Believing that you can momentarily become John Mcclane to stop a mass shooting is pure fantasy

For the past few years, the NRA’s talking point on how to stop mass shootings has been to have a good guy present with a gun. The more good guys with guns available to step in the better. Nothing to do with the gun sales they are paid to protect and increase, they’re just looking out for everyone’s safety.

That particular “good guy” talking point has nothing to do with facts either. According to a study of the past 62 mass shootings over the last 30 years conducted by Mother Jones (shootings with at least four fatalities), there has never been an instance where a mass shooting was stopped by armed civilians. Furthermore, not a single case includes evidence that the killer chose a place because it banned guns.

The idea that a good guy can suddenly morph into John Mcclane, James Bond or Rambo in order to avert a bigger massacre is pure Hollywood fantasy. It’s easy to understand why the NRA loves to go back to this myth. If Hollywood heroism can sell movie tickets, it can surely use the fantasy to help sell guns.

Following the last mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, Quiet Mike contributor Chad R. MacDonald created a meme with a simple premise. Over the photo of a SWAT team read the words: It took 23 of these guy to stop the San Bernardino shooters, an average gun owner would have made no difference.

gun enthusiasts

The meme went viral reaching over 2.5 million people on Facebook alone. Its success brought with it plenty of good exposure along with a list of insults and death threats at a rate this site has never experienced.

After filtering through the filth, it seemed the gun enthusiasts were still clinging on to the hero with a gun fantasy, all of them thinking they could play the hero. All of them acting tough as nails without the bullets actually whizzing past them. Luckily for us there was some semblance of intelligence among them.

Before he was all but forced to delete his comment thanks to the harassment of gun bullies, the best of the lot was by a serviceman who basically said even live fire exercises can make a brave man whimper.

We’re all brave until we’re faced with a life and death situation. It’s quite easy actually. If I imagine the cashier at my store getting robbed at gun point, I don’t even have to use a gun to stop him. I just casually, like the Quiet Mike ninja I am, walk over to him and knock him over the head with whatever is within reach. I grab his gun, point it at him while I rest one foot on his back, the redhead jumps over the counter into my other arm and all while the rest of the store celebrates their new hero. Damn I’m good.

The point is, words are just words. If I really believed this scenario was the least bit realistic or possible, I’d have to classify myself as being insane. Perhaps that’s how gun nuts get their name. Regardless, with all the panic, confusion and bullets flying at your head, how is taking down a mass shooter any more realistic? You’re just as likely to get shot by the cops who would mistake you for the main shooter.

So for all you vigilant action hero wannabes, remember Hollywood is fake and so is the BS that the NRA feeds you in order to sell more guns. It takes more than just one lucky shot to take down someone in full body armor. Hopefully none of you will have to find that out the hard way.


  1. I can’t imagine the nightmare the Aurora theatre would’ve been if there were some armed “good guys” there. The shooter tossed in tear gas which created a cloud of smoke, then he started shooting. With the smoke, the dark and people jumping up and running who could’ve known who was who and who was another “good guy” with a gun? Bullets would’ve been flying every which way and who knows how many more would have been killed?

    A month later, police in New York hit nine bystanders as they tried to shoot an escaping gunman outside the Empire State building. If they can’t shoot straight under pressure, do we really want “good guys with guns” helping out?

    • A properly trained ccw holder may have chosen not to use his weapon at all in the confusion, or may have found himself in a good position to do so at some moment. While some ccw holders may not be capable of reacting to such a situation, there were experienced military vets present who might have had much less trouble sorting out the confusion. in addition, many responsible ccw holders take additional training on a regular basis, including basic tactics and cover and appropriate use of force. The vast majority of them are not the cowboys or wannabe soldiers you seem to think they are; they are quite serious about having such responsibility in their hands.

      • You wrote the following claims as though they were facts (by which I mean you stated them but provided no citation to back them up, which is what we do with facts because facts don’t need to be verified): “there were experienced military vets present,” “many responsible ccw holders take additional training on a regular basis,” and “the vast majority of them are not the cowboys or wannabe soldiers you seem to think they are.” I am always skeptical when someone claims “the vast majority.” That is vague, but it’s meant to be so convincing as “evidence” that it’s the end of the argument.

        So please provide links to the sources where I can verify that the “vast majority” of ccw holders are regularly receiving tactical training on the way to respond in a live shooter situation. Please also provide links to the sources that show that we can know that they are “quite serious” about “having such responsibility in their hands.” Honestly, I don’t think you can verify your claims with factual support. I think that you believe what you have said is true, but I don’t think it is true. If you can show me that I’m wrong, though, I will read the research you cite.

        • I believe the article is suggesting they’ve attended all the training classes they need:
          Dirty Harry WIth Clint
          Lethal Weapon with Mel
          First Blood with Sly
          Die Hard with Bruce
          Commando with Arnie
          Not to mention, James Bond, Ethan Hunt, Jason Bourne, and any number of those old, but classic, John Wayne training films…

          Yippie ki yay!

        • I cite it from personal experience. I can count at least 15 veterans as friends of mine, many who served in Vietnam and the first Gulf war, and a few from the latest war. I am probably acquainted with 15 or 20 more. I take regular training several times a year, from local law enforcement members, one of whom is a vet. I obviously have met many more ccw holders than you, and have witnessed one person who was asked to leave training due to his “cowboy” attitude. It’s not tolerated, because most of us are interested in safety for ourselves as well as others . You also misquote me. The facts are there to see for yourself, if you have the willingness to go to a professionally run class and meet some of the people yourself. if you are afraid to do in-person research, then at least make the effort to put your bias aside while searching the internet.

          • Stop talking about military vets. They are a different breed and not the redneck heros that make up the *vast majority* of Rambo-wannabes.

  2. If these gun-toting hero’s think they’re the fine line that stands between evil and peace, then why aren’t they joining the military to help “bring democracy” to the middle east?

    None of these troglodytes who proclaim rampant gun ownership have the balls to actually brave the bullets. They’re in love with their own potential, because potential is a quality that everyone loves and never has to be proven.

    • a great number of them are vets and have already done so. are you unaware of the fact that we have been fighting a war almost nonstop since the early ’90s? what are your qualifications to speak such crap about them?

  3. An additional thought on your Swat team example- just because the team chose to deploy 23 members doesn’t mean they needed all of them to be effective- fallacious reasoning proves nothing towards your argument.

      • Actually, it may have taken one person(cop or not) to make a difference, as long as they were on site at the beginning. It could have been an off-duty cop, or an armed civilian(for argument’s sake, lets say a veteran with combat experience- lots of them around after the last 25 years in the Middle East), but the difference between one and 23 is timing and location. 23 were needed after the shooting to find and contain shooters already on the run, one could have returned fire on the spot.

      • Not sure who you’re replying to, if it was me, I’m a bit too old for the video game thing. I prefer to actually be involved in real life.

      • in addition, I can honestly say that unless you have an IQ above 140, you’ll need a lifeguard yourself. So far, my ankles haven’t gotten wet.

  4. If there were a couple of gun packers at the party, it certainly would not have gone on as long as it did. That is a fact.

    I do not presume to speak for how any of the Hollywood action heors would have reacted. It does not surprise me that you have no problem doing so.

    If you believe that here are no Americans who are capable of stepping up to the plate in such situations, you haven’t read the account by the woman who was saved by an office mate, you have never read a Medal of Honor citation, and you totally ignored the video/audio of the cop saying, “I’ll take a bullet before you do.”

    What on earth is inside you to trash people that you do not know?

    • That is not a fact, that is what you call a presumption. A presumption based on a fact that a successful intervention has never happened during a mass shooting. Stepping up to the plate, citizens are 0 for 62. a pretty lousy batting average

      • they were wearing tactical vests, not body armor. Actually Stephen is correct, you may speak for yourself if you have already decided you aren’t capable of defending yourself in such a situation, but don’t presume to speak for others. Your choice is your own.

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