Skip to comments.Guns and Sunday School
Posted on 12/12/2007 7:02:04 PM PST by rhema
Sometimes, even decent people need to shoot to kill, especially in defense of themselves or others. After a pair of shooting rampages in Colorado left five people dead this weekend, we must realize how much worse this could have been had a church security guard not been there to shoot back.
Like many Americans who came to age in the suburbs and leafy college towns, my exposure to gun violence was almost exclusively to newspaper reports of random attacks in distant places. But one awful day, as a 19-year old aspiring journalist, I grabbed a pad of paper and a pen as I headed off to cover the Columbine High School shootings. Two years before the attacks, Columbine had been just another one of my high school rivals. After the attacks, however, it had become a symbol of the fragility of life.
At a Denver memorial the next day, I got a call from a family member who saw me on CNN holding a crying friend in my arms. The media had descended on Denver and any young person in tears became part of the story. Pundits debated the news value of giving so much coverage to the two deranged teenage killers. The debate was never resolved; the sensationalist coverage still persists.
Columbine was followed by one random attack after another, spaced months or years apart. Most recently we mourn the lives lost in attacks on Virginia Tech and an Omaha shopping center.
These attacks should serve as reminders that we need more law-abiding people armed -- not fewer. Gun control is not a deterrent to crazed gunmen. We can only mitigate their damage by shooting to kill when they attack. This weekend, gun violence struck Colorado once again -- and again this time it came at the hands of a crazed gunman. Four innocent victims lost their lives.
The first two killed were young missionaries-in-training at Youth With A Mission, a church dormitory located just two miles from my childhood home in Arvada, a Denver suburb. They were gunned down just after midnight on Sunday. I know the site well. A family member had trained there before heading off to Africa. I passed the building on my way to school and briefly attended a few youth group meetings there.
While not much is known about the lone gunman, investigators now believe that after he left Arvada, he traveled more than 70 miles to Colorado Springs, where a little more than 12 hours later, he again opened fire on the New Life Church. This time someone was there to stop him.
After the gunman got off about five shots and killed two teenage sisters, a courageous security guard shot back and killed the gunman. While we may never know how many lives could have been lost at the 10,000 person congregation, Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard Myers told the Rocky Mountain News that the guard's actions "saved many lives today," and that the tragedy "could have been much worse than it was."
Sometimes shooting to kill is the only way to stop the violence. This summer, while I spent an ordinary day at work just two blocks from the state Capitol, a man walked into the gold-domed building and began shooting. Fortunately, he was killed by police before he could take a single life. I dare not think of what could have happened had he been alive when he left the building. He had parked his car on the street bordering the lot where I'd left mine.
After a childhood in the suburbs, I craved the urban experience. At 22, I moved to Washington, D.C. Living on a low-level congressional staff salary, I could only afford a tiny row house located off the District's notorious H Street northeast corridor. Crack deals were commonplace, and while bars on the windows helped me sleep at night, nearby sirens became my alarm system.
At a dinner party one night, attendees discussed life under the District's strict gun ban, a law soon to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court. Of the dozen or so attendees, I was the only one who hadn't had a gun put to my head, my house broken into, or my car stolen at a red light. In one weekend I'll never forget, a colleague was held up at gunpoint just blocks from his house, his car was stolen the next day, the neighborhood laundry mat was robbed, and a favorite local restaurant was also victimized.
My DC memories are replicated in the minds of thousands of young Americans who, like myself, moved there with a dream of making our nation a better place. Our joint experience proves one thing. We are most vulnerable to violence when only criminals are armed.
As the details of Colorado's latest shootings become known, a few facts will remain certain and unchanged. Suicidal killers can -- and will find -- guns if they are determined to kill another person. No amount of gun control will ever change this. We'll all be a lot safer, however, if we can strike back quickly.
I never thought much about gun control until I became a mother. Suddenly -- for good and for bad -- my invincibility faded and life became so much more precious. It saddens me to know my children will grow up in a world plagued with random violence. I pray they will experience it only through watching cable news.
In the meantime, I am part of a growing coalition of mothers who know firsthand that the best way to prevent more violence at the hands of crazed gunmen is by arming responsible people capable of fighting back. Even when it means arming ourselves.
Extremely well stated.
But in defence of never intending to turn a good defensive shoot by saying anything like “shoot to kill” into a bad shoot, I train to “shoot to stop”...
If the bad guy(s) dies in that process, well, thems the breaks I suppose...
Armed preparation works.
It sucks to even think about taking another life.
Sometimes, it's necessary, to save another life.
I would rather the gunman be taken out by 3 dozen worshipers than by a hired gun.
Other than that, all is well.
What does “shoot to stop” mean? Aim for his hand? I am no expert and have only fired a pistol a very few times in my life, but I thought aht if you had to shoot someone, you were supposed to aim for the center of his body. That’s pretty much a shoot to kill, if you hit it.
I would have preferred that as well. The woman who shot the attacker, though, was a church member providing security on a voluntary basis rather than a hired gun.
She was a volunteer, civilian parishioner. She had police training, used to be an officer, but she was just a private citizen with a carry permit.
The news media have done their best to obscure that, of course, because she is an "Armed Citizen" -- which they certainly don't want to publicize.
The hired security didn't show as well. An eyewitness (who got shot and only slightly wounded) said that other parishioners were begging the two security guards to give them their weapons, because they were just standing there and not shooting back. The guards refused.
Good thing there was an armed citizen there.
If it happens to kill the perp, so be it. But you are shooting to stop, not kill.
. . . this is primarily aimed at covering your posterior in court, should you have an anti-gun D.A. in your county.
You are correct.
If I ever fire my gun in any situation other than a practice range, the single reason to shoot, is with the full intention to kill something or somebody.
Which will indeed “stop” the animal or human on the receiving end.
“Warning / wounding” shots are strictly reserved for professional snipers in the employ of a government entity, or complete idiots.
Adding PC talking points, is a nod of approval to PC speech, and serves no good purpose.
Other than tampering with both the 1st and 2nd Ammendendments to the USA Constitution.
Unfortunately the “spin” being put on by the media is taking hold. The shooter who stopped the homicidal madman was not a hired gun. She is a parishioner volunteer, exactly the type person you wished her to be.
History seems to have come full circle. People had to carry rifles and shotguns in their wagons for protection when they attended church in the frontier days.
Shooting at firearm at a person always means applying deadly/lethal force.
You are absolutely correct, aim for the largest part of an attacker you can-the intent must be to force the attacker to stop; an armed citizen is only trying to stop an unlawful attack, not necessarily kill the attacker.
As a trainer, I never encourage a student to shoot for any place other than center of mass-it is the safest and most effective method (think of trying to shoot a weapon out of a running, dodging perp, how good does one need to be to do so?).
A miss is very undesireable-it allows the perp to continue, it puts others (downrange) at risk and it wastes the few precious rounds your firearm carries. Never shoot to wound, only shoot to stop-and keep doing so until the attack is thwarted.
Get a professional trainer to teach you basic defensive handgun techniques and tactics, otherwise you’ll likley not have the skills required.
Every CCW class and firearms class I ever attended taught to shoot to stop the attack.
If you have so much distance between you and the attacker, you shoot for center mass.
If you can shoot for the head, do so.
If his big toe is exposed around a corner and you have enough ammo to stop the fight, you shoot the big toe.
Anything you do to stop the fight you do.
If the attacker drops his weapon and surrenders, the fight is over and you cease firing.
Texas CCW holders are taught to shoot to stop and not to kill. We arn’t taught to stand over and continue shooting just because the guy is still twitching.
When I was a kid my dad taught me to yell “halt”
Then fire 3 warning shots into his head.
It's wisdom thousands of years old.
A wayfarer should not walk unarmed,
But have his weapons to hand:
He knows not when he may need a spear,
Or what menace meet on the road.
What it means is: (1) shut down the nervous system directly/structurely; (2) shut it down indirectly by starving it of blood/oxygen.
A "stop" may kill, but not every "kill shot" will stop. For example, a shot to the thigh can result in eventual death through blood loss, but there may be enough life left in the assailant to continue the rampage, killing before he/she secumbs to his/her wounds. That's why a shoot to stop is preferable.
We worked too long to get CCW laws passed in this country to allow advice such as your’s to go unanswered.
The idea is to stop the threat and stay out of jail. So no, standing over a wounded attacker and pumping a couple more rounds into them isn’t a good idea.