"I would not just stand there and let him shoot me, I would say, 'Hey, guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.'"Okay, fine; you first, asshole. I'm going out the window.
This latest incident of what Jim Wright over at Stonekettle Station likes to call Bang Bang Crazy has brought all the usual idiots out of the woodwork to recommend that the solution to moar gunz is...wait for it...moar gunz! Because...
Look, I may have been just a simple grunt medic, but I was smart enough to figure out that the way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a fucking battery six with HE-quick in effect. Except you can't fucking do that in a shopping mall or a theatre.
And short of that, you're pretty much just tossing the dice.
Teaching a human being to take effective deadly action is a damn difficult thing. We spend weeks and months training Joe and Molly to do that and the statistics show that we only succeed in about 30-50% of the time. Most people - even most trained soldiers - react to danger by getting their heads down and trying to stay in defilade.
But let's assume that the training works and our hero heads towards the sound of shooting.
What does he or she encounter?
Fucking chaos, that's what. The nutter is the center of it, shooting left and right...but everyone else is amplifying the chaos; screaming, running, dying...it's total mayhem. Into this comes our hero, trained but not experienced - one hopes - in this sort of bloody mess. How's that likely gonna work out?
First of all, one of the hardest parts of learning to be lethal in combat is making sense of it. We humans are used to an orderly world, a world that moves in a linear sort of way at a relatively leisurely pace. Suddenly - and with our own reactions and judgements spazzing as adrenaline turns our brains into an arcing circuit board and our firing arm into a licorice whip - we step into a world gone mad.
Is this guy running screaming at us the shooter in a kamikaze rage or a target trying to escape? Is the dude over by the wall still and silent with terror or does he have his pistol down by his leg waiting to fire again?
Noise, random movement, incoming fire...it takes an assload of training to even begin to sort this stuff out, and without experience the likelihood of sorting it wrong is damned likely; that's why we try and make veterans into our combat NCOs. Because they've had to sort through this gibbering chaos and hopefully - seeing as they're still alive - have gotten it right.
But there's another, even more complicating and difficult factor here.
This isn't a straightforward military red-on-blue. There's at least four factions; the "bad guy" shooter(s), the prospective "good guy" shooter(s) - if more than one made more fraught by having no connection or experience working together, meaning just as likely to mistake each other for the "bad guy" - the people being shot at...and the police.
The coppers have NO idea who the "bad guy" is. To them anyone with a weapon out is just as likely to be the murderer, which has, in previous massacres, nearly led to blue-on-blue gunfire.
So. You have a nutter firing right and left. You have "good guys with guns" firing at the nutter...but also possibly each other, seeing as unless they were on-scene when the shooting started don't know which armed citizen is the nutter. You have the coppers, when they arrive, shooting at the nutter...and possibly at the "good guys", since they have no way of telling that they are good guys when they roll up.
I'm sorry. That's fucking nutzoid land. Makes the Battle of Ia Drang look like a sorority pillow-fight.
The idea that We the People are happy with one of these nutter shootings happening every month or so seems just as nutzoid. If you told me that without my knowing anything about this country I'd laugh in your face.
At the same time I have the utmost confidence in my fellow citizens to do absolutely nothing to change anything. And that's just really, really depressing.
Update 10/12: As you might expect, Jim Wright takes down the Mad Doctor more completely than I ever could.