In light of some of the recent reports of police interactions it becomes increasingly apparent that their use of firearms is abysmal. When they have to fire 39 times to hit an innocent 92-year-old woman six times — in the case of Ms. Johnston — or 50 times to kill Sean Bell and 41 times for Amadou Diallo, it draws their accuracy into question. Mind you, police are trained in the use of firearms and dealing with stressful and life-threatening situations. However, given these statistics it seems that their accuracy may be somewhere around 17 percent, which is less than one hit out of five attempts. That’s worse than the worst batting averages in baseball!

Now, I own a gun myself, I’m an active, paying member of the NRA, but in light of these statistics I have to ask myself a question: Am I really able to defend myself with a gun? If the police, who are required to train, can’t hit enemies at close range even when they have to complete target practice at farther ranges as well as exercises in stressful situations, then how could I? Are these guns that we purchase really going to protect us when we’re faced with a real threat?

At Virginia Tech, Cho Seung-Hui was never threatened; thus he was able to achieve deadly accuracy, but the nearby police officers, who in that case rightfully perceived a threat, weren’t confident enough to use their training to confront the perpetrator. Why, then, if there were a possible threat in my house would I a), attempt to confront it or b), be capable of neutralizing or destroying it? If trained police can’t hit a target as well as a professional baseball player hitting a pitch, I just have to wonder how effective any of us can be with our firearms when we are confronted with that grave situation of having to take a life or lose ours when all the training flies straight out the window.