Aurora Tragedy Shines Spotlight On Medical Schools

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Aurora, Colorado: As families and friends of the victims of today’s tragic shootings gather to mourn for the departed, a storm of suspicion is gathering over the institution some say is at the heart of the nation’s recent epidemic of mass homicides, the American medical school.

In the early hours of confusion surrounding the attacks at a screening of “The Dark Night Rises” at an Aurora movie theater, some media outlets and politicians erroneously tied the shootings to the Tea Party movement, the Democratic Party, violent videogames, and enemies of Judeo-Christianity. But as details on the shooter emerge, a clearer picture is coming into focus. The sole suspect in the shootings, James Holmes, was a recent drop-out from the University of Colorado medical school.

Experts caution that it is too early to say that the suspect’s medical education led him down a path ending in mass murder, but many are reminded of Dr. Nidal Hassan, who is presently awaiting trial for his role in the Fort Hood shootings of November 2009, and who, like James Holmes, attended medical school.

“I don’t want to speculate on whether attending medical school inspired the Batman killer’s rampage,” said Professor Lewis Deery of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in an interview on MSNBC, “but the similarities are eerie. Here you have one graduate of a medical school opening fire, with no apparent motive, on innocent people on an Army base, and here you have another man who attended medical school opening fire, with no apparent motive, on innocent people at a midnight movie. Am I saying that these men were trained to kill when they attended medical school? No, but that possibility can’t be discounted based on the limited information we have at this time.”

In a roundtable discussion on the Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends, Ariel Spain of the Columbia School of Journalism’s Tragedy Studies Department echoed Professor Deery’s caution concerning the Dark Knight shooter’s medical background. “It would be irresponsible, and reckless, to claim that James Holmes was programmed to become an unthinking assassin at the Colorado medical school simply because of the countless cases in which medical school graduates have gone on murder sprees, but many are asking themselves, right now, about the similarities between the Aurora shootings and the case of Dr. Jeffrey McDonald, who murdered his entire family in the 1970s. In both cases, I’ll note, the murderer attended a highly regarded medical school.

Following a moment of silence for the fallen in the United States House of Representatives, House majority leader Eric Cantor promised a grieving nation that its Congress would conduct a full investigation into the causes of the Aurora shootings. “It’s far too early to say whether the nefarious crimes of the infamous assassin James Eagan Holmes were the work of insidious medical professors, transforming our nation’s best and brightest into psychopathic killing machines. But,” Cantor informed the House, “the American people have a right to know.”

Across the capital, Attorney General Eric Holder convened a news conference on the killings, promising federal aid to Colorado authorities in conducting full, fair, and impartial investigation into the tragedy. “I cannot comment on specifics of the case at this time, and  it would be imprudent for me to speculate on who may be responsible for these horrific crimes at the outset of an investigation, but let me assure the grieving people of Aurora that the Department of Justice will hold all those who aided and abetted this tragedy responsible, from the lowest professor to the Dean of the medical college himself.”

Historians of past calamities reiterated the Attorney General’s warning against pre-judging the case. On C-Span’s Books in Review, Dr. Thomas Waltham of the American University’s Department of European History warned against a “witch hunt” in connection with the Aurora case. “Time and again, we historians see cases in which the people are led, by politicians, the media, and religious leaders into demonizing some despised minority for the actions of one. That only compounds the tragedy. It would be reckless to tie the Batman shootings into some historical framework of past atrocities by medical school graduates, such as the infamous “Doctor’s Plot” in the Soviet Union, where prosecutors showed that a sinister cabal of people who, just like Nidal Hassan and the Batman killer, attended medical school had committed an unspeakably vile series of murders aimed at destabilizing and overthrowing the government.”

Representatives of the American Association of Medical Colleges, which represent medical schools including the Colorado institution where James Eagan Holmes was allegedly trained, were contacted for comment, but did not return telephone calls before this story went to press.

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140 Responses to “Aurora Tragedy Shines Spotlight On Medical Schools”

  1. #1 |  Patrick from Popehat | 

    This is a cross-post from Popehat.

  2. #2 |  Ryan Frank | 

    I understand the point being made, but the satire is in a bit bad taste at this time personally.

  3. #3 |  Josh | 

    You should clarify that he was in a Neuroscience PhD program at a medical school. He was not a medical student he was not going to become a physician.

  4. #4 |  Jim | 

    That’s right. Blaim the poor, oppressed medical schools. You racist bastard. ;-)

  5. #5 |  marie | 

    Well, that was just weird.

  6. #6 |  Doug | 

    I would hope this post makes Mr. Balko reconsider allowing you to post. I subscribe to his RSS post and have been irritated by the inane “Patrick from Popehat” posts for awhile, but this is post is not only in poor taste but childish.

  7. #7 |  Miroker | 

    Got to love that comment:

    “It’s far too early to say whether the nefarious crimes of the infamous assassin James Eagan Holmes were the work of insidious medical professors, transforming our nation’s best and brightest into psychopathic killing machines. But,” Cantor informed the House, “the American people have a right to know.”

    It is all about the insidious”professors” converting student into murderers. Why don’t you study why we cannot get jobs, which may have been a reason for the rampage. Student deep in debt and not much in the way of prospects. Or maybe if the alleged comments from his mother saying she thought it may have been her son before much was known are true, then maybe it was his elementary and/or high school teachers who turned him into a battle-clad killing machine

    And it is probably a good thing no one shot back given the armor he was wearing. No telling what may have happened then, especially if he was carrying explosives.

  8. #8 |  mantooth | 

    I was going to post a snide comment about how this post was about 9 paragraphs too long when I was blindsided by Miroker taking this as an actual true story and not a longwinded analogy.

  9. #9 |  Jess | 

    Cast not your pearls before swine, Patrick.

  10. #10 |  el coronado | 

    “It is probably a good thing no one shot back”.

    If anyone was looking for a motto for our Brave New Nation, there ya go. Just cower down and hope the bad men leave you alone: attempting to defend yourself is foolish and dangerous, and should never be attempted except by The State-Authorized Professionals.

    What is a person without a spine doing on a “libertarian” blog anyway? Isn’t that…well…*risky*?

  11. #11 |  Brian | 

    @Doug #6

    I don’t find it in poor taste or childish. What’s in poor taste is that so many are already using this tragedy to push their cause-du-jour. I don’t think Piers Morgan even waited 6 hours to use it to justify increased gun control.

  12. #12 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Brilliant and spot on, Patrick; you have a fine, Swiftian sense of satire.

  13. #13 |  jmcross | 

    They say dying is easy, comedy is hard. I would imagine biting satire is even harder.

  14. #14 |  Miroker | 

    @ #10, you do not know anything about me, so why are you resorting to personal attacks?

    I do have a spine, try growing up as the only white dude in a school of 400 kids. In other words, f’ off.

    Did you miss the part about the battle armor the dude was wearing? What good would it do to shoot at some person wearing armor from head to toe? You might stun them momentarily, but unless you have armor yourself, you would be on the floor with the other victims and possibly cause additional deaths in your attempt to be a hero.

    There is a time and place to fight back, but that situation does not sound like the time.

  15. #15 |  Jess | 

    Double tap, Miroker. Center of mass, center of head. It’s called gun control. They don’t make a vest for that.

  16. #16 |  Zargon | 

    What exactly is in poor taste about this post, anyways? As #11, what I find is in poor taste is how so many in the media seem to treat this and any other tragedy as an opportunity instead.

    And now this satire, calling those folks out on that, is in bad taste? Really?

  17. #17 |  Alton Foley | 

    Brilliant satire Patrick, ignore the foolish.

  18. #18 |  John C. Randolph | 

    What good would it do to shoot at some person wearing armor from head to toe?

    You really don’t know shit about armor, do you?

    Shooting someone who’s wearing a kevlar vest will, at the very least, knock the wind out of him. The energy of a bullet still gets absorbed by the wearer’s body. If anyone had hit him with two rounds, it would make an opportunity to disarm him.

    When you don’t know what you’re talking about, you really should STFU.

    -jcr

  19. #19 |  Dane | 

    This is deeply inappropriate. Just what is the point of writing this, anyway? Who among the readership at the Agitator are you trying to convince to not support gun control measures? Is your goal to make us laugh, instead? I don’t see anything funny about this.

    All this post does is make libertarians look even more callous to outside observers looking in. I can’t believe that Radley had posts like these in mind when he asked you to contribute to his blog in his absence.

    Here’s an idea: instead of insensitive satire less than 24 hours after the fact, how about some reasoned explanation into why you think increased gun control wouldn’t have stopped an incident like this. That would be more effective, no? I guess it requires less thinking to just be a jackass.

  20. #20 |  M. Steve | 

    @14 Miroker

    So, how many people have to die before fighting back becomes a reasonable course of action?

    Also, if you honestly believe that getting shot while wearing body armor only “stuns you momentarily”, you should probably recuse yourself from all further conversation on the topic until you read a little on the subject. Body armor protects you from penetration, but that force is still imparted on your body. It’s not a force field.

    “Not fighting back” was a proper tactic back in the 80’s when taking hostages as bargaining chips was all the rage. You didn’t fight back because, if everyone kept their head, *no one would get hurt*. “Not fighting back” today just increases the body count.

  21. #21 |  KRF | 

    Dane, and Doug: I came by to read this because Radley linked to it on FB with a positive review. So could you please stop with the Radley this and Radey that bull shit and make your points on their own merit?

  22. #22 |  delurking | 

    Given some of the clueless responses here to Patrick’s post, I nave decided to add my voice:

    Bravo. That was a brilliant piece.

  23. #23 |  Radley Balko | 

    For the record, I think this is a brilliant post.

    You ought to be a hell of a lot more offended by the baseless media speculation and attempts to use Aurora to advance some political cause than by Patrick’s satirization of the nonsense.

  24. #24 |  Red | 

    Going by the guy’s pick he’s crazy and has been for a long time. Like the Arazona shooter, why don’t we look into locking up crazy people again? It worked for 300 years before we got rid of it.

  25. #25 |  Sandy | 

    The only flawed thing about this post is that it forgot to namecheck the Craigslist Killer, or should we say the Med School Killer.

  26. #26 |  Stephen | 

    Armor helps but not that much. If somebody cut loose on him with one of these, he would hurt.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1d7i3i0LLI

  27. #27 |  MH | 

    Good satire. Having trouble seeing why it’s insensitive/inappropriate. I don’t think it’s actually intended to be funny or make light of the situation. It is intended to make a point that needs to be made. It’s wrong to exploit a tragedy to attack your political opponents or use tenuous connections to the crime to rationalize your own policy objectives. It would be _tasteful_ if people wouldn’t do this. But it happens anyway. And should be mocked.

  28. #28 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    why don’t we look into locking up crazy people again?

    Because it was frequently used as an extrajudicial method for punishing unpopular political views.

  29. #29 |  ConeOfShame | 

    You forgot to mention that Josef Mengele went to medical school too.

  30. #30 |  Bob | 

    #27 | Stormy Dragon | July 20th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    why don’t we look into locking up crazy people again?

    Because it was frequently used as an extrajudicial method for punishing unpopular political views.

    And there you have it! Freedom is messy. There are risks involved. But the rewards far outweigh the risks.

  31. #31 |  Cyto | 

    I found the post topical, informative and cutting. It also makes a point that I happen to agree with, which is always a major enhancement to the quality of a blog post. {winkie-smiley}

  32. #32 |  hoofnagel | 

    Its nice that you can take what most people would consider to be an incomprehensible tragedy and put it to good use making whatever point you are trying to make.

    Good for you.

  33. #33 |  Erik | 

    Not funny. And I don’t see much difference here between this post and the speculative frenzy you are attempting to satirize. You are both pushing an agenda at a time when it’s usually wiser to wait until facts are in.

  34. #34 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    #24, #28, # 30

    I’m not sure where you get the 300 years figure, Red. The great state institutions didn’t really get going until well into the nineteenth century. Nor do you explain why you think its necessary to lock up “crazy people,” however you define that. Read about the Rosenhan study to learn just how easy it was (and not all that long ago, either) to get “diagnosed” and held at a psychiatric facility in dehumanizing conditions.

  35. #35 |  B | 

    This is a tough pill to swallow so soon after the shootings. But the rush to implicate the Tea Party, trekkies, video games, and the rest of that nonsense was lightning quick.

  36. #36 |  Steve Verdon | 

    At least Patrick isn’t an anti-dentite.

  37. #37 |  PeeDub | 

    There’s entirely too much social knee-jerk offense at people joking about and around tragedies. Not enough pathos humor DNA in the general population.

  38. #38 |  Marshall | 

    @ 19:

    The post isn’t an argument for or against “gun control” or any other issue, it’s satire about how political figures and the media politicize a tragedy for their own pet causes.

    I mean really, read the second paragraph in Patrick’s post. Then read your comment. Nice projection there.

  39. #39 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Ryan, Dane, Doug, and all the rest who find this inappropriate, read the following.

    You ought to be a hell of a lot more offended by the baseless media speculation and attempts to use Aurora to advance some political cause than by Patrick’s satirization of the nonsense.

    Patrick is highlighting the absurdity and inappropriateness of those who are using this tragedy.

    Get a grip guys, then pull your heads from your fourth point of contact.

  40. #40 |  SJE | 

    You could add:

    The disturbing and callous regarding for human life found among medical school graduates is known from as far back as the Victorian ages, when a doctor slaughtered London prostitutes in the guise of the notorious Jack the Ripper. Mass murdering doctors were key to the Nazi holocaust, and a Mississippi medical pathologist, Steven Hayne, has been central to sending many innocent people to long terms in prison and execution. Society remains fascinated by thhese characters, such as popularized by the modern fictional “Dexter” a medical school graduate whose insatiable lust for killing requires him to work as a blood splatter analyst for the Miami police department, often opining on the cause of death of his own handiwork.

    It is not know how many current Colorado medical school students and graduates are mass murderers, but it is known that the teenagers behind the Columbine massacre had regular, often private conversations, with “doctors” prior to the massacre. Although expert psychiatrists contacted for this story disputed that such doctors had somehow influenced the Columbine killers, subsequent research has shown that the psychiatrists had also attended medical school, thus casting doubt on the veracity of such reports.

  41. #41 |  Sean L. | 

    Wow. Does it need to be said explicitly that this post was -not- joking about the tragedy, but was satirizing the disgusting nature on how every MSM knucklehead has to ‘weigh-in’ on why THEIR liberal view of the world is now proven true? And how they get to now force nonsensical laws down our throats to support said views?

    Jeez-louise!

  42. #42 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    I will just add this;

    Between dropping out myself, and courting my Lady, I was on and around the Johns Hopkins undergraduate campus for some years. In that time I met a total of TWO pre-med students who I would have allowed to touch me in a medical emergency.

    And, yes, I am aware that the post is satire.

  43. #43 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    #19. The point of writing this is that nobody will tell others who take more conventional (but no less repulsive) angles of using the tragedy to promote an agenda that their thoughts are “deeply inappropriate”. You have given precisely the response that makes Patrick’s post entirely appropriate!

  44. #44 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    C.S.P. Schofield: I remember you saying this before. Is there something uniquely bad about Johns Hopkins pre-med students?

  45. #45 |  Personanongrata | 

    The turd-stain responsible for this act of depravity should be forced to meet with the families of the victims and explain to them face to face why he acted with such callous disregard for life. He should also be forced to dig and bury the graves for each of his victims and then he should spend the rest of his life locked in a cage.

    It is a tragedy that no one in the theater had a firearm.

    A person unable to defend theirself or their property lives their life at the peril or kindness of strangers.

  46. #46 |  JBaldwin | 

    Just what I needed…a good laugh. Thank you.

    P.S. Jekyll was also a doctor…this goes way back.

  47. #47 |  Marvin | 

    The thing to remember is that this individual probably was a loner, definitely was a young white male and definitely was severely disturbed.

    He left his apartment boobytrapped and at last report the police had not yet cleared the apartment.

    There is no doubt that this individual was completely outside the mainstream in a lot of ways – but the comment of his neighbor is telling – he seemed like such a nice person.

  48. #48 |  SauceTheCat | 

    Can’t forget H.H. Holmes. He spent time in med school before murdering countless people.
    Great post. Not offensive at all. Entirely provoked and justified satire.

  49. #49 |  Griffin3 | 

    @13 — yea, but if you want to die in a comedic fashion, youtube makes it purt-near simple.

  50. #50 |  Bee | 

    I wonder if there is a physical (or mental) age at which satire may be perceived. Like children’s developmental stages.

  51. #51 |  The Johnny Appleseed of Crack | 

    I would guess that many of those claiming to be offended by Patrick’s post are the ones who want to use this tragedy to to push their political agendas. They are actually just pissed that he’s making a mockery of them.

    Nicely done Patrick!

  52. #52 |  Mike T | 

    #14

    I can’t believe you got away with this on a fairly libertarian site…

    Did you miss the part about the battle armor the dude was wearing? What good would it do to shoot at some person wearing armor from head to toe? You might stun them momentarily, but unless you have armor yourself, you would be on the floor with the other victims and possibly cause additional deaths in your attempt to be a hero.

    Body armor is nowhere near as effective as you seem to think. Even in the best case scenario, the force of the bullet acting on the armor would send a tremendous amount of force into his torso (enough to crack or shatter ribs) or head (enough to give him a concussion). Shoot a guy like that 5 times in rapid succession in the chest with at least a 9mm w/ hollow points and he’ll be on the ground screaming in agony with most of his rib cage in pieces; .45 and it’s a foregone conclusion.

  53. #53 |  Mike T | 

    ** 2-3 shots to the head with even 9mm would probably render him unconscious, if not put him at risk for serious brain damage.

  54. #54 |  En Passant | 

    #46 JBaldwin wrote on July 20th, 2012 at 5:54 pm:

    P.S. Jekyll was also a doctor…this goes way back.

    Don’t forget Dr. Faustus, 300 years earlier.

  55. #55 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    I think the original piece is pretty good satire, and I wasn’t offended by it.

    As for shooting back, I’ve seen an argument that one shouldn’t unless one has a clear view, and a dark crowded movie theater (possibly with tear gas added) isn’t going to have a clear view. Reasonable?

  56. #56 |  Griffin3 | 

    71 year old man with concealed weapon chases away (shoots) robbers at internet cafe in FL. And he never even WENT to medical school.

    –> http://www.complex.com/city-guide/2012/07/customer-defends-internet-cafe-from-two-thieves

  57. #57 |  StrangeOne | 

    Clearly if someone had shot back the shooter would have just ducked behind the front row of chairs until the little bar in the corner filled up again and the screen stopped blinking red. After that he would have just continued his rampage.

    That or far too many people learn about guns from video games.

    Seriously news, and offense, travels too fast these days. I don’t understand the personality that is aghast at this kind of news, much less those people that try and set some indeterminate amount of time to “take it seriously” before jokes, satire, etc, can be made. The world is a big place and there are plenty of crazy people in it; you can’t take every act of a desperate and deranged mind personally.

  58. #58 |  Stephen | 

    Here is an interesting take on this incident (I’m gonna leave the whole satire thing be for now because I’m a bit drunk)

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/batman-movie-shooting-imitated-from-scene-in-1985-comic/article/2502701

  59. #59 |  Pip | 

    This was well done. I’m surprised at the negative reactions but to each his own. I will predict that the Colorado legislature (and maybe Tennessee) will pass some new law involving the security of theater back doors. Mark my words.

  60. #60 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    Crap, Drudge just linked to something about this joker “having swagger”. Yogurt eaters walk with swagger, but I doubt this guy was a yogurt eater. Yogurt eaters don’t shoot up theaters. Only cowards do that kind of thing.

  61. #61 |  Maria | 

    At first I considered that this is in poor taste as well. It’s so soon after the incident…. I thought. This is not right. Then I considered the piece a little more, reread it and considered what it is saying and then again thought about all the other reactions I’ve seen and read today.

    Everything is instant now. There really is no “more appropriate time” left for anything. All reactions and actions exist within the stream of quickly transmitted bits. The last typed words of one of the victims immortalized on twitter, sent out to the world a few minutes before she was shot in the head. Blog posts of family and friends. Self made Youtube videos from witnesses talking about what happened. Interviews, talking heads, experts, and rampant speculation. Rapid fire news updates and press conferences. Photos and the student ID picture. Anger and rants on every personal and corporate media channel. Journalists carrying their political balls and trying to score an innumerable amount of baskets. Deranged conspiracies proposed by fringe public figures on the left, the right, and every other direction. The volume of media, voices, and opinions is beyond anything one person could consume.

    All of it in the now and everywhere, as sudden and choking as the shooting itself. Time is, apparently, a luxury that no single entity can afford. This is the world we live in. So why not also a pointed and angry satire piece?

  62. #62 |  RT | 

    He was wearing body armor, yet he surrendered to the first armed person to confront him…

  63. #63 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    Pip (#59)

    They can call it Abraham’s Law.

  64. #64 |  Cynical in New York | 

    I’ve been at work all day and as a rule I keep off the political news when Im at the job. When you hear of tragedies like this it just hits you like a sucker punch. The question you always ask is “why?”

    Judging by some of the comments here it looks like the usual suspects have been “blamed”; immigrants, whites, blacks, muslims, arabs, gays, hispanics, jews, christians, liberals, conservatives, etc. I should be shocked when you see this type of political point scoring but it happens so much Im not surprised

  65. #65 |  J-Ho | 

    Folks, it’s not clear what type of body armor he was wearing yet and that could make a big difference. A double tap to the chest might knock you down or… it might do nothing. You may recall the North Hollywood shooting? Those dudes got shot plenty.

    To say nothing about the fact that you’re talking about making a difficult shot in a dark theater where smoke bombs have been let off, with people running everywhere. Those of you who flippantly say you could make this shot while standing in clear view of the shooter sound like complete idiots.

    As for the article. It’s very cute. Except that in the case of every single one of the mass shootings that have happened in this country I can think of one thing that absolutely unites ALL of the killers. It’s not the why. It’s the HOW. I don’t see what’s controversial about banning assault weapons, high capacity clips, abolishing “gun show” exemptions, requiring training to acquire a license and a background check before purchase. Seriously, the amount of attention payed to this silly amendment while everyday more important amendments (like, say, the 4th) get gutted more and more everyday is ludicrous.

    But I don’t give a shit about gun control laws. As a polity we’ve decided we’re okay with what happened last night. Repeatedly. For decades.

    What I DO think is interesting is that in this country, you can be standing outside your apartment, minding your own goddamn business, get accosted by the police and shot 40 times when you get out your wallet. In the meantime, if you’re a white middle class dude in the suburbs KNOWN to be carrying an automatic weapon and multiple sidearms and to have shot over 60 people in the vicinity you get PEACEABLY taken into custody.

  66. #66 |  Christopher Swing | 

    J-Ho, I think it’s cute you think any of those proposals will help. While you’re at it, you’re going to need to add computers, CNC tools, and CAD files to your list.

    http://www.guns.com/how-to-use-a-3d-printer-to-build-an-ar-lower-3151.html

    It’s just starting up now, but remember: computers and the tools we control them with don’t get *worse* at making things over time.

    “In the meantime, if you’re a white middle class dude in the suburbs KNOWN to be carrying an automatic weapon and multiple sidearms and to have shot over 60 people in the vicinity you get PEACEABLY taken into custody.”

    I think this speaks more to the cowardly nature of SWAT teams playing CoD LARP than anything else, and you won’t likely find a great deal of disagreement here about that.

  67. #67 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    The Late Andy Rooney ,

    Based on conversations I have had with people who went to other colleges with a high percentage of pre-meds, I don’t think so. Competition is cut-throat on the pre-med track; so much so that anybody doing a Lab course with pre-meds in it would be well advised to not leave experiments unattended. MD is a high paying career, and a great many people go for it for just that reason. Then there are the unfortunates, like my roommate at Hopkins, whose family decided they would be pre-med without really giving them any choice. The schools do their best to weed out the terminally unsuitable during the undergraduate phase, which exacerbates the situation, not that I want them to stop.

    The two pre-meds I knew who I thought would make decent MDs were interesting cases. One wanted to be a GP working in the inner-city. The other had the ambition of becoming a Green Beret Medic, because such people get posted to third world poverty-pits and can make a serious difference. Both men struck me as smart, determined, and serious in their altruism. I hope they both made it.

  68. #68 |  Mattocracy | 

    “I don’t see what’s controversial about banning assault weapons, high capacity clips, abolishing “gun show” exemptions, requiring training to acquire a license and a background check before purchase.”

    None of these things would have stopped what happened in Colorado. People committed to mass death are going to find the means one way or the other. I’d rather spend the time and resources finding out what makes these people nuts rather then tell the other 99% of gun owners they need to be punished because of the actions of a few.

  69. #69 |  Stephen | 

    #65 | J-Ho |

    I could have easily taken both of those guys out with two shots with a 30-06 deer hunting rifle from 200 yards away. The cops didn’t have the right weapons.

  70. #70 |  Other Sean | 

    For me the parody wasn’t too soon, it was too broad. I can’t believe I’m taking this side of the argument, but it’s not always an exercise in cheap exploitation to explore the wider context and causes of an incident like the one in Aurora.

    Put yourself in the mind of a gun control advocate (I am not one), who sincerely thinks that limiting the availability of guns is an effective means of preventing such murders. To you, the attack seems like clear evidence of something you believe, and want others to join you in believing. What are you supposed to do, not mention it? Are you supposed to remain self-righteously silent at precisely the moment when your movement has been thrown into the center of attention?

    What do we do, when something terrible happens that seems to be closely connected with a major civil libertarian principle? We flog the living shit out of it, and hope to hell that people might finally listen to what we’ve been saying all along.

    So it all comes down to the plausibility of the alleged connection. Theories about root cause are not created equal. Some can’t be defended on the grounds I’ve described. Blaming political rhetoric for the Loughner shooting last year was so absurd and so clumsily ad hoc, it rose to the level of parody without need of Patrick’s help.

    But, much as I personally disagree with them, when people blame guns, or violent culture, or failures in mental health care after incidents like this, they may well be acting in perfectly good faith…in which case their sin is not in being exploitative, but in being wrong.

  71. #71 |  Dan Danknick | 

    Dear Patrick from Popehat,

    Those offended by your post merely rely upon the weak pillars of society that also support those levels adverse to critical discourse. To oppose on thought doesn’t mean the same as to suppress – but some think it is the same. They are lazy of mind.

    The correct response – and EXACTLY as America was founded – is to poke your finger into the chest of your intellectual adversary.

    You sir, are an ideal agitator. Rock on.

    Dan

  72. #72 |  J-Ho | 

    Stephen-

    It’s delightful to know you could’ve taken out those bank robbers from one of the many tree stands in North Hollywood. But, unfortunately, you missed the point entirely. When we discuss concealed-carry laws and the belief that an armed person in this theater could have stopped this incident (which is dubious), we’re talking about low caliber weapons (like the ones the cops were carrying in LA at the time). Your thirty ought six definitely could’ve pierced the shooter’s body armor, but I doubt you’d be carrying one around as personal protection. Also, he’d have the tactical advantage of a higher rate and field of fire in close quarters.

    Mattocracy-

    Your argument implies that people in the US are significantly more committed to acts of mass carnage than people in… well, pretty much every other developed country in the world. Sure, there have been shootings in Oslo and Germany and elsewhere but they are not as regular nor as successful as the ones in this country. Regardless, I don’t believe he was insane. He appears to be cognitively very high functioning. He’s just a twisted, evil, malicious fuck. I don’t give two shits “why” he did it.

    If he did convert an AR-15 to fully automatic then, yes, I do believe banning the sale of those weapons would have created a significant barrier for him to overcome. If he had extended clips, then he can put out a much higher number of bullets which directly translates to a much higher body count. As for the rest, I have NO clue why people have a problem with safety measures required for the sale and purchase of TOOLS DESIGNED FOR THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE OF CAUSING DEATH.

    As a final example, let’s say he was in my alternate society and still committed to murdering a lot of people. None of these malicious, entitled, white, man-children ever have any connection to the criminal underworld so acquiring an illicit weapon would be hard for them. Let’s assume now that he gets a hunting shotgun capable of holding 3 rounds and a handgun with a 10 round clip (and some extras). Assuming now that he’s a crack shot, I’m gonna say he can kill 11 people tops. Now I’m assuming the low stopping power of his 9mm handgun doesn’t allow someone to subdue him before that. It’s also more likely that he’d kill 3-4 and injure maybe 5-6. Do you see the difference between that and 12 dead and 58 others? That’s not a small distinction. And I would really appreciate that sporting chance while he reloads.

    In the meantime, let’s assume someone breaks into my house and I have that same shotgun. I can easily cut that person in half. Let’s say I’m about the town and someone tries to rob me. If I’ve had training with a handgun, I can easily drop them. So I don’t have anything to worry about.

  73. #73 |  Jess | 

    J, your fantasy is fascinating in its elaboration and specificity, but otherwise it is not interesting.

  74. #74 |  J-Ho | 

    Ha! That’s harsh but fair and the only intellectually serious reply yet. But yes, the specificity comes from having had this argument about 10,000 times with people who think there’s some sort of principled or practical reason they should have a weapon capable of killing dozens of people.

  75. #75 |  John Spragge | 

    @J-Ho, I don’t agree with your concession to “Jess”. You posted a reasonable and, as far as I can tell factual, assessment of the capabilities of various guns and the characteristics of guns used in mass shootings that make it possible to kill large numbers of people quickly. I see nothing in your post not based on fact.

    In essence, this conversation already goes on, and nobody seriously disagrees with the principles involved. I know of few if any “gun control” restrictions on single-shot flintlock weapons (the guns in use at the time of the drafting of the Second Amendment. And even among people who most fervently believe that gun ownership guarantees freedom by conferring the ability to physically resist governments, few individuals advocate permitting individuals or even state militias to possess nuclear or biological weapons. Only two actual points of contention remain: where do we draw the line between weapons we permit and weapons that simply confer too great an ability to inflict mass casualties, and what responsibilities do owners and users of firearms of various sorts have?

  76. #76 |  el coronado | 

    So lemme see if I got this straight, J-ho. You figure the guy was wearing super-ultra high-grade (milspec?) armor that would make any shots fired his way just….bounce off, I guess….? Never mind the fact that others here all say that getting hit with a 9mm or something bigger would hurt like hell, probably knock him off his feet, or at least slow the fucker down some. As for the Hollywood bank robbery the cops love to use to justify their militarization, consider: a) those guys were experienced, highly-motivated, hardened professional criminals. This ‘joker’ guy was just a pussy. b) no one ever seems to raise the possibility the LA cops that day were just miserable shots. Ever notice that?

    Thus, just like the guy who brought up the whole pathetic “good thing no one shot back” argument, you’ve adopted the modern ‘sit tight and hope for the best’ attitude that worked not one little bit at Killeen; and Columbine; and Mumbai; and Virgina Tech; and Ft. Hood; and the Norway summer camp. WTF kind of thinking is that? Hell, I’ll even admit you’re probably right about return fire accuracy: anyone returning fire in that situation probably *wouldn’t* make a head/neck/nuts/femoral artery killshot. They probably be lucky to hit him at all. Fear, adrenaline, rapid heartrate…..messes up one’s marksmanship. It certainly would mine.

    But even *1* guy firing back *one time* would have caused the asshole shooter to……
    1) Pause for a second and think about ducking before he remembers he’s armored up. I’ve only been shot at once, but trust me, it’s pretty universal among humans except among maybe soldiers with a lot of combat experience: someone shoots at a target you know to be YOU, you hit the floor.
    2) Stop shooting at the unarmed crowd and to try and acquire his new, shooty-backy target.
    3) Have to start thinking about/worrying about maybe there’s a SECOND guy with a gun, maybe a *much better* shot, drawing a bead on him right then. Or God forbid, a third.
    4) Give up. Like he did the instant he was confronted by armed cops. His armor didn’t seem to stiffen his resolve THEN, did it. Maybe that would have been the case at his first sight of someone else’s gun, pointed at _him_.

    Any or all of those scenarios would have bought valuable seconds for the innocents running like hell for the exit. Had only one life been saved; had only one less person been injured, ‘shooting back’ would have been an excellent thing to do. One thing we DO know, “nothing” is a really worthless strategy. So why again is it you’re *against* the notion? Are you a cop, offended by people thinking they could do what the cops *didn’t do* at Columbine? Or are you just one of those folks who thinks old-timey notions like “self-defense” is best left to our taxpayer-supported shepherds and guardians?

  77. #77 |  Eric Y | 

    J-Ho, you’re making some pretty firearms-ignorant statements, and if you’re basing your entire argument and premise on such statements, then it’s easily dismissed.

    Converting a semi-automatic firearm to fully-automatic is illegal. The BATFE takes it’s NFA (research the 1935 National Firearms Act, and perhaps the 1968 Gun Control Act as a follow-up) class firearms very seriously and frowns upon people who do illegal machining work to convert or build fully-automatic firearms. I know an individual who decided it would be cute to build a WWII Sten-type automatic submachine gun and post a video on the Internet. The ATF paid him a visit and he went to jail. At a federal level, you CAN buy fully-automatic firearms (it varies by state). It’s worth noting an NFA category firearm, including suppressors, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, destructive devices, and fully-automatic firearms, to my knowledge, has never ever been used in the comission of a crime. I found reference to once case with an Uzi submachine gun used…by a cop.

    Extended magazines or not, reloading an AR15 rifle takes 1-1.5 seconds for a proficient user. If I had a 30 round magazine vs three 10 round magazines, the difference between emptying all 30 rounds is no more than 3 seconds tops but they aren’t three cumulative seconds. What are you going to do in the 1-1.5 second intervals when he is reloading? The human reaction time is roughly .25-.5 seconds plus time to decide what you’re actually going to do. This leaves you with a generous .5-1 seconds of time to execute your decision. A human from a dead start can cover roughly 4 yards in 1 second at a sprint. Besides, if he had a 100 round drum or a 10 round magazine, the rate of fire is identical and a constant. The bullets are being fired at the same rate and the only delay is the reload. The Remington 870 is also used as a hunting shotgun, FYI. As a tangent, the second amendment doesn’t require firearms to be sporting in purpose to be legal. If you had the money and inclination, you can legally buy a 20mm anti-tank rifle simply because you can. People do own these. In fact, there are people out there that own General Electric M134 Miniguns legally.

    I haven’t seen verified reports that the 58 injured were injured BY gunfire and not simply hospitalized for other reasons. You’re here talking about how deadly the AR-15 might be, but how deadly is it when you supposedly shoot 70 people and only kill 12? That is a 17% fatality rate for a supposed deadly military-grade assault rifle. We can make a logical assumption he was using FMJ ammunition, which is designed for penetration and not stopping, backed by the fact he hit someone in the adjacent theater with a stray round. Now that 58 injured weren’t injured from 58 rounds, but possibly significantly a smaller quantity of rounds, several which penetrated multiple targets.

    Your assumption that 9mm somehow has “low stopping power” is completely ridiculous. This stereotype comes from the early 80’s when 9mm was a relatively new round with lousy ammo selection. The advancement of hollowpoint design such as Federal’s HST, as well as +P and +P+ load selection makes 9mm ammunition a fantastic threat stopper and ease of recoil management, which is one reason why so many law enforcement agencies have switched over to this caliber. I have personally switched from carrying .45ACP to 9mm +P and my performance has markedly improved.

    “I’m gonna say he can kill 11 people tops” “kill 2-3 and injure maybe 5-6″. Based on what? Pure, baseless speculation? I won’t speak for others, but I have extensively trained in firearms, as far as participating on many great firearms technical discussion boards.

    Like all these stupid gun debates end up…baseless anti-gun arguments are made and they can easily be rebutted, but it takes technical knowledge in ballistics, mechanics, and wound characteristics to fully make an argument. These tend to be long, boring, and drawn out. The opposition just ignores it, and it starts over again.

  78. #78 |  Christopher Swing | 

    J-Ho, not only do those malicious, entitled, white man-children have access to all sorts of weapons and parts, they can now get it in purple splash ano if they want. http://www.cncguns.com/

    Short of making computers, data files, and tools illegal – you’re not getting a world where it’s really all that hard for someone to get whatever weapon they really want. It’s not that hard now and it’s only going to get easier.

  79. #79 |  Eric Y | 

    How are you able to “easily cut that person in half” with a shotgun? Why use a handgun with 10 rounds when a 6-round revolver or a 2-round derringer works too with supposed training? You do realize any informed, trained individual that carries a semi-automatic handgun carries at least one backup magazine, right?

    A single shotgun blast clearing an entire room of bad guys and the mystical one-shot manstopper. Too much Hollywood.

    Anyone that has had actual training will scratch their head.

  80. #80 |  Matt | 

    @J-Ho

    Others here have destroyed the other parts of your post, but I’ll chime in and beat up on your “ban assault weapons” point. Anyone who wants to ban assault weapons doesn’t actually know what an “assault weapon” is, so lets define it, concentrating on rifles. It is a semi-auto rifle that:

    1. Can accept a detachable magazine (you would call it an “assault clip”, whatever that means) and
    2. Has 2 or more of the following features:
    a. Folding/telescoping stock
    b. Pistol grip
    c. Bayonet lug
    d. threaded barrel

    You’ll notice that none of these things have to do with actually firing bullets downrange (besides a restriction on “rifle grenades” that no civilian owned or used ever before the ban came into effect anyway). All of those features can be removed from any AR-15 or AK style rifle and you will still have the same lethality that you had before you removed them. So why do you support the rule? What damage does a pistol grip do that warrants 10 years in a cage? Hard time for making the gun easier to hold? Bayonet lug? I’ll tell you, if some maniac stopped shooting people and decided to charge them with a bayonet I think that would count as a huge improvement to the situation.

    Its a useless law that won’t do a thing to criminals (who don’t care about such restrictions), but will catch up a huge number of innocents in its wide net.

  81. #81 |  StrangeOne | 

    The anti-gun guys always approach this from a public safety standpoint, not a human rights one. Gun crime is exceedingly rare. Even though America is comparatively worse than many other nations its still an incredibly rare crime. That’s not even including in the discussion the number of accidents, suicides, and self defense claims often make the data harder to analyze. Nor does it usually include the number of people killed by police (interesting that the issue of armed law enforcement is rarely brought up by gun control advocates).

    The dangers of government dictating who is and isn’t allowed what kind of means of self defense should be obvious. Especially considering the degree to which gun control in this country has historically been tied to the Jim Crow south and the subsequent reactionary legislation from the civil rights movement. Self defense is chief among human rights, without it all others are a mere courtesy.

    Curtailing the second amendment is the most direct way to sacrifice liberty in an uncertain attempt to achieve security. Given the extreme rarity of gun crime, this seems a most unwise choice. Even more disturbing is this calculus is never applied to the 1st, 4th, 5th, or 6th amendments. I don’t get how so many people balk at sacrificing any number of other rights yet have no problem surrendering the one right that allows practical defense of the others.

  82. #82 |  Matt | 

    @78

    Don’t tell this to J-Ho, but you can actually build your own AK receiver (the regulated part of the gun) out of what amounts to scrap metal and a few screws and rivets:

    http://marshhawkarms.com/page2.html

    Make sure he doesn’t find out about this, it would clash with his gun control fantasies.

  83. #83 |  Ted S. | 

    How many people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation or the effects of the teargas/smoke bomb?

    I presume there are already laws against possession of those, which obviously prevented the guy from using them.

  84. #84 |  Stephen | 

    #72 | J-Ho |

    No tree stand needed. I was just trying to make the point that the cops should have the equivalent of a 30-06 in the trunk. They probably DO now.

    As far as the guy in the theatre, a simple 1911 .45 would have knocked the crap out of that guy in spite of his body armor and many people concealed carry those.

  85. #85 |  Joe Mama | 

    @14 Miroker

    Ask Jeanne Assam, she was up against the same thing and had a pistol. She put the guy down then (I speculate he though “uh oh…I fucked up”) then he off-ed himself. It’s one thing to wear body armor but another to be taking hits while wearing it.

  86. #86 |  Eric Y | 

    Matt. What’s more impressive is the existence of several cities in Pakistan famous for black market arms trade, like Darra. They make copies of rifles and pistols and shotguns, and ammunition, with basic power tools and hand tools. In huts and caves. With kids. In fact, it’s quite remarkable that such modern firearms can be built using essentially craftsman methods 300 years old.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGVianQJsmQ#t=2:36
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darra_Adam_Khel

  87. #87 |  Eric Y | 

    That video link should read https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGVianQJsmQ#t=2m36s skips past all the chitchat.

  88. #88 |  Mattocracy | 

    The chances of anyone being killed by a gun is a rare event. It’s poor logic to argue that everyone should have their freedoms taken away for fear of an event that is far less likely to happen than car wrecks, lightning strikes, and heart disease.

    The majority liberals will argue that what we are enduring at the airport is completely insane compared to the threat of terrorism. But that same reasoning isn’t be used when they weigh rights vs. shootings. Comparing the numbers for both threats shows that the odds of shootings or airline terrorism don’t justify the loss of freedoms.

  89. #89 |  P Brooks | 

    “the Columbia School of Journalism’s Tragedy Studies Department”

    Most excellent.

  90. #90 |  RobZ | 

    If there had been just one other person in the theater with a gun, and that person was sitting fairly close to the crazy guy, that might have worked out pretty well.

  91. #91 |  Eric Y | 

    This should provide some unbiased, government data on mortality rates for 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr59/nvsr59_04.pdf

    11,406 people died from firearm homicide in a country of 310 million people. This includes ALL homicides, such as justifiable homicides (civilians shooting criminals, cops shooting criminals, what a layman would call “self-defense”). If the CDC broke down homicide by type, the figure would be even lower. That places it off the top 20 causes of mortality in the USA. By comparison, the flu kills over 53,000 Americans a year. Heart disease? 600,000. 24,834 people died from falls.

  92. #92 |  SHOES THROWER | 

    WBC is picket memorial service

    Ha! That’s harsh but fair and the only intellectually serious reply yet. But yes, the specificity comes from having had this argument about 10,000 times with people who think there’s some sort of principled or practical reason they should have a weapon capable of killing dozens of people.

    Los Angeles- 1992

  93. #93 |  Margaret Mc | 

    This is a joke, right? RIGHT?!

  94. #94 |  J-Ho | 

    Matt @ #80 raises the only point that gives me pause about enacting any more gun control legislation. Assuming that we can get some sort of consensus that assault rifles blah blah blah should be banned, we run into:

    1. Now special interests are involved and will fuck it all up (firearms manufacturers and advocacy groups vs. y’know, I don’t even know… the Brady Campaign, police unions, parents/survivor groups? Regardless, an inchoate mass of self-serving loudmouths on both sides).
    2. Very few members of Congress or the Senate will know much about firearms and how they work. So they’ll get their info from special interests or, more likely, vote according to what party leadership tells them.

    So, whatever legislation we DID manage to pass would be inconsistent, unclear, selectively enforced, highly complex and… just a functionally worthless, massive pain in the ass that doesn’t actually make anyone safer.

    Matt @ #82, et al: I should have been clearer when discussing the context (I thought I was clear by specifying “converted AR-15″) that I am well aware that anyone posting in these comments could easily make the illegal transition of an AR-15 to a fully automatic weapon in a few hours. This is why I believe the AR-15 should be illegal. See my complaints about legislation above, though. The “Assault Weapons Ban” of 1994 (?) was functionally worthless in accomplishing that.

    Ted S. @ #83, tear gas is definitely legal in this country. Most of the women I know carry it. You can buy a pretty little pink canister of the stuff at the car wash I go to. I’ll grant that is only one of a variety of compounds that are commonly referred to as “tear gas,” correctly or no. Anyways, these type of arguments equate to me saying that because I could easily build a pipe bomb in my garage, you should just go ahead and let me buy claymore mines. I do not believe that argument to be valid, which means we’re unlikely to get anywhere discussing it.

    As for my ignorance of types of rounds and ballistics, I assure you that I’ve seen plenty of examples of human ballistic test subjects in the last decade. The amount of damage a short range shotgun blast will do to someone’s torso is not a fantasy (it didn’t cut the man in half, literally, stop being pedantic). And I believe that hollow point rounds should be banned as well.

    I’m probably going to cut off for good here because it’s Saturday and I have a wedding to go to (isn’t a major reason we want to withdraw out troops from Afghanistan because we believe the people there should be able to go to a wedding without worrying about being wholesale slaughtered by a flying robot?). I have legitimately enjoyed arguing with all of you, it’s less boring and more edifying than living in an echo chamber. I’m sorry if I didn’t make it to all the rebuttal-themes.

  95. #95 |  John Spragge | 

    @el coronado: the gun as Linus’s security blanket meme strikes again. So: let’s suppose a law abiding gun owner has decided to carry his or her Glock to the movies. Great. Let’s call this person Sir Galahad. So our shooter gets up and lets off his bomb. We’ll assume that Sir Galahad groks right away that this isn’t another part of the opening night festivities, even though some people only realized something had gone wrong when they saw other people shot. Let’s assume that Sir Galahad immediately fixes the position of the shooter even in the smoke, confusion, and noise bouncing like crazy off four walls. Let’s also assume that Sir Galahad doesn’t get knocked down by fleeing patrons and also gets a shot off. What then? Well, el coronado’s post doesn’t quite reach the level of delusion required to believe anyone, particularly someone without intense training, can shoot accurately in low light, smoke, under fire, and with hundreds of panic-stricken people running over and around them, but let’s think through the actual consequences. Bullets that miss their targets don’t skid to a halt; the ones that miss the gunman have a good chance of hitting the next person over. So getting up and opening fire inaccurately just adds one more bullet to the mix. But the effects don’t stop there, indeed no. Because Sir Galahad doesn’t actually have a neon sign over his head says: Sir Galahad: here to protect you! The people in the theater only know they have two active shooters, and they will try to clear out from around both. That doubles the panic, and reduces by more than half the number of available escape routes, thus more than doubling the chances of somebody getting trampled to death, or alternatively delaying audience members who would otherwise have got away from the gunman.

    And, of course, some other stalwart citizen may also have a legally carried pistol in the theater. Let’s call her Maid Marion. So: unless she has preternaturally keen perception and memory in a confused and panic-ridden situation, how does she figure out which if either shooter is the good guy? She has as good odds of opening fire on Sir Galahad as on the gunman, and of course he has as good odds of opening fire on her. In fact, even if the original gunman gets hit or decides to light out, Sir Galahad and Maid Marion may continue to exchange fire until the police get there and sort things out. Why not? They don’t see the halo of righteousness that believers in amateur sheepdogs™ seem to assume hangs around every citizen with a concealed carry permit. They see only confusion, smoke, flashes of light and hear only very loud bangs.

    So in anything approaching reality, in exchange for a possible momentary spasm of fear on the part of the shooter, you get at least one and possibly more active shooters, twice the panic, fewer than half the viable escape routes for , and up to three times the bullets flying around. And even the spasm of fear may not affect the shooter much, if at all; people who care about their lives do not generally open fire in public places.

    This also means, of course, that if the gunman survives the firefight and gets out (an outcome el coronado concedes is highly likely), the police will have two or more shooters to sort out, and the gunman has a far better chance to slip away in the confusion and go commit mayhem somewhere else.

    Guns have no magic properties. If you want peace of mind, get a security blanket. In most circumstances, adding guns to the mix makes things a lot worse; this emphatically applies to law enforcement as well as to private citizens. Ask the government how well Ruby Ridge and Waco worked out for them. If people want to have guns for target shooting or hunting, fine with me. If I had the chance to buy a fine Kentucky rifle just for its beauty, I might take the opportunity. But let’s not kid ourselves that an armed citizenry in a confused melee can bring a violent incident to a close. That fantasy belongs with the Saturday Morning Road Runner hour, along with the Acme anvils that always land on top of Wil-e Coyote.

  96. #96 |  el coronado | 

    John, let me make it real simple for you: If you don’t want to carry a gun, then don’t carry one. Hope that works out for you in a ‘joker’ situation. (Perhaps a suitably submissive fetal position will convince the shooter to spare you.) Just keep your laws off my second amendment.

    And go sell your condescending little ‘guns have no magic properties’ psychobabble to someone who’s buying it.

  97. #97 |  Mary | 

    Epic fail! If it has to be explained as satire, it missed the mark. Isn’t this called a Poe or something?

    Not good.

  98. #98 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Mary, it didn’t have to be explained as satire to most of the people here.

    Ponder what that means about those that needed the explanation.

  99. #99 |  Enyap | 

    John, has that Mexican standoff situation that you and other gun grabber are always fearing ever fucking happened?

  100. #100 |  John Spragge | 

    (yawn) I won’t speculate about how I’d react in a shooting, because as Margaret Lawrence (among others) observed, boasting about how you’ll behave in a dangerous situation is a “dead giveaway”. I assure you the laws I live by have nothing to do with your second amendment and vice versa. And if you don’t want me reminding you that guns don’t work magic, don’t try to sell the rest of us fantasies that only make sense if guns do magic things.

  101. #101 |  Matt | 

    @94

    So, whatever legislation we DID manage to pass would be inconsistent, unclear, selectively enforced, highly complex and… just a functionally worthless, massive pain in the ass that doesn’t actually make anyone safer.

    While that is certainly the problem I was addressing in that post, I think it is the least of the problems of trying to enforce any sort of ban. The biggest problem I think would be that the way people generally tend to enforce theses bans is that they give guns to the least balanced, most aggressive, and least accountable members of society and then tell them to confiscate guns from everyone else (who isn’t politically connected). It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what is going to happen next.

    I should have been clearer when discussing the context (I thought I was clear by specifying “converted AR-15″) that I am well aware that anyone posting in these comments could easily make the illegal transition of an AR-15 to a fully automatic weapon in a few hours. This is why I believe the AR-15 should be illegal. See my complaints about legislation above, though. The “Assault Weapons Ban” of 1994 (?) was functionally worthless in accomplishing that.

    Post #82 was a link I gave showing how easily one could create an AK receiver from sheet metal and rivets, making any sort of ban pointless. It doesn’t have anything to do with AR-15s. But now that you have brought it up, lets discuss some problems with what you said:

    1. There is one company that makes a gun called the AR-15. That company is called “Colt”, and they more concentrate on selling to police and military than civilians. During the 10 years the AWB was active, AR-15s (along with guns called “AK-47s” were banned:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Assault_Weapons_Ban#Definition_of_assault_weapon

    But then, something funny happened. Gun companies came out with guns like the “Olympic Arms PCR” (Politically Correct Rifle). Though they looked the same as an AR-15 and they functioned the same as an AR-15, they weren’t AR-15s and weren’t covered by the ban (the companies dropped the politically correct terminology after the ban expired). If you attempt to ban it by name they will change the name. If you attempt to ban it by compatibility they will modify the parts. You cannot ban a specific rifle like the AR-15 and expect that ban to stick without banning all semiauto rifles.

    Now, as to the purpose of why you want to ban the AR-15, because it can be “converted to full auto”. Well, any semiautomatic rifle can be converted to full auto. Actually you can convert most semiauto rifles to something functionally equivalent to “full auto” with a piece of string. You can also “bump fire” any semiauto rifle, which will approximate full auto fire.

    This whole discussion is worthless, though, as you have yet to say why full auto weapons should be banned. What makes them so much more lethal than their semiauto counterparts? Just pull your finger faster and you get the same result.

    Hell, they aren’t even exactly illegal now. You can buy any full auto that was registered before 1986, or you can get permission from the ATF to build or modify an existing gun to full auto (which will become non-transferable).

  102. #102 |  Matt | 

    @95

    If we are talking hypotheticals here, let us say that a police officer was in the theater that night with his sidearm. How would you wish him to proceed with the situation? And do you think a police officer being there would improve the situation?

  103. #103 |  John Spragge | 

    @99: A shooter and several other people firing in “self defence” killed a young woman on Boxing day 2005. One of the people killed in Aurora had escaped a shooting at the Eaton Centre in Toronto a few weeks ago. And just last week, two people exchanging shots from automatic pistols killed two young people at a block party. Those incidents all happened in the city where I live.

    @102: I don’t think having a badge would make it any wiser for a police officer to fire a weapon at an indistinct in a crowded place with people panicking. I would hope that a police officer would have enough training to know when not to shoot. Unfortunately, the idea of a gun as a magic solution seems to have infected American police departments with a special virulence.

  104. #104 |  John Spragge | 

    Also @99: I don’t want to”grab” anyone’s guns. If a responsible person wants to own a gun, as long as they store it safely, I regard that as their business. If, on the other hand, you want to regard your gun ownership as part of the process of upholding freedom, or think having a gun would magically enable you to bring a mass shooting like the one in Colorado to a close, then I will point out the (many) flaws in your argument.

  105. #105 |  John Spragge | 

    @91: Eric, whether you consider the number of people killed by gun violence acceptable or not depends, at least in part, on whether you can imagine measures compatible with individual freedom that would prevent these crimes. I will grant you two things: guns kill fewer people than cars, and the North American car culture has a much less responsible attitude to lawbreaking and mayhem than the American gun culture.

  106. #106 |  Matt | 

    @103

    So, if I’m reading you correctly, what you would like to happen in such a situation is for people to sit quietly until the gunman runs out of ammo? Hopefully he runs out before he gets to you? This is your master plan?

  107. #107 |  Mary | 

    @Christopher Swing (#98): You think over 100 responses indicates that the satire was achieved? I do not think so. Reread the thread. Folks bought this crap. Very unlike Radley’s crowd I would say.

  108. #108 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Well, he’s Canadian, right? What sort of plan did you expect?

    He’s ignoring the examples given in this thread like Jeanne Assam, so I don’t expect much from him.

  109. #109 |  John Spragge | 

    I don’t have a “master plan” for surviving a massacre. Nobody that I know of does. In a society such as ours, anyone with a big enough grudge who doesn’t mind dying can kill large numbers of people. If I found myself caught in a public place with a shooter I would probably try to leave as quickly as possible without trampling anyone or getting trampled myself. I would certainly not want anyone to do anything, like opening fire without a clear target, that would compromise the ability of the majority of patrons to evacuate.

  110. #110 |  John Spragge | 

    @108: Right, I did not address the assumption that because a security guard successfully brought down an assailant in a relatively empty foyer in broad daylight, any random person with a concealed carry license can bring down an attacker in a dark theatre in which one or more smoke bombs have detonated. Perhaps you failed to note that Jeanne Assam did not have to deal with the three problems that any concealed carry permit holder, or indeed any police officer, would have faced in this case: the dark, the smoke, and the presence of a large and very frightened crowd.

    It amuses me, although I also find it discouraging, that so many readers of a web log that spends years debunking the attitude that more violence is always better when dealing with anti-social behaviour turn right around when the putative violence comes from private individuals rather than the government.

    I also find it discouraging that so many people invest so much energy in magical beliefs. We are vulnerable to violence. Somebody with smarts and resources who doesn’t care what happens to them can kill a huge number of people, and nothing, not concealed carry permits, not confiscating and crushing every gun, can stop them with any certainty. Some people write about these issues as though acceptance of this simple fact lacks dignity. But dignity and courage come from, and through, accepting reality and living despite the risks, not in pinning our faith on some mystical ubermensch with perfect steel nerves, inhuman perception and accuracy, and a gun license.

  111. #111 |  Matt | 

    I don’t have a “master plan” for surviving a massacre. Nobody that I know of does. In a society such as ours, anyone with a big enough grudge who doesn’t mind dying can kill large numbers of people.

    Unless someone else shoots him before he can finish his spree, of course.

    If I found myself caught in a public place with a shooter I would probably try to leave as quickly as possible without trampling anyone or getting trampled myself.

    Which might not be possible, and indeed most likely was not possible for many people in the theater. So your advice to them is apparently “wait until he runs out of ammunition”. Anyone who tries to stop him might make things worse maybe, so just wait until he runs out. Just sit tight.

    Perhaps you failed to note that Jeanne Assam did not have to deal with the three problems that any concealed carry permit holder, or indeed any police officer, would have faced in this case: the dark, the smoke, and the presence of a large and very frightened crowd.

    Why wouldn’t they have been able to deal with those things successfully? Sure if they didn’t have a clear shot they wouldn’t have taken it, but what if they did? What if they could see through the smoke at the crazy guy spraying bullets everywhere? You don’t know that they couldn’t. I don’t see why bullets going downrange in his direction would be a negative thing, especially because it would almost certainly cause him to stop and hide, at least temporarily. You have presented no evidence or examples in favor of your views besides “IT WILL TURN INTO A FREE FOR ALL AND ALL THE CCWS WILL START SHOOTING EACH OTHER AND IT WILL BE ANARCHY AND THE CCWS WILL SHOOT ALL THE BYSTANDERS”, which might be impressive on your average Brady Campaign website but isn’t impressive here, especially if you only have your own fantasies to back it up.

    A CCW has consequences for their actions. If they don’t have the shot they won’t take it, but if they do have the shot they might, and if they did it could have saved a lot of lives. We already know what happens when they don’t take the shot.

    It amuses me, although I also find it discouraging, that so many readers of a web log that spends years debunking the attitude that more violence is always better when dealing with anti-social behaviour turn right around when the putative violence comes from private individuals rather than the government.

    I’m against violence directed at peaceful individuals. Even against violent individuals, I’d like things to be resolved peacefully if at all possible. I don’t see how this particular situation could be resolved in such a fashion. I do know that your way was already tried, and it didn’t go very well. I also know that you haven’t presented any evidence that a CCW in the crowd would have made things worse.

  112. #112 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @76 – Created a bloodbath, because now there’s multiple shooters, and in a confused environment with smoke, there’s virtually NO way for people to tell the difference. That’s special forces discipline you’re expecting.

    @81 – Why yes, it might make it possible for mass protest to achieve something rather than being viewed as an armed threat. See: Eastern Europe (And alternatively, Libya and Syria).

  113. #113 |  John Spragge | 

    @111 Matt, I suggest you read what I actually wrote. I cited three instances of individuals exchanging shots. In one of these cases, one shooter got killed; in the others, no actual shooters got hit, and in all three instances, bystanders were hit. In one case, several bystanders were seriously injured; in the others, at least one bystander was killed. These instances all come from just one city. Your refusal to acknowledge the examples I have clearly cited even exist make your argument look like that of someone desperately clinging to a belief.

  114. #114 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “Right, I did not address the assumption that because a security guard successfully brought down an assailant in a relatively empty foyer in broad daylight, any random person with a concealed carry license can bring down an attacker in a dark theatre in which one or more smoke bombs have detonated.”

    But you want to act like every attack from now on will be at the most difficult setting, and regulate based on that.

    “It amuses me, although I also find it discouraging, that so many readers of a web log that spends years debunking the attitude that more violence is always better when dealing with anti-social behaviour turn right around when the putative violence comes from private individuals rather than the government.”

    Wow, you have an incredible lack of reading comprehension, then. Sometimes violence is justified. If you missed that…

    I think you’re the one with magical beliefs here, John. But you live in Canada, so kindly fuck off and mind your own damn business. And keep up your plan of being bullet-absorbent, whoever is defending you (if anyone is there to protect you) will appreciate the distraction.

  115. #115 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @114 – A man comes out the smoke, holding a gun.

    Should the security guard shoot him?

  116. #116 |  John Spragge | 

    @114: Please quote the post in which I indicated any desire to regulate guns based on anything. Just because I want to see the discussion of this event framed by the truth, even uncomfortable truths, rather than comforting fantasies about an ubermensch with a concealed weapons permit.

    And no, I don’t have any comprehension problem. Radley has spent years here, rightly pointing out that the police don’t need more armoured cars, more automatic rifles, more M113s, or more military gear of any kind. He has argued, consistently and honourably, that giving the government more firepower and more license to use it will not solve problems. But when it comes to a tragedy like this, so many people offer the lame argument that more guns would have solved the problem, even when the actual circumstance made that so unlikely.

    If you want to make rights based argument against gun control, fine. Just because I refuse to buy fervid fantasies about every gun owner a guarantor of freedom or an amateur sheepdog™, doesn’t mean I think a civil servant or politician should necessarily have the right to judge what weapons the citizenry should have.

  117. #117 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Fine, you want to regulate *the discussion.* Happy now, John?

    “And no, I don’t have any comprehension problem. Radley has spent years here, rightly pointing out that the police don’t need more armoured cars, more automatic rifles, more M113s, or more military gear of any kind. He has argued, consistently and honourably, that giving the government more firepower and more license to use it will not solve problems.”

    OK, you’re just too stupid to realize that’s not the same thing as saying “violence is always avoidable and never necessary.” You pressed the issue.

    “But when it comes to a tragedy like this, so many people offer the lame argument that more guns would have solved the problem,”

    Well, except for the people pointing to actual instances where in fact, it did help…

    “…even when the actual circumstance made that so unlikely.”

    Which is just your (unprofessional) opinion, which doesn’t have any more weight than anyone else’s, really.

    You can now merrily piss off.

  118. #118 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Leon: what the fuck are you talking about?

    I think you got confused somewhere along the way.

  119. #119 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    No, it’s a simple question, which has a very direct bearing on this. You’re trying to evading answering it.

  120. #120 |  Miroker | 

    Opinions are like bungholes, everybody has at least one, some more than others. I personally do not care whether you own a gun or not. Unless you have been in an up close and personal situation like that, you cannot say what your attempt to bring down the shooter would result in. Or even if you would actually have the intestinal fortitude to do more than talk about it. Even if you had been in a firefight before, you still are going to be nervous when you point the barrel and pull the trigger, no matter what you want to believe.

    I think they call that Monday morning quarterbacking.

    I have actually shot a person in the chest, so I do have some personal experience in this area. Have you?

    @95, good way to put it, but some people just cannot accept any version of unfolding events that deports from their world view.

  121. #121 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “No, it’s a simple question, which has a very direct bearing on this. You’re trying to evading answering it.”

    No, you think you’re being clever, when you’re really just being an asshole by adding random changes to the situation.

    There is no answer because nobody can know for sure what they’d actually do or 100% what would actually happen, it’s hypothetical. Life is uncertain, WHO KNEW?

    Are you trying to imply that if we can’t answer your hypothetical question with a positive outcome we must err on the side of what is, in your opinion, caution? Because re: your opinion, who cares?

    What we do know for certain:

    1. It’s not practical or even possible to make guns cease to exist or prevent people who might misuse them from having them. The advance of technology is making that even more certain as time goes by, not less. Minifacturing and a Maker in every home is getting closer, not farther, away. Get used to this concept, unless you plan on turning the entire U.S. into Amish country.

    2. Lying there being bullet-absorbent isn’t helping.

    So no, Leon, it’s not a simple question. It’s just you /thinking/ you’re clever, when really you’re just showing yourself to be the opposite.

  122. #122 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Asshole? I’m not the one trying to get people killed.

    You won’t answer because you know it won’t end well for you.

  123. #123 |  John Spragge | 

    @117: When faced with an argument you cannot answer, trying to redefine it to one you can never works. Case in point: I compared the calls for ever more police armament to the calls for more patrons with guns in the theatre at Aurora. Evidence and experience that tells us more shooters in that place and under those circumstances would simply have made things worse. The argument that at least another shooter would have done something, avoiding the passive approach of not making things worse, has a lot in common with the mindset that calls for ever more aggressive policing. Maybe an answer exists for my argument; however, Christopher Swing clearly doesn’t have one. So instead, he tries to redefine my argument to, and I quote, “‘violence is always avoidable and never necessary.'” I guess he thinks of that as an argument he can win, but I never said what he claims I said. For the record: given the right circumstances, yes, a controlled violent response can stop a violent person from perpetrating a violent act, and can save lives and restore freedom. I doubt anyone would argue with that. I also say this: whatever our wishes, the right circumstances do not always apply. A trained professional in a well lit and relatively empty front hall may succeed in bringing down a guman. That does not mean a confused shooting melee in a dark theatre, or as actually happened in my city, a block party, will not end very badly indeed for innocent people. It depends on the circumstances. Police can save people’s lives, sometimes by stopping those who would do us harm with violence. That does not mean we need ever more aggressive policing, regardless of the circumstances. Sometimes an armed civilian can deter or stop an attack. That does not mean we can look at every massacre and console ourselves with a fantasy that someone with a gun could have “smoked” the perpetrator and stopped it. Sometimes a gun battle just means twice as many bullets in the air.

    @121: Having the courage to face the consequences of your beliefs means not consoling yourself with a magical outcome when you don’t like a particular consequence. As Leslie Charteris once put it, “those who believe the game is worth the candle should be prepared for an accident with the candle.” In this case, affirming the inevitability of the general availability of guns means some people who don’t care about their own lives or the lives of anyone else will abuse their freedoms to kill. And no magic solution will always apply. In fact, in some situations, where bold action would make things worse, we may have an obligation to do nothing. to stay still and simply hope we survive. If you vote for the general availability of guns, you inevitably vote for circumstances to emerge where decent people have no other choices, where magic solutions simply don’t exist, where in order to save as many people as possible, to use Swing’s sneering phrase, being “bullet absorbent” is the only possible choice. A belief in magic, the construction of elaborate fantasies in which an ubermensch with a concealed carry permit emerges from the smoke and saves the day has no dignity; it amounts to giving in to your fears.

  124. #124 |  the other alan | 

    so everyone knows the Doctor’s Plot was itself completely fabricated, yes? Just making sure. Carry on.

  125. #125 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “Evidence and experience that tells John Spragge keeps telling us more shooters in that place and under those circumstances would simply have made things worse.”

    FTFY

    We don’t know if it would have been much better or worse. People can have the opinion that there’s a good chance it would have been better/worse with fightback, but it’s by no means settled.

    No John, you keep trying to control the argument. And that’s amusing, because you already lost it. Or at least it’s rendered pointless. XD

    Because it doesn’t matter what you think. I, and people like me, are going to keep making the tech available that makes the practicality of gun control futile. And we’re going to keep improving it.

    You want us to believe that no one can act to save themselves and others without risking making things worse, and that means no one should act; I refuse to believe that. I should hope anyone that aspires to improve anything in any way should believe that.

    You choose to be (and I say this laughingly, not sneeringly, get it right) one of the bullet-absorbent. You choose to surrender. You choose to offer no resistance to someone that would do you harm. That’s your choice to make. Fortunately, you only get to make that choice for yourself, and not anyone else. And that’s as it should be.

  126. #126 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “Asshole? I’m not the one trying to get people killed.

    “You won’t answer because you know it won’t end well for you.”

    I’m sorry, was “go fuck yourself, smartass” not an acceptable answer for you?

    Sorry, if you want to make a point, just come out and make it. Don’t try and play cute games.

  127. #127 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @125 – Yes, at this point I’m pleased I’m not in America, so you can’t shoot me. Given that’s your argument style.

    Moreover, I’d support people prosecuted as accessories if they opened fire in that kind of situation, even if they DIDN’T murder any bystanders.

  128. #128 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “Yes, at this point I’m pleased I’m not in America, so you can’t shoot me. Given that’s your argument style.”

    What, I fail to comply with your attempted “gotcha” demand, and now I’m the bad guy? Ha! U mad bro?

    “Moreover, I’d support people prosecuted as accessories if they opened fire in that kind of situation, even if they DIDN’T murder any bystanders.”

    But you don’t live in this country, so who cares? And apparently this can’t ever happen in yours, so once again, who cares?

  129. #129 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @128 – It’s a gotcha because you backed yourself in the corner. You came out “I WILL GET YOU”.

    And right, because guns are MAGIC in America!

  130. #130 |  Matt | 

    @113

    I don’t see any evidence of self-defense shooting going awry in what you posted. You didn’t give any links, for one, so you might have been making everything up. Even if you weren’t you haven’t posted any evidence of legitimate CCW holders attempting to defend themselves and then blowing away innocents, its just “some people were shooting at each other and some bystanders got hurt”. Were they gang members? Why were they shooting? Who knows? I don’t know, you haven’t posted any evidence that any of these incidents. And you haven’t given any evidence that a CCW in the theater wouldn’t have been able to easily take this guy down, especially as we now know he was unarmored (save for a helmet).

  131. #131 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Really, Leon? Can’t admit your attempt at a leading question failed? What a sore loser you are.

  132. #132 |  John Spragge | 

    @125: True crime story. About twenty years ago, an outfit called Plastic Engine Technology Corporation started up in the city where I used to live. They claimed they could make completely plastic engines. The local economy could have used the boost, and we all wanted this start-up to work. The mech. engineers at the local university took a more cautious approach: they said the company would need at least some metal. The company, however, claimed they had a secret design and could do it all in plastic. Well, business hype and the laws of physics collided with the usual results, and in the ensuing bankruptcy at least one person went to jail.

    So, frankly, I neither believe the people who claim they can make a working semi-automatic weapon using anything like current 3-D printer technology, nor do I worry that this technology will effectively undermine gun control regimes. Until a 3-D printer can produce a substance with all the qualities of forged steel, it cannot produce a complete working gun capable of serious mayhem. And that would take a technological leap. So… innovate away. I’ll continue to work on more effective and more life-affirming technology. And I won’t have to console myself that an ubermensch with a concealed carry permit will rise up with a concealed weapons permit to rescue innocent people from the effects of my work. I would suggest that people who resort to such fantasies consider finding something more positively productive to do. But in any case, in this case, I think the laws of physics will do a pretty good job of protecting us from guns produced completely by 3-D printers.

    @113: I don’t post links in comment threads. Learn to Google. Plenty of public libraries run free courses for Internet beginners. Start with a search for “Jane Creba” or “”danzig blocko”. And no, none of the people in the incidents I refer to had concealed carry permits; in the American sense, such permits don’t exist where I live. I must have missed the guidance systems in bullets that detect a concealed carry permit, and veer off to hit innocent bystanders if the shooter doesn’t have one.

    OK, this has gone far enough, guys. You may find this kind of fatuous argument amusing, but I don’t. Too many people have died. Go ahead an drivel on about fantasy worlds in which die ubermensch shows up with a concealed carry permit, perfect aim in darkness and smoke, and smokes the bad guy. I’ve met too many parents of murdered children, talked to too many angry and violent people, spent too much time in the sights of automatic weapons to want to laugh.

  133. #133 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @131 – No, it succeeded extremely well indeed. Big man needs his comfort guns, but can’t admit what they’re for.

  134. #134 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “So, frankly, I neither believe the people who claim they can make a working semi-automatic weapon using anything like current 3-D printer technology, nor do I worry that this technology will effectively undermine gun control regimes.”

    Herf Derf because no one could ever improve the tech and it’s not improving herf derf…

    Continue to stick your fingers in your ears and shut your eyes, John. I’m sure the world will stop if you scream you’re not listening enough. XD

    “I’ll continue to work on more effective and more life-affirming technology.”

    3D printers *and other minifacturing tech* (apparently you missed the CNC aspects, or don’t understand them) can be used to make parts of about anything now, and maybe the entire anything in the not-too-distant future. Fuck you and your high horse, John. Just because you don’t want to acknowledge reality doesn’t mean everyone else should do the same.

    “Until a 3-D printer can produce a substance with all the qualities of forged steel, it cannot produce a complete working gun capable of serious mayhem.”

    Yeah, once again, you didn’t get what was linked to. CNC maker units aren’t just 3D printers, nor is the workshop only one thing. And you don’t need to make an entire anything, unless you’re making something entirely new.

    “I don’t post links in comment threads.”

    That lazy a fuck, eh?

    “Learn to Google.”

    Fuck you, learn to cite when you allege evidence. I’m not here to research your point for you.

    “OK, this has gone far enough, guys. You may find this kind of fatuous argument amusing, but I don’t. Too many people have died.”

    Well hell. I’m not dragging the fainting couch over here for you. And if you’re that butthurt, just shut up and leave.

    “I’ve met too many parents of murdered children, talked to too many angry and violent people, spent too much time in the sights of automatic weapons to want to laugh.”

    Don’t worry, I’m happy to laugh at you from here.

    And oh, Leon. Now you’re just calling names and making insults. It’s terrible to see you melt down like that after your argument failed. You should go take a nap or something.

    Cheers! ;)

  135. #135 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @135 – No, it’s called accuracy. That you can’t admit that you’d get innocent people killed is typical of a gun nut.

  136. #136 |  John Spragge | 

    Three top refuges for someone who’s lost the argument:

    1) Technological determinism.
    2) Inventing your own netiquette
    3) Profanity

    Well, Christopher Swing, you hit the trifecta in one post.

  137. #137 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Freedom gets innocent people killed all the time, all sorts of ways, Leon. The rewards of freedom generally outweigh the risks.

    But seriously, you’re crying with John here and you’re already down to insults and screaming in Maggie’s thread, too. You’ve certainly got a lot of time to devote to this.

    John, I thought you were busy crying about dead people or something and weren’t participating anymore? Coming up with a list of things like that just to make a case that you didn’t really lose, cry about it, and then threaten to go home, is still participating. XD

  138. #138 |  John Spragge | 

    @137: This started off with the nonsensical claim that ubermensch with a gun concealed carry permit could have stopped the killings at Aurora. You’ve produced profanity, tangents, and claimed to be laughing dozens of times. You have still not produced any specific evidence that anyone in that situation with a gun could have accomplished anything but add to the casualty rate. So: get it through your head that for me this has little to do with gun control, which I don’t care about either way. I don’t think gun ownership accomplishes anything but the ownership of guns. Have one if you want, having a gun does not make you you a heroic defender of freedom or an effective enforcer of the peace. You can swear all you want, laugh all you want, make whatever you want on your 3-D printer or computer controlled lathe. Still doesn’t change the facts.

  139. #139 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Aw man, did you come back just to tell me you’re going to fail me for the class, John?

    (And sanctimonious pricks that get all bent out of shape by “swearing” are always worth laughing at.) ;D

  140. #140 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @137 – The odd moment to point out you’re trying to murder people? Yea, you keep up your defense of “it’s a conspiracy” then. You keep pretending that thinking stopping dangerous nuts like you from owning automatic weapons is always bad.

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