As a victim of gun violence, I can tell you nothing helps more than having a gun

As a victim of gun violence, I can tell you nothing helps more than having a gun
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Within hours of the mass murder in Las Vegas, my phone and email account caught fire. I expected it. Anytime there is a high profile massacre in which the madman’s tool of choice is a gun, I can count on members of the media reaching out to me for comment. I have had the unenviable (and unfortunately, no longer unique) experience of having lived through one of the largest mass shootings in recent history on American soil.
 
In 1991, I was eating lunch at a local cafeteria with my parents when a madman drove his truck through a plate glass window and then methodically began executing the patrons. I made it out; my parents didn't. Twenty-three people were killed that day. At the time, it was the largest mass shooting to date.
 
At that time, in my state of Texas, it was illegal to carry a weapon on your person. So as a good law-abiding citizen, I left my gun out in my car, where it was completely useless to me. Since that dreadful event, I have had many nay-sayers suggest that I might not have had the wherewithal to shoot the bad guy, or that I could have missed. Perhaps. But to this day, I maintain (and no one can argue) that my gun would have at least changed the odds.
 
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Of course, had I been in Las Vegas that fateful Sunday night, the little revolver in my purse would not have made a difference. This was not a case of anyone in that concert venue being able to stop the perpetrator with a handgun, Krav Maga, pepper spray, or anything else I can think of.
 
 
Still, we look for answers.
 
How can we prevent this moving forward?
 
We can’t.
 
It is human nature to look for a motive in the hopes of spotting potential "crazies" in the future. As the days pass, the answer to that question as it applies to Vegas seems to become more elusive.
 
My husband, a neuropsychologist, suggested that a possible diagnosis was alcohol-related encephalopathy, which means that he was experiencing some kind of brain deterioration that would alter his judgment, increase his rage and anger, and which tends to manifest around that age. We have since learned from the sheriff that the pattern suggested the killer was “descending into madness,” which matches my husband’s hypothesis.
 
But motive doesn’t really matter when it's not terrorist-related.
 
You can blame the guns if you want.
 
But the truth is he could have killed a lot more people if he had simply flown one of the two planes he owned from the airport that was less than a mile away and landed it it through the crowd and into the stage. He would likely have killed and maimed thousands instead of the hundreds he did. My son and I thought of half a dozen ways he could have racked up a higher body bag count that could not have been prevented. Guns just happened to be his tool of
choice.
 
No new legislation will change the likelihood of this occurring again.

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If it will make you feel better to make bump stocks illegal, go ahead. But don’t think for one minute that the new law will prevent a future madman. If you think magically eliminating guns from the world would “fix” this sickness, then you have a significant imagination deficit.
 
But hope springs eternal. And in the wake of this single act of evil, we have seen thousands of people standing in line to give blood, police officers running toward the mayhem as audience and bystanders run away, individuals shielding family members or even strangers with their own bodies. They were all immense and heroic acts. So many angels appeared as that one demon wreaked havoc!
 
So to my family and friends, I say it is incumbent upon you to simply be as prepared as you can. There have been many times when my family and I have just taken our seats at a theater or restaurant, and I will ask them to close their eyes and tell me how many exits there are and where they are located. Of course, my boys roll their eyes, but the habit is being instilled.
 
Similarly, if you are at an event and you think you hear firecrackers, you should think otherwise. Those few seconds you take making that determination could mean your life. Always, always, always have a plan in the back of your mind.
 
Paranoia?
 
Do you have a smoke alarm in your house? Of course you do. Not because you are afraid of your house burning down, but because you want to be prepared. And hopefully your family knows their escape routes and meet-up location.
 
Do you wear a seatbelt? Is it because you are constantly fearful of an accident? Probably not. But you know that in the unlikely event of a wreck, a seatbelt may save your life.
 
Recently, a reporter asked me about my “relationship with [my] gun.” I couldn’t help but chuckle and reply, “I don’t have a ‘relationship’ with my gun anymore than I have a ‘relationship’ with my smoke alarm, seatbelt, or airbags. These are all just tools and play a role in preparedness. I recognize that when I use them correctly, they may save my life.”
 
Nothing is a guarantee. We are just changing the odds.
 
Suzanna Hupp is a survivor of the 1991 Luby's shooting. She served as a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1997 to 2007. She is the author of From Luby's to the Legislature: One Woman's Fight Against Gun Control