Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Letter To Contemplate

This letter in the Hartford Courant yesterday struck me as something worth thinking about, as I have been reading a few articles having to do with how people responded to the VA Tech shooter.
Allow Citizens To Defend Themselves
April 23, 2007

In response to Frank Harris III's April 20 Other Opinion column "Duck And Cover, Run And Hide":

Hide, play dead or submit. Is this the best advice that we can muster these days? Perhaps Col. Jeff Cooper said it best: "Fifty years ago young people were made to understand - around the dinner table - that strife was a part of life, and that they might well encounter it, and that it would then be their duty to face it without blinking - ready, willing and able to use force quickly and expertly if necessary. Boys were taught to shoot and use their hands, and girls were taught to expect that in their men."

If our children expect to be taken care of by parents, police or politicians, and are not taught to be self-reliant, they will never learn to face strife in their lives.

Virginia Tech professor and 76-year-old Holocaust survivor Liviu Librescu knew strife in his life. He also instinctively knew that something had to be done. Holding the door against a crazed gunman, he heroically gave his life so that others could live. If only he or someone like him was allowed to have the tools at hand to end the attack, maybe the state's bells would not be ringing 32 times.

Len Bergeron

Now I realize that this wound is fresh. I realize that we cannot pass judgment, especially as we do not know what we ourselves might do in that situation. Please do not take this post as a criticism of those poor souls that perished in this ordeal. It is certainly not meant to be that. However, I would like just to offer some things to think about with regard to these types of tragedies.

Some people have even drawn parallels of this event to Katrina; that people waited around for police, or other government entities to save or help them, and many even died while waiting for that help. I have read some posts on this issue and some state that in these situations sometimes we cannot wait. Sometimes we must act on our own, even at our own peril.

Sometimes we need to have tools like tasers or mace or other means of self defense to halt senseless killings.

Some question whether we have become a nation of people who cannot or will not defend ourselves? Have we cultivated a culture of passivity? Do we depend too much on waiting for the SWAT team to arrive? Perhaps it would be wise to have every American kid be exposed to some sort of self defense training. There is nothing wrong with knowing how to subdue an attacker before he does more damage. Todd Beamer, and a few other passengers on the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 on 9/11, knew this well. Whether they tried to get control of the plane back, or crash it to save other lives, the fact is that they acted. They did not hide or submit.

I can't say how I would have reacted in either situation, and I pray that I will never know, but we really ought to take a moment to contemplate the lessons afforded us in these tragedies, and see where we might be better prepared in case of a "next time". Certainly the calvary will not always arrive in time.

Update: The Liberty Papers posted a very good article about defending yourself against a gunman.


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...


Excellent post! My dd had a stalker. She decided to get her conceal-carry license (legal here in NM), so she took the class and got her gun. She posted the fact on facebook. Problem solved! The stalker does not want to bother a determined young woman who can defend herself.

Dana said...

I really enjoyed this post.

It is difficult to talk about these issues. The last thing I would want is one of the survivors to stumble across these sorts of entries and think we in any way held them in less regard. But it cannot be taboo if we want to discuss realistic ways of preventing, or minimizing, such things in the future. I think all of us would tend to freeze in a situation like this, but I also think that, like the Armed Canadian points out, with a little training, a few people would get past that and react. Others would likely follow, once the example is there.