Skip to comments.Is it True Armed Civilians Have Never Stopped a Mass Shooting?
Posted on 12/27/2012 2:48:21 PM PST by neverdem
In response to last week's massacre in Connecticut, Mother Jones has put together a "study" on mass shootings that makes a pretty bold claim:
In the wake of the slaughters this summer at a Colorado movie theater and a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, we set out to track mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years. We identified and analyzed 62 of them, and one striking pattern in the data is this: In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun.
There are a couple of major problems here with arguing that armed civilians don't stop mass shootings. One is that when armed civilians are present, they often stop mass shootings before they can become mass shootings. One of the criteria Mother Jones used to define mass shootings is that "the shooter took the lives of at least four people." So then, consider the following:
Mayan Palace Theater, San Antonio, Texas, this week: Jesus Manuel Garcia shoots at a movie theater, a police car and bystanders from the nearby China Garden restaurant; as he enters the movie theater, guns blazing, an armed off-duty cop shoots Garcia four times, stopping the attack. Total dead: Zero.
Winnemucca, Nev., 2008: Ernesto Villagomez opens fire in a crowded restaurant; concealed carry permit-holder shoots him dead. Total dead: Two. (Im excluding the shooters deaths in these examples.)
Appalachian School of Law, 2002: Crazed immigrant shoots the dean and a professor, then begins shooting students; as he goes for more ammunition, two armed students point their guns at him, allowing a third to tackle him. Total dead: Three.
Santee, Calif., 2001: Student begins shooting his classmates as well as the trained campus supervisor; an off-duty cop who happened to be bringing his daughter to school that day points his gun at the shooter, holding him until more police arrive. Total dead: Two.
Pearl High School, Mississippi, 1997: After shooting several people at his high school, student heads for the junior high school; assistant principal Joel Myrick retrieves a .45 pistol from his car and points it at the gunmans head, ending the murder spree. Total dead: Two.
Edinboro, Pa., 1998: A student shoots up a junior high school dance being held at a restaurant; restaurant owner pulls out his shotgun and stops the gunman. Total dead: One.
These are just a few examples of mass shootings being prevented. I'm sure there are many more that meet this criteria. But, as you can see, in every incident, the would-be shooters were stopped short of killing four people because an armed civilianor in some cases, an off duty copwas present.
The individual circumstances of some of the shooting incidents don't always suggest that armed civilians would not have stopped the mass shootings that have taken place. For instance, the Luby's cafeteria shooting in Kileen, Texas that killed 23 people and is the third deadliest in U.S. history is well-known among gun rights activists. That's because one of the women in the restaurant, Suzanna Hupp, whose husband was wounded and mother killed by the gunman, reached into her purse to retrieve her .38 before realizing she'd left it in her truck. The circumstances surrounding the Nidal Hasan shootingwhich occurred at Ft. Hood in Kileen just a few miles from Luby'salso raise questions. Despite the fact that nearly everyone on the Army base was extensively trained to use guns, soldiers at Ft. Hood were not allowed to carry them. While planning his attack, Hasan must surely have been aware of this fact and soldiers at Ft. Hood understandably questioned this policy after the shooting.*
Secondarily, aside from being fallacious, their claim that "not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun" also raises a host of issues being that it is a conditional claim. Notice the word "civilian"? It's true that mass shootings are often stopped by police. But is that because they are uniquely qualified to stop mass shootings or that they stop killers simply by virtue of the fact that they are generally the first people to arrive on the scene carrying guns? Again, Mother Jones provide no data on this. Here's the sum total of their argument on this point:
Armed civilians attempting to intervene are actually more likely to increase the bloodshed, says Hargarten, "given that civilian shooters are less likely to hit their targets than police in these circumstances." A chaotic scene in August at the Empire State Building put this starkly into perspective when New York City police officers confronting a gunman wounded nine innocent bystanders. (Dr. Stephen Hargarten is a source cited in the Mother Jones article.)
There are some terrific, heroic police officers out there and I don't want to diminish their service. But there are also some terrible cops, as well. The fact that police would wound nine innocent people when confronted by a gunman doesn't mean we can assume that armed civilians would have somehow managed to shoot even more people. It might just be the opposite:
Newsweek has reported that law-abiding American citizens using guns in self-defense during 2003 shot and killed two and one-half times as many criminals as police did, and with fewer than one-fifth as many incidents as police where an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal (2% versus 11%).
I suppose the assumption that cops are better equipped to carry guns than civilians hinges on the fact that they are trained to handle guns. But so are military veterans, and there are millions of them who have likely as much or more firearms training as the average cop. Finally, it's also true that there are many people who have never had any law enforcement and military training yet are skilled and responsible firearms owners who are temperamentally well-suited to handle potential threats. Mother Jones makes no serious argument that arming more civilians wouldn't (be) effective in preventing mass shootings.
I understand the impulse to do something in the wake of the horror that we witnessed in Connecticut last week. But Mother Jones's "study" is little more than a series of ideological fallacies propped up with cherry-picked data. If Mother Jones is serious about having a debate on guns, they had better hold themselves to much higher standards than this.
*UPDATE: I originally wrote that Mother Jones study was problematic because the list of shooting incidents did not include the Luby's shooting. It turns out that they did include the shooting, but it was only visible after zooming in multiple times on their map of shooting incidents. The article has been revised to reflect that.
A chaotic scene in August at the Empire State Building put this starkly into perspective when New York City police officers confronting a gunman wounded nine innocent bystanders.
Armed civilians attempting to intervene are actually more likely to increase the bloodshed, says Hargarten, "given that civilian shooters are less likely to hit their targets than police in these circumstances." (Dr. Stephen Hargarten is a source cited in the Mother Jones article.)
It makes more sense edited that way with respect to the NYPD's Annie Oakleys.
Mother Jones sounds as trustworthy as ACORN. The moonbats and BS media are out in force.
Armed civilians stop mass shootings before they happen, therefore Mother Jones doesn’t define it as a mass shooting and doesn’t count it. Nice circular reasoning they have. No wonder no one (other than libtards) take MJ seriously.
Nearby thread about the death of the officer who stopped the UT Tower sniper attack in 1966. More than 30 years ago, and not a civilian with a gun, still — a mass shooting which was stopped because a good guy had a gun. It bears mention.
Mother Jones is a far-left propaganda rag that never tells the truth. Their writers are frequent guests on MSNBC, which should tell you what lying scum they are. And if a “mass shooting” is stopped before it happens, is it still a mass shooting? Of course not.
Mother Jones will now criticize CCW holders for not stopping ALL mass murders.
There was the Clackamas Mall shooting a week or two ago stopped when a dad pulled his weapon and the shooter saw it and ran, then killed himself.
Many years ago (7?) there was a guy that did the same thing at a mall in Tacoma, Washington. Except he pointed his gun and told the shooter to stop, the shooter shot him (is now paralyzed) and then ran off and hid and killed himself. (Like I tell my kids - never be talking when you should be shooting!)
Is it True Armed Civilians Have Never Stopped a Mass Shooting?
Well Duuuuugh mass shootings always happen in gun FREE zones..
You know when cops are not around..
Dalai Lama: If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun. (Seattle Times, May 15, 2001)
Not true as shown above.
And the number of mass shootings stopped by gun control?
There was an incident in a church a few years ago, in which a CC holding woman stopped the gunman.
I think there was a video just a few weeks ago of an incident in a mall.
This claim is laughable on its face. If a civilain stops a mass shooting from happening...well....it isn’t a mass shooting, now is it. So it doesn’t count using their logic.
And why concentrate on ‘mass shootings’. What about solitary self defense? In the last two years in Topeka, there have been at least 3 robbery attempts and home invasions that ended up with a dead criminal....instead of a dead law abiding citizen. And talk about deterrent, one of these was during a liquor store robbery. That store won’t be robbed again. Another one was, though...resulting in the death of the clerk.
Our DA (who is a grandstanding democrat I don’t normally care for) is a gun owner (he got caught accidentally on purpose trying to smuggle a pistol into the courthouse). And, quite frankly, he is letting people freely defend themselves....he NEVER prosecutes the shooters in these incidents, much less investigate the legality of ownership and other circumstances. We have 13 murders a year in this town...why do liberals (like those at Mother Jones) think I’m a paranoid freak if I want to do everything in my power to keep my name off that list.
Exactly - if I wanted instructions on selecting prime bud or how to roll a tight doobie, then Mother Jones would be my first choice of source material. On self-defense matters, not so much...
How do you prove a negative? An armed civilian stops a gunman after he shoots one person. Had the armed civilian not been there, who is to say the gunman othewise would have shot 5, 10, 20, or more persons?
If civilians were armed, there wouldn't be any mass killings by an armed killer. The NRA "Armed Citizen" has presented many instances where an armed civilian has prevented or ended assaults by bad guys.
That is the devastating problem. There’s endless videos on liveleak.com and other sites of legal shots. They sometimes get the bad guy and sometimes don’t. But if someone is stopped it doesn’t make the news. Same as a plane or bus crash. It makes the headlines when it happens, not when something goes right.
They not only should not be trusted, they should be shunned ~ and shunned hard!
You know what the Amish do if the kid is deselected and he doesn't want to leave the farm ~ he leaves!
The cop Huston ? died today.
Mother Jones is one of the biggest lefty rags in existence. Facts? Don’t look there.
(2) The incident took place during rush hour outside the Empire State Building. There were easily several thousand people within range of the rounds that were fired.
Only one civilian was actually hit by a fired round, and many of those rounds were fired running at a moving target as the police tried to corner a psychotic murderer.
Just this year in Tacoma a mass shooting was stopped by the mere sight of a citizen with a gun. The perp broke off his attack and killed himself.
Law abiding citizens are not armed in a “gun free zone”.
Mother Jones is politically aligned with governments that have slaughtered TENS OF MILLIONS OF DISARMED MEN AND WOMEN.
All serious American men and women should defecate on Mother Jones.
IIRC, I read somewhere the Batman movie theater murderer just ‘conincidentally’ picked a theater NOT closest to home AND that had a ‘no guns’ policy and signage.
to do that I’d have to buy a copy.
now if theres a copy someone would lend me...
This “study” is the only place I have seen a mass shooting defined as 4 deaths, instead of 3. How convenient when the average deaths of shootings when an armed citizen is involved is less than 4.
List of Mass Shootings or potential mass shootings stopped by armed citizens:
Thank you, Lama!
"So, I will find total enlightenment. I guess I've got that going for me."
(Something like that from "Caddy Shack".)
Here is another rebuttal to the MJ article.
Because they would be happy to see you (and other "gun nuts" like you) on that list?
Mother Jones is loony lib crap. They are only “mass shootings” BECAUSE nobody stops them. When someone armed stops them they don’t proceed unchecked into “mass shootings
Thanks for the link. That is a good accounting to have at hand.
Even if true, it matters not one iota to me. My interest is in protecting myself, my family, and my property.
Don’t forget the recent mall shooter that killed himself after he saw a CC holder drawing down on him. Then there was the guy that had to run 1,000+ feet to get his gun and get the drop on the shooter at a college out in TN (I think) a couple years ago. Of course, there is the all time favorite of the armed impromptu posse of Texas boys with deer rifles that helped pin down and take out Charles Whitman back in the early 1960’s.
Go back a century or more and most all the bad guys got taken out with the trash by John Q. Public.
Unarmed civilians have stopped just as many elephant rampages in malls as armed civilians have, therefore, guns aren’t necessary. /s
I've been arguing this point since I was in my teens in the 60's and said to a peacenik hippie: "If you came across a thug in an alley and he had a weapon and you had a weapon, would you actually lay yours down first hoping he would do the same?" The dipshit said, "Yes, peace brother."
From that day on I knew there are some people who just don't deserve to live and I'm ok if they just die yesterday (we all do). Even with their best of intentions, their rhetoric and behavior embolden the bad guys against the rest of us who would defend our lives, our family, our friends and our Country.
Liberals, socialists, Marxists, and communists are a bain on civilization as we have seen and still seeing. Imperialists were just as bad, but those days are long past except for parts of Africa. Now it's not so much about conquering, but about ideology and who gets what (not too far from the communes of the 60's). There are countless books with millions of pages that have said what I just expressed above. But then I'm not a scholar, but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn.
Two things about the Mother Jones “study”. They do not count a former police officer or an off duty police officer as an “armed citizen”, when in fact, they are functionaly the same; and they make no mention of the fact that nearly all the mass shootings occured in “gun free” zones.
( : >)
The Slate article is mild rebuttal. They miss several events. Better than nothing, I guess.
How are “Law Abiding Armed Citizens” supposed to stop these shootings if they cannot bring their guns into these gun free zones...?
“Mother Jones” is the Name of the Nanny in the “Nanny State” ideal...
Or at least that is how i read the meaning into the name of “Mother Jones” it is a nasty liberal psychological “trick”, as in “Don’t worry, mother Jones would never lie to you and she will take care of you...”
Libs, always playing off emotions....
There were several civilians also firing at that shooter as I recall. The civilians may well have played a major role in assisting the officer- I haven’t researched the incident but would guess if a shooter is being fired on by several people it has to at least distract him from shooting more innocent people.
One could argue that an off-duty cop is not a civilian but he was there as a civilian and not serving as a LEO. Furthermore, he was related to the shooting victim so consider that a family member makes the save of others. Consider, too, the wealth of restrictions on concealed carry that make it more likely a random person in the crowd who is carrying may be a LEO. That is a pretty high percentage in some jurisdictions.
Seems like someone forgot about Mr. Whitman in the bell tower at UT.
As the police came to the scene of the ongoing shootings, many students simply went to their cars and pulled out their rifles and joined in shooting at him.
I can’t remember if the bullet (or bullets) that killed him were cops or civilians. However these students firing their guns at him probably saved countless lives.
Amen, Brother (or Sister). :)
We have an NRA decal on our front window. No crime or break-ins.
Where’s THAT empirical study?
And a report I remember says criminals won’t break in homes with U.S. FLAGS (= patriotic, therefore vets, cops, loyal Americans), so guns - AND flags - protect people.
A case in point. The Works girls were killed in the parking lot; Jeanne Assam put the gunman down when he enteredthe building.
Main article: 2007 Colorado YWAM and New Life shootings
On December 9, 2007, a gunman opened fire in the New Life Church, striking four people and killing two, sisters Rachel and Stephanie Works. Jeanne Assam, a church security volunteer, shot and wounded the gunman who then killed himself.
The gunman, identified as Matthew Murray age 24, was formerly a missionary-in-training with Youth With A Mission and was from a devout Christian family.
About the shooting, Jeanne Assam said, “I just prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide me. I said, ‘Holy Spirit, please be with me...’ My hands werent even shaking.”  Assam’s shots were non-fatal. The Coroners report identified that the fatal shot was self-inflicted. Police found a letter from the shooter addressed “To God”.
At a congregational recovery meeting three days after the shooting, Boyd told parishioners they “will not be governed by fear.” Boyd appeared with Jeanne Assam on a host of media appearances following the tragedy. On April 17, 2008, the Colorado State Senate honored Jeanne Assam passing a resolution calling her a “true hero”.
Thanks, I started out looking for that case when I found the Aurora one.
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