Are We Safer If Good Guys Carrying Guns Outnumber The Bad Guys Carrying Guns?

Yes, say the people who want to wander around armed, hoping that they will encounter a “bad guy” and get the chance to be a Hero

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By David Grace (Amazon PageDavid Grace Website)

Crazy Ideas From Silly People

There are lots of silly ideas out there. Most of them can safely be ignored. Promoting the theory that the earth is flat doesn’t hurt anybody.

But promoting some Big Lies does cause real harm, and those stupidities are the ones we need to call out.

The Big Lie That We Would All Be Safer If Lots Of People Carried A Gun

The Kyle Rittenhouse tragedy is an expression of one of those damaging Big Lies, namely, the claim that random, armed civilians wandering the streets will make everyone safer.

Juvenile, Male Hero Fantasies

It’s common for young males to fantasize about being a Hero.

In an earlier time young boys imagined themselves throwing grenades into Nazi machine-gun nests and then having the General pin a medal on their chests.

In more recent times, juvenile male fantasies have taken the form of boys imagining themselves blasting some bank robber or ISIS terrorist and being called a hero on the Evening News or fantasizing that they’re John Wick blowing away scores of Bad Guys.

It used to be called the “John Wayne Syndrome.”

Today, young males mostly play out these fantasies in some shooter video game where no one, neither bad guy, hero, nor innocent bystander is actually hurt. After all, it’s just a game.

Real Life Is Not A Video Game

But real life and video games are different things, and when young men start to think that they should be able to play out their juvenile, Shoot-The-Bad-Guys-And-Be-A-Hero male fantasies in the real world on real city streets with real guns loaded with real bullets, that Big Lie endangers all of us.

Today, there are people who want to wander around armed in the hope that they will stumble across a “bad guy” and will get the chance to be a Hero.

Those people are really promoting the “we’d be safer if more people carried guns” nonsense in order to justify their living out their Hero fantasy in the real world.

Undeterred by daily workplace shootings, school shooting, mall shootings, drive-by shootings, and uncounted other varieties of shootings, they want to wander around armed under the crazy notion that they will be the good guys, who will take out the workplace shooters, the school shooters, the mall shooters, and the drive-by shooters and be proclaimed heroes.

But, in the real world, rather than protecting the rest of us, those fantasies endanger both themselves and everyone around them.

I have no doubt that Kyle Rittenhouse had such a fantasy and look where it got him.

This sort of a crazy, stupid notion used to be laughed off as the hilarious ramblings of a moron.

Archie Bunker’s Plan To Arm Everyone

In the September 16, 1972 episode of All In The Family Archie Bunker gave the following citizen’s rebuttal to a local TV station’s editorial on airplane hijacking:

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -

“This here is Archie Bunker, veteran of the Big War, speaking on behalf of guns for everybody.

. . .

“And now I want to talk about something that’s on everybody’s mind today, that’s your stickups and your skyjackings, which if that was up to me I could end the skyjackings tomorrow.

“All you gotta do is arm all your passengers. If the skyjackers know they’re all armed then they ain’t got no superiority there and they ain’t gonna dare to pull out no rod.

“Then your airlines, they wouldn’t have to search the passengers on the ground no more. They’d just pass out the pistols at the beginning of the trip and pick em up again at the end.

“Case closed.”

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -

It was such an incredibly, obviously stupid idea that audiences thought that Archie Bunker’s promoting it was hilarious.

But today some people are seriously telling us that Archie’s theory is a brilliant idea.

How Would A “Guns For Everyone” Plan Actually Work?

Most people who own guns, including me, believe in responsible gun ownership. We believe that gun owners have an obligation to be trained in how and when to safely use firearms.

We believe that crazy people, criminals, and reckless people who treat guns like toys should not be allowed to have them.

— Training

Surely, we would want civilians who would carry guns in public places to be trained in their proper use.

— Testing

And shouldn’t we have some kind of a test to confirm that someone who’s taken the training has, in fact, actually learned how to properly use and store those guns so that we can weed out the people who slept through the course?

— Weed Out Crazy People & Criminals

And, of course, we wouldn’t want paranoid schizophrenics, psychopaths, violent felons, and the like to be carrying weapons on our streets.

— Take The Gun Away From Someone Who Misuses It

And we would need a way to take someone’s weapon away if they misused it — waved it around in public, threatened people with it, fired it into the air, took pot shots at road signs, gave it to a child, used it in the commission of a crime, etc.

So, wouldn’t responsible gun owners want people who are going to carry a weapon in public to take a course, pass a test, get a permit, and if they misused their gun, lose their permit for some reasonable period of time?

Isn’t that just basic, common sense?

The Let’s-All-Carry-A-Gun People Say NO To All Of That

The proponents of the “We’re all safer when everyone carries a gun” philosophy don’t want those armed-in-public people to be required to have any training, pass any tests, have any background checks to weed out criminals and crazy people, or to have any permit that could be revoked for people who used their firearm irresponsibly.


  • No required training to carry a gun.
  • No testing to prove that they understood the training.
  • No background checks to weed out crazy people.
  • No permits so that irresponsible people lose their right to carry a gun

Their theory is that if anyone can just strap on a gun whenever they want and wear it wherever they go we’ll all be safer.

You Can’t Tell The Good Guys From The Bad Guys

But, ordinary people, or police officers, who see an armed stranger in a store, a restaurant, a park or a church might well view that person as a potential shooter, criminal, or robber. Some of them might try to disarm that perceived threat.

Well, the gun people can’t have all these other wannabe heroes trying to disarm them at random times so they want a rule that says that anyone who tries to disarm them is “attacking” them, which “attack” allows the gun-carrier to kill the “attacker” in “self defense.”

They want a rule that says, “Any attempt to take away my gun is automatically a threat to my life which justifies me in killing the ‘attacker’ in self defense.”

This definition of “self defense” worked for Kyle Rittenhouse. It did not work for Travis McMichael.

Would Chicago Be Safer If MORE People Had Guns?

If this theory is correct then wouldn’t the neighborhoods on the South side of Chicago be really safe if all the non-gang-member citizens also carried guns.

Like Archie Bunker thinking that the hijackers wouldn’t be able to do anything bad if the other passengers also had guns, I suppose the lets-all-carry-guns people think that it would be a good idea to arm all the people in Chicago’s South Side because then nobody would get shot because all the non-gang-member citizens have the gang bangers outgunned.

Is that an intelligent, workable plan?

Bystanders & Good Guys

— Collateral damage? Bystanders shot?

No, that doesn’t happen because people in gun fights are always very careful about who they shoot at and they all have perfect aim.

And bullets never travel through walls and hit innocent people on the other side.

— Gun battles?

Good guys killed by bad guys or by other good guys who didn’t know the target was also a good guy?

No, that doesn’t happen.

Heck, the good guys all wear white hats so you can always tell who they are. Right?

— Mistakes?

Two people with guns who are both afraid. One twitches and the other draws and fires. No one ever makes a mistake like that, right?

No one ever hits a bystander by mistake, right?

And, of course, no shooter ever gets arrested or sued.

No shooter ever goes bankrupt paying for lawyers to defend them or paying the judgments against them.

No one who shoots somebody they mistakenly think is a criminal ever goes to jail. That’s what Travis McMichael thought.

In the United States, trained and experienced police officers kill (not just shoot) about a thousand people every year. Even though these officers are trained professionals, they still sometimes kill bystanders, innocent people, and unarmed people.

How many innocent civilians and bystanders will be shot by tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of untrained, possibly crazy or criminal armed people wandering the streets carrying semi-automatic firearms with ten, fifteen or thirty round magazines?

If you think that’s a good, reasonable, safe plan, then consider the following scenarios.

BTW, at the end of this column I’ve included accounts of six actual shootings where innocent people, many of them legally armed, killed or were killed in public places.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — -

Two Armed Men In The Supermarket

A mother and child are in line at a supermarket. A man tries to cut the line. Another shopper tells him to back off.

The first man pulls back his coat and shows his gun.

The second man shows his gun.

The first man puts his hand on his gun.

The second man panics and draws his gun.

The first man whips out his gun. Shots are fired. The child falls dead.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — -

Two Armed Drivers

A man is at a stop light which turns green. The car ahead doesn’t move. The man taps his horn.

The driver in the first car gets out and shouts at the honking man.

The honking man sees that the driver is armed and pulls out his own gun.

The driver sees the honking-man’s gun come out and he pulls his own gun.

Shots are exchanged. Both men are hit.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — -

Bargaining With Two Armed Men

Two gang members with AR-15s walk into a used car lot. They point to a car with a $5,000 sign on the windshield.

“We’ll give you a thousand,” one says.

“It’s $5,000,” the nervous salesman replies.

“It’s a good offer. You should take it,” the other gang member says and holds out a sheaf of bills and then nods at his friend’s gun.

The car dealer hesitates then takes the money.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — -

Collateral Damage

A young man is shopping at a convenience store. A second man bursts through the front door, pulls out a gun and aims it at the clerk, shouting: “Give me all the money or I’ll kill you.”

The shopper ducks back into an aisle and pulls out his own gun. He slips around the corner and tries to sneak up on the robber.

The robber catches a glimpse of movement in the mirror above the cash register, swings around and fires a shot at the shopper but misses.

The shopper fires six quick shots at the robber. The robber is hit in the shoulder, lurches and staggers out the door.

The shopper runs to the door then looks back toward the cash register. The clerk is on the floor, dying, shot in the chest by one of the shopper’s six bullets.

The shopper hears a noise. He turns and sees a pregnant woman lying on the floor, bleeding. She’s been hit by the robber’s shot that missed the shopper.

The shopper tells the police officer, “Sorry he got away, but at least I winged him.”

The officer says, “The clerk is dead and that pregnant woman’s lost her child.”

The shopper replies, “I was just exercising my Second Amendment rights.”

The officer asks, “Is that what you’re going to tell that clerk’s wife and kids?”

The shopper replies, “When you go after the bad guys sometimes there’s collateral damage.”

The clerk’s family sues the shopper into bankruptcy.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — -

Armed Men Cut In Line

A young couple is at a restaurant waiting for a table. A group of young men come in and take a table that is opening up.

The waitress asks them to wait their turn.

One of them shows his gun and says that they’re in a hurry. The waitress walks away.

The young woman looks at the young man. He whispers to her, “That’s it. I’m getting a gun.”

— — — — — — — — — — — — — -

A Children’s Game

Three thirteen-year-old boys are in a tree house.

“If I saw one of those terrorists, I’d fix him,” the first boy says as he makes a shooting motion with his finger.


“You bet,” the second boy says. “They wouldn’t get away with that stuff with us around” and he gestures as if holding a rifle:


“We’d show ‘em,” the third boy agrees.


Leave The Male Juvenile Fantasies To Children In A Tree House

Everybody having a gun so that they’ll be ready to shoot the Bad Guys and become a Hero is an immature, juvenile fantasy that needs to be limited to kids playing in a tree house or banging away on shooter video games.

In the real world, people dreaming of being heroes by wandering around urban areas with real, guns with real bullets only gets real people, often themselves, killed.

Sometimes They Will Safely Get The Bad Guy, But Not Often Enough

Sure, occasionally an armed civilian will stop an armed bad guy without injuring anyone else. From time to time that does happen.

But that’s not the issue.

The issue is how many people will be shot or killed because of civilians carrying guns for every innocent person saved by civilians carrying guns, and the answer to that question is many, many.

Ten people shot for every one saved is a bad, BAD plan.

A Negative Level Of Common Sense

Los Angeles, Denver, St. Louis, New York, Boston, Chicago, etc. are not Dodge City nor should they be.

If you can’t see that more people, especially untrained, unlicensed, and possibly crazy or criminal people, carrying loaded guns in public places causes more harm than good then your level of common sense is not zero.

It is a negative number.

— David Grace (Amazon PageDavid Grace Website)

Real People Killed Because Someone Was Carrying A Gun

The following six shootings involving armed people in public locations actually happened.

— Two Legally Armed People

Sara Nicole Morales bumped motorcyclist Andrew Derr with her car, in a collision that did not injure him nor disable his bike. Then she drove away, and Derr followed her to her home.

Morales emerged from her house with a gun which she pointed at Derr.

Derr had a permit to carry a gun which he drew and fired several times, killing Morales.

She was five months pregnant at the time with her second child.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — -

— Cop Kills Legally Armed Good Guy

On June 21, 2021 an active shooter, Ronald Troyke, ambushed and killed Arvada Colorado police officer, Gordon Beesley, and fired several rounds in the Denver suburb’s busy dining and shopping district.

Officer Kraig Brownlow heard the gunfire, but was not sure where the shots were coming from.

Looking through the window he saw Ronald Troyke, dressed in black carrying an AR-15, walking around the parking lot. Other officers called in an active shooter alert on the radio.

Johnny Hurley also heard the shots and rushed out of the Arvada Army-Navy Surplus store where he had been shopping. He pulled out his legally-concealed handgun, confronted, and killed the shooter, Troyke.

Hurley, holding his handgun and also Troyke’s rifle then stepped into the view of Arvada Officer Kraig Brownlow. Brownlow saw Hurley manipulating the rifle and fired three rounds, killing Hurley.

The authorities determined that based upon the information known to Brownlow, the presence of a mass shooter, and the potential for a second mass shooter carrying a rifle and a handgun, Brownlow’s killing of Hurley was justified.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — -

— Legally Armed Man Kills Unarmed Man & Shoots Two Others

In June, 2019 Kenneth French was shopping at a Costco with his parents, Russell and Paola French. French had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and could not speak.

Off-duty LAPD officer Salvador Sanchez and his 1½ year-old son were also at Costco that day.

Without warning French struck Sanchez from behind. French’s parents said that their son gave Sanchez an open-handed push or slap to Sanchez’s back. Sanchez said that he was hit in the head. We don’t know why French did what he did.

Sanchez fell to the floor and pulled out his gun.

“I begged and told him not to shoot,” Russell French said. “I said, ‘We have no guns, and my son is sick.’”

French was unarmed and he had turned around and was moving away from Sanchez when Sanchez opened fire.

Claiming that he was under attack and that he believed his life and his son’s life were in immediate danger, Sanchez fired ten rounds, hitting Kenneth French twice in the back and once in the shoulder, killing him.

Sanchez also shot both of French’s parents, but they survived their wounds.

Sanchez was fired from the LAPD and is facing a criminal trial for voluntary manslaughter and assault with a semiautomatic firearm. He was also sued in civil court. A civil jury awarded French’s parents $17 million in their suit against Sanchez and the LAPD.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — -

— Legally Armed Man Kills Unarmed Man For Throwing Popcorn At Him

In a Florida movie theater in 2014 Curtis Reeves got into an argument with Chad Oulson. Oulson allegedly threw some popcorn at Reeves. Reeves said that Oulson threw a cell phone at him and started to climb over the seat that separated them.

Reeves, a retired police officer said he was so frightened that he in order to protect himself he needed to shoot and kill Oulson, which he did.

Seven years later, Reeves was tried and acquitted on the grounds that the killing was self defense.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — -

— Cop Kills Another Legally Armed Good Guy

Following the sound of gunshots and reports of multiple shootings near the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Donovon Lynch pulled out the gun that he was legally carrying

Officer Solomon Simmons told investigators that he first saw Lynch turned away from him, crouched, with a gun in his hand, facing the 19th street parking lot where 50 shots had been fired minutes earlier.

The special grand jury called that parking lot a “war zone.”

Simmons said he heard Lynch “rack” his gun. Simmons shouted something at Lynch, and then, when Lynch started to rise up and turn towards him, Officer Simmons shot and killed Lynch.

A gun was found a few feet from Lynch’s body with a bullet in the chamber. No shots had been fired from Lynch’s gun.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — -

— Crazy Guy With Gun Kills Good Guy

Neighbors said Sanmiguel Yanez and other residents streamed outside to help those involved in a multi-vehicle crash near Case Avenue and Edgerton Street around 10 p.m. Monday.

As they were attempting to check on the driver of the car that reportedly caused the collision, residents noticed Lionel Eaton holed up in the back of the vehicle.

Eaton said he thought he heard gunshots and hid in his car. According to statements Eaton made to the police, he was fearful and fired several shots from inside the vehicle out, not aiming at any particular target.

One of his bullets killed Javier Sanmiguel Yanez.

Eaton’s mom later told police that she was concerned for her son’s mental health. She said her son had been acting “paranoid and erratic” and that he had voiced concerns that someone was trying to kill him.

Eaton told the police that he didn’t own a gun but that earlier that night someone had given him the one he used in Monday’s shooting.

Eaton was charged with second degree murder but was found to be mentally incompetent to stand trial.

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David Grace

David Grace

Graduate of Stanford University & U.C. Berkeley Law School. Author of 16 novels and over 400 Medium columns on Economics, Politics, Law, Humor & Satire.

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