So-Called “Good Guys With Guns” Did Nothing in Dallas

After a gunman opened fire in Dallas last week, police apprehended three other possible suspects because they were openly-carrying rifles in the immediate vicinity of the shooting and police officers had no way of knowing if any of them were one of the attackers.

We've always known open-carry laws will make it more difficult for first responders to distinguish between friend and foe and may even lead to accidental shootings, but something else happened in Dallas that I want to draw attention to. Or perhaps I should say something else did not happen.

As many as 30 people showed up to last Thursday's protest openly carrying their penis extensions but none of them did a damn thing.

The Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, described to CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday the amount of confusion the armed protesters initially caused.

He said the event had attracted “20 or 30 people” who “showed up with AR-15 rifles slung across their shoulder.”

They were wearing gas masks,” Mr. Brown said. “They were wearing bulletproof vests and camo fatigues, for effect, for whatever reason.”

They say only a good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns, but these supposed good guys did nothing.

The idea behind carrying weapons in public is that ordinary citizens can answer the call of duty and defend themselves or their fellow citizens at a moment's notice, but none of them did. The open-carry enthusiasts who attended the protest reportedly "scattered" at the scene when shots rang out.

Two men carrying their rifles were dramatically arrested on the highway near the scene because they were rapidly speeding away from the shooting. One wonders why they even bothered bringing guns with them if they intended to flee as quickly as possible after the first shot was fired.

What happened in Dallas is the kind of scenario where the theory of open-carry civil defense should be carried out in practice, but it wasn't. What happened in Dallas was a complete disaster for proponents of open-carry laws. They say carrying guns in public enables civilian intervention, but none of them intervened.

  • Badgerite

    And as you point out, in an active shooter situation, how are the police to distinguish a “good guy with a gun” from the bad ones shooting at them? How is anyone supposed to distinguish a “good guy with a gun” from a bad guy?

    • Aynwrong

      You know he’s a “good guy” if he’s quoting his favorite lines from Call of Duty or 24.

    • Hemidemisemiquaver

      There you go, using facts and logic. You should be ashamed of yourself! It’s obvious who the good guy with a gun is. He’s the white person.


      • Badgerite

        Ah! Silly me.

  • Aynwrong

    The Dallas police deserve tremendous credit for the fact that they were able to deal with these so called “good guys with guns” under such circumstances without further bloodshed occurring. These idiots deserve to be publicly shamed over this nonsense.

    • Christopher Foxx

      These idiots deserve to be publicly shamed over this nonsense.

      Most definitely. But not a one of those idiots, or the many others in the NRA, will feel the least bit of shame.

  • muselet

    Now that we have (yet another) real-world example of how firearms don’t in fact keep anyone safe, can we please stop paying attention to the unhinged rantings of Wayne LaPierre?

    As Kevin Drum said, a depressing number of mass shootings ago, (paraphrasing) every minute spent talking about LaPierre’s latest utterance is a minute not spent doing something about the actual problem of too many guns in the hands of too many people who shouldn’t have them.


    • JMAshby

      I don’t believe in ignoring LaPierre to the extent that the Senate Majority Leader won’t make a single move to confirm Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland because he’s not NRA approved.

      The NRA and it’s indefensible positions should be covered in the context of congressional intransigence.

      • muselet

        Wayne LaPierre’s job—his entire job—is to say outlandish things which will enrage decent people, who will turn their rhetorical fire on him, not the NRA and its influence and insane agenda.

        Let’s concentrate on the NRA and not the organization’s provocateur-in-chief.