Letter: What Real Bullets Can Do

To the Editor:

In the wake of the day-long manhunt that resulted in the lockdown of Boston after the Boston Marathon bombing, Esquire magazine offered an enlightening “Public Service Announcement” written by Lt. Col. Robert Bateman on the nature of guns and bullets.

That day, as various SWAT teams were coming and going in Watertown, Mass., and even during the actual shootout with the alleged bombers, Bateman observed from press reports that people were outside on their porches, shooting video with their iPhones.

As the good colonel rightly noted, this reflects a basic misunderstanding among the general public about the fact that bullets in real life are not “Hollywood bullets.” They do not conveniently make little sparks when they hit. They observe the rules of physics, where Force = Mass times Acceleration. They can easily penetrate things people hide behind in the movies, like car doors, metal, wood, front doors, sheet rock — you name it. In the real world, bullets ricochet, and can kill you even when you’re nowhere near the shooting or even being shot at.

He offered some well-schooled advice to those who might want to hang around when people with guns start shooting — get inside a basement, behind an engine block, or behind a couple of concrete walls.

In other words, don’t whip out your iPhone for a quick Facebook update; if you hear shooting, run. Far away. As fast as you can. Retreat; don’t stand your ground.

Good advice.

It is advice we all might have to become more familiar with, now that the New Hampshire Senate in Concord just voted against repealing the stand-your-ground law. Apparently, our Legislature must think that guns fired in public must only use “Hollywood bullets.” Reality and physics would dictate otherwise — and bullets don’t care whether or not they are fired in self-defense. Having a gun in public and an unfettered mandate to use it when threatened will only make bad situations worse, not better, Hollywood and its bullets notwithstanding.

Randy Britton