Anatomy of a Mass Shooting

I ended up watching a couple of old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy last night.  For those of you who may not know it, Grey’s Anatomy is a hospital drama set in Seattle.

What caught my attention was that these episodes dealt with a mass shooting at the hospital committed by a deranged man whose wife had die while under the care of the doctors there.

The shooter basically walked around calmly as ever, looking for the Chief of Surgery who he blamed directly for his wife’s death and started shooting people who weren’t helpful or who had tried to stop him or were just other surgeons.  What ended up happening was that after the first few victims were finally discovered the hospital was put on lock-down and the police were called.

The shooter? Well, he kept on calmly walking around shooting people at will.

You see, this fictional hospital was a gun free zone and even the security guards were unarmed.

When the shooter was down to his last bullet he made some soliloquy about how easy it was for him to buy his gun at a superstore five days previously and he had all this ammo because they had a sale.  I had been waiting for the leftist gun grabbing slant and there it was.

Yet, while the writer’s made a fainthearted attack of the 2nd Amendment by schlepping together a monologue at the end of the show they couldn’t overcome that the two episode arc was a repudiation of so-called “gun free” zones.  While we can imagine what happens when a mass shooting takes place in a gun free zone, these episodes actually give us a pretty accurate fictionalized version of what takes place.  In the same way that Saving Private Ryan gave us a pretty good fictionalized version of what storming a beach on D-Day looks like.

What did the Grey’s Anatomy episodes outline that is the core anatomy of a mass shooting?

  • An active shooter is killing people and the police are minutes or more away before they are called and arrive
  • Even after police arrive they just don’t storm the building, they assess, so the killer is allowed to continue his rampage
  • If you run, the shooter will shoot you if he wants
  • If you beg for your life, the shooter will shoot you if he wants
  • If you hide, the shooter will find you then shoot you if he wants
  • If you fight back unarmed (unless you catch him by surprise) the shooter will shoot you
  • When someone armed shows up to oppose him, the shooter will most likely kill himself

This is what happens when a shooter is free to roam a place like a hospital or school with many rooms and many people and none of them able to shoot back.  Your life is forfeit if the shooter deems it so.  When you are unarmed you are at the mercy of any tyrant and your choices are run, hide, beg or fight.  Without a weapon of equal measure the likely outcome for all those choices is death.

As for the shooter, in a place such as a hospital or university there are plenty of places for him to hide and the size of the building allows for the possibility that he could start his rampage and have it go unnoticed for a while.

So even though the writer’s of Grey’s Anatomy may have tried to make this about the evil of guns, what they really produced was a work that showed the evils of so called “Gun Free Zones” and it was a pretty powerful work at that.

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