Pierce O’Farrill

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

So there’s physical courage—the heroes in Aurora who shielded loved ones from gunfire.

But then there’s moral courage—holding fast to your principles in the face of unimaginable challenges to those principles. Pierce O’Farrill was shot three times in Aurora, once with each of James Holmes’ guns. He gave a radio interview yesterday. So first of all, the guy was shot three times, and he gave a radio interview yesterday. But it’s more about what the guy said. First, he forgave his attacker. Second, he asked that his attacker not be given the death penalty. And third, he reaffirmed his support for Second Amendment rights.

I’m sure my opinion is colored by the fact that though I don’t share his religious beliefs, I do happen to agree with O’Farrill on the death penalty and gun rights. Nevertheless, the guy sounds like a pretty exceptional human being.

 

–Radley

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65 Responses to “Pierce O’Farrill”

  1. #1 |  celticdragonchick | 

    I would have to say that if one felt that his* principles no longer conformed to reality (at least what he or she has experienced)…then his principles may need re-examination. I would not at all blame Mr O’Farrill in the least if he had repudiated his support of the 2nd Amendment (even if I disagreed with him). Being shot repeatedly by an unhinged madman with an AR-15 and a Remington 870 in movie theater would certainly make me want to ask questions…including of myself.

    *”his” in a non gender specific role

  2. #2 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    Pierce O’Farrill, Yogurt Eater.

  3. #3 |  M.A.DeLuca | 

    Thanks for sharing that with us, Radley. And three thumbs up to Mr. O’Farrill for the courage of his convictions.

    Odd … I wonder where that extra thumb came from.

  4. #4 |  BamBam | 

    on disarming people in Colorado:
    http://lewrockwell.com/adams-m/adams-m22.1.html

  5. #5 |  Burgers Allday | 

    celticdragonchick kind of gets at my feelings. Pierce O’Farill is cool, especially the forgiveness part, but never re-thinking one’s views on the Second Amendment (especially the term “well-regulated”) is not particularly virtuous.

    Speaking personally, Aurora has NOT made me re-think my admittedly wishy-washy, but relatively permissive, view of gun rights. However, once an organized fringe political group picks up on this strategy, and co-ordinates 10 of these attacks simultaneously throughout the US, it will be a whole different ballgame within the space of a single day.

    I have been making various versions of this same comment at Mr. Balko’s blog entries for probably well over five years now. I feel as sure as ever that this radical paradigm shift is coming. The more Mr. Balko makes this kind of post, the more he will be marginalized when “that day” comes.

    If you didn’t see the future of terrorism before Aurora, you defo should now. The easy response is to say, “the answer is more guns in the hands of the good guys.” But that ain’t going to work. I imagine that the one sided nuclear war in Iran that the rightwingers want will be the thing that precipitates the crisis. If Obama is re-elected then that may at least delay things a bit.

  6. #6 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ Burgers,

    People don’t become terrorists because guns exist. They experience something that inspires them to act out violently. I’d rather get to the root cause of that.

    Terrorists picked up on the strategy of hijacking planes. Our response to that was no more privacy rights at the airport. But by and large, the forign policy that inspires our enemies to attack us continues unabated. Less freedom for peaceful people hasn’t changed things much.

    I will agree that those of us who advocate for freedom are marginalized more and more every day.

  7. #7 |  EH | 

    As someone else said somewhere, if he didn’t have guns he would have punched or stabbed people. There’s certainly a difference of degree there, but those events would get just as big of headlines in a post-2A nation. After all, Anders Breivik stories are still being posted only to the “International” section of news sites.

  8. #8 |  el coronado | 

    Wait. Burgers thinks another Mumbai/9-11 kind of thing happening here will have US citizens clamoring for the government to ‘get more restrictive on gun rights’? What color is the sky on your planet?

    Oh, sure, government being what it is – a cancer – it will TRY and do that. All in the name of “safety”, and any other bullshit catchphrase that test-polls well. But people who aren’t already dyed-in-the-wool liberals or hardcore statists or Canadians aren’t stupid. They _know_ there’s already 100,000,000+ handguns out there, much less long guns. They _know_ a goodly chunk of them aren’t known the the Authorities. They _know_ that ‘when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns’. They _know_ that draconian gun control sure isn’t working in Chicago, or LA, etc. They _know_ it damn sure didn’t work Saturday in Aurora, CO: home of some of the most restrictive guns regs in that state. And they sure as *hell* _know_ the government will fuck up any additional attempts to “protect” them, and will just make things worse for the, Everybody’s dealt with the TSA, and everyone’s contempt for their uselessness is matched only by their hatred for their arrogance.

    So I say any upcoming paradigm shift will be more in the Israeli mode: people will make ready to defend themselves at an instant’s notice by carrying, openly, everywhere. Everywhere except heavily Democrat-controlled enclaves, where ‘logic’ has already been shown not to apply.

  9. #9 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    My position on “Second Amendment Rights” is brutally simple. The State is enjoined against “Infringing” on the right to keep and bear arms. The injunction is not limited to Congress (“Congress shall make no law” 1st amendment). All “Gun Control” laws; permits, licenses, limitations, taxes, and bans, are violations of the Second Amendment. Period. Stop.

    This may or may not be a good idea. I think there are arguments for at least SOME gun control. I once had a neighbor who could not back out of his driveway without hitting his own mailbox, or the ditch, or SOMETHING. The idea of that dolt in possession of an automatic weapon is a little scary. But I find the idea of a government that disregards its own founding document for the sake of political expediency a great deal more scary.

    If you want to keep guns out of the hands of the general populace, then you need to amend the Constitution. Evading this makes me more frightened of you than I am of madmen with guns.

  10. #10 |  Mario | 

    Burgers Allday @ #5

    “Well-regulated” in its historic meaning has almost nothing to do with the modern notions of government regulations. Well-regulated, in the context of the Second Amendment, pertains to equipping and drilling militia troops. I don’t see how anyone could be against that.

    The problem with this country and our modern sense of the Second Amendment is that it is as if we are speaking a different language than the one it was written in. Apart from “well-regulated,” the other evidence of this is the word “militia.” No one who understands what this word meant, historically, or the historic importance of such a citizen body in keeping a republic free from tyranny would ever imagine that a militia is now an “anachronism” that has since been “replaced by our National Guard.”

  11. #11 |  nigmalg | 

    @Burgers,

    If I remember the statistics correctly, terrorists prefer bombs around 90% of the time, not guns. You see, bombs are scarier.

    As someone else said somewhere, if he didn’t have guns he would have punched or stabbed people. There’s certainly a difference of degree there, but those events would get just as big of headlines in a post-2A nation. After all, Anders Breivik stories are still being posted only to the “International” section of news sites.

    It just came out this morning that he had built several explosives including a fairly sophisticated gasoline bomb. To say he would have dropped down to “punches” is unrealistic. Thank god he didn’t chain the doors and use fire/explosives, it could have been much worse. But keep showing the pictures of the AR15 CNN/MSNBC/ABC…

  12. #12 |  Michael Chaney | 

    “I imagine that the one sided nuclear war in Iran that the rightwingers want will be the thing that precipitates the crisis. If Obama is re-elected then that may at least delay things a bit.”

    Somebody’s been hitting the ol’ bong a little heavy lately….

  13. #13 |  Isaios | 

    @Radley It’s people like this (though I disagree with much there) that will drive society forward. Principles held even in the face of adversity. I wonder how the other victims will react. From what I understood , the prosecutors office wanted to wait and talk to the victims before going for capital punishment, though I’m unsure if this meant only the families of the slain, or also those wounded like Mr. O’Farrill.

    @celticdragonchick @Burgers Allday You both seem to conflate ”re-thinking” with ”changing your mind”. It seems to me that Mr. O’Farrill HAS re-thought his position, and STILL he arrived at his previous conclusion. He has re-affirmed his convictions. I see no blind fanaticism driving him, rather I see an individual that has faced the worst eventuality of his principles, and still find them compelling. That is admirable. Incredibly so. Many are inclined to fight for principles like untill such a time as they themselves are in some manner adversely affected by the principle.

    @EH I’m afraid I don’t follow. Are you saying that if A. B. Breivik didn’t have guns, he would have been equally ”efficient” with knives? Or that if he had used knives (or an axe) then the case would have recieved as much international attention? (Since the first interpretation seems absurd, I’ll go with the second one.)

    There would probably have been SOME international attention, as the bombing of Regjeringskvartalet was a terroristic attack on the centre of government. FOX News would probably have waved the Islamist flag for a while, but without the significant casualty count, I seriously doubtful of the event retaining any international interest. We’d still have reacted much like we did, but outside Scandinavia? Probably little reaction.

    Finally I think I’ll allow myself some self-aggrandisation (forgive me for the myopia). After Breivik did what he did, we (as a nation, as a society) managed to retain a sense of ourselves. How we WANTED the world to see us. There were cries for vengeance, certainly. There were clamoring for his execution (even though the last civilian execution in Norway was in 1876 and the last wartime offender was in 1948), but those voices were few, and far apart. The great masses of the nation (tiny though that population is) spoke more of healing and a reaffirmation of those ideals Breivik espoused as the triggering reason for his actions.

    The one year … anniversary (that seems too positive a word, is there a better one?) has just very recently passed, and the verdict on Breivik will fall in the coming month. It seems as though the nation has in many ways done what I feel Mr. O’Farrill has done; frankly appraised our values and found them to be good, even in the face of violent aggression.

    Apologies for the side-tracking.

  14. #14 |  Stephen | 

    The technology will soon exist for anybody to print out a gun and the ammo as well. There ain’t no law that can stop something like this incident. Guns in the hands of good people can mitigate the problem because there are more good people than bad/crazy people.

  15. #15 |  el coronado | 

    Aw, man. We’re not gonna get into the tired old “well-regulated” smokescreen again, are we? Look, for all the gun weenies and Canadians out there, had the first amendment read, “A well-regulated free press being essential to the discourse of a free people, Congrefs shall male no law abridging free speech, etc etc.”……..

    Would y’all be cool with free speech regulations & restrictions? Media regulations & restrictions? Internet regulations & restrictions? Thought not. Then you’d be the *first* to squaller “that’s not what ‘well-regulated’ meant when they wrote it!’, right? So spare us the intellectual dishonesty, ok?

  16. #16 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    el coronado,

    I hate to break it to you, but there are one hell of a lot of superficially reasonable people out there that ARE in favor of ‘reasonable’ restrictions on free speech. Canada’s government has powers of censorship that should make your hair stand on end; all in the name of not ‘offending” people, as if unoffensive speech every mattered a damn.

  17. #17 |  crazybob | 

    “No one who understands what this word meant, historically, or the historic importance of such a citizen body in keeping a republic free…”

    In context, a militia was important because the western frontiers of the colonies were open borders from which native americans and other hostiles might attack. The federal army would be to far removed to provide protection, hence the citizens were intent on keeping their militias. They are today, without question, obsolete.

  18. #18 |  crazybob | 

    “Would y’all be cool with free speech regulations & restrictions?”

    No, I wouldn’t be cool with it, but such regulations would clearly be in keeping with the founders stated intent if the first amendment was worded as you say.

  19. #19 |  crazybob | 

    “There ain’t no law that can stop something like this incident.” Not completely, but there are common sense laws and regulations that could vastly reduce the lethality of this incident.

  20. #20 |  Chris Mallory | 

    “There ain’t no law that can stop something like this incident.” Not completely, but there are common sense laws and regulations that could vastly reduce the lethality of this incident.”

    You mean incidents like buying a ticket, going out the theater exit, fixing it so you can come back in it. Getting a couple bombs and bringing them in and setting them off during the show? Or do you mean parking a Ryder truck up next to the building and setting off a bomb?

    On the other point, there is no reason why Holmes should be alive a week after his trial. He did it. There is no doubt that he did it. He should be executed after his trial.

  21. #21 |  Bob | 

    crazybob:

    The federal army would be to far removed to provide protection, hence the citizens were intent on keeping their militias. They are today, without question, obsolete.

    Where is this “federal army” you speak of now? Were they in the theater? No? Looks like they couldn’t protect dick, huh? What about the police? Looks like they couldn’t protect dick, either.

    What about the people IN the theater? The ones in the position to actually do anything? Bad news! They’re law abiding citizens, who heeded the Aurora ban on concealed weapons. That “reasonable law” worked great, didn’t it? It provided a safe place for an armed nut to safely shoot dozens of people.

    The anti gun crowd would say: “Well! (Stamps feet.) The availability of firearms is the problem!”

    Really? Are you telling me a guy willing to rig his OWN APARTMENT with explosives is going to care about some stupid law? Guns are manufactured everywhere on the planet. Force people to use the black market and they will. Once you create a supply chain, you inevitably increase the ‘quality’ of the black market goods available. Grenades, full auto machine pistols, etc.

    I like to use the “Heroin principal” in comparison to how easy it is to obtain black market goods in a fully realized supply chain. What’s the most worthless and useless segment of society? The one group of people that can barely tie their own shoes and feed themselves, much less operate as criminal masterminds? Easy! Heroin addicts. And yet Heroin, despite being grown in only a few areas on the planet, and being completely and totally illegal in the US… is easily available to these same Heroin addicts.

  22. #22 |  Bob | 

    “I like to use the “Heroin principal” in comparison to how easy it is to obtain black market goods in a fully realized supply chain.”

    Bit of a grammar error there. I meant: I like to use the “Heroin principal” to demonstrate how easy it is to obtain black market goods in a fully realized supply chain…

  23. #23 |  Stephen | 

    #19 | crazybob |

    I guess you really are crazy.

    This guy was probably an anti-gun nut and that was why he used guns. He could have easily killed more people without guns. All he would have needed to do was take the explosives that he left in his apartment and start tossing those around in the theater.

  24. #24 |  Bob | 

    I may as well sound off on the other other issues, too. Why not? everyone else is. And hey, I’m just arrogant enough to think my opinion is important too! Heh.

    Death penalty. No. Still opposed to it. Sure, this guy is certainly deserving of it. There is no doubt of guilt. This case is the slam-dunkiest of the slam dunky-dunks. But that doesn’t affect, even in the tiniest way, the reasons I oppose the Death Penalty. Toss the guy in prison. Watch him rot. Bury him after he dies. There’s no reason to get emotional about it.

    “Forgiveness”. That’s a misguided pacifistic principal. We’re not “creatures of light”, we live in a world where death is permanent and can only happen once. When a sentient murders other sentients like this, there should be no forgiveness. activate the “Without Parole” modifier on the Life in Prison sentence and be done with it.

  25. #25 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    crazybob,

    I’m curious what you would consider “common sense” regulations. As has already been widely pointed out, carrying firearms into the theatre was ALREADY illegal. The gunman doesn’t seem to have given a fat damn.

    I understand that “if guns weren’t widely available legally, fewer criminals would have guns” is a very tempting line of reasoning. But it doesn’t appear to work very well. England has, to all intents and purposes, banned not only guns but most kinds of fighting knives. If it has made a positive difference to their crime statistics, it isn’t immediately apparent.

    Criminals, nutcases, and such will continue to be criminals, nutcases and so forth with or without guns. Citizens with guns will remain citizens, for the most part. The Gun Control Advocates have predicted the imminent arrival of the Return To The OK Corral every time a state loosens any gun control laws. For the last several decades their predictions have proven to be so much piddle and wind.

  26. #26 |  Burgers Allday | 

    I had a long post about the “well-regulated militia” thingee, but computer ate it.

    Long story short:

    gun-nuts want to say that militia means something totally differenow, but “well-regulated” is stuck in 1791 (and a lexicographically fantastical 1791 at that). Can’t have your bullets and discharge them too.

  27. #27 |  Isaios | 

    @Bob I like this misguided pacifistic primary actor or administrative leader of a scholastic institution you mention, he sounds like a blast.

    While I recognise your basic premise of empowering the citizenry to protect themselves, it strikes me as overly optimistic to think that this scenario would have played out better if they were all armed. I find it HIGHLY doubtful that the majority of legal carriers are so proficient with their arms and situational analyses that they will be able to correctly identify the threat and put rounds on target and NOWHERE else. Several people opening fire on multiple axis in a dark, loud, smoke/gas-filled theater with flickering shadows and (I assume) still rolling film sounds like a recipy for an even worse outcome.

    I know how good a shot I am myself, and I know something of how good the other people at my shooting-club are. And let’s say that while I am among the more competent, I am not even remotely competent enough to act in such a situation. There are other situations where I would have done better I am sure, and there are situations where others would have done better as well, but knowing what I know of the observational and crisis managing skills of most people, the thought of that theatre full of armed people makes me sweat.

    If you wish to promote a more universal acceptance of your position, this might not be the best selected incident.

    And, are you really intimating that your opinions do not matter? The volksgeist is shaped the the collective opinions of everyone involved in public discourse, so of course it matters. It might not be driving, but that can hardly be of primary concern?

    @ C. S. P. Schofield England is hardly an excellent example, but even so, you might wish to re-examine the available statistics. You are far ahead of even them in this.

    But I would mention that the US is not on top in intentional murders. You’ve only got about 5 murders per 100.000 people (compared to the United Kingdom with aprox 1.3), while Jamaica has had a consistent 35-45 for as long as I have statistics for them. So while we Europeans might scorn you for the prevalence of violence in your society, those of us with some nuance recognise that you’re doing FAR better than you could have, or indeed, did.

    As for weapon availability being directly linked to more deaths… Well, all I can attest to (based on the research I know of) is that the prevalence of available firearms is directly correlated to the percentage of FIREARMS related homicides. Strange how that happens. I’m not saying that they cause MORE deaths, only that those deaths that happen have a greater chance of being perpetrated with firearms.

    @Burgers Allday Do you have a lexicographic history of the two terms?

    PS: I am unclear on the legal definitions of ”murder” and ”homicide” in the US. I am referring to people slain with the full intent of the slayer being brought to the act.

  28. #28 |  Burgers Allday | 

    @27:

    With “militia” I am saying that the lexicographic history should not matter too much for policy reasons. I think the closest approximation to what a militia did in society in 1791 would now be considered the role of all adult non-felon US citizens.

    with “regulated,” no, but I come across it in reading old texts enough to know that it doesn’t mean what the gun-nuts say it did. For example:

    “The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.”
    Samuel Johnson (a famous, somewhat contemporary lexicographer)

  29. #29 |  Matt B | 

    I’m not sure what your point is. Militia back then meant everybody. Still does today. So that meaning didn’t change.

    But regulated changed its meaning from then to now. Then it mean to be well kep, disciplined, and operated. Now it means control from the government.

    And besides, that only applies to militias. The Second states that in order to have a well-regulated militia, the people must have the right to keep and bear arms. Not that in order for the people to keep and bear arms, their must be a well-regulated militia. That’s a big difference. And remember what part the Second is in- the Bill of RIGHTS. You know, the rights of people.

  30. #30 |  EH | 

    Well this has turned into a shitshow. For the record, I was referring to the Aurora shooter with my “punch and stab” comment. Breivik obviously had a plan that required guns and was specifically planned to be successful on that basis, and which had a specific target. The Aurora shooter seems much more indiscriminate, so that’s why I think he would have been satisfied expressing himself with whatever violent means were available.

  31. #31 |  el coronado | 

    @ Burgers –

    Convenient that the ‘puter ‘ate’ your discourse ‘proving’ that the 18th century guys who put their lives on the line to revolt against taxes & all that would have smilingly approved of our bastardized meaning of “regulations”, but no matter. It would have been ‘TL, DR’ anyway.

    Let’s cut to the chase. How ’bout “Shall not be infringed”? How you gonna explain that one away?

  32. #32 |  BamBam | 

    In context, a militia was important because the western frontiers of the colonies were open borders from which native americans and other hostiles might attack. The federal army would be to far removed to provide protection, hence the citizens were intent on keeping their militias. They are today, without question, obsolete.

    You state one purpose. The other more important purpose was to protect the citizenry from a tyrannical government. History is replete with examples of tyrants disarming citizens, then ramping up the tyranny because there is a greatly decreased chance of physical harm to the tyrant and his lackeys. History will repeat itself regardless of the year, as humanity is the constant variable over time.

  33. #33 |  Other Sean | 

    O’Farrill didn’t just prove his moral courage, he showed his methodological integrity.

    People who have arrived at their opinions by careful thought shouldn’t run around changing them on an N of 1, and indeed, most don’t, provided that 1 in question is someone else.

    But as we all know, most people count themselves as an N of > everyone who ever lived, and rate their own personal experience as if it were some special class of irrefutable evidence.

    O’Farrill refused to do that. A week ago he knew that 99% of gun owners never hurt anyone, and he didn’t stop knowing it just because 1 particular gun owner tried to kill him.

    Whatever the opposite of solipsism is…it’s got to be that.

  34. #34 |  Danny | 

    I don’t buy that the law is helpless to prevent this kind of thing.

    This guy didn’t use a belt-fed machine gun.
    This guy didn’t use a flamethrower.
    This guy didn’t use a bazooka.

    He used a CIVILIAN-LEGAL weapon. That was not an ‘aesthetic’ choice. It was a practical compromise he had to make because the more deadly weapons were highly-illegal and thus highly-unavailable.

    The law affects criminals’ options, and stronger laws would limit this type of criminal’s options further.

    A high-capacity weapon ban with no grandfathering and mandatory buy-backs would do to the assault weapon what the 1986 law did to the machine gun — render it virtually unavailable to the criminal element.

    Whether, as a political matter, we are willing to pass the kinds of tough, heavy-handed laws that would effectively put such limits in place is an entirely separate question.

  35. #35 |  Ya Know Its Burgers | 

    @33 REALLY NAILS IT.

    I don’t want to see regcit guns go away. I would like to see gun-nuts (not saying that Danny is a gun-nut here) thinking about sensible regulations that could do harm reductions without leading inextricably to a gun ban, or, worse yet, making the American police state even police statier.

  36. #36 |  celticdragonchick | 

    Flamethrowers are generally not illegal. You can make them out of welding equipment, and there are a number of videos and websites with technical advice for the mechanical minded to help make your own flamenwerfer.

  37. #37 |  celticdragonchick | 

    A high-capacity weapon ban with no grandfathering and mandatory buy-backs would do to the assault weapon what the 1986 law did to the machine gun — render it virtually unavailable to the criminal element.

    If you thought the West Virginia coal mine insurrection in the 1930′s and the Michigan militia 90′s were fun…just try to confiscate millions of weapons from otherwise law abiding Americans. You will have armed uprisings and major bloodshed in at least 15 states.

  38. #38 |  Personanongrata | 

    All I keep reading/hearing about are folks who would like to place limits or ban outright the private ownership of various firearms and their accessories.

    I never read/hear about anyone looking to place limits on the amounts and types of gratuitous violence being beamed into all American homes 24/7/365 or the unknown longterm consequnces of dosing young children with pyschotropic pharmaceuticals .

    The solution(s) is not knee-jerk, push-button reactions such as banning firearms. When only the government has firearms that is called tyranny.

    There is no panacea to what ails us but a large part of the US’s violence problem is cultural and will take a paradigm shift by John/Jane Q Publix in demanding a reduction in the levels of violence that they and their children are exposed to daily. Then maybe in two or three generations we’ll begin to see a reduction in the levels of violence. That is of course if the once was republic lasts that long.

    Each individual is responsible for their own well-being.

    Folks should never use the tyranny of the majority or a loud and vocal minority to tie the hands of their friends, family and neighbors binlimiting the choices they have in protecting theirselves from harm.

  39. #39 |  Bill | 

    Despite all the things I could pick on, #33 Danny, I’m going to pick a nit: the government can’t institute a “gun buyback” because most of us didn’t get our guns from the government. If we’re going to be candid, a “mandatory buyback” is confiscation. Maybe we can’t handle that much honesty, but at least let’s put the “buyback” thing to rest.

    Of course, if the government were to buy back all that dangerous surplus military hardware it sold to SWAT teams across the country, that I might be able to support :-)

  40. #40 |  Mairead | 

    @Burgers

    Your example from Johnson actually supports the interpretation that “regulate” was understood to mean “make conformant to a standard” (in Johnson’s case, reality) rather than “limit availability of” as the Love-Me-I’m-A-Liberals would like everyone to believe.

    Besides hating that the militia companies would often pack up and go home rather than starve and freeze as the Regulars were forced to do, Washington was driven mad by the different standards to which the various companies were trained.

    Almost none of them could be relied on to put up with the standard European method of using up soldiers: “stand close together in large groups and fire broadsides at one another from a few yards’ distance until the survivors on one side give up and run, limp, or crawl away”.

    They were much more used to doing what they did during “Parker’s Revenge”: shoot as individuals from behind trees and walls. They just weren’t trained to be proper cannon fodder, and so Washington, who’d been trained to command proper cannon fodder, wanted them regulated.

  41. #41 |  Brandon | 

    Pierce O’Farrill seems to be on the opposite end of the humanity scale from Piers Morgan.

  42. #42 |  Bob | 

    #33 | Danny | July 24th, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I don’t buy that the law is helpless to prevent this kind of thing.

    This guy didn’t use a belt-fed machine gun.
    This guy didn’t use a flamethrower.
    This guy didn’t use a bazooka.

    He used a CIVILIAN-LEGAL weapon. That was not an ‘aesthetic’ choice. It was a practical compromise he had to make because the more deadly weapons were highly-illegal and thus highly-unavailable.

    The law affects criminals’ options, and stronger laws would limit this type of criminal’s options further.

    A high-capacity weapon ban with no grandfathering and mandatory buy-backs would do to the assault weapon what the 1986 law did to the machine gun — render it virtually unavailable to the criminal element.

    Whether, as a political matter, we are willing to pass the kinds of tough, heavy-handed laws that would effectively put such limits in place is an entirely separate question.

    Oh… for fuck’s sake. To be honest? If I thought for a heartbeat that outlawing firearms would actually work… I would be all over it. But it can’t work. Let’s go over your points one by one:

    He used a CIVILIAN-LEGAL weapon. That was not an ‘aesthetic’ choice. It was a practical compromise he had to make because the more deadly weapons were highly-illegal and thus highly-unavailable.

    He used what was the most easily available. It turns out that in the US, semi-auto firearms are legal to purchase. If this were not the case, then he would have had to resort to the black market or to explosives. Do you REALLY want people bent on mass murder to have to resort to the black market or explosives? “Highly Illegal” doesn’t necessarily mean “highly unavailable”. Look at Heroin. Do YOU know where to buy Heroin? I don’t! I have NO IDEA where to buy that crap. But your typical Heroin addict does… and can get it easily. So much for “highly unavailable.”

    The law affects criminals’ options, and stronger laws would limit this type of criminal’s options further.

    Only by pushing the criminal towards black market weapons or explosives.

    A high-capacity weapon ban with no grandfathering and mandatory buy-backs would do to the assault weapon what the 1986 law did to the machine gun — render it virtually unavailable to the criminal element.

    That is just ignorant. Where do you get your information? The movies? Criminals almost never use automatic weapons.

    Whether, as a political matter, we are willing to pass the kinds of tough, heavy-handed laws that would effectively put such limits in place is an entirely separate question.

    Are you SURE you want to go there? We’re talking about North Korea style totalitarianism. Is that what you want? To feel “safe” at the expense of all your freedoms?

    Let’s look at the facts for a minute. Very few people ACTUALLY DIE as the result of mass shootings. What… 100 a year? Hell, 3 times that are killed in pointless police chases where the chased ‘criminal’ is guilty of nothing more than an a misdemeanor charge. Traffic accidents in general? Don’t even go there. What about Tornadoes? Tornadoes kill WAY more people every year.

  43. #43 |  CyniCAl | 

    @Isaios

    “The one year … anniversary (that seems too positive a word, is there a better one?)”

    There is a German word “jahrzeit” which translates literally to “yeartime.” It is used to mark the period of a year since a death, especially among Ashekenazi Jews. There is no English equivalent. I too find the word “anniversary” extremely clumsy in a negative context.

  44. #44 |  Bob | 

    Yoinks! Total formatting failure. Radley! A “review post before posting feature.” But it’s not so bad… most of the post is good.

  45. #45 |  CyniCAl | 

    #22 | Bob — “Bit of a grammar error there. I meant: I like to use the “Heroin principal”

    Not to be a dick, but since you corrected your own grammar, I didn’t think you’d object too strongly to having your spelling corrected. It should read “principle.”

  46. #46 |  Bob | 

    #43 | CyniCAl | July 24th, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    #22 | Bob — “Bit of a grammar error there. I meant: I like to use the “Heroin principal”

    Not to be a dick, but since you corrected your own grammar, I didn’t think you’d object too strongly to having your spelling corrected. It should read “principle.”

    Son of a bitch! Good call. I ain’t Tony Stark! My math isn’t always right!

  47. #47 |  Burgers Allday | 

    @40:

    like ALL gunnuts, you are a 1L AROUND WORLD SERIES TIME.

  48. #48 |  Mairead | 

    @47

    like ALL gunnuts, you are a 1L AROUND WORLD SERIES TIME.

    Did you really mean me? If so, you’ll have to explain if you want me to understand, because I’m not a “gun nut” or baseball fan. I sometimes carried a revolver when I worked in Germany 50 years ago, but that’s all. And the only things I know about baseball are that it involves 9 people per team and “World” referred to a now-defunct newspaper, not our planet.

  49. #49 |  Ya Know Its Burgers | 

    @48:

    Regulated means limited and/or restricted according to a standard.

    If a traditional “militia” is regulated then it is regulated according to military standards, which were apparently evolving, and continue to evolve. US soldiers face less wartime risk than ever.

    However, if “militia” is expanded in meaning to include, basically, everyone, then the standards would no longer be military standards. It doesn’t mean there should be no standards, no limitations and no restrictions. Actually, as the definition of “militia” is expanded to include everybody, one could, and should, expect the restrictions and limitations to be stricter.

    The gun-nut position I am attacking here (which I above labelled gun-nut viewpoint #2) is the fantasy that “regulated,” back in 1791, had nothing to do with limitations or restrictions. The word “regulated” is all about limitations and restrictions, and that was as true in Johnson’s time as it is in ours.

  50. #50 |  Ya Know Its Burgers | 

    @48:

    further explanation: 1L’s are first year law students. at world series time they have been in law school a couple months and tend to think they know more than they do about how to read carefully and how to to think like a lawyer.

  51. #51 |  Weird Willy | 

    @5, Burgers

    “Pierce O’Farill is cool, especially the forgiveness part…”

    Why?

  52. #52 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Because he has perspective and capability to philosophically detach. These are qualities that have been seriously undervalued since 9/11.

  53. #53 |  Mairead | 

    @49 Regulated means limited and/or restricted according to a standard.

    If you’re using “limited” and “restricted” as terms of art, I can’t object — if you explain them when you use them.

    If you’re using them in their ordinary, everyday meaning, though, they’re misleading, slippery-slope choices when paraphrasing what the Second meant. Your quote from Johnson makes that clear: “limiting” ones ideas to those included in consensual reality doesn’t mean that one ceases to think, or thinks only when carrying out orders (as Hitler believed true of most people) just that one stops believing things not borne out by experience, e.g., that people living in Cloggieland all speak English.

    Similarly, “regulating” the militia doesn’t mean permitting only privileged people to have weapons, or forbidding any but outdated weapons, which are among the meanings the Love-Me-I’m-A-Liberal authoritarians want to impute.

    It might mean that people who claim militia membership should have to qualify periodically with a standard weapon as well as all those they own, demonstrate that they have the basic abilities needed to be a member of a local militia company, and possibly should be required to own and care for a standard weapon as well as qualify with one.

    (Thanks for your 1L explanation! I was never a law student, but have generally been regarded as a capable thinker for most of my 72 years :-)

  54. #54 |  Burgers Allday | 

    If you’re using them in their ordinary, everyday meaning, though, they’re misleading, slippery-slope choices when paraphrasing what the Second meant.

    I am interpreting the words in the way they should be interpreted when it is a Constitution we are expounding. The founders could have written the Amendment to say:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting firearms; or the right of the people to bear arms.”

    This is the language used in the First Amendment. But they chose to make a more qualified statement with respect to guns. When looking at what they meant by “regulated” (and, more precisely how they wanted that term applied in the future to unknown and unknowable) one has to look at the types of concerns that would would cause them to use that qualifying language. They were basically saying that the “militia” gets to have guns to the extent there are restrictions or limitations on militiamen that make them trustworthy. Militiamen had to follow rules that regular citizens did not, and this is what made them able to be trusted with weapons.

    The drafters of the Constitution were not concerned that people would accidentally break their guns while cleaning them, or that they would fail to break lockstep on a bridge or anything like that. Congress was saying that the right to bear arms is contingent upon limitations and restrictions aimed at making sure that the people who did have guns would not run around shooting the wrong people.

    I agree that the limitations and restrictions should not be so burdensome that they effectively abrogate the right to bear arms. That result would also be inconsistent with the spirit, intent and language of the second amendment. The drafters knew that the power to regulate is the power to destroy, and that is why they used strong language to make it clear that the prerogative to bear arms should not be subject to destruction by regulation. OTOH, they also realized that the right to bear arms did need to be subject to regulation. And again, they weren’t talking about the kind of regulation where the militiaman is required to keep the stock polished and the powder horn full.

  55. #55 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @32 – Right, the Tyranny needs an highly armed populace so it’s military units will never be faced with the situation of having to think about it’s orders before coming under fire.

  56. #56 |  Mairead | 

    @54 The founders could have written the Amendment to say:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting firearms; or the right of the people to bear arms.”

    This is the language used in the First Amendment. But they chose to make a more qualified statement with respect to guns.

    An argument from language use isn’t especially persuasive, since the authors were members of the elite, not people who had to be accurate composers of easily-understood prose in order to get their living. Note that, although every one of the first 8 amendments refers to an individual right, all have different syntactic constructions.

    The historical record shows that they played around with the wording of various amendments, but in ways that had little or nothing to do with making the text less susceptible to misunderstanding. I’m sure they took the position that most non-specialists take who are also subject-matter experts: “how hard can it be to understand? It’s plain English!” :-) (as a psychologist, most of my practice has been in the human factors of design; the profession has amassed a very large number of Humorous Anecdotes about people who’ve designed/made/written things based on their innocent belief that “it’s obvious!”)

  57. #57 |  Weird Willy | 

    52, Burgers

    “Because he has perspective and capability to philosophically detach.”

    Sorry, I missed that part. I only read the part where he redoubles his self-application to a religious dogma that requires him to accept and endorse personal affliction. That seemed highly ‘uncool’ and unhealthy to me.

  58. #58 |  Weird Willy | 

    52, Burgers

    “Because he has perspective and capability to philosophically detach.”

    Sorry, I missed that part. I only read the part where he redoubles his self-application to a religious dogma that requires him to accept and endorse personal affliction. That seemed highly ‘uncool’ and unhealthy to me.

  59. #59 |  Bob | 

    Let’s look at the facts for a minute. Very few people ACTUALLY DIE as the result of mass shootings. What… 100 a year? Hell, 3 times that are killed in pointless police chases where the chased ‘criminal’ is guilty of nothing more than an a misdemeanor charge.

    Hey! I’m quoting myself! Hmm. Well, I’ll consider the fact that I’m talking to myself in public later.

    Anyway, I was thinking about it… and I couldn’t think of enough mass murders of this type to even add up to 100 deaths, much less in a single year. So I did a little research.

    Since 1990, it looks like there have been 22 mass shootings in the US with a total death count of 210 (I’m not counting the shooter if they self-terminated.) That’s 10 deaths per year.

  60. #60 |  Ya Know Its Burgers | 

    @57,58: I acknowledged that upfront in post #5. I would have been equally, if not more, cool with him stating that his experience had caused him to rethink his position on gun control.

  61. #61 |  el coronado | 

    Actually, I’d tend to look askance at anyone who publicly proclaims he/she “forgives” the scumbucket who tried his very best to kill him/her just a couple of days earlier. At this point, any rational person should still be in shock and/or working through the various phases of acceptance of the enormous trauma that was _randomly_ inflicted upon him/her.

    ‘Instant forgiveness’ may be within the reach of the most Holy of people – Jesus & Buddha & them – but when Joe/Jane Blow claims it, I find myself doubtful. That’s some *serious* self-esteem and/or *major* denial goin’ on there, if it were true. Would someone whose child had just been murdered/intentionally grievously injured be looked upon approvingly if they proclaimed their ‘forgiveness’ of the scumbucket 3 days later? I don’t theenk so. Also, anyone with an “capability to philosophically detach” to that degree, that quickly, would more than likely be assumed to be a sociopath by any competent mental health pro, no? Since I have no desire to smear the guy, I’d assume all that forgiveness jive is just the shock talking.

  62. #62 |  John Spragge | 

    @61: If you google the diagnostic and statistical manual 4, the most recent published version of the standard used by “competent mental health professionals”, you will discover that the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder, the actual diagnosis for someone we refer to, in layman’s terms, as a sociopath, do not include a propensity to forgive.

    To see the problem with the argument that only the most spiritually advanced people have the standing or ability to forgive, imagine applying it to other values such as freedom. If only great spiritual souls can forgive, does that mean we can trust only the greatest of men and women with freedom? I would say no in both cases. The virtues required in any functioning society include both freedom and forgiveness, and for society to work, each member must practise these and other virtues as well as they can. To allow only the great spiritual masters to forgive makes a little sense as restricting freedom to its most famous advocates.

    Survivors like James Loney and practical management advisors like Stephen Covey agree that when you hold something, it holds you. Vow eternal hatred of someone who has wronged you, and you permanently commit to a relationship chosen by the offender. Worse, from a social point of view, because we feel the wrongs done to us most keenly, the hatred and vengence which naturally arises from a refusal to forgive tends to escalate over time. The infamous feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys shows where a refusal to forgive can lead a society. Ultimately, forgiveness offers the only way to free ourselves from the offender. That doesn’t mean allowing offenders to do it again, or not telling the truth about the horror of the offence. It means facing the reality of the harm the offender has done and letting go: responding without hate.

  63. #63 |  Bob | 

    John Spragge:

    I guess you and I define “Forgiveness” differently. In my book, “Forgiveness” is how you treat others, not how you deal with stuff yourself.

    The anger you speak of is internal, and has nothing really to do with outside persons or events. Would you be angry at the sun for causing a heat wave? The wind for causing a tornado? No? This is no different. James Holmes didn’t go into a theater shooting people because he actually hated them, he did it because he’s insane. (At least I assume that’s the case. Available evidence looks pretty good for that conclusion.) Getting angry at insane people is like getting angry at the wind, or the sun.

    James Holmes needs to be punished, not forgiven. At the same time, hating the guy is pointless. You don’t need to “forgive” to not hate.

  64. #64 |  Fran | 

    I have a different take on your hero Pierce. I may anger some people with this but I am going to post it anyway. I just watched an interview with a survior of the Co. shootings. He said that God saved him, he also said he saw or was aware that a child (girl) was dead. So is he saying that God micromanages and picked him to live and picked the 6 yr. old girl to die! I find that so offensive I don’t know how to put that in to words. I wonder if he thinks of the families of the dead and how they feel about what he has to say. Could be he is an egomaniac that thinks that he is a favorite of God. Is he saying the God did not save my nephew, his daughter and my son Sean for some reason. I do not know this person , Pierce but I do not believe he is/was a better person than the 3 young family members whose loss we have had to struggle with daily. I have heard people say this ever since I can remember and I always think WTH makes them think they are so worthy and the others not. Near the end he said he was praying for a year that God would find a way for him (Pierce) to let people know how great God is. Well I guess he thinks God killed 12 people and he survived so he could tell the world how great God is. Excuse me while I go VOMIT. He is just loving the attention he is getting and all of you are giving it to him. I think he is a thoughtless fake riding a high on the attention he is getting. I am disgusted with the media for giving this guy the attention he is getting. His is not a hero all he did was survive, he did not save or even try to save anyone. He is getting his 15 min. of fame then he can fade into the background since he did nothing but get out alive. The heros are the ones who protected their loved ones and in some cases died doing so.

  65. #65 |  Son of the Agitator « The Honest Courtesan | 

    [...] and help out a good cause?  He also wrote a short post calling attention to the moral courage of Pierce O’Farrill, one of the survivors of the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre: …moral courage [is] holding fast [...]

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