A good guy without a gun
In Colorado Springs on Saturday night, Richard Fierro, a U.S. Army vet who’d deployed three times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan, went to an LGBTQ nightclub with his wife to celebrate a friend’s birthday. There was dancing and a drag show.
In came a man with a head full of hate, wearing body armor and wielding an AR-15-style assault rifle, both of which are legal in Colorado, 23 years after the Columbine massacre and a decade after the mass shooting in an Aurora movie theater. He possessed that gun despite just last year having threatened his mother with a homemade bomb, forcing crisis negotiators to her home. Colorado has a red flag law — but it is frayed.
The shooter started firing at people on the dance floor. He wounded 18 and killed five and began to head toward the patio.
Fierro jumped on the assailant’s back, knocked him to the floor and managed to grab his pistol, with which he started hitting the shooter. He shouted for help. Several people, including a drag performer in stiletto heels, kicked him and kept him down.
A Supreme Court ruling over the summer shredded New York’s century-old law restricting the concealed carry of firearms; the laws passed in its place may or may not survive court challenges. Those who believe more and more New Yorkers should be armed subscribe to the myth that only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.
But ever more guns wielded by civilians on our subways, in our nightclubs and on our crowded streets would likely mean chaos and panic and crossfire and injury and death more often than it would result in a killer being subdued. Good guys with guns were on the scene but didn’t save lives in Uvalde, Texas, or Buffalo earlier this year, or quickly end the carnage at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in 2016.
And it was good guys without guns — but with fists and high heels — who just stopped a mass shooting in progress.