What a blog post about gun control taught me about guns (and Fox News)

On a late Saturday night just a little over a full day after the Aurora shootings, I got fed up with friends and pundits telling me why we needed more gun restrictions or why someone with a gun would have stopped everything. So I ranted. Apparently my career as a web developer and writing on web design pales in comparison to the ability to share  my uninformed thoughts on guns. That rant got the most traffic I have ever received, at around 120 hits in two days. Then Business Insider got wind of it, and interviewed me. After an eventful Wednesday where I got four people to comment on the blog post, I thought my 15 minutes of fame was done.

This morning, Fox News got wind of an angry Saturday night rant. And as of this hour, I’m on the homepage of FoxNews.com. As of this writing, 13,000 people have read my article. Today I’ve learned a lot.

 Fox News is a big deal

Apparently, people read the opinions over at Fox News. I didn’t before today. Apparently, people really put a lot of weight and value into those opinions. They really, really shouldn’t. After all, I got there.

Within 5 minutes, I had 100 concurrent users. Another 5, I had 150. There was so much bandwidth getting eaten up, I couldn’t log in to my own site to moderate the comments.

I had to double the bandwidth on my own site just so I could log in to moderate comments.

I don’t own an assault rifle

I think I’ve been corrected over 40 times now, but I definitely don’t own an assault rifle. I called one of my closest friends, who’s an avid gun shooter and lawyer. He backed up what Wikipedia said, “An assault rifle is a fully automatic rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine.” And you know what? I sure as heck don’t own one of those. I own a semi-automatic AK-74.

Additionally, Wikipedia says this about assault weapons:

The term assault weapon is a United States political and legal term used to describe a variety of semi-automatic firearms that have certain features generally associated with military assault rifles. The 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired on September 13, 2004, codified the definition of an assault weapon. It defined the rifle type of assault weapon as a semiautomatic firearm with the ability to accept a detachable magazine containing more than 10 rounds, and two or more of the following:

 Now that I’ve learned that “assault weapon” is a term abused by the media with no strong definition, I’m sorry. I’ll never call it an Assault Rifle again and I will advocate against such terminology in the future.

I really wish I knew that before Fox News carried my blog post. Because now I’ve been part of the problem.

There’s more than one state that bans open-carry

According to this website, the following states don’t allow open carry:

  • California
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Arkansas
If you live in one of those states, you need to write a letter right now.

The legality of concealed carry in an Aurora movie theater is iffy

I say iffy because I have what I learned in my conceal carry class, and what I’ve been told today. Aurora has their own conceal carry rules and the theater had signage stating that it was banned.

As was explained to me in my concealed carry class, state law trumps private property rules. But I am required to exit the premises if the property owners learn that I am carrying a concealed weapon. I know that there are city ordinances that can go against concealed carry, too. But again, my instructor, who was a police officer, advised that state law trumps city law.

This requires heavy research which I haven’t yet done.

I really wasn’t clear why I wanted people to shutup

I thought I was clear on why I was ranting, but I guess not. It was a rant at midnight, after all. So I’ll restate with absolute clarity.

  • A week hasn’t yet gone by after the Aurora shooting.
  • 12 people were killed. They were mothers, fathers, and children
  • Plenty more people are still in the hospital
  • Telling the world that you think the problem is guns, and that guns should be outlawed, is an ignorant and disrespectful response
  • Telling the world that you think the problem is that no one had a gun, and that you would have done something, is an ignorant and disrespectful response

I wasn’t clear: I don’t support a gun ban

Or anything close to it. I love guns, I like guns. Guns shoot bad people and keep good people safe. I’d like to keep them around. If you read my, “I”m a hypocrite” post, you’d know that. The 2nd amendment and I are Facebook friends.

I wasn’t clear: I think it’s arrogant to conjecture that anyone with a concealed weapon would have changed everything

Having a gun isn’t enough. You need to know how to use it. I know from the concealed carry class that I took, half didn’t own guns. And yet, they probably went out this week and bought one and are most certainly carrying now. In my humble and ignorant opinion, that person is going to get themselves, or someone else, killed.  I’m glad they’re able to defend themselves, but I really wish I could have the confidence that they will.

Yes, someone with a gun could have changed something. But let’s leave it at that.

Training matters

Police and military have commented much today on either how efficient or inefficient their training is. They’ve also told me either how much better-prepared or worse-prepared they are over a civilian.  I don’t know who’s right . Doesn’t matter, I’d rather have you guys shooting in a crowded theater over me or anyone else. You’re the professionals, so I trust you.

I go to the range. I work on my grouping and my accuracy. I’ve practiced reloading. At home I use snap-caps just so I can practice my trigger pull.  I’ve learned how to deal with jams. I’ve practiced rapid fire, and single fire.

I have not gone to any advanced or tactical courses. I will be soon. But, I am not prepared mentally for whatever may happen in a real shoot out. I’m not prepared physically for this. Anyone who has taken such training is going to do better than the person who hasn’t. If admitting that I haven’t been trained on this is a weakness, I guess I’m weak.

But training isn’t everything

When I was in college, I was a resident assistant (RA). I was in charge of 50 other students in a building that housed 800. We got trained on fire drills. And then one day, there was a real fire. And we all had the same training. I went into my room, grabbed a cold washcloth, put it over my mouth, and I screamed at the top of my lungs, pounded on doors, and got every resident out of my floor (16th story) in 3 minutes.

I then went to the floor below me, where that RA was frozen stiff with fear; she didn’t know what the procedures were or where to go. I sent her downstairs with two of my students I had elected to follow me. I found three other RAs who literally were frozen in fear. I sent them down and I cleared their floors for them.  We all had the same training.

You cannot, and will not, convince me that you know exactly what you will do when the moment comes — unless you’ve already been there

 Anyone with a concealed weapon is better than no one with a concealed weapon. But someone with training on that weapon for this situation is even better.

I wasn’t clear on who the soon-to-be heros were

Not everyone with a concealed handgun license is a wannabe hero. But if you say that “this wouldn’t have happened if I were there,” you  certainly are a wannabe hero. Quit being so arrogant as to think that you would have reacted differently. One of my dear friends, Kevin, got it right:

 I would have tried to do something, and I would have in all likelihood, died quickly for drawing attention to myself. You see, I have seen an armed citizen thwart violence in a situation where I, and my infant daughter would have been a victim and I made a decision that day to never be a helpless victim again. I have trained hard with my carry gear and I practice as much as I am able, even when I can’t make it to the range. HOWEVER, I’ve never been exposed to tear gas, I have never actually trained in low light despite carrying a light on my weapon, and I have never tried to shoot around full body body armor on a moving target. If I had been there and had stood up to Holmes, I would have drawn fire and maybe helped someone else go home, but I would not have stopped him and I likely would have gone home in a body bag.

Kevin’s not a soon-to-be hero. But he’s not a victim.  He’s the person that knows that uncertainty of a firefight could mean his own death.  That’s the reaction I’d expect from everyone with a concealed weapon, but apparently all of you think you’re making it home.

 Apparently I’m an awful person

According to Fox News readers, I am an idiotic stupid, weak, ignorant, self-portraying victim who’s a liberal progressive troll that should move  to San Francisco and turn in my guns because I hate America and the constitution. I should stop writing until I’m as good as Hemingway. Because I question the effectiveness of conceal carriers who haven’t had training in this situation, and even challenge some who have.

Out of all the names I was called, progressive troll stung the most. Anyone who knows me knows that I am anything but a liberal or a progressive. But apparently, because I’ve suggested mandatory gun training and that I don’t think every person with a concealed gun is a good as they think, I’m a liberal.

Fox News readers:

You corrected me when I was wrong. I appreciate that. I never thought an angry rant at midnight would gain the attention of 14,000 readers. I will be much more careful when I attempt to provide facts for any post I write in the future. Many corrections were direct, blunt, and tactful in how you corrected me.

As you are also the ones who have called me names; you’ve done an excellent job at demonstrating to me why a discussion on gun[fill in the blank] is impossible in this country. I’ve never once suggested a ban or regulations. I suggested that I could never really know who’s ready for a combat situation, included myself. I’ve suggested mandatory training for purchasers of rifles and gear that is actively used by the military and police (e.g. AR-15s, AK-47s and bullet proof vests). And I suggested that not all of you are as good as you think in a movie theater filled with tear gas. For these suggestions, I am truly sorry.

I have not, nor have I ever, claimed to be an expert on the subject of guns, gun violence, or gun control. But I am grateful that Fox News was able to show me how many there are, and how fair and balanced they can be.

 

57 thoughts on “What a blog post about gun control taught me about guns (and Fox News)

  1. Pingback: Yes, you can shutup about Colorado and keep your opinions on gun control to yourself | Frank M Taylor

  2. I am 64 years old, a Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit holder, a former policeman and a licensed psychologist. I carry because because I have had friends and family victimized and have personally been caught up in the armed robbery of a 7-ll and a bank robbery. I have also been stalked in the local woods by a group of mysterious strangers (long strange story). I discovered your “assault rifle” blog through Fox and enjoyed it. I considered it an honest expression of frustration and opinion and no more factually flawed than most articles on the subject. Thanks for your thoughts. And I wouldn’t want to be called a progressive troll either.

  3. You’re dead right. I live in Georgia, have a concealed carry permit, train at the range and train both MOUT and low-light. If I was there, I’d have probably gotten shot too. My luck sucks, but at least we’re both prepared, trained and willing to try. I’ve got a gun. I’ve got jumper cables too. I know how to use both, and for the same reasons. Sometimes you’re the only help that’s coming …

  4. As a gun enthusiast who never got his concealed carry permit for many of the reasons you mention in your article, thank you. I noted some of your factual errors, to myself and remembered how often I make mistakes when I am writing. I found it interesting to hear some of my thoughts from another person’s perspective. I hope your brush with the mainstream media and the kings and queens of the internet does not dull your enthusiasm or willingness to express yourself.

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    -Jared

  5. As a middle-of-the-road independent, often labeled as a liberal extremist, I can understand your frustration. There’s far too much yelling and far too little talking in this country. I probably disagree with you on a number of points across the political spectrum, but I’d be more than happy to sit down and talk about them. And when it comes to guns, you probably have one of the more… sane… voices that I’ve heard on the topic.

  6. I have a Texas CHL holder and do carry. That said, there were so many variables that night that I’m not sure that a person with a handgun would have made a difference:

    – The tear gas filled auditorium
    – The mayhem of the spooked crowd
    – An AR-15 versus a handgun
    – The body armor (most people would aim for center mass)

    Of course, it’s an academic question and we’ll never know if an armed citizen could have made a difference.

    Clearly more “gun control” is not going to solve the problem.

    While you did not have all the right terminology, I understood where you were coming from once I read the entire post.

  7. As Frank’s friend Kevin, I can assure you that he is not a progressive liberal troll… though he does look like a Hobbit at times.

    Seriously though, Frank and I share many views in common and I am an ardent constitutionalist libertarian.

    We actually don’t see eye to eye on gun control. I keep an AR15 in the house for home defense as I feel it is the best choice from the data I’ve seen and the training I’ve had. I don’t agree with his call on mandatory testing on said weapons or body armor – but that’s because I want Big Brother to piss off and leave us all alone.

    The one thing I do agree with, that I think most people have missed, is that his original call was to respect the people who are still hurting from this tragedy. Don’t turn them into some political agenda. Don’t turn their very real hurt and pain into something to be paraded around as your trump argument – no matter which side of the issue you’re on… at least not yet. No one is denying that a very real conversation should be had about what could have and still can be done differently… Just let the situation breathe.

    Well, that’s my .02. Let the name calling begin. =)

  8. you are aware that CO is an open carry state right? If you don’t know what you are talking about you should either research it, or just put a sock in it!

    • and I’m sure Joe you’ve never commented on something you didn’t have a complete understanding of…

  9. There were signs that dis-allowed legal firearms carriers to carry in the theater. So only law-abiding armed people were unarmed. The shooter apparently disregarded the sign. Why are we talking about gun control? If the sign didn’t work then maybe we need a BIGGER SIGN???? The UK has “total” gun control… yet people still get shot. Apparently by criminals that don’t read the F@CKING SIGNS.

    If someone is willing to disregard one of our most important taboos i.e. murder, why will telling them they cant buy their murder weapon at wall-mart but will have to talk to “meth-head arms dealer selling out of the trunk of their car” change their intent to disregard rule of law?

    • “In the United Kingdom in 2009 there were 0.07 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants; for comparison, the figure for the United States was 3.0, about 40 times higher”

  10. I for one am grateful he didn’t have that mandatory training you’re suggesting. Perhaps he would have been able to fix the jam…

    • actually, my point with training (and what I said in the interview with Business Insider) is that my hope would’ve been that in 4 hours of AR training and and hour or two with tactical gear, that someone would have realized he was off, and wouldn’t have let him buy the guns. Real interactions with people tell you things you won’t find on paper.

      And, in general, I’d love to have a better-trained armed civilian populous.

  11. Wow,
    Where do I start. Would I have made a difference in the theater? Who knows; I am a Vietnam vet (607th MPs) Siagon. I am a trained MP and I shot on the divisional pistol team while I was on active service (I shot expert with all scored weapons). I am a N.C. CCW permit holder which means I have attended classes in law and firearm proficiency and have demonstrated a level of proficiency to be certified to carry. I practice regularly and as to whether I could use a weapon to shoot another person ask some of the VC who attacked Siagon on TeT 1968.
    Would I have made a difference? I would have probably shot at center mass of the shooter but if I saw hits without stopping I would have probably have switched to a head shot. I carry a 9MM Markarov with an extra clip so I would have had 16 shots to try to stop this slime; a lot would depend on my location and how well he would show up against the background of the screen. The finalcall, however would be that I would not have had my carry gun as the theater apparently banned weapons. Since they apparently did not provide any armed police to protect their customers I hope they get sued out of business.
    BTW I use my Chinese SKS as a light brush gun for deer hunting and it is excellent!

    • Hahahahaha! Yes, I qualified as an expert on the M16-A2 and several other US weapons in the Army. While it is possible to hit the target in the theater, most people would miss and/or hit innocent people. Therefore, I’m glad nobody was carrying.

      • Maybe, maybe not. The point is, if NO ONE has the ability to stop the shooter, then the shooter is free to carry on at will. If someone has the ability and at least tries, that is better than nothing.

  12. Frank,

    Thanks for the courage to post… and to weather the storm afterwards. Don’t let them get you down. Wish we could there to stand with your friends and neighbors in this time of pain.

    ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matt 25:40

  13. So….you write a blog online presumably because you think what you have to say is so important that the world needs to read it. Then, suddenly, what you’ve written becomes so important that the world wants to read it – and a major news outlet carries it for you and you give them permission. Now you are whining that they and their viewers were mean to you? Because you went off half-cocked and belted out a not-very-well-thought-out-rant and gave a major news outlet permission to distribute it? It’s Fox’s fault and their “fair and balanced” [sic] viewers who are to blame that you got what you wanted the whole time and then couldn’t handle the reality that some people called you out on your BS? Dude…seriously…that thing about heat and the kitchen…yeah….

    • Mike,

      As I’ve stated *numerous* times, what you’ve read was a rant on a Saturday night by a web developer and gun owner living near Aurora.

      You’re totally right. It was a half-cocked and not-very-well-thought-out rant. It was an emotional response born out of people’s reactions.

      At 40 readers a week, on average, I didn’t see anything wrong with telling that audience to “shutup”. Now that I’m 25k readers in, I could have been more polite. But I chose not to redact what I wrote because it doesn’t capture the emotions that I had at the time.

      Not once have I said that the attention I’ve gotten (positive or negative) is undeserved. I told 25k people to shutup and I got facts wrong along the way. Yeah, I’m going to get burned, this is what I had coming.

      I’m not blaming Fox, either. It was my decision to let them repost, though I certainly wish I had done some fact-checking, first. I also wish I had thought to ask how they’d title the article (lessons learned).

      But, back to the readers. Considering I’m one of them – yes, I read Fox News regularly (just not opinions) – I never would have thought I could be accused of being a liberal or a ‘progressive troll’.

      That’s where the ‘fair and balanced’ comes in. If I’m a super-left wing liberal, what are my accusers?

      • Lesson learned, I’d say. Thanks for admitting you were wrong on some of what you blogged about, most of your nay sayers don’t have the guts to do the same. Yes, an armed citizen could have made a difference, but Cinemark doesn’t allow weapons to be carried on their property. I’m a police officer and they (their off-duty officers they use for security and their theatre staff) have given me grief over my carrying of a weapon while seeing a movie (they spotted the pocket clip of my pocket knife and debated over letting me in AFTER verifying my police identity with their security/off-duty police officers). As a private business, they have the absolute right to refuse your carrying weapons on their property, they would just have to refund your money. Private businesses have this right, remember “Private business”. Given the number of boyfriends shot while trying to protect someone (3 by my count of news reporting), chances are that one of them would have engaged this nutjob and, at least, made it harder for him to kill his intended victims (to busy ducking bullets). And, yes, I’ve been in gunfights, and it’s been my experience that bad guys get a real good dose of reality when someone starts shooting back at them. “I’m not worried about the bullet with my name on it, it’s all of the ones addressed to whom it may concern that scares me” (a quote told to me by the commanding general of 18th Airborne Corps before Desert Shield deployment). Good post.

  14. never apologize for telling the truth. i agree w/you that there shpuld be some kind of training w/the weapon to be able to cc.i am a vietnam vet as well and have had my permit for many years and i must admit tht it would depend on the situation at the time. in that theater it would have been mayhem and to just start blazing away would be irresponsible in my opinion.if a certain shot presented itself, then yes.otherwise no,too many intangibles.

  15. Mr. Taylor,

    You did not start by being “fair and balanced.” You original post was assuming, insulting and incorrect about so many things. You start by saying “shut up” and yet now you whine about the responses not being “fair and balanced.” Grow up.

  16. I applaud every word you wrote about this subject Frank. You have managed to put into words most of what I have been trying to say for the past week. I have just recently become licensed to CC, and while I feel fairly proficient with my handgun, the ONLY thing I know I would have done in this situation is to have dropped my wife to the floor and tried to protect her with my body, just like those 3 young men who made that sacrifice. Beyond that, while I am sure I would not have panicked, I cannot say with certainty what I may have done. I feel that no one who was not present in that theater can honestly look themselves in the mirror and say unequivocally how they would have reacted. I also understand that being issued a concealed carry permit does not make us a militia or volunteer police force. That permit/license is issued so we may defend ourselves and our families. NOT so we can “run to the sound of the guns” like Rambo. And while I may not agree with everything you have said, I can see you put a lot of thought into your opinions and I can respect that. I can only wish the talking heads who have access to the national media would be as reasonable in their arguments. Keep your head up and ignore the haters.

  17. Frank, you have some very good points. I am sorry that you have to endure the “keyboard warriors” attacking your thoughts.
    But my father,myself and both my brothers all served just so you could freely express your thoughts. And those of the “keyboard warriors” too. I may not like what they have to say, but that is my right also.

    • Craig, I read a lot of the responses and I think your wrong about attached the “keyboard warriors.” People understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and have the right to express said opinions, however I think people were inflamed because his first post was not clear, was full of contradictions and let’s face it he was telling people who were voicing their opinions to and I quote “Shut UP”. Oh, and by the way those “Keyboard Warriors” have the same right as he did to express their opinion in response to his post.

      • As the author of all three posts, I agree with you matt. The big deal was in the first post, which, as you’ve now recognized, wasn’t clear by even my own admission.

        BUT … no one has the “right” to express an opinion here, other than me. It’s my blog, after all. I can shut-off, edit, or delete comments whenever I want ;)

        I did set my comments to shut off after on the first blog post b/c I was tired of moderating and I’d like for people to read my slightly improved thoughts and opinions before shooting me down. I’m not going to edit comments (outside of removing profanity) and I’m not going to delete something unless I think it’s offensive, way off topic, or otherwise inappropriate.

        But, it’s not your right to share an opinion here, it’s your privilege.

  18. Frank;
    Good job and thank you for being a vocal citizen. I hope that those that have read your post have stayed current on your corrections and edits. Maybe it will inspire some people to read the 2nd amendment and the deep rooted HISTORY behind it.

  19. Actually there is a definition for “Assault Rifle”. An Assault Rifle is a select fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge, although it’s not a legal definition just a definition. The media till uses it incorrectly. The term “Assault Weapon” is an entirely made up term that has varying legal and media definitions. The general definition for Assault Weapon is scary gun that looks scary and has military looking things on it.

  20. Wrong again superstar

    assault rifle = actually a real thing it means a shoulder fired weapon that uses an intermediate cartrige and is capable of select fire (bust or semi auto)

    assault weapon = legal definition that varries from state to state

    • If you can point me to a legal or otherwise accepted and approved definition, I’ll use it.

  21. I must say this post and your other post, “Yes, I’m a hypocrite: I ran my mouth on gun control” are doing a much better job of explaining what your issue was. I commented on your first post. Being former law enforcement I still hold to the fact that too many people put way, way too much faith in the shooting abilities of uniform line police officers (S.W.A.T. officers are a different story) and in the G.I. Military (non-sniper/ sharpshooter/special forces). General Infantry are taught to shoot rifles not pistols. I understand your first post was written at midnight shortly after the shooting but I think that that you have made your corrections I and others understand a little better the point you were trying to make.

  22. I’m not a US citizen, and I don’t live in the US. I’m one of those people from a foreign country who don’t understand why people in the US seem obsessed with guns, gun ownership and a 2nd Amendment that dealt with a historical situation from centuries ago in which AK47s did not exist.

    Contrary to what you may think, it’s not “disrespectful” to discuss whether the 2nd Amendment is a good idea. It’s disrespectful not to discuss it: the US keeps having gun massacres at regular intervals, and lots of other gun-related violence seemingly all the time, and apparently examining the rampant gun culture that facilitates this is taboo?

    It’s a simple question really: Why does any average citizen need to own an AK47 or similar? It’s not a facetious question, because I literally cannot understand why anyone outside of a military role needs something like that. Why can people in the US buy them?

    It may be that you feel safer in a country where 90% of the population is armed – but the death of 30,000 people a year in the US from gun violence tells the real story. What will it take – how many more tragedies have to occur – for gun advocates to admit they’re wrong?

    • John K, I’ve answered this question several times already. The answer is for A) recreation, B) home defense C)a right to form a well-regulated militia.

      As I’ve said before, gun ownership is part of our DNA. You can’t understand why we care about guns because your country, at its foundation, didn’t recognize this was a right which must be protected. You’ll never understand gun ownership at least until you grow up in a country whose sovereignty was bought with the blood of your fathers.

      In the US, we believe that we have three God-given rights: life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. Our constitution and our amendments are written to protect those rights. The 2nd amendment isn’t our right to own guns, it PROTECTS that right; we have a right to life, and owning a gun is a means of protecting our right to live.

      If your country recognizes that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are fundamental rights, then wouldn’t it support gun ownership?

      It’s in our DNA. Grow up here and you’ll understand.

      • The level of gun violence in the US makes your statement that “owning a gun is a means of protecting our right to live” ironic, at best. 30,000 people in the US die every year from gun violence, so if that’s how you protect your right to live, it’s not working.

        • Did you know that there are 3 times that many (reported)that are SAVED by individuals protecting themselves and their families?

        • and where are your cited facts for the 30,000 body count?
          you are aware there are body counts across the world based on gun violence, regardless of laws or location?

        • So when an intruder breaks into my house carrying a gun, you’d like me to protect myself with, what, exactly? The problem with illegal guns is that criminals don’t seem to care what the laws are.

          Not sure where you’re getting your numbers. The Guardian sure isn’t reporting that, and I’m pretty sure their data is from our FBI’s uniform crime report. 12,996 total firearms related murders in 2010. The highest per-capita rate was in Washington DC, where guns are HIGHLY regulated.

          Considering that 2/3rds of murders are with firearms, that leaves a third of murders that aren’t. And let’s understand this, the UCR is counting murder as an instance where someone was illegally and maliciously killed with a firearm. Self defense doesn’t count as murder.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state#data

        • 31,593 people died from gun violence
          12,179 people murdered.
          18,223 people killed themselves.
          592 people killed accidentally.
          326 killed by police intervention.
          273 died but intent was not known.

          maybe you should separate those who committed suicide from those who did not…etc…

          that leaves (from your links dated in ’05) just over 12k

          (i responded to this post since the other had no ability to)

          • We can argue over specific numbers and the age of the links that provide them, but even if we’re *only* talking 12,000 a year murdered with guns – whatever the number – doesn’t that strike you as a truly obscene waste of human life? Few other countries that are not at war comes close, whether in raw numbers or per capita.

            Congratulations: your murder with firearm statistics aren’t as scary as South Africa’s. (!) http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir-crime-murders-with-firearms That’s still 10,000 too many, however.

            The first step to solving the problems is for people to recognise there is a problem – and that’s the biggest problem here.

  23. it appears as if you feel some emotional setback for the responses you have gotten for your post.

    while you admit that you were shooting at the hip at midnight writing this article, you also ask for people to give you the space by saying…
    [Quote]“But hey, isn’t it nice when someone actually admits to it?” [Quote]
    yes it is, but then in the same article and this adjoining one, you still ramble on about specifics, or better yet, lack thereof of specifics to CCW laws and you even admit that you did not dive into research to back your points up.

    your paragraph about your friend’s comments to me are decent in accuracy enough to say i can see his point, but i would offer you the alternative, that at least one armed individual returning fire (even at center mass) could have prevented the scale of bloodshed that occurred.

    funny fact for you: in basic training, at least mine since i cant speak for today’s basic training, we were introduced to tear gas in a very personal manner. that is a moment in time one never forgets, but also a moment in time when your training and responses do take over and you learn to react and remove the threat, or in some cases, offer protection to those around.

    i am actually amused at some of your words and how you attempt to recover from misunderstandings…at least your point of view of them. you sound eerily similar to a politician of today’s caliber.

    i truly wonder if you post these out of ignorance because you feel shame or you are uncertain of yourself and your actions, thus posting what you “think” you would have done or not.

    you also seem unsure of yourself. your posts indicate a less confident person than your educational background suggests.

    oh well, mine is not to belittle you as you did so many previous, nor to educate you in self esteem and confidence.

    glad you got your time in the limelight…hope it was warm.

    • James,

      I don’t know if ‘emotional setback’ is the right term. I definitely wish I had done fact-checking and further research before letting a national news organization publish a ranting and poorly thought out set of arguments. Like anyone, I prefer to be the one to catch my mistakes, not thousands of others.

      My response to my own hypocrisy was in the context of stating that it’s too soon to talk about gun control, and then doing an interview on the subject. I realized how hypocritical I was and I had to admit to that. But now the cat’s out of the bag. I’ve gone there, and that’s part of the reason I’ve gotten the attention that I have. I can either just flip back to my original statement of “just shutup about it for a few days”, or I can continue with the dialogue I’ve already opened up. At this point, I think either decision would have had consequences, so I chose the one that results in a dialogue.

      My wife can remember the day, hour and second she was exposed to tear gas. I have no idea what it’s like, but I’m glad folks like you have found out for me.

      I hate the fact that I now sound like a politician. That’s the one thing I don’t want to sound like. I want to admit to my mistakes (without faulting others), improve the clarity with which I write, and make better choices of words. So if there’s something I’ve tried to do, it’s improve the dialogue that I started.

      Am I posting these out of ignorance, shame, or uncertainty about myself?

      My first article was a rant. It was out of anger. My second was quite literally an attempt to get my words and thoughts out before the news reporter got his out, there was little emotion in that one. It was a ‘CYA’ in case if my words had been distorted by the time they made it to (digital) print. The third, which you have now read, is my admission of factual errors, semantic or technical clarifications, clarity of my first message, and thoughts on how readers have reacted. This one probably has some hint of emotion in it because I truly hate making mistakes, and I certainly hate doing it on this scale.

      Am I unsure of myself based on education? Heck yes! I’m not a gun expert, a law expert, nor am I police or military (former or active). I’m a guy who likes to shoot guns. I have friends (like Kevin) who are much, much better qualified to make a position one way or the other on gun topics – despite Kevin having no legal, police, or military expertise – he is more informed that I. He, and others, didn’t write their thoughts and opinions on a Saturday night. I did.

      Now, if you want to see me in topics where I do feel sure of my thoughts and opinions, we can talk about linguistics, web development, comparative religion, or Biblical theology.

      And yes, it’s been very warm in the limelight. I eagerly await the cold.

  24. Hello,

    I just wanted to say that this was a great post. I am sure you took way to much heat for your first blog about the unfortunate event and to be frank that is not fair. I am also called a liberal progressive troll, that is mainly though because I have a heavy liberal leaning but think of myself as a moderate. What is the point of having options of who to vote for if you cannot look at both sides?

    Sorry back on track, this was great and I hope to keep coming back to your blog. I feel just like you, I believe we should have training and testing for certain weapons but certainly no ban on firearms unless it is a fully automatic weapon (which is almost impossible to get your hands on). I am also a holder of my CCW and am proud to say it. I have taken a lot of flak for it because apparently having some form of control on something means automatically that it is against the 2nd amendment and that I am not American. So keep strong and even though you may be saying your opinion you have every right to voice it.

    TK

  25. Let me further my initial comment: your mea culpa goes a ways toward dispelling some of the ire at your position.

    Think of this, please: From reports, there are at least THREE individuals in that theater, now dead, that did in fact “rise to the occasion”, e.g. ,shielded people they were with to protect them.

    These young men fought back with all they had, their bodies. If any one, or all three, would have been armed, do you really think shielding with their bodies would have been their first choice?

    I certainly do not.

    As for all the technologically advanced, highly trained, experts in all matters martial declaring that in this instance, the body armor and the tear gas and the chaos and everything else would have prevented a “better outcome”, I say absolute [PROFANITY REMOVED].

    Had there been several people armed, things may not have went well overall, but I guarantee that several direct hits from a .45 in the center of mass would have shaken that particular shooter to his core, and the odds are that many people would NOT have had their lives ruined or ended simply because of that.

    In nearly every mass killing, this same “societal math” applies, it would have ended Huberty’s rampage, Sherrill’s, and many more, much earlier.

    What then would be our conversations if that were the common case, instead of quite the opposite?

    And what exactly would the effect be on jackwads who get all travis bickeled up to get their nut?

    I dare say there would be FEWER occurrences. NO way would it end them, but in the simple math of “less” dead and shot, it would be a GOOD THING, even despite the effects it would have on those who stood to resist, those who were otherwise involved, and those who were harmed nonetheless.

  26. I was just going to leave things go as you are obviously an elitist and nothing posted on your blog will change your mind, but the idea of you taking “Advanced” or “Tactical” courses, well. My advice to you which is something you will not take as you don’t know me from Joe Shmoe, is simply DON’t take that class. Do yourself and the rest of us a favor and don’t get “tactical” training or any toy with “tactical” attached to it’s gunbroker description. What you should do is retake the CCW class and this time, actually listen to the instructor when he asks you if you are willing and able to take a life in order to save your own life and the lives of your loved ones’ otherwise you should have walked out to the classroom right then and there.

  27. My credentials, first. Retired NYPD, 21 years, all street time. 6 years Corrections, at a county jail. Numerous side jobs doing security over the years. The Comment: Thank you. You have, with clarity, and brevity, summed up, the situation. Nobody knows what they will do, untill it happens. Nobody, without both training and practice, is LIKELY to be successful. And let us all take a deep breath, and pause, and think, before we try to debate issues after tragidies. PS: I likely would have been too busy getting my wife and son out in one piece, to have challenged the shooter, myself. In order of importance, family,community, country, job.

  28. I don’t know if I’m the only woman posting here because frankly I couldn’t stand to keep reading the comments. My husband is a former Marine who loves guns and knives and is very knowledgeable. He is a firm believer in the constitution and so am I. I am nowhere near an expert and have practiced very few times. But I have several times carried one of his guns with me to check on strange noises in the house without awakening him. Maybe a dumb thing to do, but I have confidence that I will not be afraid to use it. My feeling about guns in general is that I can have one but I don’t want anyone else to have one, lol. (Except my husband). I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at some of the comments on here. Gun control or no gun control, gun in the theater or no gun, training or no training. What I think Frank was trying to say, in my humble opinion, is that none of that really matters. Maybe someone could have killed the shooter. Maybe they could have killed themselves or someone else. We will always have these arguments and we will never know the answers.

  29. I thought your comments were valid, though you came off as very arrogant in your initial post. A couple of factual issues jumped out at me:

    One, Wikipedia needs to get their material straight with regard to what an “assualt rifle” is. According to their definition, most of the U.S. Army does not carry assault rifles as the M-4 does not fire on full auto (the Army decided at some point that troops were just wasting rounds on full auto – which was probably one of the most valid decisions ever made by the U.S. Army). Weird, huh?

    Second, the open carry issue is very murky. Where I live (AL), it is widely believed that carrying a pistol openly is illegal. This is due to what many believe is a deliberately vague wording of the statute. Case law, however, firmly supports our State’s citizens’ rights to carry a firearm openly. Which makes a lot of sense. Why in the name of anything logical would a State allow you to carry a concealed firearm but not allow you to carry one openly? Afraid you’ll scare the sheep? Makes no sense. So, if you think your state bans open carry, you may want to examine ALL of the relevant statutes as well as applicable case law. A ban on open carry would be wide open to a constitutional challenge.

    • Thanks for your feedback Mike,

      Obviously I wasn’t tryingto come off arrogant, but I know that’s how what I wrote has been interpreted, and that’s my fault. That’s why I’ve tried to reiterate the timing and the audience for that post: close to 24 hours after the shooting and for 40-or-so readers a week. I’ve had several friends tell me that they would have corrected me – if they ever thought anyone other than my 40 readers a week would have read it. By the time Fox News decided to run with it, it was too late for me to do a full redaction.

      I’ll sometimes spend upwards of a month authoring a single blog post, during which time I proofread, redact, and rewrite the entire post at least once. That Saturday night blog post: about an hour. Had I been clear, level-headed, and focused hard on my arguments, I wouldn’t have come off as arrogant. I’ve spent more time writing replies to comments than I did in my initial blog post. I got what I deserved for an hour of writing.

      Regarding Wikipedia, I know that they aren’t always the most accurate in the world, but I need a non-partisan definition of an Assault Rifle (if one exists) – or as close as possible.

      I’m also discovering a bigger problem: “Assault Rifle” is two words, and can easily categorize weapons like the AR-15, M-16, semi auto AK, and full auto AK (even if it’s incorrect). I can’t find simple two-word term that can categorize the AR-15 and semi-auto AK together. Please help me on this, is there a simple term out there to categorize these weapons together? If there’s not a term to use for civilian-focused, semi-auto weapons like the AR-15, FAL, and AK, then the media, and others with a mouth like mine will continue using the term incorrectly.