2013 has been stamped by recent events such as a Vegas shooting that killed three, four highly publicized murders in Orange County, California, and ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner's racism-inspired rampage - which held the West Coast hostage and simultaneously gripped the entire nation.
Dorner - a trained marksman and warfare expert - ultimately used his knowledge not for the benefit of others, but as a tool for homicidal revenge. In a hauntingly similar case, 'A gunman ambushed firefighters at a house fire in the Rochester suburb of Webster, N.Y…killing two firemen and injuring two others before killing himself [while] several homes were destroyed as firefighters waited for police to secure the scene' (Huffington Post, December 24, 2012.) To observers, the only prerequisite for unchallenged havoc is access to an arsenal.
It is doubtful gun control, given the proliferation of firearms in American society, would have deterred either shooter from utilizing guerrilla warfare against anyone with whom their opinions differ. The NRA repeatedly claims, 'The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,' but when guns have been involved, in more than fifty percent of the cases the 'good guy' did not win (NPR, December 21, 2012.)
Consider the following:
'Police statistics show that simply hitting a target, let alone hitting it in a specific spot, is a difficult challenge…[When] officers intentionally fired a gun at a person…[their] hit rate [was] 28.3 percent' (alarmingly, the total was 17.9 percent the previous year.)
'In all shootings - including those against people, animals, and in suicides and other situations...officers achieved a 34 percent accuracy rate (182 out of 540) and a 43 percent accuracy rate [at close range],' which accounted for half the shots.
'The number of misses underscores the tense and unpredictable nature of these situations…a 43 percent hit rate for shots fired from [close range] might seem low, but...perhaps an officer got surprised, had no cover, or was wrestling with the suspect.' (New York Times, December 9, 2007.)
Dorner's list of weapons also included explosives, and it is safe to assume their large scale, public detonation would elicit more bloodshed than America has ever seen within its borders. Regardless, the weapons, which are just as responsible for crimes as the people who commit them, are either pre-owned or widely available for purchase both by criminals and anyone with even the most trivial vendetta.
Armed officers positioned at school doors may provide faculty, parents, and students with a sense of security similar to what is experienced at a TSA checkpoint, but widely ignored is that even a fifty percent success rate is not assured for anyone, in any situation, when it comes to the use of guns as protectorates.
Two headlines from February 24 read, 'NRA Promises New Ads, Blasts 'Real Consequences' of Background Checks,' and 'NRA Developing 'Best Practices' for School Safety.' Their link is actually not a gun debate, but the concept of how money affects the shape of the debate. The 'Best Practices' article reads, 'For areas where the cost of resource officers might be prohibitive…they are looking into whether a designated staff member could be trained to fill the role of a security officer – a move that also may require the controversial task of changing state law to allow a civilian to possess a firearm near a school' (USA Today, February 22, 2013.)
For now, imagine a world of civilians self-assuming the role of policemen, with the unbridled liberty that allows them to then become the judge, jury, and executioner. Now, as the issue of guns in bars remains a hot-button topic in many places (as is the legalization of marijuana), picture any random person once labeled a 'responsible gun owner' assuming the same roles in an inebriated state of mind. Conclude your nightmare knowing, regardless of the direction in which we head, statistics point towards many more storm clouds of carnage.