Sunday, July 26, 2015


Because this nation never runs out of maroons, since last week's massacre at a Chattanooga recruiting station, self-styled "protectors" across the country have taken it upon themselves to sit outside military recruiting sites (which, you know, are generally located at shopping malls) in folding chairs, armed and ready to take all comers.

There's the Knight Templar with his bow and quiver of arrows (since he's not allowed to have a gun, even though he's a military veteran), the guy who accidentally discharged his assault rifle into the mall parking lot (for the second time), the three cosplayers (two of whom are supposedly disabled, one of those a former Marine, and the third (non-disabled but still goofy) one also a former Marine. The Pentagon has had to tell them to stop, because by definition, maroons don't already know they shouldn't be doing this in the first place.

To a certain extent, I actually feel bad for some of these folks; clearly, the VA is not keeping up with its end of the deal in providing decent mental health care and counseling. When a disabled vet is sitting in his Rascal in US flag onesie pajamas (swear to jebus, I didn't know such a thing existed, but of course it does) with a presumably loaded assault rifle, some things have gone wrong.

Definitely read the comments in the Wonkette article; a person claiming to be the female cosplayer (with the rather telling middle name in her handle of "WhiteKnight") tries to troll the snark, and rightly gets her ass handed to her. If the two men with her are in fact veterans, we thank them for their service, now please go home.

There are a couple of big issues here:  one obviously being that we cannot have random costumed weirdos brandishing weapons at mall patrons, regardless of their intent. But secondly, seriously? Is the Knight Templar and his armor and bow supposed to stop a whackjob with a semi-automatic? Are the reflexes on Onesie Marine -- you know, the disabled guy in the Rascal -- going to be superior to some dedicated madman on a rampage?

A central assumption in the gun culture is that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. And one supposes that in the right circumstances and the right conditions, it's better than nothing. But that's really all it is. Shall these goofballs set up posts at movie theaters to prevent deranged racists from shooting up the next showing of Trainwreck? Or do we look at the statistics and numbers, and understand that that would by definition be a more dangerous proposition than having nothing at all?

These would-be militia mutants don't seem to get that an untrained fool with a gun is actually statistically worse than nothing at all. And by "training" I don't just mean weapons training, though that doesn't hurt, as far as knowing how to handle your weapon and use it properly. But the difference between a self-styled militia schmuck is that if he "trained" at all, he did so by shooting targets and maybe running an obstacle course set up in the grand wizard's backyard, maybe some calisthenics here and there.

But any good beat cop or even mall cop will tell you that the most effective, meaningful training is learning how to deal with the public, how to defuse situations before they even start, how to steer people into doing what you need them to do to maintain order, without them even thinking about it. Response is nice, but prevention is much more important -- and these people don't even mention or think about that. It interferes with their dream of some Osama type walking up, threatening the good citizens of Gotham, and getting dispatched righteously, with no collateral damage. That's how it works in the movies, anyway.

As with the bozo in Ohio accidentally firing his rifle into the asphalt, he's just goddamned lucky -- again, for the second time in a couple years -- that no one got hit or hurt. Pure luck, nothing else. A slightly different angle, a couple radians off on the ricochet, and you have a tragic event. Someone needs to pull these apparently jobless dopes aside and break it to them gently:  Look, you're in the minority, you're just louder. But here's the deal -- we don't want you "guarding" our schools, our malls, our military recruitment offices. We want you to take your fucking penis extension and go home, settle down, pull up whatever excites you on the internets, knock out a few generations of knuckle-children, and sleep it off.

We'll get by somehow, understanding that life has randomness built into it, and that in a nation of 320 million people, some of them are insane, incompetent, malicious, whatever. That car you just passed on the highway could easily have had a split-second distraction, swerved into your lane. A crazy asshole could take advantage of lax gun laws, get his weapon of choice, pack up his shit and crank out an incoherent manifesto in a hotel room, and walk into a movie theater and start sweeping.

This is not to say that because shit happens, no precautions should be put anywhere. That's ridiculous. But what is just as ridiculous is this notion that every man is a potential John Wayne, just needing the right place and opportunity to prove his heroism. I would rather take my statistically infinitesimal chances with the random psychopaths, than deal with the would-be do-gooders who are off their meds.

1 comment:

Brian M said...

A Propos: Ruthless Reviews for the Win!

...I know the statistics say I’m much more likely to be killed with my own gun than to use it to save my life. I don’t care that a civilian has never prevented a mass shooting, ever. I’m different. My training guarantees that I’ll never be killed with my own gun. My tactical abilities ensure that I would be able to stop a mass shooter. Asking me to give up my lifestyle would put this country in danger, and that would weaken America. I’m too important to have my guns taken away. This country needs men like me, now more than ever. Can you imagine if only criminals had guns? They’d be running around killing people and us gun owners wouldn’t be able to even stop them in our hypothetical fantasies anymore. That’s not an America I want to live in.