Analysis of 20/20’s ‘If You Only Had A Gun’

April 14, 2009 at 9:07 pm (Guns)

20/20 recently aired a show called ‘If You Only Had A Gun’.  If you’re interested in watching it, it is available in two parts on Youtube.  Part 1, and Part 2.

The segment shows the predictable results of what ‘would’ happen if a minimally trained student were in posession of a gun when a mass shooter stormed into their classroom.  Underwhelming, to say the least.

The ‘armed’ students were supplied with a firearm and holster that they were completely unfamiliar with.  The segment didn’t say, but I would be surprised if they actually drew their handgun from the holster more than three times.

It is my opinion that this ‘test’ was specifically configured to yield the results that it did for the following reasons:

  • The ‘cover’ garment supplied, an extra-long t-shirt was specifically chosen to make the firearm more difficult to remove from the holster.
  • The student was equipped with necessary, but restrictive safety gear – helmet, neck guard, and most importantly, cumbersome gloves.  At least two of the students appeared to be having trouble deploying their firearm because of their gloves.
  • The ‘armed’ student was always placed in the same seat in the room.  The shooter shot the instructor, then immediately turned on the armed student, regardless of if they had presented the firearm or not.  Historically, active shooters shot the people closest to them first.

While this type of ‘scenario’ will be used to show that the ‘best’ response is to run or hide, they failed to take several things into account.

  • The 20/20 scenario ONLY has any meaning if it occurs in the first classroom where a shooting occurs.  Many VA Tech students had enough time to try to barricade their classrooms.  In that situation, the results would be very different.
  • The shooter doesn’t know where an armed student will be sitting, or even if there is an armed student at all.  The armed student, given the extra second or two that the chaos in the room would provide, would have had much better results.
  • No mention is made that even by unsuccessfully engaging the shooter, the armed student would have enabled several other students to escape uninjured.

My offer to 20/20, give me those students for ONE hour, let them choose their own seat, and have the shooter engage all the students in the room.  I’ll guarantee significantly better results.  Especially compared to a trial where there are NO armed students.

For anyone interested in practicing for ‘real life’ situations, IDPA or USPSA matches are a great way to do it.


1 Comment

  1. Jamfish said,

    BINGO! Terrific points, CG! I was thinking about picking apart this segment, but you did a bang up job.

    This is what happens to 20/20 when Stossel and Vargas are away/out of town (probably for Easter weekend)… it goes to the dogs.

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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: