ABC anti-gun hatchet job on 20/20

I watched Diane Sawyer’s 20/20 episode titled If I only had a gun. It was an hour long anti-gun/anti-CCW hatchet job that was introduced by a Brady Campaign spokesman and followed the Brady line without variance or logical analysis. Out of the whole hour the lessons learned were clear: you should keep guns secured if you have kids, it’s hard to react to a highly trained professional shooter who pops up and opens fire at point blank range, and AN ARMED CITIZEN CAN DEFEND AGAINST EVEN A CAREFULLY PLOTTED OUT ATTACK. (that last was the opposite of what they were trying to do, but for proof, read the link. For information on the level of bias in Sawyer’s hit piece, read on).

The centerpiece of the production was a situation supposed to mimic the NIU shooting — and I will say there were some interesting observations to be made.

The scenario:
A classroom is filled with actors and one student who’s been given a paint-bullet loaded gun and told it’s his/her job to defend the classroom. S/he has little training and a retention holster s/he has little experience with. A gunman unexpectedly bursts into the room and begins shooting from a few feet away.

The outcome:
In some cases the student with the gun managed to get off some return fire and wound the shooter. Most did not. Some couldn’t get the gun out, some froze, and almost all got hit because they were the ones not moving toward the exit and brought the attention of the shooter upon themselves.

So what were the unrealistic setups?:
1. A real shooter breaking into a room is no more trained than the average CCW carrier, often less. The shooter in this case was a POLICE FIREARMS TRAINER, someone who trains police officers in tactical shooting and is probably the best shooter on the force.

2. A real shooter is high on adrenalin and suffering from anxiety, tunnel vision, and a wide range of emotions, as are the victims. But in this case the shooter knew it was a drill and he was a professional getting as many hits as he could in a “for-fun” practice scenario.

3. A real shooter, on average, hits at best 50% of the time. This police firearms instructor, having fun in a drill, looked like he hit about 100% of the time — of course. And killing hits rather than widely scattered body hits. Any of us who enjoy tactical shooting could have done as well in a similar game scenario.

4. The professional, highly trained shooter attacking KNEW that there was a student there to defend the class, and since he was against civilians with guns and had an agenda for the outcome, as did Ms. Sawyer, he focused on that individual as soon as identified (CORRECTION: no need to identify the defender — the defender was always in the SAME SEAT and probably the only person the firearms instructor bothered to fire at – thanks commenters).

The only worthwhile lesson:
It is a fact that when unexpectedly faced by violence in an enclosed space amid mass panic, the body reacts in a manner which is not controllable. But … this reaction is the same for everyone. I would have loved to have seen them take an unsuspecting cop off the street and put him in the same situation. The police officer might have taken cover more quickly, just like a soldier back from a war zone will dive to the ground at the sound of fireworks, but I’d be willing to bet the rest of his response would be similar. But the lesson is … standing up and trying to do a quick draw against an active shooter at point blank range is not likely to work out for you. Though it might be better than dying helplessly — or so it would seem to me and about anyone not in the employ of the Brady Campaign (fighting back is as American as Apple pie).

A realistic analysis:
1. I actually agree that if a gunman appears and blasts away at point blank range at students listening to a lecture the average person will probably not be able to draw and fight back effectively. At least in that first critical second or so. But then, neither could the average cop. Especially if they’ve been placed directly in front of the shooters entrance.

2. In real life, the type of a person who gets a CCW and carries a gun is more likely to be sitting facing the door and not right up front where he’ll be first to take fire. When you start carrying a gun you are cognizant that you are empowered for defense, and tend to start thinking more defensively. That’s a fact.

3. If you have 5% of qualified people trained and carrying firearms, a realistic goal of CCW in most states, and there are 100 people in that room, there will be up to 5 people to react, not one. Much more chance for one of them to recover and return fire. In fact, it’s a near logical certainty. Not in a normal college classroom where most students are under 21, but in most places.

4. The gunman was wounded in several assaults. In real life, that will probably end the assault even if it’s not a killing hit. As can be seen in the study linked above, mass shooters suicide or surrender as soon as real resistance is met. So again … CCW has a potential to save lives, which is better than no chance.

5. For the group overall, there was no negative to the person having a firearm. Although the shooter identified the defensive person and focused on him/her, this is good for everyone but the defensively armed person. Now instead of spraying bullets at everyone, the killer is directing his fire at a single target while the rest flee. Greater love hath no man than gives his life for a friend …

6. Besides no negative to a CCW person being in the room, in some cases the CCW carrier did get a chance to return fire and probably end the assault. Which would you prefer — your daughter in a room of unarmed victims or with a couple of brave people to take a stand and end the attack or at least draw fire? Or just more victims to cower and die helplessly?

7. The most horrific assaults don’t end in a single room. The shooter moves on. With Cho at VT, he moved from room to room. People in those rooms had the opportunity to react, move desks, prepare for defense. And even a few seconds gives you the chance to get beyond the initial shock of assault and prepare for confrontation. And if you have a firearm to include in that defense … it makes all the difference in the world, vs. the actual situation where students trying to hold doors shut were shot through the doors. A few armed teachers/students could have saved lives at VT. The chance they could have shut Cho down in the first few seconds is pretty slim, but less dead people is better than more dead people.

More Anti Gun Kool Aide for the Brady Campaign Faithful:

1. When they talked about how to react to violence, they spoke highly of a cell phone and 911 while ironically showing pictures of the immigration center in Binghamtom and the Columbine High School shooters. In both cases, police waited outside for hours before even entering the buildings — long after the shooters had suicided. And the advice to students cowering in the Columbine library from 911 operators, though well intentioned, was to stay there and not run out of the building via the nearby door — advice which got many children killed when the shooters returned

2. The show focused on mass murderers, then made a point to have a man go in and buy armloads of guns at a gun show, somehow making it seem like it mattered that he could buy a whole armload. A killer just needs one gun. As seen in the study referenced above, most have no more than 3. The rest are just useless weight.

3. While talking about mass murders, they forgot to mention the ones cut short by armed citizens. Like at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, where a mass murderer was cut short in his assault by armed parishioners.

4. They poo-pooed the whole concept of civilian self defense, ignoring the numerous people who defend their lives with firearms every single day.

The Bottom Line:

I could go on and on. Ms. Sawyer set out to do an anti-gun piece, the real central question of which was “why don’t we have stricter gun laws” (asked repeatedly), and she succeeded. Like all anti-gun stories she shied away from real discourse or talking with people who have defended themselves with firearms. For her intent, it was safer to focus on victims of violence and relatives of victims — but then, parading victims in front of the camera when logic fails you is a strategy I’ve posted on before. And of course she never talked about the political and historical implications of a disarmed citizenry or why we have a 2nd amendment and firearms ownership in the first place.

But the simple facts are:

1. Legal citizen CCW has existed for decades, particularly after 1987.
2. There are no statistics to believe that CCW makes a society more dangerous.
3. On the contrary, there are anecdotes of people defending themselves.
4. There is simply no negative to legal CCW. So if it saves lives only a small percentage of the time, isn’t that worth it? The child it saves may be your own.
5. Gun bans are laws and laws affect people who care about them; once a person had murder in their heart and intend to commit suicide, the laws cease to matter.

Thank God recent polls show Ms. Sawyer and her ilk are in a shrinking minority. Hopefully a minority that will continue to shrink.

It’ awesome to look around the blogosphere and see how many intellects have jumped on this. I know I’ve seen many searches hit my site, which means there have been people asking questions and looking for the truth. Hopefully the internet can help us counter this kind of ridiculous, anti-American propoganda that seeks to change society through outright lies and half truths rather than educate and inform so people can make their own choices. And it is despicable that Ms. Sawyer would take actions like this to remove a cherished and long held American right for no reason except she doesn’t personally approve.

Some other excellent posts, each with angles of their own, in NO particular order:

More common sense from Occupied Nashville:

Sebastian gives an overview of multiple blogs and makes his own points:

An overview of the entire tainted show:

David Hardy’s short but to-the-jugular commentary:

The Wisdom of an American patriot and Rifleman:

The Texaner, a man who knows his priorities and BS when he sees it:

An intellectual gun nut

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