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the most dangerous shooters are the ones with military training. both silka and whitman were excellent marksmen with military backgrounds. in these situations, if civilians were armed and attempted to try to take these guys out, the body count could become quite high. i know a partial solution is gun education for gun owners so they know how to use their weapons, but charles whitman was a trained u.s. marine after all...
i'm not saying the 8 hours response time in britain was wonderful or anything, but i think a gun battle with armed civilians might not really be the answer in all cases. the british case was mostly a problem with law enforcement not being armed, rather than civilians not being armed.
Well, it's long been known that most of the best military snipers were drawn from guys who hunted extensively as kids. Carlos Hathcock among many others fit that bill. And in the Texas situation, armed citizens did indeed help get the guy. Most of whom were hunters.
So in a sense, I'd agree that it certainly depends on the citizen. Joe Average who just shoots a couple times a year at a gun range probably would have to get lucky, or at least be close to the guy on the rampage. Much better would be an experienced hunter, or even better in most cases would be a CCW holder in those states that require extensive training, or someone who participates in the IDPA, (international Defensive Pistol Association), style shooting matches, which basically mimic Secret Service type training.
Which is a popular shooting sport.