Blaming The Victim

Ken AshfordCrime, Right Wing Punditry/IdiocyLeave a Comment

Well, so far from the right wing punditry, we’ve learned where to lay the blame re: yesterday’s mass shooting.  The list, as I wrote in an earlier post, includes the teaching of evolution in schools, English as a collegiate major, foreigners in general, abortion, and co-ed dorms.

Now add the most insidious spin: the shootings could have been prevented by the students themselves.

Yup, the right wing punditry is now claiming that Virginia Tech students are wussies.

The last time we checked in with NRO’s John Derbyshire, he was expounding on his own hypothetical bravery regarding Iranian hostage-takers. Today, we learn that he also is completely fearless in imaginary domestic scenarios as well:

Spirit of Self-Defense [John Derbyshire]

As NRO’s designated chickenhawk, let me be the one to ask: Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn’t anyone rush the guy? It’s not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness’ sake—one of them reportedly a .22.

At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him. Handguns aren’t very accurate, even at close range. I shoot mine all the time at the range, and I still can’t hit squat. I doubt this guy was any better than I am. And even if hit, a .22 needs to find something important to do real damage—your chances aren’t bad.

Yes, yes, I know it’s easy to say these things: but didn’t the heroes of Flight 93 teach us anything? As the cliche goes—and like most cliches. It’s true—none of us knows what he’d do in a dire situation like that. I hope, however, that if I thought I was going to die anyway, I’d at least take a run at the guy.

If I had to choose a favorite insane statement here — like, say, if someone was holding a gun to my head — I think it’d be the idea that, "At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him." Or, best yet: you could always try the ol’, "Shoe’s untied!" bit. Works with my theoretical mass shooting murderers all the time.

The Carpetbagger mocks Derbyshire:

My favorite insane statement was Derbyshire’s argument that “even if hit, a .22 needs to find something important to do real damage — your chances aren’t bad.”

Let’s make this perfectly clear. Students are sitting in their classroom. They hear gun shots and screaming, and the noises are getting closer. They quickly realize that their lives are in immediate danger. At this very terrorizing moment, Derbyshire thinks that these students should think to themselves, “Hey, I think I know the caliber of that firearm! Not only that, I also think that a .22 would only do minor damage to me after it’s fired into my body at close range! Millions of years of well-honed instincts are telling me to run like hell, but instead I’m inclined to run towards the well-armed madman!”

Derbyshire’s thoughts are a special kind of stupid, combing a unique blend of blame-the-victim arrogance, Monday-morning quarterbacking, unearned machismo, and a breathtaking degree of callousness.

Human Events Online contributor Nathaneal Blake joins in with the student-bashing, saying that Virginia Tech students should be ashamed of themselves:

Something is clearly wrong with the men in our culture. Among the first rules of manliness are fighting bad guys and protecting others: in a word, courage. And not a one of the healthy young fellows in the classrooms seems to have done that.


Like Derb, I don’t know if I would live up to this myself, but I know that I should be heartily ashamed of myself if I didn’t. Am I noble, courageous and self-sacrificing? I don’t know; but I should hope to be so when necessary.

You know something?  It’s really really easy to imagine yourself being a hero when sitting in front of a computer banging away at the keyboard.  One wonders, however, why folks like Derbyshire and Blake aren’t being heroes in Iraq — protecting out country and all that.  C’mon you manly men.  Sign up.  I hear the Army is looking for a few good men….

UPDATE:   John Cole has a nice takedown of Derbyshire too.  Read it and be sure to read the comments, like this one:

Jesus. Count the fucking shots? Is this Dodge City and everybody’s got a six-shooter? How many shots fit it the magazine of the average semi-auto handgun? Nine? Twelve? I have no fucking idea and I suspect most others don’t either.

How many guns does he have? Is he firing from both at the same time?

Count the shots… What a fucking tool.

Don’t get me started on “it was only a .22”

As another commenter noted, he had a gun with an enhanced clip.  So even if you could (magically) know what gun he was using, you wouldn’t know how many bullets were in the clip.