The Flathead Valley’s Leading Independent Journal of Observation, Analysis, & Opinion. © James R. Conner.


30 July 2012

Lake County Deputy Ben Woods thinks the Aurora moviegoers were gutless

Updated. Did gutless moviegoers contribute to the severity of the theatre massacre in Aurora, Colorado? Ben Woods, a 30-year-old self-described “slightly overweight” sheriff’s deputy in Lake County, seems to think so. Writing in the Daily InterLake (the oped is online at the Bigfork Eagle), he contends:

I am sure that if one unarmed person in that theatre in Aurora, Colo., had jumped on this “crazed gunman,” then dozens of others would have followed suit. The problem is that there wasn’t one person who took such action for others to follow.

The InterLake described Woods as “…a deputy sheriff at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office with eight years of law enforcement experience. He has specialized training in response to active shooter incidents and is SWAT certified.” He’s also supremely confident that he’s a better man than the improvidents who were munching popcorn in the theatre instead of planning how do deal with a heavily armed gunman:

Regardless of your political affiliation, or “feelings” on violence and guns or gun “control,” you better have a plan in place long before being confronted with violence. A conversation that I have with myself often, even when I’m not “on duty,” goes something like this, “If anyone threatens my life and the well being of my family, it will be the last thing they do, even if it’s the last thing I do.”

Had he been in Aurora, of course, it would have been the last thing he did. That’s because the body armor clad, gas mask wearing shooter deployed tear gas and was armed with an AR-15 (with a 100-round magazine), a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot, and a 9mm Glock semiautomatic pistol. Anyone trying to rush the shooter would have been cut down long before he could have tackled the guy.

Woods, of course, disagrees, arguing that not everyone rushing the shooter would have been killed:

The call to action is to make the decision right now to not tolerate this kind of incident in your presence at any time, so you know how you’ll respond when you have to. Gunshot wounds, contrary to popular belief, are survivable. Panic and mayhem are most often not. In the days of the U.S. cavalry vs. the American Indians, many a cavalryman lamented in letters home that Indians could not be killed with one shot, but with many, and only to vital organs. These courageous Indian warriors had the will to fight through “superficial” bullet wounds, even if it killed them later by infection. [Emphasis added.]

Woods would have us believe he would have charged the shooter. I'm sure he believes he would have. But had he been in the theatre with his wife and child, his illusions of heroism would have given way to reality. His instincts would have controlled his behavior, as did the instincts of the three men who died shielding their womenfolk from harm. He would not have charged into a hail of bullets and buckshot. He would have gathered his family, shielding them as they fled for their lives. And had he survived, he never would have written that oped.