View Full Version : My letter in response to the NY rampage

spyderco monkey
04-03-2009, 8:01 PM
I sent this in as a response to some of the crazy posts I read on the NYTimes in regards to the NY rampage. Here's a link to those comments;very disturbing call for gun bans, taxes, anti-NRA ect.

I became incensed, put down my much needed chores for today, and wrote a 3000 word essay in response. Hope it sounds as good to you as it sounded in my head.

This is a tragedy, and I feel very sorry for the victims. Imagining the sheer mechanics of the horror they endured makes me sick to my stomach.

At times like this, it is easy to let our emotions cloud our judgments, and we are all eager to blame some one or something for this tragedy. In this rush to blame, fueled by our rage and despair at another tragic loss of life, it is easy to loose sight of practical realities.

I for one would like to interject some calm, rational perspective into any "causes" or "solutions" to this problem, and I encourage everyone to do the same. We all have our personal biases and beliefs, but we should not let our ideology's prevent us from tackling this issue in a logical and effective manner.

To begin with, I would like to explain my personal bias toward the situation, so that you can understand where I am coming from. I believe that any sensible debate should take into account both the biases and backgrounds of those debating.

Therefore, I would like to preface my argument/ thesis with a bit of my background. I’m a child of the 90’s, currently a college student, and a gun owner. I own pistols, rifles, and shotguns for recreational target shooting, which I find a rewarding hobby, akin to playing darts and setting off fireworks at the same time. I also have them for self-defense, because my various hometowns (Philadelphia, Oakland) are rife with drugs and violence, as is our society as a whole. In general, I take my hobby very seriously, with a strong emphasis on safety and responsibility.

My other hobbies include ballroom dancing, playing airsoft and paintball, working on my tan, reading history, dressing snazzy, and using terrible pun’s whenever possible. I also love the New York Times, and have been reading it every single day since 2000. Politically, I find both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party equally ineffective and petty, but I voted for Obama because I thought he would be more effective internationally. I’m pro 1st, 2nd, and 4th amendment, and am a strong supporter of a womans right to choose, all of which I believe are mutually supporting.

I figure that will give a relative sense of insight into my character, so that you will know that I’m neither some armchair liberal professing about societal ills, or some ******* in a bunker letting his love of guns distract him from the magnitude of these tragedies.

With my personal background out of the way, I would like to give my thesis on the tragedy and others like it, and how they can be prevented/ casualties minimized.

I have studied mass shootings for several years now relatively thoroughly, because, as a college student, I would like to know the tactics any adversary might employ so that I could have chance of countering them and surviving such an incident. All of them share a common set of characteristics- a deranged man with a gun attacking unarmed people who offer little resistance, most often occurring in an indoor structure with dozens of people present. (Obviously, this is not every one, but I believe it offers a good sense of the general formula.) In all of these mass casualty shootings, the shooter roams the hallways unopposed, killing with ease, until the police arrive, whereupon the predominant majority of “active shooters” shoot themselves in the head- in essence, suicide attacks on “soft targets,” but with firearms instead of the ubiquitous explosive vest. I believe, due to the fanatical determination of these lunatics, and their willingness to die, it will be virtually impossible to deter such an attack. Likewise, due to the vast number of privately owned firearms, the ease of manufacturing explosives (I won’t post examples for fear of offering insight), and the sheer ingenuity of man when it comes to taking lives, any “upstream” approach at eliminating weapons will prove futile at best, and most likely counterproductive. Therefore, it is likely that, regardless of legislation or other preventative methods, these suicide attacks are likely to go on for quite some time, at least until more of these shooters get regular sex and the occasional blunt sesh. Therefore, I believe that the only effective way of minimizing casualties is through better tactics and options for victims, which will allow them to mitigate and, ideally, neutralize any threat before it escalates into a double-digit homicide.
To begin with, the notion that we can simply legislate away societies ills has long been proven a fallacy. From prohibition in the 1920’s, to our current War on Drugs, to the California Assault Weapons ban, it has been shown time and time again that where there is a Demand, there will be a Supply. In the 1920’s, alcohol was imported from Canada, Mexico, and around the globe, much as our hard drugs are imported today. In terms of the California Assault weapons ban, one need only look to the 1997 North Hollywood Bank robbery or the recent tragedy in Oakland to see how effective such laws are at thwarting the plans of determined lawbreakers. Furthermore, History has shown that such bans are not only ineffective, but also counter-productive. The 1920’s prohibition on alcohol lead many drinkers to switch from workingman’s beer to rotgut hard alcohol. In addition, now that it was made illegal, drinking became much more exciting, ushering in the era of the “flapper” and other hard partying types, who, prior to the law, had little interest in the bottle. Anyone who has taken drugs, and I have smoked my fair share of bleezys, will tell you how effective the multibillion dollar, global campaign against drugs has proven. The continued use of “Assault weapons” (their not, technically, since they cannot operate on fully automatic, but I will continue to use the term,) by California drug dealers and other criminals has shown that, despite some of the most stringent gun control laws in the country, the demand continues to be filled. In short, our modern attempts as “legislating morality” go against the very irrefutable logic of capitalism, that where there is a demand for a good, whether it is some blueberry kush or a bullpup carbine, a supply will come to fill it.
I know some of you remain unconvinced, so I will attempt to demonstrate the futility of any “supply side” ban further. Currently, there are roughly 250 million guns in the United States that we know of. If were to somehow, in some Lucky Charms-esque piece of hocus pocus, eliminate every single one of those guns, gun violence would remain, due to supply and demand. There are hundreds of millions of firearms worldwide, and, considering that America is the richest nation in the world, and the huge demand for guns that would occur under a “war on guns,” only the most na´ve would believe that the international criminal syndicates currently trafficking in drugs and eastern European prostitutes would not turn their attention to the lucrative firearms market. And, much as it has been shown that prohibition and the war on drugs brought forth a demand for much more dangerous substances, a gun prohibition would mostly likely result in a similar disaster. These cartels seek to maximize profit by importing the most expensive and dangerous drugs they can, which sell at the highest prices per given amount (cocaine, heroin), or by importing as much as they can of the cheapest product they can (that awful Mexican weed, for example.) In terms of guns, these Cartels would most likely focus on importing fully automatic military arms, such as the extremely common, fully automatic AK-47 rifle(not to be confused with the semi-auto variant sold in the US), or on importing as many cheap *** “Saturday night specials” they can from China and South America. In short, within a decade of enacting an large-scale gun ban, the United States would be replacing a large stockpile of useful but potentially dangerous guns owned my mostly law abiding citizens, with a smaller stockpile of vastly more dangerous weapons owned exclusively by lawbreakers. A total backfire, literally and figuratively.
Going beyond the threat of Guns, there are far more terrifying options that few people take into account. As a child of the 90’s, I was a totall pyro, and loved making my own fireworks. This came to an end shortly after 9/11, when I decided that blowing up fruit and GI-Joes in my backyard was no longer socially acceptable. However, during those years of prowling the Internet for various explosive formulas, I became quite alarmed. If I, an 8th grader with a love of firecrackers, could synthesize primary explosives such acetone peroxide from basic hardware store materials in matter of 2 days, imagine what a grown up, malicious person could accomplish. I shudder at the thought, and won’t provide any further details on how these explosives could be used to far more devastating effect than any firearm. One need only look to Iraq, Israel, and London to know what a suicidal, rage fueled man is capable of. Other, similarly devastating weapons can be manufactured with ease. To quote Bruce Lee, “the most dangerous weapon is the will,” and so long as man maintains the will to slaughter unarmed strangers, he will find a way to do so. And I for one would prefer that he employ a gun instead of a suicide vest.

spyderco monkey
04-03-2009, 8:02 PM
Hopefully by now I have persuaded you that attempting to disarm the population is a fallacy. The next issue is how the casualties of these types of attacks can be mitigated. Fortunately, this is much easier than many people realize. The reason these attacks are so successful in not because of “high powered weapons,” although they obviously make things a bit easier. The reason they are so effective is the lack of response on part of the victims. In virtually every “active shooter” scenario I have read about, the shooter opens fire, and everyone hits the deck and plays dead. This, more than anything else, is why one monster can kill so many people. By playing dead and lying on the floor, some very lucky people escape, but the majority are brutally executed on the floor. In Virginia Tech, for example, everyone was lying on the ground, allowing the ******* with the gun to methodically pump 3 bullets a piece into each and every victim. As can be heard from the cell phone video, he was not spraying bullets in a cacophony of semi-automatic fire; he was coldly aiming and placing his shots at a rate of 1 every second or two. With people literally in the position of “sitting ducks,” it is extremely easy to deliver accurate fire into their vital organs and brain, provided you’re a murderous active shooter, or course. Anyone who has even spent a little time practicing at the range would have the level of accuracy to walk around a bunch of people lying on the floor and put rounds into their vital zones.
Conversely, even an incredibly skilled marksman with years of experience will have a very difficult time hitting a moving target with anything other than a shotgun. I have played airsoft and paintball for years, and even with a magazine capacity of 200 rounds and a semi-automatic rate of fire of 10-20 rounds a second, it is very difficult to hit a running opponent. The hits we suffer, the vast majority of the time, would have been non-fatal, with most of the hits I’ve suffered being to the legs, arms, and outer chest; I’ve only been shot in the head once, the heart maybe twice, out of over a hundred games. In terms of real shootings with real guns, 80% of handgun wounds inflicted are survivable, according to the FBI statistics. If, at the onset of any shooting, everyone simply got up and ran for the lives, the number of casualties would go down exponentially. Some people would no doubt be shot, but, since their moving, most of those wounds would be survivable. So, simply getting up and out of the situation, instead of playing dead, will VASTLY improve your chances of surviving a “active shooter;” these guys aren’t Jack Bauer or competitive pisolero's, and they will have a much more difficult time hitting a moving target, much less delivering a lethal shot, regardless of weapon or magazine capacity.
The number of fatalities goes down even more remarkably when the active resistance is thrown into the mix. If, instead of running away or playing dead, a percentage of the victims charged the shooter, even more people could be saved. Various police training scenarios, as well as actual combat experience, has shown that a man charging at close quarters from under 7 yards can attack, either bare handed or with a knife, a man with a gun before the shooter can kill that person. Unlike in film, where a single shot to the chest causes instant death, in reality, it takes far longer for a person to succumb to gunfire. You’re not going to “burst into flames” or die instantly from being shot by a handgun, unless the bullet severs your spine or brain. In that moment of bullet riddled, adrenaline fueled frenzy, the shooter could be either overpowered, or at least severely distracted, and many more people could be saved by this one act of bravery.
Other tactics, relying more on weapons that bravado, will be much more effective. I’ve been carrying a pocketknife since I was 4 years old, and never leave home without one. There very handy for opening boxes, cutting tri-tip steak sandwiches and tequila limes, and for countless other household chores. I have also take training in using them for emergency self-defense, which is not terribly complex or difficult training, and is much easier than learning either hand-to-hand combat or becoming a superb marksman. Anyway, while the traditional adage of “never bring a knife to a gunfight” is often true, in the case of an “active shooter” this is not the case. The shooter is almost always indoors, at close quarters, usually within 7 yards, allowing the charge with a knife scenario previously described. However, if this tactic seems a little too suicidal, the knife can be employed in other, easier ways. Inevitably, the active shooter will have to walk through a doorway to reach his victims. If, at the sound of the shooting, people down the hall hid in their offices or classrooms, by the doorway, knife in hand, a very effective defense can be mounted. As I have learned playing airsoft, one almost always enters a doorway gun first, usually about two feet in front of the chest. This provides an excellent target for a knife wielding defender positioned by the door. When the shooter busts in, gun first, the defender can take him by surprise, slashing the flexor tendons of the wrist, which will make the shooter drop his gun, or at least reduce his effectiveness with it. If followed up with a ruthless counter attack against the shooters neck, eyes, and a face, the threat could be eliminated with just a knife and determination. When combined with peperspray, a knife can be even more effective against an active shooter.
Of course, the obvious tool of defense against these threats is a gun. Now, many argue that, despite the vast number of guns in this country, very few shootings are stopped with them, and that is true, but for reasons that many seem to gloss over. The reason more of these active shooters are not shot by their victims is not because of a lack of gun ownership in that region; Virginia has some of the highest gun ownership rates in the country. More guns will not equal more safety. However, more guns being carried will equal more safety in these situations. Simply put, if someone is shooting at you, regardless of your ideology, your going to want to shoot back. Higher rates of concealed carry permit holders can effectively neutralize these threats before they get out of hand. Carrying even a small, basic handgun, such as a 5 shot .38 special revolver or ultra compact semi-automatic handgun such as the .380 Ruger LCP will vastly improve future victims chances of survival. When a shooter busts into a room of 15 people, and one of them is armed with a pistol, and has the necessary training to use that pistol if an effective manner, the shooters chances of high casualty mayhem are drastically reduced. While it’s difficult to hit a moving target, it is even more difficult to hit a moving target that is shooting back at you. While many have argued that more people legally carrying guns will result in more people “snapping” and shooting people in the heat of the moment, the facts say otherwise. Currently, there are millions of American’s legally carrying guns everyday, and all but a miniscule amount of them have behaved themselves very well. Simply put, while killers carry guns, carrying a gun does not make you a killer, and so the notion that a law abiding citizen, who passes a CCW test, will suddenly throw decades of responsibility out the window to revenge some petty insult with their pistol, is absurd. Conversely, it is equally absurd to think that a CCW holder would not have made a difference in thwarting this tragedy in New York. Had some of the victims had the ability to neutralize the shooter with some well-placed pistol work, they would have, and far fewer people would have died. If we can get 10% of the population carrying guns regularly, it will be much, much less likely that a shooter will be able to kill more than 10 people in a single sitting. Please, I urge you, do not let your dislike of guns, or your distrust of human nature, blind you to this simple fact- that the best way to stop a lunatic gunman is by returning gunfire.
Overall, I thank you for taking time to read this longwinded treatise I’ve written, and I hope it may expand many of your perspectives. While the threat of mass murder will never cease (well, at least not until Gina can learn to reproduce without men lol) society can effectively reduce and blunt the effectiveness of these attacks. This does not mean more gun control, as I have shown that such laws will not prevent mass murder. What is required is for society to take action, real action, to address these issues, and that means refusing to play dead and hope for the best, or sit around enacting ineffective and futile laws. America needs to realize that nature has programmed our brains to respond to stress with either “Fight or Flight,” and that is how we must respond to these “active shooters.” When shooting starts, I urge you to either run like hell, or give ‘em hell. By focusing on tactics, training, and equipment, instead of ideology and indifference, we can curb this threat.

Stay safe,

Anyway, lets all make sure to respond to these people in a polite and persuasive manner. Hopefully, we can change their minds.

Take care,

04-03-2009, 8:09 PM
Sorry your letter is too intimidating (long) for me to read know but I read some of the comments you linked to. I don't think there is anything you could say to convince those people that more gun control is not the answer.

Buncha morons for the most part.

04-03-2009, 8:36 PM
I'm sure you are well intentioned, but I don't think that was the proper audience for your paper, or vice versa.

Frankly, if I were one of the dependent, hand wringing, bedwetters your letter addressed, it would scare the crap out of me. I'd think you should be locked up immediately, because you are one of them gun nuts preparing to engage in some outrage.

04-03-2009, 8:39 PM
It does not matter since a very large portion of the population literally believe a piece of paper placed inside of a book is their best defense instead of protecting themselves.

My one piece of advice that could prevent people from becoming victims...simply stay aware of where you are and what your walking into..take a second or two to actually look inside of that store you are walking into....if you see everyone laying on the ground or with their hands in the air you might not want to enter. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people do exactly that and end up becoming victims.

04-03-2009, 9:03 PM
I liked it and feel that reading it made me think more about what my response should be in such a situation. I especially liked the suggestion to stand near a doorway.

04-03-2009, 9:05 PM
Nice letter when I took the time to read it. I agree with just about all of your arguments (and am hugely sympathetic to your brand of politics).

Unfortunate criticism: you take too long to get to the point.

Try to say the same thing in a half-page double-spaced. It's a lot harder, but the small argument is more effective as a rhetorical tool.

04-03-2009, 9:24 PM
You voted for Obama?



04-03-2009, 9:27 PM
Leave the stuff about explosives out.

04-03-2009, 9:48 PM
You voted for Obama?



why not he's pro choice?

04-03-2009, 9:53 PM
Your heart is in the right place, its just way too long.

Short and simple. Obvious conclusion:

1. Bad people will always find ways to kill good people.
2. The bad people won't be giving the good people any warning before they strike.
3. The government can't protect your life, just look for criminal who took it.
4. Good people need to defend themselves and their families.

04-03-2009, 10:10 PM
I liked it and if you pull out some of the explosive and drug references it could hit a editorial page..

04-03-2009, 10:49 PM
I read every post on the link, I suggest that every calgunner go and "recomend" some of the post, which are very supportive of the 2A.


04-04-2009, 12:03 AM
I went through and clicked "recomend" on the first four pages of any of the pro 2A posts. I don't have time to go over 300+ posts right now though.

04-04-2009, 12:12 AM
I read the whole thing and thought you had some great points and good examples. I agree that it would be more likely to be published if the drug and explosives references were toned down (not that I have anything against those things :) ).

I also agree that making it shorter would make it more effective. While I liked your asides, they do distract from your most salient points.

Regardless, thanks for posting your letter. It's nice to see intelligent and thought-provoking discussion on these matters.