"Truth" Covers A Lot Of Ground

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Memo to The Truth About Guns: DON'T HAVE AN EXPERIMENT IF YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT THE DATA.

So, yesterday, perusing the news, I learned about a group called The Truth About Guns, who held a "simulation" down in Plano, Texas. A simulation that I will unfairly, yet accurately, characterize as "What if those French cartoonist pussies had been packing heat like honest hard-working Americans, I bet them terrorists would have gotten what-for right between the eyes!"

So they got some paintball weapons and played Global Tragedy Lazer Tag for a few hours. And here is how CBS News reported the results:

"Time and time again, the armed civilian “dies” – shot by a round that marks him or her with paint. In only two cases volunteers were able to take out one of two gunmen in the process."

Now, anyone with a passing knowledge of science would see this as a fairly significant strike against the idea that all it takes to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. For fuck's sake, anyone whose sum total of scientific knowledge is twenty minutes of a single episode of Mythbusters on a TV at the gym with the sound off has enough knowledge to work that out.

Another source reported that the only shooter out of 12 who survived was the one who ran away without engaging. And none of them stopped the massacre. And they knew the massacre was coming. I couldn't find any details on the rigor of the "simulation", but at the very least every single person in that was given a paintball gun and knew they were going to try to stop armed gunmen in a mass shooting, which is an advantage none of them would have in the real situation. And they still couldn't help.

You will, I am sure, be SHOCKED to learn that "maybe our entire philosophy is based on a vigilante power-fantasy with no basis in reality and thus I should maybe adjust my worldview based on data I generated myself even with my own inherent biases in the other direction" is not the reaction anybody is having to these results. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Nick conducted the scenario twelve times at Patriot Protection in Plano, Texas, apparently showing that given the circumstances – two terrorists armed with rifles – more than just one good guy with a gun would likely have been needed to save lives. But we’ll leave the final analysis to the analyst. Stay tuned." - The official wrapup from The Truth About Guns website.

Let's see if their "analyst" can do basic math. In twelve attempts with one "good guy", a total of two "bad guys" were shot. That means one civilian, armed with both a pistol and foreknowledge, can, on average, take out seventeen percent of a terrorist. So, in order to successfully stop two terrorists every single time, a total of twelve good guys with guns would be required.

Again, ideally, all twelve of them would need to know that an attack was about to happen, so to account for the element of surprise, let's add a conservative 25% to the total, meaning fifteen good guys with guns to stop a surprise terrorist attack involving two men with rifles. A bit of Googling reveals that 15 people equals one rugby team.

So, in the interest of national security, I propose that we arm every rugby team in the nation and have them patrol public places on the off chance shit goes down. And, in keeping with the spirit of this whole thing, we should probably rename "rugby" to something less foreign and more quintessentially American. The only problem is, there's no concise term for a loud shart after a long night whooping it up at an Oklahoma City Buffalo Wild Wings causing three open-carry yahoos to think a dirty bomb went off and drunkenly unsling their AR-15s. So I guess this whole plan still needs some work.

But it'll be time well spent, because if there's one thing The Truth About Guns proves, it's that no amount of evidence will stop them from pretending they can keep us safe.