I recently had the great fortune to talk to Guy Fortescue, head of the NRA chapter in Lexington, Kentucky, about the Second Amendment and what he’d previously described to me as the “integral American liberty to carry guns.” What follows is a transcription of our meeting, where we discussed why carrying guns would’ve prevented the theater shooting in Colorado.
GUY: You finally taking out your garbage? It’s making my apartment look scummy.
ME: Sorry about that, I went home for summer vacation. [Unheard murmurs of why he couldn’t take it out if it bothered him so much]
GUY: You hear about this Colorado theater shooting?
ME: Yeah. 12 dead. 58 wounded. Awful.
GUY: Wouldn’t have happened if one of them had a gun.
GUY: If you ask me, they were asking for it, going out of the house without a gun. Gotta protect yourself in a world where psychos and [long string of racial slurs] want to kill you.
ME: Yeah? Sounds like you’ve covered every nationality there.
GUY: Pretty much. Can’t stand foreigners. Can’t trust them.
ME: Fortescue? Is that French?
GUY: Yep. Parents came over just after the War. I was 3. Don’t remember the trip.
ME: Interesting. So why would someone having a gun in the theater stop the massacre?
GUY: Simple. He starts going, you take your gun out, shoot him dead.
ME: You’re right, very simple. You ever done that?
GUY: Nope. Never had to. But if I ever do – if I’m ever in that theater – I’ll just take out my gun and shoot him dead.
GUY: You betcha. Right between the eyes, just like Clint Eastwood…
ME: Right. If he can do it, why can’t you?
GUY: Damn right. I even practice at the range a couple times…
ME: A couple of times… a week? A month?
GUY: Just a couple of times. I can hit the target while hammered.
ME: Really? How often?
GUY: Enough for it to know who’s boss. Let me tell you –
ME: Well okay.
GUY: — If I was in that theater, and I was carrying, which is all the time, I would’ve just taken out my gun, and shot him dead.
ME: Before or after he shot the teargas? He shot teargas, didn’t he?
GUY: I would’ve taken him out before he got that off.
ME: So you shoot people who stand up in movies?
GUY: Maybe I would’ve let him get the teargas off, just so I could know he was a baddie. But then I would’ve taken out my gun, and shot him dead.
ME: Through the smoke and the, uh, tears?
GUY: Do I look like a pussy?
ME: But what if you started getting shot at? Would you fire back first or take cover?
GUY: Cover? COVER? Kid, I would dodge and keep shooting. Have you seen The Matrix?
ME: Awesome movie. Awesome. And a movie.
GUY: It isn’t hard. When we were hammered, me and my bud used to practice at the range.
ME: Well then. Where’s you bud now?
GUY: He wasn’t so great at it.
ME: I see. So in the midst of the teargas making it hard for everyone else to see, and making everyone else cry, you would be dodging bullets and returning fire?
GUY: You bet your left ball I would be. But not for long. I might miss the first shot, but I know I’d hit on the second.
ME: He was wearing body armor, though. Where would you shoot?
GUY: Body armor has its holes; it’s weak at the neck and underneath the arms. I’d shoot for the neck; much bigger target.
ME: And if Legolas can do that in a movie, why can’t you do it in a movie theater?
GUY: Damn right. BANG! Shoot him dead.
ME: But now what if other people there were as prepared as you, and were also packing heat? People behind you, in front of you, all standing up and shooting?
GUY: Then that baddie would get pretty fucked up!
ME: You wouldn’t be hitting each other?
GUY: What are you? Nuts? We’d be aiming at the baddie, not each other!
ME: Oh, right, right. Well, I’ve got to go floss my cat. It’s been… interesting talking to you.
GUY: Have a good one, man. F*cking hippie.