An American coward

The Regression to the Mean doesn’t seem to have learned anything from the Holocaust or any other violent incident in world history:

I have to dissent, in the strongest possible terms, from John Derbyshire’s shocking posts on Virginia Tech. The notion that a human being or group of human beings holding no weapon whatever should somehow “fight back” against someone calmly executing other people right in front of their eyes is ludicrous beyond belief, irrational beyond bounds, and tasteless beyond the limits of reason….

Everyone who wants to know the actual facts of the matter should read David Maraniss’s account of what happened inside the classrooms.

I read it and it seems to me that people were hiding under desks, hiding behind lecterns, huddling by walls and generally behaving like terrified sheep, the two professors and the three guys who held the door in the computer class being the obvious exceptions. (The article doesn’t say, but the word choice leaves the impression that the ex-military professor may have made the mistake of trying to talk to the guy.)

Don’t hide behind the lectern, throw the damn thing! Break a chair leg off, hide behind the door and stab him in the throat if he pushes through while the others throw desks at him. If the gun shots are pops, not big booming cannon sounds, you know it won’t kill you unless you get hit in the head or the heart.

That Maraniss account doesn’t support what Podhoretz is saying, it makes Derbyshire’s point for him. Just looking around my office, I see glass frames that would make daggers, a lamp that would make an effective spear, two bookends that would smash a skull if thrown, chairs with heavy wooden legs and metal balls on the feet, a six-inch sharpened letter opener and an assault rifle with an extra banana clip… okay, so maybe the average academic office doesn’t have the latter.

The point is that you can turn nearly anything that has heft or length into an effective weapon. You may still be outgunned, but if you’ve got the benefit of numbers, you can and will win if you fight back. At the very least, you are giving yourself and those around you a chance to survive.