Open Letter to James Hatch and the USA Today Editorial Staff, Re: Good Guy with a Gun Myth

Open Letter to James Hatch and the USA Today Editorial Staff, Re: Good Guy with a Gun Myth

Mr. Hatch,

Having just finished reading your editorial in Dec. 11 2015 issue of USA Today (online) entitled “The Good Guy with a Gun Myth”  I was obliged to respond.

Not a fan of the American Pravda, I became aware via a friend’s social media post. I felt that as a veteran of the United States Military (Parris Island Class of ’87) I should respond. So this is my response to the assertions you offered on behalf of the “guns are not the answer” crowd.

In your opening paragraph you grab the readers’ attention by referring to the “slaughter” of 14 innocent Americans in San Bernardino, California, by “two people armed with high-powered rifles and handguns”.

I’m going to assume that the USA Today Editorial department removed any reference to the fact that these “people” as you say, were Islamic jihadists planted in our country for the sole purpose of murdering the innocent.

As you say you are a “combat veteran” I feel certain you would not deliberately give a pass to the death cult of Islam for yet another in an incalculable number of malicious attacks on the free world.

Your next tactic is to paint both Ted Cruz and Newt Gingrich as political opportunists for suggesting that a good guy (or good guys) with a gun could have made a difference in the numerous mass killing events that you ascribed to “terrorists”, again eliminating any reference to the Religion of Peace whose primary recruiting tool is death and the threat of death.

You then discount Cruz and others who might share his opinion in Washington D.C. as they have not been in gunfights.

Moving On

Moving on, you explain that from your experience, being a good guy with a gun when the bullets start flying is “very difficult”. Well, allow me a moment to retort: No shit. I’m curious to know how many folks have come out with the opposite opinion that gunfights are not difficult? Actually, I will be that guy.


As a combat-decorated veteran myself, (DD214 on file) I can tell you that I watched in awe as my fellow Marines performed admirably under fire. Yes, in the height of incoming and outgoing artillery fire, sporadic gunfire from armor, mortars, and machine-guns, they performed exactly as they had trained.

Yes, gunfights are wild and unpredictable, but they are also manageable events. Granted, trained good guys can and do get shot and killed during fights. That is the risk that we all accepted when we swore an Oath of Allegiance to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

You say “Gun Fights are Crazy” and “Gun Fights are Hard”.  Again, I’ll offer “no shit”, but I will remind you that in this world we have “shootings” and we have “gunfights” and the two are not the same.

A “shooting” is one person (faction) having guns and the other person (group) being unarmed. A “gunfight” by definition involves both parties being armed.

You portray the San Bernardino Islamic Terror attack as a “gunfight” but it was not, it was a “shooting”, a slaughter, a mass murder. In order for San Bernardino, Paris Theater, Charlie Hebdo, etc. to have been “gunfights” the victims would have had to be armed.


James, you next assert that if even highly trained “special operators” can and do make mistakes during gunfights that the lowly American citizen, who may have little to no training is essentially a danger to themselves and others.

As a person who no longer wears the uniform on a daily basis and could be legitimately referred to as what you say a “weekend shooter”, I will hold my skills up to you or any comers.

Do not get me started on law enforcement and military personnel who only train with their guns when commanded to by their unit or department.

However, I will walk down the “untrained” versus “operator” road with you for a moment. Let us say that the Jihadists that you are afraid to mention do walk into a movie theater, shopping mall, or God-forbid elementary school. (Jihadists will murder children: Beslan Massacre) Despite the brightly colored plastic sign declaring the area a “Gun Free Zone” the Muslim Missionaries were not dissuaded.

Inside of the target building, you will have a large group of unarmed targets and there will be a shooting. Or, there may be a few “weekend shooters” with guns and you will have a gunfight. In scenario one, the death cultists will murder at will until they run out of ammunition or targets. Or even better, good guys with guns show up from the outside to engage them.

A Choice

In scenario two, the few armed good guys will have a choice between running, hiding, and praying for mercy from the monsters of the 7th Century death cult or fighting back, as best they can.

In scenario two there is a choice. Die on your feet or in the fetal position. I would think that rather than berate a person with the courage to stand up and fight you would applaud their desire to make a difference.

Instead, what we get as a takeaway from your column is that armed good guys are delusional and a danger to themselves and others. How you can conclude that if Sen. Cruz gets his wish that MORE innocent people will be hurt is beyond my ability to comprehend.

The water you are carrying for Pravda and Veterans for Responsible Solutions is that only employees of the state have the qualifications and training to deal with terrorists. You “weekend shooters” should not even try. Keep a low profile, run if you can, and in the end die quietly.

Mr. Hatch, you cannot wrap yourself in the flag while calling for gun control and disarmament. I know the cowards in the media will never call you out for the despicable tool for progressive state propaganda that you have become, but I will. I hope the 30 pieces of silver that USA Today paid you will purchase a nice piece of land.

When the Jihadists and Muslim Missionaries arrive, regardless of how armed, and decide that the infidels in the mall, church, or school, are going to die…

Not you, the entire US Navy Special Operations Command, or anyone else outside of the building is going to be able to do a damn thing to stop the slaughter.

Man Up

The only people with any hope of minimizing the horror with be those present when the first shot is fired. I would have thought with all your “operator” experience you would realize that fact.

The CHOICE that American citizens have over all others in the world, and one that you seek to deny, is whether or not to be armed and prepared to fight rather than lay down and die.

Yes, they might make mistakes while they are fighting for their lives, I will give you that. Nonetheless, I’ll take that over your option of error-free submission.

I can only hope that someone has the moral fortitude to cut off your buttons and break your sword. You, Mr. Hatch are more disgraceful than your pal Gabby Giffords and the editorial leftists at Pravda. You of all people should know better. However, you have chosen to sell your soul. Enjoy your silver.

Thanks for reading.

Paul G. Markel
Author of Team Honey Badger

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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