“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” Discuss

Wayne LapierreThe quote, following the Sandy Hill massacre, came from Wayne LaPierre, President of The National Rifle Association. It was followed by another series of crazed killings days later, in Rochester New York, by another “bad guy with a gun”.

I began work on this post before the maniacal attacks by William Spengler on firemen in Rochester. Events now pile up, with calls for English chat show host Piers Morgan to be deported for his televised robust arms control position.

It may still be useful to take Mr LaPierre’s statement as a means of framing the on-going agonising debate.

Mark Mardell’s report

The BBC’s foreign correspondent Mark Mardell has followed American politics for many years. He described LaPierre’s press statement:

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has a reputation as perhaps the most powerful lobby group in American politics. There are varying reports on how much it spent during the last election, – some say it was much as $24m), others that it was slightly less. Whatever the number, it was a significant total.

The NRA has more than four million members. Yet its news conference in response to the Newtown massacre felt nothing like the slick product of a group gifted in public relations.
Those who expected emollient words, hints of reasonable compromise and grave consideration of their opponents’ plans were sorely disappointed. Their leader, Wayne LaPierre, harangued the assembled press for over half an hour, impassioned, furious, and not a little eccentric in his fury.

He talked of the way he had endured the mockery of the media, who hated gun owners; he talked of the “filthy pornography” of violent video games and listed some old films. But the core of his argument was: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

Support for LaPierre

Mardell suggested that a recent Gallop Poll showed considerable support in America for LaPierre’s views.

Bloody Christmas

A few days later there was Rochester. Christmas 2012 is established as the one which will be remembered as Bloody Christmas.

What about the first amendment?

Meanwhile TV host Piers Morgan [from the UK] outrages what might be called ‘pro-gun’ citizens with his remarks on his chat show in America. Calls for his deportation flooded in to the White House. [Dec 25th-26th 2012] Morgan replied, “what about the right to free speech?” [i.e. the first amendment of the constitution]

The ultimate solution?

After hearing and reading about LaPierre’s position, I tried to understand the cultural map that believes his epithet about good guys with guns as the ultimate solution to problems of violence in the USA or anywhere else. I could not get beyond a different logic which moves me from an image of a heroic guy with a gun thwarting an evil maniac with a gun. My logic kept suggesting that even if it were possible, the placing of armed guards (all “good guys”) in every public space in America will not deal effectively with the next mentally ill person able to get hold of an automatic rifle with the intention of using it.

A Healing New Year?

Maybe not a Happy Christmas, but can we at least hope for a Healing New Year?

3 Responses to “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” Discuss

  1. Liam Kearney says:

    A good guy with a gun may indeed stop a bad guy with gun.

    * A bad guy is likely more willing to shoot first.
    Goodbye good guy

    * Some bad guys left home expecting to die, so what do they care if there is a bad guy with a gun?

    * Bad guys with guns are willing to take innocent guys hostage
    Goodbye Innocent guy.

    * All guys with guns miss more often than they hit

    * A good guy with a gun can’t see a hidden bad guy –
    Goodbye Kathy Giffords

    * A good guy with a gun can’t shoot two (or more) bad guys at once.
    Goodbye good guy

    * A good guy can’t always tell a bad guy from another guy.
    Not all mad men come with a mad man’s eyes, conveniently packaged in combat fatigues screaming Geronimo.

    So indeed, a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun but a awful lot has to happen before it even gets to that, and a lot of people are going to die in that interval.


  2. Thank you Liam. I was worried the post would attract more violent replies.

  3. Liam Kearney says:

    Hi Tudor.

    I guess LWD doesn’t attract the attention that Piers Morgan does.

    The absence of rational debate in this country (USA) leaves one despondent.

    Healthcare, gun reform, budget, abortion you name it.

    For all the bellyaching about freedom, the place is awash in slogans, caustic put downs and closed minded point scoring bumper stickers. The press takes it all so seriously, treating every cheap-shot as a precious nugget of democratic erudition.

    Purposeful debate seems smothered by a callously deployed smokescreen.

    Best regards, and best wishes for the new year.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: