A new detail in the Florida shooting exposes a big hole in the “good guy with a gun” theory.
By German Lopez@germanrlopezgerman.lopez
@vox.com Feb 22, 2018, 6:40pm EST
It seems like a scenario where a massacre should have been stopped: An armed officer was on the scene. He could hear gunfire. Yet he didn’t go after the gunman — letting the shooting carry on for minutes that literally meant life or death.
According to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, that’s exactly what happened at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Even with training and a weapon, the officer stalled — and allowed the shooting to continue for about four to six minutes as he stood outside the building. The deputy, Scot Peterson, has since quit.
“Devastated. Sick to my stomach. There are no words. These families lost their children. We lost coaches. I’ve been to the funerals,” Israel said at a press conference on Thursday. Asked what the officer should have done, Israel responded, “Went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.”
This is more than just another horrific detail about the mass shooting that killed 17 people; it also directly contradicts the notion that simply putting a bunch of armed personnel in schools will stop shooters — the “good guy with a gun” theory.
As National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre put it following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” Basically, if more people are armed, they can stop violence before it gets worse or prevent it altogether.
The latest revelations about the officer’s failure to act in the Florida shooting are a devastating example of this theory not working as planned. But the evidence suggests this shouldn’t be too surprising. Even when people are armed, they often fail to properly respond to a mass shooting.
Stopping a mass shooting is hard, even with firearm training
Multiple simulations have demonstrated that most people, if placed in an active shooter situation while armed, will not be able to stop the situation, and may in fact do little more than get themselves killed in the process.