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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 Comments


    1. //

      Military or Service rifle. That’s a good suggestion. Is there any sort of precedent that could work with calling AKs and AR-15’s Service Rifles?

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