In response to a Wall Street Journal editorial on Scot Peterson, the cop who stood outside and listened to the butchery going on inside a Florida school, a Letter to the Editor writer had this to say:
Your editorial leaves out of the discussion how outgunned Scot Peterson and his fellow sheriff’s deputies were against shooter Nikolas Cruz with his AR-15 rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I wonder how many Journal readers (and writers) would have confronted the shooter while bringing a metaphorical knife to a gunfight.
This is just foolish and ignorant along a couple of dimensions. For one thing, Journal readers (and writers), in the main, are not trained for such dangers and associated risks, the way policemen are. This is a foolish comparison to make. The foolishness is illustrated by trained, but wholly unarmed, American men on a French train who defeated and subdued a semi-automatic rifle-armed terrorist.
For another thing, Peterson, and his fellows who arrived as soon as they could, were not seriously outgunned, for all that they had semi-automatic pistols against the butcher’s semi-automatic rifle. The two types of weapons have similar rates of fire, although the rifle does have a slightly faster one. Beyond that, the rifle’s primary advantage over pistols is its greater range. That range advantage was greatly reduced—virtually eliminated—in the confined fields of fire available inside a building.
In the end, these slight advantages would have been eliminated by a prompt, determined response and the surprise factor involved. The advantages would have been reversed entirely by the numbers of police entering as promptly as they could, producing a variety of firing origins against the single point of the butcher.
And in the event, I would expect at least a fraction of (hypothetical) Journal readers (and writers) who might have been on scene to attack the butcher rather than try to duck away. The folks on scene at the start of an event are, after all, the first responders.