If a group were to organize a fake mass shooting to prove a point, you would assume it would be those who advocate gun control—seeing the horror that can arise from such shootings strongly demonstrates the fact that these shooters should not be able to access guns so easily.
In a baffling turn of events, two groups which are pro-gun rights, Come and Take It Texas and Don’tComply.com, are organizing a fake shooting at the University of Texas at Austin.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, this is called an Open Carry Walk and Crisis Performance Event, and is taking place without the consent of university officials or Austin’s police department. Matthew Short, the spokesman for these groups, defended this to Mic, stating, “I don't ever ask permission to act with my inalienable rights, which is my free speech and redress of grievance.”
The University of Texas does not exactly agree—its official statement asserted that “it would be considered criminal trespass if participants do not leave when asked.”
Short’s plan is to have fake vigilantes take out these shooters, emphasizing his claim that “95% of mass shootings take place in gun-free zones, and these are places where people cannot protect themselves.”
This NRA-driven fantasy that armed citizens, the “good guys with guns,” are the only thing from preventing the “bad guys” from succeeding is dangerous, harmful ideology that this demonstration would only perpetuate. Mother Jones’s 2013 analysis of mass shootings found that there was very little correlation between an attacker’s choice of venue, and whether or not it is a gun-free zone, particularly considering the majority of mass shootings are murder-suicides.
Though there have been instances of armed civilians stopping shooters, they are the rarity, not the rule—an FBI research director, Dr. J. Peter Blair, told Politico that his “his research documented very few incidents that were actually stopped because a civilian was carrying a gun.”
The chance of civilians inadvertently injuring innocent people in the tension of such a situation is hazardously high, but an event such as this would not depict this, instead propagating the myth that it is straightforward and uncomplicated to take out a shooter.
This demonstration will be occurring 50 years after UT Austin’s terrible mass shooting, one of the initial modern examples of a school mass shooting. An engineering student killed 14 others and wounded 32 before a police officer shot him.
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