Did Sandy Hook Really Happen?

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              I was standing in my gun shop on Friday afternoon, December 14, 2012, when I got a telephone call from another gun dealer who had a shop located just across the state line in Massachusetts. This dealer asked me if I had heard about the shooting earlier that day in Newtown, and I laughed and said, “You mean someone didn’t get the booth they were promised at SHOT and settled his score with the NSSF?”

              The National Shooting Sports Foundation, also known as the NSSF, is the gun industry’s lobbying organization and also runs the gun industry’s annual trade show known as the SHOT show.

              I quickly learned that what had happened that morning was some young guy went into the elementary school at Sandy Hook, which is located right next to Newtown, killed 20 school kids and 6 adults before shooting himself in the head.

              After I put down the phone I began to feel physically sick, so I quickly locked up the shop, drove home and spent the next couple of hours lying in bed.

              Several hours after I got home, the TV I was watching broadcast the name of the shooter and said that he had killed all these kids and teachers with an AR-15. At which point I went back down to my shop and spent several frantic hours looking through the invoices for the previous several years, hoping to God that I wasn’t the dealer who had sold the kid his gun.

              It turned out that the shooter used a gun which was actually purchased by his mother who was also shot to death by her son before he drove to the Sandy Hook school and lit the place up. I’ll stop the narrative about what happened on December 14, 2012, because everyone knows about the terrible events which occurred that day.

              Everyone, that is, except Alex Jones, who spent the next several years fabricating and promoting a complete and total lie based on the idea that nobody was shot at Sandy Hook. According to Jones, who peddled this trash nightly on his Infowars show, the whole thing at Sandy Hook was staged by the government to promote a national elimination of civilian-owned guns and thus finally do away with 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

              Not only did Jones concoct a complete and total lie about the Sandy Hook massacre, but he insisted that the parents of the alleged victims, none of whom had actually been shot, were engaged in this conspiracy and actually made money by peddling a false narrative about their children being killed and used the fake story to raise funds which they kept for themselves.

              What Jones didn’t count on, however, was the energy and determination of a local attorney, Josh Koskoff, along with the grit of the Sandy Hook parents, who first filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the AR-15, which eventually resulted in a $73 million settlement for the plaintiffs against Remington Arms in 2022.

              It would be pretty hard to imagine that a company would pay out $73 million to compensate people for damages which never took place. So, it hardly comes as a big surprise that Jones is now being told to fork over $85 million by a Texas court where the defamation suit against him was filed, an amount which is actually far below the original $1.5 billion awarded but nobody expected Jones to come up with that kind of dough.

              Incidentally, it should be noted that Alex Jones was a featured speaker at the January 6th rally in D.C. which was then followed by the MAGA riot at the Capitol. Since Donald Trump’s claims of a ‘stolen election’ had about as much validity as the idea that the Sandy Hook massacre didn’t take place, it figures that Jones would show up to help promote another conspiracy theory that day.

              Aside from enjoying the spectacle of seeing Alex Jones humiliated for his nefarious and cruel attempt to use the grief of the Sandy Hook parents to bolster his bank account, this case is a reminder that mass shootings are real events which occur because individuals get their hands on products designed to end multiple human lives.

Anyone who pretends that an AR-15 is no different from any other ‘sporting’ gun should consider himself aligned with the theory that nothing of consequence happened at Sandy Hook.


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Does Anyone Care About Mass Shootings?


              Back in the olden days, by which I mean maybe just a couple of years ago, when someone pulled out a gun and shot a bunch of people standing around in the same place at the same time, it was a big, friggin’ deal. 

              Now it doesn’t even make the evening news.

              Yesterday there were at least 3 shootings which resulted so far in 6 deaths and 10 other people injured, and I had to download a spreadsheet from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) to learn anything about these events at all.

              Incidentally, it’s a real comment on this situation that in order to even learn anything about the 328 mass shootings that have so far killed 385 and injured another 1,351 victims this year alone, I have to download the data from a private, non-profit outfit like the GVA. The government tracks things like the cost of this and the cost of that, but tracking the costs of gun violence? Yea, right.

              And by the way, note that I talk about the fatality number as if it’s not complete and might change. That’s because the fact that someone is brought to an ER with a bullet in their head and is still breathing, doesn’t mean they’ll leave the ER and still be alive.

              For that matter, even if someone is discharged from a trauma center after recovering from a gun wound, the indications are that this individual will not live out a normal lifespan even if he or she completely recovers from being assaulted with a gun.

              Way back in 2007, our good friend Kathy Christoffel published an article on gun violence (which can be downloaded here) in which she discussed how shootings, which were once considered to be an epidemic, had now become endemic in everyday life. But Dr. Christoffel wasn’t talking about mass shootings, she was talking about the random, everyday one-on-one shootings that occur all the time.

              Guess what? Today it’s the mass shootings, the shootings where four or more people are killed and injured at the same time, which have become endemic within our way of life.

              And what, to me, is most interesting about thus whole situation is the relative lack of concern about this issue coming from the gun-control side.

              I donate regularly to Everytown and Brady, and I also throw in some money to Giffords from time to time. I’m also a Lifetime Benefactor Member of the NRA because this way they can’t throw me out of America’s ‘first civil rights organization (as they refer to themselves) no matter what I say about guns.

              The NRA is all hot and bothered about Biden’s call for a new assault rifle ban – I get the emails, the texts, the letters from Wayne-o all the time.

              What do I get from groups like Brady and Everytown who you would think would be all up in arms (pardon the pun) about the current state of gun affairs? What Grandpa would call ‘gurnisht helfen’ (read: nothing at all.)

              The truth is that my friends who manage groups like Brady and Everytown find it a lot easier to get their donors all riled up about gun violence when the Oval Office is controlled by the GOP. Want to come up with a message which blames Donald Trump for doing nothing about gun violence?  Piece of cake.

              But when the guy who is your guy in the White House comes out and blames Gun-nut Nation for blocking a new assault rifles ban, what more is there to say?  It’s been said for your side, okay?

              Except it hasn’t been said because we could scoop up every single assault rifle personally owned in the United States and the number of shootings where four or more people are killed or injured wouldn’t change at all.

              We have mass shootings in this country for one simple reason – I’ll say it again in the same way as I have said it many times before.  Ready?

              The United States is the only country in the entire world which allows just about anyone to own and carry around guns that are designed solely for the purpose of being used to end human life.

              You don’t pop one into Bambi’s rear end with a Glock. You don’t knock birdie out of a tree with a Sig.

              Until my friends in Gun-control Nation stop worrying about the 2nd Amendment and drop their bullsh*t about how they all respect gun ‘rights’ as long as guns are used in safe and responsible ways, we will continue to experience the kinds of mass shootings which last weekend alone accounted for 46 deaths and serious injuries, and probably more.

              Too bad that gun violence, even mass gun violence, tends to be racially homogeneous – both the shooters and the victims tend to come from the same racial group. If gun violence was more frequently committed say, by whites against blacks, or blacks against whites, every night you would see a story about the latest shooting on the evening news.

              And the segment wouldn’t be stuck behind Lester Holt asking some fat, old white lady about why she’s still supporting Donald Trump.

Can We Reduce Gun Violence by Reducing Violence?


              So, a week has gone by, and nobody has walked into a school or a supermarket and blown the place to bits. But I really don’t remember when we had such a spate of mass shootings, and I’m not talking about the pissed off ex-husband who shows up uninvited at a party thrown by his ex-wife and bang-bang-bang, two or three people are dead.

              I’m talking about the really big deals where the guy walks into some crowded space, takes out his trusty ‘sporting’ assault rifle and bangs away. The latest seems to have been down in Allen, TX where some nut job killed and wounded 15 people before the cops shot him dead. Now that’s a serious mass shooting, okay?

              And of course, you know that sooner or later we get a book which will explain what these shootings are all about, along with the requisite list of strategies we should adopt to keep such fearsome events from happening again.

              And here it is! The Violence Project – How To Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic by two criminal justice academics who run a program in St. Paul, MN which claims to be a non-partisan research center ‘dedicated to reducing violence through research.’

              Before I get into some details about the book, I would appreciate it if someone would take the trouble to write and explain to me why all the various organizations and programs devoted to reducing gun violence always make a point of saying they are non-partisan in their approach to their work?

              Is there a partisan way to look at violence? Am I missing something here? Okay, back to the book.

              As far as I know, this book represents the first attempt to understand mass shootings by interviews with mass shooters themselves. The authors wrote to all the mass shooters living in prisons and five shooters responded positively and agreed to talk. They also then interviewed dozens of family members and friends of these five murderers, just to round things out. The purpose of all these discussions “was not the shooting itself but the perpetrator’s life story leading up to the shooting.” [Page 12]

              It turns out, surprise – surprise, that six out of ten mass shooters had some kind of mental health issue in the years leading up to the shooting event. Most also showed various symptoms of mental crisis (agitation, abusive behavior, depression, mood swings) in the days, weeks, months and even years prior to engaging in a shooting spree.

              Obviously, the one factor which somehow connected these behavioral issues with a murderous event was access to a gun. But the authors of this book have next to nothing to say about the fact that these mass killings wouldn’t have happened without access to a gun, and their only prescription for responding to this issue is to support the usual laundry list of gun-control measures (background checks, red-flag laws, etc.,) none of which have ever been shown to reduce gun violence or mass shootings at all.

There’s also the requisite plea to all gun owners to safely store their guns which, by the way, has never been shown to make any difference to the number or rate of gun violence events.

              The authors cite a 2018 survey which found that a “clear majority of Americans favor regulating the lethality of firearms available to the public.” [Page 167] Then they fall back on the idea of a ban only on assault rifles, which are used in an incidental proportion of gun deaths every year.

              God forbid these well-meaning authors/advocates would discuss or even mention the one strategy which would definitively erase gun violence as a behavior resulting in more than 100,000+ people getting killed or seriously injured by someone else every year. To quote Grandpa, would it be such a ‘gefailach’ (read: big deal) to call for the ban of those bottom-loading, semi-automatic pistols whose sale is the real reason that gun violence occurs at all?

              The reason that well-meaning and dedicated activists and scholars like Jillian Peterson and James Densley never go beyond what has become the standard prescriptions for reducing gun violence is very simple – they don’t know anything about guns. Which is true of the entire gun-control community as well.

              So, when these folks talk about ‘non-partisan’ or ‘consensus’ approaches to the problem, they are employing code words which mean they will try to deal with this problem in a way that will at least make it possible to have a discussion with pro-gun groups or advocates which doesn’t end up with a bunch of angry words being thrown back and forth.

              The evidence about gun risk is very clear: access to guns represents medical risk. When C. Everett Koop decided to declare smoking a medical risk, he didn’t try to find a ‘non-partisan’ way to create a narrative which would appeal to both the smoking and non-smoking sides.

              Mass shootings, defined in this book as an event where 4 people are together shot dead in a public space, has been going on for a lot longer than any other health epidemic has ever continued within the United States. To paraphrase Katherine Christoffel, gun violence isn’t an epidemic, it’s endemic.

              You don’t solve an endemic health problem until and unless you focus your energies first on figuring out why the problem exists.

              To paraphrase the 1992 Clinton campaign, it’s the gun, stupid.

Think Mass Shooters Are Crazy?


              What I am going to say about that bank shooting in Louisville may sound crazy to a lot of the people who read my blog, but what I don’t understand about how people are reacting to the killing of five employees of bank in Louisville, along with the wounding of eight other individuals, including one of the cops who rushed to the scene and exchanged fire with the shooter is this: How come everyone is so surprised?

              Actually, the shooting killed six bank employees, because even though he was apparently going to lose his job at the bank, the shooter, Connor Sturgeon, was also a member of the bank’s staff when he unlimbered an AR-15 and blew the place apart.

              The reason I can’t come to grips with all the anguish and despair being lavished on this latest example of a uniquely American event that we refer to as a ‘mass shooting,’ is because the shooter used his gun exactly the way his gun was supposed to be used. And not only did he use the gun properly, taking full advantage of how the AR-15 is designed, but he bought the rifle legally just a few days before he loaded it up and took it into the Old National Bank.

              Why else would Connor Sturgeon walk into a gun shop and then walk out with a gun for which he may have plunked down a thousand bucks? And let’s not assume that he only bought the gun. What about some extra magazines, maybe a nice carrying case, some cleaning equipment and maybe a scope?

              The bill for those other items could easily have been another couple of hundred bucks, but the kid behind the counter in the gun shop would certainly have told Connor that he needed to be totally and completely prepared.

              Prepared to do what? To kill someone with an AR-15, because in case you didn’t know it, that’s what the AR-15 is designed to do.

              I love how the gun industry has decided that a weapon which can shoot more than 60 rounds of military-grade ammunition in one minute is a ‘sporting’ gun. And when I use the phrase ‘military-grade ammunition,’ I am talking about ammunition which was designed to create the maximum damage when it hits the human frame.

              The point is that when the World Health Organization talks about a medical threat known as violence, they don’t distinguish between ‘good’ violence and ‘bad.’ It doesn’t matter if you shoot someone else because they were attacking you or you were attacking them. Point an AR-15 at someone, pull the trigger and release a 55-grain piece of lead which exits the barrel at 3,200 feet per second, and you have committed a violent act.

              And who’s to say that someone who crashes into a bank or a classroom or a movie theater and tries to kill everyone in the place is mentally ill?  Since when was Connor Sturgeon diagnosed by a competent physician before or after he shot up the Old National Bank?

              Of course, he was crazy. We all know that. He was so crazy that he knew how to walk into a gun shop, buy the right kind of weapon for what he wanted to do, engage the store clerk in some small talk, answer all the questions on the background-check form, take the gun home and begin to plan his big day.

              Want to see how crazy people behave? Spend an hour or so on the grounds of a facility where people who can’t tell what time it is are living there because nobody in their homes can clean, dress, and feed them every day. Or check out the old guy who trudges up and down every aisle in Stop and Shop pulling every, single item off the shelves to check the price.

              These people are ‘mentally ill,’ and their illness prevents from hurting anyone else. But if I get pissed off enough later today to settle a score with the scumbag who lives down the street and insulted me in some way last year, I’m not behaving like a crazy person if I load up my AR-15, go down and stand in front of his house and blast away. I’m behaving exactly the way that Cain behaved when he killed Abel in Genesis, Chapter 4.

              There’s a reason why you only have to read through three chapters of the Bible to get to where we start killing each other after God put us on the Earth.

Thoughts About the Nashville Shooting.


Re. the Nashville shooting. Think about it like this, okay?

1. The location was an elementary school and youngsters were killed.

2. The school was in the South and was attached to a Presbyterian church.

3. The shooter was a trannie.

4. The shooter used an AR-15.

              This morning, the AM shock jock knew ‘for a fact’ that the shooter was no doubt mentally disturbed because she wasn’t a ‘normal’ person. This schmuck is such a POS (or what we used to call a PAS in the nabes) that he was fired years ago from some news gig for sexual harassment which was long before the ‘me too’ movement appeared.

So, this guy is a real asshole, but nobody’s listening to him anyway now that the Trump campaign is beginning to bite the dust. Maybe Trump got 5,000 people at Waco, but most of them had left by the time he finished whining about whatever he’s whining about these days.

Anyway, back to Nashville where if you check off the 4 points listed above, you come up with an event which perfectly encapsulates what America is all about these days. Or at least what the 2024 Presidential campaign seems to be all about.

Trump made a big deal about how he was always ready to shoot down someone I the middle of 5th Avenue because this got him the gun vote and the white, Protestant vote, which is one and the same thing. Now with Trump’s numbers beginning to fade, those two voting blocs may be up for grabs on the GOP side.

On the other side, mass shootings, in particular shootings in schools, have an energizing impact on all kinds of liberal advocacy activities – I have already received at least a half-dozen emails and texts from the usual suspects reminding me that my donation will help develop the kinds of programs and interventions that will keep our school kids safe.

Of course, the transgender issue has a life of its own, and in certain respects the sexual orientation of Audrey Hale actually helps this community stake a claim for normalcy, as opposed to the idiotic ranting if the AM which-jock this morning about how all transgender individuals are psychologically messed up.

What’s so unusual or un-American about banging away with an AR or a semi-automatic pistol in a public space? It happens all the time. According to the Mass Shooting Tracker, there have been 5 mass shootings in the last two days, resulting in 29 dead and injured in 5 different states. So far this year there have been at least 150 mass shootings, which works out to almost 2 mass shootings every day.

But let’s not overlook the fact that as bad as those mass shooting numbers look, they’re a drop in the bucket when compared to the ‘normal’ gun violence which happens ever day. The United States racks up around 90 fatalities and serious injuries from daily shootings, almost all of which are nothing more than what the cops deal with on a regular basis in cities like Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans. New York City ‘only’ had 1,294 shootings in 2022, which is being celebrated as an impressive decline (17%) from the year before.

The media, the politicians and the so-called experts keep referring to gun violence as an ‘epidemic.’ I don’t know of a single, other epidemic which has lasted for more than twenty years.

It’s not just guns that are as American as apple pie, it’s also the violence caused by the use of guns.

Gee – that’s a tough one to figure out, right?

If Mass Shootings Are a Uniquely American Event, Let’s Not Forget the Gun.


              I have written almost 2,000 columns for my own blog, as well as more than 500 columns for the aggregate blog Medium, and between 2013 and 2018 I wrote somewhere around 250 op-ed columns for the Huffington Post. But in not a single one of those comments did I ever wonder whether what I was discussing was actually true.

              Today’s column, on the other hand, is based on news accounts which are so crazy, so bizarre and so out of this world that I just can’t believe the story behind these sources is actually true. 

              I’m referring to the news that a GOP House member, Barry Moore from Alabama, has filed a bill to declare the AR-15 assault rifle the national gun of the United States.  Not national flower, not national bird, not national dessert – the national gun.

              And better yet, although the bill hasn’t yet been formally submitted so we don’t know the actual text, the law has picked up three co-sponsors – Clyde Andrew from Georgia, Lauren Boebert from Colorado and – ready? – George ‘I got away with lots of lies the last time I ran’ Santos from New York.

              Boebert we all know from the Christmas greeting she sent out showing her kids happily playing with the assault rifles which they found under their X-mas tree. When Clyde Andrew ran for Congress in Georgia, he campaigned for the complete elimination of background checks, which would save him some time and money running his gun shop. As for Santos, there’s nothing to say.

              If those idiots were serious about wanting to memorialize a gun which really did make a positive difference both for the United States and worldwide, they should consider celebrating the invention of the M-1 Garand rifle, which was designed and manufactured at the Springfield Armory and distributed to our troops during World War II. My office is located one block from the Armory and I wish they would erect a sign telling everyone who comes to the site (which is now a vocational-technical college) that George Patton called the M-1 the ‘greatest battle implement ever devised.’

              But those four GOP schmucks promoting the AR aren’t engaging in such nonsense for anything having to do with history, or gun culture or anything else which could be even remotely connected to rational thought or beliefs. They got themselves a quick headline on some of the digital news outlets followed by the MAGA crowd, along with various liberal news sources which immediately get outraged by anything the alt-right says.

              If the GOP wants to commemorate any unique American issue which is connected to the AR-15 assault rifle, maybe they should consider coming up with a new postage stamp that would celebrate all the mass shootings which occur routinely throughout the United States. Maybe USPS should issue a series of mass shooting stamps, with each stamp showing the location of a slaughter such as the supermarket in Buffalo or the elementary school at Sandy Hook.

              Both of these massacres resulted in massive numbers of injuries and trauma because the shooters used an AR-15. But of course everyone knows ‘for  fact’ that the AR-15 is a defensive weapon which we need to keep handy just in case one of those bad guys tries to break down the front door, right?

              When I was a kid, which was sometime during the last Stone Age, it wasn’t unusual to find a Daisy Red Ryder bb-gun under the Christmas tree. When you were old enough to use a real gun, the bb-gun was replaced by a 22-caliber, bolt-action rifle, usually a lookalike for the rifle which Dad trained on before his unit got shipped overseas.

              In many respects, the AR-15 is now America’s third generation of ‘the kid’s gun.’ It’s cheap, it can be customized with all kinds of plastic doodads, and with a hi-cap mag, it’s a lot of fun to shoot.

              There’s only one little problem, however. The gun is also a formidable man-killing machine which can easily deliver 20 or 30 lethal rounds in a minute or less.

              But maybe mass shootings should also be celebrated, not condemned. After all, the whole point of the 2nd Amendment is to give every American the opportunity to protect their community with a gun. And who’s to say that those six-year-olds shot at Sandy Hook wouldn’t have all grown up to be violent criminals themselves, right?

New Book on Mass Shootings.

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Order on Amazon. E-book up shortly.

How Do We Define Mass Shootings?

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            Someday shortly, I am going to start advertising a little book (90 pps.) that I have written about mass shootings. I wrote this book, Understanding Mass Shootings, because once again we are having a debate about mass shootings and typically, neither side in this debate really know what they are talking about.

            Now I don’t really mind if my friends in Gun-nut Nation shoot their mouths off and say things that really aren’t true, because the folks who belong to Gun-nut Nation just love their guns so they don’t really care what they say as long as they can’t be accused of not loving their guns. In fact, I have another book coming out (next month I think) titled, Why (Some) Americans Love Their Guns, in which I explain how and why gun owners think about their guns.

            This second book also attempts to explain how and why members of Gun-control Nation think about guns. But I do mind when my friends in Gun-control Nation get it confused or get it wrong because these are people who claim to be committed to ‘evidence-based’ information or are the actual creators of this so-called ‘evidence-based’ research.

            What I have never understood about the researchers and advocates who are seriously committed to reducing gun violence, is how they contribute to this debate without knowing anything about guns. They know all about the number of people who are killed or injured with guns. They know all about the laws we have passed that regulate guns. But they don’t know squat about guns.

            One of the leading gun-control researchers who first got into injury research by working with Ralph Nader told me that he didn’t need to know anything about the gun industry because when he worked with Nader, he didn’t know anything about the automobile industry, but he was still able to figure out how to make cars safer to drive.

            And this was my response: A car is designed to get someone from here to there. If there’s an accident before the car gets from here to there, you figure out if the accident was caused by a design problem, a mechanical defect, or the way the driver drove the car. But if I pull my Glock 17 out and blow your head off, that gun is operating exactly the way it was designed to operate.

            So, if you don’t know how guns are designed and how they operate when they are used the way they are designed to be used, how do you know what to do to change the result? You don’t.

            And by the way, the World Health Organization defines violence as the attempt to injure yourself or someone else. But the WHO doesn’t differentiate between ‘good’ violence and ‘bad’ violence, the way my friends both in Gun-nut Nation and Gun-control Nation discuss these two different types of violence when the issue is violence caused by guns.

            If you shoot someone in self-defense, you still committed a violent act. That’s such a worthwhile way to behave? How about just run away or better yet, keep your mouth shut so that you avoid an argument which then becomes deadly because you or the other guy pull out a gun.

            Is it so terrible to back down? Of course, if you have a gun in your pocket you don’t have to back down, right? Anyway, back to my little book about understanding mass shootings which will be available in the next couple of days.

            Some of the experts say that a mass shooting is four or more persons killed in the same place more or less at the same time. Other experts define a mass shooting as four or more persons injured or killed.

            Why is the number of shooting victims who wind up either in the morgue or in the morgue and the ER set at four? It used to be five. Now it’s four. Some science, I must say.

            In my little book I focus on mass shootings not by the number of victims per se, but rather by how many targets the shooter tries to hit. To me, a mass shooting or what Louis Klarevas calls a ‘rampage’ shooting, is when someone tries to shoot as many persons as he can, regardless of whether he has any personal connection to any of his victims at all.

            Most, if not nearly all the shootings where 4 victims are hit, happen to be disputes between two individuals, one of whom pulls out a gun and starts banging away, and a couple of other persons get hit because they happen to be standing close by. The cops tell me that over the past few years, what they see is young guys who used to get off one or two shots and now just spray the gun all over the place.

            To lump such behavior in with the kid who shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and then popped off more than 150 rounds which killed 26 people in less than five minutes, is to guarantee that we won’t ever figure out how or why either type of shootings occur.

            My little book is an effort to place these episodes of mass violence within the context of how products manufactured and marketed by the gun industry have changed. I bring to the discussion about mass shootings the only thing I bring to every gun violence issue about which I write, namely, I know something about guns.

There’s Nothing Like a Good Conspiracy Theory to Promote 2nd-Amendment ‘Rights.’

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            Ready? Here comes the single craziest statement that anyone has ever made about gun violence in the United States.

            And who made it?  None other than Marjorie Taylor Greene who said in a podcast that the recent mass shootings in Highland Park on July 4th were ‘staged.’

            Why was the shooting which killed seven people and injured dozens more nothing other than a phony event? Because it would galvanize public opinion and push Republicans to support gun control.

            That’s what she said. She really did. Which is why we have the 1st Amendment in this country so that people like MJT can get away with saying such loony, hurtful things.

            Except maybe they can’t, if it turns out that what they said really did result in someone else getting hurt.  After all, the Constitution doesn’t protect someone who stands up and yells ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater, right?

            It just so happens that one of America’s most notorious fire-throwers, Alex Jones of Infowars, will be shortly going on trial both in Texas and Connecticut for having promoted the idea that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked, a non-stop series of talking points on his show which resulted in harassments and death threats suffered by the parents of children murdered at Sandy Hook.

Jones has been ducking this one for years, and finally had to admit that his conspiracy theories about what happened at the Newtown elementary school were concocted out of whole cloth and that he was suffering from mental illness at the time he made those claims up. Now he’s defending himself against the damages suffered by the parents of dead Sandy Hook children by claiming that he has the ‘right’ to say anything he wants.

            The judges both in Texas and Connecticut disagree. It should be noted that the Connecticut judge, Barbara Bellis, also heard the original lawsuit against Remington whose gun was used in the massacre at Sandy Hook. In that case, she found that Remington’s argument that they weren’t liable for injuries at the school was strong enough to move the case into Federal court where Remington lost.

            That decision paved the way for Remington to make a settlement with the plaintiffs for $73 million. Obviously, Jones thinks he has a chance to move his case into Federal court over the issue of free speech.

            And who better than Marjorie Taylor Greene to come out and defend Alex Jones? For that matter, who better than MJT to explain the Highland Park killings as another fraud?  Hasn’t she been talking about the 2020 election fraud for the last couple of years?

            I said it this morning on my Medium column and I’ say it again. We are being ruined by the extent to which anything and everything which appears on the internet gets reported as some kind of newsworthy event. The idea that something as stupid and self-aggrandizing as a podcast comment on how and why the slaughter at Highland Park didn’t take place should be repeated by any internet news source just blows my mind.

            On the other hand, maybe there’s some way to bring MJT’s comment to the attention of the courts in Texas and Connecticut where the trials of Alex Jones are due to take place. Maybe jurors in those trials need to understand that every ‘right’ protected by the Bill of Rights has limits – even the ‘right’ to free speech.

            On the other hand, maybe we really need to ask ourselves if it really matters that Alex Jones has friends and supporters like Marjorie Taylor Greene.

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.

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