In today's Los Angeles Times, there was an article about Illinois' mandatory gun training program. Why do they require 16 hours of Gun School in that state? Simple: Illinois citizens now have the right to carry firearms in public.
What could possibly go wrong?
Training is a positive. Preparing Mr. and Ms. America to cope with a potential Mass Murder Moment should alleviate everyone's concerns, right? Wrong.
As I posted back in January, "Here’s proof that carrying a gun won’t protect you in a crisis," even with training. But that doesn't stop the GOP, the NRA, and the firearms industry from waving their Second Amendment flags (and stuffing their already-full wallets).
But back to Gun Class. One participant, Gregory Colon, is training to become a licensed armed security guard, and he was nervous before class even started. Per the Times, "the atmosphere was designed to add to the tension and get his heart rate up," because without simulation of a real-life emergency, the course wouldn't be very effective.
"It was much more intense than I expected," said Colon, 21, of Chicago, who shot his "attackers" in self-defense. "I was sweating and my palms were sticky. It shows in real life how fast you can get hurt."
That is not unlike what Diane Sawyer and others said.
But learning how to protect yourself and legalizing concealed carry permits should not be tantamount to permission to morph into Mr. and Ms. Aggressor, nosireebob:
"The concealed-carry permit, realistically, is only there for you to protect yourself. It's not a license to go out and go looking for trouble or deal with a situation that is best left to law enforcement," said Queen, executive director of the Fidelity Investigative Training Academy in Chicago.
"Law enforcement training is about securing and containing the danger," he said. "Concealed-carry training is about protecting yourself and moving away from the danger."
"Moving AWAY from the danger," said Gun School Executive Guy. Ordinary citizens should never "interject themselves into dangerous situations," said the instructors. Not exactly consistent with what we hear from gun fondlers like, say, George Zimmerman.
Those same zealots also argue that two days of arms training "unnecessarily prolongs the process for obtaining a permit." Tell me again why that's a bad thing.
Here's what happens when one finds oneself confronted with a life-and-death situation:
A rush of adrenaline causes the hands to shake. Blood flows away from the fingers and toes, dulling the senses. Motor skills weaken. The perception of time changes, making everything seem to move in slow motion. You lose peripheral vision, and it seems as though you're looking through a tunnel.
Now imagine those physiological symptoms experienced by someone trying to respond for the first time to a gunman in a dark movie theater wearing a bulletproof vest tossing tear gas canisters while shooting off 30 rounds from an AR-15 into an unsuspecting crowd. Imagine traumatized, inexperienced Mr. and Ms. America trying to respond while doing their best to save (their own and others') lives while scrambling to instantly recall 16 hours of instruction on how to successfully deal with a sudden, unforeseen deadly threat.
And here is one more reason why common sense gun legislation advocates like myself get flop-sweat nervous:
Before enrolling in Queen's security guard course, Gloria Sauno said, she did not realize a gun should be the last resort.
As Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said:
"It's not the fear of someone walking down the street with a gun that bothers most people; it's the unexpected consequences. Someone going out to have a drink does not intend on killing somebody, but it happens."