Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Dept. of HELL YES | Your Daily Dose of Vagina Powe... »

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Profiles in Courage

posted by on April 17 at 12:12 PM

This week: John Derbyshire of the National Review.

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.

Stupid victims. Why didn’t you man-up?

UPDATE: Christ, here’s another one. From Nathanael Blake at right-wing booby hatch Human Events:

College classrooms have scads of young men who are at their physical peak, and none of them seems to have done anything beyond ducking, running, and holding doors shut. Meanwhile, an old man hurled his body at the shooter to save others.

Something is clearly wrong with the men in our culture. Among the first rules of manliness are fighting bad guys and protecting others: in a word, courage. And not a one of the healthy young fellows in the classrooms seems to have done that.

When Kip Kinkle opened fire in Thurston High School a few years back, he was taken down by students, led by one who was already wounded. Why didn’t that happen here?

Like Derb, I don’t know if I would live up to this myself, but I know that I should be heartily ashamed of myself if I didn’t. Am I noble, courageous and self-sacrificing? I don’t know; but I should hope to be so when necessary.

I don’t know if you’re “noble, courageous and self-sacrificing” either, Nathanael. But I do know your post makes you a walking colostomy bag.

RSS icon Comments


That man is a hero.

Posted by aaa | April 17, 2007 12:23 PM

Excuse me, but how the fuck does he know that some of those DEAD STUDENTS didn't take a run at the shooter?!

Posted by Dan Savage | April 17, 2007 12:27 PM

That is exactly the kind of post-tragedy talk that makes me want to vomit. These were KIDS who were shot to death, and Derbyshire attacks them for being weaklings. What a fucktard. I hope he gets to experience the joy of his own murdered kids someday.

Posted by Fnarf | April 17, 2007 12:29 PM

An eyewitness said that a professor barred the door and put himself between his students and the gunman. Many students escaped through a window as a result. The professor was shot. Dead. Fuck this pantywaste.

Posted by DOUG. | April 17, 2007 12:31 PM

Hmmm.... So we're supposed to follow the example of Flight 93, where the bad guys were not armed with guns, when confronted with a gun-wielding madman. You know, someone who can kill you from 50 feet away as opposed to someone who has to risk getting hurt by coming up close to you when armed with short-bladed box cutters.

Someone needs to shoot this guy with a BB gun to help him learn the difference.

Posted by Matt from Denver | April 17, 2007 12:33 PM

Consider that not one Tech student had even the most basic Macgyver sensibility to craft some sort of projectile-launching device out of a bic pen, a rubber band, and some torn-up paper clips to disable the attacker, and these are students at Virginia TECH.

I mean, this all boils down to an indictment of how unprepared our supposedly best and brightest "future leaders" are at problem solving and thinking on their feet.

Tomorrow's Korean gunman will be, like, actual North Korea, and the victims will be, like, a completely pussy citizenry devoid of any trappings of Heroism, prone to surrender and supplication.
It'll be just like Red Dawn, except there will be no fighting back, no Russians, and no C. Thomas Howell.


Posted by jackie treehorn | April 17, 2007 12:34 PM

Let's get real here for a minute:

Over the next three or four days we're going to hear a lot of faux outrage from "commentators" and politicians who don't really give a shit, a little genuine outrage from the public, and then it's back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Will anything ever change?


Posted by Original Andrew | April 17, 2007 12:34 PM

The passengers of flight 93 are dead. All of them.

Posted by elm | April 17, 2007 12:43 PM

Ah, yes - a textbook example of the "Just World Effect", i.e. humans' irrational need to assuage their belief that people ultimately get what they deserve.

And really - has anyone here seen John Derbyshire live? And if you have, do you honestly believe this guy wouldn't be reduced to a bawling mess in such a situation?

Posted by tsm | April 17, 2007 12:43 PM

This guy?

I could slap this jerk around with my limp dick, and I'm not even well endowed. Rush the gunman, my ass.

Posted by him | April 17, 2007 12:53 PM

Actually, I think the killer was an English major who grew tired of hearing "the pen is mightier than the sword".

But it was kind of surprising noone did jump the guy. Although I was quite surprised by how accurate he apparently was - even when I was qualified as a marksman in the Army, I couldn't hit squat at a distance of more than 15 meters with a 9mm pistol (Browning), preferring other weapons instead.

On a semi-related note, did you hear about the WW II Concentration Camp survivor who barricaded a door with his body and got his students to exit via the window - that was a brave move, and very heroic.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 17, 2007 12:57 PM

The left's response to a tragic shooting:
"We need to do whatever we can to make it harder for madmen to get their hands on dangerous weapons."

The right's response to a tragic shooting:
"We need to do whatever we can to make the real world more like an action movie."

Posted by Noink | April 17, 2007 1:08 PM

Derbyshire gave almost the exact same rant in regards to the British hostages in Iran a couple weeks back, about how he would've been so much stronger than them and that they should be court-martialled for their weak behaviour. He's the ultimate Keyboard Kommando.

Posted by Gabriel | April 17, 2007 1:23 PM

I thought 'chickenhawk' meant something else entirely.

Posted by Abby | April 17, 2007 1:28 PM

Right fnarf. Murder this guy's kids to teach him a lesson. I hope you don't own a gun.

Posted by elswinger | April 17, 2007 1:32 PM

I heard a story this morning about the professor who blocked the door and told the students to jump. Not only did he risk (and lose) in order to save theirs...the shooter fired thru the door, killing him. But he was also a Holocaust survivor! A real hero.

Anyone who blames the kids for not trying to fight off a gunman is a fucking moron. They are kids! Comparing it to the folks on Flight 93 isn't fair cuz those people were ADULTS. So fuck off!

Posted by Faux Show | April 17, 2007 1:42 PM

Faux Show: "Anyone who blames the kids for not trying to fight off a gunman is a fucking moron."

"They are kids! Comparing it to the folks on Flight 93 isn't fair cuz those people were ADULTS."

Well, technically they were all adults (students and teachers). They're the age of many, if not most, of our soldiers over in Iraq. And younger kids have tackled school shooter (eg, Kip Kinkel). I imagine they didn't tackle the shooter because there was no reasonable opportunity to do so, not because they were kids or uniquely cowardly. They simply didn't have a chance.

Posted by him | April 17, 2007 2:52 PM

Looks like we all heard that story. Apparently there was another similar event from a different classroom as well, according to a friend on slashdot who is a VA Tech grad (who is hoping noone he knew died).

And, quite frankly, most people have no idea what to do when such things happen. Even Flight 93 had time to plan out what to do.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 17, 2007 2:56 PM

A) The hijackers on flight 93 were armed with box cutters with 1 inch blade.

B) The Virginia Tech shooter was armed with 2 handguns and a whole shitload of ammunition. He was clearly determined and a very good shot. Anyone who has actually tried to shoot a moving target knows that that kind of marksmanship with a pistol is actually quite difficult. I'm quite amazed his kill ratio was so high. That is stunning accuracy that any military commander would cream his pants over. Outside of Hollywood movies, few actual mortals can shoot like that. We are now hearing reports of at least two people who did "man up" enough to try to stop the shooter, and they are both dead. It is entirely possible, even likely, that others of the dead tried to stop him.

These keyboard kommandos are a joke, and they don't know what the fuck they are talking about.

I have a second degree black belt. I am quite confident I could have taken out one or more guys with box cutters. I'm also pretty sure that my black belt would have done me little good against the shooter at Virginia Tech. Even decades of practice at a martial art are no competition against a bullet.

Posted by SDA in SEA | April 17, 2007 3:27 PM

There sure is alot of hate going
around today about gun control, the
military and cops and the entertainment industry and all I
hear is fear fear fear.
I had a dream I woke up to
yesterday morning before the
shootings on the other side of the
country, and it was I got shot and
killed by a sniper in Iraq while I
was trying to kill another sniper.
I've never been shot but I've seen
action of a fire fight overseas in
real life and now In my dream
yesterday morning I was crouched
behind a wall and spotted through a
window a sniper aiming on soldiers
of my unit in some alley way. There
was a girl (I think it was a
journalist) with me in uniform and
I handed her my secondary weapon to
tell her to cover me when I make my
aim on the target which was the
sniper I saw. I crouched and leaned
around the wall to get my aim and
suddenly fear. Fear I was being
targeted from the building behind
I turned and looked up at window
and saw a rifle barrel slowly
pointed at me and the sniper behind
that. He aimed and shot me and in
my dream I felt (I never felt
something strike me in a dream that
felt so real) the bullet entering
into my heart. It took the wind out
of me and hurt. Then the sniper
aimed again for the second shot to
finish me and that went to my head.
I was starting to feel the bullet
enter and I awoke and was freaked
out by my dream. I never felt so
much dread and death as I did in
that dream. And I never want to
feel that in real life if I can
avoid it.
The sad reality is when after doing
some school work to see what had
only happend to me in a dream and
the violence of it and in the
context of war. This really was
happening after I awoke.
But it was not Iraq. Or some other
war. It was a college. And those
students are not going to school to
learn how to do combat. they are
not there to plan everyday waiting
to shoot some pshycho nut. They are
students not warriors. The last
place guns should be is at a
school. I feel for everyone in this
tragedy and am saddened. But
everybody going around debating and
saying we got to 'kill the bastards
before they kill us' and bringing a
gun to school just for that purpose
is not the world I want to be in.
I grew out of all that bravado
after 15 years in the army and suddenly losing my own wife at a very young age to self despair and alchohol.
I was fighting to save someone else
life in another country while my
wife was dying and self destructing at home. So all that military heroics and fighting and guns can just go to hell as far as I'm concerned. It never did nothing to save my wifes life who I loved dearly and wished I could have done more to save her every day.
I am afraid of a culture of fear.
It would be just like the
battleground in my dream. And
getting shot or shooting someone is
not fun or cool.
I was lucky I died only in a dream.
So all you gun advocates want
everybody to be trained killers to
defend themselves. Cause in the
army thats what we did. Thats bull.
Not on a civilian school ground. Do
not warp education into some place
to have everybody living in fear.
If you want our educational
institutions to be like some
military complex training ground
you have got to be some sick
souless personality. Everyone I
meet on the street I am not looking
forward to having to get all Jet Li
and whoopin some ass on some nut
with guns and saving the day. If I
have to do something I'll try when
the time comes. And that time has
not come. So I will not go there in
mind and spirit in a school
And I do not need combat training
and a weapon in my classroom
environment. We are prepared to
live not die in life. So stop with
the soul killing and paranoia. Self
defense is everyones right, but we
don't run around trying to
encourage the oppurtunity to use
it. Thats insanity. Stop the
fear. This tragedy is sad enough
We don't need to arm ourselves and
behave as though its the end of the

"The force of the hit released his Chi Flow" Kung Fu Hustle.

Posted by summertime | April 17, 2007 5:04 PM

No, Elswinger, I don't own a gun. I don't like guns, and I don't like people who own guns. My grandpa owned a gun, which he tried to use to defend himself against a burglar, but the burglar took it away from him and shot him and his wife dead in their beds.

And don't worry, every time I've ever told this story some gun-loving motherfucker has taken the trouble to explain that just because my grandpa was too old and weak to blow away the bad guy, it's no reason why he and his hard-dick Rambos shouldn't be allowed to save the day. I expect to hear it again now.

It's personal for me, Elswinger. It's not a theoretical argument about rights and responsibilities. It comes down to this: if motherfuckers like John Derbyshire and Nathaniel Blake are going to crap all over the victims of this crime, I'd like them to suffer like the families of those victims suffered, like my family suffered, before they do it. I want John Derbyshire to feel his heart BLEED forty years later and then tell me what cowards these kids were.

If that upsets you, I'm sorry. But if you're all loaded up with guns and fantasies about protecting your women and children from swarthy bad guys against impossible odds while music swells in the background, I'm not sorry. All I have for you in that case is a big fat "fuck you". Like I said, it's personal.

Posted by Fnarf | April 17, 2007 5:04 PM

Here's another great Right Wing reaction. Also, check out her awesome movie reviews!

Posted by spencer | April 17, 2007 5:06 PM

Debbie Schussel makes Ann Coulter sound like Nelson Mandela. That site is just sickening -- "it's gotta be a Paki! Paki's not a racist word! No, it's a Chink! Even if it's not a Paki, Pakis are to blame anyways! It's the Muslim threat! Even if it's not a Muslim, the only reason he did it was to show Muslims how easy it is! Lock up the damn furriners already!"

What a bunch of neanderthals. At least Coulter and Malkin and company have some wit to make their sharp tongues sting; Schusser's a mouth-breathing moron. She types in all caps!

Posted by Fnarf | April 17, 2007 5:51 PM

I love Deb's all caps comments! Especially when they argue that "paki" isn't a racial slur because Dick Cheney has said the word himself.

Posted by spencer | April 18, 2007 9:22 AM

Dude, I don't know why you assume that I am a gun nut just because I think you are wrong to wish some dick's kids get murdered so he feels pain.

My cousin was beat to death by kids with bricks, and though I wished a painful death on them, I didn't wish their families were murdered just so they would feel sad.

Posted by elswinger | April 18, 2007 10:35 AM

Blake's commentary reminds me of what I would like to suggest is an iron law of manliness: men who complain about manliness have small dicks.

"Fighting bad guys"? Are you fucking kidding me? Somebody's been watching a little too much 24. The Nietzschean superhero that gives Blake and Derbyshire such a hard-on only exists in the movies (I would think that this hardly needs to be said, but they make it clear that it does). In reality, when somebody walks into a room and starts firing, everybody else runs. That's what they do. Saving your own life--so long as it doesn't cost someone else's--is not a cowardly thing to do.

As a point of comparison, look up the FBI Miami shootout. Two guys (only one of whom did the shooting) killed two FBI agents and almost got away while under fire from eight (!) well-trained, well-equipped law enforcement agents. Try running at the gunman, Blake. You'll get a bullet in the face for your trouble.

Posted by THobbes | April 18, 2007 11:13 AM

Speaking as someone with a small dick, I apologize for Mister Derbyshire's remarks.

Posted by elswinger | April 18, 2007 3:01 PM

I do not intend to slight lesser-equipped men by association with Derbyshire and Blake. A fascination with power and associating virility with violence are the real problems here.

Posted by THobbes | April 18, 2007 4:29 PM

and up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong while watching how his penis patches got wet at

Posted by penis patches | April 30, 2007 11:43 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).