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What If 20% of the Adults in That Colorado Theater Had Been Armed and Trained?

Gary North
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July 23, 2012

I have a question.

If 20% of the adults in that Colorado theater had been armed with a handgun and trained in its use, how many people would have died in addition to the shooter?

I think the answer is clear: fewer.

The reason why so many died is that 99% of the people in that theater were unarmed. There was only one exception.

I offer a proposition:

"Armed and dangerous" is an inescapable concept. There is no such thing as "unarmed and safe." There is only the question of which person or group is armed and dangerous.

It would have been far better if 100% of the adults in that theater had been armed and trained. But we must be reasonable in our assumptions. We cannot expect 100% of any large group to get trained in the use of a handgun. But 20% is reasonable.

The reason why we do not have 20% of our population armed and trained is because the culture of gun control is dominant. There is a stigma for people to carry a weapon. It begins early.


This stigma begins in tax-supported schools. It begins in an environment in which unarmed people are forced into a government-controlled environment for 8 hours a day.

Within a few years, students learn that bullies get their way, that bullies are not expelled, that the system favors bullies. The victims learn that nothing can protect them. They learn that self-defense is regarded as a violation of the law, that self-defense is regarded as immoral and uncharitable. The student who fights back is as likely to be punished as the bully.

The system therefore favors bullies. The victims learn that bullies run the show, despite bureaucrats who promise justice on campus. Bullies know how to work the government's system of sanctions. They have nothing to lose. The victims -- the productive members of the school system -- have a lot to lose. They learn meekness. They learn submission.

This is what tax-funded education is designed to produce: a mentality of submission.

This is high school in Back to the Future. This is music to the ears of the Biffs of this world.

At graduation, the victims take the culture of disarmament with them. So do the bullies, who know that their victims are now psychologically trained not to fight back.

The victims place their hope in this: the randomness of bullies in the general population. "The other guy will be a victim. I will escape."

Inner-city males know better, which is why they are more likely to carry guns than males in the suburbs. But no one trains them in the use of these guns. The police pretend, as teachers pretended, that bullies are under control.

A handgun in your holster makes a statement: "The police cannot protect us. The state cannot protect us." This is correctly regarded as an insult to the bureaucrats who run the state -- an assertion of their failure to protect law-abiding citizens. Hence, bureaucrats favor gun control. Gun control does not protect the population, nor is it intended to. What gun control does is simple: it does keep the evidence of the state's failure from becoming widespread. It keeps voters disarmed and dependent on the state.

Bottom line: it keeps adults in "school" until the day they die.

A dozen of them died in that theater. That is the price they paid for the culture of disarmament.

This is the state's position: "Better a dozen dead people in a theater than an armed population."


Women say guns make them nervous. When a gun is pointed at me, it makes me nervous, too. The cure for this is to carry a handgun and know how to use it. This is gun safety. It means reduced safety for people who point guns at other people.

Women who say that guns make them nervous are saying than they do not want to defend themselves or their children. It also means that they do not want their escorts to defend them and their children. It means that they expect the police to protect them and their children -- police who are not there.

Women who favor gun control favor a system in which mass murderers are unchallenged until the police arrive.

This suggestion outrages gun-control proponents. They really do believe that a madman who is ready to kill 70 people will not break gun-control laws. They really do believe that an armed citizenry would not be a deterrent against a madman with the desire to kill people.

When the police are absent, who will protect us if we are not armed individually? We already know. This is the lesson from Colorado.

A murderous madmen can buy black market weapons at some price. So, what good is a gun control law for unarmed movie patrons?

Here is the automatic reaction from a San Francisco gun control advocate.

What also rings all too familiar: the continuing cowardice of this nation's politicians on the subject of gun control.

Both presidential candidates rightfully mourned a senseless tragedy but offered no solutions to stop this from happening again and again and again. The only major politician who was brave enough to point out the elephant in the room - our nation's laughable gun control restrictions - was New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who sensibly asked why neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama will talk about the need for gun control.

"Soothing words are nice," said Bloomberg. "But maybe it's time the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they're going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country."

It's been a problem across the country for a long time.

Columbine High School. Virginia Tech University. Fort Hood, Texas. Gabrielle Giffords. The grisly roll call goes on and on.

We have heard it all before. We will never stop hearing it. This is the religion of disarmed victims.

This is what the Biffs of this world love to hear.


Here is the rival view, expressed by Wyoming economist Robert Anderson.

Am I the only person in the country asking what should be the obvious question, "Why is the killer still alive?" How different the outcome would likely have been if the theater had not posted warning signs against carrying concealed weapons in the theater. Those signs were an "open invitation" to a deranged madman to slaughter harmless victims within.

When we moved to the Big Horns in 1995, Beverly and I drove up into the mountains on the opening day of deer season. There were cars and hunters everywhere, but I assured her we'd not likely find any muggers lurking around. I wonder why?

I know the truly important lesson won't be learned from this tragic event, but the only reliable self-protection we have as individuals is the ability to protect ourselves. That Colorado tragedy is another reminder of how useless the government can be at protecting citizens, even when there are a bunch of "security cops" within their midst.

These are the two positions. Politicians do not wish to deal with either of them.


Now the city government of Aurora, Colorado will spend a great deal of money prosecuting the murderer. Taxpayers had better hope that he pleads guilty. Otherwise, this court case could drag on for years. How many appeals on technicalities? How many stays of execution?

If he has no money, there will be a court-appointed lawyer. I wonder how good he will be.

Will the murderer receive life imprisonment with no possibility of parole?

Will he be Charles Manson II, a ward of the state for the next 50 or 60 years? At $28,750 a year?


If we want safer theaters, we need armed patrons who are trained in self-defense.

If we want fewer mass murderers, we need a higher percentage of armed citizens who are armed and trained in self-defense.

If this upsets the local police, tough.

If this upsets women who are squeamish about guns, tough.

If this upsets liberals, tough.

If this is not understood by a majority of voters, tough -- for the victims, but not for mass murderers, thugs, and bullies.

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