about firearms in this country is deep, profound, and often dangerous,
information coming from the cinema.
are a few simple facts to dispel some Hollywood
myths. It is not a
list by any means, but you can generally assume that anything you see
about firearms at the
movies is wrong!
is shot and is lifted clean off his feet to fall some distance away.
Fact - a .44 magnum has only enough energy to lift a 10lb weight about
inches. Even a
shotgun cartridge has
only enough energy to lift it about 12 inches.
pistol is fired (not uncommonly, without being aimed) and people fall
‘dead’ twenty yards and more away.
Fact 1 - accurate shooting requires considerable mental calm and
relaxation. A reasonable target pistol shooter, under quiet
conditions, would expect to hit a 4 inch target at twenty yards
consistently. However, under stress, the fine control needed
for this is
lost totally, and even good shooters can miss a man-sized figure at 10
Fact 2 – shooting someone, even if you are lucky enough to hit them, is
guarantee that they will stop what they are doing (see 3 below).
to kill’ is a useful phrase because it clearly identifies anyone using
it as knowing
nothing about firearms. The only way to guarantee killing
someone with a
firearm is to secure them and then shoot them in the head a few times
inch away. The normal intention in using a firearm
defensively is not to
kill, but to stop someone doing
something, very quickly.
For this reason and because accuracy under stress is so difficult, the
body mass is targeted - it is large and it contains the organs which if
are more likely to disable the offender quickly. If he or she
subsequently, this is an unintended consequence.
‘Head shots’, ‘wounding/disabling shots’, ‘shooting the gun from the
are all pure fantasy - they are impossibly difficult.
Further, dying is a
long way from being dead, and even a grievously wounded person can be
crosshairs of a telescopic sight come to rest motionless on a
Fact - even when a firearm is resting on something it is never
It is dealing with this inevitable movement that makes good shooting
while a telescopic sight might magnify
your target 4 to 8 times, it magnifies your dither 4 to 8 times as well!
blaze away continuously for minutes.
Fact - fired continuously, most sub machine guns will empty their
less than 5 seconds and in any event are prone to jamming when fired
The door opens and
someone comes in shooting. Whatever the cares of
your day were they have
been reduced to ‘do something and perhaps be killed – do nothing and
be killed’. Here are some thoughts to help you
- You will go into ‘this isn’t happening’
emotional shock. The
quicker you can
accept the new reality the more likely you are to survive.
- Do not be afraid to be afraid.
is horrible but it is your body’s ‘flight or fight’ response
danger. It is very ancient and is in your best
interests. It will
make you much stronger and resistant
to injury. Change
it into rage.
- Forget what you’ve seen on the movies.
Real guns are difficult to use – most shots
miss and the few that hit do not usually kill.
- A gun can only hurt you if it is pointing at
you, it can only point in one direction at a time, and it is harmless
- If you can, trot away – safety increases with
distance. Do not dash – you may stumble and injure
yourself, reducing your
chances of surviving.
the shooter is between you and the door you
have no alternative but to attack him.
He is a lunatic and not open to negotiation – he will try to kill you and all around you
and the more passive you
are, the easier it will be for him.
- If you are behind him, charge into him at full
tilt at the same time shouting ‘Get him!’ to galvanize others around
will be floundering and looking for leadership.
If you can snatch up a weapon on the way – chair, fire
– strike behind the knees but do not waste any time looking for one.
- If you are in front of him, shout ‘Get him!’,
while throwing your keys, coins (or anything else you can snatch up)
at this face and charging directly into him.
If possible grip the end of the barrel with one hand
and hold it away
from yourself then punch the shooter in the throat with your other hand
you are safe. Once
you have seized the
barrel you can mentally dismiss the gun and focus on your enemy – he
gun to deal with you, you don’t need one to deal with him.
events are unlikely but so is winning the
Lottery yet two or three people win it every week.
Explain the above to your children.
They know these frightening things happen and
you can give them clear and honest advice on what to do. They will have no problem
with it anymore
than they have with fire drills at school.
Children smell the truth and respect it, however grim. Keep them in ignorance and
they may suffer the same fate as the 92 young souls who died on Utoya