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Is criticizing the violently killed blaming the victim, or using a cautionary tale as a teaching moment?

Posted by John Reed on

Ben Carson is getting crap for saying he would have attacked the gunman in OR had he been there, and invited everyone else to join him.

He is quite correct. It’s just common sense. I wrote an article advocating just that albeit with some technical details like attacking when he is changing magazines. Here’s another technical detail. Classrooms typically have two things that could be used as weapons: desks and chairs. They may also have a fire extinguisher which can be squirted at the gunman’s eyes and then when it’s empty, used to bash his head in. I think the Flight 93 people used a fire extinguisher.

Desks and chairs can also be used as shields during the attack. Tilt them a little to increase the chances that the bullet will deflect and tilting also has the effect of increasing the thickness of the material vis a vis the bullet path. That’s why tanks have sloping armor.

When attacked, Carson said he was not criticizing the victims. He was only saying what he would do.

That’s an obvious lie. It implies he thinks their choice of passively being murdered one by one was an acceptable personal preference equally valid to his preference. Right, Ben.

At West Point and Army ranger school we were taught how to defend ourselves with our bare hands against an attacker with a knife or gun. But they also said emphatically, if you can, the better solution is to run. You can’t outrun a bullet, but the farther away you are from the gunman, the more difficult it is for him to aim accurately enough to hit you in a vital area.

At neither West Point nor Ranger School was standing there passively while the attacker executes you one by one an acceptable alternative.

Bill O’Reilly said it was not a good idea for a woman to be out alone at 4:30 AM in Manhattan. O’Reilly said he got the same crap as Carson a year or so ago when a woman was raped and murdered on the West side of Manhattan at 4:30 AM. He was accused of blaming the victim. He said he did no such thing. Another obvious lie.

The blame for the deaths in OR and Manhattan goes mainly to the murderer. I do not know why the woman was out there an 4:30 AM. Sometimes I have been out at that time, usually going to the emergency room.

But the victims in these cases do deserve blame for not trying to disarm the attacker in the OR case by sheer numbers and using whatever weapons they had at hand. Common sense tells you it’s better than passively letting the guy kill you. The Jewish Defense League will tell you that, too. Their motto of “Never again” refers to the passive way in which most Jews and other enemies of the Nazis went to their deaths in the early 1940s.

And O’Reilly was right about a single woman going out alone at 4:30 AM in Manhattan. It’s not a capital offense, but probabilities tell you it should be avoided when possible.

Flight 93 passengers, who had more time to think about it, rushed the attackers in spite of having limited weapons. The hijackers also had limited weapons—box cutters. Either the victims in Flight 93 did the wrong thing, or the students in OR did the wrong thing, but you can’t have it both ways when they did opposite things. The Flight 93 heroes were not able to save themselves, but they did save the people on the ground, probably at the Capitol, who were the targets of the kamikaze plan.

Schools have fire drills. They used to have duck and cover drills. Attack the gunman drills would probably not be done. The libs would rather use it to reduce gun ownership and presence. But if such drills were done, they would probably deter the future killers, although that might only divert them to kindergartens and nursing homes.

Such training would be ugly. We also had bayonet training at West Point. I did not mind it but I know of at least two cadets who found it abhorrent. One considered leaving West Point over it. Idiot. What the hell did he think the bayonet was for? Sparkling in parades? What did he think the third word in the official name of West Point was referring to: The United States Military Academy.

Anyway, the optimal attack on the gunman would probably be grabbing anything that could be used as a weapon and charging at the guy screaming like banshees.

Anyone with a brain should do a mental version of that drill. I said after the three Americans subdued the gunman on the French train that they probably had done such a mental rehearsal in advance and I believe their testimony indicated they had—probably thinking about 9/11.

Your flight-or-fight instinct had it right. So did Carson and O’Reilly before they allowed themselves to be intimidated by the PC mob. The liberal war on violence has gone so far as to turn Americans into lambs in a slaughterhouse. There is a time and a place for everything—including violence. And the time for it is when you are in fear of your life or injury and you have no other sensible self-defense choice.

My book Succeeding has a chapter on “conflict and conflict avoidance.” It’s point is conflict avoidance is generally wise, but it is overdone by most people. The suicidal acquiescence by the OR students is a classic case in point. There are times in everyone’s life when they have to fight—sometimes physically, more commonly in court in modern america—and should. Never standing up for yourself is corrosive to your soul, if it does not get you killed.


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