I'd first like to offer up prayers to the victims and their families in the Aurora theater attack. I pray the wounded can find strength and healing and that the families of those killed can find peace.
This type of attack cannot be prevented. The threat of a determined lone killer cannot be eliminated in advance. He CAN be stopped. The number of victims CAN be minimized.
I'm not going to sit here and claim that one armed citizen WOULD have saved lives and prevented dozens of injuries. But I will guarantee that one COULD have.
Sheepdogs, Sheep and Wolves
I have had the honor of hearing Lt. Col. Dave Grossman speak on two different occasions. If you are not familiar with him, he is the author of On Killing, a study of the psychology of killing... both the kind perpetrated by evil doers and that done by the protectors.
Col. Grossman promotes the idea of the sheepdog...
"One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: 'Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident...Then there are the wolves,' the old war veteran said, 'and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.' Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? ...You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial...Then there are sheepdogs,' he went on, 'and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.'"
Col. Grossman further promotes the idea that those who are sheepdogs, whether by nature or by training, have a duty to carry the tools to be an effective protector. It is immoral to be able to protect, but to be unwilling to do so.
If you are legally able to carry a gun in public, don't you have the moral obligation to do so to protect yourself, your family, and other innocents if possible? You may not have an opportunity to engage the target, but you might.
Attacks can happen anywhere at any time. We can't hide out and never go in a public place. The best we can do is stay aware of our surroundings, leave a dangerous or questionable situation if we can, and fight back with explosive violence if we need to.
Be a sheepdog.