I like Derbyshire, but hot on the heels of his stupid remarks about the insufficiently suicidal captured British soldiers, this is too much to take:
As NRO’s designated chickenhawk, let me be the one to ask: Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn’t anyone rush the guy? It’s not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness’ sake — one of them reportedly a .22.
At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him. Handguns aren’t very accurate, even at close range. I shoot mine all the time at the range, and I still can’t hit squat. I doubt this guy was any better than I am. And even if hit, a .22 needs to find something important to do real damage — your chances aren’t bad.
Yes, yes, I know it’s easy to say these things: but didn’t the heroes of Flight 93 teach us anything? As the cliche goes — and like most cliches. It’s true — none of us knows what he’d do in a dire situation like that. I hope, however, that if I thought I was going to die anyway, I’d at least take a run at the guy.
People are taking potshots at Derb all over the place, and they should. And while this pen and paper fantasyland machismo should be knocked for the silliness that it is, it should also be mocked because it is just flat out wrong.
Anyone that knows anything about human beings will recognize that not all individuals are going to react the same way to a threat or perceived threat. It would make a whole bunch of things easier if that were the case, things like police work, military service, etc., but people react differently. When posed with the threat of a crazed gunmen, we can just expect a portion of the population to hide, a portion to just freeze in fear, others to scream, and others to attempt to save themselves and others.
And guess what? Early reports show that is precisely what happened. Here is the story of one girl, who when she heard what was happening, pretended to be dead:
He just stepped within 1,5m of the door and started firing,” said Sheehan, a freshman and mechanical engineering major.
“He seemed very thorough about it, getting almost everyone down. I was trying to act dead,” she said.
“He left for about 30 seconds, came back in, did almost exactly the same thing. I guess he heard us still talking.
“And then we forced ourselves against the door so he couldn’t come in again, the door would not lock. And so he came and tried to force himself in another three times and started shooting through the door.”
Sheehan said the class had 25 people in it plus the professor. “When we left, only four of us left,” she said. “Everyone was else was unconscious, either dead or wounded seriously.
Here is the story of another student whose quick thinking saved the life of his peers:
Zach Petkewicz was in class when the shooting at Norris began and “everyone went into a frenzy, a panic.” Petkewicz was hiding behind a podium when he realized there was nothing preventing the shooter from entering the classroom and barked to his classmates, “We need to barricade this door.” (Watch how Petkewicz’s quick thinking may have saved lives Video)
Two students joined him in throwing tables against the door and wedging their weight behind them, just as the gunman cracked open the door.
When the students slammed the door in his face, “he backed up and shot twice into the middle of the door thinking we were up against it,” Petkewicz said.
“I was up against the side holding this desk up against there and I just heard his clip drop to the ground and he reloaded, and I thought he was coming back for a second round, to try and get his way in there,” he said. “He didn’t say a word, and he just turned and kept firing down the hall and didn’t try to get back in.”
And here, of course, is the story of the man who did just as Derb suggested, and saved the lives of his students:
As Jews worldwide honored on Monday the memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust, a 76-year-old survivor sacrificed his life to save his students in Monday’s shooting at Virginia Tech College that left 33 dead and over two dozen wounded.
Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, threw himself in front of the shooter when the man attempted to enter his classroom. The Israeli mechanics and engineering lecturer was shot to death, “but all the students lived – because of him,” Virginia Tech student Asael Arad – also an Israeli – told Army Radio.
In other words, there were moments of great bravery, sacrifice, heroism, and self-preservation mixed in with the accompanying fear, horror, paralysis and disbelief that one should expect from this horrifying episode. In other words, different people reacted differently- precisely what we would have expected from untrained kids suddenly faced with unspeakable and almost inconceivable horror. And these are the stories we know right now- who knows what we will learn in the days and weeks ahead as the injured begin to tell their tales?
Adolescents across the country are probably also entertaining their own juvenile fantasies about how brave they would be if they were thrust into such a terrible circumstance. They, unlike others, would be able to handle the crushing fear that follows the sudden realization of the horror that is unfolding before them, and would vanquish the disturbed gunmen in a heroic Derb-like fashion. Suffice it to say, most of them would be wrong.
For Derbyshire to suggest that those victims were not brave is in and of itself callous, stupid, offensive, and displays a worldview that appears to be shaped more by Rambo movies and 24 than actual life experiences. But even worse for Derbyshire is that he considers himself to be an educated and worldly man, yet he clearly has little to no understanding of human behavior and the human condition.