Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Action hero fantasies

Gun control is not my personal hill to die on one way or another*. That said, I do think guns make people stupider.

I noticed a prime example of this today as I was reading this article about a teacher who is getting divorced and is afraid her ex-husband is going to come after her and how she wants to be allowed to bring a gun to school. Also, she wants to defend herself from school shootings.

From the article:

Katz won’t say whether she has ever taken her 9 mm Glock pistol to school, but she practices with it regularly and has thought about what she would do if she had to confront a gunman. She would be sure students were locked in nearby offices out of the line of fire, and she would be ready with her pistol.

And everybody would be fine, because, you know, the shooter would allow the students to be safely locked in offices before his dramatic showdown with Katz, in the school shooting she has staged in her head.

This reminds me very much of post VA-tech school shootings when Michell Malkin was criticizing the students who survived for not singlehandedly taking the shooter out when he stopped to reload.

I do think it is human nature to imagine awful situations and figure out how we might cope. I'm sure lots of people have ninja fantasies when they imagine themselves being able to take out a gunman who is hurting other people. And it always works out. The desks are always arranged in a way that facilitates us sneaking around, the gunman always falls for our bluff, we're always able to dodge the bullets and our heroics never put anyone else at risk. Oh, and we're a crack shot when we're scared for our lives. Really.

But IMHO, one has to be a special kind of stupid to ASSUME that the situation is going to work out that way, the way Malkin and Katz do. I think most of us get that the whole "our friend fakes a heart attack and while the guy is distracted, we knock the gun out of the guy's hand, which surprises him so much he goes right down when we jump him" genre of fantasies is a fantasy, and that things we're not prepared to cope with will almost certainly occur in a violent situation.

The thing is, I'm afraid it's exactly the sort of stupid owning a gun makes some poeple, as if the power of owning a gun magically gives one the power to dictate the rest of the situation.


*That said, I am against the "trespassers can be legally shot" laws some states have. During my time in North Carolina, I saw two or three cases of actual burglers being shot and half a dozen cases of teenage kids sneaking out, teenage kids' friends sneaking in, people having car trouble who were looking to see if the lights were on before knocking, being shot. It really seemed to do FAR more harm than good.


Unknown said...

This woman would probably do a lot better to take some jujitsu and kickboxing lessons. And I hope she can run really fast, too. If she's afraid for her life (perhaps prolonged exposure to fear can cause stupidity, I don't know), she ought not pin all her hopes for survival on whether she happens to have her gun on her. I mean, is she going to teach class with a piece of chalk in one hand, and a pistol in the other?

PG said...

And sometimes the guy with the gun loses.

Anonymous said...

I can understand the teacher in this story wanting to feel safe. But what a tragic statement that she, and so many others, actually believe that having a gun will bring about a greater degree of safety.

Would her co-workers have been willing to help keep her ex at bay? Or would he have been open to mediation and/or counseling? I guess we'll never know. Like so much of our consumer culture, Shirley Katz decided to buy a quick fix in the form of a 9mm Glock.

The common slogan of gun-rghts advocates is that "guns don't kill people, people kill people." Yet they also forget the flip side: guns don't make people safe, people make people safe.

Comrade Kevin said...

We are often in love with romanticized conceptions of bravery and supreme confidence in the fulfillment of storybook endings.

The reality of the situation is that life has a way of being messy, inconclusive, indecisive, and rough around the edges--issues in life are almost never reconciled as nicely and neatly as in our fantasies.