Armed and dead

To be effective with a gun in a crisis situation requires not just instinct but also training. Police officers and military forces go through extensive instruction for good reason. It isn’t enough to knock a few beer cans off a fencepost or to accurately line up a deer in a rifle sight. Though Zamudio made the right call, he came close to being a coldblooded killer himself.

The fact is, permission to carry also grants implicit permission to use the gun as one deems necessary. Essentially, we’ve deputized thousands of private citizens without training them. Taking a shooting class at the local firing range may improve your reflexes and aim, but it doesn’t prepare you for the adrenaline-fueled intensity of real-time, close-range combat, which is what the Wal-Mart encounter and Tucson events essentially were.

In both instances, moreover, the perpetrators were deranged and/or delusional. The Millers were so over-the-top anti-government that they were tossed off the ranch of Cliven Bundy, the cattle rancher who staged an armed stand-off with government agents. There’s anti-government — and then there’s crazy.