As more details slowly leak out about the Tucson shooting, it’s becoming ever more clear that those who advocate more armed citizens as a countermeasure to that kind of violence have a childish, comic-book fantasy about what happens in surprise shootings. A review of the video shows that the shooter engaged everyone at a distance of about three feet with a semi-automatic weapon. He also wore earplugs to better concentrate on his task. The notion that some semi-trained weekend range shooter could whip out his pistol and do anything effective amidst this kind of close quarters shooting is worth a laugh, not endless hours of serious media coverage.
If you need more evidence just how difficult it is to stop a determined shooter who has the element of surprise, the testimony of one of two cops shot in the hallway of an apartment building serves as a good example. Both were, obviously, trained and carrying firearms, both were shot at close range, and neither was able to respond effectively — the shooter escaped untouched.
The only effective action that was taken in the Tucson shootings was one person serving as a shield for another. There were three cases of husbands doing this for their wives, and today we learned that Judge Roll apparently laid on top of Ron Barber after Barber was shot, and Roll was shot in the back while shielding Barber. That’s the only kind of real hero that anyone is going to be in this kind of situation, and the chances are awfully high that you’ll be a dead one.