A guest on Sean Hannity's radio show this morning compared the victims of the Las Vegas massacre in October to gazelles being preyed on by lions in sub-Saharan Africa. "The gazelles don't show up at the water hole, completely clueless, looking at a cellphone with no idea where the bad guy's going to come from," said Jonathan Gilliam.
Hannity talked with the former Navy SEAL and Federal Air Marshal about how people can avoid terror attacks, he but seemed to blame the victims more than any perpetrators. While discussing the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the nation's deadliest on record committed by a single person, Gilliam argued that people should have had a plan to avoid impending danger.
"They [gazelles] know how to act, not just react," Gilliam said. "They know where the bad guy is going to come from, and that's why they're constantly looking, observing and then if something happens, they react."
He also seemed to throw some blame on the organizers of the Route 91 Harvest festival, the event the shooter targeted.
"I’m not hitting on anybody for this because this is where we have to get away from this mindset," said Gilliam, "but the [Vegas] promoters, the sound people, the lighting people, what did they do? They sat there and tried to figure it out and they turned the lights on and everybody laid down. They pretty much just presented a huge target, no different than if you go on a range and you have a static target."
Hannity then criticized New Yorkers for not being on high alert every second of every day.
"The average person walking through the streets of New York City — they've got their headphones on or in their ears, or they're text-walking, or they're talking on the phone — they have zero situational awareness," Hannity said.
Gilliam also discussed things he felt could have prevented chaos after the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in the U.K.
"Every place I can guarantee you the majority of places you go. Take when the Ariana Grande concert was blowing up. Had you done any of these, if these parents had done any type of online surveillance of that area they would have known that is the drop-off and pickup area," he said.
Gilliam added, "They should have told their kids wait 10, 15 minutes. Be the last one out of the stadium. We’ll get you down the road here. Don’t come out this area, that’s a critical area and that’s a critical time. Unfortunately they don’t think like that and those kids and those adults are dead now."
Being prepared for any situation is necessary and important, but that's not what these men are really pushing, particularly when they single out victims of violence for their inaction in response to danger.
Rather, they are forwarding a vision of a world in which there are no solutions to mass violence, where what causes and allows people to commit it can't and shouldn't be questioned. Instead of fixing our problems, every person should be anxiously awaiting and preparing for an outbreak caused by unknown external forces. Instead of, say, curbing gun availability, we all have the personal responsibility for looking for enemies all around us and plotting routes of escape at all times. If we don't, what happens is on us.
They're proposing a world based on fear where guns don't kill people, not living under a siege mentality does. But we shouldn't have to live in fear, or be remembered as someone who doesn't "think like that" if we become a victim of a tragedy. Despite what these men say, we deserve better.
Listen to the full segment below, via Media Matters For America: