You Don’t Need An Assault Weapon To Kill Lots Of People – Any Old Gun Will Do.

Not that facts make any difference in the argument between the two sides about gun violence, but the Santa Fe shooting was somewhat different from other mass shootings in two respects. First, the shooter killed and wounded 20 people not with an assault weapon like an AR-15, but with a pump shotgun and a 38-caliber revolver, types of guns that have been around forever and don’t usually figure in any discussion about banning this type or that type of gun to prevent mass shooting events. Second, not only was there an armed citizen on the premises, but he happened to be a full-time cop who was seriously wounded during the assault.

santa fe             After nearly 30 minutes, during which time the 17-year old shooter exchanged gun fire with two other cops, the terrible slaughter came to an end. It didn’t end because the shooter committed suicide, which often is the way these things go down. It didn’t end because an ‘armed citizen’ or law-enforcement officer wounded or killed the man who killed 10 people and wounded 10 more. It ended because the kid gave himself up.

As I said above, facts often don’t matter in the gun-violence debate.  Gun-nut Nation will continue to rant about how and why guns are essential to protect our God-given ‘rights.’ One pro-gun idiot even showed up at the high school wearing a MAGA hat and a pistol on his hip, claiming that he was just there to “offer support.” He got himself interviewed and then drove away. No doubt this jerk will probably be invited to attend next year’s NRA meeting to receive some kind of ‘armed citizen’ award.

We can safely ignore or dismiss such stupidities because when the gun-control community talks about gun violence, after all, we rely on evidence-based facts. An example of this concern for shaping the gun-violence narrative on hard data, as opposed to fanciful nonsense promoted by Donald Trump and Fox News, is a new initiative on the part of researchers and activists called ‘A Call For Action To Prevent Gun Violence In The United States Of America,’ which has now been signed onto by more than 200 mental health groups and 2,300 individual experts in the weeks since the Parkland massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High. Members of this group have attended conferences, testified at public hearings and published an 8-Point Plan. I can just imagine the thousands of emails which zinged back and forth in the process of devising this plan.

The plan’s eight points address school violence in various ways, first and foremost creating and maintaining positive school environments “that protect all students and adults from bullying, discrimination, harassment and assault.” The plan sets as a second priority “a ban on assault-style weapons, high-capacity ammunition clips, and products that modify semi-automatic firearms to enable them to function like automatic firearms.”

I didn’t notice that the kid who walked into Santa Fe High School yesterday had an assault weapon. I also don’t think he had any high-capacity ammunition mags because the two guns he used to kill and wound 20 people don’t take gun magazines of any kind. The shotgun he carried probably contained eight rounds or less, the revolver could only be shot 6 times before it would have to be reloaded again.

Now that more school students have been shot this year than the number of U.S. soldiers killed in both combat and non-combat roles, I really believe it’s high time for the gun-control movement to stop competing with Gun-nut Nation over concerns for 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ If folks who signed onto that 8-point pledge actually believe that you can call for gun regulations but still support private ownership of guns, I suggest that such experts hold their next conference at Area 51. You never know – maybe the Martians have figured out a way to reduce gun violence on their planet because we sure don’t seem to have a clue.



8 thoughts on “You Don’t Need An Assault Weapon To Kill Lots Of People – Any Old Gun Will Do.

  1. To the GVP community, those high capacity guns and mags are a matter of religion. Like other religions, its hard to shake, even when our latest commando used garden variety guns to do his work.

    I agree with Michael–as long as there are three hundred million guns out there, some will go off inappropriately. Passing AR et al bans only addresses the most politically incorrect (to the left) guns. Some say regulate guns like cars. Go ahead. We regulate the hell out of cars and drivers but even then, with 300 million cars, we have a baseline of 30-40 k deaths on the road per year because no one can guarantee they will be kept out of the hands of knuckleheads with a driver’s license. You can crash proof cars, but you can’t crash proof pedestrians crossing the street.

    I think you can pass all the laws you want and the really Gunmageddon states like NJ and CA will beat down some forms of gun violence not because the laws are that good, but because the net effect of those more oppressive laws is to drive down gun ownership. With fewer guns, there are fewer to go bang at the wrong time and place via diversion or having so-called good guys turn bad.

    Had a bit of a scare in these parts. When we heard the Santa Fe school got shot up, our initial thought was our own Santa Fe. There had been a couple scares in Santa Fe in the last year and with our violence-prone culture, it would not have surprised anyone.

    As far as post mortems, I don’t think it is wise to have a child who gets into weird hateful social media and then keep the metaphorical gun safe unlocked. It seems from the NY Times article that this young man was attracted to violent social media and its clear he had access to firearms. Its also clear that he had no sense of responsibility. What can possibly go wrong?

    It was much harder to have one’s brain washed when I was a kid back in the Pleistocene; one had to go to the library to read so that pretty much meant we had easy access to mainstream media. I had an uncle, a WW II vet, who had a copy of Mein Kampf for genuine curiosity, not because he was nuts. He refused, perhaps wisely, to loan it to me. My fascination with Nazi Germany and Schickelgruber had to be sated with William Shirer’s narrative, which got me kicked out of the school library in 4th grade, oddly enough.

    I grew up in the country in Western New York, about twenty miles east of Buffalo. Most of us had access to guns. None of us went down this road. Guns were for hunting, plinking, Rifle Club, or occasionally dry firing at the TV during episodes of hunting shows. Not for evening scores. Why has the paradigm so shifted, and its not due to increased availability of guns. We had boatloads of them and could buy them in any K Mart, army surplus, for twenty or so bucks, NRA Good, no Brady questions asked.

  2. All statistical and scientific studies conclude that more guns = more guns going off and injuring or killing people. I am a US citizen but now live in Portugal. There has never been a school shooting here despite many problems with violence in public education.The reason is that gun ownership is highly regulated. There are laws that cover every aspect of owning a gun depending on the purpose for owning that gun. Hunting gun licences are very different from concealed carry licences and the degree of lethal destruction by type of gun. I could go on, but the US needs to wake up and smell the gun powder!

    • Peter,
      The entire population of Portugal is only about twice that of the Greater Houston area, of which Santa Fe is a part.
      Rates of gun crime there are down by about 2/3 over the last 30 or so years.
      Super strict new laws must be sold in the face of that.

  3. “As Columbia University psychologist Madelyn S. Gould summarized in Suicide Prevention: Clinical and Scientific Aspects in 2001: “Since 1990, the effect of media coverage on suicide rates has been documented in many other countries besides the U.S.—Western countries, including Austria, Germany, Hungary, Australia, and East Asian countries, such as Japan…. The evidence to date suggests that suicide contagion is a real effect.” We are now beyond the stage of denying that the copycat effect has a persuasive impact on our society.” – source: The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow’s Headlines by Loren Coleman.

    The quote is about suicides and how media coverage causes some of them. The last school shooting was supposed to end in a suicide but the shooter said he was afraid to carry it out. Was he a copycat?

    I finished reading most of Loren Coleman’s book a few hours before the last made-for -television shooting last week. You hear about fish not knowing what water is since they are in it all the time and the story about the experiment with the gorilla where only a few people noticed it since they were trying to count the number of time a ball was passed. It is hard to get at the problem with the shootings since first the people who I think are a major cause of the problem make their livings by doing things that are a major factor in causing the problem and second we are hypnotized by the screens in front of our eyes.

    Below are some more quotes of what Coleman recommends the media needs to do limit damage caused by the copycat effect.

    “ The media must be more aware of the power of their words. Using language like “successful” sniper attacks, suicides, and bridge jumpers, and “failed” murder-suicides, for example, clearly suggest to viewers and readers that someone should keep trying again until they “succeed.” We may wish to “succeed” in relationships, sports, and jobs, but we do not want rampage or serial killers, architects of murder-suicide, and suicide bombers to make further attempts after “failing.” Words are important. “

    “The media must drop their clichéd stories about the “nice boy next door” or the “lone nut.” The copycat violent individual is neither mysterious nor healthy, or usually an overachiever. They are often a fatal combination of despondency, depression, and mental illness. School shooters are suicidal youth that slipped through the cracks, but it is a complex issue, nevertheless. People are not simple. The formulaic stories are too often too simplistic.”

    “The media must cease its graphic and sensationalized wall-to-wall commentary and coverage of violent acts and the details of the actual methods and places where they occur. Photographs of murder victims, tapes of people jumping off bridges, and live shots of things like car chases ending in deadly crashes, for example, merely glamorize these deaths, and create models for others—down to the method, the place, the timing, and the type of individual involved. Even fictional entertainment, such as the screening of The Deer Hunter, provides vivid copycatting stimuli for vulnerable, unstable, angry, and depressed individuals.”

    “The media should show more details about the grief of the survivors and victims (without glorifying the death), highlight the alternatives to the violent acts, and mention the relevant background traits that may have brought this event to this deathly end. They should also avoid setting up the incident as a logical or reasonable way to solve a problem.” (note: I have seen some of this on the PBS News Hour and other places so maybe there is some hope here).

    “The media must avoid ethnic, racial, religious, and cultural stereotypes in portraying the victims or the perpetrators. Why set up situations situations that like-minded individuals (e.g., neo-Nazis) can use as a road map for future rampages against similar victims?”

    “The media should never publish a report on suicide or murder-suicide without adding the protective factors, such as the contact information for hotlines, help lines, soft lines, and other available community resources, including e-mail addresses, websites, and phone numbers. To run a story on suicide or a gangland murder without thinking about the damage the story can do is simply not responsible. It’s like giving a child a loaded gun. The media should try to balance such stories with some concern and consideration for those who may use it to imitate the act described.”

  4. The trenchcoat, explosives, etc. seemed to me a page out of Columbine. I think these are by and large copycat shootings and the coverage of them is a magnet for future shootings. My questions are along the lines of what the hell is going through these kid’s brains to make them into mass shooters, and what, besides your excellent suggestions above, is the “internal” fix.

    Meanwhile, if I went to school in a trenchcoat festooned with swastikas, etc, I would have been sent home promptly along with a call to my parents. Maybe we are ignoring the elephants in the room.

  5. Also there may be a new trend starting with these shootigs or perhaps this is wishful thinking on my part. Recent shooters are still alive. That means neuroscience types may be able to do brain scans and talk to the shooters and see what they can learn. One more type of research for CDC to fund.

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