Don’t Stand So Close To Me

Greg Hampikian, who teaches Biology at Boise State, has a good question for the Idaho State Legislature:

In light of the bill permitting guns on our state’s college and university campuses, which is likely to be approved by the state House of Representatives in the coming days, I have a matter of practical concern that I hope you can help with: When may I shoot a student?

I am a biology professor, not a lawyer, and I had never considered bringing a gun to work until now. But since many of my students are likely to be armed, I thought it would be a good idea to even the playing field.

I have had encounters with disgruntled students over the years, some of whom seemed quite upset, but I always assumed that when they reached into their backpacks they were going for a pencil. Since I carry a pen to lecture, I did not feel outgunned; and because there are no working sharpeners in the lecture hall, the most they could get off is a single point. But now that we’ll all be packing heat, I would like legal instruction in the rules of classroom engagement.

Not only is this guy pretty funny, he’s also the director of the Idaho Innocence Project.  That DNA stuff is probably a little too quantitative for Nick Kristof, but here’s a guy who’s engaged in public debate and also applying his scientific knowledge for the public good.

(via TPM)

83 replies
  1. 1
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:

    Dissertation committees will be on the Endangered Species list in no time.

  2. 2
    cathyx says:

    Is Idaho a stand your ground state?

  3. 3
    Paul in KY says:

    When you ‘fear for your life’.

  4. 4
    cathyx says:

    If this professor is white, he has nothing to fear.

  5. 5
    Citizen_X says:

    @cathyx: It’s Idaho. Everybody’s white.

  6. 6
    Poopyman says:

    @Citizen_X: Even the potatoes.

  7. 7
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    “Students: no problem if you want to bring your handguns to the Nuclear Physics class. I’ve got a 10-megaton hydrogen bomb stashed under the lectern with a dead-man switch, so please don’t interrupt me during the lecture.”

  8. 8
    Poopyman says:

    Although to be fair, the place is crawling with skinheads and neo-nazis. Not clear if they’d be found in an institution of higher larnin’, though.

  9. 9


    If this professor is white, he has nothing to fear.

    Isn’t the entire point of SYG so that us decent white folks can protect ourselves from loud music and hoodies?

  10. 10
    aimai says:

    All joking aside–and it was a great essay–if you’ve ever taught at a University you have to have met some pretty crazy students and ex students. Years ago my father, who was a professor at an Ivy, was stalked by a crazed graduate student who had been bounced from the program. This was really long before the spate of shootings by graduate students was a “thing” but I remember hearing my parents discussing the issue because it was really pretty damned amorphous and scary. University buildings are open to the public, all hours of the day and night. People are entering school at a vulnerable time in their lives and they are under an enormous amount of stress to make the time and money count for something. Then they get graded and sometimes they get terminated for bad grades or bad behavior or for having a psychotic break.

    This is absolutely a ticking time bomb not only because crazy people may arm themselves but because we know now that the belieft that other people are armed can lead both police/first responders and other citizens into recklessly shooting people who are actually unarmed. Like the poor teenager who answered the door to his trailer home with a remote control in his hands and was instantly shot by an overactive police officer who assumed it was a gun.

  11. 11
    JCT says:

    I’m a college professor out west and had a bizarre “discussion” with some wingnut at a range one day. He asked if I was fighting to have guns on campus and I no, I’m not supportive. After he finished spouting off about how “at risk” I was from a disgruntled student and “why did I want to be a victim”, I pointed out that to get the “drop” on any student coming to my office to shoot me over a grade I would have to sit there every day with a loaded pistol on my desk with the safety off. He could not in any way understand why I might not want to do that.

    I changed lanes.

  12. 12
    Mr. Longform says:

    It doesn’t seem fair to respond to this Very Serious second-amendment solution to the desperate problem of unarmed students at Idaho institutions of higher education with both humor and reason. Is that even legal?

  13. 13
    raven says:

    @aimai: We had a professor go to a Town and Gown picnic, shoot and kill his wife and two guys and vanish. After a week the dogs found him, he scooped out a shallow grave, covered himself with leave and POP. It was about three blocks from here and it was the only time my ammo met my weapon in the house.

  14. 14
    Mnemosyne says:

    I immediately thought of the professor who killed three people when her tenure appeal was denied. And the NRA wants to make every university interaction into a Wild West shootout?

  15. 15
    raven says:

    Remember this “disgruntled student”?

    Theodore Landon “Ted” Streleski (born 1936) is an American former graduate student in mathematics at Stanford University who murdered his former faculty advisor, Professor Karel de Leeuw, with a small sledge hammer on August 18, 1978. Shortly after the murder, Streleski turned himself in to the authorities, claiming he felt the murder was justifiable homicide because de Leeuw had withheld departmental awards from him, demeaned Streleski in front of his peers, and refused his requests for financial support. Streleski was in his 16th year pursuing his doctorate in the mathematics department, alternating with low-paying jobs to support himself.[1]
    During his trial Streleski told the court he felt the murder was “logically and morally correct” and “a political statement” about the department’s treatment of its graduate students, and he forced his court-appointed lawyer to enter a plea of “not guilty” rather than “not guilty by reason of insanity” as the lawyer had urged.[1] Streleski was convicted of second degree murder and he served seven years in prison for his actions.
    Streleski was eligible for parole on three occasions, but turned it down as the conditions of his parole required him to not set foot on the Stanford campus. Upon his release in 1985, he said, “I have no intention of killing again. On the other hand, I cannot predict the future.”[2]
    In 1993 Streleski was turned down for a fare box repair position with the San Francisco Municipal Railway after his crime came to light.[3]

  16. 16
    max says:

    But since many of my students are likely to be armed, I thought it would be a good idea to even the playing field.

    The Man Who Failed Liberty Valence
    Shootout at the OK Seminar
    The Good, the Bad, and the Poorly Attended
    My Name is Professor Nobody
    Once Upon a Time in Lecture Hall 503
    Two TA’s for Professor Sara
    A Lectern Full of Dynamite
    Tombstone College
    High Plains Adjunct

    [‘The Outlaw Josey Wales, Ph.D.‘]

  17. 17

    When all students are armed, all of our arms will be students.

    My bumpersticker bizness is going to fail, isn’t it?

  18. 18
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @raven: Thanks. I remembered that guy, but not his name. I think he was on “60 Minutes” at some point. I admired his honesty in declining the opportunity for parole.

  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    And the NRA wants to make every university interaction into a Wild West shootout?

    As long as cash registers ring in the offices of the NRA’s masters, the merchants of death, it’s all good.

  20. 20
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Wow, I remember that! I had forgotten all about that guy.

  21. 21
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    @raven: there’s a fine line between “mathematician” and “lunatic”

  22. 22
    Poopyman says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki: Hmmmm. I’m pretty sure it’s a plane.

  23. 23
    raven says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I remember him on some talk show after he got out. He said, “if you have a problem with me getting out talk to the State of California. I’d kill him again if I could”.

  24. 24
    raven says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Ah, I guess that was it.

  25. 25
    scuffletuffle says:

    Stand your lectern.

  26. 26
    maya says:

    At Idaho, Udaman.

  27. 27
    scav says:

    Make My Grade.

    granted, my graduate office was next door to the shootings at UI and people I went to classes with had been under the desks for same. And later, a woman I worked with had one of her former students go on a spree. so, yeah, a bit wary of the national past-time.

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Strong words in
    the staff room
    The accusations fly

  29. 29
    JCT says:

    @raven: My husband went to grad school at Cal not long after that and said that in his division (filled with theorists) they used to tease their PIs about “buying a hammer” when they disagreed.

  30. 30
    raven says:

    @JCT: Buncha jokers them theory peeps!

  31. 31
    jibeaux says:

    @Mnemosyne: One of the most depressing things about this country is that there are so many shootings that I don’t even know about recent, highly bizarre ones with multiple deaths. Sigh.

    I know it’s not the weirdest thing about that story, but it sounds like that woman and her husband had already come up with a highly marketable new type of petri dish that was being sold; i.e. she should’ve had options besides academia anyway.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    Astor Column says:

    I talked to a hs biology teacher about his interactions w/anti-evolution parents and children. If you teach biology, you’re on the front lines of the War on Science w/’I reject your evidence-based reality and substitute it w/my own’ snipers all around… even in blue parts of blue states like Oregon.

    So many people turn out to be depressed, or angry, or paranoid when you get beneath their surface veneer. I’d really prefer that they not be encouraged to pack heat. I feel for Prof. Hampikian.

  34. 34

    424 comments on Dr. Hampikian’s letter. I can’t bring myself to read a single one.

  35. 35
    Another Holocene Human says:

    I’ll believe Republican state legislators’ gun freedom bonafides when they take out the metal detectors at the entrances to state capital buildings and legislative chambers.

  36. 36
    WereBear says:

    @JCT: I pointed out that to get the “drop” on any student coming to my office to shoot me over a grade I would have to sit there every day with a loaded pistol on my desk with the safety off. He could not in any way understand why I might not want to do that.

    Because he has little else to do with his life?

    In all seriousness; I have friends who paint and write and volunteer at food pantries and make props for Steam Punk conventions.

    But wingnuts have church, and guns, and amorphous rage… and what else?

  37. 37
    jibeaux says:

    @JCT: People online talked about in connection with a particularly bad home invasion situation. The couple in question were awakened from a dead sleep by armed intruders in their bedroom. The reality that unless you sleep with your finger curled around a loaded weapon that’s under your pillow AND you have supersonic reflexes, a gun in the house is just going to be something else stolen from you, did not appear to compute. Alarm systems, dog, hell, my territorial seven pound chihuahua would all be loads more useful in that situation than a gun. But they think of it sort of like how my grandpa thought of cash — best to have some with you all the time, just in case, you never know.

  38. 38
    kc says:

    Can people bring their guns into the Idaho state legislative chambers?

  39. 39
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Don’t encourage them. Plenty of these dummies would be just fine with that.

  40. 40
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @aimai: I wonder if the European system where more people wash out is better, then, because there’s less shame attached to it. The American system is more personal. I think maybe it’s academically superior in some ways, assuming you can stick it out. I had to use the mental health services at my university and they kinda sucked. I think they don’t explain much how to use or access these services or your rights as a patient, and they don’t seem to care much if you hang in there academically, but if you don’t you lose the services as well as your scholarship so for a vulnerable person it’s like kaboom (this happened to someone I know), and they either assume you’ve been in therapy your whole life like a rich New Yorker and know the drill or that you’re a totally grown in control adult which of course most college students who came up straight from high school are emphatically NOT; they’re dependent economically if nothing else.

    ETA: by kaboom I don’t mean an active shooter situation, the person who this happened to quickly ended up homeless and relying on friends from the internet to put her up between bouts of sleeping in the library… most people end up home with parents but this was not an option in her case

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cris (without an H):

    You should take a look. I read the first 20 or so, and they’re overwhelmingly supportive. There is one person decrying publishing it on the anniversary of a high school shooting, but then again, just about every day of the year is the anniversary of some ridiculous gun fetishist fantasy made reality of taking out some dangerous first graders or something.

  42. 42
    Bridgier says:

    @kc: Well, the legislator’s all get complimentary concealed carry permits, not sure if that extends to the chamber floor or not…

  43. 43
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    The European system also has alternatives readily available for those who wash out. Here, we just dump them onto the streets and tell them they’re on their own. Welcome to the jungle.

  44. 44
    RSR says:

    My wife’s middle school has been subject to at least one lockdown due to a report of someone brandishing a long gun across the street. It was a false alarm, for which we are all thankful (well, expect maybe for the kids who lied about it), but it was concerning enough the Philly PD responded to the initial report with a lot of man- and fire-power, including SWAT.

    ‘Normal’ procedure is to shelter in place where ever you are in the building, but in this case the police relocated everyone on the street side of the building to the far side, away from windows. Receiving that text from her was nerve wracking to say the least.

    Now I wonder how many false alarms and lockdowns are going to occur due to people’s need to carry around firearms at educational institutions? And how many ‘waistband ninjas’ are going to #gunfail (as @KagroX would say) and injure themselves or others playing Rescue Rangers?

  45. 45
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @JCT: I know a woman who keeps a loaded gun on her nightstand when her husband is out of town. When the police arrived at 6:00 AM with a search warrant for her (22yo) son’s computer they methodically (and politely – they put it everything but the computer back as it was) searched the entire place. She commented to her brother that they didn’t say a word about her handgun on her nightstand.

    I noted that it wasn’t a priority, given the kinds of images they expected to (and did) retrieve from the computer. I fully expect someone to get shot in that home, and it’s why I won’t visit. I haven’t had to announce that guns aren’t permitted in my home yet, other than those of an LEO on duty.

  46. 46
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @max: Win!

    A Fistful of Withdrawals

    Eh,I got nothin’.

  47. 47
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @raven: oh, I was actually talking about the Town and Gown professor at UGA. I don’t remember Streleski’s name or story at all, although the sledge hammer sounds vaguely familiar.

  48. 48
    Gex says:

    @aimai: And these are the years in which serious mental illness begin to show. Depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, personality disorders…

    This is such a horrible idea.

    I went back to school in 2008 to finish my degree, and frankly I was annoyed by the extent to which attitudes of students had changed from when I first went in 1988. I would describe the attitude as demanding consumer. “I am paying good money be here and paying your salary so you have to/I should get ______” It was gross. Now put that entitlement, alcohol and drugs, mental illness, and guns all together. Recipe for disaster.

  49. 49
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Poopyman: You needed to drop the mic after that one. *slow clap*

    Where would you like your internets delivered, sir?

  50. 50
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @jibeaux: Dude California in the 70s and 80s had a serial rapists who bragged about being able to take couples by surprise and torture them both. Killed a lot of people, too. A lot of people thought if that dude came in their house they could take him but they were wrong. A gun isn’t worth shit if somebody gets the drop on you.

  51. 51
    SatanicPanic says:

    Well, when my son’s old enough to go to college we can scratch Idaho off the list. Not that it was on the list to begin with, but still

  52. 52
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Add in the fact that the students and non-tenure faculty who “wash out” here are usually tens of thousands of dollars (if not more) in debt that they will have no way to recoup and … yeah, not pretty for anyone.

  53. 53
    John O says:

    Wanting more people armed is a somewhat remarkable display of ignorance of human nature. Kudos to this prof, he has it exactly right, the arms race must escalate to MAD for everyone to chill, and he’ll no doubt be making some lawmakers squirm a bit as they contemplate the madness.

    It’s all very weird, and considering I view the gun debate over and my side (FREEDOM, but licensing, registration, training, and insurance as part of the deal) lost. I take consolation in that the ghey rights debate is about 6 feet under.

    And people tease me about being a voluntary shut-in.

  54. 54
    raven says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Strangely similar. . . George Zinkhan. I knew people that played hoop with him.

  55. 55
    RSR says:

    The Breakfast Gunclub

  56. 56
    RSR says:

    The Breakfast Gunclub

  57. 57
    Schlemizel says:


    Yes, that is EXACTLY what the NRA wants – its the only way the manufacturers can continue to sell more guns.

  58. 58
    johnny aquitard says:

    @JCT: Since you go to gun ranges you no doubt by now are noticing a disturbingly large number of the most frightened and most paranoid people own guns and who are remaking our society to resemble the threatening one that exists in their heads.

    This pants-wetter (and surely you have noticed how the in-your-face ‘gun rights’ nuts are always irrationally fearful people) wants everyone to live as he does, in a state of constant fear and a deadly weapon on the desk at the office, on the coffee table at home, in a backpack at school, all loaded and safety off, all because HE can’t deal rationally with his own fear.

    Everyone now has to live in his world under his conditions because he is incapable of rationally judging risk in the real world.

    I believe such an incapacity should preclude someone from gun ownership, or only under supervision.

    We quite reasonably supervise children when they use firearms because we understand they often lack the faculties for sound judgement. Yet so do these gun nuts. Like children they are incapable of forming sound judgement based on reason and reality. Children believe in and are frightened by boogeymen. So are these kind of adults.

    The real problem is we have a large number of such people with guns who demonstrably should not have unrestricted access to them.

  59. 59
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    All these self-defense fantasies tend to have two things in common:

    1) A pervasive paranoia about imminent threats from every angle requiring a weapon at arm’s reach at all times
    2) An action movie scenario of superhuman reflexes and single-kill bullets defeating the bad guys effortlessly.

  60. 60
    K488 says:

    The Great Brain Robbery

    Pale Horse, Pale Grader

  61. 61
    Paul in KY says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Can Stanford get a restraining oder on him, banning him from campus anyway?

  62. 62
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    Also perfect movie-hero aim, and also too the bad guys are all graduates of the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.

  63. 63
    JCT says:

    @jibeaux: @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):


    I am an avid target shooter. It would never, ever occur to me that having one of my pistols loaded in my house was a useful thing.

    Many of the wingnuts and gun fetishists have a very active fantasy life (that often leaks into their reality) where they are the heroes with their firearms. And I see them practicing their responses at the range. They seem to have no idea whatsoever that responding to a truly sudden threat bears no relationship to what they are doing. If they hadn’t managed to convince an enormous number of people that what they were doing was a “good” thing (that everyone else should do) I would just dismiss them as pathetic and childish. This is worse.

    @johnny aquitard: I saw your comment after I posted — I agree 100%. The paranoia and fear is mind-boggling – last person I would want to own firearms,

  64. 64
    C.V. Danes says:

    Yet another reason to teach online.

  65. 65
    Calouste says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Yeah, I went to university in Europe. On the first day we were told that 1 in 3 of us wouldn’t be there at the end of the first year. But, you won’t have a lot of debt and it’s easy to drop down to a lower level of education and transfer credits. And also in a number of countries, the system is such that you don’t have to complete all exams by the end of the year to keep your grant, so it’s easier to work around any obstacles life throws in your path.

  66. 66
    johnny aquitard says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: It seems to be so among the ‘gun rights’ types I’ve met. They are incapable of assessing realistic outcomes of a gun fight. Everyone of them would shoot an intruder in their home and never give a thought to what could very likely happen to other people behind walls or even in the house or apartment next door. And they always assume they’ll be the last one standing, that the intruder won’t shoot them dead and go on to shoot their wife or anything that moves or screams, and then grab the TV.

    These people, as I said earlier, are like children in that they seem to have a difficult time sorting out fantasy and reality, or seem incapable of predicting likely future consequences to their own actions. It’s the ‘likely’ part they struggle with. They seem to have no way to weigh or evaluate the likelihood of one scenario vs another. The things one ought to be reasonably afraid of they do not fear, and the things one ought to reasonably unafraid of they are terrified of.

  67. 67
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    If you’re thinking of the Night Stalker (Richard Ramirez), IIRC he would sneak in, shoot the sleeping husband/boyfriend in the head, and then rape/torture/kill the woman. Not a whole lot of opportunity for heroic gunplay when you get shot in the head in your sleep.

  68. 68
    Strandedvandal says:

    @Poopyman: Lived here my entire life, you know not of which you speak.

  69. 69
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @JCT: My father taught me that an unsecured gun in the house was ridiculous and subject to theft, which would by definition put it in the wrong hands. He had a (locked) gun safe for his shotguns and his (long since no longer used) handgun. That’s where guns lived other than on the way to the gun club.

    He renounced, by mail, his membership in the NRA right after the leadership change in 77or 78, whenever that was. He said it was no longer a group of sportsmen, but rather a political group. A man of strong opinions, he was. And he did beat Our Father Who Art in Houston to that decision by a few years.

  70. 70
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @johnny aquitard:

    What are you, some sort of commie? Denying the merchants of death the opportunity to sell their wares to these unstable people?

    How fucking un-American can you possibly be?

  71. 71
    Zoogz says:

    I don’t understand the issue here. Idaho is just trying to help kids pay for their college education… they’re combining ROTC training with every single class on campus! Government scholarships for all!

    I wonder if they can now count all those classes they attend to their MSO…

  72. 72
    Ian says:

    @Mr. Longform:
    Humor and reason arn’t constitutionally protected rights. Resort to guns please.

  73. 73
    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    I’m probably way too late to this thread to ask this, but I’m looking for a book. The narrator was a college instructor. The novel opened with a shooter, I think a current or former student, either in or near his classroom. Many students in his class were armed, and I think the instructor was too. It was set somewhat in the future (‘future’ in this case being some time after 1990ish. I’m not certain, but I think I read it between 1983 – 1990). In this society guns are ubiquitous. The US has been split into several countries (kingdoms maybe?). At the time I read this I thought it was too unbelievable. The US broken up I could believe, but guns in college classrooms? Legally?? Pullease. Now more and more of the book seems realistic.

    Does anyone have any idea what book I’m talking about? Or do you know a site where I could search for it based on plot points? I’d really like to find it again.

  74. 74
    johnny aquitard says:


    It would never, ever occur to me that having one of my pistols loaded in my house was a useful thing.

    Mine are under lock and key, unloaded, as is the ammunition. Always.

    Their fantasy is they always correctly identify there is in fact a threat, correctly identify the bad guy making that threat, then win the gunfight and no one else but the bad guy gets hurt.

    My conclusion is I have no reason to expect this outcome, innocent people get shot all the time because of mistaken intention and identity, and that far more likely one of the bullets fired will hit me, my wife or kids or my neighbors or their kids. And that it is possible it could be one of my own bullets.

    It’s just stupid to believe no one but the bad guy will get shot.

  75. 75
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mnemosyne: Not alot of time/chance for heroic batplay, fistplay, swordplay either when they get to you while you’re still sleeping.

  76. 76
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    When I was in ROTC, the weapons were kept under lock and key most of the time, coming out only for training, in the basement of the Military Science department, with alarms and everything. Just like a unit arms room on any Army post.

  77. 77
    Zoogz says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: And what’s scary is that those are the *trained professionals* keeping firearms under lock and key and taking them out in only controlled settings. It’s bad enough that the guns are coming out in all situations, but in a charged setting that involves grades, big money stakes, adding firearms seems really imprudent.

  78. 78
    Petorado says:

    When may I shoot a student?

    I believe the NRA rule of thumb is that as long as you consider yourself “the good guy with a gun” it’s open season on all the perceived bad guys.

  79. 79
    Calouste says:

    @johnny aquitard:

    And of course stray bullets.

    I just did some reading, and at the 2012 Olympics, the winner of the Gold Medal in the 25 meter rapid fire pistol event actually missed the target 15% of the time in the final. And that’s someone who’s been training day in day out for years, shooting at stationary targets in perfect lighting and environmental conditions, with the best equipment available, and under no threat of getting shot themselves.

    In one of those gun nut fantasy situations, they’d be lucky to hit the target 15% of the time.

  80. 80
    jharp says:

    My daughter had a friend who was drunken frat boy with a gun.

    Thought it was unloaded and while drunk put the gun to his head and fired. It wasn’t unloaded. His fraternity brothers tried to keep him alive with CPR but he died.

    So senseless. Our country has lost its’ fucking mind.

  81. 81
    dave swenson says:

    Once had a student try to take my head off in a grocery store parking lot for flunking him. He was drunk, and it didn’t turn out well. There are plenty of students willing to use all manner of aggression to influence their grade. Seems a shame to have to wonder whether Rufus’s D on a midterm is going to result in aggression with the possibility of a weapon entering the discussion.

  82. 82
    john f says:

    @johnny aquitard: Agreed. I recall even reading a conservative columnist Thomas Sowell stating how much training had to be conducted to teach Marines how to shoot their service pistols accurately in a combat situation. He drew on his earlier service in the Marines as a marksmanship instructor. If you’re gonna go with a firearm for home self defense, then shotguns are the way to go. Being awakened by an intruder in the middle of the night, you won’t have the best marksmanship skills to engage with.

  83. 83
    johnny aquitard says:

    @john f:

    Being awakened by an intruder in the middle of the night

    You’ve just provided a powerful and cogent reason why NOT to reach for a gun, any gun, in such a situation.

    Very few people can be awakened suddenly in the middle of the night and be expected to instantly have the ability to respond effectively to a life threatening situation with deadly force.

    You will almost always fail. The vast majority of human beings will fail. The judgement skills or cognitive processing or decision center or whatever one may call it that enables a person’s brain to switch rapidly from sleep to alert awareness with cognition, that ability just doesnt exist in human brains.

    Armies try to reduce this vulnerability by substituting cognitive process with conditioned response. They train repetitively so when the mind’s decision making abilities are overwhelmned the conditioned response fills the indecisive gaps.

    And even then this usually doesn’t work. Wars are full of incidents where men, veterans and fully aware they are in a zone where they can be in combat at any time, have been surprised from their sleep and were overrun.

    If combat veterans who when awake fully expect deadly unexpected violence yet when sleeping can still be consistently ‘caught napping’ — that is, caught in a state where they are mentally unable to respond effectively to a deadly threat — then it is unreasonable to assume an ordinary 9-to-5 routine schlub like us can perform any better with instant, correct life and death decisons.

    Which is to say, the person who is least capable of understanding what he is doing with a deadly weapon is someone suddenly roused from sleep.

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