How predictable are these mass shootings and their outcomes? Check out this freakishly accurate post by Doctor Science at ObWi:
Another mass shooting, this time in an elementary school in Connecticut. I am ill with horror.
Have some predictions:
1. The shooter will turn out to be male.
2. He will turn out to be white.
3. He will turn out to be angry at a woman, or women in general
4. If he’s angry at an ex (wife or lover), she either works at the school or he murdered her before going to the school.
5. More than half of the victims will be female.
6. The weapons will have been obtained legally.
7. There will be no legislation to make such weapons harder to obtain, stockpile, or use.
8. Most reliable of all: gun sales will increase, especially for the particular weapons used in the shooting.
I may not be right about all these predictions, but you can take that final one to the bank.
Let’s check how accurate she was:
1. The shooter was male.
2. The shooter was white.
3. He was angry enough at his mother to kill her.
4. He murdered her before going to the school.
5. According to the AP, all six adults were women, and 12 of the 20 children killed were girls.
6. By all accounts, the guns were legally purchased by his mother.
And it’s only a matter of time before 7 and 8 are validated.
And while this is going on, sociopaths have now decided that apparently it is time to talk about gun control- as long as you are talking about eliminating it. And because we are such a screwed up nation, they won’t be shamed into silence.
War on Women
Looking forward to what The Fonz of Freedom and his fellow privilege-endowed pals think about this.
Oh, wait, no I’m not.
Guns don’t kill people, testosterone kills people.
Someone can find the stats, but the highest % of gun deaths are suicides (over homicides).
Hemingway comes to mind: macho hunter and gun enthusiast who shot himself.
Why isn’t the burden of responsibility and red tape annoyance borne by folks who buy guns rather than those who might be at the end of one?
I grew up with guns. I think they are fascinating and beautiful. But I also don’t think that makes them worth fetishizing. I’d much rather see them highly controlled than available for what happened yesterday. It’s sickening that conservatives and the NRA can eviscerate the context of easily available guns.
I can’t find the specific thread, but someone was asking if a CCW holder had ever thwarted a mass murder. I got curious and started googling. The closest thing I found was Nick Meli in the Oregon mall mass murder. Mr. Meli was carrying, and he hid behind a pillar and drew his weapon, but decided not to fire because he saw someone behind the shooter and feared he’d hit the wrong person. The shooter saw Mr. Meli with his weapon and thereupon shot himself; Mr. Meli is not sure if the shooter’s seeing his (Mr. Meli’s) weapon had anything to do with that or not.
I am typing this on a phone on which I have not figured out to add links, but if you google something like “Clackamas mall shooting,” or even Mr. Meli’s name, now that we have it, you should find pretty much what I found.
I was just asking my sister this morning, what is up with all the angry white males in this country?
Obama could stop these massacres overnight with a stroke of pen by reinstituting prayer in school.
So when Lindsey Graham said that the GOP isn’t creating enough ‘angry white guys’ to sustain them, was he refering to guys like this one?
From Dave Brockington at LGM:
Ultimately, such an asinine, idiotic argument serves to defend a mythic mis-interpretation of our 2nd Amendment rights. So let’s talk about the rights that we do have, or should have, in a modern society.
Sorry, assholes, but my six year old daughter has more of a right to attend her fucking elementary school without fear. Her teacher has the right to concentrate on excellence in pedagogy and not in SWAT tactics. I have the right as a university professor to assume that when the door to my lecture hall opens, as it does five times per hour, it’s another late student, and not my long awaited chance to unholster the Glock I’m packing in order to pop off a couple untrained rounds in playing hero.
ETA: All 3 paras should be block quotes. Sorry.
There are more of us than there are sociopaths.
Parents have to be able to send their children to school, and we do not need armed guards in each of our schools (as Megyn Kelly, I believe, suggested).
We are going to win this one.
It’s different this time. We can organize and outwork them.
Doctor Science is a woman, just so you know. She writes from time to time about motherhood, her experiences, and stuff like that.
I just read Spaghetti Lee’s rant that was posted last night, and I think it should be front-paged:
I have to go to a Christmas party with the neighbors tonight. My husband is on notice that if anyone starts with me, he’s got to hustle me out of there fast. I am in no mood to humor the other side’s opinions right now.
It’s freakishly accurate because it’s a basic checklist predicated on actual data.
I think the validity of #5 is still up in the air. You’re always going to find more women than men in an elementary school, although it could be that it was a factor in his choice of where to start shooting.
Yikes! Is Dr. Science a real doctor or does she just have a masters degree? Either way, he’s got the dynamics of the shooter mass killing down.
Also totally predictable is the right wing response to all of this. Let’s arm the kindergardeners!
From what I have read about this guy, it seems there was a possible mental illness or developmental disorder involved. And there always seems to be various factors that come together for a decision like this is made by a killer. There does seem to be more women victims, and some cases are clearly motivated resentment towards a woman, or women in general, but the rage seems to be more existential in this case, and most cases, of simply having been born in the first place. Maybe more women were murdered in this case and in general, because they are less likely to successfully resist enough to stop the killing. Short of banning guns altogether, I am for more women with guns. I don’t know why, but maybe we’d have less of this shit. I think we would have a more polite society if more ladies packed. Am only half joking.
@Bruce Baugh: Does she have a clue as to why these males are so angry?
9. People will seize on the shooting as a reason to propose various gun control measures that would have done nothing to prevent the shooting.
10. People who point out #9 will be accused of not *caring* about the children.
You cheered me up during the campaign. So keep cheering me up. What can we do? I have been contributing to the Brady Campaign since it was started, but I don’t see that it makes much difference. Don’t we need somebody to lead us? And don’t say Obama. There’s very little that he can do.
Second that re Spaghetti Lee’s rant.
Emailed item to John and Doug last night. It needs a big audience.
If you run into a real asshole at tonight’s party, do baptize them with eggnog. You must.
No one in the corporate media ever brings up how these guys are white.
Can you imagine how they would go crazy if brown or black people (or even far worst – mooslims) had committed 7 massacres in one year.
But of course, IOKIYAW
I think that in this case, elementary schools tend to have more females working there. I read that he shot all the kids in the classroom and it happened to have that number of boys and girls.
Even if none of the teachers in that school actually were armed, would it have caused any harm to post signs at entrances saying “Beware, Women With Guns” ? I think not.
Didn’t we have an assault rifle ban at one point? And didn’t this shooter primarily use an assault rifle to kill most of his victims, one of which was shot at least eleven times?
How about an outright ban on assault rifles? Is that just too goddamned crazy to consider? How about we ban a weapon we already banned once and how about we ban magazines that hold more than ten rounds?
No, that would be too insane to contemplate, wouldn’t it?
Who the hell are you? I’ve never seen you here before, but today and yesterday you’ve been here saying the most obnoxious things. I wish you’d go away. Even maclaren makes more sense.
@General Stuck: This whole idea is really stupid.
@gogol’s wife: Second this.
Now didn’t it feel good, saying that?
The VTech killer was Asian. So it is not always the case that the killer is white.
Wow, at the LGM link, we are treated to some insane speculation from Box Wine Annie:
Remember, this woman makes a lot of money teaching law.
I was on campus when Charles Whitman (UT-Austin tower sniper) shot all those poor people way back when. Saw people hit and fall down dead, awful business. Point is: first thing HE did was shoot his mother in the morning, then his wife, I believe, before heading for UT and taking the tower elevator.
My own mother was something of a monster in her later years. People with “normal” mothers never understand these things, but some human mothers do indeed eat their young (so to speak). For me, however, it’s no great leap at all to understand at least somewhat how things went down in Newtown: No love or withheld affection produces great anger. Of COURSE he shot his mother first. The little kids he murdered? Well, presumably they are children receiving love he didn’t have… so objects of envy to be destroyed.
That and the country is overwhelmingly white
@Rosie Outlook: Volokh Conspiracy had a good piece on something similar, finding there are at least a few documented cases of it.
@Rosie Outlook: It’s not clear whether there is a better exception to CCW use that proves the rule, but: In my neighborhood Wallyworld, in 2008, a CCW holder shot and killed the ex-boyfriend who was attempting to kill the butcher while she worked.
I’m not aware of other anecdotes that conform so well to the mythology around concealed carry permits. Perhaps others can chime in.
That and the country is overwhelmingly white
@General Stuck: No, it made me sad that someone would think that makes any sense. Remember, you said you were only half joking.
@General Stuck: No, it made me sad that someone would think that makes any sense. Remember, you said you were only half joking.
@Elizabelle: It’s not different this time. With the advent of Citizens United the NRA has even more power over the GOP than before. The truth is they don’t even have to spend much more. Just the threat of having the NRA fund a teabagger in the primary against them will keep dang near every GOP house member in line. This heinous tragedy will quickly fade from the public’s memory as will all the others that will happen in the future. I think too many of us live in a bubble, and don’t get just how ingrained guns truly are in huge swaths of this country. It is a religion for people, and just like religion no amount of evidence will convince those people that their position is flawed. For god’s sake, they actually think that carrying a gun at all times will make them safer, when even a cursory examination would show that it’s ridiculously more likely to get you into trouble, than it is to keep you from it.
I’m left in the rare position of being too depressed by this whole mess to be snarky about it (as is my, and it seems most of our, usual response to the unending tide of human stupidity).
My mother-in-law, who is otherwise a wonderful woman, keeps trying to talk to me about how stupid gun laws are, how prayer is the only answer, and I just lose all hope. She has no reason or interest in supporting gun ownership, per se, she just follows the Fox News talking points on everything political.
This “A bear for every child at Sandy Hook Elementary” came up on my twitter feed and felt like at least it was _something_. So I contributed and am sharing here.
@Phoenix_rising: We had a woman being assaulted here in Athens and a guy with a gun in his car stopped it. It happened in Atlanta in the past year or so as well.
Sweet FSM, this just becomes more horrifying, all the kids were 6 or 7 yrs old.
I just can’t take much more of this.
Surely the conservative anti-political correctness folks will be all on board with racial profiling and singling out the most likely perpetrators of such terrible crimes for special intrusive personal searches and their belongings, homes and computers?
Can’t remember where I read it yesterday (Ezra?) but saw a stat that said the actual number of households that own a gun are down (somewhat significantly), but the number of guns owned are way up. Maybe I’m missing something, but doesn’t that mean that a small segment of nuts are stockpiling unbelievable numbers of guns in enormous arsenals? You’d think those stats would make it easier, not harder, to do something in the way of legislation to curb this madness.
Evolving Deep Southerner
@WJS: I’m not opposed to your idea, but from what I understand – and who the fuck knows given the way the media has fucked this story up – in this particular case, the guy had a rifle but left it in the car. He shot the kids with handguns, no?
24 this one was around yesterday.
@scottinnj: It would have been different to you if some were 8-9? How about 10-11, all better?
@gogol’s wife: Say what?
West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.)
I’ve been pondering this dreadful event and think it comes down to several basic points….
1) We (this country)need to review the funding and administration of mental health programs. Perhaps with a more robust/better supported program, this young man would have gotten the help he clearly so very much needed.
2) Our society glorifies violence. We need to ask ourselves why. Do the Japanese and Norwegians and Peruvians (to pick a few random groups of people) adore and celebrate violence the way we do? We have violence in our films and television, computer games, toys, sports (boxing, football, MMA, etc.), and even clothing/fashion (such as tee-shirts that say “Fuck off and die” and the like). We train our boys to be violent and respect violence and emulate it.
3) We need to review and change our existing gun laws to do what is possible to reduce/eliminate this sort of shit from happening again.
Now, what is not the answer to this tragedy? Well, some say that “removing God from schools” caused this event. Others say it’s time to “arm the teachers!” Along these lines, others say, “More guns in general, fewer restrictions!”
So now this produces a 4th point to the three I mention above: we need to figure out how to reach/educate the people who point to false solutions to prevent future Newtown tragedies.
That’s my two cents worth….
@Evolving Deep Southerner:
Medical Examiner: Rifle Was Primary Weapon
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating in that last sentence.
Think WordPress ate this comment, so here again:
Thinking on it.
On keeping schoolchildren, mall shoppers, cinema goers safe: WE are the silent majority on this. Gun safety should be an easy sell to responsible parents, community-minded folk, and gun owners who respect their weapons’ potential.
It’s becoming evident our current laws are not sufficient, and magical thinking won’t save us from the next mass shooting.
I live in Virginia, which is home to the Virginia Tech tragedy. Will be looking for what develops and continues out of this latest outrage.
I’m thinking house parties, and finding like-minded souls, and keeping in close touch with the marvelous folks we all worked with to elect President Obama and keep the Senate blue.
Put the energy of outrage to work. It worked against voter suppression, and the radicalism under way in Michigan this last week can happen in a lot of statehouses, if we don’t stay on it.
We can do this.
We have the internet. We have the facts on our side.
We don’t want to send our kids to schools with armed guards.
Since I put that up, the victims’ names were released.
When you see the coroner’s document, with so many birthdates from 2005 and 2006: most of us have pets older than that.
Fuck Citizens United and the NRA.
We can show up in those congressional offices too. We can remind our congresscritters who votes for them.
Make taking money from the NRA, and being skeered, skeered, skeered of the NRA, the equivalent of lighting up in public, right and left. Or calling people “nigras” and not allowing gay people to serve in the US military.
We won those ones too.
@whidgy: Unfortunately whidgy is right that I don’t see any common sense laws that could be passed that would have stopped this. I’m not sure that the rifle used was actually an assault rifle, but even if it was, that doesn’t mean the shooter wouldn’t have just brought extra ammo for his other weapons. That being said I hope that it was an assault rifle, so that it could at least be used as an argument for banning those things. Although, like I said earlier, it won’t make a difference with our current house of representatives.
West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.)
Oh, and related to what I mentioned above, I wonder how long it’ll be before the Westboro Baptist Church announces its plans to “protest” the funerals to point out that acceptance of homosexuality is why God is angry at us and allowing such violence to occur.
Agree with #13
These predictions would only be freakish if the CT shooting hadn’t been preceded by multiple similar incidents in the last several decades. Statistics and repeated patterns are usually a solid basis for predictions.
What should be considered truly freakish about this shooting episode was its apparent inevitability…
Despite the grief I feel and know you all feel, despite the appearance that this fight looks hopeless, I believe we can (finally!!!!) win this. I believe it because all of you are that good, that tough, that persistent.
To many times (f*ck! I can’t begin to count them all!) a moment of gun violence tragedy has come and gone only to raise its hideous death head to punch us in the gut again.
But THIS TIME it is different. It is different because you, my friends, are different. We are fed up with this shit, and we are not going to take “no” for an answer.
We are not going to simply whine when any of the flacks or lackeys of the Merchants of Death spews something stupid. We’re going to hit ’em back and keep on hitting til they stop and give up, or rot in the gutter.
We are going to change it this time friends. We are.
I’ve read that before and I think it’s important. It means a couple of things to me.
Lobbyists are exaggerating the level of support for their industry AND they
Weren’t expanding the (overall) market for guns, so they had to persuade gun owners they needed more than one, hence turning guns into this nutty fetish object.
Not in that comment, please keep shit straight. Just making the obvious point as to reality. Short of banning guns to the degree that would have stopped this from happening, what is left to do? I, of course was totally joking about the signs, and being sexist, but was snarking at rational solutions where none exists for regulating this problem away in this country, other than ranting to let off steam, which is perfectly fine.
There are some things we can do to make ourselves feel more safe, and maybe will make us a tiny bit safer from this kind of human stain. But none of it would have stopped this one from happening, short of a total gun ban from ownership. What I am saying is that it is not kneejerk to the republican message of arming everyone, to suggest some more measures of defense, especially at a school. This episode of mayhem and murder must be defended against, imo. If it takes tanks sitting outside every single school in America, then so be it. No more of this shit at schools with children in them. Talk to me about liberal aspirations of banning guns, after that is done.
Mr Stagger Lee
This country deserves a major ASS KICKING, complete with the wingnuts sold off to the mines of for slavery.
Also Bill Maher says it best
“Sorry but prayers and giving your kids hugs fix nothing; only having the balls to stand up to our insane selfish gun culture will.”
@56 General Stuck:
“Short of banning guns to the degree that would have stopped this from happening, what is left to do? … But none of it would have stopped this one from happening, short of a total gun ban from ownership.”
You’re wrong. This is not the venue for a debate on the hows and whys, but I’d like you to consider opening your mind and accept that while we may not be able to make yesterday’s killings impossible, we can make it very, very, very rare.
From the link:
That’s pretty interesting. Seems like the best response to that would be the Hummer defense: you know, the “sorry to hear about your small penis” framing that accompanied macho guys buying Hummers. Seems to have worked. The only people I see driving Hummers anymore of women.
Alternately, we could get a bunch of women and gays to start being the face of gun ownership. The macho guys would have to find a new talisman.
Do you really think that this is necessary? The odds of this happening to your child is quite astronomical. Your child has way more chance of dying in a car accident than getting shot by a crazy person coming to school. Maybe you shouldn’t let your kids into a car.
What an idiot! And I’m trying to be nice. I guess this will eventually mean all children in our country will have to be home-schooled. I’m sure as hell not going to send my kid to a school where the teachers are armed.
@Elizabelle: Tell me what law could you actually pass that would have stopped this? What gun safety rules could you put in place to keep a psychotic individual from taking his mother’s guns and going on a rampage?
How ingrained are guns in this culture? A kindergarten teacher, and mother, in Connecticut owned at least three guns.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t have reasonable regulations to try and curtail gun violence. But even as motivated as people were to get Obama and Dems elected, we still couldn’t flip the house. Red states are red states and only demographic change will change that, and it won’t come quickly. No amount of bluster or activism is going to change the vote of a congressman in Alabama, because the truth is your opinions about gun regulations don’t match the beliefs held by his constituents, regardless of the fact that you may be on the right side of this argument.
Nice of you to splice out half a sentence to build your strawman.
@Mr Stagger Lee:
Bill Maher is right. They announced a prayer service at the Methodist church here in my town last night, and I knew I couldn’t go because I was going to stand up in the middle of it and start yelling at everyone. I don’t want to pray, I want to fight. I want a leader.
I’d caution everyone to avoid drawing such early-call conclusions. Dave Cullen’s “Columbine” shatters every Kleebold-Harris myth, but even today’s news coverage echoes the urban legends surrounding that tragedy.
Jeebus, you are dense.
I don’t know if this has been said above, but # 5 is ridiculous. If you put on a blindfold and randomly shoot paint balls in an elementary school in the US, you will hit more women than men.
No war on women, David Koch. And no points for this guess.
@JenJen: Yep. No one has a fucking clue yet.
eta except, of course, mclaren
There’s a really good Gary Wills article (nybooks.com)from the 90s about the legal propaganda movement that culminated with the current interpretation of the Second Amendment as ‘I can own an armory fuck yeah’it may be dated but interesting to look at. This one, from today is powerful and worth a read too.
@64gogol’s wife: The next time the thought or desire arises in you “to stand up in the middle of it and start yelling” after 20 children are executed in their school, go with it. You are that leader you are looking for. You’ll be surprised at those who will stand up behind you and follow. You are not alone.
@MikeBoyScout: Agree with you on needing to gather together at grass roots level and start the long, hard slog on getting things changed. You might want to ditch the “friends” bit though – brings up annoying memories of John McCain* for some of us.
*Did you know he was a POW?
As opposed to all the other mass shootings where guns like assault weapons WERE used. Because god forbid we should do anything to impede any psycho’s path to mass murder.
My predictions: Within 24 hours there will be a copy-cat incident, llike today in Birmingham. A white male, angry at being ousted from his estranged wife’s hospital room, came back with a gun. Shot two hospital workers and a cop. Luckily noone was killed this time.
The linked essay is excellent. It’s the elegant version of yesterday’s Onion story.
So true. I saw some woman in the town interviewed yesterday who said something like, “I think the mother had too high expectations and was distant.” Today I read the shooter was a goth. It’s like Columbine redux.
Monday I’m going to call every elected representative I have and try to get their butts in gear. And then I’m going to think of what I can do myself beyond that. I’m sick of just sitting here.
You know what I’m fucking tired of?
We can’t do anything, because there’s too many guns. It’s impossible.
Your proposals are impossible, therefore, you can’t do anything. I’m not going to propose anything sensible.
You don’t know the difference between an automatic/semi-automatic/assault rifle blah blah blah, and any plan to limit the number of bullets a gun can shoot is impossible, because shut up, that’s why.
Look, if these of shootings continue, your “gun rights” are going to get restricted. Pitch in and start talking constructively instead of being pedants or don’t come crying to me if the laws end up sucking for you. Assholes.
@General Stuck: You’re the one saying something stupid, and I’m the one who’s dense.
Unfortunately, this shooting changes nothing. There will be more shootings next year. Everyone will gnash their teeth and pull their hair for a few days. Then gun sales will spike because Obama/the Dems/Communists/Socialists are coming to take away guns from god fearing, law abiding citizens.
Then we’ll be reminded that guns don’t kill — people do.
The NRA, like Grover Norquist, has more power than elected politicians. If Americans wanted gun control, they’d vote for politicians who wanted it too.
@75 gogol’s wife: There you go. If you are interested in a piece of advice, find out when one or all of them are due to be in the office next, and plan a visit. Take some friends. Then go have a nice lunch.
We are not powerless. We are powerful.
That was the word I would have used too. Elegant.
@Paul: Yeah fuck that. And while we’re at it- should we really believe that the people who want to cut funding for public schools are really going to pay for armed guards? Nuh uh. They’re going to take that money out of teacher salaries.
Can someone explain what the liability is for gun owners? What kind of insurance do they have to carry? Are they given breaks if they keep their guns locked up in a safe? Do they have to carry proof of liability insurance along with their concealed gun?
Seems like gun owners should carry plenty of insurance against the possibility that their gun might hurt or kill someone.
@West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): I think the answer you’re looking for is 3…2…1…
I just sent the following email out to about 100 people I know.
“I wish every member of Congress – of both parties – who is unwilling to enact gun control measures against automatic and semi-automatic weapons would have this list tattooed to his right arm. They should be required to count the names off like the beads on a rosary. Every night.
The children: Charlotte Bacon, 6, Daniel Barden, 7, Olivia Engel, 6, Josephine Gay, 7, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6, Dylan Hockley, 6, Madeleine F. Hsu, 6, Catherine V. Hubbard, 6, Chase Kowalski, 7, Jesse Lewis, 6, James Mattioli, 6, Grace McDonnell, 7, Emilie Parker, 6, Jack Pinto, 6, Noah Pozner, 6, Caroline Previdi, 6, Jessica Rekos, 6, Avielle Richman, 6, Benjamin Wheeler, 6, Allison N. Wyatt, 6.
The staff: Rachel Davino, 29, Dawn Hochsprung, 47, Anne Marie Murphy, 52, Lauren Rousseau, 30, Mary Sherlach, 56, Victoria Soto, 27.”
The facts are starting to paint a picture, and it’s not a pretty one.
The guy’s mom was a “dedicated and responsible” gun owner. One who went to the range regularly, and took her gun rights seriously…
One who despite her familiarity with the weapons, and ostensibly at least a passing understanding of her sons’s condition, failed to protect herself with them, failed to stop her son with the three firearms she possessed, and because she was so heavily stocked with firearms, unwittingly equipped him for the rampage he went on.
It sounds like she had that scenario before her that many gun advocates paint of a responsible gun owner being in the position to stop a massacre. And she failed, and probably made things unspeakably worse due to her arsenal. Thanks responsible gun owner, you’ve been a real help!
@David Koch: John Allen Mohammed, Lee Boyd Malvo and Nidal M. Hasan, Seung-Hui Cho are not white and there are others.
Of course the vast majority of mentally ill, violent types are white since 72% of our population is white. So, I guess I am not sure what you are getting at.
As for Doc Sci, what we know about males in the animal kingdom, plus what we know about our demographics, plus what we know about mental illness and its manifestations means that any barely literate idiot can assert that mass killers in the US are usually white males.
Obama names Kerry SOS….
@Violet: You won’t like this:
Can someone explain what the liability is for gun owners?
Currently there is none.
What kind of insurance do they have to carry?
There are no requirements for liability insurance.
Are they given breaks if they keep their guns locked up in a safe? If they declare guns under a home-owners policy there might be a discount for a gun safe. I don’t know if the question is routinely asked.
Do they have to carry proof of liability insurance along with their concealed gun? Nope, gun liability insurance doesn’t exist.
Seems like gun owners should carry plenty of insurance against the possibility that their gun might hurt or kill someone.
As an intern in a hospital recreation program I had to carry liability insurance. Gun owners do not.
You know, that rant was great and all, but the comments to it were just frustrating as hell. They just won’t give up, and they have zero self awareness.
Can someone explain what the liability is for gun owners?
Currently there is none.
Listen. Lawyers abound. You can sue anyone, for anything, under any circumstances for as much money as you want. Living one’s life is a liability.
via Valdivia up @70
Our Moloch by Gary Wills at the NY Review of Books
@PurpleGirl: Funny how you have to carry liability insurance for a trampoline in some states but not for an assault rifle. What a f*cked up country we live in.
Talk to Caroline McCarthy on what the most fruitful course of activism is on this topic, along with a map of all the cultural and legal minefields to tread lightly though or to avoid altogether. She has been in the trenches of this battle since her husband was killed by a handgun and son wounded.
There are some fairly sensible laws on the books to keep guns out of the hands of those that shouldn’t have them. They have never been funded anywhere near the level needed to make a difference, and some other laws that are loosely enforced, or not enforced at all.
Mandatory trigger locks and requiring people to lock ammunition up separately from their guns are two rules that spring to mind. That’s leaving aside the available Smart Gun technology that the NRA opposes on the grounds of our inalienable right to pick up anyone’s gun and use it against them if we so choose.
Sorry, you probably expected this to be a rhetorical question with no answers.
@PurpleGirl: That’s pretty much what I figured. Seems like the insurance requirements might be a good place to start. No problem, you can carry your gun. But you need to have insurance, just like driving a car.
Speaking as a regular there, I’m actually surprised at the support I got for that particular comment. There aren’t really many pro-gun control advocates there (and it’s an art site, for God’s sake, full of teenagers and college kids. It’s not like I posted that at a gun collectors’ forum.)
Not only that, but if you accidentally kill your son with a loaded gun you won’t necessarily be charged with anything at all…
I have read the argument that in cases like this the parent has “already suffered enough” but surely there should still be prosecutions in the public interest? If someone is driving drunk and kills their son they will also suffer, but I am sure they will also be prosecuted. Why do careless gun owners get a free pass?
@SatanicPanic: Seconded. Thirded, even.
@Rosie Outlook: Everyone seems to forget that pistol packing Arizonan’s created no end of confusion for people on the scene and for police responding to the Gifford’s shooting, none of whom could tell who the bad guy was with multiple armed people pointing guns at each other. Not one of these patriotic Americans was able to take the shooter down with their gun–precisely because they couldn’t be sure who to shoot and also (to their credit) because they were afraid of collateral damage–something bad guys don’t have to worry about. They brought him down physically instead, so all their concealed weapons were of little or no value.
I just got done talking to a friend about mental health, guns, and such. She then goes the school needs to be armed. I pointed out what the teachers are supposed to have guns in holsters that they wear. If the guns are in safe with or without ammo someone can get to it just how fast, exactly? With what training. It drives me insane the number of people I know who have guns in safes under their beds and don’t actually got to the firing range.
I try to point out in a crisis situation you don’t always know what to do. One they are rare, two they happen fast, and three if you don’t train for a crisis situation you don’t have the reflexes whether it is by trained instinct or trained thought to know what to do.
I get no where. Of course most people haven’t really ever been in a crisis situation and like to think things are like the movies and that they are the star of their own movies.
Aaarrrggghhhh! Drives me absolutely crazy.
I was in the military for 9 years. So I know how dangerous guns are and how easy it is to do the wrong thing at the wrong time and how easy it is to freeze up.
@Emma: Thanks! The guns people look at lot like the Tea Party in 2010- they’re strong right now, but their numbers are shrinking (there are more guns, but they’re owned by a smaller percentage of the population). At some point, they’re going to be demographically in the minority, and then the hammer is going to come down. If I were them, I would be planning ahead, but right now they’re looking like Karl Rove and his permanent Republican Majority.
@Violet: I think you should buy insurance for your gun and have to renew it just like your car every year. I also think states need to tax certain types of guns and ammo. Then use that money towards mental health. Basically, make owning a gun expensive or at least a certain types of guns expensive to own if states and the federal government doesn’t want to do any regulations. There will always be loopholes and such, but you have to start somewhere.
I’m getting more nervous about 3D printing of guns. Yes, there are problems now and the printers are expensive. But just wait in twenty or so years when they are cheaper.
Something I typed yesterday:
Now, there is no law we could ever pass that will totally prevent persons from using a gun to harm others. What we can do is establish harm reduction. we can and we should prohibit high capacity fire arms. We will not be able to stop all attacks on innocents, but we can make it a lot harder to murder dozens at a time.
@dcdl: I’m getting more nervous about 3D printing of guns. Yes, there are problems now and the printers are expensive. But just wait in twenty or so years when they are cheaper.
I believe it was Criminal Minds that recently had a story involving the 3D printing of a gun. Each murder was committed with a separate gun.
This is a passing “thought” born of frustration, rage, and pain rather than an actual suggestion, but I have a fantasy in which all members of the NRA and legislatures could be sent a package of large, graphic, four-color photos of these victims as they were found, each shot three to eleven times. And that only because it wasn’t feasible that each should have had to tour the crime scene before it was cleared.
I used to be an EMT and saw/treated only relatively minor carnage, but in general most people really have no idea how horrific something like this is. I wish they could see it just once. Believe me, once is all it would take.
Dear outraged one, I am a huge believer in prosecutorial discretion. If there was no overlaying criminal activity during time that the accident happened, I think it is very likely that a prosecutor examine the dynamics and relationships of that family (a look into the soul, if you will) and truly decide that the father living with the fact that he accidently killed his son was a punishment a million times more severe that anything the state could do.
I am not saying you are heartless in demanding your pound of flesh…..it’s just that sometimes the folks there in the community know the best remedy.
@Violet: I wonder about that myself.
I had an idea–NB this would not have prevented Newtown, but still–
How about we get laws passed that offer gun owners the option of storing their hunting rifles, target pistols, etc. free of charge at the local police department where they can be checked out 24/7.
Any firearm kept at home–whether or not under lock & key–is the responsibility of the owner. Specifically: If any crime is committed with that weapon by some other person, specifically including harm to others or to the wielder of the weapon, the owner of that firearm will be charged as an accessory before the fact. No excuses, no protestations of taking reasonable precautions, regardless of how many locks you have on the storage locker: If the gun ends up in the hands of someone who uses it to commit a crime, it is only there because the owner chose to keep it where it could be taken. If your 7-year-old finds it & accidentally shoots a neighbor’s kid–or even her/himself–the owner is still chargeable as ABF. And if the weapon suddenly vanishes from the house, the owner had better pray that it never gets traced to a felony, or s/he’s in line for hard time.
If OTOH an owner checks the gun out from the police (for a maximum period of, say, 72 hours for hunting rifles or the duration of a meet for target pistols–with the owner required to check in every 24 hr via something like a smartphone app to verify that s/he still has the weapon–or simpler, offer the option of implanting an RFID chip in the gun & trace ’em from low orbit, no check-in required) then the ABF provision does not automatically ;) apply, though the owner would have to demonstrate a good-faith attempt to prevent the gun’s loss.
It wouldn’t help in cases like Newtown where the owner was the first victim, but maybe something like this–after a couple of high-profile prosecutions under the law–would get some folks think twice about having a piece in the house for “protection.”
I don’t know how we could have stopped this one, with our current laws.
And we will never stop every shooter.
But we can reduce the number of military grade arsenals out there, and make keeping them and buying ammo very expensive.
We can make people pass background checks to buy guns, and tighten up who can own them.
Perhaps ObamaCare will bring us better mental healthcare availability down the line. However, as Kay wrote, it’s hard to get many of the mentally ill to stick with the program.
The main thing we can’t do is sit around and say wisely “this will never change.”
Keith: (i messed up the thing that addressed my comment to you, sorry) Sorry to sound mean, but I quit reading Obsidian Wings because Dr. Science’s rantings were just too unpleasant to slog through. She’s a caricature liberal.
If I recall correctly, there are about 20,000 Federal, state, and local gun laws in this country, so I fear that passing gun law #20,001 will not help much. However, the conservative idea of arming everyone including dogs and babies has not done much to prevent massacres, either. It may be that the small, but finite, risk of being killed in a massacre is just one of those risks,Ike the rather larger risk of being killed in a car accident, that one must accept if
one is going to, or has no choice but to, live in the U.S. I sure wish I had a better idea, but I don’t.
@TaosJohn: Just wow. That is haunting.
pseudonymous in nc
The guesstimate I read was that 20% of gun owners have over 60% of the guns. So yeah, it’s the bangstick fetishists who are acquiring personal arsenals.
@TaosJohn: I have no idea whether Charles Whitman’s mother was “a monster”, but an autopsy showed a massive and likely fatal brain tumor, which might have played a major role in his final actions that fateful day at the U. of Texas campus. Of course, I have no idea myself, and the implication of the tumor in his rampage can never be proven with certainty, but it does seem plausible.*
The reports I read were incorrect and according to the medical examiner I heard interviewed on NPR a couple of hours ago, the majority of the people were shot with a bushmaster, which is the sort of weapon most people think of as an “assault weapon.”
Yes, because teenage boys and young men living in your home could never figure out where you hide the keys to the trigger locks. And, outside of James Bond movies, “smart gun technology” is a joke and doesn’t belong in serious discussion.
You realize that most purchaser now undergo background checks, right? And that there are probably pretty few background checks that would weed out 50 year old substitute teachers from purchasing guns …
@whidgy: Gun shows are full of loopholes where people can get guns without sufficient background checks.
Perhaps a background check needs to include who lives with you in your house or wherever the guns are located.
Not so sure about that. In all cases where a parent has accidentally killed their own child it is hard to deny that the parent (killer) has already suffered hugely. But it can also be argued that it is in the public interest to prosecute, and any (relatively minor) additional suffering endured by the parent is of less importance.
In that specific instance the parent took a LOADED gun to gun store to sell it, and then subsequently accidentally killed his son with that LOADED gun, so obviously the safety catch was off. At a minimum there was massive negligence on the part of the parent.
I wasn’t demanding a pound of flesh, but I think that careless and negligent parents who kill their children should be prosecuted.
It helps if understand a bit about why people own guns. Are there “bangstick fetishists”? Yes.
But there are also people who own quite a number of firearms for what most people consider legitimate purposes. For example I own 4 shotguns. One is a 12 gauge semi-auto with synthetic stock and nylon coating that gets dropped in mud and rained on while duck hunting. Its ugly and heavy. Another is a over under 12 gauge I use when hunting pheasant. The other is a lightweight 28 gauge over under I use to hunt quail and woodcock. The fourth is an old browning sweet 16 that belonged to my grandfather that I never really shoot.
I have similar numbers of rifles and pistols, but you get the idea.
I have just never understood the complaints about “arsenals”. I mean, if someone wants to go on a killing spree they only need one gun.
@Violet: Private sellers in many states are not required to conduct background checks, regardless of whether or not the sale occurs at a “gun show.”
But almost without exception all firearms entering the market for sale for the first time are sold to people after a background check and the majority of used guns are sold after background checks too.
But let me ask you this. I own several firearms that I have have purchased following background checks. Does it make sense that I have to have a background check even if I already own firearms? Does it make sense that I have to wait 10 days to pick up a firearm even though I already have several at home?
@Evolving Deep Southerner: Wrong. He used the Bushmaster assault rifle on the children. Pardon if anyone corrected you besides me.
Yes, absolutely it makes sense. All we know about you is that at some time in the past a background check was made, and you were eligible to buy guns at that time.
It is possible (if highly unlikely) that since your last background check you have received three convictions for road rage, been jailed for smuggling AK47s into Mexico, and you are currently awaiting trial for killing your mother-in-law with a bazooka.
Isn’t our society entitled to be aware of that information before evaluating whether you should be allowed to buy a gun?
@Mandalay: And how does the background check and waiting period make the world safe, given the fact that I already have several guns at home?
Please answer that.
Look, I’d be in favor of a some sort of scheme of licensing where you get a background check and training and testing and get a card and then you can buy any gun you want immediately.
That will never happen of course because of the paranoia about there being a “list” of gun owners out there.
But it doesn’t make the current gun laws any less stupid.
Yes it does. We have no idea what has happened in your life (or anyone’s life) since the last time you had a background check for purchasing a gun. As Mandalay said, maybe you have done things that make you ineligible to purchase/own a gun. Maybe you’ve been hospitalized with schizophrenia or developed bipolar disorder (untreated) or some other mental illness that puts you in a much higher risk category for harming others with the gun you want to purchase (or the ones you already own).
Just as you have to have your drivers license renewed and just as insurance companies evaluate your driving record and other relevant pieces of your background, it seems sensible that society evaluate the fitness of those who want to own items whose main purpose is to injure or kill other living beings.
@whidgy: Who are you? And where did you come from?
Perhaps all your guns were seized after your smuggling conviction, in which case a fresh background check will make the world a safer place – you will be prevented from buying dangerous weapons.
You are advancing an approach often used by gun owners against EVERY proposal to limit access to guns. Such proposals are countered with a pro-gun argument along the lines: “But if X and Y and Z then your solution fails, so it should be discarded!”.
There is no reason to make the perfect the enemy of the good. If I drive my car into an oncoming truck at a hundred miles an hour my seat belt won’t save me. Is that an argument for discarding our seat belt laws? Of course not.
If we require background checks on existing gun owners, will you suffer minor inconvenience, and will some villains find a way around that system? Sure, but we will also reduce the likelihood of guns falling into the wrong hands.
Amen. Well said.
You are right you never know what happens between checks. Every year I volunteer or will be on my kids school grounds I have to get a background check. The least people buying guns can do is get a background check every time they buy guns.
@Uncle Cosmo: Actually, I think it might have helped. Perhaps the mother would have stored her guns at the “police storage facility.” The people saying that potential gun laws wouldn’t have helped in the Newtown situation can’t know that. Fewer guns and more attention to safety changes the gestalt that influences potential gun owners and gun users.
While I don’t know the answer for certain, no one should be surprised that the firearm manufacturers and their front groups (NRA, etc.) would be ready for something like this with a “social media” counter-offensive campaign, to go out on blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other such fora, to try to reduce the hostility. Can’t say for certain that our friend whidgy is part of that campaign, but like you, I never saw him/her before this children’s massacre. Unlike our VICTORY! troll during the election campaign – I’m guessing a pasty-faced College Republican “doing his duty” for peanuts, or for free – this one is pretty smooth.
It wouldn’t surprise me that such folks got some thorough training well before being sent out after the massacre. You know, told stuff like ‘be persistent, but don’t be hostile’… ‘cite countering stories/anecdotes wherever possible’… ‘when possible, partially agree with your opponent on some minor point, but then make a (primary) contrary case’… ‘imply hypocrisy on the part of your opponents’ (“why do you only care about a bunch of white kids in this country, when our drones are killing innocent brown people overseas” – this one works great with firebaggers, assuming the latter haven’t already adopted it)… etc.
Having seen enough of his/her material at this point, I think whidgy is doing a pretty good job for his/her cause, under very challenging circumstances – y’know, classroom of murdered elementary school kids and all that.
I think s/he may have also successfully completed the study requirements for, and received certification in High Broderism, given his/her complaint in earlier comments about incivility. [That was in response to a suggestion by Raven to self-perform an anatomically challenging act, but I don’t think Raven withdrew the suggestion upon further review.] So in future training modules, NRA and their ilk are going to have to adjust the material somewhat, since places like this have no respect for High Broderism.
@BGinCHI: How typical indeed that you just use hate speech to villify those whith whom you do not agree. You have no logical argument, just an emotional reaction to what you wish wasn’t necessary
@Keith at 68: so it doesn’t matter that almost all mass shooters are men, because biology? Give me a break. Yes, it’s obvious that the mass shooters are going to be male (and not just because of biology). The most important and least discussed facts often are obvious. They’re still ignored, and thus deserve attention drawn to them. You don’t get to brush off the significance of Doctor Science’s predictions because they are obvious. I doubt she’s trying to claim some kind of unusual prescience. Her whole point is that these facts are obvious, yet we do nothing about them.
As for your comment about paintball: oh, please. Tell that to George Soderini’s victims, or those of the Amish shooter, or the Jonesboro girls. The prevalence of female victims is more than a statistical inevitability.
Also, the DC Snipers and the Virginia Tech shooter are exceptions to the overwhelming rule of white male attackers. They don’t disprove the rule at all.
I knew, the second people started pointing out the presence of race and gender as factors, that some would rush to minimize them. I didn’t expect their arguments to be quite so feeble, but it’s always nice to be surprised.
Also, [email protected], there’s no reason to think “mental illness” has anything to do with this–and it’s more likely to be found in victims than perpetrators.
Blaming these killings on “mental illness” lets us think they are an individual problem, rather than a cultural one.
@David Koch: @ David Koch… what about shootings at religious schools Einstein?