THOUGHT PROVOKER 69
Blindness and Carrying
Last Updated May 24, 2004
To Provoke Thought Is The First Step To Beyond
Should a blind person be allowed to carry a concealed weapon? This is the question in the media today and will be for me in the courts tomorrow; by law, even if I otherwise qualify, I can’t because I am blind. Today I had a horrendous experience, very little of it was of my own choosing, the most of it reflects the state of the world for us today and I am being talked of as a hero and a villain. Below is my story.
“TINK!” The tip of my long white cane found the metal frame of the front doors of the city auditorium. I was there to listen to a talk given by a nationally known speaker. There were only a few other people walking near by, confirming what I already knew, I was late.
Hearing a couple of people coming up fast behind me, I pulled the door open to let them go in first. The next thing I knew, two large strong hands had me by my upper arms. These two guys were big and very determined. I tried to extract myself and it got me a gun muzzle slammed into my face. A man with a heavy accent said, ”Fight us and you’ll die now.”
My captors took me forcefully into the building, through the double doors of the entryway and into the Fourier. There were only a few people around and our entrance didn’t seem to make a stir. My two captors kept me in front of them, their long guns pressed vertically against my back, hiding them, using me as a human shield. They surprised the guard, clubbing him down beside his post.
My captors forced their way through a door that brought us in at the side of the front of the room. The man speaking over the sound system looked our way, as I am sure all the audience did too; shocked to see armed intruders.
My captors yelled some things in their accented speech and began shooting, one to the right and the other to the left.
I was free. Moving as quickly as I could, I reached into my right front pocket and pulled out my double barreled derringer. Cocking it I made a quarter turn to the man on the right, left hand reaching out finding his side, I pressed the muzzle of my gun to his rib cage and shot him through the heart.
I pivoted to the left to where I could hear the second guy banging away. At the end of a long step, my left hand found the small of his back and I shot him through the spine. Then there was no more gunfire, both terrorists were down and separated from their weapons.
**1. Yes, blind people should be permitted to carry a gun equally with sighted people. The get a permit to carry you have to demonstrate the skill and judgment to carry a gun. These two factors are the most important, not sight.
I am a member of the NRA and the local Sportsman's Association. My husband and son are tactical shooters and compete several times a month. Not to be left out, I go target shooting with my family regularly. I am told where the target is and I shoot kinesthetically. I can load and reload several guns and handle them with safety.
There is an international blind shooter association with rules that govern assistance and participation in competition. I know of a blind archery and gun club that is called Shot in the Dark. We are not talking about an unusual practice here.
In most states there are no restrictions specifically speaking of vision,
but many certifying individuals are prejudice against blindness. I have had one such person constantly compare me to a blind lady he knows who runs a vending stand. Here we go, blind people all put in one mold. I asked him if she ever went target shooting. No but she is blind.
If I were interested in getting a permit to carry I would ask someone I knew from the Sportsman club to certify me who wasn't prejudice. On the other hand if I had problems applying I would 'stick to my guns' (yes, pun intended) and insist on the law which does not discriminate against blindness.
This is a very controversial subject, sighted or blind. Some people would never take violent actions to defend themselves and they don't think any one else should either. The basic fact is that if a person is level headed, has good judgment and the skills they SHOULD have the right to defend themselves, sighted or blind.
JODY W. Ianuzzi Florida USA
**2. Talked of as a hero or as a villain? That doesn't take a gun; any time we take a stand and make a choice, there will be the two sides to contend for the correct observation - the yin-yang of the world, the chiaroscuro, if you will, of life.
But, blind people should be permitted weapons if that's their choice for proceeding through life. Since I don't believe in armed conflict or violence of any kind I guess that individual rights are most important in this case.
thanks for the space.
kat Millhoff AERnet
**3. should blind people be able to carry a gun?
I would argue NO! In the example that is given, he uses a gun for self defense, I have no problem with that. In the example given how does the blind man know that he can be sure that the two people he KILLED was the two gunmen in questions? He could have killed two security guards who were just trying to do their job and protect this blind person. This blind person would be charged for double second degree murder and he would want to argue that he acted in self defense. This would normally be the right defense but in the circumstance that I am proposing, he was actually in no danger because the two guys that he killed were guards who were protecting him. Where is the cane? He could have used that for self defense. Females are taught self defense specialized for females, why can't blind people be taught self defense for blind people?
Jonathan Alpert HumanServ NFB firstname.lastname@example.org
**4. There is a book on blind self-defense, and probably classes as well. I know many people have done karate classes especially for blind people, and the participants in these classes have found them very helpful and beneficial.
I think this thought provoker is interesting, but I won't comment on it,
because I'm fairly anti-violent.
Robin Mandell HumanServ NFB
**5. Well, it seems to me that you had every right to carry that gun. Now, I am aware of all the arguments against it of course, but, I disagree with them. Seems to me, the way our so-called society is nowadays, we, the blind, have every much a right to bare arms as does any sighted person: (see the second amendment of the US. constitution).
Now, the second amendment not withstanding, some would assert that it would not be possible for a blind person to make safe use of a fire arm given the volatility of a situation such as that in which you found yourself; however, this argument, given the facts of the case which you put before us, seems to belie this argument. Now, it seems to me that it also depends very much upon the competency of the would be gun carrier. IF the person, be they blind or sighted, proves himself incompetent, naturally, they ought not be permitted to carry a concealed weapon; by the same token, if the person is proved
to be competent, naturally, they ought to be permitted to have a gun.
Now, some may take the view that no person should be allowed to bare arms (the liberals and the socialist left); and others, (the so-called right wing) maintain that there is a right to bare arms. I am compelled to wonder, however, whether these same so-called right wing advocates (of which I am one) would so readily defend a blind person's right to bare arms just as they would defend a sighted person's right to bare arms. Would they, in a fit of unthinking stereotypical misconception, not believe that a blind person, merely by reason of their lack of eye sight, could not handle a gun and therefore, should not have a right which they claim for any sighted person? If this is so, that is, if the conservative who so readily advocates that a sighted person ought
to "keep and bare arms" yet, a blind person ought not have this right, can only be ascribed to their misunderstanding regarding blindness and perhaps to rectify this lack of understanding. ! this is one of the things which greatly bother me about them, namely, that they so readily political correctness and yet so readily become politically correct the instant blindness is put in to the picture. About, perhaps that's another thread unto itself.
You will note that, as yet, I have not said anything about the "liberal view". this may be because, at least according to my understanding, they don't want anyone to have guns anyhow; therefore, what does it matter? Well, I maintain that it does matter. The last thing we need, be we blind or no, is having to be looked after just because our would be benefactors believe us to be to stupid to look after ourselves.
In summary, it is my contention that the blind have the same right to keep and bare arms as does any one else; and, that they should be subject to the same responsibilities which are commensurate with that right.
FROM ME: Blindness and political philosophy- well, does a persons level of sight change how they fit into, be accepted by, be viewed by, etc any and all of these human constructs of society? Are rights superseded by disability? And if so why? And if so, and knowing it, how do we handle it?
**6. The scenario outlined in Thought Provoker 68 may not be a realistic one for many of us but consider the following.
You are walking alone to your hotel room, late at night. As you insert the keycard into the lock someone grabs you from behind in a threatening way. You attempt to control the situation and reach into your fanny-pack, pull out your gun, turn quickly and push it into his/her body and shoot until the attacker falls or until the gun is empty.
I believe that many of us have faced tenuous situations in our lives and we certainly have the right to defend ourselves. The constitution gives all Americans the right to do so, it does not exempt blind people. Nor does it say that if a person is struggling and looses his/her glasses he/she needs to say, "wait
a minute, I've lost my glasses and can't see any more, you need to stop! NOW!"
It could be argued that, from a constitutional standpoint, there is no reason for this discussion, but as more and more laws supersede the constitution we are going to have discussions like this.
The current laws are ridiculous. In Arizona, for example, anyone can strap on a holstered gun and walk anywhere. However, if one wants to conceal a weapon of self-defense, he/she must pass accuracy requirements. To me that seems to be a bit strange, but considering that the accuracy tests they talk about involve a few hours, at best, of shooting, and do not measure abilities in real or stress situations, there is little sense to the law at all.
A blind girl in Kentucky passed the accuracy test by being told where the target was, and being aimed at it, is that a real-life situation? I'm not saying that she shouldn't carry, but that the laws are not sensible.
A few years ago Michigan became the 37th state to pass a "right to carry", (CCW) law which says that anyone can carry if he/she passes a gun-safety test, there are no shooting accuracy requirements, which makes sense because approximately 80 percent of bullets fired by professionals in stress situations miss their intended target, how much worse could we possibly do than that, especially when knowing our limitations. In my case, the gun is a contact weapon.
If my situation meets the criteria of the law and if I can be in physical contact with my attacker, then, I have the responsible right to defend myself.
I felt that, since it is preferable to abide by the law when possible, that I could qualify for a CCW in Michigan. I passed the gun-safety test with ease. However, the County Gun Board refused my application and subsequently the courts did as well.
I believe that anyone has the right to carry, better alive than dead. We also have, of course, the responsibility to suffer the consequences if we violate the law. In making the decision to carry, or to even possess a gun, several things are important. 1, To know yourself and your limitations. 2, To have a plan. 3, Shoot your gun regularly and understand it and how it works and what to expect from it. 4, Know the law.
Consider the following situation.
You hear what you feel is someone breaking into your house. You have a plan. You know that it is not wise to try to hunt the person down because there are to many variables that you can't control, such as lights controlled by the intruder, or intruders. If there are intruders, you are out numbered and in big trouble, they might have guns too. So you close and lock the heavy door which you have installed in your bedroom or safe room, everyone should
have a safe room with a phone and a heavy door. You call for help and wait. If you hear noises at the door you do what you need to do, but you wear ear protection because you have shot your gun regularly and know that you won't be able to hear for a while afterwards and you'll be at a huge disadvantage. Remove the ear protection as soon as you are finished shooting Knowing your limitations means, for example, that you may prefer a 12 gage shotgun for home defense, but if you are a small person you may choose a smaller weapon, or you may decide not to possess a gun at all.
Knowing the law means, that different states have different laws on when it's permissible to shoot an intruder. In some cases you need to warn them that you have a gun, which in my opinion puts us at a disadvantage because intruders are not required to do the same. At any rate, you want to be able to say that you warned the person appropriately.
David Gordon USA
**7. > Should a blind person be allowed to carry a concealed weapon?
In my opinion, this is not a theme specially related to blindness. This is a theme related to our attitude towards life.
Why should anybody be allowed to carry a weapon? (Except of police, soldiers and maybe security)
Weapons are for killing. Our aim should be to assist life, to safe life, to make life worth living.
Well, I do not know the legalities in America, and I must confess that I do not exactly know the concrete legalities here in Germany too, but I think the legal regulations here are much stricter than in your country.
Of course, we do also have armed raids, persons running amok and so on, but it is hard to get weapons legally and there are not as many incidents with firearms as one gets to hear from your country.
And that there are people running around armed and willing to harm people does not give us any right to run around the same way. Wearing a weapon always holds the willingness to use it. To be ready to use a weapon means to be ready to kill people. Life is sacred, and we should not bee ready too easily to waste it.
If you can live in an environment where you need not fear that everybody on the street could be running around with a weapon in his pocket, it is a great gift. If I knew that just anybody could simply go and buy a gun, and the thought of how easy someone can be overcome by grief or anger, hatred and frustration... I would fear for my life and the life of all the people around me. The idea that only by wearing a weapon I could protect myself and others from danger is frightening. If everyone does think the same, then how can there be
trust in the world or faith?
The question should not be "Should a blind person be allowed to carry a concealed weapon?", but "How can we tighten the weapons act, so that normally nobody needs to think about how to get access to firearms just to protect himself? How can we improve world that nobody needs and wants to wear weapons?"
Marianne Leidig, Germany
**8. That is thought provoking. I'm against blind people carrying
concealed deadly weapons for the same reason I'm against sighted people carrying them. They rarely if ever protect anyone, and too often they are used unjustifiably by the carrier.
I live in a big city and I am a retired police officer, and I don't carry a gun, because I know if some one robs me they'll take my gun
along with my wallet. I also know that it has the tendency to give
people a false sense of duty, believing that a weapon can solve problems that don't require lethal force, and a gun is only meant to kill. Bullets are made to puncture flesh and break bones, not to make loud noises to scare people.
If you read the papers or watch real life crime shows on TV, you'll notice a lot of bullets are fired without the intended targets getting
hit, and quite often unintended victims do get hit. In the now famous
shoot out in Los Angeles between heavily armed bank robbers and LA cops, hundreds, if not thousands, of rounds of ammunition were fired before that real life drama ended, and there were only two bank robbers killed, and one of them committed suicide. Here's a case where trained officers were unable to score direct hits on the bank robbers. These men wore body armor, but their heads were unprotected, and not one police bullet hit either man in the head.
Guns are fine for the home. Blind people have as much right to own a fire arm as a sighted person in my opinion, but I'm not sure if it is
legal in all states, if not, it should be. I think a blind person would know if their home was being invaded by a burglar or a robber, and
having a gun is a measure of protection and security that they have a
Bill Heaney Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
**9. I find this story to be presenting three major issues. The first being, it is the sighted that basically run the legislature and it is they who make the laws and there in lies the first problem; will they think the blind could handle a fire arm? Second, the instructor of fire arm safety would also have to be won over. Third, the blind community themselves will need to see themselves as being capable of learning and carrying. Put that all together and then you’d have some individuals, who are blind, wanting and able to carry. And, maybe saving the day.
Mark Wellbert USA
**10. I shared this month's thought provoker with a sighted colleague of mine. I thought his response very interesting and I asked if I could share it with the provoker group, he didn't mind. I can't remember if his name is in the email so I’ll just mention it here. Bill Blome
You're right, Janet. It is interesting indeed. Feel free to send these thoughts on to the group if you want. I would like to see the follow-ups, if you don't mind sending them my way.
Personally, I'm ambivalent on this issue. A little background first. I am very much against gun control. I do see the civilization we have, and I do understand and appreciate the need for CCW permits as opposed to just letting anyone carry a concealed weapon. I am also very much in favor of teaching kids as soon as possible how to act responsibly around guns, whether long guns or pistols. I sincerely believe that education is the key here, but I'm not talking just about book education or how to shoot. I'm talking about a full dish of education where they have some book study, learn gun safety, learn a little about how guns work, learn to shoot, and see the results of things getting shot.
Regarding this Thought Provoker: When it comes to the blind and CCW permits, what concerns me here is the situation in which the weapon might be needed and not the person's sight, although that does come into play as a variable. Such times when you need a weapon to hand are, by their very nature, extremely stressful. People, blind or not, can be trained to react to situations, taught how to analyze the situation, and so on. What can not be trained is how the person will in fact react in the situation when it actually happens.
In the case in this Thought Provoker, the person reacts properly: is in close proximity to both (AS far as he knows) attackers. He (or she) reacted in a collected manner, was aware of where the assailants
were, and used one hand to locate and position each person that needed to be taken down. This person qualifies, in my honest opinion, for a CCW permit and the right to carry.
That is the described situation. However, that is also an idealized situation. Trained terrorists would not likely have stayed so close together, would likely have pushed the blind person in front of them, but away or into the audience, etc.. At least, if I were doing that attack, that's what I'd do, to eliminate the possibility of us both
being taken down so easily. How would that same blind person react in a slightly different situation? Let's say that the attackers were further away from the blind person, out of immediate reach. What would that blind person have done? Action is required, obviously, but what could he do? What if there had been three people? A derringer typically only has one or two shots, what then? As you can see, there are lots of variables: Where the targets are, the type of gun you have, who's in the way, how are others reacting? What if the other
terrorist had seen his partner fall? Like it or not, some of this is visual information that is necessary for a successful conclusion to the situation. Yes, I know. All of this also applies to non-blind people. Indeed, that's my whole point. Proof of proper and necessary training is even more critical for a blind person to be able to carry, simply because of perceptions. Even for some "normal" (whatever that means!) people, it's far more critical that they
prove proper and necessary training to be able to obtain a CCW permit. What I do NOT believe, however, is that a blind person has any less right to a CCW permit than anyone else, provided they properly meet the legal requirements for the permit and not only prove appropriate training, but maintain that training at it's peak. (I believe that applies to everyone, actually.) This is a situation where the blind person may well have to exercise more control over themselves than others, and I repeat that it is the way the person will react that concerns me most about whether or not they carry. Training aside, it has been shown time and again that an individual can have all the best training and still not use that training when the stress of the situation is higher than they thought it would be. That is to say, in training it's one thing, the back of your mind knows that it's just training, but when it happens, that "safety net" thought isn't there. It all boils down to the person with the CCW permit knowing not only how to act in a situation, but also when, AND having enough self control to react properly, calmly, and with the safety of others in mind.
Sent by Janet George
**11. Way to go! Did that really happen? That guy's a hero. My husband said the same thing. Personally, I don't believe in guns and don't feel anyone should carry a concealed weapon. But being it is legal to carry a weapon why shouldn't the blind have the same right to defend and protect themselves. And, in this case, save the lives of a few hundred people.
Patricia Hubschman New York USA
**12. I think that the Blind can be just as capable, and as incapable of using a weapon as the sighted. Although I am not sure how I feel about allowing weapons to be carried, I look at weapons being used by the Blind in the same way I look at the Blind using power tools. It is not difficult to find someone who would tell you that a Blind person cannot use power tools safely, because they say, "Look at all of the sighted folks who have gotten hurt from power tools"; and yet we know that it is no big deal for the Blind to use power tools. Of course there is a big difference between a skill saw and a pistol, but the misconception is the same. No Blind person is likely to point at something he or she cannot see, or something that is not within 3 or 4 feet from their body. If you put a blindfold on a sighted person, ask them where someone is standing, they have no clue, and they would think, "how could a Blind person use a weapon if they don't know where people are standing?", and we know that we can listen for people in a crowd and point at them, which is well beyond the distance that even the sighted would use a gun.
Glenn Ervin Northeast Nebraska USA
**13. Minnesota has a law prohibiting carrying concealed weapons altogether, so neither blind or sighted people can walk around armed. However, there's a recent push by the governor to have the law overturned. It has yet to be passed, though. Whether blind or sighted, I think that everyone should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon if they feel comfortable enough with using it. I, myself,
am deathly afraid of guns, so I will remain unarmed. No, I would not have any trouble with aiming at my perpetrator by listening for the direction from which his/her voice or movement is coming from. It's the idea that my perpetrator could make me lose my grip or make my hand turn to where the gun barrel's aiming at me instead and the trigger being pulled before I could re-direct my aim back to the perpetrator. Sure, I could carry a box cutter, but my fear
of the same result is still as such. Yes, there is self-defense training available for blind people to be able to use their canes as a weapon. However, only the aluminum canes are sturdy enough to hold up to hitting someone over the head. I used to use an aluminum cane, however, due to tendonitis in my wrists and my wrists being in excruciating pain from manipulating something as heavy as an aluminum cane, I had no choice than to switch to such much
lighter-weight canes as the NFB carbon fiber or fiber glass canes.
FROM ME: A long white cane is not heavy and can be used in a variety of ways as a defensive weapon. I do not know them all, these methods, but a couple that come to mind are- the handle if jabbed straight on, can be used to break ribs, knock the wind out of some one or even break a windpipe. I’ve also thought that a broken shaft could be used to jab someone in the stomach and if done hard enough, a core sample of what that bad guy had for lunch would be taken. (Yes, bad all bad and I hate to think of it.) We’d have to have a specialist in defense write in and tell us all what could be an option.
**14. This is a very interesting provoker. I am scared of guns and would not carry one. However, I took a class in criminal justice and I asked the professor what he thought a blind person could do about defending himself or herself and a gun was recommended. If the blind person was required to get training I feel it is okay to carry a gun.
Angela Farmer Dothan Alabama USA
**15. I tend to be one who thinks that more people die from people carrying guns, than not. There's a case out here where the police chief of Tacoma, WA, shot his wife, who died a week later, and then shot himself. This all happened in broad daylight, at a store parking lot, in front of his 5&8-year-old kids. They are now without their parents. If he hadn't been carrying a gun that day..... On the other hand, my late brother-in-law who was blind, owned a gun and was trained in how to use it. If someone is trained to use a gun, and their job puts them in sleazy parts of town, then perhaps he/she needs it for protection. A gun in my possession would be bad news; I don't have a clue how to use one, and whether I can see or not really isn't the point. The blind guy in this story obviously was trained in how to use a gun, and needed it for protection, not only of himself, but the entire crowd at the auditorium.
Lauren Merryfield Washington USA
**16. Absolutely, a blind or vision impaired person if they meet the proper requirements of where ever they might be from then yes they should be able to carry a legally obtained concealed weapon the same as other persons in the community. In New Zealand where I am from it is legal to carry a concealed weapon of any type no matter who you are but if it were legal I'm pretty sure that a blind person wouldn't be able to have that same feeling of security that
other members of the community were able to obtain if they so wished. I'm sure that with any blind person who wished to carry a weapon of any type would be almost extra careful before using it for obvious reasons. So in short yes why not?
Byron B AUCKLAND New Zeeland
**17. I am a blind female that lost her vision nearly five years ago. I was adept at using a gun and am still comfortable with them. Nearly a year ago, I was bothered by a stalker. The issue came up that maybe I should have a gun. I know in my heart that I am capable of good judgment in the use of a weapon, but 100% of my sighted friends and most of my blind ones thought I had lost my mind. If I can walk through a door, I can shoot someone breaking into my house. I am not saying that a person that has not handled a gun is able to safely have a weapon, but that is not a sight versus blind issue, really,
but one of safety and sound judgment. In this scenario, I think the fact that the man is blind worked in his favor and he accomplished something perhaps a sighted person could not. He was obviously knowledgeable on the use of the gun and did not shoot wildly into the crowd or waste his shots. The surprise factor was perfect.
Pam McVeigh Louisiana USA
**18. I think the story was a good and interesting one. I did at first wonder why the two terrorist didn’t first shoot down the blind man as they opened up on the crowd. Then I thought that possible these two guys were Muslims (Not wanting them to be any real people, not wanting to come across like I don’t like people from this religion; I respect all peoples), but don’t some religious groups have special laws or codes or just are taught to not harm some specific types of people, like honor and not harm the elderly, or treat women or children or the disabled with more deference? So, maybe these guys saw the blind guy as one of those “hands off” types of people. Anyway, if I were to rename the story, I’d call it “DON’T FOR GET THE BLIND GUY.” (Meaning, of course, he may be the one to get you.)
FROM ME: Interesting, when I first started creating this TP story, I was using “Don’t For Get The Blind Man” as a working title. And you know what, that title, that phrase, that concept is a real big one for us, is it not?
**19. Those dissenting opinions, that the blind, in particular, should not carry concealed weapons, are in the United States of America of no consequence. Why is that so? Here is the exact wording of Amendment II of the United States Constitution:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
In this country, all citizens, sighted and blind, have always had the right to carry concealed weapons, for their own security and protection. Only those who regard the blind as second-class entities, as less than citizens, as helpless, desire to alter the United States Constitution.
Jeff Frye Overland Park, Kansas USA
**20. This is a tough one. While there is no clear cut answer to the question of whether blind people should be allowed to carry weapons, I think I would say no. While I am sure that some blind people could use such weapons properly, I suspect that others may not. And since there are far too many weapons
circulating around in the hands of the public in general, I don't think it is wise to make them more available when we really need to make them less so.
Arie Gamliel Jerusalem, Israel
**21. What a topic! I have mixed feelings about both the issue of carrying weapons and the question of whether people who are blind should be allowed to do so. First, I'm personally against carrying concealed weapons by anyone, unless the person is involved in law enforcement. On one hand, supporters of guns say that society/civilization has become violent and each of us should be able to protect ourselves. That may be true, but encouraging people to carry weapons just adds to the problem, not make us safer.
As for the question of blind people having or carrying weapons, I feel that the person's disability should not preclude them from doing so. However, I do feel that the person must be given special training in when and how to use or not use the weapon. In this story, what if the person had just fired at where he/she thought the terrorist was and missed and hit someone else? At least in this situation, the blind person seems to be quite skilled, aware
of his abilities and was rather calm about what had to be done. That wouldn't be the case in most situations and with most people, whether blind or sighted. Actually, I wonder what is meant by "concealed weapon?" I know the person in the story is speaking of a gun, but the "weapon" could just as easily be a knife or other device or could also refer to skills such as boxing, the marshal arts, etc. I think that I'd be much more interested in knowing and able to use appropriate self-defense skills.
Doug Hall Daytona Beach, Florida USA
**22. I don't think this is difficult. If a blind person can meet the
requirements for the permit, then, yes, a blind person should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon, the same as his sighted neighbor. I don't know anything about what a person must do to meet the requirements for such a permit. But, if training in proper use of the firearm is required; maybe the blind person would need some individual training. But, I don't believe that blindness should be the reason for a person to be excluded from receiving a permit to carry a weapon.
Cindy Handel Willow Street, Pennsylvania USA
**23. I never thought much about this until I started dating a guy who was very active in the pro gun movement, including NRA and other organizations and taught concealed weapons permit courses. He used to be in the Army and collects guns, etc. We talked about him teaching me to shoot, The whole thing was his idea, and the first time he mentioned it, I said, "I can't do that." It had never occurred to me that I could. He really wanted to do it, and said me not being
able to see would not be an unsolvable problem. We never did make it to the range before we broke up, but are on decent terms again. I think I would still like to go and just see what I can do. He's already shown me how to take a gun apart and unload it, etc., though I don't know if I would remember now. He strongly believes that anyone who can successfully go through the SLED-mandated training and background check should be able to receive license to carry a weapon. Blindness should not be an issue. Blind people have the right to defend themselves. Self defense/martial arts training, etc., are good, but if someone feels the need to carry a weapon, they should be able to carry one. This is what my friend would say, at least.
I don't know if I will ever take the classes to become licensed to carry a concealed weapon on my person, but if I wanted to, I would not appreciate being told that I couldn't because I am blind. Lots of people have guns illegally with no training in their proper use and use them while under the influences of substances or for purposeful acts of violence. Kids not old enough to drive are packing weapons. And someone wants to say I can't because I'm blind. I would propose that plenty of blind people probably do carry weapons. If someone really feels they need one for self-defense, they will get one through
whatever means necessary. I would much rather see blind people receive training and licensure to do so than the alternative. We do, unfortunately, live in a dangerous world. Blind people are not exempt from crime, and unfortunately, can be seen as a more vulnerable potential victim. If I did not have a guide dog, as a small female, I would feel much more cautious and apprehensive about roaming around the city I live in, particularly after dark. I believe my dog does deter people, though I know she is good-natured. Plus, she helps me move faster and more purposefully. We have the right to feel, and be, safe.
Carmella Broome Columbia, South Carolina USA
**24. I think the provoker itself is a image from what was it Scura the Blind Samari, or Scent of a Women, take your pick. But the issue of safety is a huge one, especially in this day and age where the values of our parents and grandparents are melting away. First of all, we as blind people should know how to defend and protect ourselves. personally, carrying a concealed weapon is not exactly what I would consider good preparative ness, but... it might be for others. Some thoughts.
1. Is safety important? Answer yes. And don't think that blind people are protected the "thieves code" does not exist anymore and people are going to attack anyone they can get their hands on. Are blind people with dogs safe, sort of, but killing a "glorious guide dog" is not a huge hesitator in today's criminals mind as it once was. So... you are probably saying where is she coming from. May I pose a few antidotes to this.
Two incidents happened at a convention in the Gateway to the West, AKA Pittsburgh. One day, at a convention, a blind man and his guide dog, plus another individual with a mobility disability were walking outside to relieve the guide dog. Two men came up behind them, said, "I have a gun, give us all your money," The dog growled at this point, and the robber said, "I will shoot the dog."
Another incident same day. Pittsburgh is not the most dangerous city on the planet o.k., just examples, can imagine there is more going on than we first consider. But a woman took her dog out to the relieving spot. A man, claiming to belong to the hotel, came up and said, "they moved the relieving spot because of what happened this morning, let me show you where it is." She took his arm and they proceeded to walk down the street. And luckily someone
saw what was happening.
These do happen. Was talking to a friend at a conference I was at last month, and she told of a story, of a blind woman walking down the street at night with her cane. People came up to her, stool her purse, shoved her to the ground, and stole her cane! Which meant she was literally stranded. Now she travels with a 110 pound German Shepherd guide dog.
2. Why present that issues. Answer, because they happen. Now, could they have been prevented you never know. Best solution to any safety issue is diligence, and learning how to defend yourself if... the need arises. personally, I take the hand to hand approach and leave a piece of metal out of it. as the people trying to rob me probably have much more experience than I do in using it, and then it becomes another weapon in their hands. personally, the best
way to defend yourself is prevention. walk in populated areas at night, in well lit areas, away from known crime districts. Listen, watch, and be alert. keep your hands free. Put money, and other valuables in places where they are not visible. Don't wear expensive stuff, like jewelry or leather or fur coats when walking alone at night. Don't carry a large amount of cash on you. When asking for directions, do it in a piece by piece basis. instead of asking for 22 Baker street. just ask for Baker street and then ask someone else for the 2 block, and so on and so forth. People do not need to know where you are going, why, or when. That is none of their business.
Safety is a huge issue, and something to be considered by all people not just those who are blind. Personally I am taking the self defense course my school offers and have a copy of Safe Without Sight from NBP. Good book, if you haven't checked it out. Learning break away techniques, or ways to get away in a fight or confrontation are important, and worth learning. Personally, should blind people carry concealed weapons. If they know exactly what to do with, and have the accuracy of Duncan McClain, then definitely, sure, they can. But if they toat a loaded gun around, with no clue how to use it...
they are asking for trouble. one of the Fib's principles of its agents, is never let any of your tools fall into the wrong hands where, they can be used against you!
Oh, and Duncan McClain was a blind detective in a series of books written by Baynard Kendrick in the 1930-19600s. he traveled with a Guide dog and a police dog, and was a really snap shot. After multitudes of practice of course. Actually great detective series. Safety is important. Remember to be aware of the situations you are walking into. pay attention where someone is guiding you. And remember that the best tools you have are your two feet and that mass of gray matter we call a brain. panicking is the best thing for a criminal, as you become putty in their hands. But keeping your head in a situation, breaking away from a attacker, and seeking safety in a crowded or populated area are the best defense skills you will ever have. Raping a blind woman, some men in society think it is unique. Robbing a blind man, makes no difference to a drug starved person needing cash. There was a boy killed in Philadelphia. The murder needed a fix of Coke. Guess how much money the teen was carrying. Six bucks! just some thoughts to think about. And as a FYI a lot of rehabilitation agencies and centers for blind have self defense. Hadley is considering or already has a course on self defense. Is something to consider. Not to scare anyone, but there is no such thing as a safe neighborhood.
Shelley L. Rhodes USA
**25. In this case, it was a good idea. I think that if a person knows what he is doing with a gun, and has control of his temper and feelings to use it only when he knows it is necessary, it is okay.
Karen Colorado USA
**26. This story is pure fantasy, the sort I used to indulge in when I was about twelve. But, let's look at it seriously, since you seem to mean it seriously.
First, did the gangsters take the narrator's cane? It makes a difference whether they did or not. But, this point is not clarified.
Second, realizing that he is a hostage and a human shield, why does the narrator make no effort to alert the people around him by shouting for help? Though doing so might indeed have cost him his life, it would have saved many more.
Third, not unnaturally, the people in the auditorium would have assumed the narrator was one of the terrorists, so in all likelihood, he would have been shot - and perhaps killed - or otherwise incapacitated before having a chance either to use his own weapon or to explain his position.
Here are the reasons I think this is a heroic fantasy:
First, since September Eleventh, even seemingly unimportant venues like the town auditorium would have a vidulent staff, on the alert for any suspicious characters or activity. It strikes me as highly unlikely that the terrorists could have gotten as far as the inside of the theatre. If metal detectors at the main doors didn't catch them, alert employees and auditorium patrons would have.
Second, the terrorists would, literally, not have stood still for the
narrator to locate them tactilely. The story assumes that they would be too intent on their work of mowing down innocent citizens to notice
someone touching and fumbling at them. The first man would have knocked our hero down, probably with enough force to injure him, and might t also have kicked or shot him.
If the narrator managed to shoot the first terrorist, the sound of the
report would alert the second, who would have dealt with him.
After the first moment or two, there would have been a good deal of noise in the auditorium, people screaming, other people shouting, many feet running in all directions and, in a state where weapons concealed and otherwise were legal, gunfire from the audience. Not only might the narrator have been shot in the confusion (see point three above), but all the noise would have made it difficult for him to locate the second terrorist by sound.
Then again, under the circumstances, wouldn't he be very frightened and confused? Would he have the presence of mind to act so quickly and decisively? In that position, I think most people, sighted and blind, would not be able to perform so smoothly.
Finally, if concealed weapons are illegal in his state, or the carrying
of them by blind people is illegal, how does the narrator come to have one? The police will have some hard questions for him, hero or not.
For the record, I feel that no one should be allowed to carry concealed weapons.
Solidarity and Peace
Kerry Elizabeth Thompson email@example.com
**27. I think a blind person should be able to carry a concealed weapon. just because we are blind does not mean we are defenseless. if you take away letting us have a gun we will be. look at the man in the story if he had not had a gun more people would have been killed then there were.
**28. WOW! This is definitely an interesting topic. This is a very good thought provoker and had a great ending; however, I personally do not feel that a blind person should be allowed to carry a firearm. the person in the story was able to physically touch his targets. But how often is that actually going to happen? He could have just as easily disabled them in this situation with a knife. It will be interesting to hear what everyone has to say on this.
Wendy McCurley Fort Worth, Texas USA
**29. If you were a Swiss citizen, you'd not only have had a carrying permit you'd have trained with weapons in the Army probably earlier in your life. Blindness is no exemption from firearms use or training in Switzerland. I believe the Swiss are trained to effectively shoot at sound though. If a blind Swiss shooter were in action they'd waste no time feeling around and putting the gun tactilely on targets, there'd be range between them and their targets but not much. Probably the shooter might use hollow point ammunition or bullets coated with nicotine extract as an insurance policy too.
Jude Dashiell NFBtalk
**30. Yes; I believe that because we blind people should be on an equal footing with our sighted peers, carrying a gun shouldn't be an obstacle because of our blindness. Sure there might be lots of stereotypes out there saying that we blind folks can't protect ourselves, that since we can't see we're unable to shoot, thus not being able to carry and/or needing a gun. Sure we can't see but we have our other senses to aid us in our lives! Just my thoughts.
Gerardo Corripio firstname.lastname@example.org
**31. Very interesting story. yes I think a blind person should be able to carry a gun. The right to bare arms includes everyone. Blind or sighted. If the blind person can use the gun safely and is responsible for it.
**32. I like a woman who carries personal protection!
**33. I disagree. Blind persons do not drive. But they can, do and should be able to own motor vehicles. Firearms should be held to the same standard. I think any blind person who carries a weapon (concealed or not) in order to protect himself/herself is absolutely nuts in that firearms (concealed or not) are quite often turned against the person carrying them. I am also not sure that civilians outside of law enforcement persons should be carrying concealed weapons. Period. But I should be able to own a gun just as anyone else can. I suspect that, having grown up with guns, I'm safer than many sighted individuals who find guns so abhorrent that they don't know diddly about guns and gun safety!
Mike Freeman NFBtalk < K 7 U I J >
**34. Perhaps it is a better thing to question whether the blind should carry weapons of any sort then, including the pepper spray many women in urban areas who are considered "at risk" because of some perceived disadvantage are encouraged to carry.
Would a blind woman be considered more disadvantaged? Maybe so. Should a blind woman be carrying some form of personal protection if she feels she needs it? I think so. If that protection involves a glock 9mm and she knows how to use it, well, I will just make sure not to give her occasion to use it!
I'm not sure if Robert will want to post this or not, since it kind of
diverts from the topic a bit. Most people will tell you that high school
for a blind person isn't really this bad. Except, for me, it was..
When I was younger, due to problems, violence, threats against my life by schoolmates, and the fact that I was depressed by high school to the point that I literally did not care if I lived or died, I tended to carry knives of various sorts around with me, including some meant for throwing. I knew how to use them, and I carried a few of the more intimidating ones quite openly. Did I have a right to? Absolutely!
Did it do me any good? Probably not. By the time I started carrying
these things, my life was no longer in danger. I'd already told the school district that I flat out refused to attend their schools anymore since they obviously could not or would not guarantee my safety. Once I left the schools, the only problem I ever had was the occasional drunken idiot shouting things at me as he drove by upon seeing the cane.
Frankly, by that point, even though I had successfully left it behind me, school had depressed me so much that I did not care if I lived another day, much less if I was still in danger. I was looking for a fight, and I didn't care if I won or lost. Either way, someone would not be walking away. Thankfully nobody gave me the opportunity. Obviously, at this time I refused to carry a cane and went out usually only at night since that is the only time I can safely travel without one.
Still, if anyone was intimidated, they never showed it. People I did know accepted it, though many of them would have voiced disapproval would I have listened. People I did not know simply stayed away, either minding their own business or assuming I was some nutcase. I never saw a person walking toward me looking rather menacing only to think better of it once they saw what I was carrying. Those sort of people weren't there, and had not been since I left high school. The only people who harassed me at all was the occasional police officer who would try to lecture me how while it's true I was doing nothing illegal, I was actually placing myself in danger rather than protecting myself.
It'd be a couple more years before I'd listen to that kind of advice. But
that in itself is another very long story which I'm not going to relate since it would at best receive a few chuckles from the likes of a certain Mike Freeman, among others.
Joseph Carter NFBtalk
**35. In Oklahoma we can carry concealed weapons but you have
to have a permit and most places have signs on the
doors saying you can't bring your gun into their
establishment - banks, restaurants, etc. also there
is no way they would ever let you bring one into a
convention center or other public place like that, etc
since Sept. 11. doesn't matter if you are blind or
sighted. one interesting thing though, some law
enforcement individuals attend my church and sometimes
have to attend in full uniform with weapon and their weapons aren't concealed. Sometimes they are chosen to take the offering. it does give you a little strange feeling when that guy is standing there in
front of you with the offering bag and a gun. kind of
like dig deep and put in all your money.
**36. Should blind people be allowed to carry a gun? No.
Should blind people be able to carry a weapon? NO
Should non blind individuals be able to carry a concealed
Diane H. Styfle
**37. thoughts on this Thought Provoker:
1. What's the unstated assumption about the future in America? That we can expect to be assailed at random in our humble civic auditoriums by terrorists from now on, even at community events in Tulsa or Des Moines? Who will these attackers be? Right wing militia a la Tim McVeigh, with well worn paperback copies of the Left Behind series found in their cargo pants pockets when they're captured, intent on the destruction of the New World Order and its fleet of black helicopters based at Area 51? Or Neo Nazi
skinheads from the desert, plotting the ethnic cleansing of all non-Aryan peoples? Or a mirror image faction from the ranks of Louis Farrakhan, seeking the destruction of *them*? Or, and this seems a long shot but most likely what was intended, sinister radical Islamic terrorists on a jihad junket to critical centers of Western power and decadence such as Minneapolis or Cleveland? What I'm wondering is, basically, does a scenario that opens with such unspecific paranoia merit further reading? Can its didactic intentions be trusted by a thoughtful person in search of answers
to the riddles of sight loss? An open question.
2. what is the actual question central to this scenario? Is it whether
citizens in general should be granted carry permits for handguns in the first place, as is done in the home state of our beloved chief Texas Ranger? Or is it whether the blind in particular should be issued carry permits in jurisdictions where such permits are freely issued to anyone else without a felony record? Or is it whether the blind, or anyone else, ought to carry handguns with or without permits and be prepared, nay, gung-ho to whip them
out and shoot someone in the spirit of Bernhard Goetz, the subway vigilante?
3. Why a Derringer? why such an eccentric choice of a handgun considering the range of more accurate and powerful personal firearms freely available-- from .38 Police Specials to Smith &Wesson .357 Magnums (Feeling lucky today, punk?) for which ammunition is much easier to find and whose effect is more deadly than a Derringer round that may be worse than useless if it is even slightly misplaced in the target? Is this meant to be comic relief
in an otherwise very dark scenario?
4. Is the question just whether blind people should carry and use handguns only if they take special blind martial arts training that enables them to grab the opponent and jam the muzzle of a gun directly against his or her body and, lacking such training, to be forbidden to carry a gun for fear of collateral damage from spraying bullets blindly, especially with a semi-automatic firearm?
These are just a few of the things that occurred to me as I pondered this particular thought provoker, which rose in its subtlety and ambiguity to the level of one comparing a blind person to a shark swimming in circles in a fish tank, whose metaphorical possibilities ricocheted around my skull like Zen shrapnel for months? I can't deny that it was stimulating to thought, and perhaps to the unexplored universe beyond thought, upon which the Nike-clad feet of humanity may someday step, given sufficient enlightenment.
As the Wicked Witch says in The Wizard of Oz, What a world, what a world. I'm melting... I'm melting...
Joel Deutsch RPlist
**38. I'm a little puzzled by the calls for anti-political speech going on. The Subject line for this topic reads Thought Provoker. I and others were apparently provoked by the scenario of the blind shooter. Maybe the replies weren't always thoughtful. But no one claims that you have to know anything to have an opinion. Just listen to talk radio and you'll see what I mean.
If this Thought Provoker isn't political--at least in the legislative
sense--I don't know what is. In order to allow blind persons to carry
concealed guns, a law would have to be passed. In some states,
concealed-weapon laws have even gone to the ballot box for a statewide vote. Thus we would assume that each citizen would need to know something about the issue, discuss it, and then cast a ballot yea or nay. This Thought Provoker invited us to discuss this issue.
I can understand that some may object to the tone of some replies here, but to object to speech simply because it is political is ludicrous and, yes, dangerous to a democracy and a republic.
While one might argue that political "beliefs" may have nothing to do with RP, politics has everything to do with RP. All of our institutions are inter-related. What goes on at the political/legislative level affects
scientific research, traffic safety, health care--just to name a few,
important issues that have an impact on our daily lives.
FROM ME: The discussion on the RPlist became too political for some members and the discussion on this PROVOKER was asked to move to the THOUGHT PROVOKER forum.
**39. (Referring to response 5.)
Ray, you're correct about one thing - and I don't know if this makes me liberal or conservative - blind people have the right to do anything a sighted person does - but do we always have to want to, just because they are? What's important, the principle or the deed?
At this point, it may seem I'm disagreeing, but "safe use of firearms" to me is a contradiction in terms - there is no "safe" use.
I sometimes wonder what it would be like way out there on the lunatic
fringe, contending blind people were a little smarter than the gun
waving/toting folks who're daily blasting each other into the next world.
**40. Either we are living in a very dangerous world or else we are living in a world that our media-induced paranoia leads us to believe that we are living in a dangerous world. I think it is closer to the latter situation than the former. Anyone with sense will recognize that some dangers are inherent by just living in the world, but the national hysteria for carrying concealed weapons kind of looks like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Anyone who is sufficiently paranoid to believe that they need to carry a concealed weapon is likely to be paranoid enough to see threats in the most innocent or even slightly ambiguous situation. While innocent citizens are sometimes killed by criminals or violent youth gang members, most of those killed by gun violence are individuals involved in drug traffic or gang rivalries. Given these facts, it is difficult to explain the extent of the non-rational concealed weapon legislation that is adopted in so many States. In spite of restrictions on who may receive permits, as a number of the responders have pointed out, about the only standard that is applied is technical competence in handling a firearm. Hardly the kind of test that will assure proper use of a weapon in stressful situations. As for the alleged right to bear arms, the Federal Second Amendment clearly links the right to keep and bear arms to the need for a well regulated militia in defense of a free state. It has been a long time since the Minutemen constituted the backbone of our military, National Guard, at the State level. The only militia we are likely to find these days are a bunch of macho guys who go out on the weekend and look for those infamous black helicopters and other enemies of the nation. As for the question of blind individuals carrying concealed weapons: I recall, many years ago, reading what was a "classic mystery." In it, a blind fellow, who believed that his wife had committed a murder, bravely confessed to the deed. The police refused to believe him, but agreed to a test: set up an alarm clock on a stump, some distance away, and when it rings, the blind fellow was to demonstrate his shooting skill by
putting a bullet in it. Unfortunately,his wife who didn't want the man to take the rap for a crime she probably committed had concealed an alarm clock in her bosom and set it for a bit before the other. Ring! Ring! Bang: just another way to become a widower. I doubt if many of us could acquire the level of aiming proficiency that this fanciful alarm clock shooter had, but that is not particularly relevant to the main question of a blind person carrying a concealed weapon. If we are living in a society that is that dangerous, there has been a drastic failure of our political system and may be time either to move to Antarctica: penguins don't shoot. If a blind individual could count on getting, "up close and personal" with a threatening criminal, I would imagine that, if he/she could keep their wits about them, using a concealed weapon wouldn't be anymore risky than a sighted individual spraying bullets in all directions from a distance. None of this, however, suggests that either blind or sighted persons should carry weapons, especially if they believe that this contributes to their safety.
James S. Nyman Lincoln, Nebraska USA
**41. I've ridden a bicycle at full speed along a busy city road with my high school outdoor recreation class. Should I be allowed to do that alone? Of course not. What made it okay and safe then were the precautions taken by my teacher so that I'd always know exactly where he was, how fast he was going, which way he was turning, etc. Even then, given all the precautions of that artificial situation, it became somewhat dangerous when, at one point, the impatient car driver immediately behind me wanted to go just a little bit faster and lay on his horn for about half a minute thus making it impossible for me to hear either my teacher or his bicycle. For the curious, what I did was to remain right in front of that driver's noisy horn since I reasoned that he wasn't about to drive himself off the road. This, of course, further aggravated him, but it kept me safe and all ended well. I've also driven a car with a competent driver at my side who could give clear instructions and who understood my reflexes. I've even flown an airplane with a competent pilot at the second set of controls who read the instruments and described the view for me. Although I did quite well when performing rather complicated maneuvers in both of these situations, should I be allowed to either drive a car or fly an airplane by myself? Again, of course not. These
situations, too, were rather artificially set up. As a lone blind driver I'd be a menace on the road, and as a lone blind pilot it'd be a suicide mission.
It's entirely possible that a blind person would perform extremely well at a place where one practices target shooting. This in no way resembles the real world wherein he might want to use a gun for self defense, though, as the situation at the target practice place, yet again, is very artificial. A sighted person may be giving him careful instructions regarding how he should adjust his aim before firing. An audio device may be emitting a sound from the vicinity of the target. whichever technique is being used, he has a great deal
of additional and much needed help which just isn't there in the real world scenario.
The sound of the attacker's gun fire would be coming from the tip of his gun barrel rather than from an effective target location on his body. Without the visual cue of exactly which way the attacker is pointing his gun relative to his own body, the blind defender would have absolutely no way of being sure of where his body is. Even a slight miss could easily mean the death of one or more innocent bystander whom the blind defender isn't even aware of.
The thought provoker story to which I'm responding has two attackers simultaneously firing their guns within a crowded, enclosed area. This would create several additional problems for the supposedly heroic blind defender.
The sound of combined gunfire from multiple sources would somewhat confuse his ability to aim at a single, reasonably accurate point. The multitudinous screams from the audience would deaden his sense of direction. The prolonged racket of continuous gunfire would deaden his sense of "facial vision". Echoes from the attackers' gunfire, along with possible return gunfire from self-defending, gun-bearing audience members, would introduce significant
additional difficulties. Finally, should he succeed in downing the attacker, residual defensive gunfire from the other direction would almost certainly guarantee that he'd continue for just a moment longer and almost certainly do in someone else.
In short, although a blind person's intention to help defend his community against evil is commendable, any attempt of his to do so via a long range, high power, deadly weapon such as a gun is extremely foolish. Even if he ends up felling the right person, it's never acceptable to believe that the end justifies the means. The fact still remains that he had no way at all to be sufficiently sure that he was aiming at the right person when he pulled the trigger. In his attempt to do the right thing for the right reason, he's still needlessly and knowingly putting others at too great of a risk. In these days, however, when a national government teaches that it's acceptable to snuff out untold innocent civilians in its attempt to oust a single, ruthless dictator, I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised when the citizenry of that nation adopts the same careless attitude with respect to its own internal affairs.
I usually find the thought provoker stories to be reasonably realistic. This one, however, possesses a serious lack of believability. The bad guys start out, as one would expect, by keeping the good guy in front of them a s a human shield. Then, for no apparent reason whatsoever and right when the real activity gets under way, they move in front of him to do their dirty work.
It'd be much more realistic for them to have kept him in front of them so as to discourage return gunfire from the audience. Were they to have done that, the contrived tale of a blind guy winning the day couldn't have been written nearly as elegantly.
Now that I've responded to this thought provoker within its own context, I'd like to point out one more thing, i.e. that it's posing the wrong question. The more accurate question is whether or not it's right for any private citizen at all to carry a concealed weapon. My personal answer to this more accurate question is an emphatic "no", and, as such, really does maintain equality between blind and sighted people.
How is it that a people who distrusts any other nation whose private citizens carry firearms, and who even distrusts law enforcement officials in other nations who openly carry firearms, can so self-righteously believe that it's own citizens are above reproach when doing the very same things? How can that people so easily ignore the story which its own murder and accidental domestic killing rates is telling? I've heard the apparently unchallengeable argument that it's the people, and not the guns, which do the killing, but this overly
simplistic mantra denies the fact that each of us human beings is a sinful person, and that, as such, we all ought, by law, to be protected from the workings of our own sinfulness.
Dave Mielke (2213 Fox Crescent, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
**42. This is a totally believeable story!!! Horrible to think of, but I can see things happening just as they did. Sure, in an alternative universe the specifics and even the end result could be different. I would give this blind man a license to carry a pistol. He has proven in real life, in this story, that he has the judgment and skill to stop these bad guys; he knew his weapon and he used his hearing and sense of touch perfectly. His testing was in the field, not a make believe non-stressful setting like a testing ground where you do not feel your life and that of others is on the line.
I bet in the next chapter of this story we would see him in court. The government would have to prosecute the law. They may be easy on him, because of the unique circumstance. He being blind, that would make a big splash in the media. they would hash and rehash the blind card element to this foiled terrorist attack. There would be big talk how he is a local hero. They would use the comments of the survivors to show how grateful they were and how amazing this guy was. There would be questions about the blind carrying concealed guns. There would be questions about anyone carrying a concealed gun. The blindness groups and the NRA would be in the mists of all this.
Finally, before I for get, I appreciated the earlier responder to used the phrase, DON’T FOR GET THE BLIND GUY. Like was shown in this action story, the two gun carrying bad guys used the blind man to get in, but totally disregarded him as soon as they started doing their dirty work. They for got he was a viable threat and paid the price. This tells me we shouldn’t for get the blind guy either and should consider allowing those who can pass a test be allowed to carry if they want.
Marvin Polson USA
FROM ME: This one and the one before it sure have differing views, this makes me think of that old saying, “reality is stranger than fiction.”
**43. Normally, I'd be on the side of people not having guns. First of all, if I ever were subject to the draft, I'd qualify as a conscientious objector. Second, I live in an urban area where the concern is to keep AK47's out of the hands of gang bangers. If I lived in a rural area, I'd probably care about the right to shoot squirrels, ducks, or deer.
I was interested to see that the question of being qualified to use a gun came up for blind people, where a sighted person is just assumed to be qualified to use a gun. The only limits are conviction of a felony, mental illness or spousal abuse.
The next issue is whether or not any citizen has the right to have a gun for personal self defense. The framers of the constitution didn't make this clear. As I read it, they were concerned that if the government no longer
had the consent of the governed, there must be a well regulated militia that can overthrow it. So, is what we're really discussing whether a blind person can carry a gun for the purpose of joining a militia? Ashcroft and
the Bushies are hell bent on restricting our civil rights. Just read the
Patriot Act, the Sequel. Look at the way they've manipulated our grief over the September 11 terrorist attacks to get more surveillance, less protection for those detained by the government. It's time for each and every blind person to decide whether he/she would be willing to join that militia and fight to stop the further erosion of the freedom our foremothers and fathers fought so hard to secure. I'm too old to be in the militia, but I'd be glad to sing folk songs for the troops. After the revolution, I'll be the head of the new Peoples Transportation Agency that has unlimited funding for Para transit, or maybe the "Effective Communications Commission" that gives government grants for all movies and TV shows to have audio description.
Abby Vinsin avincent@ix.@ix.netcom.com
**44. I am totally against guns and don’t' think that blind people should carry them. I'm antiviolent. Considering that my father committed suicide using a gun, I really am not in favor of blind people using guns or any weapon for that matter.
**45. Guns, guns and goons. If a person who is blind wishes to join that crowd, then who are we to stop them. I know some carry now and do not have a license; just like their fellow sighted citizens. If we have people saying no, then we need to look at who they are and why they are saying it. If they are blind, then I question their belief in themselves as blind people. Just because they do not feel they can do it, there are people who are blind that feel they can. then, if they are sighted people, then they too may be operating out of ignorance about blind people. It all boils down to individuals. It is unfortunates that people judge first on the characteristics of a group and then it too many times is based too much on wrong or incomplete facts.
Marcy Brink Iowa USA
**46. This TP would be a great challenge to a person wishing to interest themselves in creating a shooting program for the disabled. It would be interesting to see the shooting range that would be constructed for the blind shooter. I can see one constructed with targets at various distances that would pop out or up and make some sound, including gun fire. I could also see close in and hands-on types of confrontation scenarios being used to test the blind participant as to when to and how to pull the gun and when to fire and when not to. I am sure there are times and places when the blind gunman would not want to let on he/she is carrying. It would be a real test of nerve for most, knowing that the bad-guy had to be close, within touching range for best accuracy. Yes, I think the scenarios of close-in contact would be the most valuable experience and training for the blind gunman.
mark Pate New Jersey USA
**47. In combat scenarios, there is no such thing as an innocent bystander. A person is either a combatant or a noncombatant. Noncombatants are by definition also potential witnesses after the fact, and often are in the Palestinian situation and similar conflicts actively involved in support f combatants. This fact when discovered of course turns those incompetents into legitimate targets. Though when those legitimate targets are taken out there's all kinds of wining from people outside the actual situation on the ground they have no idea of the
considerations that went into turning a particular noncombatant into a legitimate target. I have been told that handicapped people are targets of choice for criminals enough so that our victimization statistics prove revealing, so I have to discount paranoia some for now and we'll all have to discount paranoia allot in the future if Section 508 and A.D.A. legislation and similar efforts ever do get back on track. The reason for that is that blind employees will be put into positions of greater responsibility and one of those responsibilities may involve transporting valuable property either inside or outside their heads. Valuable property of course attracts criminals. Valuable property sometimes also attracts terrorists as well either for acquisition or destruction purposes.
Jude Dashiell Lexington Park, Maryland USA
**48. I think the blind are just like the sighted. Each group needs to learn the smart way to handle a gun, even though you may choose not to carry one, you may still find one right in front of you someday and you better know how it works before you pick it up. All kids need to learn this, even if your parents do not allow them in the house, you may be at a friends and they may have one.
Betty Time USA
**49. I bet some where in the history of this country or in the world there is the story of a blind person that saved the day by the use of a firearm. I also bet there are some X military people reading this that can tell stories of great deeds by the use of a firearm being used in a situation where the user was blinded by dark or something and was able to hit the target and carry the day.
I am one of those people here in the USA that now feel that we are at war. I now do carry a small derringer and will sue it if the right situation comes upon me. I know that I will need to be within touching range of the person that I felt needed to be shot and I swear I am ready, I will not go down easy. This is a last ditch effort, I would not pull my gun and fire it under most situations, I know I much must wait and that I’ll h=probably have only the one chance.
BC Cellar USA
**50. I carry a gun. It is a 5 shot derringer or a mini-revolver. The two shot model used in the story is too limiting. In day light I can see objects. At night, outside I see even less. I have taken marshal arts and feel comfortable handling myself. I believe I could stay cool in a stressful encounter with one or more assailants. I have not been tested in real life, but I have trained for it. No one knows until it is time, it is there.
John P. USA
**51. I can see allowing the blind the right to bear arms to be just as legitimate as granting the right to a sighted citizen. Though, I am uncertain if there would need to be some restrictions on use of the firearm and/or special considerations made into the training and testing of the blind person versus that of the sighted shooter. For example, being realistic, the blind shooter does have a few limitations that the sighted person does not. Yet, to be fully faire, there are also a few advantages the blind shooter would have over the sighted.
First, for the blind marksman, depending upon their level of sight, there will be a limitation on the distance that a target can be clearly identified and targeted. It could be that the best scenario for the blind shooter to assure a hit, is for the blind person to wait until they are within touching range of their assailant before triggering off a shot. Scary, dangerous, yes, but any of this type of situation can be, for anyone. This is not to say that a blind shooter should not ever, nor could not ever fire off a shot from some distance, say from a few feet to across the room or even across a street. Again, depends. Say, the immediate environment is devoid of anyone else but the one good guy and the one bad guy. Then why not? A judgment issue again. And this is to say, that in real life there have been situations for many law enforcement and/or military men and women operating in a live-fire encounter to fire “blindly,” aiming at sound only. These “dark” encounters are not always trained for nor tested for in most firearm handling training and/or testing programs. In saying this, we might generalize that a blind person who is use to operating 24-7 within their environment by use of sound location, would have an advantage over a person who does not normally have to function in a low light to no light situation. I could even see a training and testing scenario being setup for the blind or blindfolded shooter via the use of laser projecting weapons.
My last words on this go back to judgment. Any and all persons using a firearm is responsible for its proper and safe use. Each shooter must know and respect their individual strengths and limitations.
Robert Maxwell USA
**52. Basically I have two thoughts on this subject. Speaking just for me, I don’t know that I feel comfortable carrying a gun. I suppose I'd be pretty competent in close-encounter situations such as the one described in the story, although I have to wonder how many terrorists will actually get close enough to another person, blind or sighted, to allow physical contact sufficient for someone to exterminate them. In other situations, I can't say I'd feel competent in myself to shoot at what I thought might be the perp and then endanger someone else several yards away because I missed. Having said that, it could happen to just about anyone, blind or sighted, carrying a gun. So I guess I feel as confident about blind people carrying as I do the sighted. With, of course, the caveat that statistically there are probably as many blind crazies out there as sighted, and we'd want to do background checks for blind people just as sighted. I do know that if my wife were ever in danger, I'd die to protect her.
John D. Coveleski, New York NY (Jcoveleski@mindspring.com)
**53. I suppose that, for most people, the problem with this thought provoker is its seemingly inherent implausibility. Having read two or more Duncan McClain novels as a child and seen at least one of his books made into a movie, I can honestly say I am beyond that hurdle.
Thus, for me, the problem is not "could it be done"; but, rather, how would one separate out those few brilliant blind people who could do it from the rest of us, who had better not!
Jim Eccles ACB-L
**54. I wrote a couple weeks ago about the fact that Minnesota's current Governor was pushing to permit people to carry concealed weapons. I just learned last week that the law was passed, so anybody can carry concealed weapons if they wish to. I used to think that the streets and public places would be safer if citizens, whether blind or sighted, were prohibited from carrying concealed weapons.
The fact is, though, in lieu of the various shootings out of the blue in post offices, banks, etc. across the nation, public places are no more safer or more dangerous if carrying concealed weapons was allowed. For one thing, even in places where carrying a concealed weapon is prohibited, there are people who carry illegally, and you don't know who those people are because they're getting the guns illegally or do well to hide their weapons on their person even if they are licensed to bear arms for other purposes than for protection wherever they go.
**55. This is a very interesting Thought Provoker, as are all of them thus far. I myself am against violence, but I will respond. The Hadley School for
the Blind has a Self-Defense course, which I am going to check out upon completion of my other courses. I do not think it would be safe for a person who
cannot see well or who cannot see at all, to carry a concealed or unconcealed weapon. He or she would not be able to see what or who is being shot at.
But then again, isn't that in a sense why we have criminals?
Jake Joehl, Chicago USA
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