[Note: This is an effort to both replace a lost post and bring that up to date with new information. I hope that it pleases you, my reader.]
Following the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas Mass Shooting (note that we have to have multiple modifiers just to focus on the particular mass shooting given the number of mass shootings before and since) Trump buddy and Michael Cohen client, Fox News' Sean Hannity opined that he had firearms permits in a number of states and had instruction in firearms safety then from those facts went on to the illogical next step saying of the Las Vegas shooter, "This guy had a machine gun. How they gonna take him on without a weapon? Or if it's happening within a crowd...if they were in San Bernardino, do you want Sean Hannity who's trained in the safety and use of a firearm in that room so when they drop the clip and they start to reload you've got a shot; you've got a chance?"
In a similar vein the similarly brave, tactical protector of Americans, Mr. Donald J. Trump opined following the February 14, 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, "You don't know until you test it but I really believe I'd run in there even if I didn't have a weapon."
I think that both Sean Hannity and Donald Trump have unintentionally revealed the origins of the myth of "a good guy with a gun" being the antidote to a bad guy with a gun. These little boys are still playing cops and robbers or cowboys and indians. In their fantasy lives they are heroes who will risk their lives to save others in danger, something that's very easy to say when you're unlikely to be in a position to act as they claim especially for someone surrounded by a multi-man detail of Secret Service Agents.
We all have fantasies of heroism. When I was a boy in the late 1950s I could be Bat Masterson facing down invisible bad guys with only my cap-firing cane. The fact is, however, that I outgrew those fantasies and reached a hard won adulthood in which I was, for a time, a gun owner. Yet even while I was a gun owner I never thought that I would be that mythical "good guy with a gun". I knew I would be afraid but, at best, I felt that I could face down an invader in my home. Even that I feared wouldn't be possible unless circumstances were exceptionally favorable.
The fact is that Sean Hannity with a gun would be standing well behind police lines with his television crew and Donald J. Trump would be hustled off by his various security details to safety in an active shooter situation exactly as happened at one of his rallies when someone called out a gun in the audience. They both know it but they both haven't grown sufficiently to adulthood to admit it.
Let's think about this a little bit. These armchair heroes locked in pre-adolescence whether it's Hannity, Trump or the little boys who open carry if they were really so heroic could apply to their local police force. They then would be certified and vetted officers employed to be the first line of heroes in dangerous situations. Why might these little boys (and there's an occasional girl too) not be part of their police forces?
- The police forces aren't hiring. Certainly possible. Still, in most urban areas some police force may well have programs for training and vetting potential officers. I wonder how many of these little boys and girls have even applied? Of those who have applied how many are like "Good guy with a gun" Robert Charles Bates currently serving time for the murder of Eric Harris in Tulsa, Oklahoma?
- The little boys and girls have "better things to do". Certainly if you're a highly paid television and radio talking blockhead or a real estate developer running the United States on behalf of whoever is paying him handsomely the pay cut for being a police officer might be unattractive. Yet isn't there a certain "put up or shut up"situation here? If you want to open carry isn'r being a police officer the ultimate realization of your position? If joining the police force is the best expression of your "right to keep and bear arms" isn't the claim that you have better things to do or another career simply an excuse for not committing to what you claim to be committed to?
- The little boys and girls can't pass the police physical. O.k. So does that mean that this self-styled protector of his or her community instead of running toward danger may be jogging or limping toward danger and being out of breath and energy when he or she gets there? How useful is it if our self-styled hero confronts an active shooter and has to say, "Hold on a minute, man, while I catch my breath." Somehow I think that may not be the optimal protection those little boys and girls claim they would be.
- The little boys and girls can't qualify psychologically for the police force. Hmmmm! So the "good guy with a gun" is going to be someone psychologically unfit for police service yet this is the person on whom we're going to rely to protect the community? Pardon me for asking but what separates someone who is psychologically unfit for the police force from the mentally deranged person shooting up a school or a night club, a movie theatre or a Christmas party? How many correctly firing brain cells separate the "good guy with a gun" from the "bad guy with a gun"? How eager are we to test for those brain cells in real world situations? I'm personally not very eager at all and I have been a gun owner so maybe that's a test to which we'd best not administer without close supervision and control.
- What community are the little boys and little girls protecting? We have the tragic example of Philando Castile that a black "good guy with a gun" even who does everything correctly is likely to be seen as a "bad guy with a gun". I'm not even going to go into Trayvon Martin or Tamir Rice. Therefore, we can reasonably say that the "good guy with a gun" doesn't have black or brown skin. If the "good guy with a gun" is exclusively Caucasian are we not simply looking at one more expression of the racism pervasive in our society?
(P. S. That last sentence full of shooting metaphors is meant to be ironic, just so there's no misunderstanding.)