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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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  • Helene, that’s interesting. It tells me that that particular school understands the nature of true fighting. Too many martial arts programs strike me as choreography programs.
    Screaming was used by American Indians and the Confederacy (the rebel yell). It does not always work, but it can’t hurt. Most of these mass killers of innocents are apparently not experienced fighters. Their guns jam more than normal and they don’t seem to handle resistance well. For example the French train incident. And what do almost all these guys do when the police belatedly arrive? They shoot themselves. That is THEIR mental rehearsal. So there is a good chance they will respond to a screaming charge by the students by shooting themselves. Cowering before them is suicide. Recent news reports described those who said they were Christians in Umquah as courageous. That’s absurd. They should have attacked him so there was no such conversation. And certainly after the first one said he or she was Christian, and got instantly killed for it, the remaining ones should have at least tried Muslim or atheist. Don’t be stupid.

    John T. Reed on
  • At a demonstration at my son’s karate school, the advanced black belts uttered a prayer to God or to their personal deity, before launching into their demo: " I beg your forgiveness for the animal I am about to become." Then they did their thing, a full impact karate demonstration. There is a time and a place and when dealimg with killers, a person needs to use rage, not paralyzed panic to get into the correct mindset. As a college teachet, Ihave been mentally rehearsing what to do in the event of, I have consulted with the head of the karate school on which objects in my classroom can be used as weapons— sharpened pencils, cellphones used as frisbees to the head of the gunmen, etc. and am grateful to Jack for pointing out in this article to tilt the desks ( I would not have known to do that but would have had them vertically) and had my students and I screaming like wild animals, as opposed to just jumping and not standing still. The concept of each student quivering and staying still while an animal asks each person their religion and shoots point blank will not take place in my classroom, as long as I am alive,

    Helene on
  • I recall that, a long time ago, “The Twilight Zone” or a similar TV show of that era aired an episode in which two thugs robbed a gambling casino. After taking the house’s money, the robbers told the 25 or 30 immobilized patrons to give up their valuables or be killed. One of the patrons spoke for the group by pointing out that the patrons overwhelmingly outnumbered the robbers and that the patrons could rush the robbers and kill them, while sustaining only two or three casualties out of the large group – acceptable odds from the viewpoint of each gambler patron. The robbers retreated. Young students might not be credible with this kind of threat, but a football team might be, like soldiers who are trained as a group to charge ambushes. And even non-organized groups like the passengers of Flight 93 sometimes rise to valiant group action. Dr. Carson was not unrealistic in his suggestion of pre-emptive defensive action.

    George Reardon on

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