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Another Gun Expert ‘Explains’ Mass Shootings.

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Here he goes again, with another one of his nickels. But the truth is that if I had a nickel for every person who becomes an expert on gun violence, even though they have not the slightest degree of understanding about guns or contact with people who own guns, I really wouldn’t have to keep working to earn a living.

The latest expert heard from is Mark Follman, who writes for Mother Jones and now has a book about mass shootings, Trigger Points, which is getting the usual raves from his friends in the liberal media, none of whom know any more about guns than he does.

You can get Follman’s analysis of mass shootings in an interview with Amy Goodman which was done right after the nut job shot up an N Train in the New York City subway system last week, which Follman discussed in a Mother Jones column as well.

Follman begins this advertisement for himself by telling Goodman that he needs to demolish several ‘big myths’ about mass shooters, of which the first is the myth that these guys ‘just snap.’ He says, “These are not impulsive crimes. These are crimes that are planned over a period of time and follow a “robust trail of behavioral warning signs.”

The shooter who banged away at the concert crowd in Las Vegas was known at every shooting range around town. The Sandy Hook shooter was shlepped by his mother from one shrink to another for years before his big event. The kid who killed 33 students and staff at Virginia Tech had been released from a mental ward in the weeks leading up to his big moment.

Follman is patting himself on the back for demolishing a myth about mass shooters which doesn’t exist. And it’s not as if Amy Goodman knows enough about mass shootings to maybe, just maybe tell Follman that he’s full of sh*t. 

Oh, I forgot. We don’t interview people to figure out what they know and maybe don’t know. We interview them so that they can tell us how smart they are whether they know what they’re talking about or not.

Of course Follman’s a real expert on mass shootings because he runs something on Mother Jones called the Mass Shooting Database, which tracks mass shootings from 1982 until today. Except there’s only one little problem. The data in this database is wrong. Of the 127 mass shootings which have allegedly occurred since 1982, only 12 of them took place between 1982 and 1992.

That’s an impossible spread. There’s simply no way that 65 percent of the mass shootings which have occurred in this country since 1982 occurred during 15 percent of the time covered by this list, i.e., the administrations of Obama and Trump. Did it ever occur to Follman that the sources he uses for this database, which are all internet-based, for the most part didn’t exist prior to Obama’s first term?

But the real issue I have with Follman is his discovery that the way to prevent mass shootings is through ‘community-based violence prevention’ because mass shooters leave a “robust trail of behavioral warning signs” that can be picked up by community groups who can then alert authorities and prevent the mass shooting before it occurs.

This idea of pro-active responses from the community where the violence occurs has become the non-plus-ultra mantra for gun-control advocates, up to and including the CDC, which last year renewed its funding of gun research by handing out early $8 million in research grants to study “innovative and promising opportunities to enhance safety and prevent firearm-related injuries, deaths, and crime.”

What I am going to say is something I have said previously, but this time I’ll direct the comment towards Mark Follman: Believe it or not Mark, gun violence simply cannot occur unless someone has access to a gun. Or as Grandpa would say, ‘gnug schaen’ (read: enough is enough.)

I don’t see Mark Follman, or any other so-called gun-violence expert mentioning this issue at all. We’ll continue to allow gun makers to add several million guns designed for tactical use to the civilian arsenal every year but somehow this won’t increase gun violence as long as we make sure to spot the people planning to shoot the joint up by checking their Facebook accounts.

What does the word ‘tactical’ mean? It’s a polite way of describing guns that are designed for killing people and are routinely carried by military troops around the world. Gus made by Glock, Sig, companies like that.

Want to take your Glock into the woods to pop one at Bambi? Go right ahead.

Try This Idea for Gun Control.

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              To Gavin Newsom’s credit, at least when he interrupted his vacation to say something about the mass shooting in Sacramento, he didn’t offer ‘thoughts and prayers’ to the families and friends of the people who were gunned down. On the other hand, he made a point of saying that obviously California didn’t have enough laws to keep guns out of the ‘wrong hands.’

              California happens to have more gun-control laws than Carter has little liver pills. So, I have a good idea. Let’s give everybody a gun which they can use to defend themselves and pass a law which requires everyone to go around at all times and in all locations carrying their self-defense gun. That will surely end the problem of gun violence right then and there.

              I stopped carrying a gun because a) it was a pain in the ass to keep the gun concealed, and b) I really didn’t want to shoot anyone with my gun. If I did shoot someone and didn’t run away, there would be all kinds of paperwork and legal bullshit that would keep me busy for years on end. And when you get to my age (78 y/o in August) the last thing you want to deal with is paperwork, particularly paperwork tied to regulations and/or laws.

              But seriously, what’s wrong with requiring everyone to walk around armed? We’ll set the minimum age at 16 and the max at 75, a spread that right now covers about 250 million folks, give or take a million here or there. Let’s deduct several million in jail, another several million in loony bins and another several million in what they politely refer to as ‘rest homes.’

              That brings us down to around 240 million guns that would be needed to arm every law-abiding m-f in the United States.  It might take them a couple of years, but between Smith & Wesson, Glock, Sig, and a couple of other gun makers, together they could produce the guns and make a buck even if the government bought them for $300 apiece.

              That adds up to a grand total of $50 billion and change. Which is no biggie and let’s not forget that it’s a one-shot deal. Hell, we spend more to cover the medical, social, and legal costs of gun violence every year. So, under my plan, by the third year we would be way ahead of the game in financial terms, right?

              Oops! Forgot one thing. After we give everyone a gun, we also have to make sure they get trained. Now the last time I looked online, I saw all kinds of gun-training courses being offered for somewhere between fifty and a hundred bucks. So, let’s require that everyone pay for a training course which they can deduct from their income tax bill as a medical expense.

              Back in 1994, our friend Gary Kleck published an article in which he claimed that people who defended themselves with a gun were responsible for preventing somewhere around 2 million serious crimes every year. But Kleck assumed that only 40% of Americans had legal access to a gun. Since there were 2.5 million crimes committed in 2020, if everyone could defend themselves with a gun, crime would disappear.

              You might want to believe that what you have just read in the last 550 words represents an exercise in hyperbole, sarcasm, or fluff. Not true. Not true at all.

The point of this brief essay is to demonstrate how the two sides in the gun debate make arguments after every mass shooting that are completely removed from any reality at all.

You don’t and can’t end gun violence as long as any law-abiding individual can walk into a gun shop and buy a gun that was designed only for the purpose of killing a human being, whether the human happens to be the person who bought the gun or anyone else.

Sorry folks, it doesn’t work that way.

Is there a single state in the United States that doesn’t impose speed limits on every road where you might drive your car? Cars aren’t designed to kill people, but fatal accidents happen every day. So, if guns are designed to kill people, you’re going to pass a law which prevents such killings from taking place?

And please, please don’t give me that nonsense about how the 2nd Amendment protects gun ‘rights.’ The last time I looked, the Constitution doesn’t say anything about who is or who isn’t allowed to pick up a gun and use it to shoot themselves or shoot someone else.

Do We Understand Mass Shootings?

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              Over the last couple of years, one of the big issues in Gun-control Nation has been what appears to be an increase in ‘mass’ shootings which are defined as at least four victims shot at the same time and the same place with some saying it has to be four dead victims and others saying that it has to be four people shot whether they live or die.

              You can get a good summary of all the different definitions of ‘mass’ shootings floating around in Tom Gabor’s lively book, Carnage – Preventing Mass Shootings in America. You can also see a daily summary of mass shootings in the Gun Violence Archive.

              With all due respect to the honest and intelligent work being done by these two research efforts on mass shootings, I happen to think they are barking up the wrong tree. And in the process, the gun-control community is being led in a direction they shouldn’t need to go.

              Let’s go back to the night of February 11, 2015, in Tulsa, OK, where two jerks burst into a barber shop one night, one of them spraying the place with an AK-47. Their target was a member of a rival gang who was waiting to get his hair cut.

              The shooter with the assault rifle dropped more than twenty caps but didn’t hit the intended target even once. Three men were wounded and a fourth who owned the barber shop took a round in his head and immediately dropped dead.

              The two assholes with their AK-47 were arrested shortly after the assault. The victim, who was considered a righteous and beloved member of the African-American community, was killed simply because his head was in the way.

              Several days after the shooting, I had a conversation with one of the detectives who covered this case, a street cop with more than ten years’ experience chasing down the jerks who commit such stupid, meaningless, and violent crimes.

              I asked him the following question: “How come the guy with the AK-47 sprayed rounds all over the place? Why didn’t he just point the gun at the intended target and pull the trigger once or twice?”

              His immediate response: “They always do it like that. They shoot every round in the gun. They just want to see how many rounds they can get off. They don’t care if they hit someone or not.”

              Next time you watch the local news report about a shooting you’ll notice that the cops always mark every empty shell they find in the street. They do this because it’s a good way to figure out what really happened, since in most street shootings the witnesses didn’t see ‘nuttin,’ even if they were standing next to the guy who got shot.

              Want to define mass shootings in a way that will help us understand why they happen and what we need to do to eliminate them from daily life? Why don’t we start by first analyzing the events themselves?

              What we will discover is exactly what the Tulsa cop told me, namely, that the number of shots fired often has little to do with who gets injured or killed. The guns that are used for most shootings these days resulting in someone other than the shooter getting hurt, happen to be guns which hold fifteen, or twenty, or even thirty rounds.

              When you get a chance, take a look at one of an endless number of websites which host video shooting games. My favorite is a website called Crazy Games, which gives you a choice of more than fifty shooting games. You can sit on your computer and shoot rapid-fire guns all day long.

              Or better yet, you can take some cash, maybe a thousand dollars or so, and buy an AR-15 rifle or Glock pistol by just walking down the street. Usually, the seller will also throw in a box of ammo for the gun. And by the way, a thousand for an AR-15 isn’t all that much when you consider that a pair of Air Jordans will set you back two hundred bucks.

              Isn’t it time we stopped screwing around by continuing to insist that mass shootings occur because guns get into the ‘wrong hands?’ As far as I’m concerned, any gun that can pop off thirty rounds of military-grade ammunition in fifteen seconds or less is a gun that can only be used by someone with the ‘wrong hands.’

What Does The Sandy Hook Lawsuit Mean For The Gun Industry?

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              So, the big news yesterday is that Remington has made an initial offer to the parents and family of some of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims, who were killed in a mass shooting on December 14, 2012. The suit was based on a Connecticut law, negligent entrustment, which basically says that if you sell something you know to be dangerous and the purchase then uses the item in a dangerous way, the seller can be held liable.

              The defendant in this case, Remington Arms, which owns the gun company – Bushmaster – which actually manufactured the gun – tried twice to get the action overruled by appealing to the Federal court using the PLCCA rule, which is the law that grants the gun industry immunity from torts. But PLCCA specifically does not cover legal actions brought under negligent entrustment, so this case eventually headed back to state court.

              Then Remington went bankrupt, and all that stuff had to be worked out. Then we have the Pandemic which has slowed down all civil actions in every state, so finally we get to where we are today – nine years after the 20-year old shot his way into the school and proceeded to kill 6 adults, 20 kids, and then shot himself to death.

              Make no mistake about it – this civil action represents a fundamental test for the entire gun industry, a test the industry has never faced before. And the test facing the industry is important and perhaps precedent-setting because for the very first time, a legal action will turn on how the gun industry describes and markets its products which has never (read: never) come close to being true.

              And by the way, for my friends in Gun-nut Nation who will now sit down and send me an email complaining that I am against gun ‘rights,’ save yourself the trouble because I won’t read what you say, and I won’t respond to the same crap again and again. As I have said hundreds of time, the 2nd Amendment is not a ‘right.’ It’s an amendment, okay?

              Back in the 1980’s, the gun industry discovered that what had been its market – hunting and sport shooting – was dying on the vine. It was also a time when the GOP decided to focus its entire domestic agenda on crime. Willie Horton became a poster-child for promoting the idea that you weren’t safe in your home or in the street if you didn’t have a gun. And since most gun owners happen to be politically conservative and thus vote for the read team, the argument stuck.

              The gun industry manufactured more than 1 million pistols for the very first time in 1988. The industry also began to ramp up the manufacture of assault rifles around the same time. Except the problem with the AR-15 was that it looked like, in fact, was an exact copy of the military gun, and was banned from civilian sales for ten years beginning in 1994.

              When the assault rifle ban expired in all but a few Commie states, the gun industry invented the idea that the AR-15 wasn’t an ‘assault rifle,’ it was a ‘sporting’ gun. The kid who killed 26 adults and children at the Sandy Hook school was inside the building for five minutes or less. In that brief period of time, which included the time he used moving into three different classrooms, he fired more than 90 rounds.

              That’s a sporting gun?  That’s going to be used to bring home some venison for the Thanksgiving feast or shoot some high-flying mallards on their way from Canada to Miami Beach? Give me a friggin’ break.

              The gun industry has been promoting totally cynical and make-believe narratives about its products for years. The good news is that the Sandy Hook lawsuit could force the industry to go back to being what it was and should become again, namely, an industry producing products that can be used in ways that do not (read: not) result in gun violence, either against a single individual or a classroom filled with kids.

What Happened To ‘Thoughts and Prayers?’

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              At least to Joe’s credit, he didn’t say that his ‘thoughts and prayers’ were with the families of the people gunned down yesterday in San Jose. Joe’s got a different slogan in response to gun violence – Enough!  Which leads me to ask a question: Enough of what?

              Way back in 1968 our friend Frank Zimring put together a report on gun violence included in an initiative by President Lyndon Johnson to study the causes of violence in the United States. Too bad ol’ Lyndon didn’t ask anyone to explain the causes of violence that we were committing at the same time in Viet Nam. Oh well, oh well.

              Zimring’s study of gun violence was published in 1969. I may be the only living person other than Frank Zimring who actually owns a copy of that report, and here’s what it says: “Times and dangers have changes from frontier days when a gun was often necessary for survival. The extent to which guns are actually useful for defensive purposes must be reappraised.” [Page 61.]

              Folks – that was written more than fifty years ago. And the appraisal has yet to take place. Or I should say, to the extent that guns are still considered useful for defensive purposes, what we are now told is that we need guns to defend ourselves against the tyranny of the government and the national state.

              Too bad the guy who killed eight people in the transit depot in San Jose had to then shoot himself at the end of his spree. Because if he were still alive, I’d really like to find out if he went on that rampage because somehow the San Jose Transit Authority represented the political tyranny which puts his Constitutional ‘rights’ at risk. Or better yet, maybe the poor bastards he gunned down were all secretly working for the Deep State.

              The loonier and crazier Gun-nut Nation becomes when they have to respond to another instance of mass slaughter perpetrated with a gun, the more I am convinced that the days when any red-blooded American patriot can simply walk into a gun store and walk out a minute later with a ‘sporting’ gun designed to end the lives of scores of men and women may be coming to an end.

              Why do I say that?

              Because on the one hand, we are the only country in the entire world which lets people settle a dispute with lethal force. It’s called ‘stand your ground,’ and no other society sanctions this kind of behavior and also allows its citizens to engage in such behavior by using a gun. The two guns that Sam Cassidy used to shoot and kill eight co-workers yesterday weren’t ‘sporting’ guns. They were semi-automatic pistols, designed to be used the way they were used in yesterday’s assault.

              On the other hand, like it or not, this country is becoming more diverse, more color-blind and more gender-heterogeneous every day. And as that happens, the attitudes which promote the kind of gun violence we witnessed yesterday in San Jose will fade away.

              The promoters of walking around with a gun for self-protection are no longer all that interested in protecting themselves against co-workers or anyone else who pisses them off. Their gun is the only way they can be ‘free’ and protected from the encroachments of the tyrannical state. Now the fact that this statist tyranny only seems to rear its ugly head when the Democrats are in power, duhhh, that’s just a nuance which should never be taken to question the monthly arrival of my social security check.

              The extraordinary racial, cultural and gender diversity of this country is the product of laws and court decisions enacted by that tyrannical, national state. And as the social dimensions of those laws continue to reverberate throughout American society, the anger about such remarkable changes will slowly but surly go away.

              As that anger and fear disappears, the guns will disappear as well.

All my gun books right here: Gun Violence | TeeTee Press.

Do We Reduce Gun Violence By Making Sure The Data Is Correct? I Don’t Think So.

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              So, it turns out that the kid who shot and killed 8 people at the FedEx depot in Indianapolis used two assault rifles that he legally purchased last year after the cops took away his shotgun after his mother complained that he was mentally ill.

              Hey – wait just a darn minute! I thought that Indiana had a ‘red flag’ law, which is a statute that allows the cops to disarm someone after a judge decides that the individual in question might otherwise be a danger to himself or someone else.

              In fact, Indiana does have a ‘red flag’ law, known as the Jake Laird law, which was passed in 2005.  The law allows the cops to disarm someone who they consider to be too dangerous to have access to guns, and then a court hearing must occur within two weeks to determine whether the guns stay in the police station or are returned.

              The guy who loses his guns can petition the Court to get them back after six months. The Court will then hold another hearing to determine whether or not the former gun owner is or is no longer a ‘danger’ to the community or to himself. If the guns don’t go back to the owner after five years, the Court can tell the cops to destroy the guns.

              Incidentally, the law was named after an Indianapolis cop who responded to a call that someone was walking down the street shooting an assault rifle. The shooter had already killed his mother and he then killed Tim Laird when the officer appeared on the scene. The shooter’s guns had been taken away the previous year after he threatened a cop but were returned to him several months before the fatal killings took place. Now let’s get back to last week.

              When the Indianapolis Police Chief, Randal Taylor, was asked about the FedEx shooter losing his shotgun but then going out and buying two assault rifles, he made a comment which I’m sure he would love to forget.  Referring to the fact that the cops didn’t return the kid’s shotgun he said, “I don’t know how we held on to it, but it’s good that we did.”

              The reason that Chief Taylor didn’t know that the kid’s shotgun was still sitting in the evidence locker at his Department is because after the gun was no longer in the possession of the shooter, no red flag hearing was ever held. And because there was never a hearing, the kid was able to go out and buy two more guns. God only knows how Chief Taylor could ever imagine that swapping a shotgun for two assault rifles was a good thing.

              But here’s the point of this sad tale. You can pass all the laws you want, but don’t ask me why, don’t ask me how, laws have a funny way of sometimes not being carried out. Recall back in 2015 that another young guy walked into a church in Charleston and killed 9 people who were attending a Bible class. In this case, the cops forgot to notify the FBI that the shooter should have been disqualified from buying the gun he used to commit his rampage because he took a plea on a drug charge.

              This communication failure between the local police and the FBI-NICS, or maybe the lack of information-sharing was between the court and the local cops, has come to be known as the ‘Charleston loophole.’ Except there was no loophole at all. Someone simply forgot to do what the law said they were supposed to do.

              Cops are paid for making arrests and closing as many cases as they can. They aren’t paid to sit around and update this or that database. As long as we continue to believe that we can reduce gun violence by making sure that all the information we have on gun owners is complete, like we say in IT, ‘garbage in, garbage out.’

Please don’t forget: https://www.change.org/bankillerhandgunsnow.

Want To End Gun Violence? Try Drinking A Little Less.

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              I don’t know what’s worse about the media’s reaction to shooting rampages, like the rampage that took place last week at FedEx, or the shootings that took place the previous week, or the week before that, or the week before that. At a certain point I tend to lose track of these events, but the media’s reaction is always the same.

              First, they play some dumb-ass, pro-gun politician like Cruz or McConnell making the usual ‘thoughts and prayers,’ comment or reminding us that nutty people shouldn’t be allowed to own guns. This is balanced it out with a comment from some anti-gun person about the ‘fact’ that America has too many guns.

              I’m not surprised when some right-wing jackass pretends to be all caught up in a religious response to gun violence – that’s what the script has always been. But when someone who claims to be a ‘scholar’ gives us an explanation that is no more valid as to why some kid pulls up in a FedEx parking lot, climbs out of his car with not one but two legally purchased assault rifles and starts banging away, there’s really something wrong.

              I’m referring to an interview on CNN with Adam Lankford, who made a big splash a few years ago when The New York Times picked up on his research which found a connection between the number of mass shootings and the number of guns we have floating around. Lankford never produced any data to validate his argument about the number of mass shootings which take place in the United States or anywhere else, but why would anyone need to rely on evidence-based research in order to become a gun-violence expert on media today?

              Data or no data, facts or fiction, Lankford’s at it again. His interview on CNN starts off with the biggest piece of gun-control nonsense of all, namely, that we have so many more mass shootings than any other country because we own so many more guns. He claims that we have 5% of the world’s population and 40% of the civilian-owned guns, and firearm access “seems to be a critical factor” in explaining why we have many more mass shootings than any other place.

              My retail gun shop normally carried an inventory of about 200 guns, of which maybe half were new, and half were used. I sold about 40 guns a month, which was a pretty good turn. With each gun I also tried to sell a box of ammunition or some other accessory item because the mark-up on guns was never more than 20%, the markup on ammo and accessories was 40% or more. 

              Of those 200 new and used guns, the best-sellers were the small, semi-automatic pistols made by Glock, Sig, Beretta, S&W, Springfield Armory, and Kahr. The assault rifles made by Bushmaster, S&W and Panther Arms also sold pretty well. But my shop was located in an area where folks hunted deer in the Fall, turkeys in the early Spring, and birds year-round. So, most of what I sold, and what just about every gun shop sells, were hunting guns – shotguns, bolt-action rifles, long-barreled revolvers – which never (read: hardly ever) figure in gun violence at all.

              We don’t suffer more than 125,000 deaths and injuries from guns every year because we have ‘too many’ guns. Gun violence is a public health issue because we are the only country in the entire world which gives its residents free access to the types of guns that are designed only for the purpose of being used to end the life of the gun owner or of someone else.

              How many assault rifles are floating around out there?  Maybe 20 million. How many small, semi-automatic handguns have been sold over the last 30 years? Somewhere around 40 million – you can count up an exact number right here.

              Sixty million guns isn’t three hundred million. If we bought back all those guns at $700 a clip, the whole big deal would amount to less than one-fifth of what we spend on booze each year.

              Want to cut down your drinking by 20 percent for one year and end gun violence once and for all?

Want To End Gun Violence? There’s One Thing We Still Don’t Know.

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              So now a terrible shooting rampage in the Indianapolis FedEx facility may actually be the camel’s straw that gets one of Joe’s gun-control bills through the Senate and onto his desk. Which is all fine and well, but I hate to be a spoilsport and remind my friends in Gun-control Nation that none of those measures passed earlier this year by the House will really do very much to reduce gun violence in the United States.

              Yesterday the State Senate in Alabama passed a measure called the Alabama Second Amendment Preservation Act. The law makes it a crime for any gun law from the Biden Administration to be enforced anywhere in the state. This effort is nothing more than an attempt by the state GOP to buy loyalty from local voters in the wake of Orange Head’s demise. But it also is a reminder of what gun-control laws represent.

              What such laws mean to supporters of Brady, Everytown and the other gun-control groups are nothing more than ‘reasonable’ measures aimed (pardon the pun) at gun owners to behave in a ‘responsible’ way. What these laws mean to most gun owners is just another bothersome thing they have to put up with in order to play around with their guns.

              Know all those surveys which purportedly show that most gun owners support comprehensive background checks? Those surveys are nonsense because they never ask gun owners to state what they believe would be effective measures to reduce gun violence. If they did, the same ‘responsible’ gun owners who have no problem with only transferring a gun following a background check would overwhelmingly support a national, concealed-carry law as a better way to reduce gun violence and crime.

              In 1959, the Gallup Organization did a national poll which asked respondents whether they would support a ban on the ownership of handguns. Not stricter licensing, mind you, but an absolute ban. The result was that 60% claimed they would support such a ban.

              If the finding of this survey had been transformed into law, we wouldn’t have gun violence at all. The reason our gun-violence rate is 7 to 20 times higher than any other OECD country is because we are the only country which gives residents access to what I call ‘killer guns.’ You can see how I define a ‘killer gun’ right here.

              In 1995, our friend Gary Kleck published research which stated that individuals who used or brandished guns were responsible for preventing millions of crimes every year. His thesis that more guns meant less crime was then taken up in the research of our friend John Lott. 

              These research efforts have been critiqued and discounted by the most respected gun-control researchers like our friends David Hemenway and Phil Cook. But their arguments have never gained any traction at all among the majority of Americans who believe that a gun is more of a benefit than a risk. By 1993, before either Kleck or Lott had published anything at all, the support for a national ban on handguns had fallen to 39%.

              The last time Gallup asked the handgun ban question in 2020, the percentage of handgun banners has now fallen to 25%.  And even with the terrible rampage shootings committed with assault rifles since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, only 47% of Gallup respondents want to see assault rifles outlawed.

              Want to blame the continued existence of a strong gun culture on the NRA? Go right ahead. Want to blame it on research published by Gary Kleck and John Lott. Ditto. You happen to be wrong on both counts.

              At best, the NRA membership maybe counts 6% or 7% of the people whose households contain a gun. And the last thing that any gun nut is going to do when he flips on his computer and goes to buy some crap on Amazon is to order John Lott’s book.

              Has any gun-control scholar ever attempted to figure out how and why so many Americans believe they need to protect themselves with a gun? Nope. Not one.

              Please add your name:  https://www.change.org/bankillerhandgunsnow and https://www.change.org/Ban_Assault_Rifles_Now.

Why Are Guns Lethal: 9781536814002: Reference Books @ Amazon.com

Mass Shootings – A New Study.

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              Back in 2015 a car pulled up in front of a barbershop in Tulsa, a guy got out of the car with an AK-47, walked into the shop and started blasting all over the place.  He was trying to kill a customer who was sitting waiting his turn, but instead a bullet went through the head of the barber and he was dead. Now hold that thought.

              Our friend Tom Gabor has just published a book, Carnage, Preventing Mass Shootings in America, which analyzes 1,029 mass shootings that took place in 2019 and 2020. The data for this study comes from the Gun Violence Archive, which is one of eight groups or organizations which track mass shootings in the United States. Gabor says that he used the GVA because they have a ‘professional staff’ and derive their information from more than 2,500 law enforcement and media venues every day.

              Unfortunately, most of the internet media operations which report gun violence events (or any other event, for that matter) cut and paste their texts from another source which has cut and pasted the same text from yet a third, or a fourth, or a fifth source. Frankly, Gabor could have gotten more or less the same data by just entering a few key words like ‘shooting’ and ‘guns’ into Google Alerts and receiving a daily Gmail feed.  How do you think I come up with a new story almost every day?

              Gabor identifies seven organizations plus one author, our friend Louis Klarevas, who try to keep track of mass shootings in an ongoing way. These folks all define a mass shooting as an event in which a minimum of two to four people are injured and/or killed. So, the question immediately occurs: how come the magic number for counting something as a mass shooting is set at two, three or four?  Why not set it at five? How about six? Nobody seems to know.

              It turns out, moreover, that when all is said and done, the ways which we usually define shooting events by the reason they occur, where they occur, the types of people involved, and the types of guns which are used in the assaults, is really little different for mass shootings as opposed to the humdrum, daily, one-on-one shootings that take place a couple of hundred times every day. And since, as Gabor notes, mass shootings result in roughly 2% of all the yearly gun-violence casualties, what’s the big deal?

              Let’s go back to what happened at the Gifted Hands Barber Shop in Tulsa on February 5th, 2015. The guy with the AK-47 was trying to kill the guy sitting in a chair waiting to get his hair cut.  He sprayed bullets all over the place and one of the rounds from the AK went through the barber’s head.

              I talked to one of the cops who investigated this shooting, an officer who had been doing homicide work in Tulsa for more than a dozen years.

I asked him, “Why did the guy with the AK-47 shoot up the whole place? Didn’t he just want to put one into the guy who was waiting his turn?”

Please read the officer’s response slowly and carefully: “That’s what they always do. They always want to shoot the gun as much as they can. They want to spray bullets all over the place.”

I define a mass shooting not by how many people get hit, but how many bullets come out of the barrel of the gun. If what the Tulsa cop told me is not unusual for how people use guns to shoot other people, then we have an explanation for the increase in mass shootings which says something much more serious and profound than all the usual bromides – poverty, drugs, inner-city hopelessness -put out there about gun violence today.  

Are we developing not just a culture of violence but a celebration of violence as well?

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Why Do We Have So Many Mass Shootings?

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              So, here we are, two days after this asshole shot and killed 10 people in Boulder, CO and a team of cops, prosecutors and FBI agents still don’t know why the kid did what he did. But The New York Times has already figured it out.

              You can read the paper’s analysis in a piece written by Max Fisher, who says that the shooting occurred because Americans own so many guns.  That’s it. As Grandpa would say, “prust und prushit.” Which means nothing more needs to be said. Thanks Grandpa.

              This so-called research which explains the fatal and non-fatal injuries which 125,000+ Americans suffer each year from gun shots has been going on since the 1990’s and is perhaps most frequently cited in the work of public health specialists like our friend David Hemenway, who regularly publishes articles which correlate the high rate of fatal violence in the United States with all the enormous pile of guns we have lying around.

              No other advanced country has so many killings, no other country has so many guns. The United States contains 4% of the entire world’s population but owns 42% of the world’s non-military guns. That explains that.

              Our friend Max Fisher seems to think, incidentally, that words like ‘homicide’ and ‘mass shootings’ mean the same thing. He tosses the words back and forth as if one can simply be substituted for the other. If we have a much higher rate of homicide because we own so many guns, when it comes to explaining mass shootings, the same argument can be made.

              Incidentally, the word ‘research’ is also bandied about in Fisher’s commentary to describe the works which he referenced in order to end up saying what he said. I must be a really old guy because when I went to graduate school to do research on the origins of capitalism, I had to go out, find some previously undiscovered data, analyze the data, and use the results to make an argument based on what I believed was a new set of verifiable events.

              The ‘research’ that Fisher has read to come up with his explanation for mass shootings isn’t based on analyzing previously unknown or unstudied data at all. The scholars who tell us that more guns equal more violence simply take some data which is in the public domain, run it through a regression analysis model and – voila! The result shows them what they want to believe. Want to believe something different?  Change the analytical model. 

              Regression analysis is a very handy tool for comparing how two separate trends change over time. Everyone can understand a cute, little chart with two wavy lines. But if you try to use this methodology to explain how one line’s movement affects the movement of the other line, you’re skating on very thin ice.  But so what? At least The New York Times gets something into print, right?

              The issue isn’t whether or not Americans own too many guns. The issue is what types of guns are used to commit mass murders and how many of those guns are floating around. So, we have 270 million guns in the civilian arsenal. So what?  Most of those guns are the types of guns that are never used to kill anyone. Many of the people who own guns don’t even know where the gun is located in their home.

              This kid was arrested in Boulder with an assault pistol, i.e., a short-barreled gun with a collapsible stock and a hand grip for extra control. He obviously knew enough about guns to put together a custom-made model which he could take undetected into a public space and then start blasting away. This type of behavior and planning is quite unlike what happens in virtually 99% of all shootings which occur because two dopes get into an argument, neither backs down and out comes a gun.

              If we really want to do something about mass shootings, then at the very least we need to understand exactly what we’re talking about. What we learn from Max Fisher doesn’t really explain anything at all.

Please sign our petition to ban assault rifles: http://chng.it/vKPcgVB7

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