Re: How People React

1

Apparently the shooter had been attending Oral Roberts but it had gotten too expensive, in his opinion.

The gunman was identified as Matthew Murray, 24, who was home-schooled in what a friend said was a deeply religious Christian household. Murray's father is a neurologist and a leading multiple-sclerosis researcher.

Leading biomedical researchers are almost never religious at all, certainly not to the extent of homeschooling.

Strange story. Important.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:17 AM
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The moral of the story: don't go to church.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:25 AM
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What was up with that first security guard? If there's a time to use your gun, surely this was it.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:27 AM
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my mom died of multiple sclerosis


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:28 AM
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He was a man in black, but he was no Johnny Cash...

Things that jumped out at me: a) the guy telling most of the story with himself as the center seems to have done nothing except get himself shot. Brave as hell, but kinda dumb. Isn't the hero the security guard that took the guy down? Why aren't they interviewing her? b) There are security guards at churches?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:28 AM
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Well, depends on the actual situation. If the guy is staying in one spot, and everyone he could shoot from there is under cover, I could see a good argument for doing nothing until the situation changed. If there were people immediately in danger, of course, the second security guard did the right thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:29 AM
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2: Maybe the moral of the story is that the church is a secret jihadi crusader training camp.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:32 AM
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This is the church founded by Ted Haggard, isn't it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:32 AM
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Horrible story, admirable courage. I doubt I'd ever have the presence of mind to act even in much less mortal circumstances.

"God's grace" isn't really applicable, though.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:32 AM
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These Christians-- so crazy, so dangerous.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:32 AM
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I thought the story was going to be that the frozen guard gave the vet his gun (or had it taken from him) and then the vet killed the shooter. But no! The late-arriving female guard was the one exposed, and the one who actually shot him. The vet is clearly a nutter who wanted himself to be the center of the story. The woman is the hero here.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:33 AM
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8: Yes, it is. 2007 hasn't been a great year for them, has it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:33 AM
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Isn't the hero the security guard that took the guy down? Why aren't they interviewing her?

Google her name; tons of interviews, and she's the new darling of the right wing sites, which is not to say that she's not actually a hero. Sounds like the first guard just froze.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:33 AM
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Also, god god god god god god god, on all sides here. Sheesh.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:33 AM
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5b sums up my entire reaction. Seriously? Armed?


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:36 AM
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Seriously? Armed?

It's Colorado Springs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:37 AM
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So great:

At that point, another security guard, 42-year-old Jeanne Assam, arrived with her gun drawn. Unlike the male guard, she was using hers.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:37 AM
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The vet is clearly a nutter who wanted himself to be the center of the story.

Yes, this is my reaction too. Hey there, self-aggrandizer! I hope you're happy that your dream came true.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:38 AM
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11: Exactly. This feels like one of those cinematic tricks where it's all from the perspective of a minor character. How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Roman Republic. The set-up of the article was all about this brave vet who had decided 'never again' after Columbine, and while the guy was certainly brave, his contribution seems to be being near the actual hero.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:39 AM
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This is mostly off-topic, but it is about religion, so only sort of. This post cracks me up.

It's International Human Rights Day, so Bush talked about the only human right he really cares about, religious freedom, while unwittingly practicing the right to mangled speech: "We discussed how America must remain engaged in helping people realize the great blessings of religious freedom; and where we find societies in which religious freedom is not allowed to practice, that we must do something about it."

This AP picture was taken through the magic of Hasid-o-cam.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:39 AM
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It's Colorado Springs.

You say that as if it's ok.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:39 AM
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Well, that's a little rough on him. Assuming that the security guard who shot the guy was doing the right thing (which she probably was -- after looking at the story it doesn't look as if everyone else was safe enough to make waiting the guy out sensible), having two people advancing on the shooter probably helped. The shooter had to split his attention between the guard and the vet, and couldn't (or didn't) just focus on taking her down.

He does sound a little weird, but I think what he did counts as legitmately useful and very brave, even if secondary to what the guard did.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:41 AM
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to be being near the actual hero.

This is another strange idea though. I don't think there is any sense in which doing your actual job (regardless of what you think of the case for armed security guards at a church) make you a hero. But maybe that's just because I think the term has been made pretty much useless through abuse.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:42 AM
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The set-up of the article was all about this brave vet who had decided 'never again' after Columbine, and while the guy was certainly brave, his contribution seems to be being near the actual hero.

So what? Why does this bother people? It's not as if anyone's confused about who most deserves the acclaim. He's a secondary character, and a brave one at that.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:43 AM
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"It's the grace of God," he said. "Like Jeanne, we're both followers of Christ. I want to give God the glory, because I'm convinced He spared us that day."

Yes. God obviously wasn't feeling well disposed to the two people who got slotted inside the church, though, or the two others who got the good news from Murray at the mission training centre. But Assam (who was breaking the Third Commandment by working on the Sabbath) and Bourbannais, who wasn't at church at all but was eating a hamburger? God liked them.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:43 AM
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I think they had increased security because of the shootings at the youth mission earlier in the day. If not, then really weird. Also it may be crass to say, but I'm so very very pleased that if there had to be a shooter it was a deranged homeschooled christian missionary-wannabe, rather than a deranged agnostic or something.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:43 AM
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Well, okay.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:43 AM
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I don't think there is any sense in which doing your actual job (regardless of what you think of the case for armed security guards at a church) make you a hero.

Come on. Facing down someone who's shooting at you, so that you can protect other people, when you could have gotten away without injury, makes you a hero regardless of your job title.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:43 AM
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But maybe that's just because I think the term has been made pretty much useless through abuse.

As opposed to when, exactly? Was there a golden age of heroes that I missed?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:44 AM
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22: She was already firing, so who's to say? He didn't get shot helping her, he got shot yelling at the guy before she entered the room. I don't want to criticize the guy's actions, because facing down a gunman takes a lot of courage (even the armed security guard couldn't do it, nb., NRA), but the story just seemed to miss the point that he wasn't the star of it. Probably because they're trying to rush to get stuff to press and will interview anyone who will talk at this point, but still.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:45 AM
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He does sound a little weird, but I think what he did counts as legitmately useful and very brave, even if secondary to what the guard did.

Jeez, no kidding. Everyone gets to tell their story after something like this. I don't see aggrandizing, I just see him telling his story, which isn't the same as the security guard but involves considerable bravery and probably helped end the situation.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:47 AM
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but the story just seemed to miss the point that he wasn't the star of it

His quotes--"bravest thing," etc.--make it pretty clear that he wasn't the star. What is wrong with you people?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:47 AM
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25 neatly sums up my reaction. God saved me! Too bad he didn't love your family. Maybe you should have prayed harder.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:48 AM
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30: Yeah, that's I think an artifact of the post more than the story. If you're going to have a lot of coverage of the event, a story or two focusing on this guy isn't out of place -- more should focus on her, as the person who took the effective action, but he's interesting too. But just linking to one story about him gives the feeling that the coverage as a whole focuses on him, which would be bizarre but I don't think is true.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:48 AM
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24: The article is written as though he deserves the acclaim. His name, his history as a vet, his daughters, his narrative. Read the first two paragraphs and you expect that he gets shot, wrests the gun from the security guard, and shoots the shooter.

26: It seems that the church *normally* has security though, and that it was beefed up, ot rushed in.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:49 AM
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What is wrong with you people?

I'm a jerk, and unfair. I just found something really offputting about the story as reported.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:49 AM
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29: Maybe you're right and there was never a time it wasn't used mostly hyperbolicly. Maybe it's just a bad concept. I still think it's misapplied to anyone doing their actual job.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:49 AM
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having two people advancing on the shooter probably helped.

Yeah, I agree. The shooter was expecting to not be confronted at all, and the Vietnam vet helped throw him off course.

But Jesus Christ, armed guards at a church?! They're all crazy.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:50 AM
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Was there a golden age of heroes that I missed?

More than one, Timbot.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:50 AM
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1. Deciding "never again" (or, more accurately, to do what one can) after Columbine isn't a bad decision. Telling MSNBC that you had made that decision is a bit self-aggrandizing, to bourgeois coolists like us, who probably imagine that we'd be all Chuck Yeager/Gary Cooper about it, but not much of a sin.

2. Yelling at and distracting a guy with a gun who is shooting other people seems like a fairly-to-rather brave thing to do.

3. He did ask the frozen guard for his gun, with which to attack; the alternatives being (a) distract or (b) advance unarmed under fire, (a) seems OK, given the outcome.

4. Citing the grace of God as a reason to advance would I think constitute the sin of presumption; post facto, it's just a common misstatement of a theological issue.

5. It didn't seem like he was downplaying the female security guard's actions or grace under pressure in the slightest.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:50 AM
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It's Colorado Springs.

Even way up the mountain in the very middle of the sticks it would have been thought crazy to have armed guards at a church. These are places where they're supposed to have already won the culture war.

Also, good catch on that being Haggard's church. Wow.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:51 AM
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Was there a golden age of heroes that I missed?

Haven't you read Giambattista Vico?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:51 AM
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Other thoughts that struck me: if the church has a standing volunteer security force, dollars to donuts says that it was implemented post 9/11 in case Muslims invaded during services.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:52 AM
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Sorry, I figured you'd all seen one of the few dozen stories on the woman who actually shot the guy; I linked to this one because it described the reactions of three different people. She was definitely the star of the show. And they had armed guards because there had just been a church shooting nearby and apparently it was on Assam's initiative that they armed themselves and made a plan for security.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:52 AM
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From this it seems like there is a normal security force, and they just beefed it up after the earlier shooting.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:55 AM
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Facing down someone who's shooting at you, so that you can protect other people, when you could have gotten away without injury, makes you a hero regardless of your job title.

Let's not get crazy. That 10 bucks an hour is payment enough.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:56 AM
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To be fair, althought teh guy didn't end up playing much of a useful role (although 22 may be partyl right), he was asking for the security guard's gun. So he was not only brave, he was trying to be actively helpful.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:57 AM
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Yeah, 22 is based on my deep knowledge of gunfights from reading thrillers. I have no idea if he really was any use or not.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:59 AM
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46: After all, the term "hero" might imply benefits and there's no room in the budget after that new sound system.

43: You are expressing everything I secretly believe today so I think I'm just going to mute myself and enjoy.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 8:59 AM
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44: It was the first time I'd heard of the shooting. Maybe in context where everyone knows her name it does sound more like 'oh, this is the part where the real hero came in', but alone, it's a little strange.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:01 AM
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Maybe it's just a bad concept. I still think it's misapplied to anyone doing their actual job.

Sure, it's just her "actual job." But she chose a job that necessarily requires more courage and more willingness to be in this sort of position than most of us. A person's willignness to take a potentially dangerous job shouldn't diminish any genuine heroism in the performance of that job.

(No opinion express or implied on whether this particular guard was a hero on this particular day.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:04 AM
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Come on. Facing down someone who's shooting at you, so that you can protect other people, when you could have gotten away without injury, makes you a hero regardless of your job title.

We'll disagree on this one, that's nominally why you have the gun. She was doing an unfortunate part of her job. Same thing applies to, say, firefighters. Not that they can't be `heroes', but they aren't due to the risks of normal part of their jobs (which is much more so than you're average security guard. Of course they are better trained and paid, also).

It's a seperate issue, but I think the ubiquitous armed security guard is both a symptom of some pretty deep problems, and also underpaid and undertrained.

I don't get all the hating on this guy in the article, I doubt he had much to do with how it was written. If anyone should be questioned about the slant of it, shouldn't it first be the reporter?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:04 AM
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The security force was all-volunteer, just members of the church with permits.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:06 AM
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Is there a parallel universe in which reporters ask tough, probing, blog-style questions of people wounded in mass shootings?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:06 AM
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Does being an unpaid volunteer make her a hero? But seriously, even if you do it for pay, risking death to protect other people when you have the option of running in the other direction is heroic -- the sensible, "I'm no hero" reaction when someone starts shooting at you is to address the words "I quit" to your absent boss, and saunter off behind a concrete pillar.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:06 AM
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51: Sure, I agree --- cf my comment on firefighters. Certain types of jobs require a fair bit of courage just to do the day-to-day work. And certainly there are job descriptions that are far more likely to expose people to the possiblility of `heroism'. I'm not denying any of that, at all.

What I was objecting too was the immediate characterization of her actions as `heroic'. Which, as far as I can see, are just an (unfortunate) part of her job.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:07 AM
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I don't get all the hating on this guy in the article

I think I got an instant feeling that he would be someone I'd dislike in real life (gosh, what are the odds, given the setting?) and that in combination with the crappy breathless Today Show reporting made me get my hate on. It's not hard to prod me in that direction. I'm hateful!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:08 AM
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52: I think the variations in performance in crisis situations among people in paid responders roles would suggest that you're being a bit blase here.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:10 AM
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54: It's perhaps more a complaint with the reporting compared to other similar tragedies.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:13 AM
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This thread is what's wrong with our culture.

So let me get this straight, if some fucked up shit is part of your job description (e.g., "shooting armed gunman") you don't get hero credit? That's implausible partly because it's incompatible with our ordinary practice of ascribing "heroic" to actions of people whose job descriptions include courageous acts, e.g., security guards, police, members of the armed forces, etc.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:13 AM
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58: Maybe, but that's a training problem.

I have no illusions about what it's like to be shot at. If you fail to perform the job you've signed up for, that's something you'll have to deal with. No extra brownie points for actually doing it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:14 AM
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The concealed gun people are fired up about this situation. This situation will be used to attempt to rebut the VA Tech shootings where the students are banned from carrying weapons.

OT: Is the Flophouse gun-friendly?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:14 AM
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And 58, too.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:14 AM
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with our ordinary practice of ascribing "heroic"

Which I disagree with.

But you know, this isn't important ... I don't want to derail the thread over a term I find pretty useless in practice.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:16 AM
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56: I don't see why we must make the distinction between heroism and doing one's job. It's possible to do both, and the security guard seems to fit in that category.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:16 AM
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What I was objecting too was the immediate characterization of her actions as `heroic'. Which, as far as I can see, are just an (unfortunate) part of her job.

The decision to risk your own life to save other's lives is heroic, whether you are paid or not. Perhaps the level of accolades should be different for a paid, well-trained responder than for a relatively untrained, non-professional. But, the action still deserves to be called heroic.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:17 AM
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No extra brownie points for actually doing it.

What's the point of witholding the brownie points? Whatsername the guard does exactly what she does, just doing her job. Next to her, the vet guy managed to acquire the other guard's gun, and does exactly the same thing. She's doing her job, he's voluntarily putting himself at risk. If you're saying that he's a hero and she isn't, I'm not sure why you think making that distinction is a useful or a good thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:17 AM
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soup how often to you get shot at?

will Saiselgy lives there. It's as gun friendly as it's possible for a house full of liberals in DC to be.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:18 AM
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57: rfts, I get that. It's just been my experience that journalists will often spin things however they want, pretty much regardless of what you say. So I just wondered about that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:18 AM
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Big, sloppy, props to Bourbannais, of course, who is obviously crazy brave as hell, but this quote: "I said, 'Gimme your handgun. I've been in combat. I'm going to take this guy out,' " is hilarious (to the extent that anything in this story is even remotely amusing). Meanwhile, I imagine, the guard is thinking "No way, dude! If I give my gun to some guy in the middle of a shootout, I will be in so much trouble later."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:18 AM
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68: these days, never. It's happened a handful of times though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:18 AM
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Perhaps we can talk about firemen.

I dislike it when they get huge accolades for going into fires. "He pulled her from a burning fire!!!!"

Pat on the back? Sure. Commendation for excellent performance? Sure. Much more than that? Nope.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:19 AM
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a term I find pretty useless in practice.

I can sympathize with being annoyed by all the breathless babbling about heroes in the post 9-11 era, certainly. My only quibble was with drawing a line based on your job/not your job.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:19 AM
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62: They're going to say that. But there were plenty of people who were just as heroic at VA Tech and several people at the church who couldn't fire though they were armed and licensed. The kid in the one classroom who looked at everyone, including himself, hiding under tables and behind the podium and realized 'those doors don't lock' and ordered his classmates to barricade the door probably saved 30 people.

Personally, I figure that if campuses allowed guns, we'd trade the chance of stopping a Cho once every ten years for regular weekend shootings and suicides.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:20 AM
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What's the point of witholding the brownie points?

You'll note I said no *extra*. All props to doing a difficult job. I just thing the extra ones should be reserved for people who actually go above and beyond the call, etc. Otherwise the term gets so watered down it doesn't mean anything to me.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:20 AM
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70: I had the same thought. The other guard should have been more effective, but I really can't blame him for not giving his gun away.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:20 AM
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Sean Hannity is an American Patriot and a hero. I resent any person who dares to say otherwise.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:20 AM
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72 is pretty much exactly what I mean.

Which isnt' to say that there aren't fire & rescue & SAR people who do heroic things. I suspect usually all their co-workers are looking at them going `you're crazy, I'd never have done that' afterward.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:22 AM
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Oh, come on. Police officers have shooting people and being heroic in their job descriptions. But mall security guards? Like they're really there for more than window dressing. Shooting someone is way beyond their job description.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:24 AM
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It must be very comforting to be guided by the Spirit in times of intense crisis. I wonder what's going on there- are the people just feeling what I feel during intense crisis, but interpreting it differently? Or do they actually feel something different in kind? And can we put them in an fMRI and look at it? Or has this already been done?


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:24 AM
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78: The thing is, though, emerging from cover to face down someone who's shooting at you is really, really, really not all in a day's work, even for an armed security guard. Someone in a combat role in the military, maybe, but that's still brave. But for a volunteer church security guard (or even for a cop), it's above and beyond.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:26 AM
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You people slagging the guy for this story are cracked. It's embarassingly obvious that you're just knocking him b/c he's religious, etc. Dude was exemplary, and plainly gave credit to the female guard (who was also brave as hell). He couldn't control how the story was written.


Posted by: Dan | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:26 AM
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It's not in a days' work even for most cops. Usually the cops are there after the shooting.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:27 AM
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I agree with LB in 81. It just isnt in a normal days work.

They are there for show.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:28 AM
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re: 81. You're completely right, of course. But the fact that you have to explain this to people here is distressing. I can't believe any of the people arguing otherwise are sincere. If they are, it's bizarre beyond words.


Posted by: Dan | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:28 AM
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pwnd by Cala.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:28 AM
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80: shooting at people in an MRI machine carries some inherent risks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:28 AM
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79: Then don't give them handguns. I'm completely serious.

Like I said, the preponderance of armed security guards, low pay & training is a seperate issue.

Apparently this is contentious, I'll drop it.


80: I don't know how you'd go about creating a believable crisis situation in an fMRI. They've looked at all sorts of other states.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:29 AM
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82: If it's embarrassingly obvious, then we should also not wish her to get credit, as she is also religious. He maybe couldn't control it (though I doubt the Johnny Cash bit was invented), but the story's still weird.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:29 AM
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#77. I'm inclined to agree. Hannidate has provided me with hours of fun, too.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:29 AM
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Personally, I figure that if campuses allowed guns, we'd trade the chance of stopping a Cho once every ten years for regular weekend shootings and suicides.

It would make grading a lot easier, though. Just give every student an "A", because you never know who's carrying a weapon.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:30 AM
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I am certain that there has been extensive testing about people's reactions under stressful situations. I am certain that some people are off the charts calm.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:30 AM
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81/84/85: see 88 then. I completely agree that typical rent-a-cops are a strange situation, but we disagree as to why. I am certainly not underestimating the difficulty of doing this (leaving cover to return fire). I also personally think people are crazy for taking the job. This really doesn't, imo, have anything to do with my earlier comments.

I don't think we're going anywhere useful with this.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:31 AM
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I don't know how you'd go about creating a believable crisis situation in an fMRI.

This sounds like an awesome thesis project. "Let's try rats this time!"


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:32 AM
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92: Yes, there has been lots of testing about stressful situations. There is a problem with creating realistic `crisis' situation anywhere like a fMRI lab, though. And forewarned is forearmed, etc. means you have to be careful interpreting the results. Stress testing though? Sure.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:33 AM
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Mad scientists going to do unethical experiments! Has the virtue of being scary and true!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:33 AM
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94: the necessity of finding subjects who could keep their heads absolutely still for several minutes during the crisis might also make things tricky.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:33 AM
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94: heh. it does, doesn't it. Can you imagine the disclaimer forms and ERB process?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:34 AM
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They're volunteers, soup. She happens also to be a cop, but the situation is more like 'private citizen with a gun.' That sounds like what we'd be comfortable calling a hero.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:34 AM
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99 me.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:34 AM
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97: that's what the teflon screws are for.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:34 AM
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97: you can always screw their heads to a board. That'll up the believability of the `mad scientist' aspect. Especially if you don't use any anaesthetic.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:35 AM
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92: Yes, there has been, with lots of interesting related stories. F.e., in high stress (defined by heartrate), people revert to habitual actions instead of thinking. People shooting on the battlefield for the first time often found their pockets full of empty shells afterwards, even though they had no memory of pocketing them, and indeed they were not supposed to be doing so (waste of time). All because that was the habit they had learned on the firing range.

So reacting well in such situations is really not something you can predict unless the person's been heavily trained (i.e., snipers).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:35 AM
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99: sure, Cala, feel free to. I disagree, but that's ok. I hope.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:35 AM
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He couldn't control how the story was written.

That doesn't mean that the way the story was written couldn't have affected my immediate reaction. It did! Also, I have spent enough time rolling my eyes at people who react to every shooting story by talking about how when THEY are in that situation, they won't be losers like the victims, that I have a kneejerk reaction to those kinds of pronouncements -- even, unfairly, when they turn out to be more or less justified when they're put to the test.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:36 AM
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So soup I'm getting the sense that you just don't find the word "hero" much use at all, going all the way back to the original greek meaning. Is that the deal here?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:38 AM
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Like, if somebody jumped into a river to save a drowning person, but they were a really good swimmer who had also taken some CPR courses: hero, or somebody doing what should be expected of them?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:39 AM
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I remember some clever experiments on hypnosis, where people were hypnotized, then the lights dimmed and there were alarms as for some emergency, someone said the test was over and everyone should leave, but the groups of people susceptible to hypnosis just sat there, while those not susceptible left.

So put someone in an MRI, go "oh shit" and leave the room, then play gunshots and shouting outside?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:42 AM
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Regardless of what you all think of him, at least finally here's a guy with balls enough to live in John Derbyshire's world...


Posted by: McKingford | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:42 AM
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104: Didn't mean to type that I was making pronouncements on how everyone for all time should view the incident; just wasn't sure if you'd picked up on the fact that we were talking about unpaid, volunteer positions. I'm not offended by you not wanting to lionize her, but I'm not sure what more would have had to be the case for her actions to be heroic.

105: God, I hate that 'if I were there I would have taken down Cho with my mighty thighs' armchair quarterbacking. For a number of reasons. First, that I'm convinced 90% of them would have wet their pants, and second, there's always a few reports of people who did try to rush the gunman and ended up dead. They're not heroic, tho', because heroes always succeed.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:43 AM
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'if I were there I would have taken down Cho with my mighty thighs'

Maybe the chicks. The dudes would have crushed his skull between their pecs.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:45 AM
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As opposed to when, exactly? Was there a golden age of heroes that I missed?

Somebody's obviously forgetting their Saturday morning Superfriends...


Posted by: McKingford | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:46 AM
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No, Cala. Not always:

Among the countless heartrending stories to emerge from the Virginia Tech rampage, one of the most poignant is that of Liviu Librescu, an Israeli professor and Holocaust survivor who died while saving the lives of his students.

Librescu, a 76-year-old professor of aerospace engineering, barricaded the door to his classroom, blocking the shooter from entering and giving his students time to escape out the window.

"He saved my life," one student told the Los Angeles Times.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:48 AM
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106: Yes, I find it overused and often misapplied.

107: In some similar situations & jurisdictions, having enough training legally requires you to stop and help.

I'm really hesitant to be particularly judgemental about any situation I don't know much about, like this one. So I've probably been derailed into stating things more strongly than I should have about her. It's just completely predictable that when anything like this happens, the media will ask `who is the hero here'. Often I feel there aren't any.

I think there are extremely few acts that are inherently heroic, and that a heroic act for an individual *must* necessarily involve stretching their abilities. So a difficult or dangerous act performed by someone who has been adequitely trained for exactly that act is by definition never heroic. Which doesnt' mean you don't respect the hell out of anyone being able to do the job.

I also think that this culture has a broken psychological need to look for and define heroes, so much so that they are often created nearly out of thin air. On the other hand, there is a parallel narrowness of definition, so often real heroes are overlooked or denied in favor of marketable ones. It's a failing.

They're not heroic, tho', because heroes always succeed.

Yeah, this is such a bullshit idea.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:48 AM
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Yeah, the Librescu stories were really moving.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:50 AM
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In some similar situations & jurisdictions, having enough training legally requires you to stop and help.

If I see a couple arguing fiercely or an older married man with a younger single woman entering a hotel, I am required to give out my business card.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:50 AM
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But that's not what the armchair jockeys imagine themselves doing. They imagine themselves tackling Cho, or hitting him with a chair. They imagine them pulling their trusty sidearm and shooting him. Barricading the door is for liberal and pussies.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:50 AM
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Yeah, the Librescu stories were really moving.

I am such a sap. My eyes just got misty looking at that article.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:51 AM
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106: Yes, I find it overused and often misapplied.

But it's weird that you're finding it misapplied in this case, since this case pretty much exactly fits the definition, almost all the way back to the greek idea of an exceptionally brave singular defender of innocents. In at least a local sense, she was exceptionally brave.

I agree with you that oftentimes when the media says "who is the hero here?" there isn't one, but this just doesn't seem like one of those cases.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:52 AM
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But that's not what the armchair jockeys imagine themselves doing. They imagine themselves tackling Cho, or hitting him with a chair. They imagine them pulling their trusty sidearm and shooting him. Barricading the door is for liberal and pussies.

Sure. Some do.

But, speaking as someone who spends a lot of time with people getting a concealed permit, the overwhelming majority have a very realistic idea of what they can and cannot do.

The majority are very safety conscious and simply want to be protected in a time of emergency and they cannot trust the police to get there in time.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 9:53 AM
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119: in 106 --- So I've probably been derailed into stating things more strongly than I should have about her.

120: For what it's worth, I understand the argument and I'm certain that most people are fairly rational about it outside the situation --- but I really don't trust the vast majority of people in a crisis situation with a firearm. I say this having spent a fair bit of time around people who habitually carry.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 10:00 AM
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but I really don't trust the vast majority of people in a crisis situation with a firearm. I say this having spent a fair bit of time around people who habitually carry.

I dont trust the vast majority of people with anything.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 10:03 AM
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you know what, please treat as redacted 121.2. It opens a totally different can of worms, and I've got work to do.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 10:03 AM
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77: Liberality for All!

"What if today's anti-war Liberals were in charge of the American government and had been since 9/11? What would that society look like in the year 2021? What would be the results of fighting "a more sensitive war on terror" and looking to the corrupt United Nations to solve all of America's problems? In Liberality For All , you will sees a vision of that future... a Leftist dominated nightmare where there is only one justified type of war...the war against Conservatives and their ideals."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 10:04 AM
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It's too nice a day for another gun discussion. I'm off to buy some corn bread mix.

http://www.lehirollermill.com/


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 10:17 AM
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New Life is supposed to have 10,000 members. Although these numbers always seem inflated to me, you're getting a lot closer to a mall's population than a typical church. Thus, the volunteer security force. 'Armed', I'm guessing, is a matter of how many of them have concealed carry permits and are actually carrying.

I attend a (mega?)church that has rather obvious and interesting security team. They tell me there's a reason for it.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 10:32 AM
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I love how this discussion turns the hollywood version on its head.

soupbiscuit: she saved my child!
media: she's a hero!
soupbiscuit: no she's not, she's just doing her job.

Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 10:33 AM
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you're getting a lot closer to a mall's population than a typical church

I also would guess that you might also have a lot of cash on hand at any one time so there would be another reason for some kind of security guard.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 10:38 AM
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I also would guess that you might also have a lot of cash on hand at any one time so there would be another reason for some kind of security guard.

Someone, please make this heist movie!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 10:41 AM
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Someone, please make this heist movie!

Would the movie be appreciably different from the current daily show known as The 700 Club?


Posted by: McKingford | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 10:57 AM
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Sadly, no.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 10:58 AM
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130: Sure ... the robbers break into a safe hoping for the sunday returns, but it's the wrong safe and they find the pastors stash of gay porn. They then blackmail him into allowing them to set up as ushers the next weekend, but someone (a born again ex con) recognizes one of them --- hijinks ensue as the pastor tries to help them get away with the money while looking like the opposite!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 11:00 AM
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Someone, please make this heist movie!

I think one of the Parker books by Donald E. Westlake writing as Richard Stark involves ripping off a revival-type convention.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 11:09 AM
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Intriguing! I haven't read that one.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 11:10 AM
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I don't see what's so surprising about churches having security guards. I bet a lot more will from now on.

The movie described in 132 sounds great.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 11:22 AM
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120: I'm sure many of them would be. I also think most of the Internet post-VA Tech was just having fanstasies. And I think pretty much any mass shooting goes into 'hard cases make bad law' territory, in terms of what the policy response to something like VA Tech should be.

126: Y'know, I've often mentally confused megachurch with megamall...


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 11:28 AM
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136: Sometimes, they're not that different. It's just that we're missing a Cinnabon. Good thing, that.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 11:33 AM
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137: Wait for it, they'll figure out how to slide franchises in before too long.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 11:34 AM
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Do they have ATMs in megachurches?


Posted by: dob | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 12:11 PM
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They certainly have cafes


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 12:14 PM
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Do they have ATMs in megachurches?

I was thinking of asking this exact question.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 12:19 PM
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I thought last night's megachurch episode of Aliens In America was pretty cute. I'm the only person I know who watches that show but I think it's one of the best new ones this season.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 1:04 PM
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The moral of the story: don't go to church.

Amen.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 2:18 PM
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So it's a little late for this thread, but I guess now we know who the real hero was.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 2:55 PM
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139, 141: Not mine, nor the other one that I've been to. But I've never been to any of the really, really famous big ones (Willow Creek, Saddleback, etc.)


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 3:39 PM
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If the first guy decided after Columbine that he would confront the shooter in that kind of situation, he probably should have also decided to carry a gun. It would have come in handy, is all I'm sayin'.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 5:09 PM
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On the "hero vs. just doing his/her job" debate: Yes, they're just doing their jobs. But some people have jobs that ask them to do heroic things, and that makes them heroes when they actually do them.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 5:15 PM
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That guard is a hero for not giving some random nut his gun, for sure.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 5:29 PM
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148: I was sort of thinking the same thing, actually.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 5:56 PM
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