Firearms, Weapons and Evil

Yesterday, a man put on a mask, went into a Dairy Queen in Las Vegas and robbed the place with a samurai sword. He would have gotten away with it, except an employee pulled out a firearm and shot and killed him.

While I should reasonably point out how the firearm potentially saved the lives of the two teenage employees in the restaurant at the time, these are just kids. And this is horrible. For a couple hundred bucks, some douchebag sociopath with a blade fetish thought he’d LARP Kill Bill or Kick Ass and in an instant he’s expiring on the floor while a teen with a revolver tries to process what he’s just done. I can’t imagine.

In their article, the Las Vegas Review-Journal took the time to note the reactions of a witness after the fact:

A woman who works close to the Dairy Queen said she heard loud noises and believed a car crashed. She said she didn’t think the noises were gunshots.

The woman, who declined to give her name, said she peeked outside her work door and saw two Dairy Queen employees, neither of whom appeared older than 21. They looked “shaken up,” she added.

Hmmm… I think I would have left out the part revealing that she mistook gunshots for the sound of a car crash. I mean, damn girl. But we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. (After all, I’m used to giving the benefit of the doubt to people like David Axlerod, Joe Biden, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Harry Reid, Barack Obama and almost everyone in the mainstream media on a daily basis. So it’s not exactly a stretch. But I digress.)

She said she is not allowed to carry a gun, even if properly registered, at her work. Her employer always has stressed that if robbed, workers should comply with the culprit or culprits, in an effort to avoid injuries.

And this is likely what the robber expected. This sort of policy may have emboldened him to commit the crime in the first place: A couple of dumb, nervous kids, some quick cash eagerly handed over via company policy of passive compliance in hope of avoiding injury, and the attendant adrenaline rush from a robbery well done. But I bet he didn’t expect to be dead.

Implicit is the suggestion that if the gun had not been present, this would not have happened. A policy at Dairy Queen would have resulted in a few hundred dollars lost. “Passive compliance in an effort to avoid injury” works great when greed or financial desperation are the motivators. (Lawyers will also explain that this policy minimizes a company’s liability profile. But again I digress.) The difficulty with this approach manifests when money isn’t the goal. From Nidal Hasan to James Holmes to Jared Loughner we have too many recent, real examples of individuals indiscriminately killing innocents, examples that have nothing to do with money or greed. Whether it’s anger aimed at co-workers, or jihad aimed at infidels, or assassination aimed at politicians, or insanity aimed at strangers, or vandalism aimed at corporations, or one of many other circumstances, passive compliance simply won’t work.

Evil exists. We can ban guns, but next will come samurai swords, then baseball bats and on and on. Banning either through law or policy isn’t the answer when the problem is not the weapons.

[Added:] Ben Stein weighs in.

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