Product: Weapon: Countermeasure
Tall Bullet Proof Shields at Public Places   (+11, -1)  [vote for, against]
(with optional batons)

When I'm at a crowded public event I often wonder: "What would we do if bunch of crazies stormed in here right now and started shooting everyone?" I would like to think that me and my fellow citizens would storm them and take away their weapons by hand. There would be so many of us, and the attackers do have to reload or change weapons. Yes, some would get shot, but as we know from zombie movies and video games, it's not that easy to defend yourself from a massive number of unarmed bodies. What's worse (for the attackers) is that this would not be slow, dumb zombies, these would be sprinting, dodging, quick thinking humans. The only problem with that approach is bravery. I doubt that in the moment I'd be brave enough to actually take a bullet in the head for the team. I'm sure my instinct to survive would make me scurry away like a rat along with the rest.

Here is where the bullet proof shield comes in. Imagine you hear gunshots and screams in the lobby of a crowded cinema.

1) Grab one of the many readily available bullet proof shields. They can look like part of the wall. Or they could even have ads on them. They are not noticeable until you need them.

2) Run towards the gun shots (along with 100 other like minded individuals)

3) Storm the attackers, and take away their weapons. Kick them in the head a few times for good measure.

This is far safer alternative than the current trend of people buying hand guns to protect themselves. First: handguns are prohibited at public events already. So you won't have your handgun when you really need it. Second: The logic for owning a gun is that you never know which one of the people around you is crazy. They will try to kill you so you better be ready to defend yourself. But what if you are the crazy person and don't know it? The definition of being crazy is that you'll never know that you are crazy. You can never say "I'm not crazy" with any certainty. The more certain you are that you are not crazy, the more crazy you likely are. So now you have a bunch of armed crazies running around town shooting each other. Changing the solution from an offensive weapon to defensive one solves this problem.

Edit: This has broader implications for gun control and 2nd amendment. Some people believe that the only way to keep government in check is with the threat of a violent citizen uprising. I won't debate whether that is justified or not. However, if every citizen is given a bullet proof vest, surely the government has to be in line with the will of the people. If 1,000,000 shield wielding citizens decide to storm Washington and remove corrupt government of the future they will succeed - there is no doubt. Same goes for any other revolution. Perhaps the way to help the citizens during an Arab Spring type of uprising is to do a massive air-drop of bullet proof shields. Much safer than arming mentally unstable militia groups.
-- ixnaum, Jan 01 2016

Suicide and Firearm access http://www.hsph.har...-ownership-and-use/
[MechE, Jan 06 2016]

An average subway ride in the US
Link in suppor of xenzag's assertion that 'Everyone in the USA has at least ten guns each'. [DrBob, Jan 08 2016]

armigerous gun control (Coat_20of)_20arms_...20safety_20measures
[not_morrison_rm, Jan 08 2016]

You could perhaps pick up one of the first obviously-dead victims of the attack, and use the body as a shield.
-- Vernon, Jan 01 2016

Fashion-setters could promote this by sending their models out with customised long bullet-proof shields slung on a shoulder-strap as part of a new urban look. Celebrities will help by wearing them to public engagements, and being photographed wearing them for gossip mags and tabloid papers. The latest season’s shield designs can be sold in trendy high-street shops. Before long, being out without your shield will be regarded as as odd as being out without shoes.
-- pocmloc, Jan 01 2016

Like any volunteer force expected to act expeditiously and in the public good, one would need practice. There would be drills like fire drills where handy folks would be expected to stop what they were doing, grab a shield and rush the gunman. For practice these gunmen would be encouraged to wear special vests marking them as drill gunmen, not the real thing. Real gunmen would not be allowed to wear such vests.

And if we are going to practice why not practice with those automatic defibrillators that are mounted here and there. How many folks have actually cracked one of those and tried to use it?

And fires! Places have fire hoses mounted in stairwells. Extinguishers handy. I feel like I have even seen axes in glass cases. But how to use effectively? Ad hoc firefighting would also be more effective with a little practice.
-- bungston, Jan 01 2016

[Bungston], that's brilliant, Public Emergency Preparedness. That's what a PEP rally was originally meant to be, I'm sure of it.
-- Sgt Teacup, Jan 01 2016

The definition of "bulletproof" needs to be specified. One way, for example, includes lots of ricochets of bullets (not good for someone else); another way absorbs the energy of a bullet (typical BP vests; the impacts STING!). Also, there are such things as "armor piercing" bullets, which your typical BP item won't stop....

I'm pretty sure [bungston] is being facetious.
"Real gunmen would not be allowed to wear such vests."
Sounds like an invitation for them, in their effort to get away from the consequences!
-- Vernon, Jan 01 2016

Seeing as your talking about public places, use metal detectors, then put tall impenetrable bullet screens around the people who are carrying guns. Or is that just too obvious?
-- not_morrison_rm, Jan 03 2016

I don't think stationed shields would work as they show their position. It would be good to have common objects, chairs, desks, white boards, to have panels of BP material. Good to hide behind but also to lead a counter offensive.

I am thinking less training and more gut instinct but tooled up.
-- wjt, Jan 03 2016

Since a rancher was charged with "terrorism" in the form of "arson" for starting a backfire that saved his ranch (and hurt nothing) I'm more concerned about the US government than any terrorism.
-- Voice, Jan 03 2016

What does hiding the shields accomplish other than making it harder to find one when you need it?
-- notexactly, Jan 03 2016

If you made this "bulletproof shields at pubic places" I could grant it a bun. I feel for those poor British soldiers in Afghanistan fighting in flak jackets and boxer shorts. I mean I sympathize, not grope around for them, so far.
-- bungston, Jan 03 2016

// killed by the state

I think it goes deaths per annum, bad driving 33,000, shot by another citizen 30,000 and about 900 shot by the police.

BTW, if you look at US fatalities for the 20th century then bad driving killed more than the German and Japanese armies combined.

So best option is to go for a public transport system that works and cheap.
-- not_morrison_rm, Jan 03 2016

/ bad driving killed more than the German and Japanese armies combined/

I would have thought the Germans at least would be better drivers than that.
-- bungston, Jan 04 2016

Me too, it's not like it's driving on the other side of road.

Perhaps panzer driving skills don't transfer that well?
-- not_morrison_rm, Jan 04 2016

" I think it goes deaths per annum, bad driving 33,000, shot by another citizen 30,000 and about 900 shot by the police. "

Your numbers made me go look to see if that was approximately accurate. Wikipedia sez:

in the United States results in thousands of deaths and injuries annually.

[1] According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, firearms were used in 84,258 nonfatal injuries (26.65 per 100,000 U.S. citizens)

[2] and 11,208 deaths by homicide (3.5 per 100,000),

[3] 21,175 by suicide with a firearm,

[4] 505 deaths due to accidental discharge of a firearm,

[4] and 281 deaths due to firearms-use with "undetermined intent"

[5] for a total of 33,169 deaths related to firearms (excluding firearm deaths due to legal intervention). 1.3% of all deaths in the country were related to firearms.[1][6]

The placement of those numerals may be off a little, which is one of the reasons I don't carry when I'm drinking.
-- normzone, Jan 05 2016

Hmm, that many suicides...

So, no1 priority would be fix the transport systems, as that's the biggest and non-disease killer.
-- not_morrison_rm, Jan 05 2016

…which is why I think “total deaths by firearm" is a disingenuous way to represent the data. Suicides are nearly 2/3 the firearm deaths. Now, suicides are most definitely unfortunate, but they don’t present a hazard to others. That’s not a “nice” discussion to have, but there it is.

There’s enough homicide by firearm in the US to qualify as a huge problem, without conflating the issue with misinformation.
-- Custardguts, Jan 05 2016

Far and away, the inflicting of nonfatal injuries is the favored use for firearms. This gets back to my scheme of giving away rubber bullets.
-- bungston, Jan 05 2016

I've test fired some of those condom rounds.
-- normzone, Jan 05 2016

I think short bullets should be shielded as well.
-- Ling, Jan 06 2016

//1) Suicide percentage does not change significantly in the gun-only sample. What this means is guns do not affect the rate of suicides.//

Um, that argument is not actually supported by the evidence. You are neglecting the fact that the firearm data is subsumed in the broader data.

It does mean that access to guns causes the suicide and other violent death rates to go up proportionally, but it does not touch on whether or not firearms access increases the suicide rate.

In fact, if guns are harder to get (less common in the home) the suicide rate does drop. (see link)

Both the vast majority of suicides and the vast majority of homicides are impulsive acts. Ease of access to a means of carrying them out increases the rate, and it's logical to believe that the rate would increase roughly proportionally.
-- MechE, Jan 06 2016

That data also excludes the larger number of Americans who are shot but not killed each year, which amounts to about 70k, including 15k children.
-- RayfordSteele, Jan 06 2016

I'm starting to think homicide might be the answer.
-- pocmloc, Jan 06 2016

Interesting statistics, but I don't think they really tell us anything useful.

If I wanted to kill someone, based on my inexperience and my education watching movies and TV, I'd guess that a gun might be the most effective way to do that safely. Therefore it's not surprising that a large percentage of homicides are committed with a gun.

The legal intervention statistic is somewhat interesting. There are 12 times as many done with guns. That could mean that when a gun is used to intervene, it is 12 times as likely that the offender will end up dead. That could also mean that, it is 12 times more likely that someone will intervene or that the intervention will be successful. The reality is probably that the majority of legal interventions don't actually result in a death. So without a lot of additional data, we can't draw a conclusion.

What we really need to know are how many additional homicides were committed because guns were available, how many homicide attempts were prevented because the possibility of an armed victim gave the perpetrator pause, how many homicide attempts were prevented by the victim or a bystander being armed, then weigh that with the probability of government oppression and invasion.

With enough study I believe it should be possible to conclusively prove that there is no way to reduce the uncertainty on such statistics to the point where when added together the errors don't make any conclusion impossible.
-- scad mientist, Jan 06 2016

Alternatively, try tracking funding for the NRA, logically speaking this would be Al Quaeda's easiest route.
-- not_morrison_rm, Jan 07 2016

//indicating that guns do not greatly influence a person's decision to kill themselves//

Once again, that is not in evidence. You are comparing suicide to violent death, not suicides as a percentage of the population. Despite the total number of guns owned in the US, only about 32% of households have a gun. Even assuming that every person in those households have access to the gun(s), that still means that 2/3rds of the population does not have routine access to firearms.

Therefore, if firearm access were not a factor in increasing suicide (or any type of violence), you would expect the numbers to be about 2/3rds non- firearm to 1/3 firearm. The fact that 51.6% of suicides are by firearm indicates that suicide is about 1.5x more likely in a household with a gun than in one without.
-- MechE, Jan 07 2016

...Unless the decision to commit suicide was precipitated by going out and getting a gun.

Lies, lies and damned statistics.
-- Custardguts, Jan 07 2016

It wasn't. See my link for more comprehensive analysis of the data than my comments here. Put simply, easy access to the means of suicide increases the rate of suicide.
-- MechE, Jan 07 2016

Again, I am not asking you to take my unsupported word. Look at my link. Read the papers it cites.

Given that 51.6% of the suicides in your numbers are by fire arm, even 42% (and that's the number Gallup reports, not 47%) household gun ownership would represent a 22-23% higher than expected suicide rate by firearm.
-- MechE, Jan 07 2016

Are guns not a problem outside the USA? This discussion seems rather tenuously related to the idea.
-- pocmloc, Jan 07 2016

Everyone in the USA has at least ten guns each. They need them as they are all terrified of each other, on account of everyone having ten guns each. In the future only those with more than ten guns and a tank will survive in America.
-- xenzag, Jan 07 2016

Oh really.
-- blissmiss, Jan 07 2016

This is why we can't have nice things (like respectful debates).

...Anyhow - I'm just not confident about the logical link being made. Surely "reason for obtaining the firearm" is critical to making that assumption. Similarly, "length of ownership of the firearm before the incident".
-- Custardguts, Jan 07 2016

How about selling all the front-row tickets to tall people?
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 07 2016

Except that there is no evidence that gun ownership is around 50%. There is evidence that it is significantly lower.

And yes, firearms based suicide attempts are more likely to be fatal. So? It doesn't change the fact that access to firearms results in more suicides.

It's sort of like gun advocates pointing to mass knifings in countries with restrictive gun laws, while ignoring the fact that these incidents typically have numbers like 1 dead 7 injured, as opposed to 7 dead 1 injured from mass shootings. Yes, attacks, or suicide attempts will still happen, but the harm from them is hugely reduced.
-- MechE, Jan 08 2016

Fine, fine.

I think there are lots of reasons to restrict gun ownership.

That people inclined to suicide, in a society which does little else to help them, choose to use firearms because they are effective; is not one of them.

Restricting gun ownership away from people inclined to suicide might also work. I for one, am not inclined to suicide, so I don't need anyone to take my guns away from me for this imagined threat.

...But I'm not a US citizen, just an interested observer.
-- Custardguts, Jan 08 2016

//If I wanted to kill someone, based on my inexperience and my education watching movies and TV, I'd guess that a gun might be the most effective way to do that safely//

Especially if you also obtain a police uniform...and one of those bullet-proof shields that I hear they are going to put up in public places.
-- DrBob, Jan 08 2016

Refers back to own armigerous gun control. Does what it says on the bend sinister.
-- not_morrison_rm, Jan 08 2016

So, ban culture?
-- pocmloc, Jan 08 2016

//Especially if you also obtain a police uniform...and one of those bullet-proof shields that I hear they are going to put up in public places.

That's actually the perfect reason to have bullet-proof shields. When what you are describing happens; grabbing a shield, approaching the shooter and taking away their gun when they are reloading is far more effective than some kind of a wild shootout (without shields).
-- ixnaum, Jan 08 2016

//Call it a hunch based on evidence of record gun sales in the past year.//

Which has zero basis in reality. The same surveys absolutely show that the number of guns per capita is increasing, which is what causes your record gun sales. However, more and more of those guns are in fewer and fewer hands.
-- MechE, Jan 08 2016

random, halfbakery