Many people may have frozen in shock or panic. Others may have fired ineffectually (as the police so often do) and hit nothing at all, or may have added to the casualties. The simple fact of the matter is that we don’t know, and can never know, if the presence of an armed citizen might have made a difference that night.
I do know one thing for certain.
If I had been in that theater, and had my concealed weapon (which, absurdly, is illegal here in North Carolina), there is a chance I would have remembered I was armed. There is a chance I would have been able to draw my pistol and activate the laser sight. There is a chance that the thousands of rounds I’ve fired in training — more than many police officers have in their career — would have taken over and I might have had a clear shot where I put the dot between the shooter’s eyes and detached myself from the carnage long enough to remember front sight, press.
There’s a lot of chance and not an inconsiderable amount of skill that would have had to coalesce to end a rampage like this as suddenly as it began. But that is a chance I bet anyone pinned down by a raging gunman would have taken if the situation presented itself.
The first rule of gun-fighting still applies: first, have a gun.