Thoughts About Mass Murder

From:,  by John Hinderaker,  on Nov 6, 2017

My wife and I returned a few days ago from a vacation in England. At one point, we walked across the Westminster Bridge, where earlier this year an Islamic terrorist drove a vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians, killing four and injuring more than 50. Since that attack, barriers have been erected between the roadway and the pedestrian paths across the bridge. They are referred to by some as “diversity bollards.” In addition, perhaps because the Nice terrorist got his truck onto the Promenade inside of whatever barriers existed on the road, there are roadblocks at the ends as well, so that a driver can’t circumvent the bollards.

So pedestrians are safe as they cross the bridge. I took this photo from around the middle of the bridge:

However, if a terrorist were to drive another 15 feet beyond the bridge in either direction, there is nothing to stop him from steering his vehicle into the throngs of pedestrians that are nearly always present. The bridge has been secured, for whatever limited purpose that serves. It is a bit like the fact that we are all required to remove our shoes before boarding an airplane because years ago, Richard Reid concealed explosives in his shoe.

Vehicle attacks are essentially impossible to stop, without major redesign of our cities. Our only real defense is the fact that very few people want to be mass murderers and, most likely, die in the process. We could tie ourselves in knots trying to figure out how to keep vehicles out of the hands of potentially dangerous people, but that would be foolish. Vehicles are everywhere. Often terrorists steal or rent them before committing their atrocities.

These thoughts are prompted by the Sutherland Springs massacre perpetrated by Devin Kelley. Before the bodies were cold, Democrats were demanding new and improved ways of keeping firearms out of the hands of potentially dangerous people. Recent reports suggest that Kelley may have obtained his rifle illegally; that remains to be seen, and I don’t think it is a particularly important point. Firearms, like motor vehicles, are very common. The idea that gun control laws, no matter how numerous or draconian, will consistently keep firearms out of the hands of would-be mass murderers is delusional. That doesn’t mean that we should abandon the NICS system and other regulations, it simply means that we should recognize their limitations.

Moreover, the root cause of murder isn’t firearms or cars. It is evil. Countries where there are vastly fewer firearms than in the U.S. still have homicides, often at rates higher than ours. In England, “knife crime” has long been an obsessive concern, and acid attacks have become common. Personally, I would rather be shot than have my face melted by acid.

So, is there a solution to the problem of mass shootings? No, just as there is no solution to the problem of vehicle attacks. But some things can be done, as illustrated by the Sutherland Springs slaughter. I have two concrete suggestions.

First, more people should carry firearms. Devin Kelley was able to kill dozens and wound many more because he was the only person on the scene who had a gun. If three or four of the parishioners had been armed, in all likelihood his attack would have been less deadly. Similar future attacks might also have been deterred. The response of local citizens who engaged Kelley and ultimately chased him down illustrates the point.

Second, we could train people to respond more effectively to mass shooting incidents. The conventional advice to go to ground is, I think, wrong. One person, no matter how heavily armed, should not be able to shoot 50. If five or ten of the intended victims charge the shooter from various angles, they in all likelihood will be able to knock him down and secure his firearm. This is what happened in 2015 when three Americans, two of them off-duty military, charged and disabled a would-be terrorist on a French train.

The most extreme example of this phenomenon that I can recall (I am going from memory, but you could look it up) was at Virginia Tech, where the lunatic Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people. At one point, I recall that he ordered a half dozen or so young men to line up against a wall, where he shot them. If those men had separated and charged the perpetrator instead of obeying his command, one or two of them may have been shot, but together they could have ended his rampage.

The problem, of course, is that when confronted unexpectedly by a murderer, most people panic and don’t spontaneously organize concerted action. But civil defense-type training could overcome this, at least in part.

There is no ultimate solution to the problem of evil, which has been with us forever. But specifically with regard to mass shooting incidents, there are concrete steps that could be taken to limit their lethality.


Mr. Hinderaker suggests that “more people should carry firearms.” I couldn’t agree more and I’ll wager that a number of those 26 poor souls who were murdered in Sutherland Springs wished that they had a firearm with which to defend themselves as they were being slaughtered.

The gun control crowd should be elated. The entire congregation was unarmed, just exactly the way that the gun control idiots would have it. Some 50 worshippers were like sitting ducks, with no way to defend themselves against an evil, deranged madman apparently hell-bent on killing as many people as possible. Unfortunately, the church-goers felt safe and no one was armed. In Texas, concealed carry (and now open carry) is legal in churches unless specifically prohibited by the display of state-approved signage stating that weapons are prohibited. There were no such signs at the Sutherland Springs Baptist church; the attendees chose to be unarmed.

It is indeed a sorry state of our society that we realists should feel the need to be armed even when attending services at a house of worship. It was stated that the police arrived at the scene 4 minutes after being made aware of an active shooter. That’s actually much quicker than average response times (national average 11 minutes), but a deranged madman was able to do a great deal of damage in 4 minutes – 26 killed and 20 wounded. We cannot depend solely on police to safeguard ourselves and our families, they simply can’t be everywhere. We must take the responsibility to protect ourselves and those we love and if that requires being armed, so be it.

Be responsible – accept the responsibility – be prepared.



Categories: Political


9 replies

  1. I agree, Garnet. Being prepared is the only way to fight back against lunatics without consciences.

    Speaking to John Hinderaker’s point about charging the shooter, I can recall when the 1984 McDonald’s massacre happened I wondered why everyone just laid there, waiting to be shot like sitting ducks. Why didn’t people charge the shooter or at least run for the door? As I pondered this over the years and after every incident it eventually occurred to me that no one wants to be the first to make that move, because that person will almost certainly be shot. Tragically, though, many of the people who wouldn’t make that move end up dying anyways. I certainly can’t blame people for not knowing what to do in the shock of the moment, but I’ve made up my mind that if anyone is ever lining me up to be shot, I won’t go along with that. I’d rather die running with a bullet in my back than on my knees with a bullet in the back of my head. People should be thinking and planning what they would do so they have a plan.


    • What you say has a great deal of merit. I remember some instructor saying if anyone has you at gunpoint and wants you to get in a car to drive somewhere else, you’re better to take your chances there and then because driving to a remote area or some desolate location guarantees that the BG will have all the time in the world to do whatever he wants – in effect, you’re doomed anyway, why not fight back and at least have a small chance rather than be alone and helpless later?


      • Makes sense to me! I saw a true crime story with a teen girl who was in line at the bank when a guy came in to rob it and tried to take her hostage. She sat down on the floor and refused to cooperate. He gave up trying to take her and ran out. Turns out he had killed someone else who didn’t have the quick thinking to refuse to go along. For girls especially, going to that 2nd location often involves a whole different kind of terror. Better to take your chances where you’re accosted.


  2. “Moreover, the root cause of murder isn’t firearms or cars. It is evil.”

    Say that aloud! Now again!

    This isn’t a gun availability problem. In High School kids had loaded guns in racks in the back window of their unlocked pickups all day. There were no mass shootings.

    It isn’t a mental health issue either. There were crazy people back then as well. There were no mass shootings.

    With our greater population concentration, and at the same time technological distance from each other, our communal sense has deteriorated. We have all just become distracting units to be avoided or eliminated, unless part of our own circle of friends and family.

    Sad, sad!


    • I just responded to Kathy’s comment with the same thought before I read your comment. So, obviously, I wholeheartedly agree with the description of his cowardly act as EVIL. You can’t even characterize it as hatred – he couldn’t have known all of the people, especially the young children, I’m not normally one to ascribe things to the devil – but in this case, that’s as good a guess as any.


  3. You’re right, Garnet, people have to take that responsibility and be aware of their surroundings. Shooters pick locations where they know they’ll have the advantage such as concerts, church and softball practice.

    It is up to us to take away that advantage and we need to send a message loud and clear that we’re armed when we go to church. It needs blasting across the internet that we’re no longer vulnerable. Evil twisted people will never go away and no amount of gun laws can fix this, so it’s up to us.

    One devastated resident of Sutherland Springs lost eight family members. The man killed toddlers, so for crying out loud people, arm yourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

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