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Saturday, August 25, 2012

And yet we're supposed to believe that a movie theatre full of open-carry yahoos would do better.
Posted by Jill | 9:54 PM
After the Aurora movie theatre massacre this summer, we heard a lot of tough talk from people like Michelle Malkin, insisting that more people packing heat could have prevented the carnage. This kind of talk pops up every time some nut gets hold of a gun and blows a bunch of people away. Every yahoo in America seems to think that HE would be just like James Bond or whatever movie hero lives in his delusional mind, who would have the presence of mind to aim and fire.

The same thing happened after the shooting in Tucson Arizona that nearly killed now-former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords -- there was much talk about how more people waving guns around would have saved lives. There's just one problem with that theory, and his name is Joe Zamudio. Zamudio was trained as a police officer, and even HE almost shot the wrong man:
"I came out of that store, I clicked the safety off, and I was ready," he explained on Fox and Friends. "I had my hand on my gun. I had it in my jacket pocket here. And I came around the corner like this." Zamudio demonstrated how his shooting hand was wrapped around the weapon, poised to draw and fire. As he rounded the corner, he saw a man holding a gun. "And that's who I at first thought was the shooter," Zamudio recalled. "I told him to 'Drop it, drop it!'"

But the man with the gun wasn't the shooter. He had wrested the gun away from the shooter. "Had you shot that guy, it would have been a big, fat mess," the interviewer pointed out.

Zamudio agreed:

"I was very lucky. Honestly, it was a matter of seconds. Two, maybe three seconds between when I came through the doorway and when I was laying on top of [the real shooter], holding him down. So, I mean, in that short amount of time I made a lot of really big decisions really fast. … I was really lucky."

When Zamudio was asked what kind of weapons training he'd had, he answered: "My father raised me around guns … so I'm really comfortable with them. But I've never been in the military or had any professional training. I just reacted."
The Arizona Daily Star, based on its interview with Zamudio, adds two details to the story. First, upon seeing the man with the gun, Zamudio "grabbed his arm and shoved him into a wall" before realizing he wasn't the shooter. And second, one reason why Zamudio didn't pull out his own weapon was that "he didn't want to be confused as a second gunman."

This is a much more dangerous picture than has generally been reported. Zamudio had released his safety and was poised to fire when he saw what he thought was the killer still holding his weapon. Zamudio had a split second to decide whether to shoot. He was sufficiently convinced of the killer's identity to shove the man into a wall. But Zamudio didn't use his gun. That's how close he came to killing an innocent man. He was, as he acknowledges, "very lucky."

That's what happens when you run with a firearm to a scene of bloody havoc. In the chaos and pressure of the moment, you can shoot the wrong person. Or, by drawing your weapon, you can become the wrong person—a hero mistaken for a second gunman by another would-be hero with a gun. Bang, you're dead. Or worse, bang bang bang bang bang: a firefight among several armed, confused, and innocent people in a crowd. It happens even among trained soldiers. Among civilians, the risk is that much greater.

And even among trained police officers, as we now know, in the aftermath of a targeted shooting in New York City yesterday. A laid-off worker went after the man he believed responsible for him losing his job, and in the end, the shooter and his intended victim were dead, and nine other people were injured. It has now been confirmed that ALL of those injured were shot by police bullets:
The veteran patrolmen who opened fire on the suit-wearing gunman, Jeffrey Johnson, had only an instant to react when he whirled and pointed a .45-caliber pistol as they approached him from behind on a busy sidewalk.

Officer Craig Matthews shot seven times. Officer Robert Sinishtaj fired nine times, police said. Neither had ever fired their weapons before on a patrol.

The volley of gunfire felled Johnson in just a few seconds and left nine other people bleeding on the sidewalk.

In the initial chaos Friday, it wasn't clear whether Johnson or the officers were responsible for the trail of wounded, but based on ballistic and other evidence, "it appears that all nine of the victims were struck either by fragments or by bullets fired by police," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters on Saturday at a community event in Harlem.

And these were trained police officers. The may have never fired their weapons before on patrol, but they were presumably trained in just this sort of emergency. And in the chaos, they accidentally shot nine people.

I'm not faulting these officers. The NYPD has rightfully taken a lot of crap about being trigger happy, but this was no Amadou Diallo situation. This was a clear-cut case of an actual shooting taking place. And even these trained officers could neither stop the gunman nor prevent their own weapons from injuring more people.

So why should we believe that some phony tough guy with barely an eighth grade education and who can't tell the difference between real life and the movies would do better?

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Anonymous Ted said...
I hate to criticize the NYPD because, as you say, there was a real shooting and a real shooter loose in a crowd of people on the street.

But I can't help but wonder how often the NYPD performs pistol requalification on the range -- and under what circumstances they do so. I know some Federal agencies require monthly pistol requal. I don't think the NYPD does so that often. And I doubt that any police operation requires the qualification to be under "real world" -- read: high stress -- situations where someone is likely to shoot back. If the only real stress is that not hitting the bullseye requires you to retrain, it's hardly the same thing.

I remember reading a travel advice site some years ago. The question was "What kind of gun should I carry in backcountry Alaska to protect against the bears?" There was much discussion about bigger being better. But the best answer in my opinion was essentially "any gun you can shoot straight with an angry bear charging at you. Start by running a mile, then jumping up and down for a minute. While still jumping, draw your gun and put 6 shots into a paper target 10 feet away. If you don't put all the shots into the bullseye, you're lunch."

I don't know of any state that requires a pistol permit holder to demonstrate real proficiency with their weapon.

Anonymous e.a.f. said...
Firing a gun under pressure requires a special talent. most people don't have it. when confronted with an armed gun person, most people panic. If they do remember they have a gun they don't get their act together fast enough or the mistake who they are supposed to be shooting.

They did a study many yrs ago & concluded that in war only 15% of the soliders did the actual killing. The rest, if they got off a shot & hit someone it was an accident. I would think that is about it for the population in general. Only about 15% have what it takes to stay calm under extreme pressure & knows what to do. With those kind of odds I certainly wouldn't want to be around a bunch of paniced idiots all firing guns. It wuold have killed everybody.

The NYDP did the right thing in this case. But we can also see what happens when a lot of bullets go flying, there are chips of all sorts of things which also go flying.

Guns kill people & it is best people don't have guns. It works in Japan, it works in England, it works in Canada, etc.