From the Heartland

This is my soap box, on these pages I publish my opinions on firearms and any other subject I feel like writing about.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Reflections on a Tragedy

In the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech there has been a lot of media posturing from both sides of the firearms for personal protection issue.

Now that a bit of time has passed I want to make a few observations.

An individual determined to cause as much havoc as possible in the shortest amount of time possible will not be deterred by any law, rule or regulation. There is no law that can be past that will prevent this from happening again. To many people died Monday because A) They had not been conditioned to respond to an event like this B) They were not allowed to possess the necessary tools to protect themselves and C) They were raised to believe that it is the Governments job to protect them.

There are a number of school shootings BECAUSE the shooter knows that there is likely no one there to shoot back thus ending the carnage before the maximum planned effect can be realized.

How many existing laws or rules were broken?

It was against school policy for students and faculty to possess firearms on campus. Mondays maniacal marauder violated that on two counts.

At various times prior to and during the rampage the firearms were likely carried in a concealed manner. It has not been reported that the shooter possessed a Concealed Carry Permit thus violating Virginia law on multiple counts of carrying a concealed firearm without a permit.

It is illegal, immoral and unethical to take a human life without legal justification, as in the case of self defense. That law was broken thirty how many times?

One more or a hundred more can not and will not prevent it from happening again.

The Police, may God have a special place in heaven for them for the work that they do, cannot be everywhere all of the time. These situations will continue to happen no matter how many gunlaws are passed. It is the responsibility, nay I say duty of every American Citizen to repel such actions when immediately confronted with them and if that means using a firearm then so be it.

Are Adult Students mature and competent or not?

It seems odd that students of higher learning are thought to be mature enough to grasp the concepts of Chemistry, Biology, and Juris Prudence, but are too immature to accept the responsibility for their own safety.

As a student I would be outraged at an institution that tells me on one hand; You are bright, young and intellegent, we want a person like you to pay us thousands of dollars to further educate you. Then on the other hand; We don't think you children are old enough, intelligent and mature enough to be trusted with the tools to look after your own well being.

There is not one law that can ever be enacted that will ever prevent what happened at Virginia Tech on Monday.

In a recent article on the Lincolnite Blog Mr. Wilson posed the question what would Lincoln do if it happened here at the Lincoln campus of the University of Nebraska.

A tragedy like this can occur at any time or place. We can wish things like this would never happen, there are steps that can be taken to minimize it when it happens but it can never be prevented from happening.

It should come as no surprise that I believe that allowing legally licensed citizens (students and facualty included) to carry on campus is one of the steps necessary to minimize an occurrence like this when it happens again.

It will suprise some to note that I do not think the firearm is the best or only step that needs to be taken.

A few years ago I mentioned in this Blog something Jeff Snyder, a prominent New York City Attorney told me;

Question: Do you know how people in America train to react to violent situations?

Answer: Then sit in front of their televisions and watch it happen over and over again.

Question: Do you know what happens when American citizens are thrust into violent situations?

Answer: They stand there and watch it happen to them.

We react the way we have trained ourselves to react, and for most of us that is to do NOTHING except stand there dumbstruck and watch it play out around or to us.

From the coverage of the VT events that I have seen I would have to say that Jeff is right.

Not all but some of the students I saw interviewed said that they just stood there unable to believe what was happening.

They were essentially frozen in place with a deer trapped in the headlights look while they were shot, shot at or witnessed someone else be shot. They reacted the way there were trained to react.

They stood there and watched it happen.

I always caution people I counsel on personal protection that your mind is your best weapon. Be cognizant of what is going on around you.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness can and does prevent a majority of events from occurring. You do not have to believe that it is happening, all you have to believe is that something bad is happening and that you will be safer someplace else and as fast as you can go there.

What If # 1

If you leave a building at night headed to your car in a dark parking lot and things don't look or feel right TURN AROUND AND GO BACK IN THE BUILDING even if you may be armed. No one has anything to prove by proceeding into a potential danger zone, even if you are armed.

What If # 2

If you hear what you think are gun shots do not stand there trying to figure out what is going on or why. Immediately with due haste proceed in the opposite direction even if you are armed.

What If # 3

If you are walking along the street and note some unsavory characters a block or so down on your side of the street change direction or cross the damn street even if you may be armed.

Responsibly Armed Citizens

Responsible Concealed Carry permit holders do not, or should not proceed in the direction of a known threat because they are carrying a firearm.

These responsible individuals know that the firearm is the absolute last resort when all other options of avoidance have failed and the threat of death or grave bodily harm is so imminent that the use of the firearm is the only option left.

I have always maintained and still do that SITUATIONAL AWARENESS is the best tool we have to protect ourselves from violence. If you can see or sense it coming far enough in advance it can be avoided.

People get your eyes of off the damn sidewalk and constantly scan the area around you. Be aware of your surroundings. Go wide around corners especially at night. Stay away from poorly lit areas at any time of the day. Do not make yourself look like a potential victim.

Criminals are more prone to prey on those that appear to be an easy mark. The ones that walk with their heads down or so engrossed in a cell phone conversation that the predator doesn't have to chase his victim, all he/she has to do is wait like a spider for someone to unknowingly walk right into their web.

It happens everyday, everywhere. Wake up people and start paying attention to what is going on around you.


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