Friday, July 20, 2012

Do ya get it.

When we woke up this morning, like the rest of you, we learned of movie theater shooting in Aurora by James Holmes. When the report said it was at the premier showing of the Dark Knight Rises, I immediately thought of the above scene and told, The Wife "He wanted to be the Joker. That's the whole motivation behind his attack."

I'll be interested to see if it bears fruit, though it matters not.

I'm a student, as it were, of spree shooters. In my work one has to be a student of many things and, violent people are one of them. There is no mystery to them. In the countless number of profiles I've read most of them didn't "just snap" over some event. Some claim it, without a doubt, but generally they do it because they want to.

On a Monday morning in January 1979, Brenda Ann Spencer, a seventeen year old high school student, opened her bed room window and took aim at a play ground at the elementary school across the street with her .22 rifle and started shooting. When she was arrested she didn't fight, she didn't complain, she just said "I don't like Mondays; this livens up the day."

And that is that.

I grow weary of the immediate blame thrown out by the media, the politicians, and others the hours after these senseless massacres towards every gun owner and conservative. Which is rarely accurate. And in most cases these individuals identify themselves as "anarchists", the type that are in the fringe of the Left more often that the Right. Though politics in any of it is horrid.

The fact is he could have jammed the doors shut taken out gasoline and done the same thing....and its happened. If you don't recall it may be because it's the M.O. of mass killers in parts of the world where there isn't access to guns or ammunition or more likely the money to acquire several hundred dollars of guns and ammo. A few liters of fuel and a willing evil son of a bitch is all that is required.

At the gym today I got a call from someone I know wanting me to weigh in professionally on this. Later he turned the topic to handguns and he told me about the pocket gun he carried religiously...mostly. He wanted to know if it was enough...which the irony is in the blogger dashboard under "draft: Mouseguns". He said finally "you fear is I'd piss my pants if that ever happens." I'll tell you like I told him "piss them and then shoot the son of a bitch".

This is my parting advice to you all. Stop with the ridiculous caliber debates, the "my gun is better than yours because...blah blah" debates. Get the fuck off the seven yard range and hit the 25 yard and yes...the 50 if you can. If your gun doesn't have a front sight or a rear and it can be milled put a fucking set of sights on it. Carry reloads, carry a flashlight....always. Look at the world around you, what is bullet proof, what is not....

Tactics aren't a color or a cloth. They are plans. What is yours?

Finally above all. Be Brave.

We are so devoid of heroes these days.There are three kinds of people, those who commit evil, those who want to reason with evil, and those who stand against it. When "Dark Knight" came out a few years ago I was leaving a cafe' and I saw a teenager wearing a black t-shirt that had the face of Heath Ledger's "Joker" on it. My heart broke. We need every generation to understand that evil isn't to be embraced it's to be fought all costs. At-all-costs.

Don't flee from evil. Engage it. Fight it. Kill it.


Anonymous said...

And yet I will continue to be asked, incredulously, "You carry a flashlight? *All* the time?!?"

My thought, as I just re-watched the first movie last night, was of Liam Neeson, criticizing Bruce's father for his negligent inaction.

"Don't flee from evil. Engage it. Fight it. Kill it." Amen, sir. Thanks for putting it so perfectly.


drjim said...


"Piss your pants, then shoot the son of a bitch"

Yep, first things first.

Dan said...

That's right.

Anonymous said...

"I saw a teenager wearing a black t-shirt that had the face of Heath Ledger's "Joker" on it. My heart broke. We need every generation to understand that evil isn't to be embraced it's to be fought all costs."

There's no social cost to imitating the Joker -- at least not until you've done enough damage to ruin or end lives. It's cool, it's funny, right? After all, it's just a joke. Be the kid who wants to be Batman, and see how people react.

Our culture has decided that protecting our children no longer means giving them the tools to deal with bad situations, it means teaching them to keep their heads down and hope someone else does something. People, especially young people, who compare themselves to heroes are treated as dangerous, arrogant, and having a death wish. Then we're surprised that adults stand by while rapes, spree shootings, and so on happen.

Not everyone is a sheepdog by nature. However, if our culture continues to penalize those who are, we'll have fewer and fewer sheepdogs as time passes. I'm a grown-up, I can take it, but kids are more likely to adjust their worldview than be treated like a nutjob by their teachers, coaches, and peers.

Mr Evilwrench said...

You can almost hear the mental gears crashing and grinding when some anti asks me why I carry and I answer "To shoot people." They get further explanation, but that derails them enough they're somewhat receptive to rationality.

Anonymous said...

e"There are three kinds of people..."


Mitch said...

I too always carry a gun, a reload, and a flashlight. Just three days after the shooting in Colorado my wife and I were at a theater. The house lights were off for ten minutes before the flick started and people were stumbling all over themselves and others trying to find seats in total darkness. I calmly pulled out my flashlight and found my wife and I good seats. She laughed and chalked up reason number 253 for the stuff I carry in my pockets and store in my vehicle. Good post. Really spoke to me.

Anonymous said...

Before the chorus of "Let's ban guns" gets underway, there is an interesting perspective here :

Phil B

Not a robot said...

"Finally above all. Be Brave."

Quick question, and a serious one at that. How does one make themselves be brave?

I can envision in my head what might happen in that scenario (the darkened theater, someone shooting at the crowd), but how does one train to be brave, or to be more brave than they might be now? I'm being quite serious.

I can train all day shooting targets, but those targets don't shoot back. Once the bullets start flying (and coming back at you), it's an entirely different thing, isn't it? How does one train for that? Or am I focusing on the wrong thing?

In my head, I might think "I'd get all medieval on his ass." In reality, I might be too scared/confused/surprised to shoot straight, or even get a shot off at all.

Is bravery a concept that can be learned, challenged, molded and grown? Is it a factor of training, as in, you've trained for this, so when it happens you'll react appropriately? Is it a case of "you know how to do this, you'll be able to do it under stress"?

Or is bravery a mere innate trait; some have it, some don't?

I don't mean to get all philosophical, and I'm not being a smart ass, just asking a question.

Matthew said...

@ Not a robot

Your question has merit and something I am going to cover in pieces over some future posts.

There is the old answer that some have it and some don't. But I think it goes beyond that, in my own opinion. There are some who want to be thought of has brave and there are others who a fearful they won't be and will against it. I tend to bet on the later.

I do think it can be molded, taught, learned and grown as you have pontificated. I also think it is always worthy of discussion.

Because it matters the most.

Unknown said...

@Matthew: I just found this blog today, and have been reading back through the months. (extremely well written, and personally am fan now.) This post left me thinking of a question that I need answered.
In this particular case, the shooter was in a theater that had a no firearms sign posted (every theater that company owns has one). He was clearly illegally carrying firearms. What would have been the legal ramifications of another patron illegally carrying a firearm (legally carrying outside of that theater) and ending the life of the shooter? Obviously it's better to be wrong and be alive, than right and dead...but what would have happened to the hero who saved lives by going against the wishes of the property owner?

@Not a robot:
A man that knows no fear cannot be brave, he is a fool. Only a person that knows fear can be brave. It is a conscious choice. To be afraid and still make a choice to act is the very definition of bravery. Soldiers that suit up and go outside the wire know that each day could be their last, but they do it anyways. Firemen that arrive at the scene of a horrific fire know what waits for them inside, but go in anyways. The policeman that receives a call of an active shooter knows what is ahead, but respond any ways. These are just examples of careers that do it as part of their job, but civilians are no less capable of the same bravery. The thing that separates them from the sheep is that choice to act. Just my $.02.

Anonymous said...

Chris, in Colorado there is no legal penalty for carrying into a business that has only a No Firearms sign. Gov't offices, schools, court houses, etc. and places with permanent metal detectors installed are another story. If you have a CCW license, and someone in the business spots it and calls the police, all that can happen is you're asked to leave. Which you must then do.
Semper Fi

Historian said...

Bravery is not about not being scared. bravery is about doing what has to be done when it has to be done.
Jeff Cooper wrote some very good articles about this, but one thing that helps is turning fear into rage.
Bad people have no right to try to do the things they attempt, and the fact that they are trying should enrage you.
Cultivate that.

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