Friday, July 20, 2012

Dark Knight Rises public shooting and the missing shooter

The "Dark Knight Rises" Colorado shooting was and still is, a nightmare. It is now being called the largest public killing of this type in American history. James Holmes walked into a theater and started randomly killing people. It's a typical, if also unusual story. Man walks into a public area full of people and starts killing. But this time, this one came armed for bear, for a bear that might shoot back.

Here is another view on this topic "If only someone else had a gun".

That blogger ended by saying:

[If you think:] "If someone with a concealed weapon was there, they could have stopped this man."
"No, you have it all wrong wrong. The problem is not that there should have been more firearms at Cafe Racer. The problem is that Stawicki had one."

He was talking about a different public killing situation. I would argue that it wasn't that James Holmes today, had one at all. It's what he was doing with it. It's an old argument, but a valid one. He died his hair red, told police he was the "Joker", I'm thinking mental illness. It's always mental illness. You cannot protect yourself against it in this area of guns and killings. So this is outside of the law. He is reported as a highly intelligent student of a university, even though he was withdrawing. So he would have been fully capable of building a weapon of mass destruction, rather than just buying one.

But I wanted to take a different tact and point a few things out. Things we need to consider for this situation, especially if you think someone with a gun, some citizen, could have stopped things. This is not about bravado, but reality. It's easy to say, "I would have shot the bastard!" Another thing to live through it and act on it.

If someone were there who had a gun, maybe they could have stopped this from happening. That is true.

Maybe, if there were at least an off duty cop, or a military type off duty and carrying, or a Special Agent of some sort (FBI, CIA, DEA, whatever). They could have stopped it.

But when something like this happens, what would you do? It's quite possible someone was in there and they did have a gun with them. But do you pull it and use it? If you are well trained, the answer is most likely, yes.

But if you are someone who owned a gun, with little or no real training in this kind of situation, what do you do? If you pull and fire and it was a joke, or a promotional for the movie, you could be in serious trouble and anyone with a sense of sanity will be aware of that (where are the George Zimmerman's of the world at times like these and would he have had the balls to stand up against someone like this who wasn't a teenager with no apparrent scary weaponry?).

When someone walks in like this and throws a gas grenade of some sort and starts shooting and you can't tell if it's real, as it's kind of dark, it's an entertainment venue, there is shooting on screen, it's an action movie, it's pretty damn hard to tell what to do, and what is right to do.

I can only consider how I would view what I would do in a similar situation.

First I would have to notice it, second I would have to evaluate the situation, this all takes time. As he started shooting, I would have to see that they weren't blanks. Is it worth it to take a chance and shoot someone shooting blanks and later find out you murdered someone?

So I would actually have to wait to see someone killed, most likely. I could say, "Well, I would see a gun pulled, pull mine and kill him."

But would it happen like that? Most likely not, in reality.

UPDATE: NPR Article 1/29/2013 - Armed 'Good Guys' And The Realities Of Facing A Gunman

I would need concrete proof that this was a threat that wasn't going to stop, who was harming people, who was a homicidal threat and who needed to be stopped or killed. IN this situation shooting to disable isn't a great idea, shoot for center of mass, maybe a head shot, but not until after a center of mass shot. If you hit them in the center, wearing a flak jacket, it won't be a killing shot. Hopefully a stun shot only, giving you time to aim for the head. You have to be aware of what or who is behind him and where the bullet might ricochet off of. All this in what, a few seconds? That's plenty of time for him to kill and maim others. And all this through fog and possibly some kind of tear gas.

So you have to first notice what is really happening, for real. You have to draw your weapon. Now, do you yell a warning like they do in the movies and like police are usually required to do? Do you let him know, "Hey pal? I'm here, I have lethal force, I'm going to kill you if you don't stop!"

Do you take time to say all that? Give him a chance to stop?

No! You kill him. Better he dies not knowing you exist. If he shoots, and lays down his arms, then you are done, you yell your warning, you get him on the ground, stay away from him so you don't become a victim. Now you have to worry about the police coming in and seeing you with a gun. Where can that lead? Do they shoot you? Will you die at the hands of law enforcement when you are doing a heroic thing and maybe he will just go to jail?

The other side of this coin is the complaints about gun laws. If no one had guns, this couldn't happen.

Wrong. This wouldn't happen so frequently. Guns will always be around. I could make a gun in my garage.

So that really isn't an argument and we come back around to, if someone were there with a gun, it could have been stopped.

Again, that might be true, if there were someone there and armed, if they pulled the gun, if they made all the right observations and conclusions, if they performed well under the situation of intense combat and up against a well-armed and defended attacker, if they got off a shot that stopped or killed the attacker, if they didn't shoot him in the flak jacket merely alerting the terrorist to another attacker and then the "hero" gets shot and killed in the end and then he goes back to killing indiscriminately.

That's a lot of ifs.

ban guns! i'm so tired of the fact that this is still a debate in this country. change the fucking gun laws. i want the right to NOT bear arms!

We have to be careful about these kinds of knee jerk reactions to things that happen like this. It could have been a lot worse. Holmes rigged his apartment with bombs. He is smart. If he couldn't get access to guns, he could build bombs. Could? He did! He could have brought them to the theater. Consider that guns kill people one at a time, one shot at a time. Some can kill many people one after another. It's all about what kind of cartridge, the type of firearm and magazines, the number of shooters. But think, suicide bomber. If he couldn't have gotten firearms, he could have brought bombs, dropped them every so often all over the theater.

He could have used incindieary bombs. Rather than his killer as many as he did, he could have killed everyone in that room, at once. They could have died in  an explosion followed up by fire, very, very hot fire. People in other theater rooms could have died. Be careful what you wish for, because mentally unbalanced people who want to kill, will.

And guns have nothing to do with it. They just seem easier to us. But there are more very much more effective ways to kill. Guns give you the "pleasure" of killing yourself. A bomb is much more effective, though you only get the rush from killing after the fact, unless you really are a suicide bomber. I would rather be shot, with a chance at getting out than blown up, and burned to death with no chance.

So think about yelling how bad guns are. Because althought the NRA will talk about our rights to own guns, they also limit people in how many people they can kill. One good bomb can far outweigh anything any gun can do.

So, if there were a lot of people in there with guns,maybe he would have been stopped. There was a bank in Texas that was getting robbed a lot, friend of mine told me today, and the bank posted for people to bring guns to the bank with them and the robberies stopped. Sounds like an urban myth to me, but it does prove a point. Like nuclear deterrence, if everyone has something, it's stupid to pull a gun, or you just get killed if you do.

So do we need more guns at the theaters or metal detectors or full body scanners? Is that how we want to live? How often does this happen? Really? Not very often, so don't start panicking.

This all sounds to me that were there a few more people there with guns, IF they had proper training, this wouldn't have been so horrendous an event. We may never be able to stop this kind of thing completely, but we can certainly take steps to alleviate how disastrous it can be. People who do have guns legally, need to be better trained if they are carrying them in public. Because if they are carrying them to use them, then they need to be ready and able to pull them, and use them properly. Because it's not all about the guns existing in the location, it's all about how they are used and how fast they are used effectively and appropriately.

I like to think if I were there and armed, I could have taken in what was happening and reacted, pulling, aiming and firing. Double tap to the mid torso, one higher and a third slower shot at the head. I'm lucky. I tend not to shake in intense situations, but not everyone can say that. Shooting is all about accuracy and intimidation. But I'll take accuracy over intimidation anytime.

So in the end is the issue that the killer had a gun in the first place? No. Because there are several fail points in this situation and no one consideration really explains it or solves it.

My best thoughts go out to the family and friends and those slain and shot. I wish them well, as I'm sure we all do.

For more, the Daily Herald article.

"FAIRFAX, VA—In the wake of last evening's horrific shooting that killed 12 in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, representatives from the National Rifle Association asked all Americans to please try, in this moment of sadness and grief, to remember the myriad great and indispensable things that guns do for us every day. "While the events of last night are truly tragic, I sincerely hope that no one at any point forgets how truly terrific guns are, and how they enrich all of our lives on a regular basis," said NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, adding that the nation's citizens must open up their hearts in this time of mourning and realize how simply unlivable a life without gun ownership would be. "From hunting, to protecting one's home from prowlers, to target practice, why, there is practically no end to the ways in which guns are constantly improving our lives every moment of every day. As awful as this shooting was, none of us should ever forget that." LaPierre then closed his remarks with a direct plea to the people of Aurora, asking them to try and imagine where they would be today without the citizen's right to bear arms."

This is an anomaly, there are no answers. Now we will have to suffer through people and their agendas about guns for how long? But this isn't a decision making kind of situation. Obviously to me, he's mentally unbalanced. For the NRA to be speaking and saying these things at this time, is ludicrous and crass.

Someone told me this:

"Asked about the connection, the film's director Christopher Nolan said: "I'm not sure how to address something that bizarre, to be honest. I really don't have an answer for it, it's a very peculiar comment to make."

Please. It's a movie. Leave the director and artists alone. I'm sure they feel bad enough, but they have nothing to do with a mentally unbalanced individual who has chosen to be destructive. The film has no real bearing on the situation. He could have just as easily gone to shoot up a Disney film showing. Just be glad he didn't, or there would be masses of young childred dead. Count your blessings.

From EW.com

Christopher Nolan has released a statement following the tragic events in Colorado in the early hours of July 20 — when a gunman opened fire at midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. “Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community. I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting, but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families,” the director said.

More on the shooting from MSNBC

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