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Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:27 AM

The Atlantic and the 'More Guns' Solution



But the piece also argues that America would be safer if more people were armed. To me this is more "interesting" than convincing. I can see the appeal of such reasoning on the individual level. Jeff Goldberg describes the Long Island Railroad shooting in 1993 and says that if he had been on that train he would rather have been armed than not. "My instinct was that if someone is shooting at you, it is generally better to shoot back than to cower and pray." Undeniably. But like Ta-Nehisi Coates, I don't see how this scenario extends to a policy that makes us safer overall.

To spell it out:

Being in a shopping mall, on a train, in a theater, or at a school where someone starts shooting is statistically more frequent in America than anywhere else, but is vanishingly unlikely for any individual. Yet if we were to rely on the "more guns make us safer" principle, logically we'd have to carry guns all the time, everywhere, because ... you never know. Jeff Goldberg and I have both railed against TSA policies based on the premise that every single passenger is a potential terrorist. A more-guns policy would involve a similar distortion in everyone's behavior based on outlier threats.

There is very little real-world evidence of "good guys," or ordinary citizens who happen to be armed, taking out shooters in the way the more-guns hypothesis suggests. After all, and gruesomely, the mother of the murderer in Newtown was heavily armed and well experienced with weapons, and that did not help her or anyone else.

It is all too easy to imagine the real-world mistakes, chaos, fog-of-war, prejudices, panic, and confusion that would lead a more widely armed citizenry to compound rather than the limit the damage of a shooting episode.
In short, I hope you read this article, and I'm glad we published it. But my "gun safety" agenda doesn't include making it easier for more people to walk around armed.*

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Reply The Atlantic and the 'More Guns' Solution (Original post)
xchrom Dec 2012 OP
Zoeisright Dec 2012 #1
yellowcanine Dec 2012 #2

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:29 AM

1. The pathetic little Clint Eastwood

wannabes are completely delusional. Not one of the mass shootings in this country has EVER been stopped by an armed civilian. NOT ONE. And it never will be.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:23 AM

2. Problem is the shooter already has his gun out and is shooting.

The wannabe heroes have to extract their gun from wherever it is without calling attention to themselves or they will be the next one mowed down. Most cannot do it efficiently enough to get off any shot let alone an effective one, given the adrenaline pumping and the lack of motor control which everyone will have unless they are an active police officer up to date on firearms training. My prediction is if a mass shooter is ever stopped this way it will be by an active police officer who just happened to be in the vicinity. And even then it is an iffy proposition. Your average mall cop probably could not pull it off, for example, at least not without hitting a lot of innocent bystanders as well.

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