Friday, July 20, 2012

The Aurora Shooting

I think Sister Toldjah has the best thing I've read today, the touching story of aspiring sportscaster Jessica Ghawi, who seemed to go by the (stage?) name Jessica Redfield.  Ms. Redfield, you see, had narrowly missed being in the middle of the Eaton Center shootings in Toronto this June - just weeks ago.  Two people died in that shooting.  This sort of a mass shooting, as dramatic as it is, has (so far) been spectacularly rare.  A mall shooting in Toronto should be impossible, of course, since guns are virtually illegal in Canada. 

As predictable as the summer heat, the anti-gun groups are trying to blame others - the tea party, Rush Limbaugh, the NRA, and so on.  Instead of assessing blame, why don't we all pray for the families, and the survivors?  If you're not the "prayin' kind", just think nice thoughts.

Like most of you, I'll bet, I haven't set foot into a movie theater without a gun in years.  One of my first thoughts was if I could make the shot (assuming the distances in my usual theaters - I have no idea how big that one is).  I know my first responsibility is to protect who I'm with, but I don't think I could sit there as someone executed people around me.  As Kevin (TSM) says, might be prudent to start practicing head shots at long distances. 
I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath.  - Jessica Redfield, June 5, 2012
and, as Sister Toldjah said,
In the hectic world of everyday life, sometimes we don’t pause to appreciate the good in our lives: we don’t stop to give a loved one a hug, or a friend a comforting pat on the back, or our pets a little rub between the ears. And we spend too little time giving ourselves a break from the craziness of the world. Please take the time to tell your family and friends how much you appreciate them and show them often – because you never know when it might be your last time seeing them. I am by no means trying to sound fatalistic – in fact, I’m taking kind of a “Carpe Diem!” outlook here. Seize the day. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Take a drive with the top off the car. Let your hair down. Stop and smell the roses. And most importantly, tell the people who mean the most to you how much you care. Life is way too short to not live it and appreciate everything in it.


  1. +1 on living for today, as well as being grateful for what you have, not longing for what you don't have.

    And DO practice long range shots. With a decent handgun in 9mm, .38 or .357, .40, or .45 you can routinely make 100 yard center-of-mass shots and definitely 25 yard head shots. I am completely serious. Even with my old eyes, I can hit center mass on a B-27 silhouette target at 100 yards with my .45.

    I've seen repeated 50 yard head shots, although my eyes aren't good enough to exceed 25 yards anymore for that small a target. (If it was all I could see at that distance on an active shooter, I'd take the shot, as long as a miss wouldn't put innocent bystanders at risk.)

    If you are serious about protecting your loved ones, and/or innocent strangers, in an active shooter situation, then get out there and practice, folks.

    1. Never tried 50 yards, only out to about 20. I'm okay with head shots at that range. I don't know about while under fire and panic is everywhere. Depending on how that shooter is setup - this one appeared to have body armor and all - you better not just distract him with that first shot, because the next AR round has your name on it.

  2. SG,

    You are assuming because he is equipped he is skilled. Usually not the case. Besides, you should be shooting and moving, or shooting and _then_ moving (as you would have to for a long shot like that). I can't tell you how many cops can't hit the side of a barn because they don't practice. In our community, the skill is a bit higher, but just because this sicko (or false-flag operator) is dressed to kill doesn't mean he has any skill. Shooting a bunch of people lined up and sitting in rows - packed in where they cannot even get out - takes zero skill.

  3. "...start practicing head shots at long distances."

    Not recommended. Put a series of shots on center mass. That will take him down. Body armor doesn't nullify the slug's momentum; it just distributes it to prevent penetration. Then you charge and finish the SOB.

  4. This unfortunate event has gotten me thinking again. To echo Mr. Porreto's comment, I'm back to wondering about "mission specific armament." I used to hunt deer in Virginia quite successfully with a 6" 629, but for several decades the usual daily companion has been a 1911 or an HK USP in .45.

    I've tackled IPSC matches with the 1911 in which I decided it was "head shot Saturday," attempting to engage every cardboard target with a fast brain stem shot. As I worked through the stages I got better at it, but most gun-to-target distances were under 15 yards, and it was broad daylight. Over unknown distances in a dark, crowded theater filled with panic-driven people I'm sure I would not do nearly as well.

    Which brings me back to the 629, accompanied by something compact in 9 or 40. A 300 grain hard cast Keith SWC hunting load in 44 magnum won't penetrate a Level III vest, but I'm confident the impact would be attention getting, and center mass is easier than head. So, I'm wondering if Francis isn't on to something here.

  5. Since (thank God) I've never been shot, this is as theoretical as it gets, but isn't the momentum transfer the exact same amount as you get from shooting it? Conservation of momentum and all. So while the impact of a major caliber will get someone's attention, does it really push them around? Once you have their attention, I'm sure you become a priority target - if they're any good.

    Still, Heinlein's law on that: "Get off a shot fast. That will break their concentration while you get off a better shot" (probably butchered that quote).

    I think Oleg or someone at his place was talking about using something like the FN 5.7, since it does penetrate body armor - I suppose due to the really fast, light bullet.

    Funny thing about this guy, though. Most mass shooters seem to end the rampage by committing suicide, or they expect to die. This guy obviously wanted to live.

  6. Francis,

    No one, least of all me, is recommending head shots as a routine technique. Certainly, head shots are not recommended for folks who don't practice. However, with body armor, you can't count on putting someone down or knocking them down, especially if they are hyped on drugs, psychosis, or ideology.

    The folks who - as Tam likes to put it - "shoot people in the face for a living" teach such things as the Mozambique Drill - two to the chest and one to the head. When someone is just shooting at _you_, it might be worthwhile putting a double-tap into the guy's obvious body armor (although I personally wouldn't waste my time or risk my old ass with that). When he is killing innocents, you stop him as quickly as you can. If you practice - as I suggest - it is eminently doable.