How I afford to do this

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Harsh Look At School Shootings

  One of my chief character flaws is my tendency to entertain silliness.  Whereas many of my peers would simply shake their heads at an asinine idea, I'll "go there."  I'm not sure that it's improved my life to any degree, but I set the expectation that statements should be supported with fact.

  Shortly after the VA Tech massacre, I visited an outspoken anti-gunner at the restaurant he co-owns.  Knowing my stance, he walked up and told me the following story:

  "I was talking to a customer yesterday who said that if someone had a [concealed handgun license], he could have stopped the Virginia Tech shooter.  I said 'that's great, crossfire!'"

  And yes, I had to go there.

  Let's set a baseline.  Any loss of human life is tragic.  That's not patented by the left or right; it's a conclusion indicative of our humanity.  It doesn't matter whether the cause of death was murder, car accident or a spider bite; death is something we all seek to avoid for us, our loved ones, and our community.

  Here's what we know:  The Virginia Tech shooter killed 32 people, plus himself.  Each victim was shot at least three times. 28 were shot in the head.  Several classrooms were attacked, with anywhere from 2-11 fatalities per room.  Massacre ended with shooter's suicide, even though he had over 200 rounds to spare.  He had a Walther p22 and a Glock 19.  Fully loaded, that totals 27 rounds with standard magazine capacities of 10+1 and 15+1 respectively.  Given the body count per room, the shooter probably went into each class, emptied both magazines and moved on to the next, reloading on the way to avoid interaction during this period of relative vulnerability.  It's also said that he would leave the room, reload, and re-enter.

  The fact of the matter is that we can choose to toss around buzz words like "crossfire," or we can actually examine possible outcomes.  The reality in hindsight is that even if the armed civilian shot and killed three innocents before putting the assailant down, while creating three tragedies in the process would be a success so long as the perpetrator was killed before he was 90% through his rampage.

  There's a point during school shootings, let's call it the "I'm screwed" point.  This is where the shooter realizes that his rampage is coming to an end and typically ends with the bad guys' suicide.  Crossfire, despite its inherent danger would logically expedite this moment.

  Let's be honest though.  We would probably never have any information to study on the impact of armed students.  The shooters are not looking for a fight.  They want a body count.  In all likelihood, these deranged miscreants would be stopped by the prospect of crossfire, rather than crossfire itself.

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