Fast opinions come and go. Here are the slow facts.
MARCH 9, 2017
When it comes to safety, we can't know everything ourselves. We also consider the opinions and arguments of experts. These experts collect the wisdom of others, the distilled experience from thousands of lives. That said, we don't have to be uncritical. We can try to distinguish solid expertise from purchased advocacy. I've read what the experts say about self-defense and gun free zones. Here is a short summary of what I've learned. You can weigh the issues for yourself.
From the Self-Defense Instructor-
These instructors teach basic firearms safety and self-defense. They see students every day. They see the benefits and dangers of having a gun. They say we should each decide for ourselves whether or not we should own a gun or carry a concealed firearm. They also say that unarmed individuals are killed by armed criminals with monotonous regularity. Of course the choice is ours, but there is a silent argument in the debate whether to go armed or not. At the bottom line, look at what instructors tell their spouses and their children. They want them to have a gun.
From the Police-
We call the police after we're attacked. Then, in addition, the police need time to arrive. The police need time to evaluate the situation and stop the threat. Usually, the threat is long gone by the time police arrive. It is up to ordinary citizens like us to protect ourselves until the police get there. Most cops on the street are tired of getting there too late and seeing victims. Police officers tell their own families to go armed for their protection. The police know that there are guns inside most "gun-free" zones.
From Firearms Instructors for Special Teams-
These instructors train the trainers. They look for trends as they pour over field reports. They have learned that time is critical when we're threatened. They know that time is critical when a school, church or hospital is attacked. Murderers will kill until they meet armed opposition. The faster the murderer is stopped, the faster we can get help to the injured and save lives.
From Academics studying violent crimes-
Violence is an unfortunate fact of life. We know that spree killers hunger for notoriety. These murderers look for large crowds and soft targets. Try as we might, we can't afford to give everyone an armed bodyguard. The most efficient formula for saving lives is a mixture of first responders. Some are armed, and some are not. Armed security moves across the campus. Armed staff have a regular office where they work. Armed security and and some staff move toward the threat. Some armed staff shelters in place. Other staff members are trained as medical first responders to immediately treat the wounded once the murderer is killed, or kills himself, which is a common reaction to the sight of an armed responder.
I've met some of these experts, and I'm awed. It takes a strong heart to study violence and not despair. The issue is not academic for these experts. They argue passionately that we should protect ourselves. We are the only first responders who can limit the damage caused by the next violent criminal. And gun free zones limit those armed first responders from legally being where they can save the most lives.
Some idealists say we shouldn't have to defend ourselves. They want to disarm innocent people. But this isn't reality. Violence exists. The experts say time is critical. They say we are the only solution until help arrives.
Who do you believe?