Set up to fail

Last night, I watched ABC’s hit piece on firearms ownership and self defense on 20/20, which overall was pretty ridiculous and biased.  While they managed to avoid parroting the Mexican Gun Canard (which was a surprise), they spent an entire segment on setting up an experiment to “prove” that an armed student in classroom shooting wouldn’t help.  The problem is that just from watching the experiment, even the most casual observer can see that it was designed to force the students to fail.

Here’s a link to the video, watch it for yourself and see if you see what I do.

The basic scenario is that ABC took a bunch of college kids, and gave them some rudimentary training with simmunition pistols, then put that student in a faux classroom to “defend” in an active shooter situation.  Just watching the video, the students pretty much universally get their lunches fed to them by the “active shooter”.  Obviously, ABC’s editorial intent was to “prove” that an armed student wouldn’t make any difference in an active shooter scenario.  If you watch, you can deduce from context that the students were not trained – they’d been given basic range instruction, and that was it.  Additionally, the active shooter in each situation was a cop; the cop also knew where the armed student was going to be.  If you watch carefully, the cop shoots the teacher, than immediately turns to engage the armed student whether or not the student is engaging them.

In that manner, the test is set up to give the student the least possible chance for success.  You want to make it a fair test, you’d have to put people of equal skill level in the classroom as the active shooter and the armed student, move the armed student’s location around, and give them free reign to choose whether or not to engage the shooter.  It’s completely ludicrous to portray poorly trained students getting blown away by a trained cop with tactical knowledge as some kind of “fair” test.

It’s almost like ABC had an agenda to push or something.

I’d like to see this scenario recreated at one of the top tier gun schools, see how civilians with training react.


  1. Thanks for the information.

    It’s the constant defect in the hoplophobe’s arguments: they have absolutely zero experience, and are not capable of distinguishing between plausible and implausible. On the farm of the blind, the guy who is holding the shovel is generally the one who throws around the most b.s. Since they’re all blind, though, that b.s. gets thrown in the wrong direction, and the bystanders are awfully surprised when they get hit.

    First we had NBC rigging gas tanks with explosives. Then we had CBS and Rather’s “unimpeachable source”. Now ABC is rigging experiments by giving the answers to all the participants.

  2. I almost watched this, then decided I really don’t need to pressure test my arteries today. Getting tired of the BS and bias. Same crap, different day from the hoplophobes.

  3. I’d like to see them recreate that in one of Todd’s classes with you, Robb, and others as the “students”.

    That’d be a hoot, especially when the cop playing the role of the shooter gets hit from seven or eight different angles before he got off the second shot…

  4. I watched, and despite the obvious rigging of the game, there was one positive result of the student shooting back (which they totally ignored, of course). When the student engaged the shooter, what did the shooter do? He engaged the defender. This didn’t have very good results for the defender in their rigged scenario, but it had excellent results for the other students: they all had a chance to escape.

    One of the utter fallacies that I see continually preached by the left is, “don’t fight back, because you’re not a professional. Only trained professionals can fight back, and everyone else should run. If you can’t run, make yourself appear as unthreatening as possible so they’ll pass you by.” On 9/11 this resulted in 3 planeloads of people crashing into buildings and killing thousands. The plane where ordinary people fought back also crashed, but these heroes saved countless lives on the ground.

    Sometimes, you just can’t take the “every man for himself” route and expect good results. At Virginia Tech (my Alma Mater), many who took the left’s advice were killed. Some who resisted were also killed (Liviu Librescu), but their resistance gave others the chance to escape.

    If we regained our national fortitude and taught people to fight back when attacked, there would be far less violence in this country.

  5. Caleb, after studying this I have to say that your post might even be a bit understated.

  6. Nothing like setting up the parameters of an experiment to control the outcome. Maybe ABC should do a documentary on the percentage of law enforcement officers who have never discharged their weapon in a combat situation, versus the number of former military personnel who have been in multiple combat situations that are now attending universities. Maybe ABC should have reviewed the Front Sight competition footage where students (private citizens) who trained at their facility in Nevada out shot many who were considered “professionals” that carried a firearm for a living during the competition held at that facility. People who can not think for themselves may believe the dribble that ABC presented, but Gun Shy knows the reality of it. Thanks for a great article Caleb. I am gonna have to link to it. 🙂

  7. your analysis was spot on. As a man of science, l was horrified by the built in bias I thought they would know better. Also that lady’s comment at the end about no gun stats supporting gun use. that sealed the deal on how blind MSM is. Time to go write some angry letters.

  8. Lesson to be learned here: if Diane Sawyer was in charge of your training, you’re screwed.

    Thanks for posting this. It makes me wonder if we are in for a new media push for gun control (I mean, more than the usual). Anyone else remember that made for TV movie from back back in the 80’s where everyone in this small town starts carrying handguns, which somehow makes them all morons and/or psychotic, and they proceed to shoot each other at an alarming rate? For some reason this reminded me of that movie.

    On top of what has already been mentioned, how many times do you think they had those students practice drawing from concealment prior to the exercise? I’m betting that the number rhymes with the name of a famous Roman emperor.

    One other thing: Either the desks in that classroom were made of sterner stuff than they appear, or Diane does not understand the difference between cover and concealment.

  9. Falstep, you are spot on. There was no cover to speak of in that room. I don’t think the situation would be any different in any classroom.

    Since you brought it up, this piece also employs the unobtainable training argument as well. The first scenario shown would not be mitigated by any amount of training. An honest experiment would have placed the expert in the seat, and given him the opportunity to defend his flank from an unexpected direction (while wearing a mask) against an attacker firing at point blank range–while not hitting innocent bystanders. Sorry, the probability of success is so incredibly incredibly slim, that it’s not even worth considering.

    The preventative aspect of armed defenders is in the mind of a potential attacker. Once the firing starts, armed defenders will reduce the body counts of innocents, not entirely prevent them. That’s not a guarantee, but a statistical probability. The fact that further restrictions on weapons wouldn’t enhance security or survival is, of course, purposefully neglected in the piece.

  10. Typical display of modern journalism. However, in the time it took me to write that last sentence, a million baby Jesus’ were killed by guns.

  11. TJP stated:
    “The preventative aspect of armed defenders is in the mind of a potential attacker. Once the firing starts, armed defenders will reduce the body counts of innocents, not entirely prevent them.”

    Agreed. I know a guy in California whose dad rushed a shooter armed with two handguns that was intent on killing everyone in the restaurant. His dad wasn’t even armed, but he rushed the shooter, and in the process the distraction he created allowed 14 people to escape the restaurant saving their lives. Sadly his dad took four fatal rounds. Here is a quote from a news report about the incident:

    “A videotape of the Pismo Beach shooting showed a diner, Harold L. Hatley, lunging at the gunman, giving others precious seconds to flee before Mr. Hatley was shot dead at close range, the police said.”

    If an unarmed hero can disrupt a shooter to that extent, imagine what a trained person with a firearm can do when engaging a psycho with minimal experience who is armed. Typically most random shooters are not very good with their weapon. If you evaluate the number of rounds discharged vs the number of people killed or wounded in those incidents, it is easy to see that most are far below average in skills. If you disrupt their fantasy, they will most likely turn the gun on themselves. Diane Sawyer should stick to what she does best…baking brownies. 😉

  12. I didn’t see this (I’ve sworn off “big three” news programs) but it doesn’t surprise me one bit.

    Another interesting test might be to take one of those same college kids, give them some basic training in “yank and shank” prison style knife attacks and then have them go after the cop as well. It’s be even funnier if the cop’d never heard about the Tueller Drill.

    Y’know, on second thought I think I feel a video of my own coming on.

  13. There might also be commotion in the hallway which gives the defender forewarning.

  14. “There might also be commotion in the hallway which gives the defender forewarning.”

    There’s nothing wrong with having your gun ready and waiting in ambush…

    Its called “good tactics.”

    Playing devil’s advocate: Most of the readers here do IDPA, IPSC, FOF, etc… How many CCW’ers are out there that don’t do jack and would do no better than these pawns.

    As many have said and continue to say: just having a gun isn’t enough.

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