Yael T. Abouhalkah

June 6, 2014

Ignore NRA fantasy world: Good guy with pepper spray stops bad guy with gun

In the larger scheme of things, what happened at Seattle Pacific University is at odds with the actual facts of how often a “good guy” with a gun stops a “bad guy” with a gun. Basically, it’s a fantasy of the NRA and its most ardent gun-rights supporters.

The gun lovers who preach that arming American citizens to stop even more violence always ignore the fact that Wayne LaPierre was wrong.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre, the National Rifle Association’s executive vice president, infamously said after a gunman in 2012 killed 20 schoolchildren and six adults in Newtown, Conn.

Yet looked what happened Thursday.

According to police, a student building monitor named Jon Meis used pepper spray to subdue a shooter who had already killed one student and wounded a couple others at Seattle Pacific University in Washington.

Police said the actions by Meis probably saved more lives, because the gunman had extra shotgun shells he could have used after reloading.

In the larger scheme of things, Meis’ use of pepper spray to halt the killings are at odds with the actual facts of how often a “good guy” with a gun stops a “bad guy” with a gun.

Basically, it doesn’t happen.

It’s a fantasy of the NRA and its most ardent gun-rights supporters.

Here’s an insightful Mother Jones article from 2012 that actually looked at the kinds of incidents the NRA likes to point to as evidence that more guns in the hands of civilians equals more control of bad guys.

The best summary paragraph of the statistical findings:

“A closer look reveals that their case for arming Americans against mass shooters is nothing more than a cynical ideological talking point — one dressed up in appeals to heroism and the defense of constitutional freedom, and wholly reliant on misdirection and half truths. If only Sandy Hook’s principal had been packing heat, the argument goes, she could’ve stopped the mass killer. There’s just one little problem with this: Not a single one of the 62 mass shootings we studied in our investigation has been stopped this way — even as the nation has been flooded with millions of additional firearms and a barrage of recent laws has made it easier than ever for ordinary citizens to carry them in public places, including bars, parks, and schools.”

Nevertheless, the Seattle Pacific University incident will be used by gun lovers to urge that students arm themselves in the future, so they can be better prepared to take down that “bad guy” with a gun who might happen to see them on campus.

But as so many have pointed out in recent months, when more and more people are openly carrying guns in the future, how are we going to tell the bad guys from the good guys?

For a hilarious/chilling look at the possibilities ahead of us, check out Jon Stewart’s program from Thursday night, investigating the other gun-nut issue of the week — open carry of assault weapons in Texas.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.

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