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Save Yourself Before the Cops Can

By cdmichel | Published January 23, 2014

We now have interesting proof that disarming citizens facilitates deadlier mass shootings.

Extensive media coverage of "mass shootings" in America has created the myth that these events are on the rise, and that an "assault weapon" ban, expanded background checks and greater attention to the mentally ill will curb a rampaging epidemic. Instead, according to James Alan Fox, author and criminology professor at Northeastern University, mass shootings have remained stagnant over 34 years, averaging 20 a year, and few were committed by the type of psychos portrayed in the media.

"Public discourse is grounded in myth and misunderstanding about the nature of the offense and those who perpetrate it," he writes in the journal Homicide Studies. "Without minimizing the pain and suffering of the hundreds of those who have been victimized in recent attacks, the facts clearly say that there has been no increase in mass shootings and certainly no epidemic." See http://tinyurl.com/q4gdx6j for more on this.

Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released a study of Active Shooter Events from 2000 to 2012. By searching the media for events where someone has shot multiple people in a public place, the FBI documented many things, including what should be intuitive facts; force prevents murder, and victims are victimized by "gun free" (aka: victim disarmament) zones.

To be clear: the FBI study measures "active shooter events" (ASEs). The Fox study measures "mass public shootings" (MPSs). These are different things, and readers need to understand the difference. ASEs are increasing, MPSs are not. The difference is body count. ASEs can have zero dead, MPSs need at least four dead.

The number of ASEs has been increasing since the Columbine Massacre of 1999. Gun availability has nothing to do with it. It seems Columbine's homicidal maniacs put into the minds of the mentally fragile that fame (and perhaps a perverse form of immortality?) can be achieved by blasting away at your perceived enemies before committing suicide. Since then, the number of ASEs has been rising, as have the number of people shot and killed in such events. Sad.

But studying how people survived those events has led the FBI to recommend actually defending yourself from active shooters ... that is, if you cannot avoid the situation (something victims often have no control over) or deny the active shooter access to your location (over which victims often have no control, but landlords and school administrators may).

The question is how best to defend yourself against the crazies. The FBI study shows that having a gun is the most effective way. In this study, the FBI tallied how ASEs ended, creating a series of ladder charts showing outcomes before and after police officers arrived.

What is lost in these charts is that:

Victims terminate attacks far less often than police When they do, they risk their own lives by physically subduing the shooter But the police do it most often by shooting the attacker This is common sense, at least to anyone other than gun ban lobbyists claiming that legislative civilian disarmament is "common sense."

There is a staggering disparity between effectively ending rampages and the added risk victims encounter by not having the right to armed self-defense. Police stop almost twice as many ASEs as do victims. Police use guns to stall mass homicides 72% of the time, while victims who fight back use their bare hands 82% of the time. This begs a question: were citizens allowed to be armed in their work places, schools and movie houses, could and would they intervene more often, and as successfully, as police?

It's likely that they could, since there is essentially zero time lag for a victim's response, whereas police have a significantly delayed response time.

Currently, victims wait-out the attacker 67% of the time. As we saw with Sandy Hook, this can result in a lot of dead innocent people. Conversely, police forcibly stop 60% of ASEs (in which they arrive in time) by shooting the attacker in 72% of interventions. If victims had a similar 70%+ effectiveness rate, fewer people would die. More common sense.

But until politicians wise-up and let victims protect themselves where they work, study and play, victims will remain victims. Sadly, there's no true common sense in that political thinking.

This article is filed in the following categories in the CalGunLaws.com database: Legal Frontlines.