from Hong Kong.

People would literally shoot police trying to seize weapons... it would literally be open insurrection in the streets.

Garzhad
Garzhad

@s0516122

Many don't feel that Carrying one Around is normal; not many people actually have CCW or open carry. Owning one period, however, is viewed by many as an essential to self-defense, which is a huge part of what the 2nd is. The right for you to defend yourself, when no one else(police) is there to protect you(considering they rarely ever are).

1. Making things illegal is a nice thought, but doesn't work. Take a look at US history as i've said before. Take a look at the Fail on Drugs, oops, I mean the War on Drugs. Had the complete opposite effect. The Prohibition Era. Complete opposite effect. It'll be the same old story. All the folks that want to play nice with the law will turn in their firearms, but the criminals keep theirs, buy them cheap off the streets, steal them from armories or obtain them through corrupt officials, and use them on a defenseless populace all the while raking in record profits. As long as there is a demand, there will be a supply.

2. Might and resources of the US? What resources? Might? We're Broke. And we've had to make excuses and bow out of nearly every middle-eastern conflict to date, failing again and again to do much of anything. It's a joke. Searching everywhere is also not only impossible, but costly, and the people won't have any of it. We have (some)privacy rights left. If the fed starts searching every house without warrants or probable cause, you Will see a bloody reckoning by the people who have been violated.

3. Tightening border security is a nice thought, but constantly undermined by corrupt officials and the sheer size and scope of the border. Unless they start shooting them on site(a 'humanitarian disaster') they will continue to enter into, and smuggle illegal goods into, this country. And with enough arms to outfit a small army, the cartels have the means, the money, the influence and the backing to do so.

 "where is the case for citizens having to defend themselves" 

How about the thousands of cases of murder every year by thugs and the deranged? You've never been on the streets of Camden. You've never walked the less-traveled streets in Philadelphia at night, or god-forbid Detroit. The danger is very, very real, and people get assaulted, robbed, raped, kidnapped, and murdered on a daily basis. Your own legal firearm is the only recourse for protection against these scum when they come for you and your family with an illegal gun of their own. 

Of Course you don't Want to have to use it. That's why you call the cops and setup a defensive position in your bedroom and wait for them to arrive, hoping they just leave. But noises and alarm systems won't scare off everyone, and you'll be wishing you had a gun when they burst through your bedroom door. Far better to have a gun and never need it, never Have to use it to protect yourself and your family, then need it, not have it, and have to place flowers on a loved ones casket.


"during the birth of the US there was a huge shortage of manpower to provide law enforcement for everybody and so most people had to fend for themselves."

Actually it was a safeguard against governmental tyranny. Remember, they had just thrown off the British Empire. If the early freedom fighters had their weapons confiscated, the revolution would have failed, and we'd still likely be an English colony, or at least a very, very different place.

Even so, there is Still a huge shortage of manpower to provide law enforcement. Cops are NEVER there when you need them. The saying "When seconds count, the police are minutes away," was made for a reason. There's about 1 officer for every /1000/ people in this country(we have 9 times as many soldiers), criminals outnumber them by a huge margin, and more and more cops are getting laid off or get their pay slashed due to the economy. Fewer cops, more chances for corruption.

The root cause of the problem is, quite simply, that our country is failing left and right. The economy is failing, the healthcare system is failing, the educational system is failing, parents are failing their children, and the government is failing to protect it citizens, failing to provide adequate protection for our children, and instead of accepting responsibility for their failures and correcting them they take it out on those who defend themselves.

That's what its about. The 2nd = Self-Defense. You don't bring a fist, a knife, or a bat to a gun fight. Despite what movies might have you believe, your odds of prevailing over a criminal armed with a gun with such implements is very slim. Sure, you might luck out, get some nervous rookie and he runs away. There are plenty that would just shoot you and be done with it. You have a gun, you stand on equal ground. One of a criminals biggest fears is an armed would-be victim-turned-defender.

Now, there are many little things that can be done, ways to tighten up loopholes in the law so as to reduce the likelihood of accidental gun violence, and curtail certain gun crimes. But they will never go away entirely, and you are deluding yourself if you think some arbitrary Ban is going to do so.

As i've said before. We have a mental health problem. We need to take a long hard look at how we diagnose and treat people with potentially dangerous mental problems, and bar them from getting anywhere Near a weapon of Any kind. Make it illegal to keep/own a weapon in a house where one of the occupants has a violent criminal or mental record. Make it illegal to take them to a range for target shooting/training. Make it easier, and make it more acceptable for people to seek and get mental help, as many probably abstain from getting treated due to social stigma much like in some 3rd world countries, which ostracize anyone with a mental illness. Perhaps brief government surveillance of any individual denied a firearm purchase due to criminal or mental record, as anyone who applies to buy a gun fully knowing it is illegal for them to own one is likely up to no good.

Either one of those could have caught Lanza before he did what he did, and many others like him.

The government needs to step up it's A-game and take it to the crime in this country. We need More police doing their jobs, not less. Public areas like schools need much tighter security then they presently have, by a long shot. Where kids are concerned, even a knife can bring about a tragedy.

Mandate background checks for any transference of firearms. Require safety courses. Continuing advancements into firearm safety technologies. Many little things, all of which would be more effective then a ban that would force it all underground, brand otherwise law-abiding citizens as criminals.

The current legislation is assuredly pointless. Less then 4% of all gun crimes are used with rifles, while over 75% are with handguns, for good reason. You can't conceal a rifle, really. It's tto big, too bulky. They are also expensive. You can buy some 10 handguns for the price of a good AR, and conceal all 10 on your person. Even with ten round clips, you could easily carry hundreds of rounds that way, and have many, many backup guns in the event of a scuffle.

What it really is is a scary guns ban. They ban them because they look scary, not because they are the preferred weapon of killers. That title definitely goes to the handgun.


hobbes
hobbes

@CerebralSmartie @jp yes, it's the faux and right wing propaganda machine that has back fired on them, yes, people are scared and when they are scared they will do things they would never do otherwise.  frankly, i have a gun, but if someone came into my house i would go after them with a baseball bat...you have to get closer, but it's much more effective.  

the "the government is out to get you" is just a fantasy that all these right wing pundits have been pushing for years...and it's fantasy.  if the government came after you, your one little popgun will do nothing to stop them.  what they are doing is taking away our other rights, i am not really concerned about that when they have trashed all our other rights.  check this out.  

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/19/bill-maher-gun-rights-privacy_n_2511378.html 

tsvskibum
tsvskibum

@CerebralSmartie @DirkDaknife @BellaMia7  I agree, even exensively trained Cops sometimes miss and shoot the wrong person.  Adding more guns to a gunfight, only cause more confusion, which implies more "not involved" people maybe shot!

DirkDaknife
DirkDaknife

@CerebralSmartie @DirkDaknife @BellaMia7 This I can agree more study is always useful.  But the shooting she chose to dissect is a poor choice because it was an ambush, where the officers were shot at without warning, or provocation from behind.  A far different situation than a shooter working his way through a school and kicking open the door to a classroom to face an armed teacher who is at the ready, and by virtue of being in the defensive position has the element of surprise. 
 

Nobody, no matter how well trained is going to perform well in the given shooting.  A team of Navy Seals would have a similar response.  Hit from behind in a surprise ambush with no cover, it's never going to go well for those getting shot at.