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      CommentAuthoroak
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    [This post quotes the article in full.]

    NYT, July 25, 2012

    An Arms Race We Can’t Win

    By Andrew Jensen

    In 1999, I was a student at Chatfield High School, in Littleton, Colo., where students from nearby Columbine High were diverted after 13 people were killed in the April 20 massacre there. After graduating, I joined the Army. When friends and family asked why, I replied that the tragedy made me realize that the people you love can’t always protect themselves. Serving, I thought, was a way to help them.

    My career as an infantry officer included two years in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of miles from Aurora, Colo., where my dad, my brother and his fiancée now live, less than a mile from the movie theater where James E. Holmes fatally shot 12 people last week. And they’re just the kind of fun-loving, adventurous people who would go to a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

    After years of training and war, I’m left wondering: can you ever really protect people you care about?

    As a veteran, should I register for a concealed-carry license and always be armed? Even then, would I, as a trained rifleman, really be able to shoot a single person through a cloud of tear gas in a movie theater full of people screaming and running? What if I started shooting and there was another person with a gun in the crowd?

    Or should I lobby for increased gun control?

    For months after the Columbine massacre, people were constantly telling one another: “I wish I’d been there, I would’ve tackled that guy.” My Chatfield classmates and I would stand on the steps of our school and watch as Columbine survivors limped into class on their crutches. The reality, of course, is that we wouldn’t have tackled the shooters. Shooters aren’t tackled until their clips are empty, and by then it’s too late.

    Serving in a combat zone means constant vigilance against unseen enemies. It means wearing heavy body armor, no matter what the weather is doing. It means taking weapons with you when you eat or use the restroom. It means, quite literally, never putting them down. The common argument made by gun-rights advocates is that they “don’t want to be in a one-way firefight,” which argues for not restricting the sale of things like semiautomatic weapons, high-capacity magazines and tear-gas grenades. Their contention is that the only real way to stop dedicated shooters is for there to be plenty of other shooters around.

    Those who truly believe that need to be carrying a gun right now, wherever they are. They need to keep it closer than I kept my weapon in Iraq. In Iraq my fellow soldiers’ lives were on the line. Soldiers’ lives are important — but our families’ safety is even more precious.

    Those who truly believe that anyone should be able buy semiautomatic weapons will need a gun at soccer practice, at church, at “Batman” movies. That’s the only logical choice. And civilian life will feel almost like being in Iraq.

    The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has compiled a 62-page list of mass shootings since 2005. What’s striking is that there isn’t a single example of a concerned bystander with a concealed-carry permit who stopped a mass shooting. I believe that what I learned in Iraq holds true for the United States: constantly carrying weapons is harder than it sounds, and a determined gunman will orchestrate a mass shooting precisely where and when we are least prepared for it.

    We’re also excessively pessimistic about our ability to control firearms in the United States. Since 9/11, federal officials have done an excellent job of restricting the fertilizers and chemicals required to produce homemade explosives. Were we to enact a ban on semiautomatic weapons, we would eventually be able to recover enough of the existing gun inventory to make a difference. Providing for the safety and security of its citizens is any government’s core function. We should urge our government representatives to immediately enact more stringent restrictions on firearms ownership and to increase enforcement of existing gun laws.

    There will always be violent loners. If they don’t kill with guns, they’ll find some other way to do it. Semiautomatic weapons, however, are what enable them to shoot dozens of people in a movie theater. Is someone’s right to buy an assault rifle worth having to carry a weapon yourself, every moment you’re outside your home, for the rest of your life?

    ----------------------------

    Andrew Jensen served for five years as an infantry officer in the United States Army.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/opinion/an-arms-race-we-cant-win.html
    • CommentAuthorthehard
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    An crazy man in a costume shoots innocent people at a movie premiere.

    The American solution: ban costumes.
    • CommentAuthorthehard
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    (pretty much everybody in Spain is saying that)
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      CommentAuthoralsetalokin
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012 edited
     
    Well, there is little to argue with there, just as for all well-constructed polemics.

    We don't really have any idea, though, how many mass shootings have been prevented by the fear, in the shooter's heart, that there might be an armed citizen in the "target zone". The stats from the Brady Campaign failed to indicate that, with only one exception, all of the recent mass shootings have occurred in locations where even CW permit holders were prohibited from carrying their weapons-- "gun free zones" like the theater in Aurora, schools and workplaces and etx. In other words, where the deterrent of an armed _law abiding_ citizen was least likely to be encountered. And I can recall at least one school shooting and one church invasion where the shooter was indeed stopped from committing increased mayhem by a legal CW carrier... so the Brady report is at least incomplete.
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      CommentAuthorping1400
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    Mass shooters generally don't expect to survive. They don't care at all about others with conceiled weapons.
  1.  
    Posted By: ping1400Mass shooters generally don't expect to survive. They don't care at all about others with conceiled weapons.

    Well, I think there are two distinct types. One type is as you suggest; there is even the term "suicide by cop" to describe that expected or perhaps desired outcome. Others... not so much. I don't think Brevik, for example, expected to go out in a blaze of glory, and neither did this Holmes nutcase. They enter a place where there is no perceived danger, they do their damage, and retire to another safe location where they can be apprehended or can surrender non-violently, because they aren't done making their statements.
    I think the latter type is becoming more prevalent lately. So we are seeing the psychopathology of the perps changing. Whereas the first type is going to be the angry, depressed alcoholic or other drug abuser, set off by a particular traceable incident, the second type is the paranoid schizophrenic, the slow simmerer with a political or religious (same difference) agenda and a long thought out plan. This second type won't be seeking an immediate death along with his (invariably his) victims.
  2.  
    "Were we to enact a ban on semiautomatic weapons, we would eventually be able to recover enough of the existing gun inventory to make a difference."

    For a sufficiently large value of 'eventually'
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    Posted By: alsetalokinWell, there is little to argue with there, just as for all well-constructed polemics.

    We don't really have any idea, though, how many mass shootings have been prevented by the fear, in the shooter's heart, that there might be an armed citizen in the "target zone". The stats from the Brady Campaign failed to indicate that, with only one exception, all of the recent mass shootings have occurred in locations where even CW permit holders were prohibited from carrying their weapons-- "gun free zones" like the theater in Aurora, schools and workplaces and etx. In other words, where the deterrent of an armed _law abiding_ citizen was least likely to be encountered. And I can recall at least one school shooting and one church invasion where the shooter was indeed stopped from committing increased mayhem by a legal CW carrier... so the Brady report is at least incomplete.
    So, do you think that if say half the movie goers that night were carrying, that the tragedy would have come out better or even been averted altogether?
  3.  
    Posted By: joshs
    Posted By: alsetalokinWell, there is little to argue with there, just as for all well-constructed polemics.

    We don't really have any idea, though, how many mass shootings have been prevented by the fear, in the shooter's heart, that there might be an armed citizen in the "target zone". The stats from the Brady Campaign failed to indicate that, with only one exception, all of the recent mass shootings have occurred in locations where even CW permit holders were prohibited from carrying their weapons-- "gun free zones" like the theater in Aurora, schools and workplaces and etx. In other words, where the deterrent of an armed _law abiding_ citizen was least likely to be encountered. And I can recall at least one school shooting and one church invasion where the shooter was indeed stopped from committing increased mayhem by a legal CW carrier... so the Brady report is at least incomplete.
    So, do you think that if say half the movie goers that night were carrying, that the tragedy would have come out better or even been averted altogether?

    Not at all. I am saying that if the theater had not been a designated "gun free zone", the shooter -- all such shooters are cowards -- would have likely chosen another target that was: an elementary school, for example.
    And I am also saying that a paranoid schizophrenic experiencing a drug reaction (or perhaps a lack of one) doesn't need a costume and a bunch of weapons to kill a lot of people all at once. The costume shows that this was about glamour and fame, not guns... as I believe the Spanish satire so sharply points out.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeJul 27th 2012
     
    Which all avoids the actual issue - that the easy legal availability of weapons, compounded with a truly morbid kind of firearms machismo, makes for the easy illegal availability - wrong place, wrong gun, etc. And that is not only a USA problem but has become one in Canada and Mexico (though I don't know if government-smuggled weapons should actually be considered illegal.) So US conceptions of personal freedom are killing people who have no say in the matter, as well as the eight times more USans than should be getting killed in a country with such a standard of living.
    • CommentAuthorenginerd
    • CommentTimeJul 27th 2012
     
    The saddest part for me is the publicity that this shooting is receiving. The media plays it big because we watch it. Reporting is mainly about audience and the media outlets play to what people want to see. Apparently we want to see hours of re-enactment and discussion about this mass shooting.

    There were more people shot to death out-side that theater that day than inside it, but we savor the more entertaining event, even though the others are just as dead.

    It seems clear to me that the murders in the theater were a performance for an audience. The audience is all of us and we seem to be enjoying it. Some people want more than 15 minutes of fame.

    The debate about gun-control in the U.S. is typical of many public debates, in that the real issues are rarely debated.
  4.  
    Yet Brevik, with a very high score and an impressive k/w ratio, was both certifiably mentally ill, possessed his licenced weapons legally, and lived in a place with very extremely strict gun control.

    Which proves that no rules have exceptions except this one, I suppose.

    Yet the problem remains, and as long as small arms _primers_ are available to all and sundry, semiautomatic slugthrowers will be with us. The primer is the high-tech chokepoint that requires major infrastructure to manufacture and distribute. You can melt down old batteries for bullets, make your own gunpowder out of cave scrapings and burnt animal bones, recycle cartridge brass indefinitely, file out semiautomatic handguns from billets of metal stock by hand.... but if you do not have consistent primers you can forget about all the rest of it working reliably, or at all.

    Until some querulous monkey comes up with a semiautomatic flintlock, that is.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeJul 27th 2012
     
    We get hung up on the outliers. Breivik and the Aurora guy, for all their efficiency at killing people, are not the issue -there are always nutters and as the technology improves, they get worse. But the real issue is the accidents, suicides, casual use of weapons in committing and defending from minor crime. That's how you get to 25,000 gun deaths per year in a population of 300M. Not by shooting a few dozens in some extraordinary incident.

    While choking off the supply of primers might make a difference, (and if I recall right it is an idea that originated in our discussions here on moletrap) I doubt it actually would. What is needed is a change in attitude. Attitude to smoking have been altered, I see no reason why attitude to guns should not be. I do recall some discussions here on moletrap years ago that centred on the mechanisms of automatic weapons, partly I think to establish who was fascinated enough to know the right words. I thought them digraceful displays at the time and was roundly thumped for saying so. I hope that kind of thing will become as cool as seeing who can fart the loudest.
  5.  
    Or, in this case, play full fanfares in B flat.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeJul 27th 2012 edited
     
    Sorry? Which case? I was comparing macho conversations about firearms to farting contests. Not comparing mass murders to farting contests.


    This just in. Arrrrgh!
  6.  
    Oh, and here I thought you were comparing semiautomatic firearms with sackbuts. Sorry....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfSKZhCsVdQ
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeJul 27th 2012
     
    Posted By: alsetalokinOh, and here I thought you were comparing semiautomatic firearms with sackbuts. Sorry....

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


    You think a sackbut is a farter? Try an Ophicleide
  7.  
    How about this: the USGovernment can make a buy offer. 10 percent over the cost you paid for it, to sell your firearm to the USGovt. Bring in the firearm and the purchase receipt (forgeries accepted) , walk out with your prepaid debit card keyed to your implanted RFID.

    This will stimulate the economy incredibly, take guns, especially gangsta guns, off the street, and give the police plenty of firepower which is what they want.

    Tax the new gun purchases to pay for the buyback program. Tax the ammo just like cigarettes, gasoline and heroin-- where the major portion of the purchase price goes to graft and bribery, er, sorry, taxation and redistribution of wealth.

    I'm sorry, it's hard to be serious about such a serious subject. It's as if you found out unequivocally that you were going to Hell and could do nothing about it. What are you gonna do, laugh... or cry? There are guns in the USA. For whatever reason, some big sacred law thing says we have the uninfringeable right to carry them around (although not to brandish them menacingly). If this isn't a popular law or if it's obsolete for some reason, then fkn change it. Meanwhile.... try to keep your head down when the shooting starts.
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      CommentAuthoralsetalokin
    • CommentTimeJul 27th 2012 edited
     
    Posted By: Angus
    Posted By: alsetalokinOh, and here I thought you were comparing semiautomatic firearms with sackbuts. Sorry....

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


    You think a sackbut is a farter? Try anOphicleide
    [embed width=425 height=344 allowfullscreen=true src=http://www.youtube.com/v/W535OQhEjM8&hl=en&fs=1&ap=%2526fmt%3D18 type=application/x-shockwave-flash bgcolor=#000000 allowscriptaccess=always][/embed]

    Yes!
    Played with gloves on to foil the forensic investigators, the Ophicleide doubles as a convenient launcher for the ubiquitous Russian TBG-7 thermobaric antipersonnel rocket, two of which can be carried in slings beneath the musician's tuxedo. (Optionally, four PG7 HEAT rounds can be carried snugly beneath the cummerbund.) The unique design of the instrument allows the soloist to fire and reload, fire and reload, without missing a single beat of the conductor's baton or endangering the tympanist with backblast.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeJul 27th 2012
     
    What fun there is on YouTube! Here is the grand daddy of the Ophicleide - the Serpent . A find for me - I have never actually heard one played before. It doesn't disappoint. All the keyed brass instruments are fine farters. Probably the reason they all disappeared until modern times and a new generation of people insane enough to learn how to play them again for reviving old music.

    ( You have to sit through four and a half minutes of a tambour solo first.)