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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Archive for July, 2011

Massad Ayoob


Friday, July 29th, 2011

After the last entry on the atrocity in Norway, the saying “An armed society is a polite society” got kicked around a bit by the commentators here.

The phrase comes from Robert Heinlein, popularized by Col. Jeff Cooper, and means that people don’t generally do atrocious things to folks who have the power to kill them. I was reminded of this rather recently upon a visit to Memphis to teach for my old friend Tom Givens, both a friend and a student of the late Col. Cooper. Tom was the founder, and remains the host, of the annual Polite Society event, named after you-know-what. This is a combination training seminar and practical shooting match, shared by armed citizens, cops, and soldiers alike. Info is available at  I’ve gone to the last three Polite Society gatherings in a row, and found them both educational and enjoyable.

Memphis is one of the most violent-crime-prone cities in the nation. Tom is the most famous firearms instructor in the city, and something close to sixty of his graduates have been in gunfights thus far. The only ones who haven’t won their shootouts were the slim few who weren’t armed when trouble came looking for them. The overwhelming majority of those who attacked them are no longer violently impolite, though many of them are rather, uh, stiff.

Upon arrival in Memphis, the Evil Princess and I decided to stock up on adult beverages (on the theory that a mellow society is a fun society). The liquor store we picked at random had a sign in the window advertising to potential armed robbers that all employees were armed.

Discussion with staff determined the fact that no armed robber had yet tried to hit the place.  When ALL the staff can shoot back, even the dimmest of primordial criminal brains can figure out they can’t kill every resisting “victim” before they themselves get blown away.

Yeah, I know: “Correlation is not causation.”  At the same time, logic is logic and biology is biology, and we can’t help but notice that the creatures with fangs and claws don’t hunt each other for their daily meat.  There is, I respectfully submit, a lesson in that…

In polite societies, fair warning is given…see arrow.


This writer is comfortable doing business with brother Rick, who carries a Beretta Cougar .40 for the protection of his customers, his coworkers, and of course, himself. 


Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

History repeats itself. Monster commits mass murder in the most cowardly ways. Bomb in building, because there might have been armed police and security nearby if he had tried to kill the innocent one on one. THEN goes to an island where he knows there are no armed police OR armed citizens, and shoots helpless young people like the proverbial fish in a barrel…and surrenders as soon as armed protectors arrive, even though they’re too late to stop the horror.

Proving once again that “gun free zones” are places where only those who laugh at the law will be armed…”zones” that might better be called hunting preserves for psychopathic killers.

This never would have happened in Israel. After the Maalot Massacre of schoolchildren decades ago, Israel adopted a program wherein volunteer school personnel and adult family members of students were trained by the civil guard, and placed – discreetly armed with concealed 9mm pistols – in the schools and among the chaperones of off-campus youth activities.  Every subsequent attempt by terrorists to mass-murder children was cut short by these armed citizens.  Mass murders at schools ceased to be the terrorist strategy of choice in Israel. The same protective strategy has been employed in Peru and in the Philippines.

History shows us that evil people with weapons can only be stopped from murdering the innocent by good people with weapons.  We saw it in macrocosm in World War II. We see it in microcosm every time an armed citizen beats and armed criminal at his own game.

And, had there been even ONE armed protector on that helpless little island, we might have seen it in Norway last Friday, and the lives of countless innocent victims might have been saved.

Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

We’ve talked here before about the “guns on campus” issue. Adults in the higher education environment do so (or want to) primarily for two reasons: a hedge against “school shooting” horrors, and for routine protection against muggers, rapists, etc. who consider “gun free zones” to be safe game preserves in which to hunt human victims.

Here, however, is a third good reason. It comes verbatim from one of my graduates, who spends his days at a major institution of higher education as a grad student and researcher, in a letter he sent to a state senator:

“I am a graduate student at a major Florida university.  I am 27 years old.  I work in biomedical research studying a condition with which my wife is afflicted.  The laboratory in which I work is located on campus.
“Recently, an extremist animal activist group known as “Negotiation is Over” has been sighted on our campus.  In spite of having received trespass warnings, they were recently sighted handing out fliers offering $100 bounties on the photographs and personal information of students who, like myself, conduct animal research.  They have already posted on their website the name, address, home telephone number, and license plate number of a researcher in our department.
“These individuals utilize violent language and rhetoric, including the following statements taken from their website


“’Every time a vivisector’s car or home — and, eventually, the abuser him/herself — blows up, flames of liberation light up the sky.’




“’Students also need to understand that making the wrong choice will result in a lifetime of grief. Aspiring scientists envision curing cancer at the Mayo Clinic. We need to impart a new vision: car bombs, 24/7 security cameras, embarrassing home demonstrations, threats, injuries, and fear. And, of course, these students need to realize that any personal risk they are willing to assume will also be visited upon their parents, children, and nearest & dearest loved ones. The time to reconsider is now.’


“I feel that my life and the lives of my loved ones are in real danger.  Other researchers at UCLA have had their cars and homes firebombed and have been the target of regular death threats.  While I respect the value of law enforcement, the expectation of a sub two minute police response time is generally unrealistic – and a lot of damage can be done in two minutes as a former law enforcement officer like yourself knows.


“I am a concealed weapons or firearms license holder in the state of —— and have been since 2007.  I have participated in over 100 hours of firearms and firearms safety instruction, including courses on the use and application of deadly force taught by a former chair of the firearms committee for ASLET and an ILEETA advisory board member.  I have been certified by the NRA as an instructor in home firearm safety and certified pistol.  Yet, in spite of all this, I am defenseless because I choose to work on a college campus.  I must leave work unarmed, go to a location that is known to me to be dangerous, and return home unarmed.  Any stops I make along the way on any day in which I am going to or from work must be conducted unarmed.

“For months, I have e-mailed you and other senators about this matter.  I have received form letters and polite, vague responses from aides.  My greatest moment of hope came when Senator —- —– proposed SB 234, which originally had language to permit concealed carry on campus – until Senator —– ——- suggested (and the criminal justice committee approved) the gutting of the bill.  Their excuse had to do with an anecdote told by a family member of a young woman who was killed in a negligent homicide off campus near (a) State University.  The timing of SB 234 was apparently “politically inconvenient” in light of recent events.  To my knowledge, the manslaughterer involved was not a licensed permit holder and was most certainly not observing basic firearms safety.

“I am beat-down and exhausted from expressing my safety concerns and attempting to move through the proper channels.  I could count up the e-mails, but there are many.  Surely over 50 by now.  The vague responses and form replies march on.  Meanwhile, those who would harm me continue to flagrantly violate the law, trespassing on campus in spite of repeated warnings.


“Apparently, pieces of paper are not adequate defense against criminal activity.


“To be frank, I’m not sure I’m asking you to DO anything anymore.  That has gotten me nowhere.  Instead, I’ll ask you the following:

“Why do I, as a law abiding citizen, have less freedom to protect my loved ones than a criminal has to threaten their safety?

“Why do I feel that my compliance with the law is now at odds with the safety of my family?  How should I respond to these competing interests?  How would you respond, senator, if you were in my situation and had my limited resources?


“What incentive do I have to continue to respect the law and work through the proper channels when it seems that my elected officials cannot even manage to protect a freedom enshrined in the bill of rights?

“Why can I carry a firearm in Wal-Mart, where I can also purchase alcohol, ammunition, and underpants, but I cannot go armed at an institution of higher learning in a workplace occupied predominantly by advanced degree holders?


“Since I can’t go armed on campus, what measures do you propose to keep my family safe?  And please don’t suggest law enforcement – (our university police department) has one of the finest response times in the nation, but if you mime a stabbing for two minutes, that comes out to a lot of knife wounds.


“If you could respond to these questions or the sentiment behind them, I’d sure appreciate it.


“With respect,

“A concerned student”

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, July 14th, 2011

By now, most everyone has heard the report of an Arizona legislator pointing a gun at someone in the state Capitol. The red dot from a Crimson Trace Laserguard gunsight, attached to a little Ruger LCP .380 pistol, tracked across a reporter’s chest at one point. It’s been all over national news.  The senator in question is being painted as everything from a poor example of firearms safety to, as one person put it, “a psycho-chick.”

Reminding us once again that it’s always good to get both sides of the story before joining in a rush to judgment, I offer you this from our friends at TTAG, The Truth About Guns dot com.

Links within the link will complete a “both sides” perspective.  What’s your take?

Please let us know here, in the comments section below.

The Ruger LCP with the Chrimson Trace Laser Grip

And from our friend Oleg Volk, The raspberry version of the gun.

Massad Ayoob


Sunday, July 10th, 2011

A few weeks ago, I attended a way cool pistol match. Usually, I go to these things as a competitor. This time, my function was reporter, spectator, and “ammo boy.”

The occasion was the first all-women’s event in the Glock Shooting Sports Foundation discipline.  This Glock Girl Gala was the brainchild of Lisa Marie Judy, a gun enthusiast and activist for firearms owners’ civil rights in Reevesville, SC.  Lisa Marie’s feedback from other women interested in firearms was that pistol matches, being generally male-dominated, seemed too intimidating to enter. An “estrogen event” seemed to be in order.  She got permission from GSSF to host one, with the promise that if she got 100 entries, it would go on the calendar again.

She got OVER a hundred. From junior to senior in age group.  Single ladies and married ones, professional women and housewives.  It was a fun atmosphere, and a family one, with husbands, boyfriends, and dads along to assist and encourage.  There was a substantial contingent of female law enforcement personnel, as well.

I noticed a very strong element of mutual support among the ladies, distinctly more than I usually see at regular matches among “the guys.”

As a father of daughters, I found it a joy to watch.  A huge percentage of the attendees were shooting their first match, and Lisa Marie was gratified by how many said afterward that they wanted to attend more matches, “co-ed” or otherwise. The “Palmetto Glock Girlshootout” had proven itself to be a very effective port of entry for women into sport shooting.  Look for a full length article on the match in the next issue of “Glock Autopistols” magazine; some of the photos here are used with that publication’s permission.

Check out the GSSF rules and regs at I hope this concept catches on. The world of shooting needs more such events, in this writer’s opinion. Congrats to Lisa Marie, the GSSF folks, and all the many volunteers of both genders who made it happen!

Shooters await their turn on the firing line.

Lisa Marie Judy and GSSF’s Scotty Banks break up a log-jam in the “waiting to shoot” list.

This uniquely-executed Glock 17L was the “auction gun” for the event.

This is the “Glock-M” setup, one third of the match.

Earmuffs in pink, Glock .45 in always-appropriate basic black.

Not without a whimsical sense of humor, Lisa Marie Judy ordered these porta-potties for the event.



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