It’s been interesting to watch the members of the commentariat play their designated roles in the aftermath of Virginia Tech. I wish they wouldn’t just yet. We don’t know enough, and anyone who has genuine feelings about it is still too raw to think clearly much less talk intelligently.
But the news cycle demands its sacrifices, and our good sense is probably the first one.
I don’t typically read Michelle Malkin – I pretty much know what she will say on an issue, and while I respect her intelligence and ferocity, she skates a little close to Ann Coulter sometimes. So I caught this via a post on Outside The Beltway.
Wanted: A Culture of Self-Defense
Enough is enough, indeed. Enough of intellectual disarmament. Enough of physical disarmament. You want a safer campus? It begins with renewing a culture of self-defense — mind, spirit and body. It begins with two words: Fight back.
Steven Taylor, at OTB (and PoliBlog) writes:
More Asininity (This Time from Malkin)
What in the world is going on? First we have Derbyshire and Blake and now this. First, why do we have to find blame in places other than the fact that a truly disturbed individual simply did an unthinkable act and cracked. There is only so much that can be done in a free society to prevent such situations. This attempt to blame a general “liberal” attitude at universities and that this somehow has led to a culture of “conflict avoidance” that somehow, by inference, led to people not defending themselves on Monday – that is utterly ridiculous.
There’s a lot to unpack here.
Michelle is strongly advocating more people carrying weapons. James is strongly opposed to it.
That’s a topic I’ll talk about more later on, not today.
Michelle is very specific in her blame of campus culture – specifically progressive campus culture – for the apparent passivity of the students, and blames the passivity of the students – in some part – for the scope of what the evil madman was able to accomplish.
I’ve also talked about the roots of the modern terrorist movement as being closely aligned with mainstream academic thinking, and will have more to say about that later, as well.
But I want to talk about one simple thing tonight. I’ll evoke the immortal words of noted right-winger Michael Moore, who gave a lecture in Cincinnati in 2003:
Near the end of his lecture, Moore invoked the memory of Sept. 11, 2001, transporting his audience to the seats of a hijacked airplane.
“Two or three men holding box cutters paralyze 100 people,” he said. “How can this happen?”
There’s fear, certainly, from seeing some of the first class passengers’ throats sliced open. The smell of death, the blood, the rasping breath of misery. But something else had to be in play. Maybe the forbearance that comes from living comfortable lives. Surely someone would take care of this, as surely as policemen always rushed to aid them in times of need.
“Could the 100 passengers have stopped the men with box cutters?” Moore asked. “Sure, of course. Three guys with blades against a hundred unarmed fighters? The hundred win every time. Maybe not easy, maybe a few die, but the hundred win. We know it because those brave fighters on the Pennsylvania flight got up from their seats. And they beat the hijackers!”
Then Moore asked the audience to replace those passengers with 100 people from the Bronx or Over-the-Rhine or any not-so-comfortable community — the kind of neighborhood where calling 911 won’t necessarily bring the police running to help you.
“And maybe when the police do show up — if the police show up — they take you away instead,” he said.
Now, Moore asked, do you think 100 people from the Bronx would sit there?
“They would fight back,” he said. “They would rise up out of their seats and fight.”
He’s right. The good folks don’t fight. They don’t because, to be honest, they never have in their lives – if you’re my age or younger, fighting in elementary school isn’t normal, it’s the end of your school career. It amazes me how few of my peers have ever had a real altercation.
Obviously, by virtue of my willingness to own and use arms – and martial arts of other kinds – I made the decision a long time ago that I would fight. I’ve argued in the past that fighting bad people is an obligation society places on good people as a way of raising the cost of being bad.
And the reality is that in extremis, people freeze, flee, or fight. Two of those reactions are useful. I’ll quote my law enforcement officer friend:
By design, Universities are filled with idealists wishing to take the higher road of understanding and compassion when it comes to dealing with the dangers people often pose toward their own species.
Most importantly, if you find yourself in an active shooter situation and you can access real shelter or cover, waste no time running full speed in that direction. If you are trapped, in a room with an assailant who is picking off victims as he/she finds them, FIGHT.
No, I do not blame the victims in Virginia. The only person to blame is an insanely evil young man who isn’t here to receive his just punishment.
But I have advice for those who would prefer not to be victims. And it lies in the simple fact that the State cannot, and will not guarantee your safety. You are the ultimate guarantor of your safety. You should act that way.
So here, I’ll side with Michelle, and my cop friend, and Michael Moore (who would have thought it?) and tell Taylor that to call Malkin’s views asinine is – well – I’m too polite to say asinine, so I’ll just say foolish and wrong.
Update: fixed dumb conflation of names.
Update 2: Anne-Marie Cox takes a swing at the issue too; she’s indignant that John Derbyshire would suggest that someone might try and do something in the face of an active shooter:
If I had to choose a favorite insane statement here — like, say, if someone was holding a gun to my head — I think it’d be the idea that, “At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him.” Or, best yet: you could always try the ol’, “Shoe’s untied!” bit. Works with my theoretical mass shooting murderers all the time.
Um, Anne-Marie, it’s like this. One of the ways that you train for things that haven’t ever happened to you – and I’m so tempted to put in an assf**king reference here – is to imagine them, and pattern a response. real grown up people – like pilots, musicians, and yes, people who fight for a living – do exactly that.
Along with real training, it has a nice benefit, to which I can testify – which is that you’ll respond better if you’ve got a pre-made plan (and better still if you practice it) than if you don’t.
I’ll bet that no one today gets on an airliner without thinking a little bit about how they’d react to a hijacker. Which is one reason there won’t be any more hijackings without serious weaponry.
So thanks for playing, Anne-Marie, and please go back and comment on things you actually know something about, like what midlevel Washington wannabe politicians do for relaxation.