Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NRA University?

Just when you think you've seen it all, the NRA comes up with more propaganda. For that is what NRA U is all about. I guess it's all about teaching our young college students that guns are the answer to their problems. Out drinking? Bring your gun. On drugs? Bring your gun. Break up with your girlfriend? Get your gun. Depressed or mentally ill? Get your gun. Got an F on that Economics test? Get your gun. Check out the propaganda video below:

Raise your hand if you think this is a great idea. Raise your hand if you want to send your own students to NRA University. The specious and unsupportable claim in the video that college campuses are places that encourage anti-gun thought is part of the NRA propaganda. If you don't agree with the NRA, then you are the enemy. Never mind the facts. Does anyone remember the Aurora shooting? Does anyone remember that the shooter was a severely mentally ill college student? Does anyone remember Virginia Tech? Does anyone remember that Cho was a mentally ill college student? Does anyone remember the Northern Illinois University shooting? Students should be studying, enjoying friendships, preparing for a future and perhaps working. They shouldn't be thinking about guns. Though campus shootings are big news and usually are mass shootings, they are rare. The chance of being shot on campus is much less than in the home or on the streets of our community. Mass shootings get a lot of attention as well they should. But 32 Americans a day die from gun homicides and many more from accidental discharges and suicides. Putting more guns in the hands of young adults will also increase the chances of using that gun off campus as well in gun homicides, suicides and accidents.

There are ways to survive a mass shooting without a gun. Virginia Tech survivor Colin Goddard was just plain lucky. He has said over and over that a gun in the Virginia Tech shooting would not have changed the outcome. His cell phone call actually alerted law enforcement to the location of the shooter and within minutes of his call, Cho shot himself as police approached the scene. Here is an article about what to do in case of a shooter on campus.
“The odds of being involved in a situation like this are similar to your chances of being struck by lightning,” says Spivey, the narrator.
The video teaches the “out” strategy. Students should first try to get out. If they can’t get out, they should find a place to hide out. Lock the door, barricade it with heavy objects and turn off the lights. If they can’t get out or hide, Spivey says, students might have no other option than to devise a plan to attack the shooter using strength in numbers.
It’s a more forceful message than Amador ever got during lockdown drills at Beloit Memorial High School.
“I was always taught in high school to huddle,” she said. “Go to the corner and be quiet.” But “Shots Fired” tells students to spread out.
“It’s much easier for someone to shoot a group of people who are huddled in one place than if they are scattered around the room,” Spivey says in the video.
UW-Whitewater had counselors on hand at the event in case students felt distraught by the dramatization, but no one needed consoling.
“What really came as a surprise was the fact that you could use sort of anything (as a weapon),” Amador said. “I’m an athletic person. I would use basically anything I could get my hands on and throw whatever I had, probably at their head.”
Adding more guns to the situation is not the answer. Look at the video below to see why. I have provided many examples of incidents where a shooter was stopped by means other than guns. But a better idea is to prevent the shootings in the first place by passing sensible gun laws to keep guns away from people who shouldn't have them. Why wait until a tragedy happens? America has been waiting to do something after multiple tragedies over many years. And nothing has changed. Except that the NRA continues its' campaign to get more guns into more hands. The NRA is never one to ignore an opportunity to get more people to buy guns. Follow the money. Public safety be damned. If college students are led to believe they can protect themselves from campus shootings, they just might buy this crap. Never mind that one needs to be 21 in most states to buy and carry a gun around. So that leaves a very small group of students left to protect everyone else on campus from a shooter. Never mind that if someone with a loaded gun isn't in the particular hall or class where a shooter appears. Never mind that it is so unlikely that having a gun in a mass shooting would result in killing or stopping the shooter. The NRA doesn't care. The NRA doesn't care that more guns on campus is a terrible idea and could result in senseless incidents resulting in accidental discharges, suicides and yes, even homicides. No matter. What's a little collateral damage amongst gun owners? College presidents and security personnel don't want students to carry guns on college campuses. Never mind. The NRA knows better. They want them. They aren't very successful at getting laws passed to force college campuses to allow guns. That's because it's such a bad idea.

ABC's 20/20 program, 'If only I Had a Gun" did an exposé about the idea that a person with a gun could make a difference in the event of a shooter entering a room or gathering place. Here is the video:

This video, of course, has been panned by gun rights extremists. What is shown in this video is important information, however. It happens to be be true. People who go through the police officer simulation videos understand how difficult it is to shoot at a real live moving person in an unexpected situation. Human bodies react to situations like this, as is shown in the video, with autonomic responses in blood flow and adrenaline. That is why it is so important to get proper and continuous training when carrying a loaded gun around in public. Some of my readers here have claimed that training is not necessary. That is ludicrous, of course. That sort of false assertion and bravado can only lead to stupid and dangerous decisions when faced with a real life situation. Common sense tells most people that more guns at a shooting scene such as that at the movie theater in Aurora, CO in July won't work out very well. So training students at NRA University is not for safety. It is to get more people to buy guns. We are better than this.


  1. Just a couple of things you might want to correct ...

    1. Cho wasn't shot by the police. Like almost all mass killers (VTI, NIU, Columbine, Aurora, etc.) he shot until he had had enough and then stopped and killed himself. (The only difference with the Aurora shooter was that he walked away and gave up to police.) Just a fact -- the police almost never arrive in time to take direct action.

    2. While I feel for Mr. Goddard and what happened to him ... if you have time to lock a door, barricade a door, etc., you have time to get over your shock of what is happening and do other things ... like draw out a gun. IT's just a fact.

    3. In your other example of what to do, you mentioned fighting back with whatever you can grab. If you have time to grab a chair to throw, don't you have time to grab a gun out of a holster? Isn't fighting back with a gun as effective or more effective than fighting back with a chair?

    4. The 20/20 video only claims to show the problems of carrying a gun, but if you analyze the data it actually proves otherwise:
    1. In no case did the civilian shooter in the 20/20 video shoot an innocent bystander, though they had several run in front of him/her
    2. In several instances the civilian shooter did hit the gunman, and while not with killing blows it certainly would have slowed him up.
    So the conclusion of the 20/20 video, when looked at objectively, is that there is SOME value to civilians carrying firearms but no provable downsides.

    Just thought you'd want to correct this. I know this won't change your mind, but at least you should be arguing from a position of knowledge.


    1. Thanks for the correction. When the police arrived at the scene, Cho shot himself. Had they not been there, he would have kept going. I disagree with all other of your statements, Stephen. But you knew I would. My blog post speaks for itself about how situations work in real life. Real life shootings speak for themselves. You guys live in a fantasy world of your own but I won't change your mind either.

    2. You made my argument for me. We have unfortunatley seen it numerous times.... The gunman kills himself when he comes up against resistance. The sooner the resistance, the sooner the event is over.

      More armed citizens means more resistance to those wishing to inflict harm.

      I would never contest that an armed citizen could stop a gunman every time. But they certainly could mitigate the losses.

    3. You can't prove that, of course. And it's after the fact. I am all about preventing these type of shootings in the first place and preventing people who shouldn't have them from getting guns and permits. That is what my blog is all about. Cho should not have been able to get his hands on a gun. Neither should the James Holmes. Neither should Jared Loughner. But I guess you guys would rather these folks just get their guns so you have a reason to carry your own around to stop these people from shooting as many people as possible. That is backwards thinking. We can do better.

  2. I remember watching that ABC video 'if I only had a gun'.

    It makes sense, it is real, it demonstrates the difference between objective reality and the 'I'll be a hero and kill the bad guy' armchair quarterback mentality of people sold on guns. Like the armchair quarterback who couldn't run to his mailbox and back, but who believe they could outperform college and professional atheletes, the people sold on the use and necessity of guns engage in a fantasy that they can outperform the police, that they will never kill or injure someone by mistake and that they will come out unscathed, to the obsequous gratitude of those around them.

    The reality is that there are more conservatives than other sections of the spectrum comprising the most hard core gun nuts. These people have been shown in study after study to be stronger in the conformity/law-and-order must be IMPOSED in psychology and sociology studies; they seek to shoot more people, rather than trust the judicial system. They seek to imprison more people and to execute more people, even when it is demonstrably not effective in reducing crime.

    These are people who unconsciously gravitate to emotional thinking rather than rational fact-based thinking. Interestingly, the smarter and the better educated a conservative is, when they take one of these positions, the LESS they are willing to alter their positions when presented with facts that contradict that position.

    This is true on a range of topics, including crime, including climate change, and the we-must-have-more-guns position is one of the worst for resisting reason and facts.

  3. The ABC video is poorly created and obviously biased towards failure. The only people fooled by this video are people who have little to no knowledge of the subject. For example, the following flaws are clearly obvious:

    1) Students can't get gun out of holster.
    Obviously! The biased instructor instructed them to use appendix carry which is a poor form of carry that is not recommended by many experienced instructors. The gun is inaccessible while sitting or crouching behind cover which would be common during an attack. It can force one to stand before the gun can be removed, which is clearly evident in the video. Carrying the gun at the 3-5 o'clock or the 7-9 o'clock position is much more practical. I also didn't see anyone execute the Hackathorn rip which is a very basic technique taught by many instructors and is also common in IDPA games.

    One doesn't need expensive or detailed training to get this very basic information. It's easily available on the web and there are many good podcasts that provide this information - ad nauseam. So apparently, ABC made sure that the participants were not only ignorant in gun skills, but internet skills as well.

    2) The aggressor was a trained officer (firearm instructor).
    Was Cho, Loughner, and Holmes equally well trained?

    3) Aggressor knew which student was armed and targeted them quickly.
    That defeats the concept of concealed carry, don't you think? This is simply incredulous and merits no further discussion.

    4) Diane Sawyer wasn't prepared to do the police simulation.
    She was just holding the gun like a Popsicle in that segment. There are some basic prerequisites required before entering a training simulator, otherwise, one will do exactly what Sawyer did. I know, because I took a police simulation class. It's just plain stupid to hand someone a gun (especially someone who doesn't use a gun) and throw them in a simulator.

    On the other hand, in all fairness, the student Danielle standing up while being shot is a possibility, given that most people train standing up, shooting at stationary paper targets, in crowded ranges, that typically consist of parallel lanes where holster work isn't even permitted. That's a common, but poor way to train that can lead to that response. However, there are many of us, especially in the West, who don't train like that. For example, I train in a secure large open area where I can run, duck, cover, and fall that is also used by local LEO.

    For the most part, however, the ABC video is a biased farce.

    1. minnesotacarrypermit brings up a point that I've thought about. Why did Holmes give up so quickly in the parking lot after being surrounded by well armed officers? Was he afraid of being killed? If so, how would he have behaved if someone pointed a gun at him earlier or even shot at him?

      I'm not biased. I'm just trying to stay in the center and be objective. It isn't entirely accurate to say that armed citizens can't save lives in mass shootings. Armed citizens Joel Myrick and Jeanne Assam were both able to intervene and save lives. It can happen and I hope we never get the opportunity to prove this point again.

    2. Can you answer your own question, Migo? If you really think that Holmes would have stopped in the middle of his demented rage if he saw you with a gun pointed at him, I believe you are sorely mistaken. He was done by the time the police cornered him. He was and is mentally ill. He wasn't in charge of his emotions or his behavior at that point. What I wonder is why he didn't shoot himself as so many of the mass shooters do?

      I am biased and you are, too. To say otherwise is rather ridiculous don't you think? Occasionally someone intervenes and it works. Not often enough to make a difference. I hope you never have to prove your point either. It would likely be deadly.

    3. What I wonder is why he didn't shoot himself as so many of the mass shooters do? Maybe he was afraid to die or didn't want to die.

      All I'm trying to say is that there are enough questions for me to think that it's foolish to claim either position. We don't know that an armed citizen could have helped. We also don't know that an armed citizen couldn't have helped.

      What we do know, and agree on, I think, is that by the time it gets to be a mass shooting, whether an armed citizen can help or not, it's too late. Someone is going to get hurt so the best solution is to make sure that people like Holmes don't have access to weapons in the first place. We just disagree on how to do that.

    4. I don't see any other way to do it besides keeping guns away from people like Holmes. That will require some new gun laws and some courage of convictions on the part of many. I hope you will be there to support such measures.