Crimes of Passion and Packing Heat

Northlake Mall Shooting

Northlake Mall, Charlotte, NC

Reading time – 53 seconds; viewing time – 2:56   .  .  .

Crimes of passion are exactly that: crimes of passion. When the fight-or-flight instinct kicks in, the amygdala is screaming out imperatives at about 10 times the rate of our analytical, logical pre-frontal cortex. In other words, we act solely in response to the passion of the moment and we slay that dragon and obliterate the danger before us. And we believe that imperative is justified if we see ourselves as having been victimized. Have a look at Arthur C. Brooks’ brilliant piece in the December 20 New York Times for more on that.

On December 24, 2015, some pistol packing fool got his impassioned conflict with another person violently solved in the Northlake Mall in Charlotte, NC. What might have prevented that from happening?

The NRA says that we need more “good guys” to be packing heat in order to alleviate the slaughter that continues unabated in America. They push back against any attempt to promote gun safety, ideas like universal background checks and prohibiting violent felons from owning guns. Their push-back is most commonly anchored in the claim that such laws would not have deterred shootings like those at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, CA. It’s a stupid argument, but let’s apply its logic to the North Carolina mall shootings and another from not long ago.

More people packing heat in that mall would not have stopped that slaughter because it happened way too fast. In fact, more people packing heat likely would have made it unclear who the bad guys were and even more innocent people would likely have been injured or killed by ignorant shooters.

Think next about the movie theater in Aurora, CO where in 2012 that idiot opened fire during the Batman movie. What do you suppose would have happened if a few dozen other movie goers were carrying guns? The additional carnage that would have been created by the NRA’s so-called “good guys carrying guns” and doing their version of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, but this time in a dark movie theater, would have been horrific. And they wouldn’t have even have stopped the shooter from killing and wounding people.

Now let’s apply the NRA’s “it wouldn’t have stopped certain killings” logic to these shootings and their push-back against gun safety measures.

More people packing heat would not have been useful in stopping either the killing at the North Carolina mall or in the movie theater in Aurora, CO. In fact, they would have made things much worse in both cases. Therefore, according to the NRA’s own logic, we should not have more “good guys” carrying guns.

Quod Erat Deonstrandum.

Dear NRA: Stick that up your Glock.


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
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2 Responses to Crimes of Passion and Packing Heat
  1. Allan Shuman Reply

    Your argument appropriately addressed the recent mass killing incidents because that is where the most public and fallacious arguments from the NRA and fellow travelers have been focused … and around which both pro and anti gun control advocates have rallied. And yet horrors and headlines aside, over-engagement of amygdala has had far greater impact on a societal level with incidents that don’t usually make national news. (The latest officer-involved shooting at a shopping mall would not likely have been a national story absent the unusual circumstances AND the recent frequency of officer-involved shootings.) The mass killings are tragic and horrifying … and represent a comparatively minute death toll … and each year there are approximately 20,000 suicides and 10,000 homicides committed with firearms in the U.S. … and many thousands more serious injuries. A number of years ago, the gun advocates popularized the slogan “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” In a narrow sense, that’s true … and guns make killing so much easier, more efficient, more nearly certain than any other means commonly available to individuals. What are the statistics around people being killed in fistfights, or surviving suicide attempts from gunshots as opposed to pills?

    Whatever happened to well-regulated militias anyhow?

  2. Jim Altschuler Reply

    Mr. Brooks’ points were very well taken, however, the “facts” (in my mind) would be unaltered by the populace being aware of those needs/requirements. We ALL know that sometimes we have to apply some give-and-take compromise. It’s the way I and every other negotiator I have known throughout the last 50 years approaches any negotiation. Sure we want to get most of the things we believe we need or want, but we know we’re going to have to give a little to get those things.

    Unfortunately, our younger populace, especially those who are in the Congress and Senate, have virtually no knowledge of this approach to resolving differences. And, to my thinking, the NRA is completely ignorant of even the concept of compromise.

    As for the NRA, kiss your Glock (or _______; you fill in the blank!).