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December 14, 2012

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The NRA (National Rifle Association) should show their true patriotism by providing volunteers to guard all these venues like schools and malls. They should step up to it like the Patriot Guard Riders did to protect funerals from the nutcase Westboro Baptist Church people.

Brian, you're understandably upset. Today's event was horrible, but what are stronger gun laws going to do?

We've been through this before.

You can ban combat rifles, etc. but there will still be guns. A .38 revolver has unlimited potential with a pocket full of bullets. Even a .22.

Even if there were no guns then people would kill people with other things. Whole villages have been massacred with machetes. You can get one at Harbor Freight for $3.99. Should I need a permit and background check to buy that?

There are something like 100 million guns in the U.S. How many are used to kill school children?

The guy could have gone through the school wacking kids with a sledgehammer.

Tim McV*igh blew up a whole building with many people in it, including children, with a homemade bomb.

The guy today was crazy. I don't know what you do about that. How do you make a law against insanity? How do you identify when a person is just depressed or about to kill everyone in sight?

tucson, every other industrialized nation has done what we haven't done: controlled guns, and markedly reduced gun violence compared to the United States.

Study the facts. The United States has by far the most gun deaths. We are killing our children, killing ourselves. If terrorists were killing as many people in this country as Americans with guns do, there'd be an outcry to stop the killing.

Instead, the NRA has gotten politicians scared to do anything. Well, hopefully these latest gun massacres will wake people up. If other countries can have sane gun laws, so can we.

What caused the incident today was mental illness full blown into pure evil. What happened today hurt us collectively as a nation.

I think it will come out that this demon exhibited warning signs. People on the precipice need to be reported and supervised. That's what I think needs to be done. This type of madness seems to be becoming more frequent. The electronic Age of Aquarius is accelerating everything at a higher rate, some good and some bad.

But there is no way they will get guns out of the hands of Americans. No way. Gun rights are in our constitution and entrenched in our culture.

Out of the millions and millions of guns in this country only a miniscule fraction of a percentage point are used to commit mass murder and slaughter little children.

I say this as a person who does not enjoy firearms, but in times of trouble I have carried a gun and I was glad to have it.(rural Jackson County, Ore. was teeming with tweeked out meth freaks in the '90's).

I would not venture into Grizzly country in Montana or Alaska without my weapon of choice and not what the Government tells me I can have.

I am sure there are a lot of "first world" countries that have relatively liberal gun laws. Off hand, Norway comes to mind.

Not the best example as that is where the madman shot about 70 people on an island.

Australia has strict gun laws but they have a big problem with teenagers carrying knives and knife violence.

Crazy people are going to find a way to do crazy shit.

America doesn't have a monopoly on lunatics or evil. But compare the outcome of dual tragedies today (after researching the respective gun regs):

In China 22 children were attacked and _injured_ in a knife attack:

http://news.yahoo.com/22-children-1-adult-injured-knife-attack-outside-072825313.html

Seems like a pretty clear data point, not that I'm proposing we should become China.
Just presenting the data.

"Crazy people are going to find a way to do crazy shit."

And in the US, they're 3 times more likely to do it lethally because of the availablity of guns. Your defense of the indefensible doesn't hold water. Face facts - the NRA et al have made this county a much more dangerous place.

Ritz,

I understand your frustration with guns but
Mike by the lake made my point (pun intended) in his comment above.

Knives, guns, clubs, bombs, hammers, cars, bricks, poison, smelly feet...you name it.

One messed up SOB with a car can drive down a crowded city sidewalk, or campus or public gathering and kill many people. It can be done with a car that costs less than most AK-47s.

If this maniac didn't have guns he might have decided to load his car with containers of gasoline and driven it at high speed into the school turning the place into a fireball and burning kids to death. Basically a giant motorized Molotov cocktail.

There will always be the depraved committing depraved acts.

(and don't think I didn't shed a tear thining about the recent gastly event)


Here's a fresh case in point for you, Tucson, that occurred Friday morning, actual, not theoretical as your post above: 22 children attacked in Hong Kong with a knife, 1 in critical condition, none died. Yes, children have died in knife attacks before, but not this time--> http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/15/world/asia/china-us-school-attack/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

>> Knives, guns, clubs, bombs, hammers, cars, bricks, poison, smelly feet...you name it... <<

True, but why not mitigate the horrific havoc wreaked by handguns and assault rifles. They're widely available, relatively cheap, easily concealed, efficient, quick, and lethal in ways most weapons aren't. Admittedly, some of those are deadlier, but, there's also more planning involved, difficulty in arming and deploying accurately, less concealment, etc.

And those other weapons obscure the real issue. Handguns and assault rifles are doing the most damage now and acquiring them is far too easy. And I can think of no justifiable reason ever for assault rifles to be civilian hands no matter what doomsday scenarios the fringe likes to conjure up.

>> Knives, guns, clubs, bombs, hammers, cars, bricks, poison, smelly feet...you name it... <<

True, but why not mitigate the horrific havoc wreaked by handguns and assault rifles. They're widely available, relatively cheap, easily concealed, efficient, quick, and lethal in ways most weapons aren't. Admittedly, some of those are deadlier, but, there's also more planning involved, difficulty in arming and deploying accurately, less concealment, etc.

And those other weapons obscure the real issue. Handguns and assault rifles are doing the most damage now and acquiring them is far too easy. And I can think of no justifiable reason ever for assault rifles to be civilian hands no matter what doomsday scenarios the fringe likes to conjure up.

"There will always be the depraved committing depraved acts."

Again, you've reinforced my point and provided nothing to counter it. We don't disagree that there are people who will do (or attempt to do) bad things. But the difference is that without ready access to high powered guns, the consequences of such depravity are must less severe. Remember, you are not entitled to your own facts.

In the face of the facts, is there anything that you will concede - anything?

Ritz,

I conceded in another of my coments here that military style semi-auto rifles should require a special permit.

I will concede that anyone buying a gun should not have a history of violence, armed criminal activity or mental illness associated with aggression towards others.

I still don't think this will stop gun atrocities. It may limit the mumber of deaths somewhat. That would be a good thing.

But someone could walk into a school with a simple six shot revolver and a pocket full of bullets and accomplish about as much horror as the shooter did with his .223 semi-auto Bushmaster. The children, they say, were shot at close range. A .38 revolver is adequate for that. Even a .22, which is a caliber popular with covert operatives, is lethal when fired into the human brain or severs a major artery.

Short of a tyrannical takeover you will not disarm America and even then that would probably be next to impossible.

Blogger Brian mentioned that Australia and Israel have strict gun laws. These countries have populations respectively of about 22 million and 8 million respectively.

The USA has about 315 million and about one third that many guns circulating. It's a different kettle of fish.

Of course we want to do something about preventing the kind of heartless butchery we had in Newtown.

There is no viable solution.

----------------QUOTE----------------------
But someone could walk into a school with a simple six shot revolver and a pocket full of bullets and accomplish about as much horror as the shooter did with his .223 semi-auto Bushmaster. The children, they say, were shot at close range. A .38 revolver is adequate for that. Even a .22, which is a caliber popular with covert operatives, is lethal when fired into the human brain or severs a major artery.
----------------ENDQUOTE-----------------

I'd guess that's an overreach. A Bushmaster quickly unleashes a withering, "big bullet" swath of deadly force. A revolver requires more aiming - even at close range - and is a slower reload. Those seconds of reload could make it possible to run, hide, throw something, even enable a teacher to charge the assailant and stab him with a pencil. Maybe now is the time to arm teachers with mace.


-------------------QUOTE------------------
There is no viable solution.
----------------ENDQUOTE------------------

But you can start mitigating. Not too long ago, a Washington state lawyer carried a holstered handgun to a public event to challenge some ban on guns at public events. Uphold the ban. Establish a "zero tolerance" law for gunshops who skirt regulations. Ban gun shows altogether. They're a notorious conduit for the illegal sale of guns by private citizens. Establish an assault gun registry - owner's name, type of gun, when sold, reason for purchase. Make the registry publicly available so you'll have a chance of knowing who's packing an assault rifle in the neighborhood. Ignore the NRA and their ilk's chorus that you'll be registering knives and gas purchases next. There's too much at stake to do nothing.

Dear Dungeness,

Obviously a .22 pistol does not have the power of an assault rifle, and that a maniac armed only with a .22 is less likely to be able to kill on a mass scale. Still, I can imagine, and I hate to do so, a scenario where someone with a .22 could corner a group of children in a classroom and shoot all of them.

I once had to hire a security guard. His prefered weapon was a single shot 12 ga. shotgun with the barrel cut down to the legal minimum (in Oregon) of 18 1/2". I felt he was under-armed but he had extra shells strapped to the stock as well as a bandolier holding numerous extra shells. He demonstrated that he was so well practiced that he could fire, reload, and fire again very rapidly.

I don't think .22's or single shot shotguns will ever be banned or strictly controlled in the U.S. We may be able to prevent unstable people from owning them, but how do we know when a person who is a ticking time-bomb is about to snap?

I generally agree with your last paragraph. There need not be a ban on gun shows per se, but the same requirements for sale of guns at gun shows should be present as with a gun store or dealer.

Bombing kills 38 school children in Bath, Michigan in 1927...

http://www.inquisitr.com/442729/1927-school-bombing-was-deadliest-in-american-history/

This kind of madness is not new and probably can't be prevented unless every conceivable object, chemical, biological substance that humans can use to harm one another is banned.

"This kind of madness is not new and probably can't be prevented unless every conceivable object, chemical, biological substance that humans can use to harm one another is banned."

Once again, the world is black and white, all or nothing, and since we can't fix everything fix nothing. Sad, really sad. Why not take every conceivable measure to limit gun ownership, require training for those who insist on having guns, and periodic checks like car licenses? The list could go on, but why talk to the Rush Hannity hand?

Ritz,

You haven't even acknowledged what I have conceded.

I said above:

"... military style semi-auto rifles should require a special permit."

"...anyone buying a gun should not have a history of violence, armed criminal activity or mental illness associated with aggression towards others."

It is you who want it "all or nothing".

Please. Nowhere did I say no guns, thus, no all or nothing. Your fraction of a fraction of 1% concession re: no machine guns in the hands of the criminally insane? Wow - thanks.

Got to have the last word? Have at it - I'm off the grid for the holidays. Peace to all.

Ritz, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas.

Brian,

According to Grant Dewe of the MN Dept. of Corrections:

Mass killings in the U.S. peaked in 1929

# of Mass killings in the decades:
1980-1989...32
1990-1999...42
2000-2009...26

Note that during most of the 1990's assault weapons were banned.

Murders of school age children are down 42% from 1992 to 2008.

The ban on assault weapons from 1994 to 20004 had no effect on the murder rate or the lethality of shootings.

Since 2004 the murder rate by guns is down.

I think we need to look at our culture of violence in movies, video games, etc. which may influence mentally imbalanced people.

But there were no violent video games when the guy blew up the school in Bath, Michigan in 1927 and killed 45 people including 38 children.

In the meantime, any rush to banning weapons should be backed by empirical evidence. While Britain, Australia, and Canada have lower rates of gun murders, other countries that have strict gun laws such as Russia have high murder rates with guns.

This is not an easy one to solve.

Personally, I see no need for a private citizen to own a machine gun.

------------------ QUOTE -------------------
This kind of madness is not new and probably can't be prevented unless every conceivable object, chemical, biological substance that humans can use to harm one another is banned.
-----------------ENDQUOTE-------------------

It's almost as if you're conflating any new gun ban with some quixotic attempt to remove evil from the world. Why promote this kind of paralysis when there's a clear imperative to ban the worse offender - the assault rifle - as well as close canyon-sized loopholes in gun acquisition...

As you know, assault rifles are lethal military weapons, designed not for target practice fantasies or paranoid doomsday scenarios, but to kill enemies with high-velocity, large bullets, rapid fire, up to 30 rounds in 10 seconds according to one source, and humongous clips, even a 100 bullet drum although thank god, it's still jam-prone. Their presence in civilian hands has wreaked a terrible toll. The evidence of saved lives in other countries is overwhelming. What possible justification to marginalize this menace or fail to act?

Dungeness,

Banning assault rifles could be viewed as a quixotic attempt to remove mass gun killings from society.

I have explained elsewhere on this blog how a simple .38 cal revolver can be fired at a rate sufficient to wipe out a classroom. So, while we're at it, we may as well ban them as well.

But yes, I acknowledge it is easier to wipe out a classroom with an AK-47 although it is easier to slip past security with a pistol and a few extra clips under your jacket and still be formidably armed.

--------------- QUOTE ----------------------
Banning assault rifles could be viewed as a quixotic attempt to remove mass gun killings from society.
------------ END QUOTE ---------------------

Is there any attempt at all to listen to the arguments or facts already cited? Or to the clear majority who'd support just such a ban?

We don't stop looking for disease cures because the problem seems intractable or because any solution will be imperfect. The assault rifle has been the weapon of choice by mass murderers recently. And for the reasons we've gone over repeatedly - large clips, higher velocity bullets, rapid fire, huge exit wounds, etc. Only fools argue these guns need to be in the hands of civilians for "target shooting" or to "protect his family" when doomsday arrives.


--------------- QUOTE ----------------------
I have explained elsewhere on this blog how a simple .38 cal revolver can be fired at a rate sufficient to wipe out a classroom. So, while we're at it, we may as well ban them as well.
------------ END QUOTE ---------------------

Yes, any semi-automatic handgun could be a WMD but there's no reasonable chance of a ban. I think just about everyone accepts that. Assault rifles are a different story entirely. Sometimes you have to just cut out the most cancerous tissue while you're working on the cure.

Dungeness,

We could try banning assault rifles to remove some "cancerous tissue" like they did from 1994 to 2004 but it didn't do any good, so they were reinstated. We could try it again. It wouldn't bother me.

Actually, the .223 round for the AR-15 Bushmaster used in the recent massacre really is not a very powerful round compared to those used in many hunting rifles. It was chosen by the military mainly for it's light weight so that a soldier could carry more ammo.

I understand your desire to do something to stop these crazy killings. I would like to see a more aggressive policy towards those who diaplay mental illness coupled with violent/aggressive tendencies or threats.

------------------- QUOTE -----------------
we could try banning assault rifles to remove some "cancerous tissue" like they did from 1994 to 2004 but it didn't do any good, so they were reinstated.
---------------- END QUOTE -----------------

How do you know "it didn't do any good"? How many studies did you look at... why didn't you cite them? I read that there were no statistically significant conclusions to be made. Not one though asserted "it didn't do any good".

Assault rifles may be a drop in the crime bucket but, they they're a potent, murderous component. They've become a weapon of choice in mass killing. By the way, Adam Lanza left the hunting rifle at home.

------------------- QUOTE -----------------
I would like to see a more aggressive policy towards those who diaplay mental illness coupled with violent/aggressive tendencies or threats.
-----------------END QUOTE -----------------

Certainly, but increasingly I wonder how effective that'd be. I don't recall reading that Adam Lanza, for instance, made any threats or bullied anyone. He was described as a quiet loner, certainly not aggressive or violent outwardly. Eccentric yes but functioning at a high level in school. He likely internalized his pain... until he snapped. There are many profiles like Adam's in high schools everywhere.

Banning assault rifles is the highest priority now in my opinion. Maybe, just maybe, if it had been harder or impossible to grab an assault rifle, there would have been fewer funerals.

Dungeness,

The way I see it "no statistically significant conclusions to be made" could be an argument that banning assault rifles didn't help with gun violence.

If someone decided to go on a gun rampage a semi-auto rifle might well be their weapon of choice, so I agree with you there, but if they couldn't get one of those a very nasty rampage could be accomplished with a wide variety of other types of guns. A pump action shotgun could turn any classroom into a mess. I hate to put it that way, but it's true.

You're right. Some of these people are quiet types who seem to just lose it one day and start shooting without much warning, but others do exhibit warning signs. This needs to be seriously addressed. For instance, Jared Loughner who shot Gabriele Giffords and others in Tucson was a known nutcase who was disruptive in his college classes and elswhere. Many people felt threatened in his presence and were afraid of him. He could have been sequestered, evaluated and possibly treated before he lost it completely.

----------------- QUOTE --------------------
The way I see it "no statistically significant conclusions to be made" could be an argument that banning assault rifles didn't help with gun violence.
-------------- END QUOTE -------------------

It could be but an equally strong case could be made that any conclusion was unwarranted. The bulk of homicides have nothing to do with assault rifles so any movement up or down would become statistically insignificant. But assault rifle deaths actually did dip during the ban. Here's "dip" confirmation from the "fair and balanced" channel:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/12/24/history-gives-mixed-grade-to-impact-assault-weapons-ban/#ixzz2GGvqpeqv

But, of course, the gun lobby is dismissive. Their attack dog LaPierre argues there's nothing to be done... except armed guards in the schools. And an ongoing spiral of more "good" guns to fight "bad" guns.

----------------- QUOTE ----------------
For instance, Jared Loughner who shot Gabriele Giffords and others in Tucson was a known nutcase who was disruptive in his college classes and elswhere. Many people felt threatened in his presence and were afraid of him. He could have been sequestered, evaluated and possibly treated before he lost it completely.
--------------- END QUOTE ---------------

Agreed but from what I gather he more nutty than overtly violent or threatening. Also I thought he had been seen by a psychologist pre-massacre but I could be wrong. The overwhelming problem though is how do you identify, sequester, and/or treat every potential threat. It's the most herculean, expensive, problematic solution of all. What goes on in the human psyche is the real intractable problem of our time. Being careful about what potentially dangerous toys wind up in human hands is more manageable.


Hi Dungeness,

From one of my previous comments:

According to Grant Dewe of the MN Dept. of Corrections:

Mass killings in the U.S. peaked in 1929

# of Mass killings in the decades:
1980-1989...32
1990-1999...42
2000-2009...26

Note that during most of the 1990's assault weapons were banned yet mass killings were up from the previous decade.

Murders of school age children are down 42% from 1992 to 2008.

The ban on assault weapons from 1994 to 20004 had no effect on the murder rate or the lethality of shootings.

Since 2004 the murder rate by guns is down.

I don't know how you identify and sequster EVERY potential mass killer, but Loughner was one to be watched as he was well known in the community as a threat.

I don't see anything being accomplished by banning semi-auto rifles when similar carnage can easily be committed with other types of guns.

I understand your concern and desire to reduce these crimes. Where we disagree is that I feel there is no feasible solution.


----------------- QUOTE --------------------
The ban on assault weapons from 1994 to 20004 had no effect on the murder rate or the lethality of shootings.
---------------- END QUOTE ------------------

But, there was a dip in "assault rifle kills". See Fox News article cited earlier.
And assault rifle kill numbers are a mere drop in the crime bucket. The murder rate in that decade may have increased due to unknown societal factors, increased numbers of guns in private hands, aggressive gun advertising, more gun show accessibility, who knows... Maybe it would have been worse without the ban. If there's any identifiable trend though, such as the dip in assault rifle kills, then I don't see how it can be ignored or trivialized... Why not potentially save a few lives if it can be done with a ban. It's a start at least while we try to unravel the human psyche.

------------- QUOTE -----------------
I don't know how you identify and sequster EVERY potential mass killer, but Loughner was one to be watched as he was well known in the community as a threat.
-------------- END QUOTE -------------

But as I mentioned, he had seen a psychologist if I remember rightly. I would think it's an overreach to say "he was well known as a threat" except in hindsight. Nutty yes but violent no. Maybe you could profile a mass murderer type and round up all the usual suspects. But then what would you do? Watch 'em all 24x7? Mandate they be compelled to have ongoing psychotherapy? Jail 'em for indeterminate sentences, forcibly drug 'em? Attach ankle bracelets and monitor where they go? These scenarios are absurd no-go's. But, an assault rifle ban is do-able and might save a few lives... both victim and perpetrator.

-------------- QUOTE -------------------
I understand your concern and desire to reduce these crimes. Where we disagree is that I feel there is no feasible solution.
------------ END QUOTE -----------------

Yes, we'll have to disagree then. Continuing to make assault rifles available for civilians is the poster child for gun stupidity. We must act... if only to save a single life.

Dungeness,

There is also the possibility that owning an assault rifle could "save a single life" in a self defense situation.

I'm not trying to have the last word here.

I agree with you that those who may be dangerous, without a prior history of violence or threats of violence, would be almost impossible to control or monitor.

Loughner committed his atrocity with a handgun. Same with the Virginia Tech mass murderer who killed 35 with a handgun. I stand by my opinion that banning assault rifles will not reduce mass killings.


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