Pejman Yousefzadeh reminded me today of this Megan McArdle column where she cataloged all the conventional wisdom of What Do We Do About Mass Shootings, and found all such wisdom to be pretty much ineffective. Which it would be; Megan’s not the first person to notice that the primary goal of a lot of rhetoric about gun control seems to have as its primary objective the goal of making the person who is using the rhetoric feel better. Whether this is psychologically healthy or not is beyond my ability to diagnose… but I did notice a bit of, well, Lefty screeching about this suggestion of Megan’s:
I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once. Would it work? Would people do it? I have no idea; all I can say is that both these things would be more effective than banning rifles with pistol grips.
Pejman noted in his post that this strategy is actually in line with various local, state, and federal advisories on how to deal with someone trying to commit mass murder*, which weakens liberal derision at the concept of people fighting back against their would-be murderer; I will add that if the passengers in United 93 had decided not to mass rush their murderers then we probably would have lost the Capitol Building on 9/11. Not quite the same thing – guns are ranged weapons, after all – but it is instructive to see who out there instinctively recoils at the very thought of bravery.
Instructive, but usually not very surprising.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*While noting – and I agree – that there are a bunch of issues with adapting this strategy, starting with “Who goes first?” and “Do you really want to tell kids to charge their attackers?” Of course, Megan was probably thinking more generally in terms of advice for adults caught up in this sort of situation; equally of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking a contrary position on said strategy and hashing it out. Resorting to instant derision, on the over hand, usually just confirms to everybody else why the person doing the derision is typically not deemed trustworthy on national security issues.