Seventeen years into the 21st century, and we already have the worst mass shooting of the century. Every time this happens (I can’t believe this happens so often I just said “every time”), the gun-fondlers always have the same bizarre refrain: we don’t need fewer guns, we need more guns. They always, without fail, say, “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
I had a challenge to these gun-fetishists: Show me just one time where a good guy with a gun stopped a would-be mass shooter. It couldn’t be someone in his or her own home, and it couldn’t be a police officer, even an off-duty cop, at the right place at the right time. It had to be a regular person who was out and about with his gun, who would stop someone who was ready for war.
So, my first thought when I heard about the shooting in Las Vegas was, “How, in an audience of 20,000 country music fans, can there not be one single good guy with a gun?” It was a country music festival, in Nevada, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more guns than teeth in that audience!
I finally got my answer in the form of Caleb Keeter, who was a country musician that played that night. He tweeted, in part:
“I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with CHL [Concealed Handgun Licenses], and legal firearms on the bus,” “They were useless.”
We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think we were part of the massacre and shoot us. A small group (or one man) laid waste to a city with dedicated, fearless police officers desperately trying to help, because of access to an insane amount of fire power.
Caleb, when the moment to become a real-life John McClane, in making an accurate assessment of the situation, and showing remarkable good judgment, realized that having a gun did not grant him the omniscience to know where the shooter was, nor did it give him a clear and unobstructed shot, nor imbue him the ability to slow down time when the shooter reloaded, nor grant him telepathic powers to communicate to police and the panicked masses around him that he was the good guy with the gun.
In 1964, Justice Potter Stewart, in his decision as to whether or not hard core pornography was obscene, said, “I know it [obscenity] when I see it.” There’s nothing you can say that will fit in a tweet that will make all guns magic and only fire at criminals, animals and practice targets. But the system we have now is obscene, and if there’s a way of making sure the only way to have a gun is to be a good guy with a gun…I’ll know it when I see it.