Story makes one wonder why we have law enforcement if they can’t protect us?

The Washington Post has a scary story today: “Sheriffs issue a call to arms: Take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm.”

Sheriffs across the country who the Post quotes sound virtually impotent in their abilities to stop the spate of mass shootings whether by terrorists, or just plain loons. The article notes the call for civilian help from those law enforcement officials such as Sheriff Wayne Ivey of Brevard County, Fla.,

“If a terrorist attack or active-shooter scenario can happen in California, Texas, South Carolina or Paris, it can happen right here in our own backyard,” Ivey said in a Facebook video titled “Enough is Enough.” “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

That last phrase has become an updated cliche meant to appeal to those who have long adhered to the timeless NRA line: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

The problem with the line saying only good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns is that the argument is fundamentally flawed.

A so-called “good guy” with only a minimal amount of training needed to pass their state’s handgun license course may not know the necessary tactics to stop a shooter, especially a gunman who has had even more training such as that from the military, terrorist groups or even those with law enforcement education.

Then there is the “collateral damage” problem. Will a civilian be the only one who is armed to take out a shooter? What if four our five other licensed gun carriers in some crowded restaurant decide they should be the one to dispatch a hostile foe? It looks easy on TV for someone to shoot an armed man in the head who is holding someone hostage. But really, you don’t have much, if any, room for error. I see a tremendous opportunity for innocents, even other armed citizens, being harmed in an active-shooting situation.

Speaking of training, the law in Texas that allows those with current handgun licenses to openly carry their weapon in a belt or shoulder holster requires no extra training. Only those in new training courses will undergo a bit of added education for open carry.

“Training curriculum for new applicants will be updated to reflect the new training requirements related to the use of restraint holsters and methods to ensure the secure carrying of openly carried handguns.  The new curriculum will be required for all classes beginning January 1, 2016” according to an explanation by the Texas Department of Public Safety of new laws.

Well isn’t that great? Folks can go buy their new belt or shoulder holsters and start practicing “quick draw” techniques. I wonder how many folks will be showing up in their local emergency rooms with wounds from those playing “Deadeye Dick?”

I suppose it is either telling or maybe it is that I am just not noticing, but we are into the third week of the new open carry law in Texas and I’ve yet to see anyone who appears to be a civilian carrying around a handgun openly. If or when I decide to buy a handgun and go through licensing, I would likely not carry it in the open. I can’t see buying a handgun in the future, but I will never say never. I have nothing against handguns per se. I own a pump shotgun, if my friend will give it back to me one day. One reason for not buying a handgun is I would imagine my aim could be somewhat hindered by the benign tremors I have had in my hands now for several years. I think in most instances with the exception of close quarters outside of my home, a shotgun is just as good or better as a defensive weapon than is a handgun.

My problem these days aren’t with guns. The problem is that something needs to be done to stem the daily violence resulting in deaths from criminals, the mentally unstable and the occasional terrorist. One of the Democratic candidates for president last night, I think it was Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who said that any hunter worth his salt would not need an AK-47 to kill a deer. Or something to that effect. I don’t think we need more guns. I certainly believe we don’t need more deaths from guns. That is why the statements in the WaPo article so alarm me. It seems as if these sheriffs don’t believe they can protect their citizens unless those citizens are armed.

Such an abdication of responsibility makes me wonder: Just why in the hell do we have sheriffs and law officers in the first place if they can’t do their jobs? I think that is a fair question to ask of those who call for armed civilian help.