Shooting schoolkids

Another day, another massacre of schoolchildren. The usual suspects, anxious to safeguard the NRA and gun manufacturing income, are telling us that the armed guards in the latest school horror, prevented the deaths being more numerous. They can’t prove that and in any case there should be no school shooting, anytime, anywhere. Period.

The fact is that shooters know that they have to get past security and (where they exist) the armed guards if they are to murder innocent children. They have a huge advantage: total surprise. However alert guards are thay still don’t know from which direction an attack will come. Unless there are multiple guards, surprising one or two men is not difficult.

I know whereof I speak, although the circumstances were entirely different. This happened to me while I was in the army. Innocently entering a room, supposedly full of people on my side, a .303 bullet passed through my hair, grazing my forehead, and lodging itself in the doorframe. A trained soldier, I had a loaded sub-machine gun in my hands. I was completely paralysed, not to mention terrified. I just stood there, frozen. As Winston Churchill inaccurately observed: “Nothing is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result”. No, Sir Winston, wrong! (The shot was an accident, but the difference between that and terrorism eluded me at the time).

Were I brought up on sherriffs, the wild West, Hollywood mythology, stage coaches, robberies and ridiculously accurate gunfire, I too would believe in sharpshooters gunning down school attackers, just as you see in movies. The messy truth is that if you are suddenly attacked from an unexpected direction you simply do not wheel round and put a bullet through the forehead of an attacker. Most people would be shaking with fright, unable to aim anything like accurately. The exponents of this whole idea are either naive, dishonest or lack the beginnings of an imagination. No, ban automatic weapons and sales to teenagers!