Sunday, January 16, 2011

Why arming the public isn't a solution

Did you hear about the Arizona man, Joe Zamudio, who was in a nearby store? He rushed to the aid of the victims with his handgun, ready to take down the shooter. (My emphases).
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. ….

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.

We're enormously lucky that Zamudio, without formal training, made the right split-second decisions. We can't count on that the next time some nut job starts shooting. I hope Arizona does train lawmakers and their aides in the proper use of firearms. I hope they remember this training if they bring guns to constituent meetings. But mostly, I hope they don't bring them.


Fran said...

I am so glad to read this piece. I am still trying to sort out my feelings after posting something on Facebook about gun control earlier today.

I can hear and understand the point of view of the poster (someone known to all of us) yet I still can't wrap my mind around people and their guns.

This friend of ours would be most responsible indeed and is more interested in protecting themselves in a rural outpost.

Frankly I just am uncomfortable with people and guns at the end of the day... Ugh, I just don't like guns. I grew up around them, I just do not like them.

The split second decisions you refer to are what really scares me about guns in public.

Then I read this horrifying link, from Mother Jones. Click here - I can't shake my negativity after reading that doozy.

IT said...

Fran, the telling thing is that Mr Zamudio kept his gun in his pocket because he didn't want to be shot in case someone thought he was the bad guy.

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

As one who is always armed for the last four years, I can tell you that I am always conscious of it being misinterpreted by the "good guys".

Fran, your link come up as an error page.