(Article changed on January 6, 2014 at 21:39)
It's been exactly a year since gun lover and business manager of the popular YouTube show FPSRussia Keith Ratliff was found dead in Carnesville, Georgia of a single bullet wound in the head. Ratliff was reportedly surrounded by several guns, but not the gun that killed him. Ratliff's show which featured his friend Kyle Myers showing off the fire power of weapons and triggering explosions while faking a Russian accent, were viewed millions of times.
Two months after the death the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said it was pursuing leads but by September had not reported an arrest or suspect. How could someone surrounded by guns be murdered, if in fact Ratliff was murdered? "For him not to pull out that gun and try to defend himself, he had to feel comfortable around somebody," his brother Kelly Ratliff told ABC News affiliate WSB-TV. "Either that or he was ambushed."
Ratliff's death came exactly one month before another inexplicable death of a well-armed and trained person. On February 2, 2013, Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL known as the most lethal sniper in American military history, was killed at the Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort shooting range in Erath County, Texas along with his companion, Chad Littlefield. Charged in the shootings was a 25-year-old fellow veteran Marine Eddie Ray Routh, whom Kyle and Littlefield had purportedly taken to the gun range.
And last week, Frank Petro, longtime owner of Frank's Gun & Taxidermy Shop was killed at his dealership in Conemaugh, PA. Police have charged Jack Edmundson in the slaying who said he had been shot and wounded by Petro, but he was able to get Petro's gun and allegedly return fire, lethally.
When asked about the contradiction of highly armed and trained shooters not being able to defend themselves despite their arms, gun lovers offer a cascade of mewing defenses. Maybe it was a surprise attack, they say. Maybe the shooter came up behind them. Maybe they weren't paying attention. Maybe they knew the shooter. As if these situations wouldn't happen with any assault.
The "sun was in their eyes" excuses that gun lovers grasp at when heavily armed people can't defend themselves show the fundamental fallacy of armed protection. Weapons keep you safe from bad guys unless there is an element of surprise, unless the assailant is behind you and unless the assailant is someone you know. Then, they may actually make things worse. Being shot by someone you know is the reason a firearm in the home heightens the chance of getting killed, especially women assaulted by violent domestic husbands and boyfriends.