Sunday’s tragic shooting spree at the Tacoma Mall prompted exactly the type of response you’d expect from the ardent Second Amendment Libertarians on the right. The solution to gun violence? More guns.
As Michael reported over on BlatherWatch, right-wing talk radio was all aflutter with the lessons to be learned from this tragedy.
… one caller told Carlson (who agreed) that the whole darn thing would have never happened if one out of three citizens in the mall was carrying a firearm.
Well, as it turns out, at least one citizen in the mall was armed that day.
The man who was critically wounded during Sunday’s shooting rampage at Tacoma Mall drew a pistol and confronted the gunman before he was cut down by gunfire, his family said Tuesday.
Witnesses told McKown’s family that he was shot after he pulled his own handgun during the shooting.
“Our understanding is that Dan drew his weapon and confronted the gunman,” his stepmother, Beverly McKown, said during a news conference Tuesday at Tacoma General Hospital.
McKown is the only one of the six victims to be critically wounded. He was shot twice in the abdomen and may suffer permanent paralysis due to spinal damage.
Now I don’t mean to necessarily criticize McKown for choosing to draw his weapon; it may have been a courageous, selfless act. But it certainly didn’t end up making him any safer.
In fact, statistics consistently show that the number one risk factor for death by handgun is owning one. A gun in the home increases household members risk of homicide by 3 times, and the risk of suicide by 5 times. Indeed, of our nation’s 30,242 gun deaths in 2002, 56 percent were suicides.
I myself know how to handle a weapon — taught by Quakers, oddly enough — but choose not to own one for exactly these reasons. Guns tend to make their owners less safe, not more. (Though I suppose arming myself might slightly decrease my risk of harm from right-wing death squads, so perhaps I should reconsider?)
So if there is any lesson to be learned from the tragedy in Tacoma, it is certainly not that more citizens should be armed. If your concern is personal safety, knowing exactly how and when to use a handgun is much more important than simply carrying one.
[Cross-posted to Daily Kos]