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Shooting at Batman Premiere outside Denver
July 20, 2012 2:37 AM   Subscribe

A gas-masked perpetrator entered an Aurora, CO movie theater during the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, threw a smoke bomb and began shooting. Police in Aurora report that 14 are dead, and up to 50 others are injured. The lone gunman is believed to be in police custody.

Columbine High School, site of a mass shooting 13 years ago, sits 20 miles to the west.
posted by pjenks (1587 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 


This Reddit post/thread is a good source for a summary of the latest updates and collection of relevant links.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:43 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


What. The. Fuck.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:45 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


MSNBC are reporting that there are children, possibly an infant, among the wounded or dead.

.
posted by fight or flight at 2:45 AM on July 20, 2012


I logged on this morning to read some accounts of the various midnight premiers. Ha-ha, I thought, I bet there were some cool costumes!

And then I read this news story.

What. the. hell. is. wrong. with. some. people?

Hearts and hopes to the victims.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:46 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am reading here that there were two gunmen. Misreport?
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:47 AM on July 20, 2012


Yes, misreport according to the Denver Post link. Answered my own question.

Thoughts to the victims and their families and friends.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:49 AM on July 20, 2012




I'd just gotten home from a ~9-hour Batman marathon at my local movie theater (in a completely different city) and was settling in for a night of reading reviews and debating plot points with other fanboys/fangirls online when I stumbled across this horrifying news story.

My husband and I always try to attend the midnight premieres of all the "geek" movies -- it's one of our favorite rituals in our marriage. The thought of a dozen or more people being senselessly massacred in that very same situation... fuck... I mean... just... fuck.

I'm never leaving the house again. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 2:53 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


According to the reddit thread, 2 explosive devices have been found (and disarmed) in a car and an SUV outside the theater and bomb-making materials were found in the main suspect's apartment.

BBC story with live updates.
posted by fight or flight at 3:03 AM on July 20, 2012


"I am reading here that there were two gunmen. Misreport?"

My current understanding from what I'm reading/hearing is that they now believe that there may be only one shooter, and that initial reports of two gunmen may have been due to the single shooter either opening fire in two adjacent theaters or that shots fired in one theater might have penetrated the shared wall and entered the second theater (or were at least very audible, leading to the perception that shots were being fired in that room as well).

It seems like it has been a very chaotic scene and it'll probably be at least a day until we've got a good timeline of what happened and when. For example, earlier tonight there was a comment in the Reddit thread about the police having a suspect at gunpoint and then a follow-up comment that it was just the mall janitor. So basically you should probably take every detail with a big grain of salt until these sorts of interim pseudo-updates are sorted out.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:05 AM on July 20, 2012


As I understand it, there won't be an official update until 11 AM. I'm listening to the stream. Currently some lawn sprinklers are washing away parts of the crime scene and they can't find anyone to shut them off.

Also, someone was involved in an unrelated robbery and the weapon was either a gun or a pop (soda) can.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:09 AM on July 20, 2012


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posted by victory_laser at 3:12 AM on July 20, 2012


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posted by Vibrissae at 3:13 AM on July 20, 2012


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posted by Yma at 3:15 AM on July 20, 2012


Fourteen dead and at least twenty people with gunshot wounds.

So at a minimum he fired 34 shots. Almost certainly more. Many more.

Which means multiple clips and probably multiple weapons. Throw in the bulletproof vest he was wearing and the very disturbing picture of a person who is killing just to be killing emerges. God I hope I'm wrong about that. I want him to be some twisted ideologue so that this will make sense in some way. Even the most evil of purposes would be preferable to finding out that this was slaughter for the sake of slaughter.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:23 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by Gorgik at 3:27 AM on July 20, 2012


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posted by jann at 3:28 AM on July 20, 2012


A six-year old is among the injured, per 9News Denver.
posted by BobbyVan at 3:30 AM on July 20, 2012


Fifteen now confirmed dead.

This is really terrible and senseless.

I'll be really pissed if it turns out there's some kind of connection to Limbaugh's conspiracy theory bullshit.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:30 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll be really pissed if it turns out there's some kind of connection to Limbaugh's conspiracy theory bullshit.

I would like to suggest that until we have some kind of idea of why this happened, we refrain from speculation.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:31 AM on July 20, 2012 [63 favorites]


ABC's Jake Tapper: At 5:26 am ET, POTUS was notified of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, by homeland security adviser John Brennan.
posted by BobbyVan at 3:35 AM on July 20, 2012


Guardian live updates have information from the police press briefing that they have a 24-year-old male in custody. The police are concerned about explosives in the parking lot.

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posted by tykky at 3:35 AM on July 20, 2012


.

One 24 year old male is in Police Custody according to the BBC stream.

Whats particularly difficult to hear is that people in the theatre and the ajoining theatre though it 'was all part of the show'.
posted by numberstation at 3:36 AM on July 20, 2012


Whats particularly difficult to hear is that people in the theatre and the ajoining theatre though it 'was all part of the show'.

Yeah, the witness in the Askreddit thread mentioned that it happened during a gunfight scene, so at first people thought the shots and smoke were special effects.
posted by fight or flight at 3:39 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Whats particularly difficult to hear is that people in the theatre and the ajoining theatre though it 'was all part of the show'."

Well, there *are* a lot of gunshots and explosions in the movie. The shooter may have waited for a particularly noisy action scene to open fire so that his extraneous gunshots wouldn't be noticed and reacted to as quickly.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:41 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


numberstation : Whats particularly difficult to hear is that people in the theatre and the ajoining theatre though it 'was all part of the show'.

I find that hard to believe - Unlike "Hollywood" gunfights where you can just blow through clip after clip in an elevator with no hearing protection, even the quieter of real guns report in the 140db range. In a closed room, even a large one like a theatre, that loud of a noise will outright stun you if you don't expect it, with some degree of permanent hearing loss likely, not just possible.

Maybe people from the next few rooms could believe it part of the show, but not in the same room.
posted by pla at 3:42 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is awful.
posted by carter at 3:42 AM on July 20, 2012


What is wrong with people?

I do not want to presume mental illness here. It may have been pure politics. It may well have been some terrible protest against nothing worth killing over.

But if there was mental illness involved, can we please discuss the fact that people having psychotic episodes with long, documented histories of mental illness nonetheless seem to have no problem getting guns? Can that discussion be put on the table? Or have we really decided, as a nation, that our love affair with machines of death is so important that no loophole may ever be closed, no illegal sale of weapon ever be seriously investigated, and nobody ever refused a gun, regardless of their intentions.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:45 AM on July 20, 2012 [53 favorites]


Holy shit.

I haven't been able to fall asleep because of insomnia, now I won't be able to sleep aftere reading this.

There were probably a ton of kids there too. So senseless and horrible. just have no words...
posted by littlesq at 3:53 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can the US finally manage to get a sensible gun policy now?
posted by Omon Ra at 3:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [22 favorites]


Bunny: Given that lots of people still get their hands on drugs that are illegal for *everyone* to possess, why are you surprised that some people are able to get their hands on guns that are only illegal for *some* people to possess?

Also, when was the last time you went gun shopping? It's actually a lot more difficult to buy a firearm than you seem to perceive it to be. Cherry-picking a handful of edge cases and treating them as if they're representative of the whole market is hyperbole and counterproductive to a serious policy discussion.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:57 AM on July 20, 2012 [31 favorites]


Over our dead bodies, Omon Ra.
posted by crunchland at 3:57 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Can the US finally manage to get a sensible gun policy now?

Naw bro cuz that same policy allowed all those patrons/victims/poor moviegoers the ability to arm themselves and return fire. If anything this is just proof that the gun laws are TOO strict.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:00 AM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


My heart goes out to the victims and families involved in this.

I don't know what else to say about something like this, it's terrible.

The impact this is going to have on the movie industry and entertainment venues in general is going to be long lasting. Welcome to TSA for entertainment.
posted by HuronBob at 4:01 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


God dammit.

The capacity for human violence is stunning and horrifying. Dozen of people dead and harmed because they went to see a movie. What makes someone decide to do something like this? I've been depressed and angry at the world before, but it's never once crossed my mind that something like this would be the solution to my problems. The conception of such a great loss of life just leaves me numb. Why would someone do this?
posted by arcolz at 4:03 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, when was the last time you went gun shopping? It's actually a lot more difficult to buy a firearm than you seem to perceive it to be.

The last time I lived in Omaha, pretty much anybody could buy a gun from somebody else at a gun swap, or out of the back of their truck. Hell, I used to own a rifle and a shotgun that I bought outright from somebody's closet. No check on my history, no need to register.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:04 AM on July 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


A Denver resident on Reddit has a comprehensive timeline of events, although it's worth noting that the Reddit mods are pulling down threads about the shooting in an effort to keep discussion in one place, so it might disappear. The witness on Askreddit has also had her post deleted/removed (although this might be because it was a fake).
posted by fight or flight at 4:05 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]




> if there was mental illness involved, can we please discuss the fact that people having psychotic episodes with long, documented histories of mental illness nonetheless seem to have no problem getting guns?

I both agree with you and think this is a bad place to have that discussion because it's going to lead to a hell of a derail with snarling and infighting that will make the mods pray for a day off. Maybe MeTa or a new thread specifically relevant to gun control is better.
posted by ardgedee at 4:12 AM on July 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


Shit, what the fuck. I've got quite a few friends in Denver; an organisation I was quite involved with for a while is based there. I hope they're ok. :(

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posted by divabat at 4:14 AM on July 20, 2012


I would like to suggest that doing the guns and politics dog and pony show in this thread is a shockingly horrible idea and should not be pursued by anyone, seriously, because think about it, what the fuck.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:15 AM on July 20, 2012 [45 favorites]


That is terrifying. I don't even...
posted by nile_red at 4:19 AM on July 20, 2012


My brain is still processing this. I just can't even begin to imagine the nightmare it must've been to be in that theater. Those poor people. Those poor victims. Those poor families.


I learned about this horrible event when my clock radio went off this morning. The morning zoo DJs gave the basics, everyone murmured their sympathy, and then, swear to god, the main DJ goes,

"Welp! We've survived to another Friday! WOOOOOOOO!"


I hope they fire the insensitive fucknugget, but given the fact that the rest of the idiots in the studio joined in the WOOO, I'm not hopeful.
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:19 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


How sad is it that I was relieved to learn that the suspect is a white male. I can't even imagine what would have been incited in the United States if it were a Muslim or a person of colour.
posted by gman at 4:21 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


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posted by caddis at 4:21 AM on July 20, 2012


How sad is it that I was relieved to learn that the suspect is a white male. I can't even imagine what would have been incited in the United States if it were a Muslim or a person of colour.

Who could ever forget the race riots and lynchings after the capture of the snipers who terrorized the DC area a few years back?
posted by BobbyVan at 4:25 AM on July 20, 2012 [36 favorites]


Can that discussion be put on the table? Or have we really decided, as a nation, that our love affair with machines of death is so important that no loophole may ever be closed, no illegal sale of weapon ever be seriously investigated, and nobody ever refused a gun, regardless of their intentions.

Even as we speak, the NRA is preparing a press release that says that this tragedy could have been prevented if everyone in the audience had been armed. Because we all know the best way to stop shootings in a dark crowded smoke-filled room is more guns.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:26 AM on July 20, 2012 [29 favorites]


I can't even imagine what would have been incited in the United States if it were a Muslim or a person of colour.

Mass murder is not restricted to any particular race or creed. Seung-Hui Cho was responsible for the Virginia Tech massacre, for instance, and Colin Ferguson, a Jamaican, killed six and injured nineteen on a Long Island commuter train.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:29 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


.
posted by Mooski at 4:31 AM on July 20, 2012


I would like to suggest that doing the guns and politics dog and pony show in this thread is a shockingly horrible idea and should not be pursued by anyone, seriously, because think about it, what the fuck.

I have been thinking about it, because sensible gun control laws could have prevented this person from being able to murder 15 people and injure dozens more. Of course I don't want it to turn into pure partisan bickering, which it probably will anyway, but when else should we talk about it? No one seems to care talking about it any other day because we live in a nation desensitized to gun violence. Individual gun homicides barely make the news, and when they do, it's statistical information instead of an opportunity to talk about why military grade assault weapons are so easily available to people who frankly shouldn't be allowed to have them.

There will be another round of hand-wringing about exposure to violence on TV, violent video games, and all kinds of nonsense. We all know that's on the way. So why not talk about things that would actually make a difference, like a ban on assault weapons and more stringent gun control laws?

I think considering reasonable policy changes to prevent tragedies like this one from happening again is a perfectly rational response and worthy of discussion.
posted by deanklear at 4:32 AM on July 20, 2012 [60 favorites]


I'm surprised that the police managed to refrain from killing the suspect and instead took him into custody. Not complaining; just surprised that the gunman managed to surrender without getting himself shot.
posted by ceribus peribus at 4:32 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm surprised that the police managed to refrain from killing the suspect and instead took him into custody.

Really? Really?
posted by alby at 4:34 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Even as we speak, the NRA is preparing a press release -- I frequently use the a page that's no longer on any menu over at TalkingPointsMemo ... it's a page that collects the tweets of various political insiders, as well as the press. The Republican Insiders page includes the NRA twitter feed, and I've noticed that after an event like this, they stay quiet for a short time, usually about a day -- as if they're laying low. And then they pop up and start their usual spouting off about how would-be victims of crime end up fighting off the criminal with their perfectly legal weapon. It's pathetic.
posted by crunchland at 4:35 AM on July 20, 2012


Slap*Happy: Mass murder is not restricted to any particular race or creed.

That's part of my point. But are you telling me that you don't think there'd be a very different reaction if the perpetrator were Muslim?
posted by gman at 4:36 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe we could wait and find out whether or not he acquired his guns legally before we speculate as to whether or not gun control would have kept them out of his hands.

Seriously, we know basically nothing right now; baseless speculation accomplishes nothing. Let's not derail the thread with fights and controversy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:37 AM on July 20, 2012 [24 favorites]


Omon Ra: "Can the US finally manage to get a sensible gun policy now?"

Not gonna happen. That issue is so baked into American culture that it's never going to change.
posted by octothorpe at 4:38 AM on July 20, 2012


Completely horrifying.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:42 AM on July 20, 2012


That's part of my point. But are you telling me that you don't think there'd be a very different reaction if the perpetrator were Muslim?

We've had one of those in recent years as well. The only difference is that he's being tried as a terrorist, because he expressed a political motivation. There has been no pogrom of middle-eastern folks.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:44 AM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


>I'm surprised that the police managed to refrain from killing the suspect and instead took him into custody.

>Really? Really?


I would have to agree - really. Cops usually tend to not fuck around with suspects when they're holding multiple firearms and've just shot somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 people. It's surprising to me that the asshole is still breathing.
posted by item at 4:44 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


A good proportion of the time, the gunman does himself in, and not the police. (And it's a sad commentary that shit like this has happened so frequently that we're discussing the way these things normally go.)
posted by crunchland at 4:47 AM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


Maybe we could wait and find out whether or not he acquired his guns legally before we speculate as to whether or not gun control would have kept them out of his hands.

When everyone else in town has a gun -- when everyone else in his family has a gun -- it's easy for any nut to get a gun. You can't control guns for a tiny handful of people and simultaneously encourage everyone else to own and carry them.
posted by pracowity at 4:48 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Holy shit, that is only a couple of miles from where I used to live. What is going on with kids in Colorado?
posted by Kimberly at 4:50 AM on July 20, 2012


Why? Why? Why?

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:51 AM on July 20, 2012


As I have gotten older, I have managed to learn a few things. One of them is that when it comes to stuff like this, you will never be able to find any reason or cause for the actions of an individual like this killer that ever makes any real sense. It's just not there.
posted by dglynn at 4:51 AM on July 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


"Managed to refrain" was poor wording on my part. What I mean is, once shots have already been fired, I'm surprised he wasn't taken down immediately in order to prevent more deaths. The gunman must have taken great care to somehow surrender in a nonthreatening manner.
posted by ceribus peribus at 4:51 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


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posted by Foosnark at 4:52 AM on July 20, 2012


The 9NEWS live feed announced that the death toll had been revised down to 12. At least that's something.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:55 AM on July 20, 2012


It is very difficult to have a thoughtful, constructive policy debate in the same thread in which people are processing their immediate emotional responses to a shocking tragedy. It's the internet equivalent of walking into an E.R. waiting room and passing out campaign literature.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:57 AM on July 20, 2012 [28 favorites]


We've had a bad summer of shootings here in Toronto the past few months. So this is not the type of news that I want to wake up to. Everyone in Ontario is hyper-aware of these types of news stories at the moment and there is much discussion about gun control laws, gang violence, etc.

My thoughts are with those who are affected by this horrific incident.
posted by Fizz at 4:58 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


With 50 injured, it's going to go back up again before the day's out - and keep going up over the next few months.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:00 AM on July 20, 2012


I would be willing to bet cash money that in the coming weeks we see more hand-wringing over the violence of movies or comicbooks than the availability of firearms or body armor.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:01 AM on July 20, 2012 [64 favorites]


Cherry-picking a handful of edge cases and treating them as if they're representative of the whole market is hyperbole and counterproductive to a serious policy discussion.

What if the edge cases are mass killings? Should we factor that into the debate, or should we continue to buy the line that there is nothing to see here and we should just move on. The notion, for instance, that a "gun control" debate is only applicable depending how he acquired the guns is mind-blowing. Surely when guns are everywhere that affects their overall availability. Whether he got them legally or illegally hardly matters.
posted by OmieWise at 5:02 AM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


How many more? How many more before we give up our love affair with guns?
posted by tommasz at 5:02 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pete Williams on NBC just identified the suspect as James Holmes, age 24.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:03 AM on July 20, 2012


First thoughts? That 6 year old who was shot may never again be able to walk into a darkened movie theater and sit down with his back to the door. I know in light of the fact that so many have lost their lives this is small beer, but for some reason it is all I can think of.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:06 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pete Williams on NBC just identified the suspect as James Holmes, age 24.


Wait, they didn't call him James Middlename Holmes?
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:06 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


CNN is now downgrading the number of deaths to 12.
posted by item at 5:07 AM on July 20, 2012


I have been thinking about it, because sensible gun control laws could have prevented this person from being able to murder 15 people and injure dozens more.

Yep, exactly how those drug laws made sure that nobody was able to light up a spliff before the show.
posted by Malor at 5:07 AM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


I would be willing to bet cash money that in the coming weeks we see more hand-wringing over the violence of movies or comicbooks than the availability of firearms or body armor.

I was also thinking that Warner Bros will need to take another look at its upcoming film "Gangster Squad". Two minutes into the trailer is a scene that will shock many in the aftermath of the Aurora killings.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:08 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sorry, but why do we need a MetaTalk thread? Is this thread simply to drop dots and exclaim "wow that is super duper shitty." over and over again?
Totally agree!

It is very difficult to have a thoughtful, constructive policy debate in the same thread in which people are processing their immediate emotional responses to a shocking tragedy.


Seems to me the two can coexist. Those with a deep emotional response may either be further angered by the policy discussion or gladdened that some folks want to discuss solutions. We are all adults (presumably). It is not a bad thing that one will effect the other (that is, that policy won't necessarily be discussed in completely objective terms, detached from emotion). Thoughtful, constructive policy debates about such things as gun control should be informed by the knowledge and emotion that comes with seeing the consequences of guns in action.

My opinion here, but if more people in that theater were armed, more people would be dead. Confused, running around and towards the exits, a few citizens get into a gunfight with someone motivated to kill as many as possible, mentally ill, or whatever... that's a recipe for safety and sane gun policy?
posted by IndpMed at 5:08 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seriously, we know basically nothing right now; baseless speculation accomplishes nothing. Let's not derail the thread with fights and controversy.

Cherry-picking a handful of edge cases and treating them as if they're representative of the whole market is hyperbole and counterproductive to a serious policy discussion.

Mortality statistic by country for rifle, shotgun, and larger firearm discharges:

694 United States
392 Columbia
278 Venezuela
238 Brazil
056 Ecuador
...
015 Canada
...
007 Denmark
...
005 Japan

posted by deanklear at 5:09 AM on July 20, 2012 [68 favorites]


The availability of military-grade weapons - semi-automatic fire arms with high capacity magazines - is definitely directly responsible for the body count. If he was restricted to hunting and home defense weapons - pump-action shotgun or bolt-action rifle, limited to 4 rounds - there would be some people hurt and killed, but not dozens.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:11 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


So the tear gas thing is a new twist, no? He wanted his victims running for the door so he could pick them off easier?

And what a fucking coward. To gun down completely innocent strangers but make no effort to resist armed police. What a slimy piece of shit; he only wants to play if he has all the firepower.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:11 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


.
posted by lizbunny at 5:12 AM on July 20, 2012


deanklear, that's basically a list of 'where the drug war is being fought'.
posted by Malor at 5:12 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


The shooter is my age; when we were 11, Columbine. When we were 13, September 11. When we were 15, war in Afghanistan. When we were 18, Virginia Tech.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:13 AM on July 20, 2012 [83 favorites]


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posted by haplesschild at 5:13 AM on July 20, 2012


CNN is reporting that the 3 month old baby involved in all of this "is doing fine" after having been checked by medical staff.

Hopes and prayers for those victims not out of critical condition yet.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:13 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


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posted by lalochezia at 5:14 AM on July 20, 2012


I was also thinking that Warner Bros will need to take another look at its upcoming film "Gangster Squad" yt . Two minutes into the trailer is a scene that will shock many in the aftermath of the Aurora killings.

Wow, no kidding.

RIP for the victims, very sad. Is Aurora a suburb of Denver?
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:14 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's quite correct to compare illegal drug use/trafficking with illegal firearms use/trafficking.

...also, taking "gun control" to mean "no guns anywhere ever" is willfully reinterpreting the argument to ridiculous extremes...not many people are arguing that America should have NO guns.




(although, living in a country where guns aren't allowed, I feel immeasurably safer than when I was in the U.S.)
posted by nile_red at 5:15 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The shooting into a crowd of complete strangers is pretty rare isn't it? Don't mass shooting usually take place in schools or work environments? The only one I can recall at the moment is the shooting at MacDonalds.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:15 AM on July 20, 2012


Yeah, Aurora is actually HUGE, it's directly south of Denver.

I moved a year ago, but this is completely freaking me out. My friends aren't awake yet or doing other things, I want to know if they're ok.
posted by Kimberly at 5:16 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The shooter is my age; when we were 11, Columbine. When we were 13, September 11.

Columbine occurred in 1999, over a decade before 9/11.

I went to a midnight showing of TDKR (in Georgia) and the theatre was more packed than I've ever seen it. Terrifying to think what a madman or terrorist could do in an unguarded facility where a huge crowd is guaranteed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:17 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I was also thinking that Warner Bros will need to take another look at its upcoming film "Gangster Squad" . Two minutes into the trailer is a scene that will shock many in the aftermath of the Aurora killings."

That trailer is playing before The Dark Knight Rises (or it was in my local theater, at least).
posted by Jacqueline at 5:18 AM on July 20, 2012


"Columbine occurred in 1999, over a decade before 9/11"

Er...
posted by cromagnon at 5:19 AM on July 20, 2012 [25 favorites]


Columbine occurred in 1999, over a decade before 9/11.

Math fail.
posted by valkyryn at 5:19 AM on July 20, 2012 [39 favorites]


I wonder if this will have any impact on the level of security in places like movie theatres. Columbine saw an uptick in weapon detection systems in schools -- will we start seeing stuff like that in more public facilities?
posted by fight or flight at 5:20 AM on July 20, 2012


Columbine occurred in 1999, over a decade before 9/11.

No.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:20 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


............
posted by cashman at 5:20 AM on July 20, 2012


I feel bad for anyone named James Holmes right now with all the Google searching of the name that's going on. (Though I have to admit I've been doing that, too...)
posted by MegoSteve at 5:20 AM on July 20, 2012


Math fail.

Yep, that was pretty silly. More coffee please!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:21 AM on July 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy:The shooting into a crowd of complete strangers is pretty rare isn't it? Don't mass shooting usually take place in schools or work environments? The only one I can recall at the moment is the shooting at MacDonalds.

There was, of course, Norway last year. I wonder if any similarities between the two incidents will emerge.
posted by item at 5:24 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


So at a minimum he fired 34 shots. Almost certainly more. Many more.

This situation is tragic, but bear in mind this was a pretty crowded room. There was a shooting at a parade in Toronto a few years ago and because of the packed conditions, one bullet wounded three people.

You know, the odd thing is that because gun violence is heavily in the news here (the traditionally safe Toronto has seen four people killed in three separate shootings this week), I thought just yesterday that sooner or later someone was going to open fire in a crowded movie theatre... like the midnight showings of the Batman flick.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:25 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where is that video where an expert says the best way to prevent shootings like this is not to glorify the perpetrator by having massive amounts of coverage and focus?
posted by cashman at 5:26 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


I wonder if this will have any impact on the level of security in places like movie theatres. Columbine saw an uptick in weapon detection systems in schools -- will we start seeing stuff like that in more public facilities?

Potentially, but I kind of doubt it. Two reasons.

First, there are certain businesses, like clubs and bars, that already routinely pat down guests. Bars are a pretty bad risk for this sort of thing, and they're already taking measures to that end. Movie theaters, not so much, and the inconvenience and cost of installing the equipment doesn't seem to be worth the potential benefit. I mean, this has happened, what, once? It's a terrifying thing, but it just doesn't seem to happen that often.

This seems to be the sort of high-severity, low-frequency loss that you just hope doesn't happen, because even though the cost of any single loss is quite high, the cost of taking measures which might meaningfully reduce the frequency is so overwhelming that it's just not worth it. This is the same analysis that leads to people living in hurricane-prone states. Yeah, you might get hit now and then, but the only real way of preventing that is not living there at all. Benefit isn't worth the cost.

Second, according to reports, the guy broke through an emergency exit door. He didn't just waltz in through the lobby. Screening the customers wouldn't have made a difference. This also feeds in to the above point: it's just not the sort of thing you can prevent all that well, at least not while preserving some semblance of not living in a police state.
posted by valkyryn at 5:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


In thinking back, though, 1999 (and Columbine) does feel like a decade before 9/11.
posted by pjenks at 5:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [21 favorites]


Or rather, the best way to respond to these events.
posted by cashman at 5:28 AM on July 20, 2012


The Norway shooting was not directed at random strangers. It was a very intentional political attack.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:28 AM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


I was at a showing of some dumb movie when the fire alarms went off. They went off for a long time before anyone got up and started walking out (even I, usually the first out the door, only really got moving when other folks did). Switching from spectator/entertained mode to action/this is real mode is surprisingly difficult to do on a dime; I can absolutely believe that the other theater or people in the theater seeing the smoke assumed that it was somehow part of the show. It doesn't make sense (I think we assumed for a minute that our fire alarm was part of the experience for the Simpsons movie, which is incongruous) but something in our brains seems to be wired that way.

.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 5:29 AM on July 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


This seems to be the sort of high-severity, low-frequency loss that you just hope doesn't happen, because even though the cost of any single loss is quite high, the cost of taking measures which might meaningfully reduce the frequency is so overwhelming that it's just not worth it.

Until lawsuits kick in. Then adding a security system and guards could be added to deflect lawsuits and justify higher ticket or snack prices.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:30 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Matt Lauer just asked someone who survived the shooting if the shooter was wearing a Bane mask. A dozen people are DEAD and NBC wants a fucking Batman tie-in. I have no words. Media is just broken. The discussion here on Mefi, even when it goes off the rails, is still more nuanced and intelligent than TV. Ugh.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:30 AM on July 20, 2012 [34 favorites]


This might be a political attack as well. The fact he surrendered rather than suicided points in the direction of a specific statement he wants heard and understood. We'll need to hear more from the police.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:31 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Where is that video where an expert says the best way to prevent shootings like this is not to glorify the perpetrator by having massive amounts of coverage and focus?

This, from Charlie Brooker's Newswipe?
posted by Catseye at 5:32 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Where is that video where an expert says the best way to prevent shootings like this is not to glorify the perpetrator by having massive amounts of coverage and focus?

Charlie Brooker has a good video on this topic.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:32 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


This , from Charlie Brooker's Newswipe?

DAMN AND BLAST
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:33 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's the best way for us to help (at least financially, since I'm not sure how else) from far away? Red Cross, or wait for memorial funds to go to the victims' families, or..?
posted by c'mon sea legs at 5:33 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Second, according to reports, the guy broke through an emergency exit door. He didn't just waltz in through the lobby. Screening the customers wouldn't have made a difference. This also feeds in to the above point: it's just not the sort of thing you can prevent all that well, at least not while preserving some semblance of not living in a police state.

Sensibility of security measures and maintaining the impression that we are not living in a police state has not really affected the current situation.
posted by jonbro at 5:33 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


In journalism school, our professors taught us the old adage "if it bleeds, it leads" with only a hint of self awareness. Without a massive cultural shift (not just in journalism but in the tastes of consumers and the current for-profit news business models), simply not covering a shooting like this is a non-starter.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:35 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Matt Lauer just asked someone who survived the shooting if the shooter was wearing a Bane mask. A dozen people are DEAD and NBC wants a fucking Batman tie-in. I have no words. Media is just broken.

Seems 100% reasonable to wonder if the guy wearing a gas mask shooting at people at a Batman movie was dressed like the guy in the Batman movie who wears a mask that looks like a gas mask.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:35 AM on July 20, 2012 [23 favorites]


Matt Lauer just asked someone who survived the shooting if the shooter was wearing a Bane mask. A dozen people are DEAD and NBC wants a fucking Batman tie-in. I have no words. Media is just broken. The discussion here on Mefi, even when it goes off the rails, is still more nuanced and intelligent than TV. Ugh.

That seems like a perfectly reasonable question to me. He had been reported as wearing a gas mask; it's far from unreasonable to wonder if he had made a conscious effort to dress like one of the main characters, who wears a distinctive mask.

If he had been wearing a Bane-like mask, that also would have let him evade detection. Of course people would have just thought he was dressing like the villain for the midnight screening. No one would give a second thought to bulky clanging or whatnot.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:35 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hat tip to the NRA.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 5:37 AM on July 20, 2012


Until lawsuits kick in. Then adding a security system and guards could be added to deflect lawsuits and justify higher ticket or snack prices.

Oh, they'll kick in all right. I do insurance defense work, so my second though--after "Man, that sucks."--was "Boy, that theater's insurance carrier is going to have a lousy quarter."

But I still don't think that it will happen. There's all kinds of security measures that businesses can do that they routinely don't do, and insurance companies don't penalize them for it most of the time. Why? Because, again, the cost of just eating a loss now and then is less than hiring security guards and installing screening equipment.

More generally speaking, landowners owe a high duty to invitees, but that duty is still limited to one of reasonable care. The duty is not to take every possible measure to protect guests' safety, but to take all reasonable measures. Cost is a factor in that analysis, and juries know it. The fact that plaintiff's counsel can point out security measures that might have been taken isn't enough. They need to convince the jury that those measures should have been taken, and that they stood a substantial likelihood of preventing the attack.

You know what's likely to bite them in the ass? Not the lack of security guards. Not the lack of screening equipment. But the failure to properly secure the damn emergency exit door. Ridiculously simple fix, costs about nothing, should probably have been done anyway--the theater doesn't want people sneaking in the back for any reason--and would likely have prevented the attack, or at least made it significantly harder to pull off.

That's speculation on my part, as I don't actually know what happened, but the reports suggest that he got in through an emergency exit door, and that's what my premises liability instincts tell me.
posted by valkyryn at 5:39 AM on July 20, 2012 [17 favorites]


The fact he surrendered rather than suicided points in the direction of a specific statement he wants heard and understood.

Well, maybe, but certainly not necessarily. You seem to be banking on the idea that someone who would do something like this is a rational actor, making rational choices about when to give up and why. I'm not sure that's a good assumption.
posted by OmieWise at 5:40 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


deanklear: but Canada's firearm-per-capita rate seems to be about a third of that in the US, not one forty-third of it, and 90's data on households with firearms put Canada even closer to the US. I'd like more gun control in the US too, especially of pistols, but there is something else that has gone terribly wrong with American society or just with Americans that causes more of these tragedies than you could reasonably expect from just having lots of firearms.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:40 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Damn. I am going to assume from the lack of calls that my relatives who live in Aurora didn't go see Batman last night, at least.
posted by rewil at 5:41 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


But the failure to properly secure the damn emergency exit door. Ridiculously simple fix, costs about nothing, should probably have been done anyway--the theater doesn't want people sneaking in the back for any reason--and would likely have prevented the attack, or at least made it significantly harder to pull off.

For what it's worth, I saw on reddit that a moviegoer had left the cinema by the exit door to take a phone call and left it open. Unconfirmed though, of course, so grain of salt etc.
posted by fight or flight at 5:42 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]




Sensibility of security measures and maintaining the impression that we are not living in a police state has not really affected the current situation.

Oh, but it has. TSA security theater is driven by and paid for by the government. Congress seems to be the only group of people that thinks it's a remotely good idea. It's unpopular and expensive, but hey, can't let the voters think we don't care about security!

But you don't see that sort of thing going on in businesses anywhere in the country. Unless the government is willing to pay for it--and just covering airports cost $8.1 billion this year--I don't see it as particularly likely. Businesses aren't really subject to voter preferences, nor can they afford waste money on meaningless gestures. Not that the government can either, but $8.1 billion is peanuts compared to the other money the feds arguably waste on stupid projects.
posted by valkyryn at 5:43 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wikipedia page. Not much there yet, but probably worth checking later.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:43 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


A weird but awful thought: for the survivors of this tragedy, the ubiquitous cultural symbol of Batman will forever remind them of mass murder. All of these people will continue to pass by countless Batman posters, billboards, shirts, etc.

Ugh. Awful. I know that other survivors of other tragedies have to cope with similarly ubiquitous triggers, but still. Batman is supposed to be harmless entertainment that makes people happy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:43 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


For what it's worth, I saw on reddit that a moviegoer had left the cinema by the exit door to take a phone call and left it open. Unconfirmed though, of course, so grain of salt etc.

That's going to make the plaintiffs' case a lot harder then. The theater can't make it so that the door doesn't open, nor is it necessarily a good idea to make all the alarms go off every time you open the door. And even if they had made it so that the doors automatically close--one of those pneumatic arms, I'd imagine--if the guest is standing there keeping it open, it's arguably his fault, not the theater's.

Again, just working through the hypotheticals. I have no substantive information.
posted by valkyryn at 5:45 AM on July 20, 2012


Slap*Happy: We've had one of those in recent years as well. The only difference is that he's being tried as a terrorist, because he expressed a political motivation. There has been no pogrom of middle-eastern folks.

There was a lot of fear and racism right after the Fort Hood massacre. Fear and racism that white Christians in the United States wouldn't be subjected to if all other circumstances were the same.
posted by gman at 5:46 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'd like more gun control in the US too, especially of pistols,

At this point I don't even care about pistols, I just want all automatic (and semi-automatic) rifles banned. I know the problem is that small changes to the weaponry means congress has to pass new laws to cover new weaponry-- but wouldn't a blanket ban work? Why does the NRA insist that hunters and sportsmen need automatic rifles?

I admit to total gun ignorance-- how many rounds can a pistol fire before needing to be reloaded?

Arrrgh. I really need to go, but I'll be checking back on this post frequently.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:46 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


A few weeks ago, a man by the username of 'JamesHolmes154' posted a thread on 9gag saying he was going to 'shoot up' a theater. He was clearly distressed and admitted he was suffering from PTSD.

I'm going to come out and ask it: is he a Vet of Afghan/Iraq?
Because I have been wondering why we haven't seen more of this sort of thing for a while now.
posted by Mezentian at 5:47 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


ABC in Los Angeles just said that they had interviewed his mother in San Diego and that she hadn't been contacted by police yet, but she spoke to the effect of "you've got the right guy".
posted by zengargoyle at 5:48 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


A few weeks ago, a man by the username of 'JamesHolmes154' posted a thread on 9gag saying he was going to 'shoot up' a theater. He was clearly distressed and admitted he was suffering from PTSD.

I'm not saying this absolutely isn't true, but there has been a lot of this stuff flying around in the last few hours. There was a 4chan thread where someone claimed to be the "second gunman" and people claiming to be the shooter all over the place.

It's not worth speculating on any of this until we have confirmed identity and a statement from the police.
posted by fight or flight at 5:49 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]




Second, according to reports, the guy broke through an emergency exit door.

When I was a kid, we would always use the emergency exit to get in to the theater -- one person would buy a ticket and let a huge group of people in. Why on earth haven't theaters put alarms on those doors, simply as revenue-control devices?
posted by Forktine at 5:49 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Not gonna happen. That issue is so baked into American culture that it's never going to change.

Well there is also that issue of the 2nd Amendment.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:49 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


A few weeks ago, a man by the username of 'JamesHolmes154' posted a thread on 9gag saying he was going to 'shoot up' a theater. He was clearly distressed and admitted he was suffering from PTSD.

If this is true, Google doesn't know about it.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:50 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


I admit to total gun ignorance-- how many rounds can a pistol fire before needing to be reloaded?

Well that's the thing, pistols can hold just as many rounds as an assault rifle with the right type of magazine. The perpetrator of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting used a semi-automatic pistol with a 33-round magazine.
posted by arcolz at 5:51 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would be willing to bet cash money that in the coming weeks we see more hand-wringing over the violence of movies or comicbooks than the availability of firearms or body armor.

Have you read through this thread?
posted by John Cohen at 5:51 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


how many rounds can a pistol fire before needing to be reloaded?

A revolver? Six, typically. A semi-auto? Nine? Twelve? Thirty, if you've got an extended magazine? But definitely nine to twelve. And reloading takes seconds, if you've got the extra clips.
posted by valkyryn at 5:52 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


A few weeks ago, a man by the username of 'JamesHolmes154' posted a thread on 9gag saying he was going to 'shoot up' a theater. He was clearly distressed and admitted he was suffering from PTSD.

I'm not saying this absolutely isn't true, but there has been a lot of this stuff flying around in the last few hours.


Yeah. Using Google to search 9gag doesn't return any results for that user name. I could be doing it wrong.
posted by OmieWise at 5:52 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


HuffPost is reporting that the Paris premiere of TDKR has been cancelled.
posted by fight or flight at 5:53 AM on July 20, 2012


run"monty: I put all my internet sleuthing skills to work and can't find a scrap of evidence that such a thread or user ever existed on 9gag, so it's probably just someone trolling.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well there is also that issue of the 2nd Amendment.

Interpretation of the 2nd Amendment has changed dramatically over the past 30-40 years, largely thanks to herculean efforts by the NRA.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [16 favorites]


The theater can't make it so that the door doesn't open, nor is it necessarily a good idea to make all the alarms go off every time you open the door.
Why not? Until reading the comment you responded to, I was always under the impression that alarms would go off if you open an emergency door. People should be using emergency doors in emergencies, and if an emergency is occurring, it makes sense to alarm people to it.

If the argument against is merely "well it would be annoying when people who didn't know about the alarm opened the door", I think that people would figure out that opening the door triggers the alarm pretty quickly.
posted by Flunkie at 5:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]



I'm going to come out and ask it: is he a Vet of Afghan/Iraq?
Because I have been wondering why we haven't seen more of this sort of thing for a while now.



There have been several cases here of vets holed up in apartments or pacing in front of their homes shooting -sometimes at cops. That's just in the past year. I'm starting to feel like I live on a powder keg. Having said that, there is a difference between that and loading up and going into a crowded theater. That is several million degrees of evil/madness above and beyond. I hope this doesn't turn out to be a vet.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Not gonna happen. That issue is so baked into American culture that it's never going to change.
Well there is also that issue of the 2nd Amendment.
Yeah, we don't know much about the guy, but one thing is certainly clear: He was obviously part of a well-regulated militia.
posted by Flunkie at 5:55 AM on July 20, 2012 [41 favorites]


A few weeks ago, a man by the username of 'JamesHolmes154' posted a thread on 9gag saying he was going to 'shoot up' a theater. He was clearly distressed and admitted he was suffering from PTSD. He said he was going to walk in and try to take as much lifes as possible. The whole 9gag community egged him on and give him tips on what to wear, etc. They give him tips on sharp-shooting and sent him messages on how to take as much lifes as possible. 9gag is a sick site and needs to be destroyed.

Reddit has an "internet rivalry" with 9gag, I'm 100% positive this is a bad troll
posted by theodolite at 5:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


.
posted by Stynxno at 5:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The "he was a 9gag user" thing is almost certainly some kind of disgusting 4chan joke. We shouldn't speculate on any of that until there's actual evidence.
posted by graphnerd at 5:57 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


One 9gag comment says it is on 9gag's Facebook page - not the main site. I still couldn't find it but searching in Facebook is difficult.
posted by Brodiggitty at 5:57 AM on July 20, 2012


I was flying from Taiwan to Seattle when the Norway massacre happened last summer. It started when I was in the air, and by the time I landed the story was much less hazy than it had been at the outset. When I read the stories, I was grateful to have missed the speculation while I'd been without internet access.

I think I am going to step away from this thread and come back later.
posted by compartment at 5:57 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel just absolutely sick about this. Even before hearing that there were children involved, something in me has changed since becoming a mother and it's so hard to maintain any kind of distance from tragedy like this. My heart just feels heavy in my chest and I don't know how to express that kind of grief.

And then hearing that a 3mo old baby was among the wounded.... it's just too much.

I'm not focusing on who did this or why - I'm trying to focus on what I can do as a parent to make this world better for my own son that he doesn't have to grow up in a reality where going to a movie makes you a target for a shooting spree. I'm grateful that he's only a toddler and can't really talk about this - but some day he'll be old enough to understand and I'll have to explain to him that he lives in a world where people who are hurting hurt other people and the reality of it is just... terrifying.

I'm rambling and my thoughts are incoherent, so I'll just close up by saying that my heart goes out to the victims and their families. I can't even imagine what they're going through today and I so very much hope that they find love and support through this horrible tragedy.
posted by sonika at 5:58 AM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


Well there is also that issue of the 2nd Amendment.

The odd massacre is just the price you have to pay to ensure that the civilian populace has the power to take down the government in the event of incipient tyranny.
posted by pompomtom at 6:00 AM on July 20, 2012 [16 favorites]


The 18yo daughter of a friend was in the theater. She was shot in the knee. She's in surgery now at a "university hospital." Not sure which one.

I am absolutely floored by this.
posted by ColdChef at 6:10 AM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


[Some comments deleted. Can we please not use this thread as an excuse for a free-for-all? Stop attacking each other, don't make things personal, try to keep heads attached to shoulders. Be decent. Please.]
posted by taz at 6:11 AM on July 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


Also, when was the last time you went gun shopping? It's actually a lot more difficult to buy a firearm than you seem to perceive it to be.

I think it depends what state you're in and where you're buying. Friends and relatives who go to gun shows in western states have told me anyone can buy a gun and ammo on the spot with no background check (they have no problem with this and roll their eyes at my horror).
posted by aught at 6:11 AM on July 20, 2012


Oh jeez, ColdChef, I hope she's okay.
posted by fight or flight at 6:12 AM on July 20, 2012


For what it's worth, I saw on reddit that a moviegoer had left the cinema by the exit door to take a phone call and left it open. Unconfirmed though, of course, so grain of salt etc.

IF this is the case, then he was a conspirator--nobody goes to the trouble of donning a gas mask, loading up with firearms, with the plan to shoot up a full movie theater in the hopes that "hey, maybe someone will leave the emergency exit door open." If that's truly how he gained entrance ("someone" left the door open) then that someone was in on it.

My gut says the guy broke in through an emergency exit, not walked in when someone happened to go outside when their phone rang. But then, I'm trying to make sense of something senseless, so there's that.
posted by tzikeh at 6:12 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:13 AM on July 20, 2012


Denver media has reported that the 3-month old has been released from University Hospital.
posted by majikwah at 6:13 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


.
posted by But tomorrow is another day... at 6:13 AM on July 20, 2012


Aspiring Sportscaster Among The 12 Killed In Shooting At Colorado Movie Theater
Her last blog entry was an account of the Eaton Centre shooting last month in Toronto.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:14 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Fuck, ColdChef. Keep us updated?
posted by tzikeh at 6:14 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


IF this is the case, then he was a conspirator--nobody goes to the trouble of donning a gas mask, loading up with firearms, with the plan to shoot up a full movie theater in the hopes that "hey, maybe someone will leave the emergency exit door open."

I think it's a bit premature to conclude that. People are so umbilically attached to their cell phones these days that it's reasonable to assume that one polite person out of 100 or more might leave the theater to take a call.

That said, I think the "chance open exit" explanation is wrong. I would bet that the gunman either knew of a non-locking exit door in advance or was in the theater earlier and did something like putting a piece of cardboard in the latch to keep the bolt from clicking into place.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:15 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


omg, ColdChef - so so sorry.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:16 AM on July 20, 2012


Don't you see, it was the guy with the phone call. He stashed his getup outside the door, went to the movie and went out the door, donned his getup and made his re-entry.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:16 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out how someone "broke into" an emergency exit in a theater. The door frame on an emergency exit in a theater HAS to be designed for the door to open outward. and you know that this is a steel frame, not wood. A single individual is not going to break that door open. And there don't seem to be any reports of gunshots to destroy the lock on the door.

Lots we don't know about this yet.

I know Dan Oates, the Chief of Police, he used to be Chief here in Ann Arbor and sat on my Board of Directors. He's a pretty good guy.
posted by HuronBob at 6:17 AM on July 20, 2012


Regarding the exit door theory, my source was @GrrlScientist, a writer for the Guardian who was tweeting the CBS livestream.

Apparently there were reports that someone left on a phone call, which was then revised to the shooter knocking and someone opening the door. Either way, somehow he got in through a door that was supposed to be closed.
posted by fight or flight at 6:18 AM on July 20, 2012


Not to excuse capping strangers, but who the hell brings a baby to a midnight movie?
posted by dr_dank at 6:20 AM on July 20, 2012 [39 favorites]


which was then revised to the shooter knocking and someone opening the door

Not sure why, but this scenario would add a significant extra layer of quiet horror.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:20 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


I don't think it's quite correct to compare illegal drug use/trafficking with illegal firearms use/trafficking.

Absolutely it is. Thinking that gun control will keep guns out of the hands of criminals is very similar to thinking that drug control means they'll never be able to get high.

We're already at war with ourselves about drugs, which is a VERY great deal of why America is such a dangerous place. Do you really want to increase the tension, instead of decreasing it? People having guns is not a problem. It's only using them that's a problem.

That may sound like an artificial differentiator, but it absolutely is not -- people focus on the 'have' part of the equation, on the theory that it prevents use, but that's not the actual problem. In the drug war, the thinking is that "those losers can't get high if they can't get their fix", but they can always get their fix. And, in a country with hundreds of millions of guns, which will last for centuries with care, they will always be able to get weapons.

We need to solve the right problem. And the problem is the use of weapons to kill people. I would suggest that stopping the War on Drugs will do more to make this country safer than any other single action we could take, and would obviate the need for a War on Guns. Treatment is the answer for drug addiction, and stopping the War on Drugs is the answer for the violence problem.

Start a War on Guns, and you'll end up with more deaths, not fewer. They are just too necessary in the drug war, and the drug war is unbelievably profitable.
posted by Malor at 6:21 AM on July 20, 2012 [23 favorites]


So why not talk about things that would actually make a difference, like a ban on assault weapons and more stringent gun control laws?

Don't really think this is the time or place for talking about gun control laws is why, but I'll note that your basic assertion that it would make a difference is one most people on the other side of the debate will not automatically accept.

The 18yo daughter of a friend was in the theater. She was shot in the knee. She's in surgery now at a "university hospital." Not sure which one.

ColdChef I am really sorry to hear this. Hope she's okay. I can only imagine what her parents must be going through, for that matter.
posted by Ryvar at 6:21 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's a bit premature to conclude that.

That's why I started the sentence with "IF."

People are so umbilically attached to their cell phones these days that it's reasonable to assume that one polite person out of 100 or more might leave the theater to take a call.

I... have never seen anyone leave a movie theater to take a phone call. Either they hurriedly shut the phone off (~95% of the time) or take the fucking call right there in the theater (~5% of the time).

Aside from that, I don't think someone who is planning a massacre leaves part of their plan up to "Surely some polite person will receive a phone call, and leave the theater to answer it, leaving the door open, and that's when I'll do it!"
posted by tzikeh at 6:21 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


So sorry to hear, ColdChef.
posted by idest at 6:21 AM on July 20, 2012


She's in surgery now at a "university hospital." Not sure which one.

That's most likely the University of Colorado Hospital, which was reported as treating several shooting injuries. There are also reports of victims being treated at Denver Health Center, Swedish Health Center, Parker Adventist Hospital, and Children's Hospital Colorado.
posted by ceribus peribus at 6:22 AM on July 20, 2012


Not to excuse capping strangers, but who the hell brings a baby to a midnight movie?

People who can't afford a babysitter? To be honest, I don't think these are the questions we should be asking here.
posted by fight or flight at 6:22 AM on July 20, 2012 [24 favorites]


> Not to excuse capping strangers, but who the hell brings a baby to a midnight movie?

People who can't afford a babysitter?


Or someone whose sitter cancelled, or....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:23 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, when was the last time you went gun shopping? It's actually a lot more difficult to buy a firearm than you seem to perceive it to be.

I'm super pro-gun rights, but I'd definitely disagree that guns are hard to buy. As mentioned above, buying from a private party means no paperwork, no oversight, no nothing. Buying a gun at a store means very minimal paperwork and oversight. Unless something has changed in the last year (it's been at least that long since I last bought a new gun), it's as simple as filling out the AFT form and twiddling your thumbs for a few minutes while they phone it in. As long as you can manage to look fairly normal, can tick off the right boxes on the form, and don't show up in the database as a convicted felon or the like, you are good to go, no matter how crazy you might happen to be.

Everywhere I've lived has had waiting periods for handguns, but you can usually bypass that by having a concealed carry permit, which is not exactly hard to get, nor (in my experience) takes any more background scrutiny than buying a gun legally. If you have a reasonably clean background this stuff just isn't a big deal.
posted by Forktine at 6:25 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


ATF, not AFT, duh.
posted by Forktine at 6:26 AM on July 20, 2012


"Babies in movie theaters" (especially evening/midnight movies) is a super-grar-charged topic with a chasm of a split between sides, and maybe we should leave it out of this thread.
posted by tzikeh at 6:26 AM on July 20, 2012 [17 favorites]


Some idiot is on CNN claiming that this is about "teenage psychopaths inspired by playing video games" already. Moral panic ahoy!
posted by zombieflanders at 6:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Generally, University Hospital refers to the Anschutz Medical campus of CU, which is literally a few blocks away from the suspect's home and about 15 or so blocks from the shooting.
posted by majikwah at 6:27 AM on July 20, 2012


.

Here's a slim hope that whatever bullshit manifesto the asshole has laid out for people to find just gets burned unread.
posted by Artw at 6:28 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


From a different angle: focusing on bizarre one-off incidents like this, committed by the mentally ill, is the wrong approach. From a perspective of broad society, the total cost for this kind of event is very low. Most of the systemic solutions to try to stop these extremely rare occurrences will cause far more pain and death than they could ever solve. The answer to a problem needs to reduce its magnitude, but the magnitude of this type of problem is so low that essentially any systemic response will increase your personal danger, not decrease it.

It's yet another example of how humans are really, really bad with understanding and mitigating risk. We react emotionally, and we do stupid shit, when we're presented with abstract but seemingly extreme threats that will never, ever, ever happen to us. They seem immediately adjacent because of television and the Internet, and they seem pressing because the magnitude of the event is so high.

It feels like this happened right next door, like it's a pressing threat that oh my god we need to solve right now. But the sky overhead is far more dangerous to you than random shooters in movie theaters or on college campuses. You're not quaking in fear of lightning, but you should be, compared to the chance of being shot by a lunatic like this. And your car should scare you so bad that you won't get within fifty feet of it.
posted by Malor at 6:29 AM on July 20, 2012 [71 favorites]


Christ almighty.

I know there's no why that would make sense, I know there's not, I know, but I want to know WHY?
posted by likeso at 6:29 AM on July 20, 2012


.
posted by toerinishuman at 6:29 AM on July 20, 2012


.
posted by Strass at 6:30 AM on July 20, 2012


WHY?

Mentally ill person + guns + cultural cues this is a good idea + finally someone pays attention to their bullshit manifesto
posted by Artw at 6:32 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"You're not quaking in fear of lightning, but you should be, compared to the chance of being shot by a lunatic like this. And your car should scare you so bad that you won't get within fifty feet of it."

Yup, definitely never leaving the house ever again. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 6:34 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did I miss part of the news--there are several comments indicating that the shooter has a mental illness, but I have not seen that reported.

Or are we simply proceeding from the assumption that anyone who would shoot into a crowded movie theater has a mental illness? Because I'm not certain that that's true.
posted by tzikeh at 6:36 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Artw: "WHY?

Mentally ill person + guns + cultural cues this is a good idea + finally someone pays attention to their bullshit manifesto
"

Most mentally ill people aren't violent.
posted by ShawnStruck at 6:36 AM on July 20, 2012 [26 favorites]


According to Pete Williams NBC: Federal authorities say Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes had no military history
posted by madamjujujive at 6:38 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Folks with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violent crime than perpetrators.
posted by edgeways at 6:38 AM on July 20, 2012 [27 favorites]


At this point I don't even care about pistols, I just want all automatic (and semi-automatic) rifles banned.

Automatic weapons are already more or less banned -- the only ones a civilian can legally own are legacy/grandfathered weapons and legal automatics aren't associated with many crimes at all (most things say one or two murders since 1934, one of which was by a cop).

wouldn't a blanket ban work?

I think American society is too broken for that to be really effective. Not that I've ever tried or ever would, but AFAIK it's possible to build usable guns, including automatic weapons, in a well-equipped basement machine shop.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:39 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


tzikeh:
"Or are we simply proceeding from the assumption that anyone who would shoot into a crowded movie theater has a mental illness? Because I'm not certain that that's true."
I think everyone is making that assumption because the target (a Batman movie screening) requires a major stretch of logic to have any sort of political/religious/social connection.
posted by charred husk at 6:40 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


wouldn't a blanket ban work?

I think you'll find that The Prohibition Era is an object lesson in why the answer to this question is no.
posted by tzikeh at 6:41 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


From the Guardian:
Eyewitnesses say bullets from the shooting in theatre nine passed through the theatre walls into adjacent screens, injuring people there also. Injured people are being treated in six hospitals around Denver.
Is there a real reason one needs to be able to wander into Walmart or the local gun store and buy such bullets? Or am I woefully misunderstanding some property of movie theatre walls and/or bullets?
posted by hoyland at 6:42 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think everyone is making that assumption because the target (a Batman movie screening) requires a major stretch of logic to have any sort of political/religious/social connection.

No stretch whatsoever. It's a gather of a lot of people in a relatively small space. Furthermore, those people are not going to be particularly alert. If one wants to shoot a load of people or blow them up, it's a pretty obvious choice, I would think.
posted by hoyland at 6:43 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anthony Lane, movie critic for The New Yorker:

"The film, which the killer most certainly will not have seen beforehand, presented him with an opportunity; it did not urge him on, or trigger him into homicide, but it was, nonetheless, the occasion that he sought. He would have known that people had been talking of “The Dark Knight Rises” for months; that the excitement was mounting; that they would flock, in a good communal mood, to the first available showing. They wanted to be among the first to give their verdicts, before breakfast, and to talk about their triumph at work today. That is one of the social thrills that cinema, unlike TV, can still deliver, and long may it endure. It is the most hideous of ironies that an unstable individual saw that coming-together as his chance. His actions needed no model in a fictional monster, just a profound hostility to regular folk who had gathered, en masse, with their friends and their sodas, to have fun. The screen gave him a stage."
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:43 AM on July 20, 2012 [33 favorites]


Yes, we need to talk about gun control now. RIGHT now.

The real dog-and-pony show is to attack anyone who brings it up as being "political" and then running out the news cycle.

This was a fucking automatic weapon. I mean seriously, a fucking automatic weapon, and three other guns, on a 24 year old civilian who clearly would not have passed a psych evaluation with flying colors.

Our obscene gun policy leads to violent death. Stopping this is what government is supposed to fucking do.

So talk about it. It is the RIGHT time.
posted by moammargaret at 6:45 AM on July 20, 2012 [46 favorites]


This story was the first thing I hear on NPR on the way to work. I'm shocked and saddened. What a senseless tragedy.
posted by Gelatin at 6:45 AM on July 20, 2012


I think Anthony Lane needs to watch thatNewswipe clip and reconsider his piece.
posted by fight or flight at 6:45 AM on July 20, 2012


Malor, you make great points. But your assessment of the # of 'victims' is too modest.

When violence like this happens, entire communities are devastated. How many degrees of separation is the average person from gun violence? For most of my life, I've probably been 2 or 3 times removed. No big deal. Recently I became 1 degree away - someone I know had a good friends murdered by gun. At this point I can say I've been affected by gun violence. It's a lot less rare than a lightning strike.
posted by victory_laser at 6:47 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think everyone is making that assumption because the target (a Batman movie screening) requires a major stretch of logic to have any sort of political/religious/social connection.

I hate to do it, but as much as you'd think that, it's been in the political news for weeks now that Limbaugh's been on his show pushing the line that this Batman flick is liberal anti-Mitt Romney propaganda. I don't mean to bring politics into it, so please don't follow this line as a derail, but as illogical as it might seem to a sensible person, someone who thinks like Limbaugh evidently has no trouble making that connection.

So unfortunately, no, it's definitely possible even for nominally "sane people" to make that seemingly impossible stretch. Though I agree it seems insane to me, too.

God what an awful mess.

.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:49 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


I think our collective outrage would be better served discussing why we've massively defunded mental health care across the nation.
posted by Catblack at 6:49 AM on July 20, 2012 [45 favorites]


James Holmes from Littleton, CO, has a message for people trying to friend him on Facebook today.
posted by BobbyVan at 6:50 AM on July 20, 2012 [43 favorites]


Or are we simply proceeding from the assumption that anyone who would shoot into a crowded movie theater has a mental illness?

Pretty much, yes. They'll be a raging egomaniac, they'll have rage issues but in normal life be pretty powerless, they'll probably be paranoid about some group or other, they'll have a rambling manifesto about it, and most of all they'll have a disjoint from reality where they're the hero of their own little show and all of this makes sense.

Whenever that intersects with easy availability of firearms we get this.
posted by Artw at 6:50 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or am I woefully misunderstanding some property of movie theatre walls and/or bullets?

Bullets are very dense and move very, very fast. Most interior walls are essentially hollow, Just thin membranes of wallboard and paint over structural framing. Maybe there's some insulation for sound in a theater. Nothing with any stopping power.

Check out the Mythbusters episode where they demonstrate how ineffective taking cover behind an automobile is. Bullets pass through most of a car as if it were paper.
posted by device55 at 6:51 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


BobbyVan, holy crap. People are ridiculous.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:52 AM on July 20, 2012


I wonder what Mark Ames will have to say about this.

My heart goes out to all the victims and their families. Coldchef, I hope your friend's daughter is all right.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:52 AM on July 20, 2012


This was a fucking automatic weapon. I mean seriously, a fucking automatic weapon, and three other guns, on a 24 year old civilian who clearly would not have passed a psych evaluation with flying colors.

Do you have a cite for that? All the article I read simply said the perp had a rifle and two handguns, nothing specific about them.
posted by arcolz at 6:52 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think our collective outrage would be better served discussing why we've massively defunded mental health care across the nation.

Absolutely.
posted by Artw at 6:52 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes, we need to talk about gun control now. RIGHT now.

Seriously? I think we need to talk about increasing low-cost and low-stigma mental health care.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:52 AM on July 20, 2012 [22 favorites]


This was a fucking automatic weapon. I mean seriously, a fucking automatic weapon, and three other guns, on a 24 year old civilian who clearly would not have passed a psych evaluation with flying colors.

This comment is precisely why now is not the time to have a conversation about gun control. You don't know what happened. You don't know how this guy got his guns, or what guns they were, or what his psych makeup was, or what his history has been. You don't know. Neither do I.

Taking hard positions on what policies we could enact to prevent this situation, while our understanding of the situation is still evolving, is highly unlikely to be productive. It is also, at least a little bit, in poor taste.
posted by gauche at 6:53 AM on July 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


Why can't we talk about gun control AND the appalling state of mental health care at the same time? Both are relevant.
posted by coppermoss at 6:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [25 favorites]


Both, I think.

Neither are likely to happen in America though.
posted by Artw at 6:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why can't we talk about gun control AND the appalling state of mental health care at the same time? Both are relevant.

At this point, we have no idea what's relevant to this particular shooting.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:55 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Just realized that I have re-posted this quote three times in the past five years. It is starting to get depressing:

"Amok is a Malay word for the homicidal sprees occasionally undertaken by lonely, Indochinese men who have suffered a loss of love, a loss of money, or a loss of face. The syndrome has been described in a culture even more remote from the West: the stone-age foragers of Papua New Guinea.

The amok man is patently out of his mind, an automaton oblivious to his surroundings and unreachable by appeals or threats. But his rampage is preceded by lengthy brooding over failure, and is carefully planned as a means of deliverance from an unbearable situation. The amok state is chillingly cognitive. It is triggered not by a stimulus, not by a tumor, not by a random spurt of brain chemicals, but by an idea. The idea is so standard that the following summary of the amok mind-set, composed in 1968 by a psychiatrist who had interviewed seven hospitalized amoks in Papua New Guinea, is an apt description of the the thoughts of mass murderers continents and decades away:
"I am not an important man... I possess only my personal sense of dignity. My life has been reduced to nothing by an intolerable insult. Therefore, I have nothing to lose except my life, which is nothing, so I trade my life for yours, as your life is favoured. The exchange is in my favour, so I shall not only kill you, but I shall kill many of you, and at the same time rehabilitate myself in the eyes of the group of which I am a member, even though I might be killed in the process."
The amok syndrome is an extreme instance of the puzzle of human emotions. Exotic at first glance, upon scrutiny they turn out to be universal; quintessentially irrational, they are tightly interwoven with abstract thought and have a cold logic of their own.

From How The Mind Works by Steven Pinker"
posted by AceRock at 6:55 AM on July 20, 2012 [179 favorites]


Not sure if anyone posted it, but the NY Times Lede has active coverage.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:55 AM on July 20, 2012




When we've been talking about race, shooters and violence, here's what I've been thinking:

1. That this is a horrific, tragic thing, first and foremost - and that whatever the survivors, their families and the families of the dead need should be forthcoming without grandstanding or judgement or immediate attempts to make political capital from it.

2. As I understand it, mass killings in the US are mostly committed by white men. The examples given upthread are known precisely because they are extremely atypical. It's easy to frame in a stupid way as "white men are pathological" or whatever - and thus, easy to dismiss this line of thought. But it's silly to say that mass killers are just regular people writ large - they're ill and damaged*. What is it about white supremacist capitalist patriarchy that makes mass killing a PTSD/suicide/despair strategy for white men but not generally for others? What does this say about the cultural narratives that contour people's experience of mental illness?

3. To my mind, the issue isn't so much "when people of color commit mass killings there is a pogrom whereas when white people commit mass killings people excuse it" - I'd argue that most people basically think that mass killings are the result of mental illness and that racialization of them is a fringe belief. When I've read stuff about racist narratives of violence, the angle I've seen is "there's a white/police/political narrative about how black boys and men are dangerous, always-already guilty even if they haven't done anything - while white boys/men who actually commit violence are often described as mentally ill or mistaken or traumatized". Also, police violence against men of color (and women of color) is legitimated, excused or forgotten - I saw some incredibly horrifying statistics recently (that I can't link from work as I found it on one of those tumblrs with an inappropriate name).

I get the sense from reading POC essays about violence that the race issue is that whether it's poor sick guy shooting up a theater or a cop murdering Rekia Boyd in cold blood, white violence is very often framed as tragic or mistaken, while violence by POC is framed as evil and criminal and POC are often assumed to be violent regardless of what's actually happening.

When I think about terrible things like this shooting, I find myself frightened and dismayed by them precisely because as a white middle class person in a non-abusive relationship, random violence (or conspiracy-theory right-wing violence) is the primary kind I'm likely to encounter. I mean, that's reasonable. I also end up wanting to be aware of other victims of ongoing violence, situations that are not as easy to perceive because they are not as shocking and do not happen on such an immediate scale.

*I will go ahead and say that I think people who commit mass shootings are all, without exception, mentally ill. Some of them are right wing assholes who are mentally ill; some of them are people with various kinds of PTSD; some of them, I am sure, fall into other categories; some of them, like that guy who shot people from the tower in the seventies (not the one who targeted women) might have organic brain problems. It's pretty disgusting that the existence of some violent mentally ill people is used by the ignorant and malign to assert that all mentally ill people are dangerous, violent, etc.
posted by Frowner at 6:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [17 favorites]


Agreed that we need to talk about that, but sick people without guns can't shoot anybody. This is a public safety emergency.
posted by moammargaret at 6:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The theater can't make it so that the door doesn't open, nor is it necessarily a good idea to make all the alarms go off every time you open the door.

Until this very moment, I assumed that alarms went off when you opened the emergency doors.
posted by jeather at 6:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


And I hate to bring this up, because I really enjoyed the film, but ... No, not Batman, that other film.
posted by Catblack at 6:57 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Most interior walls are essentially hollow, Just thin membranes of wallboard and paint over structural framing. Maybe there's some insulation for sound in a theater. Nothing with any stopping power.

Yeah, I was assuming denser walls for the purposes of sound insulation.

Seriously? I think we need to talk about increasing low-cost and low-stigma mental health care.

While we need to do these things, I'd argue automatically assuming that mental illness is the sole motivator in any mass murder is adding to that stigma. Given a few hours, we will likely be able to rule out terrorism, but I'd argue not yet.
posted by hoyland at 6:58 AM on July 20, 2012


I'm in favour of gun control and better mental health care, but if the discussion is to be useful in any way it has to be based on the relevant facts of this case. Let's wait until we find out more - I bet it won't be longer than a day or two.

Frowner, I think the quote from Stephen Pinker is relevant to your second point - something about the culture prevents people from seeking proper help when they're feeling like shit.

ColdChef, I hope your friend's daughter is ok. I hope all the injured are ok. Fuck this is horrible.
posted by harriet vane at 6:58 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: "At this point, we have no idea what's relevant to this particular shooting."

Really, does it matter?

We ran out the last few news cycles (where gun control most certainly would have prevented similar tragedies) without actually making any progress to correct the issue.

If we need to have an offtopic derail to get us talking about a very serious issue, I'm fine with it.
posted by schmod at 6:59 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


As I understand it, mass killings in the US are mostly committed by white men.

No doubt, but in the US, there are also more white men than POC men. The real question would be if mass killings are committed at a higher rate by white men as opposed to POC men. I know that for serial killers, the idea that they're more likely to be white is actually just a myth, but I don't know about mass murderers.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:00 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Or am I woefully misunderstanding some property of movie theatre walls and/or bullets?

I think you're underestimating the power of a rifle. It's been confirmed I think that the shooter had two pistols and one long gun. I saw in one of the reddit threads that the rifle was of the AR-15 family, the infamous "black rifle". I have no idea if that is true, but if that is the case then we're talking about one of the weaker cartridges, 5.56 NATO. Certainly your standard slow-reloading bolt action hunting rifle chambered in .308 Winchester or .30-06 Springfield that you would find in any hunter's closet is going to be much, much more powerful with around 1.5x the muzzle energy and 3x the bullet mass. The 5.56 was designed to be a light-weight round that soldiers could hump easily, it's not particularly devastating in terms of penetration. But the mere fact that it's a rifle means it's absolutely going to go through walls. Rifles by design impart much more muzzle energy than pistols. You don't have to invoke some kind of super high-po cartridge.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:01 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


hoyland: "Given a few hours, we will likely be able to rule out terrorism, but I'd argue not yet"

Huh? If he had an agenda, this pretty clearly counts as terrorism.
posted by schmod at 7:01 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most mentally ill people aren't violent.
-ShawnStruck

...and 99.9999...% of gun owners don't commit horrible acts like this shooting, Norway, VTech, Columbine, Fort Hood, etc. It seems to me that mass shootings require the shooter to be one of the ultra minority mentally ill who is violent, and one of the ultra minority of people who have guns that want to use them to hurt people. You can't base national politics on the smallest fraction of the smallest fraction of the smallest fraction of disturbed people.

To clear a few items up:

holyland - bullets penetrate, it's what they are designed to do. Regular full-metal jacket bullets have a copper jacket around a lead core, and these penetrate more than hollowpoints. Hollowpoints have a void in the tip of the bullet and are designed to expand when they hit a target so that they expend their energy in the target, and also so they don't pass through and hit anything else.

An automatic weapon is one that fires multiple rounds of ammunition with one press off the trigger - it will continue firing until the trigger is released or the ammunition runs out. These have been banned for something like 25-30 years already, and usually cost tens of thousands of dollars and a lot of red tape and scrutiny by the ATF.

Assault weapon is an invented term for a rifle that was designed for the police or military, or that looks or functions similar to the same. The rounds they fire are usually less scary than the rounds that hunting rifles fire. They look scary to people that have no experience with them. They usually use detachable magazines with capacities up to 30 rounds.

I am a former Marine, and have a license to carry, and carry everywhere that is legal. If I was in that theater there is no f-ing way I would have tried to do anything besides get whoever I was with and myself the hell out of there safely as fast as possible.

I think our collective outrage would be better served discussing why we've massively defunded mental health care across the nation.
-Catblack

Definitely.

I think people who do this stuff are by definition deranged.

I don't know, stuff like this is almost too fucked up to base rational arguments on, because humans are so emotional and we can't think about risks and threats in rational ways. I do know that outlawing all guns, or certain types/ shapes/ colors/ magazines/ features is a stupid way of addressing gun violence for a bunch of reasons.

My heart goes out to the victims of this shooting, the last one, and the next one.
posted by amcm at 7:04 AM on July 20, 2012 [57 favorites]


We average 55 lightning deaths per year, victory_laser -- they're just scattered all over the country, instead of concentrated. (2011 was an unusually good year, with about half that many, so the overall average does seem to be dropping.) I'd say the damage to families from lightning fatalities is just as valid as that from shooting fatalities.

And, hell, in TN, they have these overhead info boards where they recently started announcing the total traffic fatalities for the year. When I first saw it, I think in late May, it was 370-something. In late June, I think it was in the mid-400s. The number I saw either yesterday or the day before was 541. And that's fatalities, not injuries.

The only thing that's really different between a highway death and a movie theater death is that we think the theater is supposed to be safe and fun, while driving is 'an acceptable risk'. Deaths in a theater seem terribly shocking and unfair, and so we prioritize them far, far higher. But in terms of actual, objective harm done, the roads just in Tennessee have been about thirty-six times deadlier, and those deaths are concentrated into just 6.5 million people.... about 1/48th of the US population. 36 times the deaths in 1/48th the population.

So just running the numbers, Tennessee roads look to be about 1700 times more dangerous than random gun violence by nutcases. And that's just so far this year. 2 or 3 more people will probably die today.
posted by Malor at 7:04 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Why can't we talk about gun control AND the appalling state of mental health care at the same time? Both are relevant.

Unless we've preemptively ruled it out on the basis of no information, we might find ourselves needing to talk about the effects of political extremism on impressionable young people, too, down the road.

But there's not enough information available at this point to really do anything but feel awful for all those people and their families and offer them sympathy and if you're somehow in a position to, help.

But we shouldn't feel afraid to look unsympathetically and critically at any and all of the sociopolitical and psychological factors that go into making this kind of tragedy if we can get past all our private sociopolitical agendas long enough to do it.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:05 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Aurora PD press conference to be held 11:00 am MST. (source)
posted by tykky at 7:06 AM on July 20, 2012


So just running the numbers, Tennessee roads look to be about 1700 times more dangerous than random gun violence by nutcases. And that's just so far this year. 2 or 3 more people will probably die today.

Can we please just not do this kind of thing already? Or can the folks who want to have the pro/anti-gun law debate already while people are still bleeding start a metatalk thread or something?
posted by saulgoodman at 7:07 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wonder what Mark Ames will have to say about this.

If we have to hear from a moralizer, let's select one with morals.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:08 AM on July 20, 2012


We had one of these assholes in Seattle a month or so back. probably didn't make the national news but some asshole shot some people downtown then drove up to north Seattle and shot a bunch of people in a coffee shop. Both events were near preschools that my kids attend so I got some terrifying emails about lockdowns you never ever want to receive.

Last big one in Seattle before that was some kid wandering into a house were a party was going on and shooting a bunch of people.

These are both since I've lives here, mind. Seattle is pretty sedate for this kind of thing.

These are not unique events, they are collisions of repeatable factors.
posted by Artw at 7:08 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]




Donate blood if you are eligible. It's needed everywhere, but especially in Aurora, Colorado.
posted by Carol Anne at 7:09 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


is this his page?
posted by robbyrobs at 7:11 AM on July 20, 2012


Can we please just not do this kind of thing already? Or can the folks who want to have the pro/anti-gun law debate already while people are still bleeding start a metatalk thread or something?

I wasn't going to post in this thread about this at all, saulgoodman, but the MeFi mods declared that this was the place to have the gun control discussion. They explicitly said so, and closed the Metatalk thread.

I'd be over there instead, if that was an option.
posted by Malor at 7:11 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


UPDATE: The young lady (I'll call her Katie) was on a cross-country trip with her best friend. Katie had just come back from a mission trip to Haiti and was taking some time off before starting college in the fall. They chose the Aurora theater at random and went to see the movie. When they walked into the crowded theater, the girl Katie was with wanted to sit close to the screen, but Katie insisted they sit towards the back, because that's where she's most comfortable. Fifteen minutes into the movie, the guy walks in, sets off tear gas. Throws a bomb into the seats where they were going to be sitting at first and begins shooting into the crowd. Katie and her friend hit the floor and tried desperately to get under their seats.

The guy walked through the aisles, shooting randomly. When he got to Katie, he paused, looked at her, and then shot her through the leg, shattering both of her tibia. Then, he moved on.

Her parents have friends with friends who had access to a corporate private jet and the parents are in the air right now on their way to Colorado. By complete coincidence, a local orthopedic surgeon from Louisiana (who is a family friend) was visiting his daughter in Denver, rushed to the hospital, realized who Katie was and has been with her and will stay with her until her parents get there.

Our small town is completely horrified.
posted by ColdChef at 7:11 AM on July 20, 2012 [74 favorites]


hoyland: "Given a few hours, we will likely be able to rule out terrorism, but I'd argue not yet"

Huh? If he had an agenda, this pretty clearly counts as terrorism.


I didn't mean to imply it didn't. I was trying to say 'Back off the nutter killing people' angle until there's actual information.

For whatever reason, we thankfully don't seem to get much terrorism in the US, so I'm kind of betting against an actual agenda. (I would argue that an agenda that consists of 'I don't like Joe and Joe went to the movie' or something shouldn't count as terrorism.)
posted by hoyland at 7:11 AM on July 20, 2012


.
posted by Neneh at 7:12 AM on July 20, 2012


I learned about this horrible event when my clock radio went off this morning. The morning zoo DJs gave the basics, everyone murmured their sympathy, and then, swear to god, the main DJ goes, "Welp! We've survived to another Friday! WOOOOOOOO!"

I hope they fire the insensitive fucknugget, but given the fact that the rest of the idiots in the studio joined in the WOOO, I'm not hopeful.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:19 AM on July 20 [3 favorites +] [!]


Stop listening. That will work.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:12 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Can we please just not do this kind of thing already? Or can the folks who want to have the pro/anti-gun law debate already while people are still bleeding start a metatalk thread or something?

Let me get this right, Saul. It's OK to suggest a connection between the shootings and Rush Limbaugh's deluded rants about Bain/Bane, but it's not OK to have the "pro/anti-gun law debate"?
posted by BobbyVan at 7:12 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'd be over there instead, if that was an option.

I didn't realize that. Sorry.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:12 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


According to Katie, she'd be dead if they'd have sat in the seats they originally intended to.
posted by ColdChef at 7:12 AM on July 20, 2012


The guy walked through the aisles, shooting randomly. When he got to Katie, he paused, looked at her, and then shot her through the leg, shattering both of her tibia. Then, he moved on.

Oh my god. Poor Katie. My thoughts are with you and yours, ColdChef.
posted by fight or flight at 7:13 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This week is the one-year anniversary of the Breivik massacre...

They are still arguing about whether or not he is legally insane.
posted by melissam at 7:13 AM on July 20, 2012


ColdChef, I will pray for your friend Katie. Both for her physical health and what must be going through her head right now.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:14 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]



Let me get this right, Saul. It's OK to suggest a connection between the shootings and Rush Limbaugh's deluded rants about Bain/Bane, but it's not OK to have the "pro/anti-gun law debate"?

No, you've got that wrong. It's okay to reply to someone who claims there's absolutely no way any sane person could view the premier of a new Bat Man movie with any political meaning with evidence that some very prominent people considered sane made exactly just such a connection, and in fact, publicly promoted the idea that such a connection existed.

I explicitly didn't want to get into the political angle. If you can find me another example of a prominent public figure or even lowly blogger who wrote or spoke about The Dark Knight Rises having political dimensions, I'd gladly substitute that example to make the point.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:16 AM on July 20, 2012


Michael Bloomberg calls on Obama and Romney to state position on gun control laws.

Michael Bloomberg: Guaranteed to be an ignorant, condescending, spotlight-grabbing douchenozzle in times of crisis.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:16 AM on July 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


Incidentally, if you do ever try to take cover behind a car, put the engine block between you and the shooter. It's your best chance.
posted by Jpfed at 7:16 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


UPDATE: The young lady (I'll call her Katie) was on a cross-country trip with her best friend. Katie had just come back from a mission trip to Haiti and was taking some time off before starting college in the fall. They chose the Aurora theater at random and went to see the movie...

Jesus christ! How fucking random. When I get home today, I'm going to bear hug my little lady and never letting her go.
posted by NoMich at 7:17 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I want it put on record that if I am ever shot and killed, I will not consider it disrespectful at all if anyone immediately starts discussing what changes to law or government would make it less likely that anyone else would suffer the same fate.

In fact, I would consider it immensely disrespectful if the immediacy of my death were used as an excuse to silence prompt, relevant discussion of the very things that could have prevented it.
posted by grouse at 7:17 AM on July 20, 2012 [137 favorites]


Fuck this shit.

.
posted by jcreigh at 7:19 AM on July 20, 2012


It's okay to reply to someone who claims there's absolutely no way any sane person could view the premier of a new Bat Man movie with any political meaning with evidence that some very prominent people considered sane made exactly just such a connection, and in fact, publicly promoted the idea that such a connection existed.

I bet you $20 there's no connection. If I'm wrong, memail me and we'll work out some kind of payment (PayPal maybe?)
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:20 AM on July 20, 2012


holy shit, coldchef, my thoughts go to your friends. What a horrible / fortunate (that a family friend surgeon was in town) combination of events.
posted by jonbro at 7:21 AM on July 20, 2012


Or am I woefully misunderstanding some property of movie theatre walls and/or bullets?
Movie theater walls today are generally light-gauge metal studs with 5/8 inch sheetrock on them, maybe two layers of sheetrock on each side but maybe not, maybe a layer of sound-deadening material but maybe not. Almost certainly some sound-deadening insulation inside that wall but certainly nothing that would stop a bullet.

And it would absolutely not need to be a rifle bullet, for the most part any handgun (9 millimeter is pretty much the baseline standard anymore) will shoot bullets that will blow through those walls easy as you'd put your hand through paper.

People upthread asking how many bullets in a modern semi-automatic pistol? 15 easily, Glock sells one that has a clip of 21 if I recall correctly, and most any popular semi-automatic handgun is going to have those after-market 30+ round magazines available for them. You can shoot them as fast as you can pull the trigger, can reload the clip easier and faster than I can describe it here, easily spray 60 bullets around in twenty seconds.
posted by dancestoblue at 7:21 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


This was a fucking automatic weapon. I mean seriously, a fucking automatic weapon, and three other guns, on a 24 year old civilian who clearly would not have passed a psych evaluation with flying colors.

Do you have a cite for that? All the article I read simply said the perp had a rifle and two handguns, nothing specific about them.


"The shooter used at least four guns -- an 'AK type' rifle, a shotgun and two handguns, the federal law enforcement official told CNN."
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 7:21 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


.

God. The case of victim Jessica Ghawi is particularly messed up...it's like Death was stalking her. She narrowly escaped the recent shooting in Toronto. And just hours before last night's shooting, she had this conversation with a friend on Twitter:

Jessica: My bro is 6'2 166 pounds. He has hyperthryoidism. He can't gain weight. I just watched him eat 8 tacos. Why didn't I get this "problem"?

Friend: because he, like me, has a life expectancy 20-30 years less than the rest of the healthy population.

Sadly, her life expectancy was even less. So, so sad.
posted by limeonaire at 7:22 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


grouse, favoriting you really hard. Mayor Bloomberg, grab this spotlight and force the two of them to discuss it.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:22 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Assault weapon is an invented term for a rifle that was designed for the police or military, or that looks or functions similar to the same.

Utterly disingenuous. An assault rifle is an anti-personnel weapon characterized by a pistol grip, chambering for a medium/medium-small rifle round(with a few oddball exceptions), automatic or semi-automatic operation, and a large capacity magazine that is quickly and easily swapped out. They are designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Some people use them for hunting, but not many. They are primarily shooting range toys, and as we have seen, twice in one week, an effective weapon for mass murderers.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:23 AM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


Something that really struck me, maybe more than really makes sense, is that the shaky iPhone footage on the scene swings down to show the most absolutely typical carpet from any multiplex theater, and not the clumps of sand and rocks and scrub brush that we would have found to be desensitizing. Sort of a shocking banality of evil moment. Every person everywhere has the ability to pierce the thin tissue of civilization without much trouble, yet so few do. Seems the defense that is needed is not barriers and fortifications, but individual connections.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:24 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I never said I thought there was a connection. My point was about the shooter's sanity, in the context of the possibility of this being terrorism discussed by others up-thread. Someone said something like "This can't be terrorism because no sane person would see this film premier as somehow a politically significant event." I only brought up Limbaugh because he provided a clear counterexample to the point.

Like I said: we don't have enough information, but none of it should be off the table for discussion once we know more.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:24 AM on July 20, 2012


No, you've got that wrong. It's okay to reply to someone who claims there's absolutely no way any sane person could view the premier of a new Bat Man movie with any political meaning with evidence that some very prominent people considered sane made exactly just such a connection, and in fact, publicly promoted the idea that such a connection existed.

I don't disagree (but do think that the idea that this is related to the Bain/Bane "controversy" is extremely far-fetched). I'm mainly objecting to your desire to shut down discussion about gun laws (which seems like a much more relevant topic).
posted by BobbyVan at 7:24 AM on July 20, 2012


Yes, there goes Michael Bloomberg again, talking about public safety in the context of a mass shooting. What an asshole!
posted by moammargaret at 7:25 AM on July 20, 2012 [23 favorites]


I wish I were religious so I could pray for people, so at least I could feel like I'm helping, but I'm just going to sit at my desk and cry instead ineffectually. What the fuck is wrong with the world?

Politicians better not blame the movie. Clearly we need a real Batman out there.
posted by Sayuri. at 7:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


We get lots of terrorism if you include the bombing and murder of abortion providers. It's just not called out as such.
posted by winna at 7:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


You know, there is such a thing as evil. This was an action of pure evil. Now for some of you, that kind of evil=mental illness. Whatever. But whatever you want to call it, I myself am perfectly satisfied with the label of evil.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'd like to think if a gunman was calming walking the aisle shooting people that I'd be the hero and DO SOMETHING. However, I think it is much more likely that I'd do the smart thing that katie did and try to make myself invisible on the ground.

I have two teenagers. If I start to think about the randomless of life too much I'll end up in the fetal position, whimpering.
posted by COD at 7:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, and as for Rush Limbaugh's little screed, that is the most asinine thing I have ever read.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:29 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


That doesn't mean I don't think there's a possibility of some political motivation, though. These days, just about everybody's got some kind of firmly-held, idiosyncratic personal political convictions they carry around in their heads. I once had a close friend tell me (weirdly) that he could never vote for a Democrat because of what happened to Martha Stewart. When I pointed out that that happened under a Republican president, he just glazed over and repeated his original explanation. My wife and I have always been baffled about what was running through his head, and it clearly seemed to cause him a lot of confusion to think about--and this was a sane, relatively moderate guy... Many people (myself included) seem to get especially intense about their political views these days. That doesn't just effect the mentally ill.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:30 AM on July 20, 2012


The thing that upsets me most about this whole thing is that someone thought it was a good idea to bring a 3-month old baby to midnight showing at a movie theater.

I think you should scroll up and read ColdChef's update and consider if that is really the most upsetting thing about all of this.
posted by fight or flight at 7:30 AM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


I doubt that the choice of film for this maniac had anything to do other than the fact that, if you wanted to target a large room with few exits with plenty of darkness and noise to cover your actions, that was guaranteed to be packed to the rafters at a specified time, the obvious candidate would be the midnight screening of TDKR.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 7:30 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


From all accounts, it sounds like the shooter wore a gas mask and threw tear gas. Can we maybe discuss why a civilian would have tear gas? Is that legal? Really?

Also saw this comment on reddit that's worth noting here:
"I saw the Dark Knight Rises two hours ago. During the previews before the movie there was a trailer for a movie called Gangster Squad. In it, a group of supposed gangsters begins firing through a movie screen and then continues through it, presumably massacring everyone in the theater.
I don't know if trailers are standardized across movie theaters. But just thinking that there's a possibility that those people saw that trailer before it all happened gives me chills."
posted by Catblack at 7:32 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yes, there goes Michael Bloomberg again, talking about public safety in the context of a mass shooting. What an asshole!

He's asking for the candidates to state their position on gun control laws. He has several decades' worth from both, including 4 years of national law from one, which makes it look like he just wants people to see his name in the news feed. Which: Mission Accomplished. That's why I think he's an asshole.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:32 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


ColdChef, I'm glad your friend was not in her originally planned seat, and my prayers and thoughts are with everybody there.
posted by gauche at 7:33 AM on July 20, 2012


The irony with the Limbaugh/Bane stupidity is that Limbaugh would probably enjoy the *actual* political undertones of the movie if he bothered to see it (instead of just making nonsensical ramblings about the name of a character that has existed in the comic books for ~20 years having something to do with current-election-year politics), but unfortunately I can't go into any more detail about why I think this wit hout spoilering major plot points. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 7:33 AM on July 20, 2012


I'm mainly objecting to your desire to shut down discussion about gun laws (which seems like a much more relevant topic).

I've got no real power here, so do as you please. But it would be really tacky and a shame if it just turns into one of the typical, fractious GRAR-fests that gun control discussions sometimes become around here. The high level of emotional heat seems like it would make that more likely. It's hard to be reasonable when the emotional centers of the brain are already all fired-up.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:33 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


[Some comments deleted. WhitenoisE stop trolling about the baby.]
posted by taz at 7:34 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Utterly disingenuous. An assault rifle is an anti-personnel weapon characterized by a pistol grip, chambering for a medium/medium-small rifle round(with a few oddball exceptions), automatic or semi-automatic operation, and a large capacity magazine that is quickly and easily swapped out.

What Is An "Assault Rifle"? - You've Probably Been Lied To -- Youtube link, with a San Diego police officer. It will show you that what a gun LOOKS like is not that important, and that 'assault rifle' is a loaded word with no true definition. It's a media-frenzy word, designed to get your eyeballs and your outrage, not based in the factual world we actually live in.
posted by Malor at 7:36 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]




ColdChef, I'm glad your friend is ok (for a certain value of ok). What a bizarre combination of good and bad luck for her. I'm glad there's someone there with her even though she's so far from home.
posted by harriet vane at 7:37 AM on July 20, 2012


He's asking for the candidates to state their position on gun control laws.

Yeah, it's more like he's passively aggressively demanding that others discuss the public safety issues because he knows they're too politically touchy to discuss on his own. He's trying to put other people on the hot seat to talk about the public safety issues instead of taking it on himself, and that makes him look really sleazy here. And I say that as someone who sometimes has a little soft spot in my heart for Bloomberg, as he seems to be one the most independent-minded among his particular social milieu.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:38 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is anyone familiar with work (academic or practical) about how as a practical matter you could actually regulate guns in the US at this point? It seems like after the last few decades of in-my-opinion terrible gun policy the horse has left the barn; guns are everywhere. Just as a matter of logistics, is there any way we *could* get rid of them again, short of the sort of door-to-door search by jackbooted thugs the NRA is always talking about?

I'd like to know if there are any plans that exist that could turn back the clock on US guns, or if we're all just whistling past the graveyard.
posted by gerryblog at 7:38 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The irony with the Limbaugh/Bane stupidity is that Limbaugh would probably enjoy the *actual* political undertones of the movie if he bothered to see it

He read a column yesterday about how the entire series was a metaphor for political/social views that he agreed with.
posted by The Deej at 7:40 AM on July 20, 2012


What's the best way for us to help (at least financially, since I'm not sure how else) from far away?

Honestly? Not a ton of need for that. Not in terms of material or financial assistance anyway. Movie theaters, especially the big, swanky operations like this one, tend to be pretty well insured. They're facing the risk that a few hundred people could be injured in a fire or whatever.

This isn't a natural disaster where an entire community is physically destroyed. There's been no real property damage to speak of. This is a crime, and a horrible way, but there are only a few dozen direct victims, not thousands or tens of thousands. In terms of material resources, Aurora, CO and Colorado, generally, is entirely capable of dealing with it.

At this point your best options are probably (1) not cluttering up the local community's medical, legal, and insurance processes, and (2) supporting whatever political policies you believe to be appropriate in light of the tragedy.
posted by valkyryn at 7:40 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


.
posted by humanfont at 7:41 AM on July 20, 2012


Stop listening. That will work.

Oh definitely. I changed the station this morning.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:41 AM on July 20, 2012


This story hasn't hit the morning edition of the SF Chronicle. The ad for TDKR has a quote from the Newsweek review
... audiences will be blown away...
posted by jasper411 at 7:42 AM on July 20, 2012


Was the Batman movie shooting imitated from scene in 1985 comic?

Apparently you're unfamiliar with Betteridge's Law.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:42 AM on July 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


> Stop listening. That will work.

Oh definitely. I changed the station this morning.



Also, letting the station know why you've stopped listening may be called for....

(I am being sincere. I agree that that wasn't cool, and I think they should know it.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:43 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it's more like he's passively aggressively demanding that others discuss the public safety issues because he knows they're too politically touchy to discuss on his own.

Perhaps you're thinking of some other Bloomberg? His views on gun control are reasonably well known.
posted by zamboni at 7:44 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Re: Assault Rifles... I am not too knowledgeable on it, but it seems like the UK rule for semi-automatic rifles makes sense. You can't have anything larger than a .22 rimfire that is semi auto. While the definition of assault rifle may be murky, the definition of 'rifle' and 'semi-auto' is not.

Although it too a similar massacre in the UK for that legislation to come into place in the uk. Also I don't know how much of a difference it would have made if this was done with a small calibre rifle.

Oh, and you can't have any handguns that aren't muzzle load. That would be cool too.
posted by jonbro at 7:44 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


What Is An "Assault Rifle"? - You've Probably Been Lied To

Good thing these people are going to rip the scales from our eyes with no loaded terms designed to get our eyeballs and outrage
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:44 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Isadorady at 7:45 AM on July 20, 2012


It will show you that what a gun LOOKS like is not that important, and that 'assault rifle' is a loaded word with no true definition.

I just gave you a true definition that covers functional, not aesthetic, features. This "no such thing as an assault rifle" nonsense ignores the history of firearms, and that alone makes it unforgivable to the nerd in me, never mind my political position.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:46 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Kid, did you actually watch the video? Before you express any opinion whatsoever on gun control, you should take the ten minutes to understand what that police officer is trying to show you.
posted by Malor at 7:46 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


just gave you a true definition that covers functional, not aesthetic, features.

Again, watch the video. That guy knows a lot more about guns than you do.
posted by Malor at 7:46 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Police chief just said the shooter's apartment appears to be booby trapped.
posted by mediated self at 7:48 AM on July 20, 2012


To me, what’s particularly horrifying is that Holmes’ mother knew immediately that her son was the “right person.” That speaks volumes about what warning signs there might have been, and went ignored or at least unattended.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:48 AM on July 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


I'm watching the 9News livestream right now. According to the police, the shooter boobytrapped his apartment with flammable material.
posted by Neilopolis at 7:49 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


That guy knows a lot more about guns than you do.

I strongly doubt it.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:49 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps you're thinking of some other Bloomberg? His views on gun control are reasonably well known.

No, I just mean specifically it seems a little sleazy to immediately call on Obama and Romney to state their position on gun regulations, rather than immediately issuing a forceful statement expressing his own views--but then again, I guess I keep forgetting, mayors probably need Federal help nowadays to enact any gun regulations, unlike pretty much any point in the past, thanks to that recent Supreme Court decision against D.C. (which as I recall, Obama supported--might be the case that neither major candidate wants to support any changes to gun law, since that would suddenly make everyone's dumb ass NRA bumper stickers look eerily prescient in certain eyes...).

If the NRA is really serious about gun rights as a serious line of defense against the potential tyranny of the Federal government, why the hell aren't they out there demanding access to tactical nukes and armored tanks and precision drones again? I'm still not satisfied with the explanations I've gotten on that one.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:50 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's really odd to hear Obama giving a somber and sober speech on the tragedy before a cheering campaign crowd...
posted by BobbyVan at 7:51 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]




To respond to my own rapidly receding question, the only plan I've ever heard that seems like it could even be halfway effective is to give up on guns and regulate the sale of bullets.
posted by gerryblog at 7:54 AM on July 20, 2012


Obama asked for a moment of silence for the victims of this shooting and their loved ones "and the victims of less publicized shootings that happen every day" (or words to that effect). Good on him for making that simple point.
posted by Eyebeams at 7:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [27 favorites]


... Just as a matter of logistics, is there any way we *could* get rid of them again, short of the sort of door-to-door search by jackbooted thugs the NRA is always talking about?
posted by gerryblog at 9:38 AM on July 20


If you can think of a way to get rid of them short of door to door forceful removal of them (and even with that -- people would bury them, do whatever to keep them, once it got out what was happening), you'd be the hero of our times. It'd be political suicide for anyone to have it happen on their watch, so you're not going to get any help there.
posted by dancestoblue at 7:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Comic books and video games cause violence. The venue for this tragedy is no coincidence.

Yeah, I'm being a facetious asshole. But that is exactly what the gun control opportunism sounds like. It's no different than what got us racial profiling, the TSA, and the Patriot Act after 9/11.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 7:59 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thinking that gun control will keep guns out of the hands of criminals is very similar to thinking that drug control means they'll never be able to get high.

This statement is nearly meaningless because the word "control" is so undefined. However disastrous the "war on drugs" has been, society does, in fact, "control" the distribution and use of pharmaceuticals in a variety of ways. Unless you're advocating for an entirely unregulated system for the production and distribution of pharmaceuticals, some degree of pharmaceutical "control" will be implicit in any modern code of laws. Similarly with firearms. Concede that and the question is merely what kind of control; reject that you reject modern civilization.

Anyway, kudos, Malor, for trying to sell lollies at funerals.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:00 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


(And yes I know that's a Chris Rock routine too. But it could work damnit.)
posted by gerryblog at 8:00 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I visited that part of CO, I took a drive into some nearby wooded hills and took a hike, and came upon a number of shooting scenes, where people had set up targets and shot things. I remember the firepower at work, they were cutting trees in half with bullets and leaving empty casings and trash. I have to assume gun culture in CO is pretty wide spread and nobody would think twice about heading 5 miles out of the suburbs and blowing away trees with a semiauto. Where I'm from you can't do that.
posted by stbalbach at 8:00 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Comic books and video games cause violence. The venue for this tragedy is no coincidence

Arguable - as is the notion that guns themselves cause violence.

It is inarguable that high-capacity magazines and automatic weapons contributed, and significantly, to the death toll. Their purpose, the reason they were designed, was to kill large numbers of people in combat - they have no use in hunting or sport or even self defense. They're toys, and the gun-rights crowd is defending their right to own toys over the right of kids not to be shot by the dozen by lunatics.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:04 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


To respond to my own rapidly receding question, the only plan I've ever heard that seems like it could even be halfway effective is to give up on guns and regulate the sale of bullets.
posted by gerryblog at 9:54 AM on July 20 [+] [!]

I've got hundreds of bullets -- I love to shoot, I buy bullets when they turn up on sale -- and so do many other people; I'd go so far as to speculate that if a person has a gun they've at least two boxes of bullets, which is 100 rounds, plenty enough to do what this guy did. Next idea?
posted by dancestoblue at 8:04 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps you're thinking of some other Bloomberg? His views on gun control are reasonably well known.

As are his knowledge of the candidates' stances:
But Mr. Bloomberg said he could not support Mr. Romney because he disagreed with him on so many social issues, these two people said. The mayor mentioned two such issues: abortion rights and gun control.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:05 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, there is such a thing as evil. This was an action of pure evil. Now for some of you, that kind of evil=mental illness. Whatever. But whatever you want to call it, I myself am perfectly satisfied with the label of evil.

Terms like evil preclude understanding. Horror can coexist with understanding, and sometimes understanding can diminish the horror. Not in this case, perhaps, but in the ones to come.

AceRock's post on the amok is my favorite among all these. It is comforting, in a way, to know that many of these incidents share a seemingly-common origin. Nice to know that there is a dark logic behind this seemingly irrational crime.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:06 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


hoyland: "Given a few hours, we will likely be able to rule out terrorism, but I'd argue not yet"

This will never be named "terrorism." I mean, yes, here, and in other places where logic and critical thinking are the general rule, it will be named terrorism, but the national discourse will never, ever, ever use the term "terrorism" when referring to a white man's actions, no matter how much they are FUCKING TERRORISM.

There is so much about this that is appalling. I'm torn between continually actively engaging in the discussion because so many of the facets of this are important sociopolitical issues to me (gun control, mental illness and the lack of care for it, "videogames/comics/tv&movies cause real violence" etc.), or just going baout my day and ignoring it as best I can.

The thing is, I'm not sure I can put it out of my mind. This one is too much.
posted by tzikeh at 8:07 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


sick people without guns can't shoot anybody.

They can still stab people or make bombs. The use of guns in something like this is a symptom of a different problem. If taking away the guns means that the people who do these things switch to bombs, it might make the problem worse. I think we're better off treating the disease.

We can debate whether or not this guy is mentally ill (I think he is) but will anyone argue that a person doing something like this is mentally healthy?
posted by VTX at 8:07 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not asking for a plan that could solve it tomorrow. I'm asking for one that could solve it *eventually.*
posted by gerryblog at 8:09 AM on July 20, 2012


It's a media-frenzy word, designed to get your eyeballs and your outrage, not based in the factual world we actually live in.

I don't care what you call any rifle or gun. I just want people to tell me in what circumstance they envision themselves needing a gun like a Glock that shoot 30 bullets to "defend themselves" against home invasion or a mugging.

You know, I wasn't even going to go into this thread. Because I've been in favor of stricter gun control for decades. And long ago it became a giant wall to beat your head against, similar to the long fight for sensible national healthcare.

But I first heard of this massacre, on, of all places, a website where I check for updates on how Gabrielle Giffords is doing. And then by habit I came to Metafilter to look for a thread. And here I noted someone said they couldn't remember if there's been many mass shootings outside of schools or workplaces.

Is that an example of how prevalent gun violence is in the U.S., that well-informed, smart people have already forgotten a notorious shooting at a supermarket 18 months ago?

Or perhaps the OP was merely defining that shooting differently. In that case, to paraphrase what someone said above, we have so many massacres we can break them down into types. Kind of like categories of hurricanes.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:10 AM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


Terms like evil preclude understanding. Horror can coexist with understanding, and sometimes understanding can diminish the horror. Not in this case, perhaps, but in the ones to come.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:10 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'd go so far as to speculate that if a person has a gun they've at least two boxes of bullets, which is 100 rounds, plenty enough to do what this guy did. Next idea?

Sure... but if bullets were prohibitively expensive, it'd introduce a barrier to gun ownership that doesn't currently exist. If I want a gun for 'protection', there's probably a limit to how much I'm willing to pay. You could, in theory, price people out of that impulse. (Now, we know this only sort of works for cigarettes. And saying 'Okay, rich people, have all the guns you want, but we'll make sure the proles can't afford them' is kind of fucked up, but ignore that for a second.)
posted by hoyland at 8:10 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


As has been pointed out, that reddit timeline is pretty good.
posted by Eyebeams at 8:11 AM on July 20, 2012


They can still stab people or make bombs. The use of guns in something like this is a symptom of a different problem. If taking away the guns means that the people who do these things switch to bombs, it might make the problem worse. I think we're better off treating the disease.

Why is it only an either/or? I think it is entirely possible to both provide services for mental health and yet attempt to restrict the flow of the deadliest weapons into the hands of civillians. Many countries do that.

Does it guarantee that no gun murders will ever occur again? Of course not. It's a shitty argument to compare gun regs to drug regs and go "look, they don't work so why bother?". I'm from Canada -- criminals here still find ways to get guns, and tragedies still ensue. But nowhere near on the scale that they do in the US, and "mass" shootings more often than not result in <3 deaths, precisely because the thugs generally can't get access to the deadliest kind of automatic weapons, which they would be able to get in the US.
posted by modernnomad at 8:12 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it's more like he's passively aggressively demanding that others discuss the public safety issues because he knows they're too politically touchy to discuss on his own. He's trying to put other people on the hot seat to talk about the public safety issues instead of taking it on himself, and that makes him look really sleazy here.

WTF? Bloomberg is probably the only breathing politician in the country who "takes [gun control] on himself".
posted by zvs at 8:12 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Daily Mail speculates, with absolutely zero basis:

As speculation mounts about the motive behind the mass shooting, one private investigator has said that Holmes may have been part of Occupy Wall Street's most violent faction Occupy Black Bloc.

Bill Warner told how the Batman movie portrays the OWS crowd in a negative vein, leading him to believe that may have been a cause behind gunman's rage.

Pretty disgraceful, right there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:12 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]




Just pulled this off twitter, so no cite available, but: "Last year gun deaths by country:
35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada, 9,484 in US."
posted by modernnomad at 8:14 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


VTX: will anyone argue that a person doing something like this is mentally healthy?

The problem is that the definition of "mentally ill" is sometimes difficult to pin down. There are many bright-line cases, and there are many "yeah, probably" cases, and then... well, it's a highly contentious thing to say, but sometimes there are cases of people who don't fall within the parameters set by the psychiatric community as "mentally ill," but are just really, really angry and/or despondent and/or feeling so impotent that they choose to do something rather than nothing, in the (vain) hope that it will somehow assuage their distress.

We don't like to talk about that much.
posted by tzikeh at 8:14 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pretty disgraceful, right there.

I may have a contender.

Louie Gohmert: Aurora Shootings Result Of 'Ongoing Attacks On Judeo-Christian Beliefs':
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Friday that the shootings that took place in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater hours earlier were a result of "ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs" and questioned why nobody else in the theater had a gun to take down the shooter.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:15 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


To respond to my own rapidly receding question, the only plan I've ever heard that seems like it could even be halfway effective is to give up on guns and regulate the sale of bullets.

The Second Amendment almost certainly covers ammunition just the same as guns. U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, 180 (1939). One can also refer to the case holding that taxes on ink and paper are a violation of the First Amendment. Basically, regulating consumables used in the exercise of a constitutional right is tantamount to regulating the exercise of that right.

With regard to the shooting itself: it does not shock me. Back in 2007 one of the Freakonomics authors asked "If You Were a Terrorist, How Would You Attack?" It was linked on MeFi as well. I emailed the author with my suggestion, which was an opening night coordinated attack on movie theaters using readily-available semi-automatic weapons. I speculated that the likely response would be mandated airport-style security at theaters and a tremendous amount of economic damage to the movie industry. Since this was only a single attack and may not have been politically motivated (we'll see), I don't know what the fallout will be like.
posted by jedicus at 8:15 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Daily Mail speculates

Jesus, Just as I was feeling smugly British about gun control here comes the Daily Mail to lower the tone of the argument even further
posted by brilliantmistake at 8:15 AM on July 20, 2012


All right, since the on-line Right already apparently thinks it's a foregone conclusion that "the others" are opportunistically trying to associate the killer with the Tea Party (which is how they would react regardless of what the facts are, evidently, since they are reacting that way now without any facts) I think we really need to look closely into why it's next to impossible to talk about any potentially politically charged subject like this honestly anymore.

WTF? Bloomberg is probably the only breathing politician in the country who "takes [gun control] on himself".

Again, my comment wasn't about Bloomberg on gun control generally; just this particular statement in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:17 AM on July 20, 2012


The Daily Mail speculates, with absolutely zero basis:

Brian Ross of ABC News was the worst today. He pointed viewers to the website of the Colorado Tea Party, which lists as a member a "Jim Holmes." Though he cautioned viewers "Now, we don't know if this is the same Jim Holmes," that doesn't excuse such shockingly reckless reporting. Naming a political movement as potentially involved is one thing. Naming an individual with no basis aside from sharing the same (common) name and town is quite another...

I wonder if "Jim Holmes" has a legal case against ABC News. At the very least, Ross and any producers involved should be fired.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:19 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


I would definatly name bullshit 24 hour news coverage as a factor.
posted by Artw at 8:22 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Tzikeh, that's kind of my point. This guy might not cross the line for the definition of mentally ill but no mentally healthy, well adjusted member of society does something like this.

He might not be "sick" but he certainly isn't healthy.
posted by VTX at 8:22 AM on July 20, 2012


VTX: They can still stab people or make bombs.

Ridiculous. It's much easier to walk into a theater with a completely legal loaded gun or two, plus backup magazines and kill 14 people than it would be with a knife or bomb. It's easier to kill them from a longer distance, and with more 'discretion', as well.

I'm sure you knew that, though.

Yet another reason this native Texan will most likely be buried in Europe when the time comes. I have no interest in sharing space with armed idiots. I'll stick to Austria, with sane gun control laws and a per capita homicide rate about one tenth of that in the US.
posted by syzygy at 8:23 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah no way there could be two "Jim Holmes"-es in a town of ~80,000 people right?
posted by Eyebeams at 8:23 AM on July 20, 2012


.

The Daily Mail speculates... don't give them traffic, they're the British cross between Fox and... whichever tabloid it is that carries running Batboy coverage...
posted by Vetinari at 8:24 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


cross between Fox and... whichever tabloid it is that carries running Batboy coverage

Those are separate?
posted by zombieflanders at 8:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't associate the Weekly World News with that trash on Fox and The Daily Mail.
posted by demiurge at 8:29 AM on July 20, 2012 [26 favorites]


Thanks MetaFilter for summarizing shitty news sites so I never have to click on them.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:30 AM on July 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


@BarbaraStarrCNN reports Pentagon officials say service members are among the casualties in the Colorado shooting
posted by madamjujujive at 8:31 AM on July 20, 2012


I can't stop thinking about that little kid leaving the theater in his Batman costume.
posted by mediareport at 8:31 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Naming an individual with no basis aside from sharing the same (common) name and town is quite another...

This is how news works these days, unfortunately. They just take shots in the dark and see what sticks. I share a fairly uncommon last name with the NIU shooter who killed 5 people and ultimately himself. My land line phone number was listed. It didn't take long for my phone to start ringing constantly from news organizations across the country, asking if I was related to him (I'm not).

The creepiest was the hand-delivered hand-written note from a Good Morning America producer that was written as if they knew I was related, imploring me to tell his story since he was no longer able to, etc. I realized this was an intentional tactic -- if I had been related to him, I would have no way of knowing this was just a shot in the dark on the part of the news people. I would have assumed they had some information confirming it. It pissed me off so much on behalf of those that ARE related to people that make news in some way or the other, and who get ambushed by news organizations like that.
posted by misskaz at 8:32 AM on July 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


To me guns make lethal violence too easy. Yes, someone can kill with knives, or if the desire presents itself with an IED. But the one generally is much harder and easier to overwhelm, while the other requires a certain risk you are going to blow yourself up by accident and also tends to require much more pre-thought then waking up one day and deciding to kill a bunch of people.

Yes, if someone want to kill a bunch of people there is always going to be a way to do that. But, *I* think reasonable steps to make it more difficult to do so are warranted, and that as it stands firearms make it too easy to commit said violence. And I believe that setting a much higher bar to gun ownership should be one of those reasonable steps.

I understand people disagree, and I concur that reasonable people that own guns are, by and large, not a threat. But, I think people overestimate the number of reasonable people, and that a reasonable person one day is a layoff, rejection, divorce, $_x away from having a really unreasonable day. Additionally I believe that Americans are just too much in love with firearms as the potential cure for various ills.

So, call me emotional, and thinking with whatever part of my brain, but these are beliefs I've held prior to this tragedy and will be in the aftermath, and when the next one happens because I have no doubt that this will not end the long American obsession with guns. If school shootings, and the shooting of a beloved Conservative American President where unable to affect gun control discourse this sure as hell will not.


see you in the next gun assisted massacre thread.
posted by edgeways at 8:32 AM on July 20, 2012 [25 favorites]


This same thing could have happened with a homemade bomb. He brings it to the back of the theater, knocks on the door, tosses it in and detonates. Maybe the outcome is worse, maybe it's less bad.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't have solid gun control. I take the 2nd amendment seriously but I think there should be MUCH greater scrutiny of a person before their able to buy a gun. My point is that just "taking away all the guns" doesn't necessarily solve the problem or even lessen it for these kinds of acts.

Gun control and better mental health services are not mutually exclusive but we do have limited resources in both money and political will. I think greater good will be accomplished by focusing on mental health.
posted by VTX at 8:33 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I can stop thinking about that little kid leaving the theater in his Batman costume, I immediately start thinking about the gun show loophole and wonder if that's where the suspect got his weapons.
posted by mediareport at 8:34 AM on July 20, 2012


Gun control does not equal "taking away all the guns".
posted by gaspode at 8:34 AM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


misskaz, sorry you had to deal w/ phone calls and notes from producers, but it sounds like they were doing some actual shoe-leather reporting (perhaps clumsily). Can you imagine if they had gone to air identifying you as someone who might have been the shooter?
posted by BobbyVan at 8:35 AM on July 20, 2012


Fine, how about, "not even taking away all the guns..."?

Am I nit free now or do you need to pick some more?
posted by VTX at 8:37 AM on July 20, 2012


BobbyVan, I totally get and agree with what you're saying. It's not really an equivalent situation. But it still really bothers me that they didn't ASK if I was related. They wrote me a letter (and creepily hand delivered it to my house) and wrote it as if they knew I was related to him. I feel like that's not a good-faith way to open the conversation.
posted by misskaz at 8:38 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just pulled this off twitter, so no cite available, but: "Last year gun deaths by country:
35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada, 9,484 in US."


Numbers like this work against your case, not for it.

If you took Canada's firearm homicide rate and increased it to account for the different number of guns in the US and Canada, you'd only get half the actual US rate. If you scaled up Sweden's gun violence by the difference in the number of guns, you'd only get a little over a tenth of the US rate.

There is something in American society that breaks people so that they are psychologically capable of doing shit like this, or other gun violence, that is almost vanishingly rare in other societies.

That doesn't mean that better gun control would be pointless in the US, but it does mean that -- relative to other countries -- there will still be way more broken people looking to lash out at the world, and many of them will still find a way.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:38 AM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


I don't understand why people are hating on Bloomberg. Gun laws in NYC are fairly reasonable. I owned a hunting rifle there and registration took some time, but it was not a huge deal at all and there are two rifle ranges in NYC city limits that are open for members of the public to join (though you have to go through a membership approval process). Outside the city, there aren't many restrictions on rifles at all. Handguns are more highly regulated, but I knew people who had those too. Contrast with Chicago, where using a rifle anywhere in the state requires a FOID card and there are no ranges in city limits. Hopefully not a derail, but n-thing the Gun control does not equal "taking away all the guns". It just means having some reasonable oversight on the matter. Didn't prevent what happened in Norway, but I think it's always a good idea to have some barrier to entry for the most dangerous types of guns. I mean, a lot of arguments against gun control here and elsewhere seem to me like "what's the point of having sidewalks if some crazy car could jump the curb."
posted by melissam at 8:38 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:39 AM on July 20, 2012


There is something in American society that breaks people so that they are psychologically capable of doing shit like this, or other gun violence, that is almost vanishingly rare in other societies.

Maybe it's the whole being surrounded by gun culture and suffering from more gun related violence than other countries?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:40 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


My point is that just "taking away all the guns" doesn't necessarily solve the problem or even lessen it for these kinds of acts.

I doubt anybody is arguing for taking all the guns. But is it really that crazy to argue for a maximum of two guns per person, stronger background checks, longer waiting times, and for the banning of automatic rifles?
posted by Omon Ra at 8:42 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is something in American society that breaks people so that they are psychologically capable of doing shit like this, or other gun violence, that is almost vanishingly rare in other societies.

I don't think we're wicked, I just think we have a lot of guns and basically no mental health safety net.
posted by gerryblog at 8:43 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]




XQUZYPHYR: Yup.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 8:45 AM on July 20, 2012


.
posted by likeatoaster at 8:45 AM on July 20, 2012


I normally really dislike This Modern World, though I'm in agreement with his politics a good bit of the time. The link above is the powerful, rare exception.
posted by absalom at 8:47 AM on July 20, 2012


It is generally known here in Maine and most country locales in the U.S.: don't go down a dirt road unless you have a reason to be there. Dogs and guns and people with bear spray may await you.

My husband used to own guns, and once had a concealed weapon permit (he had guns for going to the shooting range, not hunting and not really self defense, he also collects knives and knows martial arts). It is common to see people walking around with holstered weapons at the grocery store (I saw a guy walking to his car in the parking lot in Augusta last week, openly carrying a holstered handgun).

I think to understand the gun culture in the U.S., you have to live here a while. I have lived in the city and in the country, and I am way more afraid of people in cities owning guns than I am here in the country.

One time, we were driving up North and ended up in the hill country. We then came upon about 30 guys in a field, targets set up for a turkey shoot practice session. If you can think of a way to go up to those guys and tell them they can't have guns anymore, I will eat my hat with gravy. Ain't gonna happen.

I am not for guns and violence, in fact, I asked my husband to sell his last hand gun, as he wasn't going to the shooting range anymore and I was uncomfortable having one in my house, especially with the crack heads up the street breaking into our car, right outside our bedroom window, and stealing his jackknives (most likely to pawn for drugs). Our building had no security doors, and drugged up kids were running through the halls at 2:00 a.m. nightly. Anyone could climb through the windows, I did it a few times when one of my neighbors got locked out. Didn't want even the remotest chance that someone desperate for 8-ball would break in and steal his gun and perhaps sell it to someone who might use it for nefarious purposes.

I don't have the answers to prevent people from obtaining automatic weapons (I used to have an AR-15 and carried bullets in my apron pocket due to yet again, crack heads walking up to my door and peering through the window when I was home alone, just cocking it was enough to keep people away, maybe we should start selling gun-cocking noise doorbells). Being surrounded by Revolutionary War statues, forts, and cannons, we are reminded here on a daily basis that if we give up our rights, we place ourselves in the hands of the Federal government. I'm sorry, but I don't trust any government that much.

I don't own weapons anymore, beyond jackknives for utilitarian purposes, and a few walking sticks, two bullwhips, and some legal self-defense tools, but I would not want an officer coming to my door and telling me to hand over my weapons because it will make the world a safer place, Citizen. Taking weapons from me is not going to make the world a safer place, as I am a soap maker and a writer (and I rarely enter post offices). We need to address the underlying issues as to WHY people commit mass murders and what, if anything, can be done to prevent them. Are there any signs? Or do people just decide one day to pick up a gun and spray a roomful of people with it? I don't think so. It was planned. There are no ways to get into the minds of deranged men, and yes, automatic weapons are not a good thing, and frankly, I'd rather have a can of bear or wasp spray, because then I can't get sued for killing someone in self-defense (don't have to load it and it keeps bears away too). I'm just saying: gun regulation in America is wishful thinking at this point in time.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:47 AM on July 20, 2012 [19 favorites]


There is something in American society that breaks people so that they are psychologically capable of doing shit like this, or other gun violence, that is almost vanishingly rare in other societies.

They are vanishingly rare in America too. The odds of dying in something like this are minuscule. and they happen in other countries too. I agree the US is over-represented and that this indicates something about our culture (though other countries on that list like Finland have very small populations), but this is a very tiny risk to most people. It is however more dramatic, which is why it will get more publicity than the stunning and horrifying amounts of warzone-level deaths on places like Chicago's West Side, which is far more unique to a first world country like the US.
posted by melissam at 8:48 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Didn't want even the remotest chance that someone desperate for 8-ball would break in and steal his gun and perhaps sell it to someone who might use it for nefarious purposes.

Taking weapons from me is not going to make the world a safer place
posted by zamboni at 8:50 AM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


Good suggestion from the anchors on 9News at the stream linked way upthread: Wherever you are in the world, do something kind for someone today.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:51 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Being surrounded by Revolutionary War statues, forts, and cannons, we are reminded here on a daily basis that if we give up our rights, we place ourselves in the hands of the Federal government. I'm sorry, but I don't trust any government that much.

Yeah, your "cocking noises" are really going to keep your militarized police force out of your house, not to mention the Federal government.

Your comment reads like an NRA brochure. No reasoning, but plenty of emotion, racist dog whistles, and appeals to patriotism. Thank god people like you are keeping the country safe.
posted by OmieWise at 8:51 AM on July 20, 2012 [17 favorites]


ROU_Xenophobe: That doesn't mean that better gun control would be pointless in the US, but it does mean that -- relative to other countries -- there will still be way more broken people looking to lash out at the world, and many of them will still find a way.

This is what the entire "Bowling for Columbine" movie is about. It's frightening, to me, and that's coming from a guy who used to own an AR-15, and really an unbelievable (to me, now) number of guns. I gave them all to my best friend, who's a police officer, for 'safe keeping' years ago. He pulls them out so we can have a look at them every once in awhile when I come into town for a visit. The sheer number and variety always astounds me. Why did I ever feel I needed them? He keeps going back to his closet to grab more. Just when I think he's done, he brings out another armload. WTH?

gerryblog: I don't think we're wicked, I just think we have a lot of guns and basically no mental health safety net.

I think that's part of it, but I also think there's something about the USAmerican psyche. So many angry people. Angry at 'the other' without being able to coherently explain why. I think it's related to the 'I built it' idea. This isn't a society of people working together to make life better for everyone. It's a society of 'I got mine'. And if you didn't get yours, you're a loser who might just decide to lash out.

Dunno, it's hard to understand / fathom, but I'm glad to be far away from it, now.
posted by syzygy at 8:51 AM on July 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


If taking away the guns means that the people who do these things switch to bombs, it might make the problem worse.

And yet countries with better gun control (please note: this does not involve coming to your door to take them away, or no guns ever, or whatever the NRA is afraid of) don't have disproportionate bombings, or knifings, or other-weapon-ings. This is like the health insurance thing all over again: the advantages of a different system are many, it's just that getting from where the US is now to where the rest of the world is, is a *really* difficult task.
posted by harriet vane at 8:53 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Editor's Note: An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect. ABC News and Brian Ross apologize for the mistake, and for disseminating that information before it was properly vetted.
posted by mediated self at 8:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


It seems to me it's harder to make a serious bomb than to buy a legal gun.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would not want an officer coming to my door and telling me to hand over my weapons because it will make the world a safer place, Citizen.

This shit is to gun control as Death Panels are to universal healthcare - a paranoid delusion brought on by excessive exposure to AM radio
posted by theodolite at 8:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [40 favorites]


I think there's anger throughout the weatern world, in England we had a summer of rioting chaos last year.

It would have been exponentially worse if there was easy access to efficient and deadly weapons .
posted by brilliantmistake at 8:57 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Now this is interesting. Guy was apparently a medical student until last month. This means he'd graduate from college with good grades. The mental illness hypothesis just got a bit less plausible.
posted by valkyryn at 8:57 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a correlation between grades and mental illness?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:59 AM on July 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


Brian Ross of ABC News was the worst today. He pointed viewers to the website of the Colorado Tea Party, which lists as a member a "Jim Holmes."

Now the Breitbarties are up in arms over Ross' shitty journalism. They are appalled that anyone could have such a careless and callous disregard for the facts. I mean, what would Andrew say?
posted by octobersurprise at 8:59 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I doubt anybody is arguing for taking all the guns. But is it really that crazy to argue for a maximum of two guns per person, stronger background checks, longer waiting times, and for the banning of automatic rifles?

No, I don't, that's why I said, "I'm not saying that we shouldn't have solid gun control."

I kind of (but only kind of) disagree about owning automatic weapons. I think they should incredibly hard to acquire. It's tough because I think the 2nd amendment is important. I think that we, as citizens should always have the option for an armed rebellion if things ever really do get that bad. This is the only reason the 2nd amendment exists.

I don't buy into the home protection or hunting arguments. If I'm being responsible enough to own a gun that also means it's locked up tight enough that I'd have a hard time getting to it in the event of a break in and anyone that wants to break into my house isn't going to do it when I'm home anyways.

On the other hand, if we're going to have that much regulation and make darn sure that only people who won't go on shooting sprees, use them to commit murder, etc will own automatic weapons, we open the door to letting the federal government restrict access only to those who agree with its policies.

The mental health side of it is FAR more clear-cut for me.
posted by VTX at 9:00 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, just heard that the 10 who perished on the scene are still inside the theater.

I understand why they have to be, but it's still heart-wrenching to think of them lying there, when not so long ago the only thing on their minds was enjoying a movie they'd spent months looking forward to.

Gods be good.

Also, can't recommend the 9News Live stream enough. Excellent coverage, free of bullshit speculation and they provide clear explanations about when/why certain info changes (for example, why it went from 14 dead to 12 dead).
posted by lord_wolf at 9:00 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


People with high levels of intelligence can be mentally ill. Let's not get distracted.
posted by Night_owl at 9:00 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Of course, if Ross had linked to a Jim Holmes on an Occupy WallStreet website, Breitbart would have linked to it ton the front page.
posted by COD at 9:01 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Warner Bros. is going to pull the Gangster Squad trailer attached to prints of Dark Knight Rises.
posted by mediated self at 9:01 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's a correlation between grades and mental illness?

No, but often the disordered thinking that is part and parcel of severe mental illness increases the difficulty of even routine tasks, let alone medical school classes.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:02 AM on July 20, 2012


This will never be named "terrorism." I mean, yes, here, and in other places where logic and critical thinking are the general rule, it will be named terrorism, but the national discourse will never, ever, ever use the term "terrorism" when referring to a white man's actions, no matter how much they are FUCKING TERRORISM.

I think the definition of 'terrorism' is that it involves using 'terror' attacks to further a political agenda, rather than just as an expression of hatred, nihilism, narcissism, despair or whatever it is that motivates killers like this.
posted by Flashman at 9:02 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


There's a correlation between grades and mental illness?

Not necessarily, but getting into medical school is hard. If he were a college dropout, yeah, okay, whatever. But he finished college and was in a fairly competitive medical school. They don't let just anybody in there.

Guy wasn't a hobo, is all I'm saying, nor is it likely he was some morose, disturbed loner like the guy who did the VT massacre.
posted by valkyryn at 9:02 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This means he'd graduate from college with good grades. The mental illness hypothesis just got a bit less plausible.

Ted Kaczynski
posted by BobbyVan at 9:02 AM on July 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


Of course, if Ross had linked to a Jim Holmes on an Occupy WallStreet website, Breitbart would have linked to it ton the front page.

If Andrew Breitbart were linking anything at this point in time, it'd be a whole new thing to worry about.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:03 AM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


Now the Breitbarties are up in arms over Ross' shitty journalism. They are appalled that anyone could have such a careless and callous disregard for the facts. I mean, what would Andrew say?

But, it's ok if they do it.
posted by stavrogin at 9:03 AM on July 20, 2012


The first picture of James Holmes
posted by arcolz at 9:04 AM on July 20, 2012


This morning I called on Warner Bros to take this trailer down immediately. The studio’s response to me? “There’s a meeting about this and then a decision will be reached.” I just received the call that the trailer is being pulled. But only after I complained.

Stay classy, Nikki.
posted by mediareport at 9:04 AM on July 20, 2012


There's a correlation between good grades and not killing anyone?
posted by emelenjr at 9:04 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


VTX, the federal government has nuclear weapons and predator drones. Does that mean citizens have the right to own them as well? If not, that's going to be a pretty half-assed Armed Rebellion.
posted by moammargaret at 9:05 AM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


If there's a correlation between grades and mental illness, I'd venture that high grades, not low grades, are a more likely marker. There were kids in my honors classes in high school who were a lot more scarily unhinged than any of the remedial kids.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:05 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


I have lived in the city and in the country, and I am way more afraid of people in cities owning guns than I am here in the country.

Also this is hilariously racist
posted by theodolite at 9:05 AM on July 20, 2012 [19 favorites]


Hopefully we have different expectations and standards for ABC News than we do for the Breitbart website network. Hopefully...
posted by BobbyVan at 9:05 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


ColdChef, for what it's worth, Katie and her family and friends have my best thoughts and wishes, as do all the victims of this tragedy. I hope her recovery is swift and complete.
posted by Gelatin at 9:06 AM on July 20, 2012


The first picture of James Holmes

How do we know? What's the source?
posted by BobbyVan at 9:06 AM on July 20, 2012


It seems to me it's harder to make a serious bomb than to buy a legal gun.

Pipe bomb = pipe, end caps, match heads, and a fuse or igniter. This is how Kaczynski got started.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:07 AM on July 20, 2012


Now this is interesting. Guy was apparently a medical student until last month. This means he'd graduate from college with good grades. The mental illness hypothesis just got a bit less plausible.

This is not only wrong (fallacy of false premise), but truly offensive.
posted by tzikeh at 9:07 AM on July 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


Hopefully we have different expectations and standards for ABC News than we do for the Breitbart website network.

The soft prejudice of low expectations, indeed.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:08 AM on July 20, 2012


I think that we, as citizens should always have the option for an armed rebellion if things ever really do get that bad. This is the only reason the 2nd amendment exists.

If that's really the case, then we probably ought to go ahead and repeal the 2nd amendment. The idea that, in 2012, even heavily armed citizens could mount any kind of effective resistance for more than a few weeks at most against their local police department, let alone the armed forces of the United States of America, is a fantasy.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:09 AM on July 20, 2012 [30 favorites]


I don't recall mentioning race. I had a white guy come up to my door at midnight with some scam about his father being in the hospital and his car had been towed, and could I give him money. He was shaking from crack withdrawal. But go ahead and think what you want about me being "racist." I was merely pointing out that cities have a higher rate of drugs and crime, not that we don't have our share of it in the country. I don't own a gun, but if I wanted to buy a shotgun for practice shooting or hunting, I don't want the government telling me too bad. I did say I don't like automatic weapons. But have fun making me your scapegoat. I'm out.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:10 AM on July 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


I think there's anger throughout the weatern world,

It's called "a long recession".
posted by edgeways at 9:10 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


brilliantmistake: I think there's anger throughout the weatern world, in England we had a summer of rioting chaos last year.

Honestly, I worry that you all are taking too many cues from the people across the pond. Be careful you don't become too much like them.
posted by syzygy at 9:10 AM on July 20, 2012


but we do have limited resources in both money and political will
The people of Iraq and Afghanistan among others probably won't agree with you there.
$3.7 trillion at the last count. Some people even dare to think that America has got it's priorities wrong. I am one of them.
How many civilian massacres have there been in the in USA? and all we hear is ''....from my cold dead hands''. Fuck That.
posted by adamvasco at 9:10 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


How do we know? What's the source?

The local denver news said they found that picture on the University of Colorado's website, where Holmes was studying neuroscience.
posted by arcolz at 9:10 AM on July 20, 2012


Also this is hilariously racist

It doesn't have to be. I feel a similar way--I've lived in the city and the country--and there's a "I know my gun toting neighbors" feeling here in rural Vermont (where we have a pretty heavy gun owning population but a pretty low gun violence rate) which I did not have when I lived in Seattle.
posted by jessamyn at 9:11 AM on July 20, 2012 [24 favorites]


Another picture of James Holmes:

http://twitpic.com/show/large/a9qxej
posted by BoatMeme at 9:13 AM on July 20, 2012


>This means he'd graduate from college with good grades. The mental illness hypothesis just got a bit less plausible.

Ted Kaczynski


Doesn't seem to have been crazy.
posted by valkyryn at 9:14 AM on July 20, 2012


Now this is interesting. Guy was apparently a medical student until last month. This means he'd graduate from college with good grades. The mental illness hypothesis just got a bit less plausible.

You may want to look at your assumptions here. For example Schizophrenics can be quite high functioning individuals prior to onset of symptoms. Which tend to show up in the patients early 20's.

None of which indicates that we know anything about this person or this incident yet just clearing up mental health related misconception.
Also

.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 9:14 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


A friend's sister murdered their mother before trying to kill herself very late in her medical school career. (She may have even recently graduated.) What happened is she discovered she was going blind, which meant she couldn't be the surgeon she'd spent her entire life preparing to be - and having decided to kill herself, she didn't want to leave her siblings to deal with the mother's abuse alone.

What I'm saying is psychotic breaks can strike high achievers too. Definitely.
posted by gerryblog at 9:15 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Also this is hilariously racist

What? No, it's not. You're making silly assumptions.
posted by Shepherd at 9:15 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't own a gun, but if I wanted to buy a shotgun for practice shooting or hunting, I don't want the government telling me too bad. I did say I don't like automatic weapons.

Well, to me that reads like you're pro-gun control.

As I said above, it's not an all or nothing proposition. Look, I'm from New Zealand. Rural New Zealand. I shot rabbits and possums when I was reasonably young. I and many of my friends grew up with guns. I knew more people with guns than without. And yet, NZ has gun control. You can't just go buy 'em at the big box store. You can't get automatic weapons. And there is not nearly the amount of gun violence, per capita.
posted by gaspode at 9:15 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


[Ted Kaczynski] seem to have been crazy.

He suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:16 AM on July 20, 2012


Bad link.
Schizophrenia.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 9:16 AM on July 20, 2012


For those of us who don't have access to the live coverage, can someone explain why the death toll went down? Were people counted twice?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:17 AM on July 20, 2012


"Crackhead" is a very racially loaded and coded word. Its inclusion in a diatribe about the drug addicts of the inner city is, of course, going to make the entire screed seem racist.

Now, someone is going to say "there are plenty of white crack addicts" and, yes, there are. However, "crackhead" is still a racially coded word.
posted by absalom at 9:18 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Pipe bomb = pipe, end caps, match heads, and a fuse or igniter. This is how Kaczynski got started.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:07 PM on July 20


Gun = point loaded gun, move finger just a teensy bit. Over and over again.

Man, until you people get this fundamental point, there's no chance for America.
posted by Decani at 9:18 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


cities have a higher rate of drugs and crime

er... well having lived in medium cities and small towns and "the country" I'd counter that the smaller communities are much better about under reporting their drugs and crime. The druggiest school I ever attended when I was young was in Mt. Juliet TN, pretty damn rural, cripes on toast, even the teachers got busted for dealing to kids. Huge % of the meth making it into the cities come from the farmlands around here. And some of the worst sexual abuse coverups I know of are from small towns in Iowa (where everyone knows everyone and there is no way the local so and so could possibly do THAT to his kids, nosireebob). center of the Militia movement a few years back? The U.P in MI.

So... I can understand why rural areas feel safer (I certainly like living there better myself), but there are times, given the systemic under-reporting I have seen, when I really question the notion that they really are proportionately less crime and drugs than most cities.
posted by edgeways at 9:18 AM on July 20, 2012 [16 favorites]


It's really odd to hear Obama giving a somber and sober speech on the tragedy before a cheering campaign crowd...

Obama scrapped a partisan speech for the day. Romney has also pulled his campaign adds in Colorado for today, apparently.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:19 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


valkyryn's a lawyer, right? He may be using the fairly rarefied legal standard for incapacitation as opposed to common usage, in which case you'd (pretty much always) have trouble making the claim a person is mentally ill.
posted by gerryblog at 9:19 AM on July 20, 2012


Moammargaret: I think that, on a basic level, the 2nd amendment says that yes, private citizens do have a right to own that kind of weaponry, yes. However, the barrier to owning those things is really money more than regulation. Even if it wasn't, I don't think there is a safe way for private citizens to own the serious hardware that our military uses (tanks, drones, missiles, etc).

But I also don't think the Taliban in Afghanistan had access to many of those things and that wasn't a half-assed resistance.

Adamvasco, I don't understand what your argument is. That Americans have the political will to spend $3.7 trillion on gun control but they wouldn't be willing to spend that on mental health? My assertion is that people are more willing to spend money on upgrading our mental health services than they are on gun control. I agree that we have fucked up priorities and that neither is likely but if we're going to push for one, mental health will have more impact and more success in preventing these kinds of atrocities.
posted by VTX at 9:19 AM on July 20, 2012


//However, "crackhead" is still a racially coded word./

FWIW, the image I get in my head when I hear the word crackhead is a tweaked out white kid.
posted by COD at 9:21 AM on July 20, 2012 [16 favorites]


valkyryn's a lawyer, right? He may be using the fairly rarefied legal standard for incapacitation as opposed to common usage, in which case you'd (pretty much always) have trouble making the claim a person is mentally ill.

Being fit to stand trial is not at all the same thing as not being "crazy." You can be mentally ill and not fall under the insanity defense, let alone rise above the very low bar of being fit to stand trial.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:22 AM on July 20, 2012


not a gun expert or enthusiast. i do own guns for hunting. some clarification :

automatic means that you do not have to manually load every bullet into the firing chamber in order to fire. there are hunting rifles that are not automatic -- you have a clip / magazine that typically holds less than half a dozen bullets, and you have to load each one into the firing chamber with a lever or other mechanism in order to shoot it. there are also hunting rifles that are automatic, where the mechanism within the gun loads the next bullet to be fired. also usually less than 6-round clips, but you can get larger. however -- these types of guns are not fully-automatic, they are semi-automatic.

semi-automatic means that you can shoot bullets as fast as you can pull the trigger until the supply of bullets is exhausted -- one shot for every pull of the trigger. fully-automatic means that you can shoot bullets repeatedly by pressing and holding the trigger. fully-auto weapons are much more difficult to come by, and are typically only used in military settings.

my understanding is that a lot of these types of shootings are being done with compact (read -- non-hunting) rifles, or pistols, with semi-automatic capability and large magazines capable of dispersing large numbers of bullets as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger. these types of weapons will probably never be outlawed, but i believe we should look very closely at outlawing the large-capacity magazines. you don't need them for hunting -- if you need to use more than half-a-dozen rounds to kill an animal, you're doin' it wrong (and i know, 'cause i've done it wrong and seen it done wrong). i've never seen anybody hunt with these AR or AK style weapons anyway...they don't seem practical...but they aren't going away for the enthusiast. but -- let them load them 4 rounds at a time if they love that type of gun so much they feel they need one...there is no reason for high-capacity clips other than to kill / wound a lot of people in a very short period of time.

incredibly shocking and sad...my thoughts are with all involved.
posted by g.i.r. at 9:22 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


He suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

That diagnosis is, of course, disputed. Even if it were true, he was found competent to stand trial. So yeah, kinda.

But not entirely. I've never been all that comfortable with the idea that the first explanation for any heinous act is that the perpetrator is mentally ill. The vast majority of mentally ill people are harmless, and I see no real evidence for the idea that any significant percentage of the harmful are mentally ill.

We send too many mentally ill people to prison as it is.
posted by valkyryn at 9:23 AM on July 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


There is more than one comment above about automatic weapons (in this incident, banning, etc.).
1. Do we have any information that this person used an automatic weapon in the attack? The most I've seen from a news outlet is "AK-like", which 99.9999% of the time in this country means a semiautomatic AK-type gun. I don't doubt that he could've bought the parts and illegally modified the action to convert it to automatic, but I've not seen a bit of reliable news about that.
2. Automatic weapons are already essentially illegal and impossible to buy in this country for anything but military/LEO use. Acquiring one is a $15 000+ proposition, even for a low-quality eastern European Cold War relic. A high-quality gun can be double that. (In order to be transferable to a new owner, it has to be an old gun made before the ban and thus the supply is very small.) Such a purchase also comes with more than the normal pile of paperwork and oversight. It's been this way since 1986, with the acquisition costs rising steadily every year. Banning them outright makes them no less available to criminals, since it's far cheaper and easier to illegally modify a legal gun to make it automatic.
posted by introp at 9:24 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


A friend's sister murdered their mother before trying to kill herself very late in her medical school career... What happened is she discovered she was going blind, which meant she couldn't be the surgeon she'd spent her entire life preparing to be - and having decided to kill herself, she didn't want to leave her siblings to deal with the mother's abuse alone.


What I'm saying is psychotic breaks can strike high achievers too.


Unless there is more, that is not a psychotic break, that is a very distressed person.
posted by edgeways at 9:24 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


COD: FWIW, the image I get in my head when I hear the word crackhead is a tweaked out white kid.

I read "tweaked out white kid" and the first thing that comes to my mind is "meth lab."

"Crackhead" is definitely racially coded.
posted by tzikeh at 9:24 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Being fit to stand trial is not at all the same thing as not being "crazy." You can be mentally ill and not fall under the insanity defense, let alone rise above the very low bar of being fit to stand trial.

Exactly right. But if valkyryn is bleeding the two together it'd be easy to see how he could conclude (and rightly, I think, within those rarefied parameters) that Ted Kaczynski isn't crazy.
posted by gerryblog at 9:24 AM on July 20, 2012


That diagnosis is, of course, disputed.

...by Ted Kaczynski.

Even if it were true, he was found competent to stand trial.

You know full well - or, you ought to know full well - that that is not the same thing as not being "crazy," unless we are taking this moment to radically redefine that word to only mean "not competent to stand trial."
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:25 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, on lack of preview I see he's already said kinda.
posted by gerryblog at 9:25 AM on July 20, 2012


Until the word "urban" stops being used as a euphemism for "black," it'll be a tricky thing to talk about "city crime vs. rural crime" without sounding like you're really saying "black people with guns vs. white people with guns."
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:25 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


For those of us who don't have access to the live coverage, can someone explain why the death toll went down? Were people counted twice?

Just the general confusion and misunderstanding that follows events like this. For example, one of the deceased was counted twice, once as Jessica Ghawi and once as Jessica Redfield, but through her mother, officials learned that she was the same person, with Ghawi being her birth name, which she didn't go by.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:26 AM on July 20, 2012


Updates from listening to the medical press conferences on the 9News feed:
* University: 23 admitted, 7 treated & released, 9 critical
* Aurora: 15 admitted (12 shooting victims, 3 chemical exposure), 8 discharged in good condition, 5 critical
* Children's: 6 admitted, one death (identity withheld). Remaining 5 "range from good to critical"; 2-3 expected to be released later today.

These are basically the same figures from the Reddit timeline, with more discharges.

The Aurora spokeswoman mentioned that once the breaking news coverage began, their center and other medical facilities in the region staffed up to full on their own; off duty and backup personnel came in automatically without having to be asked.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:26 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


'Crazy' is not a useful word in discussions of mental health.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:26 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


God. My sincere condolences go out to everyone involved. My problems are so small in relation to this, my understanding of why people do the things they do so incomplete. I'll try to be more grateful than I have been in the past.
posted by phaedon at 9:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Another picture of James Holmes

And, as we always have and always will, we look at the picture and wonder what, behind that smile and inside that head, was in the process of going so very, very, very wrong.

I have avoided reading too much directly about this. I can't bear to know about some aspiring young reporter who died, or a little kid in a Batman costume. But those references, along with ColdChef's mention of knowing someone who was hurt, are what bring it home.

I'm flashing back on the time a couple years ago when, on my way home from work, I drove by the site of a fresh murder, a police cloth shielding the scene. Or other streets, other buildings I'm familiar with (post offices, medical centers) where there've been shootings. Or even more directly, when there was a murder-suicide at my workplace three years ago, but overshadowed for me personally only because my father also died that week.

I think of times over the couple years when I've been in a store, or at work (including just two days ago), and found myself worrying about (and sometimes taking action/ precaution) over an unstable looking person.

It's preposterous to say most of us are far removed from gun violence. It's all around us, and we've all been affected by it. And most affect of all, it seems, are the people who are so fearful they feel the need to have multiple weapons in their home, their car or on their person at all times.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:28 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Crackhead
posted by absalom at 9:29 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do we have any information that this person used an automatic weapon in the attack

As explained above, automatic and semi-automatic are synonymous, despite what the fire-arms enthusiasts tell you. The distinction is simply "semi-automatic" or "fully-automatic" - one shot per trigger pull, or the gun keeps firing until empty for as long as the trigger is pulled.

And this really sends me up the wall - gun-rights advocates deliberately muddying the waters with incorrect technical information.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:30 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


They just released info on the types of weapons -- two handguns, one Remington 870 shotgun, and an AR-15. No info if any of them were modified or had extended magazines.
posted by arcolz at 9:32 AM on July 20, 2012


these types of weapons will probably never be outlawed, but i believe we should look very closely at outlawing the large-capacity magazines.

Why not? I mean, maybe I can buy the argument for small calibre things, you need a few tries to nail that rabbit or whatever, but do you ever really need to take more than one shot at a deer? and if you do, haven't you wounded it enough that pulling the bolt isn't going to make a big difference?
posted by jonbro at 9:34 AM on July 20, 2012


Movie critic Roger Ebert, from his review of "Falling Down" (1993): "... [A story] which is actually about a great sadness which turns into madness, and which can afflict anyone who is told, after many years of hard work, that he is unnecessary and irrelevant. ...What is fascinating about the [Michael] Douglas character, as written and played, is the core of sadness in his soul. Yes, by the time we meet him, he has gone over the edge. But there is no exhilaration in his rampage, no release. He seems weary and confused, and in his actions he unconsciously follows scripts that he may have learned from the movies, or on the news, where other frustrated misfits vent their rage on innocent bystanders."

Anomie looks more and more like everyday American life in these hard times.
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:34 AM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


^ I don't understand what your argument is.
Your country can spend $3.7 fucking over everybody else when it could be trying to improve society.
Society could be improved by Better Mental Health Care, and...wait for it... making sure that firearms especially automatic firearms are just a little bit harder to buy than a Cheeseburger especially for deranged fuckwits or 24 year old schoolboys students.
posted by adamvasco at 9:36 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just the general term "mentally ill" is problematic as well. We, in general, don't go around and say "oh she has a physical illness". We say: He is deaf, she is blind, he has fibromyalgia, she has heart disease... But everyone with mental illness is the same unless we deign to offhandedly decide to define it (oftentimes prior to a real diagnosis being established), and heck they are are crazy or whacked right?

Start a war that kills up to a million of people and you are a leader. Kill your husband because he cheated on you and you are crazy.

McVeigh was not a "crazy", Muslim, black man. But a nice "sane" white christian veteran.
posted by edgeways at 9:36 AM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


Updated status from Denver medical center:
6 admitted (gunshot wounds & abrasions), 3 treated and released, 3 remaining in hospital in fair condition (ie. no longer critical, still recovering in hospital). They've also taken on a fourth patient who has transferred there from another hospital, who is also in fair condition.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:38 AM on July 20, 2012


But if valkyryn is bleeding the two together it'd be easy to see how he could conclude (and rightly, I think, within those rarefied parameters) that Ted Kaczynski isn't crazy.

No, that would be the wrong conclusion, especially within those parameters. "Crazy," "mentally ill," and "incompetent to stand trial" are all separate phrases with separate meanings. Those found incompetent to stand trial due to mental illness constitute just a small portion of those who suffer from mental illness. It is exactly wrong, and not even kinda right, to say that someone who is competent to stand trial cannot suffer from mental illness.

This is especially piquant in the case of the Unabomber, as the competency determination was also where he was officially diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:38 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jesus Christ why in god's name does anyone not in uniform have an AR-15. Why can you buy it? Why are they fucking made? Do the people who respond to that with "because they can" even consider saying that to their own face in a mirror and then agreeing it's an acceptable answer?

It's so goddamn crazy-- it's like, the closest I can compare it to is comic or toy collectors. No one "needs" that rare, exclusive white-cape Superman variant or whatever the fuck but, like, the toy company or comic publisher knows if they make it, collectors will want it.

There is no reason gun companies need to make it for use outside of the military. But they do anyway. Because they know people will say they "need it." And god damned if you'll take their right to have that toy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:41 AM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


Does anyone know if there will be a list of the victims published...? Presumably after they notify all the families?
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:45 AM on July 20, 2012


There is no reason gun companies need to make it for use outside of the military. But they do anyway. Because they know people will say they "need it." And god damned if you'll take their right to have that toy.

Well put. The only reason to have a gun like that is either as a toy or a murder weapon. If it's a toy, you don't actually need it. If it's a murder weapon, one might argue that you probably...shouldn't have it.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:45 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just the general term "mentally ill" is problematic as well. We, in general, don't go around and say "oh she has a physical illness". We say: He is deaf, she is blind, he has fibromyalgia, she has heart disease... But everyone with mental illness is the same unless we deign to offhandedly decide to define it (oftentimes prior to a real diagnosis being established), and heck they are are crazy or whacked right?

That, I agree, is a problem.
posted by Artw at 9:47 AM on July 20, 2012


Aurora shooting suspect's family releases statement: Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time. Our family is cooperating with authorities in both San Diego, California and Aurora, Colorado. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:47 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, preview.

But this is less my legal background talking than it is my general skepticism of the DSM as a project. And even of just the concept of "mental hygiene" generally.

Don't get me wrong, I've been around psychotics. They're scary. But they tend not to be all that functional. Read Kazcynski's stuff. It's the work of someone who's thought about things way too much without doing any of the requisite reading, and it's wildly wrong in many places, but for all that, it's still cogent. His book is 480 pages, but it isn't mindlessly repetitive or word salad. The schizophrenics with whom I've come in contact couldn't easily come up with something like that. Certainly not with anything like proper grammar throughout.

McVeigh wasn't "crazy." Neither, I suggest, was Kazscynzki. They were evil men who made evil choices. Saying they were "mentally ill" means saying that they had that perfectly titrated degree of mental illness such that they were crazy enough to try something like that but not so crazy that their craziness actually prevented them from being able to pull it off. That's a damn specific level of crazy, and it might not even exist.

Fundamentally, I'm just really uncomfortable with classifying anything and everything we find threatening or disturbing as "mental illness." Smacks a little too much of aesthetic/epistemological/political imperialism to me.

So I don't know anything about this guy but (1) that he seems to have been a medical student, and (2) he obtained a gas mask, used tear gas on a movie theater, and opened fire. None of that, to me, says "mentally ill" in any sense of the word. That opinion is certainly subject to change as the facts come out, but I'm not going to jump to the conclusion that he was mentally ill just yet.
posted by valkyryn at 9:47 AM on July 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


I'm on the fence about the death penalty, but this is one of those times when it might be worth applying to those who sold him his weaponry and ammunition, sharing the responsibility and consequences for these crimes, all the way up the chain. The arms dealers' hands are just as bloody, today.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:48 AM on July 20, 2012


Gun control does not equal "taking away all the guns".

Exactly. No more than having rules of the road takes away all the cars.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:48 AM on July 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


Headlines from tomorrow dept: For some reason, latest shooting clear evidence we need more guns not fewer.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:49 AM on July 20, 2012


This is the first google image for an AR 15....

someone said "toy" right?
posted by edgeways at 9:49 AM on July 20, 2012


Here you go: 13 years ago a Brazilian Medical Student opened fire inside a movie theater, during a screening of Fight Club. Hope this settles the whole "he's a medical student, so he's unlikely to be crazy" argument.

FWIW, media was quick to blame Duke Nukem 3D, which had come out around that time, and featured a scene where you could shoot guns inside a movie theater.
posted by qvantamon at 9:49 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Exactly. No more than having rules of the road takes away all the cars.

yeah but there are traffic deaths anyway so we should just get rid of all traffic laws
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:50 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


jonbro -- what xquzyphyr said. i don't need an AR or whatever to hunt...seems impractical. are they even accurate at long distances ? no idea...my guess is no. anyways i don't need one. i like to hunt our deer season here, which is ultimately about a lot more than just pulling a trigger...so i don't really get the obsession over these types of 'assault' weapons. but people want them, and will scream if they can't get them. fine -- let 'em have them...just make the clips smaller, and outlaw the bigger clips.

i have a 4-round clip for my semi-auto hunting rifle, and can load one into the chamber. two years ago i saw and shot at two deer together...i believe i used 4 or 5 rounds.
posted by g.i.r. at 9:51 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


FWIW, media was quick to blame Duke Nukem 3D, which had come out around that time, and featured a scene where you could shoot guns inside a movie theater.

Then they're going to have a field day with a link between this and the Dark Knight Returns comic.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:52 AM on July 20, 2012


Then they're going to have a field day with a link between this and the Dark Knight Returns comic.

And completely miss the irony, I'm sure.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


We need to be clear about Ted K. From Wikipedia's entry on his early life:
He also participated in a multiple-year personality study conducted by Dr. Henry Murray, an expert on stress interviews. Students in Murray's study were told they would be debating personal philosophy with a fellow student. Instead they were subjected to a "purposely brutalizing psychological experiment" stress test, which was an extremely stressful, personal, and prolonged psychological attack.
Furthermore, the discarding of the concept of the mental illness because of disagreements with the DSM does a disservice to those who are critical of the DSM in good faith. Some may not agree with categorical assessments, but the community of people who use this disagreement in order to undermine the mental health discipline clearly out of some with some political intentions...similar to climate change denialism.
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 9:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


The man suspected of carrying out the Colorado movie theater shooting, 24-year-old James Holmes from San Diego, was a graduate student in the neuroscience program at the University of Colorado Medical School, a university spokesman told NBC News.
Can we drop the medical student thing now?
posted by zamboni at 9:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


g.i.r -- I am questioning why you need semi-auto at all. "People will scream if they can't get them" seems not enough reason. I guess shooting two deer at the same time is cool. Quite truthfully, my belief that making the only allowed rifles bolt action being something that would help safety in these situations may be misplaced. I am happy to hear if that is the case.
posted by jonbro at 9:58 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just the general term "mentally ill" is problematic as well. We, in general, don't go around and say "oh she has a physical illness". We say: He is deaf, she is blind, he has fibromyalgia, she has heart disease...

I don't think it's quite that simple. Physical illnesses and mental illnesses are apples and oranges. With physical illness we are capable of pinpointing physical causes. Heart disease has visible damage around the heart...deafness has visible damage/defects around the ear.

For mental illnesses, it's all in the mind, and only the mind's owner knows of the full effect. There are often no physically identifiable differences (maybe defects in the "empathy" region of the brain...but our full knowledge on how the mind works is still in its primitive stage). Mental illness is where you "start," just like physical illness is where start when you're feeling chest pains....it's not until you dig deeper that you find that it's either heartburn, a hernia, or heart trouble. It's not so easy with the mind.

So with that said, it's probably feasible to take that next logical step for this guy in particular and assume that he is also a sociopath, incapable of feeling empathy. He'd break the mold on mass murderers if he wasn't. That's still speculation until it is confirmed. Whether there's an underlying condition that leads to that lack of empathy...we won't know until the court knows...so mental illness, for indiscriminately opening fire on innocent civilians, is a good category for now in my mind.
posted by samsara at 10:01 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


i don't need an AR or whatever to hunt...seems impractical. are they even accurate at long distances ?

An AR 15 is the civilian model of the M-16 which was the standard US Army troop weapon when I was in basic training. I've shot both. The only difference between the two is that the M-16 had a "burst" mode where it would shoot three bullets at a time.

I would consistently hit a pop-up target at 300 yards that was the size of a man's torso. I could inconsistently hit that same target at twice that distance.

This is without a scope. The targets only stay up for a few seconds and you know where they are going to pop up.

I've heard of people making shots much further than that, but I'm not an expert on that kind of shooting.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:06 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why not? I mean, maybe I can buy the argument for small calibre things, you need a few tries to nail that rabbit or whatever, but do you ever really need to take more than one shot at a deer? and if you do, haven't you wounded it enough that pulling the bolt isn't going to make a big difference?

Anecdotal, but back when I was in my early teens and hunted with my dad in western South Dakota (before I lost my taste for guns and hunting in my 20s), the hunting culture I was exposed to seemed to really value the kind of person who got a deer cleanly with one shot, and indeed you'd meet a few people out on the back roads and trails who made it a point of pride to only take a single bullet with them on a day's hunt.

Now, if you hung around the bars and restaurants in town during deer season after it got dark in the evening, you'd hear a lot more of the other kind of hunter, who fetishized the weapons, the hunting accessories (tons of gore-tex camo, shiny gear, ATVs, all that mall sporting goods store lifestyle stuff) and bagging a a big buck to have taxidermied first and foremost. We tried to avoid them out in the field, because they were typically shitty at hunting, kicking up a ton of noise walking around and didn't pay attention to things like their scent carrying in the wind.

But anyways, even the hunters who valued responsibility, accuracy, all that good stuff, would go to the mat for the rights of the douchebag irresponsible hunters to own bigger and bigger guns, because (broadly speaking) there's something about gun culture in the US that gets people defensive about even the most toothless attempts at gun regulation. That weird reactionary us vs. them thing is what put me on the path to deciding I didn't want anything to do with gun ownership personally. You can't have nuanced opinions around a lot of gun owners, you will have a nice conversation turn into somebody jumping down your throat with their mini manifesto more often than not. You stand a pretty good chance of getting your ass kicked by a group in an otherwise decent bar in many parts of this country if you express something other than full support for NRA talking points. There are certainly exceptions to the rule, and god bless 'em, but I couldn't stand being involved at all.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:07 AM on July 20, 2012 [21 favorites]


Gun = point loaded gun, move finger just a teensy bit. Over and over again.

But yet, other countries with lots of guns don't have gun violence rates remotely proportional to the US. Norway and Sweden and Switzerland and Canada and Finland and France and Austria "should" all have about one-third the gun violence of the US, but they don't. Not even close.

Man, until you people get this fundamental point, there's no chance for America.

I agree, except about what the point is. Until American society reduces the extent to which it beats down people, breaks down people, sets people against each other, and otherwise creates the mindsets that do this (or more common gun violence), we're going to keep killing each other. With commercially-produced guns, or homemade bomb vests, or home-or-informally-made guns.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:08 AM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


jonbro -- shooting two deer at the same time kept my family fed for many months. i'm not an expert marksman or a regular shooter, so the semi-auto helped me do that.
i'm not an nra member. i'm not a gun enthusiast. i'm not a rabid gun advocate. i hunt for the camaraderie, and to get outdoors...and if i get a deer it's a nice bonus. i've had a lot of 'dry' years -- more dry years than successful ones, in fact. it's not about killing. it's not about pulling the trigger. not for me, anyway.
i know of people who were endangered in the woods by some asshole with a bolt rifle who didn't consider what was beyond his target.
guns are not a black-and white issue, it's very grey...as most things are.
posted by g.i.r. at 10:11 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


(My apologies if my question and point above were inflammatory. In my family / social group / local culture the word "automatic" means something very specific. I didn't realize that other people classified semiautomatic as automatic.)
posted by introp at 10:13 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


http://www.metafilter.com/118085/Shooting-at-Batman-Premiere-outside-Denver#4462532: But yet, other countries with lots of guns don't have gun violence rates remotely proportional to the US. Norway and Sweden and Switzerland and Canada and Finland and France and Austria "should" all have about one-third the gun violence of the US, but they don't. Not even close.

I'm not sure Austria deserves to be on that list, unless you're counting conscripts and reservists who have to keep a weapon at home (no idea whether they do, by the way).

You're absolutely right about there being very little gun violence here, though. There's very little deadly violence of any flavor and a vanishingly minuscule amount of gun violence.
posted by syzygy at 10:13 AM on July 20, 2012


NYT: New York City Police Commissiner Raymond W. Kelly said the suspect in the shootings had red-painted hair that resembled the character “The Joker” from the Batman comics and movies.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:14 AM on July 20, 2012


jason_steakums: I was brought up by a family of responsible gun owners and that's been exactly my experience, too. It seems like more gun owners these days are all about their right to own and brandish guns, but not too especially concerned with the responsibility side of the equation. In fact, many seem to bristle at the suggestion that the right comes with a matching set of responsibilities. It often seems to be more about the identity culture of gun ownership than the reality of a gun as an important and powerful tool.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:15 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Has New York City Police Commissiner Raymond W. Kelly ever even SEEN the Joker?
posted by gerryblog at 10:16 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Since when does The Joker have red hair? Also, why does the police commissioner of New York City, NY feel the need to provide details on an event that occurred in Aurora, CO?
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:16 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


NYT: New York City Police Commissiner Raymond W. Kelly said the suspect in the shootings had red-painted hair that resembled the character “The Joker” from the Batman comics and movies.

Cite? Why would the NYC Police commissioner give out info on something that happened in Colorado? Also, the joker has green hair, not red.
posted by arcolz at 10:16 AM on July 20, 2012


Yes, Switzerland does have high gun ownership, and "[it has] rates of family shootings and suicides by firearms that are among the highest in Europe."
posted by NailsTheCat at 10:16 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


We need more gun owners like g.i.r. up here.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:16 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't own a gun, but if I wanted to buy a shotgun for practice shooting or hunting, I don't want the government telling me too bad.

....Why WOULD they? What in your background is making you think you would be prevented from owning a gun after you undergo a background check?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:17 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I have no idea. I just copy/pasted from the Times. What a bizarre thing to say.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:17 AM on July 20, 2012


Apparently those were two different thoughts, which NYT just chose to mash together.

The suspect's hair was painted red.

He said he was the Joker.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:18 AM on July 20, 2012


NYT: New York City Police Commissiner Raymond W. Kelly said the suspect in the shootings had red-painted hair that resembled the character “The Joker” from the Batman comics and movies.

Raymond Kelly has obviously confused The Joker with Drop Dead Fred.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:20 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Well the Aurora PD is holding a press conference in about 10 or 15 minutes, so hopefully we'll get some real info instead of rumors and hoaxes.
posted by arcolz at 10:22 AM on July 20, 2012


Why anyone would trust any police commissioner of Gotham not named Gordon is beyond me.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:22 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


There are very specific things that mark different mental illnesses. Depression is not schizophrenia is not sociopathy, is not OCD is not bipolar is not a borderline personality disorder, is not PTSD, is not an eating disorder...

But, fundamentally, what is a "mental illness" if it is not a "physical illness"? There are real and physical changes in the bodies (and the brain is part of the body as well) chemically and structurally. MRIs can often times pinpoint different structural defects in the brains of folks with different mental illnesses. Denying a physical component of mental illness, just trows it back into the realm of possession, inherently evil, beat it out of them and so forth.

Saying, "this person has mental illness obviously because he killed someone", what does one mean? That they have an eating disorder? Probably not. But labeling the same person who suffers, say OCD, with exactly the same words as you label a mass murder is not only inaccurate, but really really damaging to a lot of people. When someone says "crazy, whacked, nutjob, batshit insane..." to include a person who is depressed and who kits them self out and kills a dozen people? Yeah, you know? We can and should do a lot better with out words to reduce the collateral damage and stigmatizing effects they have. Every single day people offhandedly equate Michelle Bachmann and her political wackiness with my relative with an anxiety disorder. I tell you straight up, they are nothing alike.
posted by edgeways at 10:24 AM on July 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


Or they might be confusing The Joker with Ronald McDonald...
posted by samsara at 10:25 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


He suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

Apologies for derail, but as Kaczynski himself pointed out during his trial, the legal establishment tasked with determining his "sanity" would have had a strong political interest in pronouncing him "mentally ill" in order to discredit his writings which, viewed separately from his heinous acts, raise serious questions that connect to issues with which we as a society for real have to contend.

A psychiatrist tasked by the court with diagnosing a criminal after a serious and high-profile crime has been committed, especially if the criminal acted to advertise otherwise marginal ideology (whether disgusting like Breivik's or incoherent and wingnutty like Joe Stack's or actually thought-provoking and maybe kind of important, like Kaczynski's), is probably not operating at the same level of objectivity than they would otherwise be, and saying that Kaczynski is schizophrenic is at minimum a highly loaded assertion, because an entire nation had a strong interest in dismissing him as crazy. He may actually just be a terrorist who used evil methods to promote ideas that have to be evaluated separately from their author, and in that context, it's plausible that a schizophrenia diagnosis is just a way of shutting down an uncomfortable discussion.
posted by kengraham at 10:25 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm not sure Austria deserves to be on that list

The relevant wikipedia page says that the Austria has 30.4 privately-owned small arms per 100 people, compared to 88.8 in the US. That shouldn't include reservists unless reservists have to purchase their own weapons (which isn't so crazy as to be impossible).

Switzerland does have high gun ownership, and "[it has] rates of family shootings and suicides by firearms that are among the highest in Europe."

...and still far lower rates than the US, even scaled down to account for lower gun ownership rates.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:25 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was merely pointing out that cities have a higher rate of drugs and crime, not that we don't have our share of it in the country.

Er, "New evidence indicates not only a convergence of rural and urban usage rates, but also, for certain substances, higher usage rates in rural aras compared to urban areas." (source)

Also, the situation that held from about the 1960s to the 1980s, where U.S. urban areas had far higher crime rates than suburban and rural areas, is now well on its way back to parity. What's more, going back in history further than the 1950s, U.S. cities generally had lower per capita crime rates than rural areas. So the 1960s-1980s in the U.S. is more and more starting to look like a strange and somewhat unexplained divergence from usual crime trends.

In short, we're all in this together and the idea that "I'll just move away from the city and escape all these problems" is less and less true.

Just for example, in my state the rural areas are clear leaders in both the production and consumption of meth . . .
posted by flug at 10:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Brief update from Aurora Medical: their 5 critical patients are still in surgery, but doctors are very positive and they are all expected to recover.

The Denver area blood bank has no shortages but would like the public's help in replacing the supply that was used today, and reminds us that blood is an ongoing need. Their donation clinics are booked solid today and tomorrow, but they're open every day.
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


ABC News: Colorado shooting suspect to police: I am the Joker
posted by BobbyVan at 10:28 AM on July 20, 2012


Columbine: Whose Fault Is It?

Still relevant today.
posted by Fizz at 10:30 AM on July 20, 2012


> It is generally known here in Maine and most country locales in the U.S.: don't go down a dirt road unless you have a reason to be there. Dogs and guns and people with bear spray may await you.

I'm from a country locale in the US (though not Maine), and I've driven up and down quite a few dirt roads in my lifetime. Shooting at cars is illegal, and they're not edible. I've never worried anyone would shoot me. I've never heard of a problem with people in the country shooting at cars.

This is BS.

(Dogs are different matter, because 'Hey, look, a car! Let's chase it!' but they're not terribly threatening.)

This has no real bearing on gun control. (Despite knowing a lot of hunters, I'm in favor of some restrictions.) I just wanted to clear up some idiotic stereotypes.
posted by nangar at 10:30 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


From a local (to me in Southern California) paper:

http://www.sbsun.com/breakingnews/ci_21119535?source=rss

UPDATE: University of California Riverside releases statement regarding Colorado Shooting
staff report
Posted: 07/20/2012 10:18:08 AM PDT

The University of California Riverside has released this statement regarding the shooting this morning in Aurora, Colorado:

James Eagan Holmes, date of birth Dec. 13, 1987

The University of California, Riverside can confirm that a person by this name graduated from UCR with a BS in neuroscience in the Spring of 2010.

His last known address was in San Diego.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:32 AM on July 20, 2012


The group that did the most to cause sentiment for gun control to reach its high water mark in my lifetime so far?


The Black Panthers.
posted by jamjam at 10:33 AM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


More from ABC News...
One law enforcement official told ABC News that the suspect told authorities that "he was the joker," referring to a villian from the Batman series. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the suspect had dyed his hair red to match the character's.

...

Authorities report that 12 people were killed and nearly 50 were injured. Holmes was arrested in the parking lot of the movie theater, looking like "a villain in a movie," a Congressional official briefed on the situation told ABC News. His apartment is filled with explosives and being searched by Hazmat teams.

Kaitlyn Fonzi, who lives directly below Holmes's Aurora apartment, said that around midnight, she heard very loud music coming from the apartment above her.

The "same techno song that sounded like it included gunshots was playing in a loop for a long time," she said.

Fonzi said the music abruptly stopped at about 1 a.m.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:36 AM on July 20, 2012


Apologies for derail, but as Kaczynski himself pointed out during his trial, the legal establishment tasked with determining his "sanity" would have had a strong political interest in pronouncing him "mentally ill" in order to discredit his writings which, viewed separately from his heinous acts, raise serious questions that connect to issues with which we as a society for real have to contend.

I'm sorry, but the ability to write long rambling screed is not and never will be a sign that someone can't be schizophrenic. Pretty much the opposite, in fact.
posted by Artw at 10:36 AM on July 20, 2012


When jessamyn said 'dirt road' I'm picturing those kinds of unmarked long drives you get in the country. While I would not expect to get shot if I drive up one without an invite, it wouldn't surprise me if my interlocutor at the end of the drive had a gun and an unpleasant manner. When you live forty minutes from the police you tend to dislike strangers showing up in places they are not supposed to be.
posted by winna at 10:36 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well lets see..

the lefties are claiming that the shooter was a member of the tea party
the right wingers are claiming that the shooter was a black bloc member of OWS
there has already been a "profiler" on CNN blaming video games
Clint Van Zant was on MSNBC saying the shooter probably had a "Trekkie" type personality
the anti-gun people are blaming guns
the pro-gun people are blaming the United Nations
the conspiracy nuts are going... nuts (well, they do that every day anyhow)

and I'm certain that all of this is 100% utter bullshit and we won't find out the real story until 5 or 6 months down the road.
posted by smoothvirus at 10:37 AM on July 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


I just finished reading Columbine by Dave Cullen, which was a masterful retelling of what happened that day, what led up to it and what came after. What was so striking is how many falsities and untruths about the massacre became engrained so quickly due to the early chaos of newsreporting and individual speculation. I learned a lesson from that book that when it comes to these sorts of killings, it is best to wait a bit until the facts are clear before speculating. I realize that goes against human nature, but if you are actually interested in the truth of what happened, that is the only way you are going to get it.
posted by Falconetti at 10:38 AM on July 20, 2012 [39 favorites]


thank you, saulgoodman. much appreciated.

i could go on and on about the crappy and / or dangerous methods used in hunting and all that -- baiting, shooting from roads, allowing younger and younger kids to hunt, etc etc etc, and how i and my family are very against all that, but that would be a big derail. suffice to say that although we are gun owners and users, i feel like my family and i are sadly in the minority w/r/t attitudes on all of that stuff, and also the gun worship / fetishisation. i mostly keep my mouth shut about all of it.

but...if someone told me i'd have to give up my semi-auto hunting rifle, which is as long as my leg, i'd have a problem with that.

guns will not go away in the usa. as a hunter i don't believe they should. as a friend of casual enthusiasts / shooters i don't think they should. but there should definitely be limits, and we need to try to have reasonable, rational and factual discussions about types of weapons, ownership, use and responsibility. hard to do with both sides oversimplifying and inflaming things.
posted by g.i.r. at 10:39 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I just finished reading Columbine by Dave Cullen, which was a masterful retelling of what happened that day, what led up to it and what came after. What was so striking is how many falsities and untruths about the massacre became engrained so quickly due to the early chaos of newsreporting and individual speculation. I learned a lesson from that book that when it comes to these sorts of killings, it is best to wait a bit until the facts are clear before speculating. I realize that goes against human nature, but if you are actually interested in the truth of what happened, that is the only way you are going to get it.

I was thinking about that book when I made my last post. The exact same thing is happening right now, mostly by groups using the hyperbole to further their own agenda.
posted by smoothvirus at 10:42 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Apologies for derail, but as Kaczynski himself pointed out during his trial, the legal establishment tasked with determining his "sanity" would have had a strong political interest in pronouncing him "mentally ill" in order to discredit his writings which, viewed separately from his heinous acts, raise serious questions that connect to issues with which we as a society for real have to contend.

Perhaps it's just my experience of having actually dealt with paranoid schizophrenics, but where you see a superficially rational argument from Kaczynski, I merely see a garden variety grandiose, paranoid delusion, combined also with the routine blur between the self and the outside world.

I do not buy the argument that the court-appointed psychiatrist diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia out of any political interest "in order to discredit his writings". Such an idea assumes that we live in precisely the sort of paranoid universe that Ted Kaczynski must imagine himself to live in - a world where "technological slavery" may be averted through the strategic bombing of certain figures, as well as through the publication of rambling, messianic manifestos, and where such heroes are only described as mentally ill in order to discredit their good work.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:42 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


When jessamyn said 'dirt road'

fwiw jessamyn didn't mention 'dirt roads'
posted by edgeways at 10:43 AM on July 20, 2012


That's still speculation until it is confirmed.

So is the "mental illness" part. "Indiscriminately opening fire on innocent civilians" isn't a diagnostic criterion, and you are not a mental health professional.

so mental illness, for indiscriminately opening fire on innocent civilians, is a good category for now in my mind.

Hi. I'm a person with a history of mental illness (anxiety and depression, thanks for asking). Like many (and probably most) people with a history of mental illness, I've never been delusional, or had psychosis, or had trouble empathizing with people, or wanted to shoot or hurt anybody. Mostly, I go through periods where I have a hard time leaving the house, sometimes for days on end, which makes it hard for me to do a lot of normal-ass things, like, say, go to work.

Every time there's a discussion like this, where the term "mental illness" is used in a hand-waivey way ("The person did x. There's clearly something wrong with them, so I'm going to say they're mentally ill." or "Mentally-ill people shouldn't be allowed to y, and should be forced to z."), it makes me cringe. There's enough stigma attached to the idea of being mentally ill already. Maybe you could refrain from lumping all of us in with a mass murderer, to boot?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:43 AM on July 20, 2012 [47 favorites]




the lefties are claiming that the shooter was a member of the tea party

Correction: ABC News and a couple of other MSM outlets reported that the shooter may have been affiliated with the Colorado Tea Party based on evidence no more solid than this link from above (which I guess if you were an idiot you could characterize as "some lefty claiming" something).

Just. Fucking. Stop. It.

At least until the smoke clears, so we can get at least a decent chance of actually learning something from this monstrous tragedy. It's way too hard to reverse mistaken initial impressions after their formed. We know this from scientific results. So let's just hold off on our conclusions for a bit, until we can do something more useful than just muddy the waters.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:45 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Since when does The Joker have red hair?

The nurse scene in the last movie?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:45 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


But everyone with mental illness is the same unless we deign to offhandedly decide to define it (oftentimes prior to a real diagnosis being established), and heck they are are crazy or whacked right?

My mother's best friend is Norwegian (lives in Norway), and she told my mom that when it came to trying the shooter in that country, the courts had trouble coming up with definitions of what type of mental illness he might have. So, they asked the U.S. for help, and we were glad to oblige. The Eskimos have 30 words for snow, and the US has 30 words for mental illness, because we are experts on that subject.

The other night I watched the movie "Sophie's Choice" on TV, where a doctor claimed that Kevin Kline's character was a "paranoid schizophrenic." My immediate thought was "no way josé, he's either bipolar or just underemployed with anger management issues." Back in 1980, there was no need to differentiate between the different illnesses because...it wasn't as much of an issue? Because it wasn't as prevalent? Why are we such experts on mental illness nowadays? Why are we even arguing about gun control when there are so many more important things to address?

On preview: Right on, MonkeyToes--"Falling Down" said a lot when it came out, and nothing has changed.
posted by Melismata at 10:46 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is completely terrible. My thoughts go out to all of the victims and their friends and families.

ColdChef, thank you for sharing your story - it illustrates how chilling and scary it must have been to be there, and I hope your friend's daughter recovers quickly.
posted by Fig at 10:49 AM on July 20, 2012


Police discuss theater shooting - news conference now live streaming on cnn.com.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:49 AM on July 20, 2012


Correction: ABC News and a couple of other MSM outlets reported that the shooter may have been affiliated with the Colorado Tea Party based on evidence no more solid than this link from above (which I guess if you were an idiot you could characterize as "some lefty claiming" something).

His or her point was not in particular that leftists said something, but rather that after a chaotic massacre, everyone looks for scapegoats (usually whatever their pet cause is) or falls under the sway of rumor or misinformation. The truth usually does not emerge until after the hysteria and political posturing dies down (and even then, untruths stubbornly persist). The poster was making the same point you are now (which, frankly, is in opposition to your earlier unwarranted and borderline ludicrous specualtions on a connection to Limbaugh).
posted by Falconetti at 10:50 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


ABC News: Colorado shooting suspect to police: I am the Joker

downside of a culture that has way too much invested in the charismatic coolness of its fictional villains? Much as we may wish otherwise, this kind of horror doesn't just happen. There will be a point at which hindsight allows for a very clear picture of how this came to be.


.
posted by philip-random at 10:50 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Saulgoodman - a fair point, but it's not like this exists in isolation, ANC we know as much as we're going to know from the Previous cases and, let's face it, any deviations here will be minor. Probably the most significant thing is the guy didn't off himself and I'd take bets on that being purely for lack of opportunity.
posted by Artw at 10:51 AM on July 20, 2012


Correction: ABC News and a couple of other MSM outlets reported that the shooter may have been affiliated with the Colorado Tea Party based on evidence no more solid than this link from above (which I guess if you were an idiot you could characterize as "some lefty claiming" something)

Well, plenty of idiots think outlets like ABC are "lefties". This is absolutely going to provide fodder for the "liberal media" ranters (IMO, it should provide fodder for "stupid and lazy media" ranters, but I so seldom get what I want).
posted by tealdeer at 10:52 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are very specific things that mark different mental illnesses. Depression is not schizophrenia is not sociopathy, is not OCD is not bipolar is not a borderline personality disorder, is not PTSD, is not an eating disorder...

If you follow psychology over the past several hundred years or so, you'll find that these definitions have always been in flux depending on the school of thought that is popular. The point of attaching these labels is to make it easier to administer the most successful treatment..and we've come a long way from drilling holes into skulls to "fix" mental disorders.

But, fundamentally, what is a "mental illness" if it is not a "physical illness"?

I don't have a dictionary handy, but my best guess is it is a cognitive impairment apart from what is considered normal, just as a physical illness is a physical impairment from what is considered normal. It's a broad classification that can be used to cover many different things..just like the word "people" can be used to describe all sorts of human beings. What kind of person? Adult? Child? Man? Woman? Physical illnesses like Cancer, AIDs, or a common cold all fall under the same broad category.

Saying, "this person has mental illness obviously because he killed someone", what does one mean? That they have an eating disorder? Probably not. But labeling the same person who suffers, say OCD, with exactly the same words as you label a mass murder is not only inaccurate, but really really damaging to a lot of people.

He killed MANY people. I don't know what to really say about this other than I feel that's being overly-sensitive to a broad classification. The term "mental illness" is not the final clinical definition. A mental illness that is later clinically diagnosed as OCD is not the same as one that leads someone to kill, obviously. Just like a person that drives a car isn't necessarily driving while under the influence of alcohol, or naked...until they're pulled over and found to be. Let me ask you a question then....how would you describe the mental condition someone is in to where they would booby trap their apartment, go all the way to a theater with weapons and tear gas, look at patrons in the theater, and slowly and calmly opened fire on them indiscriminately with an assault rifle? To me, that's a dead ringer for a sociopath. If he is not suffering from some form of mental illness or ailment, what would you say in place of that? A bad case of the Fridays? Would that be offensive to everyone else that is having a bad day today? True, this is an assumption...but it's likely the best fitting description until more is discovered.

There are similarities. Just like physical illnesses, some mental illnesses can be treated and cured...some cannot.

I do agree however that the label has a history of being very dismissive and poorly understood. Honestly though....if he is guilty, I could care really less about his state of mind, or what clinical term is used to describe it. To me, there's no excuse, nor mentally sane reason to do what he did...period.
posted by samsara at 10:52 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm with ROU. Something is badly wrong with the environment in which Americans live -- multiple somethings, actually -- and there's no useful way to address gun violence until and unless we deal with this directly. The idea that we can legislate our way to a gun-free society won't work any better than the idea that we can legislate our way to a drug-free society; violence and disordered drug use are symptoms, not the disease.

I think about Rat Park almost every day, these days.
posted by vorfeed at 10:52 AM on July 20, 2012 [21 favorites]


McVeigh wasn't "crazy." Neither, I suggest, was Kazscynzki. They were evil men who made evil choices. Saying they were "mentally ill" means saying that they had that perfectly titrated degree of mental illness such that they were crazy enough to try something like that but not so crazy that their craziness actually prevented them from being able to pull it off. That's a damn specific level of crazy, and it might not even exist.

"Crazy" is not a scalar quantity*. Some "crazy"s induce people to try something like that. An overlapping but distinct set of "crazy"s would prevent them from being able to pull it off.

*Your statement hinges on it being scalar. The idea of it being scalar is a preposterous oversimplification that is so obviously worse than the DSM's system of categorization that it's difficult to take the rest of your comment seriously.
posted by Jpfed at 10:53 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


There will be a point at which hindsight allows for a very clear picture of how this came to be.


you are much more optimistic about American's ability to learn.. or learn the correct lesions from disaster than I am.
posted by edgeways at 10:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since when does The Joker have red hair?

I have the sneaking suspicion he's conflating The Joker with Ronald McDonald.
posted by workerant at 10:54 AM on July 20, 2012


They can still stab people or make bombs. The use of guns in something like this is a symptom of a different problem. If taking away the guns means that the people who do these things switch to bombs, it might make the problem worse.

True -- they could pick up bombs at any of the five thousand bomb shows a year in the USA.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have the sneaking suspicion he's conflating The Joker with Ronald McDonald.

Hey, it happens.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let me ask you a question then....how would you describe the mental condition someone is in to where they would booby trap their apartment, go all the way to a theater with weapons and tear gas, look at patrons in the theater, and slowly and calmly opened fire on them indiscriminately with an assault rifle?

I wouldn't attempt to describe it, precisely because I do not understand it.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


The poster was making the same point you are now (which, frankly, is in opposition to your earlier unwarranted and borderline ludicrous specualtions on a connection to Limbaugh).

You're mischaracterizing my comment, taking it out of context. That remark was specifically addressing a previous remark someone made about how it was impossible to see how any sane person would invest the premier of this film with political meaning, and only because a story about it had happened to pop up in my Google reader feed yesterday, I provided a link to a damn clear example of that claim not being true. I never explicitly or implicitly drew a connection between Limbaugh's stupid nonsense and this tragedy. You're either being dishonest or making a loose association if you think you see me drawing such a connection.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:56 AM on July 20, 2012


CNN has uploaded some 911 recordings and transcripts:
...

01:03:59 316 i need a rescue in here hot, see we got a guy shot. Inside of theater 9? Just outside of theater 9. 01:04:08

01:04:25 team 6 we got another person outside shot in the leg, a female, i got people running outside the theater that are shot in room 9. 01:04:33

01:04:39 318 i got another victim on the north side of this theater the parking lot. 01:04:43

...
(bold mine, wondering if that was ColdChef's Katie)
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:57 AM on July 20, 2012


Geez Saul, you made your point - suggesting the commenter suffers from a psychiatric problem (you even give a link!) is rude and overwrought.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:58 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


You're mischaracterizing my comment, taking it out of context. That remark was specifically addressing a previous remark someone made about how it was impossible to see how any sane person would invest the premier of this film with political meaning, and only because a story about it had happened to pop up in my Google reader feed yesterday, I provided a link to a damn clear example of that claim not being true. I never explicitly or implicitly drew a connection between Limbaugh's stupid nonsense and this tragedy. You're either being dishonest or making a loose association if you think you see me drawing such a connection.

saul, you are right. I went back and read your initial comment and I did mischaracterize it. No need to assert that because I did that I am either dishonest or have a "thought disorder" (the wiki entry your link goes to). Instead, I made a mistake and corrected it when you pointed it out.
posted by Falconetti at 11:01 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Geez Saul, you made your point - suggesting the commenter suffers from a psychiatric problem (you even give a link!) is rude and overwrought.

It's not a psychiatric problem; ordinary people under stress or when tired exhibit disordered thinking patterns all the time. I did it just yesterday in an unrelated thread.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:02 AM on July 20, 2012


Honestly though....if he is guilty, I could care really less about his state of mind, or what clinical term is used to describe it.

People aren't asking you to be sensitive to him, but to the other people involved in this conversation. They're also asking you to not throw around terms that have specific clinical meanings and histories—terms with which they've been labeled, and which have affected their lives—but which you're not even willing to grab a dictionary to define.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:04 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


More info:

Name is James Eagan Holmes
AR-15 assault rifle, Remington shotgun, .40 Glock handgun, other 40cal Glock handgun found in the car.
71 people shot, 12 deceased.
Holmes set off 2 devices, released smoke or some sort of irritant.
Officials are confident he acted alone.
Suspect was wearing ballistic helmet, ballistic leggings, groin protecter, tactical gloves, gasmask.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:04 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


you are much more optimistic about American's ability to learn.. or learn the correct lesions from disaster than I am.

I didn't intend anything about America collectively learning anything positive from this. You can lead a horse to water and all that ...

Not that I don't believe there is some kind of resolution to this kind of violence. I just think it will take a long, long time. That is, this guy didn't just suddenly decide, hey I'm going to kill a bunch of people at Batman tonight. His actions are the end product of a whole lotta pathology, overt and otherwise. Maybe he will eventually be proven to be schizophrenic (or other), maybe he did what he did with clarity. But one thing is sure, his actions were informed by his environment (his culture).

That Rat Park link is well worth exploring.
posted by philip-random at 11:05 AM on July 20, 2012



Slap*Happy:“As explained above, automatic and semi-automatic are synonymous, despite what the fire-arms enthusiasts tell you. The distinction is simply "semi-automatic" or "fully-automatic" - one shot per trigger pull, or the gun keeps firing until empty for as long as the trigger is pulled.

And this really sends me up the wall - gun-rights advocates deliberately muddying the waters with incorrect technical information.”

You really should tell the Pentagon about this, less they persist in their folly of supplying troops with fully automatic weapons.

I’m essentially neutral on gun control and don’t much care one way or the other, but extremists on both ends of the spectrum really send me up the wall. Gun rights guys are ranting about the need for open carry, while fighting tooth and nail against any and all limitations on firearm ownership. Meanwhile, gun control advocates who don’t understand the most basic things about guns make ideal straw men for the NRA.

Both sides are all about emotion. Both generate more heat than light. Neither adds anything of substance to the debate.
posted by Huplescat at 11:05 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


When jessamyn said 'dirt road'

fwiw jessamyn didn't mention 'dirt roads'


Oh no, you're right. That was Marie. Sorry about that.
posted by winna at 11:05 AM on July 20, 2012


Thanks for that, Falconetti. Like I explained before I saw your comment above, I didn't mean to accuse you of having a psychiatric problem! Just to describe the thing that just happened in clear, precise terms. It probably happened because this is a highly charged topic.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:05 AM on July 20, 2012


absalom: ""Crackhead" is a very racially loaded and coded word"

I disagree.
posted by Bonzai at 11:06 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


71 people shot. If that number is true... it is rather sickening. I mean, 71 people! That means, rough guess here, at least one hundred shots fired? How does a civilian even get that sort of firepower? (And how do we continue to allow that?)
posted by andreaazure at 11:06 AM on July 20, 2012


Here's the info given so far at the press conferance:

The suspect was apprehended at the back of the theater 9, they have no count of rounds fired. He surrendered with no injuries to officers.

Several rounds pierced the walls and hit people in the next theater over.

The police are confident that he acted alone.

The weapons used were: An AR-15, a Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun, and two .40cal Glock pistols. The suspect also used what they described as "two smoke producing and irritant devices."

He was wearing a gas mask, as well as a ballistic helmet, a ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, and groin armor.

Current counts of injured are 71 people shot and 12 deceased - 2 at hospital, 10 at the scene.

His apartment is booby trapped with incendiary devices and trip wires, they've evacuated a perimeter and are working on removing the devices.
posted by arcolz at 11:07 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


//How does a civilian even get that sort of firepower? //

You buy it at WalMart, or Gander Mountain, or any other store that chooses to sell ammunition. Hell, I probably have 100 bullets at home for my handgun. That's what...two boxes at about $30 each?
posted by COD at 11:10 AM on July 20, 2012


Watching the press conference now, too.

"A caution about social media": "We are already seeing pranks". Someone called a 'national media organization' claiming to be the Aurora Chief of Police.

Some discussion about what the DA's office is doing both for the press and for victims and their families. She does recommend counseling for victims and their families, and says that they will make financial resources available if needed.

Some of those reporters were asking some really obnoxious questions. They wanted details that really wasn't going to be released - victim information, things like that.

And there was someone who was, I think, British or Australian, and was going "Is it legal to have assault weapons" a couple of times, especially after the Chief of Police said that they were investigating his weapons.
posted by mephron at 11:15 AM on July 20, 2012


Okay, I have a question - TWICE now in this thread I've seen people say that they would have a problem with "the government" coming to "confiscate their weapons". Where did the notion that gun control meant the confiscation of legally-obtained weapons come from?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:15 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you follow psychology over the past several hundred years or so, you'll find that these definitions have always been in flux...


yes, absolutely, but that is true for just about everything. We don't say someone who is suffering from seizures is possessed by the devil anymore, or that a good level of grime protects you from ill humors. The way we interact and see the world is always changing, it is not only in relation to how we define mental illness that definitions change. But, that doesn't invalidate using what we know now as the point of common understanding. And what we know now, says that these illnesses are specific from one another. that you can't really compare OCD and psychoses, just because they are both mental illnesses, any more then you can compare a broken finger with lung cancer.

I don't have a dictionary handy, but my best guess is it is a cognitive impairment apart from what is considered normal, just as a physical illness is a physical impairment from what is considered normal.

Accepting your definition for the moment, I would counter that a cognitive impairment is not something that happens in a vacuum, three has to be something to cause that impairment, that that something is physical. Where else would it come from? My argument is that just as we don't call someone "physically ill", but we are specific about it, we should also extend the same courtesy to folks with mental illness. Using the same language for extremely rare violent psychoses as for mild depression is just... fundamentally wrong.

The term "mental illness" is not the final clinical definition.

Right, and I don't think it should be the initial starting point in popular culture as well, especially as it is near uniformly used pejoratively to describe horrible acts.


...how would you describe the mental condition someone is in to where they would booby trap their apartment, go all the way to a theater with weapons and tear gas, look at patrons in the theater, and slowly and calmly opened fire on them indiscriminately with an assault rifle?


Don't know yet. But all encompassing words I avoid are "Crazy" and "obviously mentally ill". Is he a sociopath? Maybe, but there are lots and lots of sociopaths who don't go down this path.

According to one story Gavrilo Princip shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand after Princip's girlfriend refused to have sex with him the night before, thereby touching off WWI.

People do very very stupid things, for stupid reasons, some of them are quite sane.
posted by edgeways at 11:17 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Where did the notion that gun control meant the confiscation of legally-obtained weapons come from?

The same black hole that has informed Mr. Holmes' actions?
posted by philip-random at 11:18 AM on July 20, 2012


Where did the notion that gun control meant the confiscation of legally-obtained weapons come from?

Maybe from all those bumper stickers about "prying my gun from my cold dead hands."
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 11:19 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Neither adds anything of substance to the debate.

It's not a debate, it's identity politics. Guns are a shibboleth and a proxy to fight over.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 11:20 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


People aren't asking you to be sensitive to him, but to the other people involved in this conversation. They're also asking you to not throw around terms that have specific clinical meanings and histories—terms with which they've been labeled, and which have affected their lives—but which you're not even willing to grab a dictionary to define.

That wasn't my intent. And I apologize if adding my personal opinion at the end upset anyone. Here's online definitions I've found in case they go against my interpretation:

mental illness
n.
"Any of various conditions characterized by impairment of an individual's normal cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning, and caused by social, psychological, biochemical, genetic, or other factors, such as infection or head trauma. Also called emotional illness, mental disease, mental disorder." --American Heritage

"(Medicine / Pathology) any of various disorders in which a person's thoughts, emotions, or behaviour are so abnormal as to cause suffering to himself, herself, or other people" --Collins

I don't think I was "throwing around" any specific clinical terms. Rather I was pointing out that it is a broad definition that sets the context for many clinically diagnosed ailments within. Here you have two different dictionary terms that describe the illness in two different ways...that shows how non-specific it is (and I think I'm really ultimately making the same point as you, just in a different way). I don't feel that anyone that has been diagnosed with a mental illness should feel that theirs is even remotely related to any other. Again, mental illness is NOT the diagnoses...but the broad classification.
posted by samsara at 11:21 AM on July 20, 2012


Where did the notion that gun control meant the confiscation of legally-obtained weapons come from?

Well, you have at least one instance of a Senator (Feinstein) saying "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them . . . Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren't here."

It's not like total confiscation never comes up.
posted by timfinnie at 11:23 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Where did the notion that gun control meant the confiscation of legally-obtained weapons come from?

From some people I know who have this feeling, the idea is that gun control means banning weapons. And despite the fact the Constitution bans ex post facto laws, expecting that banning the weapons would mean that they would be retroactively illegal to own, so they could then be confiscated as illegal, the same way drugs would be. And, in the eyes of some of these people, it would involve a nya-ha-ha and the twisting of a moustache in the Snidely Whiplash manner.

(I do not believe this is all of these people, but this is a mindset I have encountered. Most of my gun-owning friends have a belief that 'real gun control' involves registration of the gun, a shooting and gun maintenance course, regular recertifications, in-home controls to minimize risk of theft or accident, and a duty to report a gun if it is stolen.)
posted by mephron at 11:25 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess I meant "How does a civilian get the means to shoot this many people without someone else interfering?" I don't mean "someone else shooting him." It appears as if the shooter tear gas bombed the theater, an ideal enclosed place I'd suppose, and had no problem reloading and/or going to a second or third or fourth weapon.

I don't understand why civilians need to own multiple weapons. I don't understand why automatic weapons are legal for civilians. I don't understand how tear gas grenades are ever in civilian hands. I'm not looking to remove hunting, and I'm not looking to remove people's ability "to defend their home." But.... I just don't understand this.

And it terrifies me to encounter things that I don't understand and that I cannot see any likely path to find that understanding. As far as I can tell, the only way I could understand what drives someone to own this much firepower and then use it would be to go rather crazy. Not interested... just very sad.
posted by andreaazure at 11:26 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Timfinnie, I'm gonna have to ask for a cite, as I'm gonna need to see the context in that (I suspect it'll be a LITTLE different from what is implied).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:26 AM on July 20, 2012


Oh my god, those poor people. I love geeky midnight premieres, and on top of the actual horrible tragedy, the thought of something so fun and exciting for all the people there as fans (who could be me, WOULD be me if I lived in Colorado) being so catastrophically destroyed is just devastating.

And it's sad in a different way--a far lesser, pettier way, I emphatically stress, because it's nothing against the fact that people got hurt and DIED. But it still breaks my heart because more than any other comic book superhero, Batman is the one who Does. Not. Use. Guns. Jesus fucking Christ, the comic origin story is about his parents being shot on the way home from the movies, with Batman's heroic goal being preventing that from happening to anyone else ever again. If the murderer was going for irony, I hope he spends a million bonus years burning in hell.
posted by nicebookrack at 11:26 AM on July 20, 2012 [24 favorites]


//Where did the notion that gun control meant the confiscation of legally-obtained weapons come from?//

I know people that really did stock up on ammo prior to the 2008 election. They were convinced that Obama's first move as President would be to go door to door confiscating guns and ammo. These people are college educated, and one case a 20 year member of the Military Reserves. The reservist is also a full time state employee. How exactly he squares hating govt with collecting 2 paychecks from the government is something I never did figure out. I finally cut him out of my life because I just couldn't take the paranoid, racist rants on Facebook anymore.
posted by COD at 11:28 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: It looks like that was said about 20 years ago in regards to "semi-automatic firearms and restrict the sale of firearm magazines deemed assault weapons."
posted by edgeways at 11:29 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess I meant "How does a civilian get the means to shoot this many people without someone else interfering?"

Well, you have to understand the sheer chaos of the environment. In the middle of an action movie, in a darkened and full theatre, full of tear gas, with a lot of people in costume and basically fleeing in every direction. It would be hard enough to figure out where shots were being fired from, let alone identify the gunman and close in on him. Everyone in that environment is pretty close to blind and deaf.
posted by mek at 11:30 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Automatic weapons are generally not legal for civilians, unless they get a sign-off from their local chief law enforcement officer, or have a Class III federal firearms license. New automatic weapons have not been available to anyone other than firearms dealers since 1986.

I would bet $100 that if the Aurora shooter did have an automatic AR15 it was an illegal conversion of a legal semi-automatic rifle.
posted by wuwei at 11:30 AM on July 20, 2012


Where did the notion that gun control meant the confiscation of legally-obtained weapons come from?

The NRA, I think.

And edgeways, thanks for diving in here. You're saying a lot of things I don't have the right words for.

It's god-awful to hear this, oh, he's mentally ill, kicked around so casually - and is it any wonder that we hide these problems, when talk like this is so common? The last damn thing we want is to get depression or anxiety conflated with "has problems refraining from opening fire in a movie theater."

The guy's hell of fucked up, I'll grant that. But it kinda hurts, from the "trying real hard to live with slightly off-kilter brain chemistry" side of things, to see all these words we have to live with being thrown at the wall to see if any of them stick.
posted by cmyk at 11:31 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's not a debate, it's identity politics. Guns are a shibboleth and a proxy to fight over.

I'm genuinely puzzled as to how someone can say that given the subject of this comment thread.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 11:31 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


And despite the fact the Constitution bans ex post facto laws, expecting that banning the weapons would mean that they would be retroactively illegal to own, so they could then be confiscated as illegal, the same way drugs would be.

Derail of a derail: making all guns illegal to possess, even if they had earlier been legal to acquire, would not be an ex post facto law. After all, the crime would be in the present possession of an illegal object.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:31 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Maybe it's presumptuous to try to figure out what was going on in this guy's head, but I can't resist trying, as a way of coping. This guy was armed and armored, his home was booby trapped, he surrendered to police without a struggle or firefight. This was a premeditated multi-step plan to murder as many people as possible. But this wasn't suicide-by-cop or a revenge killing or assassination like so many other mass murders. He meant to come out of this situation alive. Did he think he would escape or did he want to be caught so he could use the courtroom as a pulpit, like Breivik?
posted by arcolz at 11:32 AM on July 20, 2012


My heart goes out to everyone in this situation.
I'll nth Carole Anne's suggestion. Everyone please donate blood if you are eligible.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 11:33 AM on July 20, 2012


Did he think he would escape or did he want to be caught so he could use the courtroom as a pulpit, like Breivik?

I'm thinking Herostratus, myself.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:33 AM on July 20, 2012


Where did the notion that gun control meant the confiscation of legally-obtained weapons come from?

Because for anti-government believers (and their mainstreamed companions in the form of organized interest groups that profit out of scaring the shit out of you) the concept of the government enforcing something implies the act of preventing you, "American citizen," from doing something. There is not a single action in our nation's history where the government regulated or otherwise altered the rights to do or not do something--vote, earn, possess weaponry, make children work, own people, limit driving speed, not dump poison into the water, etc. etc--that in its effect inconvenienced the life of a person who thoroughly enjoyed their prior ability to do said thing.

And, for the majority of our nation's history, the archetype of that "American citizen" was the adult, white, property-owning male, with everyone else being an "other." And our nation was founded by and continues to live by the premise that the idea that some "other" is now getting things at your expense is the greatest injustice known to man. And with that, you create the fear the the government doesn't support you, "American citizen," it's working for the "others" now and it's coming to take more of your rights to be better than those people away.

It is that hatred and anger and paranoia that is the reason we have anti-government theorists, and radical hatred, and in historical context likely the NRA itself. And it's that conversation that needs to be had about why there are so many goddamn firearms in this country and so many goddamn people who want to stroke them.

Naturally, I'm sure that conversation will actually happen any day now.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:36 AM on July 20, 2012 [19 favorites]


Fuck, this is horrifying.

.
posted by homunculus at 11:39 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've heard a lot of others weigh in on my question - g.i.r., you seem to have been one of the ones who expressed a fear that your gun would be confiscated ("but...if someone told me i'd have to give up my semi-auto hunting rifle, which is as long as my leg, i'd have a problem with that"), so would YOU mind weighing in on that question? Thanks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:40 AM on July 20, 2012


Where did the notion that gun control meant the confiscation of legally-obtained weapons come from?

A culture that values ill-considered imprecision, emotionally-loaded bombastic wingnuttery, and the paranoid construction of outlandish strawmen for the profitable lulz, and then disingenuously frames the whole mess as the noble result of our collective belief in free speech?
posted by kengraham at 11:42 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them . . . Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it.

These days the US government seems barely able to keep the Post Office in business and the IRS fully staffed. The notion that the NRA is the only thing keeping the Feds from marching into every house and confiscating Grandad's rifle strains credulity, to say the least.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:42 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Somebody upthread connected the suspect to a neuroscience major at UC Riverside with the December 13th birthday...I can't seem to find it now, but the Reddit thread confirmed that this UC Riverside guy is not the suspect. Just another guy with the same name, same birthday, same major.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:42 AM on July 20, 2012




I talked that way, EmpressCallipygos, but only in negative; I don't really see how gun control legislation could be effective at this point short of door-to-door searches. There's just too many guns loose in the country.

The horse has left the barn, the genie is out of the bottle, etc, etc.
posted by gerryblog at 11:44 AM on July 20, 2012


evidenceofabsence: There's enough stigma attached to the idea of being mentally ill already. Maybe you could refrain from lumping all of us in with a mass murderer, to boot?

I see this from a different angle. It's my opinion that everyone will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives. At the same time, it's my opinion that anyone who commits such an act as this one has to have been suffering from a mental illness at the time. I agree with you that mental illness is wrongfully stigmatized, but I'm not sure that denying what seems to be a case of mental illness because it's particularly horrible is productive.

samsara: Physical illnesses and mental illnesses are apples and oranges.
They are apples and apples, and must be unless you're a dualist who's arguing that we're made of more than meat, and that 'mental illness' is just a euphemism for 'spiritual illness' or 'soul illness', whereby the spirit or soul is some ethereal object separate from the meat that makes up our bodies (and brains).


edgeways: People do very very stupid things, for stupid reasons, some of them are quite sane.
I disagree. People don't do very stupid things on purpose unless there's a mental illness. I mean, it makes no sense. What sane person chooses to do a stupid thing? How is shooting Archduke Ferdinand because your girlfriend refused to have sex with you the night before an example of a person doing something stupid but sane? That seems the very definition of insanity to me.

The way I see it - if you purposefully choose to do something stupid, there's a mental disconnect or else a lack of information, such that you don't know what you're about to do is stupid. Leaving the second possibility out... You're not thinking straight. You're imagining that this stupid thing is actually a good thing. You're delusional. You're not sane. Otherwise, you wouldn't choose to do a stupid thing.
posted by syzygy at 11:44 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]




The gun control argument is an important safety valve when things like this happen. It gives people on both sides a chance to construct a narrative in which the event didn't occur, that either more guns or fewer guns would have changed the fact that someone set out to kill a bunch of their neighbors.

The unfortunate fact is that if someone reaches that point they have plenty of means at their disposal. If they're the patient type they can bludgeon or strangle individual people. Or they can just blow up an elementary school. Or run down pedestrians in their car.

It's unnerving to realize that we have no real defense against the whims of our neighbors' sanity, but there it is.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:45 AM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't really see how gun control legislation could be effective at this point short of door-to-door searches.

It's a long term policy change; it wouldn't have much statistical impact on the next five or so years. You'd encourage spare guns to be turned in under some program, and restrict sales, and wait for the long-term effects. But it would absolutely prevent incidents like Virginia Tech and this, where a young person obtains large quantities of weapons in a short period of time.
posted by mek at 11:47 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


for those that did not click the link above here is how it goes:
The age of new media being now well-established, it goes a little something like this:

First we get the shaky camera phone videos and the tweets. Then the distraught eyewitness interviews and 911 call recording. Quickly, the shooter is identified. Politicians issue statements of shock and sorrow. The shooter's parents, if interviewed, are confused and abashed or else hide. The social media forensics begin. People with the same or a similar name as the shooter are harassed. There is speculation he is part of a right-wing group, or an Islamic terrorist, or a former Army veteran. The FBI and the armed forces check their records and issue denials or confirmations. Calls for better gun control efforts are issued once again. Defenders of the Second Amendment fight back immediately, or even pre-emptively. The victims of the shooting are blamed in social media for being where they were attacked. More eye-witness interviews. The shooter's parents are castigated. Survivors speak. Warning signs are identified as the alleged shooter's past is plumbed. We ask if violent movies are to blame for his actions. Or cuts to mental-health services. And talk about what kind of country we are, if we have culture of violence. The death toll fluctuates. International voices from countries where guns are heavily regulated shake their heads at us. People leave piles of flowers and teddy bears at the shooting site. There are candlelight vigils, and teary memorials. Everyone calls for national unity and a moment of togetherness. Eventually, the traumatized community holds a big healing ceremony. It is moving, and terribly sad, and watched by millions on TV or online. A few activists continue to make speeches. The shooter, if still alive, rapidly is brought to trial. There is another wave of public discussion about our failures, and the nature of evil. Politicians make feints at gun-law changes, which fail. And then everyone forgets and moves on. Everyone, that is, except the survivors.
posted by robbyrobs at 11:47 AM on July 20, 2012 [50 favorites]


UCR already confirmed that they are the same guy.

Yeah, that's not what your link says. It may be true, but your link doesn't confirm that.
posted by dobbs at 11:47 AM on July 20, 2012


will these injured people face medical bills now? Or is there some kind of exception for such horrifying circumstances?

I'm not at all surprised to hear he was a Medical student, I deal with Surgical trainees and up to their surgical training many of them have never experienced failure in any sense. The way things are organised in the UK you have to basically excel since kindergarten before you get into Med School, any failure after that poinbt is catastrophic to the individual. The number of trainees who don't get through their first year of surgical training and then become extremley depressed due to the fact that they have never failed at anything in their lives is very high. I shudder to think what even one of those people would do with a gun.

my heart goes out to the families, and to the shooter's family. Their lives will never be the same
posted by Wilder at 11:49 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Has anyone heard from witnesses about why or how the shooting stopped?
posted by wensink at 11:51 AM on July 20, 2012


will these injured people face medical bills now? Or is there some kind of exception for such horrifying circumstances?

I'm pretty sure that most of the people who got sick as a result of 9/11 had huge medical bills. Not that people can't set up funds to help people, but I'm pretty sure the bills will go out.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:51 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, that's not what your link says. It may be true, but your link doesn't confirm that.

Same name and date of birth. Statistically that's good enough for me.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:51 AM on July 20, 2012


will these injured people face medical bills now? Or is there some kind of exception for such horrifying circumstances?

are you serious???
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 11:51 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Tell Me No Lies: If they're the patient type they can bludgeon or strangle individual people. Or they can just blow up an elementary school. Or run down pedestrians in their car

Guns don't kill people... People kill people, AmIRight?

Strangely enough, it seems that people usually turn to guns when they want to kill people, but that's certainly not the fault of the poor, maligned, innocent guns now, is it?
posted by syzygy at 11:52 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


First, this is a horrible thing to have happened and my heart breaks for all involved.

Second, my husband and I own guns but we rarely hunt, and, to be completely honest, I'm not expressly concerned about home defense. Three of the guns I own are family heirlooms, two are for target shooting, one would be for hunting if we ever went, one my husband built because he always wanted to do that, and one was a wedding present. We do have a two AR-type rifles that are semi-automatic and both of these are for target shooting and fun. It's a hobby, like many other things and as a hobby we get a great deal of satisfaction out of them.

I do not support the NRA and I feel that their message is one based on fear and intimidation. Personally, I feel that one of the biggest issues involving guns in this country is the multitude of differences between the state laws and the ease of which any dumbass can get a conceal/carry permit. I have no issue with background checks, registration of guns, and even limitations on magazine size and restrictions against full-auto. While I have shot a fully automatic rifle, and it was very, very fun, I see no need for me to own one.

This tragedy is like many have said, a symptom of a deeper problem and the gun culture in this country has allowed it to be expressed this way. I honestly don't know what could realistically be done to change this, other than to require drivers' license like testing for gun ownership, and much, much more intensive training for everyone, whether they intend to ever hold a gun or not.

This is all very problematic for me because while I grew up with guns, I really, really don't think everyone needs to have one. The home protection people are far more likely to get hurt or hurt someone else using their guns than I feel is acceptable. I don't know. This is a subject that is way, way more complex than I can easily get my head around in one little comment box.
posted by teleri025 at 11:52 AM on July 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


Where did the notion that gun control meant the confiscation of legally-obtained weapons come from?

My knee-jerk reaction answer is the NRA, but I have no cite. However, I suspect the notion that the US government could and would confiscate x from its citizens comes from a) current drug laws, which (unlike Prohibition)) forbid ownership of the contraband (Prohibition forbade the transport and sale of alcohol, not ownership or consumption); and b) the Gold recall of 1933 which made ownership of gold coins and bullion illegal in the US until 1974.
posted by Rash at 11:52 AM on July 20, 2012


In that person's defense, I think they're British, quonsar II.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:53 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


quonsar 11, yeah, I asked it as a serious question.
posted by Wilder at 11:53 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


The unfortunate fact is that if someone reaches that point they have plenty of means at their disposal.

Most of which leave less people dead for more effort and with more opportunities for prevention.

Guns are a factor.
posted by Artw at 11:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


if you purposefully choose to do something stupid, there's a mental disconnect or else a lack of information, such that you don't know what you're about to do is stupid. Leaving the second possibility out... You're not thinking straight. You're imagining that this stupid thing is actually a good thing. You're delusional. You're not sane. Otherwise, you wouldn't choose to do a stupid thing.

So, er, are you are saying that from moment to moment any given person is uncategorizably mentally ill? 3 girls where just pulled from Lake Superior (alive) this week because they went swimming without pfds, in huge waves, in high rip tide conditions. Pretty stupid. Mentally ill?

Seriously if you assert that choosing to do something stupid qualifies you as mentally ill, I sort of find that a little silly.
posted by edgeways at 11:54 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


IRISH!!!!Ouch
(but living in the UK. Both countries have free medical care so I can't imagine the years of trauma if their injuries are complicated?
posted by Wilder at 11:55 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Same name and date of birth. Statistically that's good enough for me.

That's the kind of thinking that got my brother stopped as a potential drug-runner on his way home from Jamaica one time. No, he wasn't a drug-runner, but a guy with his same name and date of birth was.
posted by tealdeer at 11:55 AM on July 20, 2012


In that person's defense, I think they're British, quonsar II.

After reading the last few Obamacare threads, I'm no longer surprised that people outside this country are shocked when they find out what our health care system is like.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:55 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"We can't stop people from committing murder" doesn't seem like a great reason to not do everything we can to make it more difficult for people to commit murder.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 11:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Don't worry, I'm sure all those young moviegoers were fully insured... /sigh
posted by mek at 11:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


But it would absolutely prevent incidents like Virginia Tech and this, where a young person obtains large quantities of weapons in a short period of time.

I'm less confident of that, but would love to be convinced otherwise. We don't know how this shooter obtained his weapons yet, but we do have the timeline for the Virginia Tech massacre and it's pretty clear that shooter was pretty determined to amass an arsenal and patient enough to do it however he had to. Making it harder for people to easily obtain weapons would be a good thing I'd be very in favor of, but I don't know that Cho could have been stopped given the number of weapons that are floating around in the US. It just would have taken him a bit longer, with more opportunities to catch him along the way, but he still could have done it just by visiting pawnshops and private dealers.

More importantly, most gun violence just isn't of this sort, and I'm not sure tackling the sales end alone would do enough to stop that kind of violence. But then I just don't think private citizens should have handguns at all.

will these injured people face medical bills now? Or is there some kind of exception for such horrifying circumstances?

This is America. Of course they'll have to pay.
posted by gerryblog at 11:57 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


will these injured people face medical bills now? Or is there some kind of exception for such horrifying circumstances?

As an ignorant Brit, surely there is some free healthcare provision for calamities like this?
posted by brilliantmistake at 11:57 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guns are a factor.

guns don't kill people. people armed with guns kill people.
posted by philip-random at 11:57 AM on July 20, 2012


Wilder: yes, they'll still be charged for whatever medical treatment they've been given. I can back up what roomthreeseventeen said about people affected by 9/11 being charged for their medical bills (in fact, a year ago there was much furor in Congress because a number of Senators wanted to reject a grant which would have helped some of the firemen affected in the attacks defray these bills); so if the people involved in 9/11 can't get free medical care, then it's doubtful that the people in Aurora, Colorado would.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:57 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


As an ignorant Brit, surely there is some free healthcare provision for calamities like this?

Heh. Bless your heart.
posted by gaspode at 11:57 AM on July 20, 2012 [34 favorites]


As an ignorant Brit, surely there is some free healthcare provision for calamities like this?

No. There will almost definitely be funds set up to help people out, though.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:58 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


As an ignorant Brit, surely there is some free healthcare provision for calamities like this?

hahaha.... ohhh that's not how the mythical free market works dontchelnow?
posted by edgeways at 11:59 AM on July 20, 2012


As an ignorant Brit, surely there is some free healthcare provision for calamities like this?

Nope.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:59 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


And I bet Warner Brothers and some of the actors will make donations.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:00 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm also kind of wondering where "well-regulated militia" = "ability to fight an armed insurrection against the government" comes from.
posted by kyrademon at 12:00 PM on July 20, 2012


Just considering ColdChef's friend's daughter Katie, a gunshot to the knee can mean months if not years of care, potentially multiple surgeries...it's truly horrifying to think on top of this awful horror people might be seriously endebted.
posted by Wilder at 12:00 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


As an ignorant Brit, surely there is some free healthcare provision for calamities like this?

In America we take personal responsibility for our own gunshot wounds. Commie.
posted by moammargaret at 12:01 PM on July 20, 2012 [45 favorites]


As an ignorant Brit, surely there is some free healthcare provision for calamities like this?

What are you, a COMMUNIST?
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:01 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm also kind of wondering where "well-regulated militia" = "ability to fight an armed insurrection against the government" comes from.

Well, Revolutionary militias, surely. It's a ridiculous fantasy, needless to say, but historically that's where it comes from.
posted by gerryblog at 12:01 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that denying what seems to be a case of mental illness

"Mental illness" is at once so ambiguous as to be meaningless—what does describing him as "mentally ill" achieve?—and so encompassing as to include a bunch of people who, by all rights, don't deserve to be placed into the same category as the shooter.

We can't label Holmes with a specific diagnosis, because we aren't mental health professionals who have had the opportunity to assess him. While I understand the impulse to try to understand why someone would do something like this, the fact is, we aren't going to know why Holmes did it until someone asks him, and tells us. Meanwhile, pronouncements about mental health that are based on opinion and conjecture don't add anything to the discussion, and serve to alienate people.

And for what it's worth, defining mentally ill as "someone who would do something stupid" is a pretty perfect example of begging the question.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:01 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]



will these injured people face medical bills now? Or is there some kind of exception for such horrifying circumstances?


um, usually no. the victims will be billed. there may be a protracted legal fight to make the theater pay for care as the gunman allegedly entered a door that was supposed to be locked.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 12:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


We can still call him and asshole and a coward though, right?
posted by cjorgensen at 12:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


But Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution states that the purpose of the militia is to "execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions".

That doesn't seem unclear.
posted by kyrademon at 12:06 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


We can still call him and asshole and a coward though, right?
Go for it.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:06 PM on July 20, 2012


I wonder if it ever occurs to conservative NRA supporters that their position on gun ownership contributes to a massive drain on public resources from health care and law enforcement costs resulting from gun-related crimes. As a taxpayer, I'm pretty pissed off that my tax dollars are being spent for things that would happen far less often if we had reasonable gun regulation.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 12:07 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


That doesn't seem unclear.

Welcome to Constitutional Law!
posted by Atreides at 12:07 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The same free-market-or-die attitude that made sure he had access to his weapons also ensures that there is no free healthcare for the people wounded in the attack. Health and death are things you buy and sell.
posted by pracowity at 12:08 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


We can't label Holmes with a specific diagnosis, because we aren't mental health professionals who have had the opportunity to assess him. While I understand the impulse to try to understand why someone would do something like this, the fact is, we aren't going to know why Holmes did it until someone asks him, and tells us.

Oh god. He'll tell us about his OVERIDINGLY IMPORTANT THING that he's so angry about he has to go out and SHOW THE WORLD. whatever the fuck that thing is will be entirely arbitrary and of next to no importance to what's gone on here, but dipshits and the media will pretend it is because it's graspable and gives them something to rub their mouths about.

Whatever his stupid justification is, it's entirely disconnected from his actions. Same as the last several dozen assholes with manifestos.
posted by Artw at 12:10 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


The phrase "banality of evil" comes to mind, although it was coined for a different kind of killing:
Maintenance worker Jose Torres, 45, said he remembered Holmes as a quiet person who kept mostly to himself.
Colorado shooting suspect studied neuroscience at UC Riverside
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:12 PM on July 20, 2012


It's almost too bad this wasn't terrorism. At least then we might have considered taking some kind of preventative measures.

But when it's one of our own, we as a nation long ago decided that we don't have the political will to try and do anything to stop mass-murder gun violence like this.

I just wish our political leaders would at least just speak truth to the political reality: this is a perfectly acceptable level of death and violence. A few prayers and a practiced pouty face is as much of a concession as the NRA/gun lobby money will allow politicians to make.

You can bet there are even some gun lobbyists that think Obama caved to the gun control lobby for lowering the flags at half-mast.

What a politically and culturally dysfunctional nation we are. You can stop your hand-wringing, no one that matters cares.
posted by Davenhill at 12:14 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


NBC news is reporting that the ATF has confirmed all four firearms were legally bought from retail stores between May and June.
posted by arcolz at 12:15 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


>It's unnerving to realize that we have no real defense against the whims of our neighbors' sanity, but there it is.

Next time you are on a two lane road and going 65, and the guy coming the other direction is going 65, and they whiz past you -- or really anytime you are in a car in traffic -- just try not to think about this, ok?
posted by Catblack at 12:15 PM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


I give up. Me and my mental illnesses are going to go do something else for a while.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:19 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's almost too bad this wasn't terrorism. At least then we might have considered taking some kind of preventative measures.

Although, given our mostly stupid anti-terrorism measures, I'm not sure we're missing out on that much.
posted by tealdeer at 12:19 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Next time you are on a two lane road and going 65, and the guy coming the other direction is going 65, and they whiz past you -- or really anytime you are in a car in traffic -- just try not to think about this, ok?

Can I confess something? I tell you this as an artist, I think you'll understand.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 12:19 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


. . . . . . . . . . . .

A couple of days ago, I was thinking about how and why the DC universe in general, and Batman in particular, is so off-putting to me anymore. I was playing the demo of DC Universe Online, and there's a massive opening animation sequence, all the good guys and bad guys slamming each other around for 15 minutes, and it's all good comic book fun, and then the Joker says something along the lines of, "Come on, let's go - we've got more murdering to do!" And that word - murdering - just struck a tone that felt so non-comic-book, so real-world, that it soured the whole thing for me.

I felt the same way watching both of the first two Nolan Batman films. For me, they were miserable, unpleasant experiences to sit through - they were focused on the kinds of things that actual villains and terrorists do. Come down from Asgard to steal some magical artifact or whatever? That's fun. Blow up a boat filled with mothers and fathers and children? Point a gun at the head of a child? That's not fun. That's the kind of shit that people sometimes actually do.

I remember having that feeling for the first time with the Frank Miller book, which I read as a teenager. I knew it was revolutionary as comics/graphic novels/sequential art/whatever goes, but it wasn't any fun, and up to that point I had equated comic books with fun. But everything is all Dark now. Batman in particular.

This thing, this thing is breaking my heart in ways I haven't had it broken before, because of the kids involved, and I've got little kids and I see everything through that lens. Imagine that you're 10 or 11, and your mom and dad are not only going to let you stay up and go out for a midnight movie, but you're going to get dressed up like a superhero and see this amazing movie (one that you probably shouldn't be seeing anyway because it's too grownup, but mom and dad are awesome and they're bending the rules because of how special this is) and this is the EVENT OF THE SUMMER for you and you've been counting down the days to it for weeks. And then this happens, and the best thing in the world becomes the worst thing in the world. What does that do to a kid? In some other configuration, with other specifics and details and taking place fifteen years prior, it turns a happy kid into an angry and lonely kid, and angry and lonely kids sometimes grow up and do awful things.

Guns aren't the issue. Well-balanced folks have a variety of guns for a variety of reasons. I don't own any, but that's just because I don't like them. But my neighbor does; he's a Vietnam veteran who would never lift a finger against anyone that wasn't actively trying to hurt him. If you want to hurt 10-year-old kids and their parents during movie night, you'll find a way, and the gun isn't the issue. The issue is, why do you want to hurt people you don't know? What does that do for you? What is the net benefit for you, to hurt people you don't know?

For me, I have to believe that it is rooted in childhood, in those first few experiences of what the world is and what we can expect from it. All of the monsters that the human race has so far produced have operated under the delusion that they were wronged, that something is broken or unjust or unfair and must be fixed by WHATEVER MEANS NECESSARY, that you have to break some eggs to make an omelette. Whatever. Fuck those people.

If you have young people in your care or sphere of influence, please do all you can do to let them know that they are loved, they are important, they are good and valuable the way they are, and, crucially, so are other people, every one of them.
posted by jbickers at 12:20 PM on July 20, 2012 [47 favorites]


I guess I'll jump into this fray.

1) I have no problem with anyone rational and responsible owning a gun.
2) I question the rationality and responsibility of anyone who suggests:
a) Having more guns in dark theaters would make us safer.
b) The second amendment was written to allow the citizens to overthrow the government. (Umm... voting was put into effect to allow citizens to overthrow the government. That was supposed to be the difference between our great Democratic experiment and (for example) the English civil war of the 17th century.)
c) The second amendment was put in there to say every type of arm that can be carried gets a freebie pass. Technology is going to allow scarier and scarier items for which the rights of the group outweigh the rights of the individual. Who decides where to draw the line? We do. (back to that thing about voting).
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:21 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


quonsar 11, yeah, I asked it as a serious question.

my bad. USian assumption.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:21 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


empresscallipygos -- that's a pretty big 'if' i used there. i'm not that paranoid. just saying that as a responsible owner of a hunting rifle, which is quite large (and therefore difficult to conceal) and which can only shoot less than 6 bullets at a time, therefore being nothing like the AR-15 used in this killing...if -- IF -- someone told me that my gun was the type of gun the gov't would or should deem illegal, i'd kinda have a problem with that, and so would a lot of other hunters, because that would be a pretty big overreach. i don't see that ever happening...but 1) anti-gun people making oversimplifications or incorrect statements with the words 'automatic' and 'rifle' kinda irks me, and 2) it makes more paranoid gun owners nervous.

to me, 'gun control' should mean rules and regulations regarding guns that are used for hunting and / or recreation, for reasons of safety. it might mean restriction or outlawing of guns or accessories that are highly dangerous or used for no other purpose other than military purposes, or for mass killing. to some lefties the term means 'DO AWAY WITH GUNS GRAR', and to some lefties it means the same thing i think it means (and i am a lefty / progressive, fwiw). same for righties. some people -- regardless of side -- think rationally on these issues, some do not...usually due to external influence. there's fearmongering and misinformation all around. the issues and specifics are not well understood, and flame wars from both sides make the issues hard to discuss rationally with true believers, the totally uninformed and the semi-informed from all sides. as a gun owner, i'm not a member of the nra and i don't think ted nugent is 'cool' (or even fuckin' rational, for that matter)...so i'm not like other gun owners and don't relate to or think like them, i guess....so all of that combined kinda makes things difficult all around.

never thought i'd spend so much time on meta -- or anywhere -- talking about guns and gun control...this doesn't fully define me, at all...mine stays put away until mid-november, and gets put away again by early december...

and WOW is this thread movin'...

posted by g.i.r. at 12:22 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Imagine that you're 10 or 11, and your mom and dad are not only going to let you stay up and go out for a midnight movie, but you're going to get dressed up like a superhero and see this amazing movie

Yeah, I've been trying pretty hard today to keep from imagining this.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:26 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Warner Bros. pulled the video BobbyVan links to above.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:34 PM on July 20, 2012


What I don't understand, g.i.r., is why you had any occasion to ask that "if" at all, as only a handful of people that aren't being taken seriously are even proposing the taking away of guns in the first place. And none of those people are here, so I'm wondering why you introduced this into the conversation, is all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:35 PM on July 20, 2012


Where's our 9/11 commission on Domestic Shootings? These things happen fairly often; I sometimes get confused over which mass shooting someone is referring to. Our sample size is big enough that we could start looking for common elements in the people who commit these awful acts. All I ever recall hearing is the local communities affected review and revamp their procedures for dealing with them. I've never heard of anyone trying to figure out why the fuck they happen in the first place and what the fuck we could do to reduce the chance of them happening again.

Me, I'm forced to agree with Davenhill, "this is ... [an] acceptable level of ... violence.". It's an American pathology.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:35 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


For those who don't know, the UK responded differently to gun massacres:

The Hungerford massacre in 1987 (16 dead) was swiftly followed by the Firearms act 1998 which banned most semi-automatic weapons.

The Dublane school massacre in 1996 (17 dead) led to the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 and Firearms (Amendment No. 2) Act 1997 essentially banning all cartridge using handguns.
posted by NailsTheCat at 12:35 PM on July 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


On a technical level, an automatic weapon is one that loads, fires, and discharges the casings automatically when the trigger is pulled. A semi-automatic weapon is an automatic weapon, as is a fully-automatic weapon. The anti-gun people aren't using the wrong terminology - firearm owners are confusing slang - automatic - with the proper technical term - fully-automatic.

Also, as the recent wars have taught us, semi-automatic firearms are more deadly than fully-automatic firearms when shot hand-held. You can hit more targets to better effect by selecting and making individual shots than you can firing a bunch of them off all at once (there's a reason why they call it spray-n-pray). While sometimes still used in covering-fire, full-auto is almost never used by soldiers in the field - semi-auto only. (The SAW - Squad Automatic Weapon - is the exception, but it's fired by specialists from a mount, a tripod/bipod or something else solid.)

Bearing this in mind, distinguishing between the various types of automatic weapon is pointless. Capacity is the real killer, IMO - 5-8 shots really needs to be the limit.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:37 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


edgeways: So, er, are you are saying that from moment to moment any given person is uncategorizably mentally ill?

So, um, er, like, uh... Condescending tone much? And no, I don't think your paraphrase is an accurate restatement of my point.

3 girls where just pulled from Lake Superior (alive) this week because they went swimming without pfds, in huge waves, in high rip tide conditions. Pretty stupid. Mentally ill?

Allow me to re-quote a part of my post that you also quoted: if you purposefully choose to do something stupid, there's a mental disconnect or else a lack of information, such that you don't know what you're about to do is stupid

Either the girls didn't have the information they needed (or the understanding thereof) to know that the water was dangerous, or they knew it was dangerous and decided to risk their lives for a short swim. So yeah, one or the other.

Seriously if you assert that choosing to do something stupid qualifies you as mentally ill, I sort of find that a little silly.

With a powerful, coherent, topical and logical argument like that, I'm not sure what I can say in response. maybe I'll have to rethink things a bit.
posted by syzygy at 12:37 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"This is the weapon of the enemy." (In line with nicebookrack's comment above...)
posted by Kat Allison at 12:39 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


As an ignorant Brit, surely there is some free healthcare provision for calamities like this?

Hey, they can always sue.
posted by rtimmel at 12:40 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm astounded by the number of first hand accounts of people who thought Holmes was part of the movie.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:40 PM on July 20, 2012


For those who don't know, the UK responded differently to gun massacres

You have to shoot at a President to get gun reform in this country.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:40 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


It might be worth pointing out that while the whole "ZOMG don't take our guns how will we overthrow the government" is a paranoid fantasy, there have apparently been relatively recent incidents in which a mob of armed citizens accomplished good things. From this essay by Garret Keizer, which is quite interesting:

In Monroe, North Carolina, a motorcade of Ku Klux Klansmen pulled up to a funeral home to "claim" the body of Bennie Montgomery, a black sharecropper recently tried and executed for killing his white boss. With the help of a skilled mediator and a regimen of trust-building exercises, the night riders might have been persuaded to settle for a limb or a chunk of Bennie's torso, but instead they were met by forty African Americans armed with rifles and shotguns. Among them was a former Army private named Robert Williams (1925-96), whose career as a rogue civil rights activist and NAACP officer, a story he tells in his 1962 book, Negroes with Guns, seems to have begun with that (ultimately bloodless) incident.

So perhaps that the idea that weapons might have a last-ditch revolutionary purpose for a specific group of people in a discrete situation of acute oppression by a specific group of people probably has content that's not based on some kind of black-helicopter-conspiracy reading of the 2nd amendment of the U.S. constitution.

(I say this as an almost-pacifist and as a person who doesn't understand why most people who don't actually depend on hunting for their food -- which does not include you and I, collective MeFite -- would think it's a good idea to own a gun.)
posted by kengraham at 12:43 PM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


You have to shoot at a President to get gun reform in this country.

Provided it's a Republican, preferably white, President. Otherwise you just get elected to lead your local Tea Party chapter.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 12:46 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


evidenceofabsence: And for what it's worth, defining mentally ill as "someone who would do something stupid" is a pretty perfect example of begging the question.

Well, that's not how I defined 'mentally ill', but you may want to take your case to edgeways, who seems to think that perfectly sane people do stupid things (like shoot Archduke Ferdinand because their girlfriend didn't have sex with them the night before).

I don't want to be fighty with you, however. I am of the opinion that we should remove all stigma from the idea of 'mental illness'. We don't stigmatize someone with a heart problem, or breast cancer, or the flu. I feel the same way about mental illness - no one chooses rationally to be mentally ill, and I see absolutely no reason to stigmatize anyone who's ill.

As I said to samsara above, physical and mental illness are apples and apples, and I see no reason to stigmatize someone who's ill.
posted by syzygy at 12:46 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's almost too bad this wasn't terrorism. At least then we might have considered taking some kind of preventative measures.

It was terrorism. What makes you think it wasn't?
posted by caryatid at 12:46 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was terrorism. What makes you think it wasn't?

The lack of a political message or goal.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:47 PM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


When a white guy does it, it's not terrorism, it's an isolated incident related to mental disease.
posted by Renoroc at 12:47 PM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Anything more "recent" than 1947, kengraham?
posted by mek at 12:47 PM on July 20, 2012


For those who don't know, the UK responded differently to gun massacres

In fact the UK government had to create a special dispensation so that pistol shooting could actually be legal during the London Olympics. All UK pistol shooters since Dunblane have had to train off the mainland.
posted by brilliantmistake at 12:47 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's worth noting that Dunblane and Hungerford were massive shocking events that still resonate today in the UK - where as in the US they'd be one of many and probably barely crack national news. Batman shooter will be forgotten in six months time when the next asshole comes along.
posted by Artw at 12:48 PM on July 20, 2012




Batman shooter will be forgotten in six months time when the next asshole comes along.

Like Columbine down the road?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:49 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sticherbeast: "The lack of a political message or goal."

The goal of inciting terror not enough for you?
posted by radwolf76 at 12:49 PM on July 20, 2012


Regardless of actual gun reform, which I doubt is going to happen, do the incidents like this (and I'm sure we can all name several) shift the polls to the left or right for a time thereafter? Okay, I realize that 9/11 shifted things rightward, but that I'll count that as a different category.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:49 PM on July 20, 2012


Let's see...this guy goes into a movie theatre wearing a gas mask and several pieces of body armor carrying three or four weapons, and opens fire, wounding over 71 people, kills a dozen.

I'm checking my dictionary: Yep. That's fucking nuts.
posted by mule98J at 12:50 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


When a white guy does it, it's not terrorism, it's an isolated incident related to mental disease.

What a silly comment. The OKC bombings were universally acknowledged as terrorism.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:52 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Kat Allison: great, NOW is when I tear up...
posted by nicebookrack at 12:53 PM on July 20, 2012


jbickers: Try the tv show Batman: The Brave and the Bold. The fun of superheroes is there (side by side with the backstory of the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents). It's worth a watch.

Batman is urban and modern, the myth *presumes* the truth that gun violence causes emotional scarring. The best of us find a way to overcome it. Batman in the end views his mission as one of public service. If the police cannot or will do the job of fighting crime, then one is compelled to help, to see if there's a way to get more justice for people, more freedom to go see a movie.

Also remember: Batman hates guns.

The myth of a rich couple mugged and killed in front of their son after leaving a theater. Their son goes on to fight crime. That's not a bad myth for today.
posted by artlung at 12:54 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


The goal of inciting terror not enough for you?

Yes. The definition of terrorism is not simply a terrifying event. Terrorism necessarily implies political motive or some other coercive intent.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:55 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


"We do not need it. We will not use it. "

I think there is a lot to be said for the guy at Cafe Racer who ended the killing there by throwing a chair at the shooter.
posted by Artw at 12:55 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


That said, talking Batman related stuff in the wake of this like it matters is kind of making me want to throw up.
posted by Artw at 12:56 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Like Columbine down the road?

There were seventy-four school shootings in the US since Columbine, 56 of them with at least one fatality. How many can you name?
posted by theodolite at 12:57 PM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


The goal of inciting terror not enough for you?

His goal was not to incite terror. It was to kill people.
posted by dobbs at 12:57 PM on July 20, 2012


What a silly comment. The OKC bombings were universally acknowledged as terrorism.

That's one example and it's true. But in this country it's much easier for people to think of the majority white populace as individuals whereas minorities tend to be thought of as a monolithic group. Minorities are frequently cast as representatives of their group whether they want to be or not.
posted by girlmightlive at 12:58 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


His goal was to be a bullshit hero at the center of his own personal bullshit drama.
posted by Artw at 12:59 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


56 of them with at least one fatality

How many had more than 10? One. VT.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:00 PM on July 20, 2012


So... You're arguing this guy makes the hall of fame due to body count?

/vomits blood.
posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on July 20, 2012


empressC -- at one point i basically said 'automatics won't ever be banned' and somebody basically said 'why not ? you don't need them'... to me, that came across as '...they should be banned.' this seemed to me to be based on a lack of understanding or a generalization of 'automatics' and / or of guns in general. so i responded that 'if' someone tried to take my fairly tame automatic hunting rifle, which is nothing like the gun used in this horrific act, i'd be upset, because they are not the same thing. it was just a hypothetical, really. maybe i read too much into the 'why not ?' comment. if so, i apologize.
posted by g.i.r. at 1:02 PM on July 20, 2012


How many had more than 10? One. VT.

They're sort of like the weather, aren't they? It only really matters anymore if it sets a record.
posted by stavrogin at 1:02 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]




They're sort of like the weather, aren't they? It only really matters anymore if it sets a record.

That wasn't what I meant at all. What I meant was that I don't think that a year from now, if you say "the Batman movie theatre shooting" to someone, that they'll be totally clueless. I'm pretty sure this is a big story.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:03 PM on July 20, 2012


Patton Oswalt just tweeted a link to Charlie Brooker's succinct, scathing indictment of the news media's role in glorifying mass murder. Essential viewing. However else we respond, it'd be a service to humanity in general if we banned even releasing the names of these assholes.
posted by gompa at 1:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [23 favorites]


They're sort of like the weather, aren't they? It only really matters anymore if it sets a record.

why weren't the crazed-gunman-warning sirens sounded?
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:04 PM on July 20, 2012


mek: Anything more "recent" than 1947, kengraham?

In the LA riots, post-Rodney King, I was told by a friend that the Asian population more or less had to defend themselves from angry rioters and looters, because the cops were only protecting the white nighborhoods. Only the fact that the Asians were armed, and on patrol in front of their shops and homes, allowed them to still have shops and homes. Many of them would have been wiped out, if they hadn't been armed. Nevermind that they had essentially zero to do with racist cops, and that the racist cops were all protecting the white citizens; the rioters didn't care about that, and were just looking for things to burn.

This guy has always struck me as quite reliable, so I do trust him on this, but I don't have an easy backup cite, unfortunately. I can try to find one if you're not coming up with anything.
posted by Malor at 1:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Mental illness" is at once so ambiguous as to be meaningless—what does describing him as "mentally ill" achieve?

It provides comfort to those who want an explanation of why it happened, any explanation.
posted by Wordwoman at 1:06 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's pretty easy to fall into these traps that are ready-made for us, and to unwittingly fight the battles that a few people want us to fight, and not really listen to one another. i know i'm guilty of it sometimes. i try every day to be more understanding.

on preview, thanks coldchef.
posted by g.i.r. at 1:06 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the update, ColdChef. I will keep her in my prayers.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:08 PM on July 20, 2012


Thanks for the update, ColdChef. I hope she and the other wounded are able to recover fully.
posted by Gelatin at 1:13 PM on July 20, 2012


because sensible gun control laws could have prevented this person from being able to murder 15 people and injure dozens more

"Gun control" is an oxymoron - guns are so simple to produce and free trade is so difficult to monitor that it will forever be categorically impossible for the U.S. to ever be able to keep guns out of the hands of a mentally ill person who really wants them. Therefore, suggesting that "stricter gun control laws" will stop things like this from happening is on par with trying to legislate Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. The sooner we accept that reality, the better. Tragedies like this happen; that is a sad reality of life. Even if my some miracle guns were successfully kept out of the hands of psychopaths, a well-stocked kitchen has enough explosive chemicals to level a city block. Rather than buying into the "gun control" fantasy, we need to accept that mentally ill people will always have access to firepower, and try to work on better methods to detect and treat mental illness in our society.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:13 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I saw the movie earlier this week at a special pre-premiere.

It was pretty good, but that said, there is a definite element to our culture lately which encourages a dangerous level of wish fulfillment, with a lot of "collapse of civilization"/all-hell-breaking-loose scenarios.

Perhaps the perception that this person made is that it's better to be an empowered villain than to be a useless cog, as society makes its last swirls around the bowl.

If films are about wish fulfillment, then perhaps we need to insist upon better wishes.
posted by markkraft at 1:15 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]



The lack of a political message or goal.


That you know of.

The term terrorism is not restricted to violence perpetrated with a political message or goal in mind.
posted by caryatid at 1:16 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is complete fucking bullshit, wolfdreams. You can't stop all drunks from ever driving, either, but that doesn't mean you just give up and let everyone drink and drive.
posted by stavrogin at 1:17 PM on July 20, 2012 [24 favorites]


g.i.r / empressC - that person was me.

Basically I was asking what specific objections do you have to enacting laws like the ones they have in the UK, where all automatic (semi and otherwise) rifles above .22 cal are banned. I was trying to be as specific as possible with my questions. I don't know exactly how the banning worked in the UK, and if they actually sent around government agents to collect guns.

I do know that rifle hunting continues on in this country. What I was hoping to hear was if the rules they have in place make sense from a public safety perspective (which to my mind covers both issues around hunting, and this shooting). I was also hoping to hear from the hunters in the thread if it would pose any serious issues in hunting for sport / food. It sounds like it positively effected you g.i.r, but you also said that you are ok with the years that you don't bring anything home. I can imagine if there are those that hunt for sustenance, it may be more of an issue.

The only semi-automatic thing I have shot is a paintball marker, so I am well aware of the fact that I don't have all the knowledge.

This post upthread covers the laws that I am talking about more specifically
posted by jonbro at 1:20 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Rather than buying into the 'gun control' fantasy, we need to accept that mentally ill people will always have access to firepower ..."

And yet, somehow, hundreds of other nations have managed it more or less successfully.
posted by kyrademon at 1:22 PM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


The reality is simple: every country struggles with madmen and ideologues with guns, and every country—Canada, Norway, Britain—has had a gun massacre once, or twice. Then people act to stop them, and they do—as over the past few years has happened in Australia. Only in America are gun massacres of this kind routine, expectable, and certain to continue.
posted by lalex at 1:23 PM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


That is complete fucking bullshit, wolfdreams. You can't stop all drunks from ever driving, either, but that doesn't mean you just give up and let everyone drink and drive.

That's true.

However, the unfortunate reality appears to be that even if we had strict gun control, this guy could have gotten those weapons without any real trouble. He had no criminal history, was well educated and so on.

It sucks, but a sufficiently driven and put together violent douche can do a lot of damage and there isn't really much you can do to stop it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:24 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]




Screening gun buyers for mental illness could help.
posted by stavrogin at 1:26 PM on July 20, 2012


"Rather than buying into the 'gun control' fantasy, we need to accept that mentally ill people will always have access to firepower ..."

Easy access = more likely to happen.
Difficult access = less likely to happen.

However, the unfortunate reality appears to be that even if we had strict gun control, this guy could have gotten those weapons without any real trouble.

Yet I can happily say that I have absolutely no means of obtaining such weaponry in the UK, where we have strict gun control.
posted by Hobo at 1:27 PM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Given that this guy had a loaded handgun in his car and strapped on body armor, it's clear he expected to leave the scene of the crime. The reports are saying he booby-trapped his apartment pretty well, too. Clearly this is premeditated murder. I honestly hope they do not allow cameras in the courtroom because I care not one whit about what this person ever says. It's being reported now that he said "I am the joker" and you know what, he can't be, because I am. And I'm not going to kill anyone. (I'm also a picker, a grinner, a lover and a sinner.) This is a tragedy that's unrelated to anything that anyone could have done, except the deranged individual who committed this heinous act.

Heck, even I posted links upthread to the God Bless America and the Gangster Squad trailers and now folks are pointing to a page from Frank Miller's 80's grim Dark Knight comic. Bah, fingerpointing. Look hundreds of thousands, millions maybe have seen that ephemera and not shot up movie theaters. Now there's talk of pulling the film from theaters? What does that serve except as some strange admission that this guy's act of murder has won a hollow victory? Would they be that afraid it would happen again?
posted by Catblack at 1:30 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Onion: Sadly, Nation Knows Exactly How Colorado Shooting's Aftermath Will Play Out

Not funny. Depressingly percipient.
posted by schmod at 1:31 PM on July 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


"Gun control" is an oxymoron - guns are so simple to produce and free trade is so difficult to monitor that it will forever be categorically impossible for the U.S. to ever be able to keep guns out of the hands of a mentally ill person who really wants them.
Right, and we can never catch all speeders, so we shouldn't have speed limits. Everything is impossible if we refuse to address problems rationally and deliberately ignore how other nations successfully address them.

Sensible gun control doesn't mean banning all (or even most) gun sales. The fact that we can't instantly solve the problem of the hundreds of millions of guns just floating around society doesn't mean we shouldn't try to take a sensible, multi-generational approach to reducing gun violence.
posted by Davenhill at 1:31 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Gah, I just went to write to my congressperson (Diana DeGette) about gun laws and saw her tweet:

Our CO community has been shaken by a horrific act of violence. My family joins nation in praying for the victims.

WTF, Diane. We didn't elect you to pray for people. What are you going to do about gun violence???
posted by Wordwoman at 1:31 PM on July 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


Only in America are gun massacres of this kind routine, expectable, and certain to continue.

Real question: does any other country have as many guns per capita already in circulation? My sense (perhaps inaccurate) is that even if no guns or ammunition were legally sold in the U.S. from this moment forward, there's still more than enough to enable gun crimes to keep rolling on for centuries. I'd be very interested in some stats on that.
posted by argonauta at 1:32 PM on July 20, 2012


You can't stop all drunks from ever driving, either, but that doesn't mean you just give up and let everyone drink and drive.

neither do you simply outlaw automobiles.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:32 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Make gun companies financially liable for gun deaths and let the free market sort out the details.
posted by Davenhill at 1:33 PM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


We have "gun control". US society is completely controlled by gun-backed laws. Also provided for and expanded by gun-centered military. In much of American mythology, the gun-shooter is the hero. Large collections of value are protected by guns. Millions of Americans worship guns to the point of fetishism. Actually, the name of the country could be changed to "The United States of Guns" and it wouldn't be too far off the mark.
posted by telstar at 1:33 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


guns are so simple to produce and free trade is so difficult to monitor that it will forever be categorically impossible for the U.S. to ever be able to keep guns out of the hands of a mentally ill person who really wants them.

Renewing the Assault Weapons Ban would have specifically kept the weapon used by someone today to murder 12 people out of his hands.

Therefore, suggesting that "stricter gun control laws" will stop things like this from happening is on par with trying to legislate Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. The sooner we accept that reality, the better. Tragedies like this happen; that is a sad reality of life.

It is incredibly difficult for me to put myself in front of a person who proudly defends the rights of hypotheticals by casting aside actual dead people as collateral damage and see them as a worthwhile human being. What a shameful mindset you have.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:34 PM on July 20, 2012 [23 favorites]


> You can't stop all drunks from ever driving, either, but that doesn't mean you just give up and let everyone drink and drive.

neither do you simply outlaw automobiles.


But you DO require people who wish to drive to apply for a license.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:34 PM on July 20, 2012 [16 favorites]


As the people from Aurora are still reeling from this shock, I hope that they may have a few moments of quiet to themselves. One storm has rocked their community already—the storm of a single man. Another storm is coming. A storm of many people—media, national politicians, radio news anchors, bloggers, fringe groups, tragedy tourists. They're already begun their pilgrimage. They're putting the town of Aurora under their lenses. They're applying the town of Aurora to whatever rubrics of political beliefs, each side using it as an example of how their policies need to be enacted. This wouldn't have happened. If you'd only give us power...

The media will be churning everything up. There will be no escape. They will crash into town with little regard for its inhabitants. They'll make snide comments about your local coffee, your podunk town, your ugly clothing. Then turn around and pretend to be your best friend, get you to cry into a camera. It's ok, let it all out. Thats what their producers want. They've already written your role for you. You are the grieving community. You will cry and feel outrage, but inspire our viewing demographics with your courage and triumph over tragedy.

The tragedy tourists—they span the spectrum from creepy to wonderfully absurdist. All so uniquely American. Shriners will be there, and Scientologists in yellow vests. People will try to give you things. Pamphlets. Books. Prayers. Elementary schools will fold paper cranes and send them. Amish women will make quilts. Businesses will send trinkets. Artists will create works, put on performances, sing songs. The general public feels an urge to do something, to give something, and that urge passes when they face their monolith of their smallness, their inability to fix things, their own fragility. For them, complacency replaces action. Not for tragedy tourists. These people do and create and in some cases impose those actions on to you.

The titan of tragedy is already barreling on its tracks towards Aurora. The absolute nakedness your community will feel, will linger for years. And something else will be forged in it. A shared bond. Sometimes we don't make our communities until something forces it.

.
posted by fontophilic at 1:36 PM on July 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


Easy access = more likely to happen.
Difficult access = less likely to happen.


That's very true, but it's only relevant to your point, if creating a fake ID and pretending to be somebody else is "difficult." Hell, I could probably set up a whole fake identity for myself in a month just by calling the right government offices with a sob story - no forgery required.

...though I will grant you, most of these lunatics do seem to be lacking a certain mental capacity, so perhaps you're onto something there.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:40 PM on July 20, 2012


From that ONION piece:

While admitting they "absolutely hate" the fact they have this knowledge, the nation's 300 million citizens told reporters they can pinpoint down to the hour when the first candlelight vigil will be held, roughly how many people will attend, how many times the county sheriff will address the media in the coming weeks, and when the town-wide memorial service will be held.

Additionally, sources nationwide took no pleasure in confirming that some sort of video recording, written material, or disturbing photographs made by the shooter will be surfacing in about an hour or two.

"I hate to say it, but we as Americans are basically experts at this kind of thing by now,” said 45-year-old market analyst Jared Gerson, adding that the number of media images of Aurora, CO citizens crying and looking shocked is “pretty much right in line with where it usually is at this point." "The calls not to politicize the tragedy should be starting in an hour, but by 1:30 p.m. tomorrow the issue will have been politicized. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the shooter’s high school classmate is interviewed within 45 minutes."

"It's like clockwork," said Gerson, who sighed, shook his head, and walked away.

According to the nation's citizenry, calls for a mature, thoughtful debate about the role of guns in American society started right on time, and should persist throughout the next week or so. However, the populace noted, the debate will soon spiral out of control and ultimately lead to nothing of any substance, a fact Americans everywhere acknowledged they felt "absolutely horrible" to be aware of.


I think I'll just shut up for now, maybe do some long overdue housework. And I'm not even American.
posted by philip-random at 1:41 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


>>You can't stop all drunks from ever driving, either, but that doesn't mean you just give up and let everyone drink and drive.

>neither do you simply outlaw automobiles.


Harm of the US outlawing personal automobiles starting tomorrow: economy collapses; lawlessness, starvation; suffering on a massive scale unheard of in human history

Harm of the US outlawing personal firearms starting tomorrow: some impact on hunters and sportspeople, and the elimination of rare instances of successful self defense with guns.

Am I missing something? I must be, but I don't know what.
posted by gurple at 1:43 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


The titan of tragedy is already barreling on its tracks towards Aurora. The absolute nakedness your community will feel, will linger for years. And something else will be forged in it. A shared bond. Sometimes we don't make our communities until something forces it.

Thanks, but the Denver area has already had considerable experience with this kind of thing in the Columbine shootings. I wish I could say that some greatness was forged there, but I see no evidence of it.
posted by Wordwoman at 1:45 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Aurora is 28 miles from Columbine, Colorado. This is more of a "not again" thing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:46 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is incredibly difficult for me to put myself in front of a person who proudly defends the rights of hypotheticals by casting aside actual dead people as collateral damage and see them as a worthwhile human being. What a shameful mindset you have.

It is incredibly difficult for me to put myself in front of a person who tries to achieve their political agenda by using actual dead people to galvanize people's emotions, instead of relying on logical thought and critical analysis. I look down on you for that. Other people on this thread have disagreed with me (and I fully respect their right to do so), but what makes them better human beings than you is that they're using logical argument and analogy instead of your disgustingly irrelevant emotional appeal. "Look at him, he ain't got no feelings... LET'S GIT IM!"
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:46 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Am I missing something? I must be, but I don't know what.

Yet more encroachment of the police state? Isn't the War on Drugs fucking enough?

Haven't the last thirty years taught you that prohibition doesn't work?
posted by Malor at 1:49 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


For those interested, Trailer Addict still has the Gangster Squad trailer online. I doubt it will stil be there at close of business today. Right at the two-minute mark, there is a moment of several gunmen shooting through a movie screen into a packed theater.
posted by andreaazure at 1:49 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Onion: Sadly, Nation Knows Exactly How Colorado Shooting's Aftermath Will Play Out

Horribly, horribly accurate.
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


wolfdreams01: "their political agenda by using actual dead people to galvanize people's emotions, instead of relying on logical thought and critical analysis."

When the political agenda being advocated would have prevented those people from being dead, I find this cop-out to be completely off-base.

It's time to set "politics" aside (since politics are apparently an intrinsically bad thing that can never be discussed), and step down from the high horse. You're concern trolling.
posted by schmod at 1:50 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like what happened on Something Awful. They made argument about gun control in that thread a bannable offense.
posted by Snyder at 1:52 PM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


People, seriously: as shakespeherian said above, don't be dicks to each other. For a thread about several highly charged and contentious subjects, we're doing remarkably well as far as civility goes right now. Don't let this thread devolve from "I completely disagree with your assertion that X" into "you're a terrible human being for thinking X."
posted by tzikeh at 1:52 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


> Well, plenty of idiots think outlets like ABC are "lefties".

One way to spot knee-jerk righties is, do they leap to connect someone like this to, oh, Occupy Wall Street on no evidence. In exact symmetry, one way to spot knee-jerk lefties is, do they leap to connect someone like this to the Tea Party on no evidence. ABC spokesman did so, therefore ABC spokesman (or whatever producer is pulling his strings) is knee-jerk lefty.
posted by jfuller at 1:52 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Malor: "Haven't the last thirty years taught you that prohibition doesn't work?"

No, but the mostly-successful gun control policies in Western Europe have shown that it's worth trying in this particular instance.

It's not like we don't know what will happen if we regulate firearms more heavily. There's mountains of data from countries that have done it.
posted by schmod at 1:52 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Anything more "recent" than 1947, kengraham?

Some more recent examples:

Members of the American Indian Movement, some of whom were armed, and some of whom ended up exchanging gunfire with government forces, occupied Wounded Knee in 1973. Part of the motivation was the perception that official authorities had failed to protect Native Americans from violent crimes in border communities (by being extremely lenient with some white murderers of Native American victims), and the subsequent response to protest. More generally, AIM protested a long history of broken treaties with the US government, which showed that the state could not be relied upon to serve the interests of some of its constituents, and was actually instrumental in their oppression.

In the late 1960s, the Black Panther Party famously established armed presences to discourage police brutality.

I've never had to deal with having the system designed to protect me instead elaborately stacked against me, so I'm slow to condemn someone's claims to self-defense if they do (have the system stacked against them). I don't think the militia crazies are people with the system elaborately stacked against them, though, even if the state routinely, to this day, uses unjustified violence against citizens with or without due process ("due process" is no justification for using violence; in fact, it's a type of premeditation if the end result is violence).

Although I am slow to condemn them, I'm not a supporter of such tactics, because there are many, many instances of out-and-out thuggery and evil when violence meets social struggle, and it's very difficult to draw distinctions. I don't think initiating the use of force is ever okay, and I don't think the use of force in revenge is ever okay. I think violence is okay only in violent situations from which it is the only means of escape. Any gun ownership -- or, on a larger scale, maintenance of a large military/militarized police force -- creates the potential for such situations way more often than it mitigates them.

That's why the issue is tricky for me: I believe things would almost certainly be better if someone went around and confiscated the guns, because very few people have a truly good reason, and sufficient responsibility, and moral authority to own something designed to injure and kill. I don't think the government, with its militarized SWAT teams and drug warriors and drone warfare and warrantless wiretapping and indefinite detention and waterboarding has the moral authority to round up the guns, though.

All I'm saying is that it's not like there's a pack of wide-eyed violence-fetishizing crazies paranoid that the fair-minded and just state is going to come and take their guns. The first part is true, but the second part fails to recognize that even something innocuous and likely beneficial -- regulation of private gun ownership -- will be predicated on the coercive power of a group (the state) with a vastly superior capacity to do violence and a terrible ethical record. Perhaps the social good is worth it, but we should recognize that gun control is a final admission that we've completely handed over the monopoly on violence to an entity over which we have very little real oversight or control, and which has little actual regard for the personal agency of citizens and is content to conflate consumer choice with personal freedom in its propaganda etc.

And when they come for cryptography or issue biometric ID cards, I might start to have some black-helicopter feelings, too. Therefore, for now, I'll at least be open to the idea that the gun-nuts' crazy rhetoric is (tenuously) related to some real concerns.
posted by kengraham at 1:52 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


[Time again for deep breaths all around, folks. Please don't make this personal. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 1:53 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Harm of the US outlawing personal firearms starting tomorrow: some impact on hunters and sportspeople, and the elimination of rare instances of successful self defense with guns.

That's the thing -- it's really not a very honest analogy to compare gun ownership with ownership of something that the typical ordinary civilian actually needs for a practical, non-recreational reason. A better analogy would probably be to a toy. If a toy is found to cause unnecessary deaths and injuries, that toy is removed from the market, and no one (aside from that "Bag o' Glass" guy from SNL) complains.

I've thought in the past about buying a gun for self-defense, but maybe I'll look into the feasibility of using a bow and arrow instead.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 1:54 PM on July 20, 2012


When the political agenda being advocated would have prevented those people from being dead, I find this cop-out to be completely off-base.

Assuming facts not in evidence.

So far as I can tell, the bombs he made and the tear gas he used are also illegal to posses and use and yet, here we are.

I have seen no evidence so far that he would have failed any reasonably well designed background check. And even the face of a full on firearms ban was apparently intelligent and driven enough to find alternative means of killing people.

So, no, you can't say a firearms ban would have prevented him from doing something like this, it is not possible to know it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:54 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]




One way to spot knee-jerk righties is, do they leap to connect someone like this to, oh, Occupy Wall Street on no evidence. In exact symmetry, one way to spot knee-jerk lefties is, do they leap to connect someone like this to the Tea Party on no evidence. ABC spokesman did so, therefore ABC spokesman (or whatever producer is pulling his strings) is knee-jerk lefty.

In fairness I am not aware of any Occupy members who routinely show up with weapons at their rallies.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:57 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


One way to spot knee-jerk righties is, do they leap to connect someone like this to, oh, Occupy Wall Street on no evidence. In exact symmetry, one way to spot knee-jerk lefties is, do they leap to connect someone like this to the Tea Party on no evidence. ABC spokesman did so, therefore ABC spokesman (or whatever producer is pulling his strings) is knee-jerk lefty.

I think that's a false symmetry. It's not the same thing to connect an act of gun-related violence to a group that doesn't advocate violence in any way, let alone with guns, as to connect it to a group that explicitly endorses/threatens violence (and specifically gun violence).
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 2:00 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


There's a lot of misinfo about assault rifles.

What is generally considered the first modern assault rifle was the Sturmgewehr 44, or fairly literally 'storm rifle', a german weapon from WWII.

The infantry rifle could be fired accurately at much longer ranges; but due to its length and low rate of fire was unsuitable for close-quarters-battle. The machine pistol/sub machinegun was much more suitable for close quarters; with its high rate of fire, and lower recoil (due to lower power pistol cartridges), along with shorter barrel length. But those things also made it unsuitable for ranged engagements, as it was inaccurate.

The 'storm rifle', was for storming, or assaulting an enemy position. It was as much a political name as anything else. The stG44 fired a short rifle cartridge, and could be used like a rifle at range - but also could be used at close quarters with a full automatic mode. It also had a pistol grip, like a sub-machine gun. It was intended to fulfill both the role of rifleman and sub-machine gunner. Pretty much all militaries switched to assault rifles, biased more towards the rifle or the fully automatic mode, but fairly fundamentally similar to the stG44. The latest versions tend towards 'burst mode' instead of full automatic; 3 or 4 rounds fired per trigger pull, which gives greater accuracy without the ammo-wasting less effective 'spray and pray' of full automatic.

Thing is, assault rifles, along with all full-automatic weapons, have been banned in the USA for civilian purchase for decades, only 'grandfathered in' and military/police ones exist. What's left are semi-automatic or bolt action rifles, very similar to the older infantry rifles that the assault rifle replaced. Semi-automatic weapons are still extremely deadly; a full metal jacket rifle round at close range will drill right through a person, the person behind them, and the wall behind them - the damage is horrifying. Even a single low weight pistol round is often lethal - and an extended magazine with 30 rounds can be fired empty in a few seconds. Combine that with the literally deafening noise in an enclosed space? It must have been an unbelievably hellish and terrifying experience to go through, even for those for survived, and they all have my fullest sympathies.

There is no banning of 'assault rifles', or assault style weapons, or automatic weapons, specifically that would stop an incident like this. They're already banned (assault rifles/full automatic); or banning them would ban basically all hunting rifles and handguns too - mechanically, how they work, how they fire, there is no difference. Either you have large scale civilian ownership of firearms, or you don't. Given so many people are wounded or killed by their own weapons - or in horrific events like this - I personally think you'd be better off as a society without them; but then being a brit who's only ever once held a deactivated firearm, and never fired one, I don't miss it, or need one.

Whether such a thing is even possible, given the fetishization so many americans have for guns, and gun violence? Even then, you've got hundreds of millions in circulation, and any semi-competent metal smith can make ammunition and repair them.

If you're talking about a ban, you need to think about restricting everyone to nothing more than double barrelled shotguns for farmers, and 22 bolt action rifles for small game hunting, with confiscation of all the rest. Anything else is a meaningless distinction. A media style 'assault rifle' is mechanically a hunting rifle. An 'automatic pistol' is a common semi-automatic handgun with a larger magazine. All that really differs is how they look. Whether a UK-style ban could possibly work, even with a constitutional amendment? I doubt it. The whole american attitude to guns is the real problem, and not one that would not be solved with a widescale ban. You'd just have people burying them in their gardens - or shooting police who came to collect them.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:01 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


jonbro - the most common AR-15 is a .22 caliber (.223 to be more exact). Caliber isn't a great guide for deciding what to ban. For example the .17 Hornet can do plenty of damage.
posted by Carbolic at 2:02 PM on July 20, 2012


More Onion: NRA: 'Please Try To Remember All The Wonderful Things Guns Do For Us Every Day'

Damn. As someone said in another thread, when the folks at the Onion are mad or hurting about something, they take their game to another level.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:06 PM on July 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


Somewhere between reading about the healthcare costs for victims and the guns/cars comparison, I had a thought.

In order to drive a car, you're required to hold insurance to pay for others injuries/losses due to an accident. Would a similar insurance structure work for guns? It seems so heartless that there's no system in place to at least pay for the victims medical bills, even if it can't restore their peace of mind.
posted by peppermind at 2:06 PM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


In the LA riots, post-Rodney King, I was told by a friend that the Asian population more or less had to defend themselves from angry rioters and looters, because the cops were only protecting the white nighborhoods.

I remember that. My husband (Asian) worked at a paper recycling plant (Asian-owned) in Compton. They hired men with guns to patrol the roof top. I think they were terrified of arson. I was terrified every time my husband drove to work. On the other hand, the Japanese dentist I worked for in downtown Long Beach just closed the office for a week because he thought it was better not to endanger his employees or his patients.


"Haven't the last thirty years taught you that prohibition doesn't work?"

You know who is have phenomenal success at prohibiting something? Anti-abortionists. Their death-by-a-thousand-cuts-legislation is having tremendous impact.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:07 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Oh man, I'm glad a few people decided to lighten up this otherwise dark day by bringing out that hilarious trope that citizens with small arms are any kind of serious check against tyranny.
posted by mullingitover at 2:09 PM on July 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


Also that a knife is just as deadly!
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


ah, ok. I was waiting for that answer, re: caliber. I shot .22s before, and while I was aware that they could do some damage, I wasn't sure how much.

That said, it appears that the AR-15 is banned in semi auto form under the UK rules. It looks like you need to convert it into a bolt action. So I guess I am misinterpreting the caliber restrictions in the uk gun ban. On further digging it appears you can only have .22 caliber rimfire semi automatic weapons. Not sure why the rimfire vs center fire make a difference.
posted by jonbro at 2:13 PM on July 20, 2012


Oh my god, what a horrible thing. I'd heard something earlier, but had no idea.

.

For the victims of this senseless crime.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:15 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rimfires are lower pressure than centre fire, due to the nature of how they ignite. Lower pressure = lower muzzle velocity = marginally less deadly.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:16 PM on July 20, 2012


Oh man, I'm glad a few people decided to lighten up this otherwise dark day by bringing out that hilarious trope that citizens with small arms are any kind of serious check against tyranny.

People using small arms and IEDs have kept the entire US military (plus various NATO forces) busy in Iraq and Afghanistan for years.
posted by Forktine at 2:16 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wordwoman,

Greatness? No. I didn't mean to imply that. More like, a shared memory. The ability to know you have something in common with someone you didn't know before. You both have that invisible mark. You're both from that town.

I'm mostly speaking of my experiences being a student at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. My school's name (as google reminds me each time I look up football scores) is mostly followed by "massacre". Those people who shared this event with me as a community understand. I don't have to second guess if I should add my school's name into a conversation. Don't have to wait for that pause, as people estimate my age wondering if I was "there". We can talk about it without causing awkwardness for other people. It's like suddenly revealing to someone that you have a third limb, and geeze, shouldn't you have a doctor look at that? I'm not qualified.

I don't know. I'm mostly rambling now. A little bit dismayed that The Onion captured what I was thinking today. I really suppose this is much less unique than I thought.
posted by fontophilic at 2:16 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


thanks for clarifying, jonbro. seems i may have initially miscontrued the meaning of what you had said...i am sorry.

if we could all shake each other's hands, and look each other in the eyes, and hear tones of voice, maybe we could better understand one another. this interconnectedness is both a blessing and a curse...

getting to the root of things and really listening is the key. and the specifics matter when attempting to bridge two sides. i have been doing some political grass-roots stuff in my area, and it's tough to see two sides fight, and try to figure out ways to overcome the emotions and misinformation. hell, as a grass-roots we get flack from believers in the established system over working *outside* the system because they think we're not legitimate...and we get flack from outsiders for periodically working *with* the system because they think we're shills for the establishment...and that's from people on 'our' side ! now try to bridge the gaps with the 'other' side !....

it's the same all over, no matter the topic -- gun control, politics, taxes, schools....we gotta get these few assholes, who literally profit from inflaming the issues, off our backs, and stop listening to them, and start listening to the people right in front of us, and all around us...and do it with respect...

hunting is most certainly not the sum total of who i am but it is a deep-rooted and important part of who i am, even though it's only a couple weeks out of the year for me. my recent farming ancestors depended on it for food, and there are time-honored family traditions that i would miss very deeply if it were to end. overall, it is a big deal here in the great lakes, for those reasons (among others), even though that isn't always explicitly stated or obvious. and so it comes across all wrong sometimes. the gun fetishists (non-'true' hunters) don't help matters....they are usually louder than the rest of us, and tend to stigmatize the whole thing.

i have a friend who feels the same way i do...he is kind of a hippie / pacifist / peacenik, but is also a bigger hunter than i am (in that he hunts birds and other stuff, stretching year-round)...he describes hunting in ways that would very much move you, even if you are an animal activist or anti-gun person...the communion with nature and the land, and its bounty, the rhythms of nature, understanding where food comes from and how it's harvested, being responsible for the act of that harvest and how it is done...i can't fully do it justice with my simple description. most people who 'get' that can't put it into words...they just say 'it's huntin'...you either 'get it' or ya don't.' and to someone who hasn't ever felt or been a part of the things i've attempted to describe, that can be misconstrued as 'i shore do like killin'...when that's not really what it's all about.

military-style weapons with high-capacity magazines don't fit into this picture.
posted by g.i.r. at 2:16 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


So, Fox News is apparently calling for costumes to be banned at movies theaters now, and AMC is moving to do it. Because obviously guns don't kill people, people with guns don't kill people, but people with costumes do.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:17 PM on July 20, 2012 [24 favorites]


I think that's a false symmetry. It's not the same thing to connect an act of gun-related violence to a group that doesn't advocate violence in any way, let alone with guns, as to connect it to a group that explicitly endorses/threatens violence (and specifically gun violence).

That's ridiculous, El Sabor. You link to one Tea Party "leader" from Mississippi who says nothing about "gun violence." It's more fair to say that OWS and the Tea Party are grassroots, populist movements that are mostly peaceful, but for a few outliers and crazies (which you'll find in any sufficiently large crowd).
posted by BobbyVan at 2:18 PM on July 20, 2012


jonbro:

Just to avoid any confusion, although a .22 calibre and .223 calibre round may have a similar diameter, the .223 is much more powerful. It is a center fire, high speed round used as the primary round by the U.S. and other NATO militaries.

So it's nothing like your .22 calibre rabbit-shooter. It'd be more of a rabbit-vaporizer.
posted by syzygy at 2:19 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]




thanks g.i.r, and sorry if there was any confusion. I have no problem with hunting at all, nor with gun ownership, I was just trying to understand some of the nuances. This is a complex and confusing issue, as illustrated by my confusion over center vs. rimfire, among other things.

I am certainly not trying to shut down hunting, I have that in my families recent past as well. I never hunted myself, but I certainly ate my share of venison. I know somewhat where you are coming from.

I think when I moved from the states to the UK (scotland), I was expecting to see literally zero guns here.

When I did see that there is still hunting and sport shooting that happens around here, I was pretty surprised. I never dug into the details of the gun control laws here until today. Now that I have, they sounded pretty sane to me as an outsider (both outside hunting, and outside UK culture), and I just wanted more clarification. Thanks for being patient with me!
posted by jonbro at 2:31 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's ridiculous, El Sabor. You link to one Tea Party "leader" from Mississippi who says nothing about "gun violence." It's more fair to say that OWS and the Tea Party are grassroots, populist movements that are mostly peaceful, but for a few outliers and crazies (which you'll find in any sufficiently large crowd).

Sorry, didn't mean to be ridiculous by connecting the Tea Party with guns. By the way, here's a good photo of the handgun on the sign where they don't threaten gun violence. I'll get back to you when I find photos of pistol-packin' Occupy protesters.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 2:32 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Details of what happened inside, from Jessica Ghawi's brother

I feel sick.
posted by Pendragon at 2:32 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, no, you can't say a firearms ban would have prevented him from doing something like this, it is not possible to know it.

I did not say a "firearms ban" would have "prevented him from doing this;" I said that the 1994 assault weapons ban legally banned the sale of both AR-15 rifles and extended ammunition magazines, both of which the suspect legally acquired at a store because Congress did not renew it. Had the law still been in place, he would not have been able to do this.

That so many people rush to respond to facts like this by rewriting them as broad declarations to make straw men of, or defending their personal admiration for their right to kill a hypothetical person with as big a gun as possible, with the simultaneous excuse that factual news of dead people is an acceptable loss in the defense of said personal agenda, goes a long way to explain why we see a story like this on the news repeatedly. If anyone would like to explain to me how I can observe the fundamental brokenness of this large percentage of our culture and how it watches 6 year old children be shot to death and then casually shrug without it appearing as "personal," both myself and a large part of the psychological professional are open to your analysis.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:36 PM on July 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


Is the AR-15 and explicit marker for assholery or what? What is the point of the thing?
posted by Artw at 2:38 PM on July 20, 2012


So, Fox News is apparently calling for costumes to be banned at movies theaters now, and AMC is moving to do it.

If we here on Metafilter are left scratching our heads and getting snarky with each other because we don't know how to handle the situation imagine the what Cinema chain owners are doing. My guess is many many people will decide not to go to the movies for the next week or two. Profits are being endangered so the owners will be scrambling. As was said earlier they will want to react with security theater but unlike congress will have to pay for this out of their own pockets. But, voila! A free solution offers itself. A ban on costumes will cost nothing but will reassure the public that Something is being done!

Anybody want to hazard a guess on how long or how serious a movie theater boycott will be? I don't mean a boycott in the political sense but I do imagine many people will be uncomfortable with the idea of going to the movies for a period of time much less taking their kids.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:41 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cinemark, the theatre owner, bans guns except for law enforcement.

So if someone like Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) says that looser gun laws would have lessened this tragedy, he is not correct.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:43 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was going to hold off on this movie because I don't like crowds. Now I feel compelled to go to show that I understand my chances are greater of being struck by lightning on my way to the theater than being shot while in one.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:44 PM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


People seriously are going to avoid going the movies because of this?
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 2:46 PM on July 20, 2012


Oh man, I'm glad a few people decided to lighten up this otherwise dark day by bringing out that hilarious trope that citizens with small arms are any kind of serious check against tyranny.

Tyranny can't even do pushups. Arms too small.
posted by srboisvert at 2:49 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


People seriously are going to avoid going the movies because of this?

Not in the long run, but some people get scared (for obvious reasons) when something like this happens and they don't always react in a cold and logical manner. Since they are not robots.

But mostly people won't stop going to movies in the same way that people didn't stop using the mail when somebody dropped anthrax in it. Won't stop going to movies more than they are already stopping, that is. Since movie attendance has been in decline for quite some time.
posted by Justinian at 2:50 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


But if there was mental illness involved, can we please discuss the fact that people having psychotic episodes with long, documented histories of mental illness nonetheless seem to have no problem getting guns?

It looks like that was not the case in this situation, Bunny - no documented mental illness on file. But my issue with that idea is that many people have some degree of mental illness - OCD, PTSD, depression, etc. Many of those mental illnesses do not produce violence towards others. I think it would be wrong to restrict their access based on a broad lumping of "mental illness."

Naw bro cuz that same policy allowed all those patrons/victims/poor moviegoers the ability to arm themselves and return fire

It appears that the lack of armed citizens in the movie theater was the result of movie theater policy against guns in-theater.

Seems 100% reasonable to wonder if the guy wearing a gas mask shooting at people at a Batman movie was dressed like the guy in the Batman movie who wears a mask that looks like a gas mask.

This guy wasn't wearing a gas mask because it looked like Bain, he was wearing a gas mask because he was throwing tear gas grenades and wanted to be immune.
posted by corb at 2:51 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This guy wasn't wearing a gas mask because it looked like Bain, he was wearing a gas mask because he was throwing tear gas grenades and wanted to be immune.

Stop making Rush Limbaugh's head explode.

No, wait -- keep doing it!
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 2:53 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sorry, didn't mean to be ridiculous by connecting the Tea Party with guns. By the way, here's a good photo of the handgun on the sign where they don't threaten gun violence. I'll get back to you when I find photos of pistol-packin' Occupy protesters.

Let me know next time some ex-Tea Partiers hatch plans to blow up a bridge. I'm not aware of any Tea Partiers actually plotting violent direct action (as we've seen w/ the OWS spinoff Black Bloc), or even getting particularly violent in practice (aside from some random fisticuffs perhaps). All you can show me are pictures of guns, ownership of which happens to be protected by the US Constitution, and an offensive sign at a rally.

The fact remains that it is just as ludicrous to suppose with no evidence that a Tea Partier was responsible for these shootings as it is to suggest that an Occupier was responsible.

Anyway, this is kind of a stupid derail, so you can have the last word if you want.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:55 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


People seriously are going to avoid going the movies because of this?

We're a nation that agreed we should all take off our shoes before we get on airplanes because some moron tried to set his Keds on fire. Indeed, simply not going to the movies for a few weeks would be on the less terrified to the point of stupidity end of the spectrum.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:56 PM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Black Bloc's been around way longer than OWS, BobbyVan. They're hijackers, not spinoffs.
posted by saturday_morning at 2:58 PM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


It appears that the lack of armed citizens in the movie theater was the result of movie theater policy against guns in-theater.

Because in a dark, confined space with thin walls that was full of people, where the perpetrator had set off at least one gas/smoke device, there was no chance of any crossfire or other collateral damage. Yes, it's totally the fault of the theater.

For more evidence as to why your vigilante fantasy is a crock of shit, see the link 5 posts above yours
posted by zombieflanders at 2:58 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Is the AR-15 and explicit marker for assholery or what? What is the point of the thing?

Take an AR-15 and make it burst fire/fully automatic and you have an M16. Make it shorter, and you have an M4. The M16 & M4 are military assault rifles/carbines. If you're a military fantasist, then an AR-15 is about as close as you can get to a US military assault rifle and still be legal. That said, there's little to distinguish an AR-15 from any other removable-magazine semi-automatic rifle with a reasonably heavy calibre; it's perception, not capability or function.

Banning extended magazines might make more sense, but a magazine is pretty much just a metal box with a plate and spring to push the cartridges up into the weapon. The difference is how long the box is. And given its just a metal box, making one, or extending one is trivial. Hell, I could probably make one in my dad's garage.

You'd have to ban all mid to large calibre removable-magazine rifles - and go back to smaller capacity clip-fed or individual feed rifles with integral magazines - to make any real difference. And that's a LOT of rifles to ban.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:58 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


.
posted by angrycat at 2:59 PM on July 20, 2012


BobbyVan:

Those bridge guys were idiots who were egged on and basically setup by the FBI or homeland security. False equivalency.
posted by Windopaene at 2:59 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the classic example of the limits of free speech is shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater, then surely the limits of unrestricted gun ownership can be illustrated in thinking having everyone packing heat in a crowded, dark, and tear-gassed theater is a viable form of self-defense.
posted by Cash4Lead at 3:00 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Indeed, simply not going to the movies for a few weeks would be on the less terrified to the point of stupidity end of the spectrum.

Ok, how about not going to the movies because the violence in them will be less fun until we forget about this? I am seriously wondering whether I'm going to be able to enjoy Batman as much as I was going to.
posted by victory_laser at 3:00 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh and

.

Couldn't believe the story this morning and still can't.
posted by saturday_morning at 3:00 PM on July 20, 2012


In the late 1960s, the Black Panther Party famously established armed presences to discourage police brutality.

What has been more successful in preventing or quelling, or exposing, police brutality over time? The Panthers? Or civil liberties attorneys, non-violent protestors, civilians armed with video cameras, shapers of public opinion, etc.? Why, with the power of free speech and tactics that have proven effective over time in the courts and elsewhere, in an open system (for all its many, many faults), does anyone need to argue, "Hey, we need this, 'cause look how small explosives and arms have kept the military busy in Afghanistan and Iraq," and then argue that this overrides the safety of everyone else? (This wasn't the only such event that occurred this week, y'know. A dude also went into a Tuscaloosa AL bar near the University of Ala. campus and shot 17 people, wounding two critically, and shot another person elsewhere, in what may have been a mistaken identity case.) Are you arguing in favor of legalizing explosives for general use and home defense, or what? I'm asking, because that's what it sounds like from my end.

Look, I opened my Facebook feed Monday morning to see one of those annoying agitprop graphics with a handgun on it, and text reading, "This is what allows you to keep spewing your liberal nonsense." I was already mad about hearing this sort of thing before either of these shootings. This is bullying rhetoric,and self-aggrandizing besides.
posted by raysmj at 3:02 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ok, how about not going to the movies because the violence in them will be less fun until we forget about this?

That is a rational response, but its not the American way.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:02 PM on July 20, 2012


So if someone like Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) says that looser gun laws would have lessened this tragedy, he is not correct.

Gohmert isn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer:

And I know the President made the mistake one day of saying he had visited all 57 states, and I'm well aware that there are not 57 states in this country, although there are 57 members of OIC, the Islamic states in the world. Perhaps there was some confusion whether he'd been to all 57 Islamic states as opposed to all 50 U.S. states. But nonetheless, we have an obligation to the 50 American states, not the 57 Muslim, Islamic states. Our oath we took is in this body, in this House. And it's to the people of America. And it's not to the Muslim Brotherhood, who may very well take over Egypt and once they do, they are bent upon setting up a caliphate around the world, including the United States. And this administration will been [sic] complicit in helping people who wants [sic] to destroy our country.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:02 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


People seriously are going to avoid going the movies because of this?

Think about being a young mom with two kids. Imagine you were planning on taking them this weekend to see a kid's movie. Now imagine how the idea of sitting in a darkened room, surrounded by strangers, with your back to the entrance, loud noises surprising you, no longer sounds very enticing.

My best guess is some people will (irrationally) decide to seek their entertainment somewhere else for awhile.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:02 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Has there been any word yet on what this asshole's major malfunction turned out to be? So far all I've heard is he wasn't diagnosed with any mental illnesses.

I am seriously wondering whether I'm going to be able to enjoy Batman as much as I was going to.

I think I will, but I wasn't planning on going until mid next week so that'll help. Plus I'm pretty good at compartmentalization.
posted by Justinian at 3:03 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


People seriously are going to avoid going the movies because of this?

People don't have to make a causal connection to be a statistic. I can imagine that some percentage of people will just be less in the mood to go see a movie after reading all about this than they might have otherwise been.

Plenty of people choose whether to see a movie or stay in or do something else in a pretty casual "how are you feeling at the moment" way, and don't have to think they'll be shot to not feel like it would be much fun.
posted by mdn at 3:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am seriously wondering whether I'm going to be able to enjoy Batman as much as I was going to.

I'm going to see the movie as soon as I am able to do so and still be comfortable, which will be late Sunday or Monday evening. Fuck James Holmes.
posted by raysmj at 3:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


My best guess is some people will (irrationally) decide to seek their entertainment somewhere else for awhile.

Yeah, it's understandable. But oddly enough it's not unlikely whatever they choose to do instead will be something far more likely to be injurious, since sitting in movie theater is about as safe as you can get as long as you don't choke on your popcorn or run around in the dark.
posted by Justinian at 3:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the aftermath of Columbine, my school took the bold step of outlawing trench coats on campus. When a kid did show up with a trench coat, he was suspended and sent into counseling.

We were, in fact, just about the last school in our area to adopt this policy. We did it under heavy pressure from the parents.

In the midst of all this coverage, we're going to see dozens and dozens of "what can movie theatres do to make YOUR CHILDREN SAFER" news stories. Some of the ideas will be ludicrous. The most ludicrous and showy will be adopted, especially if they can make some people money.

One thing we've learned since 9/11 is that making a huge show of safety trumps taking action that will actually cause safety. Perhaps that has always been true.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:07 PM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


Fox News is apparently calling for costumes to be banned at movies theaters now

Cash money, please.

Look, I'm all in favor of gun control. I had a good friend commit suicide in the back patio of the apartment where he lived with the shotgun he bought from the gun shop around the corner. "Ha," he said, as he showed off his new purchase, "I wrote that I was institutionalized for depression on the application and the guy at the gun store crossed it out for me."

We were worried, of course. We tried to engage Kevin every day - but he seemed happy, focused on the future - still, we'd be sure to touch base with him. But we could not be everywhere and dark thought can be anywhere. My call to get him to come see Star Trek Insurrection came on literally dead ears. He killed himself with that gun in the back, unused in winter, hallway while listening to the Mechwarrior soundtrack.

His body was not found for 3 days.

So yeah, I want regulation, but I also want the people on the front lines who are selling guns to enforce them. No matter how any rules the government passes, they don't matter if the people on the front lines don't follow up.

Myself? I'd love to own a handgun. I like shooting at ranges. Despite the blackness of Kevin's end, I still like guns and really don't mind gun ownership. My wife would rather we did not have a gun in the house (we have a 2 year old) and I'm happy to obey her wishes. But if I could get the okay to have a gun? I have no problems with jumping through hoops to get one. I just want everyone selling weapons to follow the rules set down for the good of us all.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:07 PM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


> hilarious trope that citizens with small arms are any kind of serious check against tyranny

Yeah, I'm sure those who deposed Gaddafi would get a real kick out of your contempt for them.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 3:08 PM on July 20, 2012


People don't have to make a causal connection to be a statistic. I can imagine that some percentage of people will just be less in the mood to go see a movie after reading all about this than they might have otherwise been.

Good point. I still intend to go see TDKR this weekend, but it will be with considerably less enthusiasm. Going up to Sandia Crest and sitting with some nature with my wife for a while now seems like a much stronger contender for my Saturday afternoon than it was yesterday.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:08 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, I want to apologize for this comment. I felt insulted by this value judgement made about me, and instead of taking a moment to stop and consider it calmly, I instead stooped to the other commenter's level. That was out of line, and I'm sorry.

However... if we're going to debate gun control, can we please acknowledge the unfairness of using feeling-based arguments to create value judgements about other people? You can paint me as a cold and heartless person for not getting emotionally overwrought by the "tragedy of the week." But if we're going to go there, let's be perfectly honest and admit that 95% of the people posting on this thread aren't going to remember a damn thing about this tragedy two years from now. It'll have been forgotten and totally eclipsed by the next tragedy. So sure, maybe I'm cold and heartless for limiting my emotional investment unless I'm sure I plan to care about something for decades. But honestly, I don't think disposable feelings that will be gone in a year or two are something to brag about either. So while I welcome an open flow of discussion or debate, I'd appreciate if we could be spared the hypocritical value judgements about other people's personal characters.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 3:10 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another tragedy which Colorado's permissive gun laws failed to prevent. Typical NRA nonsense, why is it the only time these gun nuts have a gun is when they shoot their buddy accidentally while hunting or when a 6 year old is playing unsupervised. What is the point of living somewhere with permissive gun laws if the only outcome is that some kid gets shot by the neighborhood watchman for looking dangerous.
posted by humanfont at 3:10 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm sure those who deposed Gaddafi would get a real kick out of your contempt for them.

You think Gaddafi fell because of citizens with small arms and not constant NATO bombing?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:11 PM on July 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


For what it's worth, I saw on reddit that a moviegoer had left the cinema by the exit door to take a phone call and left it open. Unconfirmed though, of course, so grain of salt etc.

If that's the case, I wonder more about potential accomplices rather than innocent coincidence. For this guy to be all armed and ready, he can't exactly afford to hang around for long periods of time hoping someone opens an exit door.

At this point I don't even care about pistols, I just want all automatic (and semi-automatic) rifles banned. I know the problem is that small changes to the weaponry means congress has to pass new laws to cover new weaponry-- but wouldn't a blanket ban work? Why does the NRA insist that hunters and sportsmen need automatic rifles?

I think this is a common gulf between gun owners and non-gun owners. Gun owners want efficient weapons that require them carrying little additional equipment. Personally, I'm most comfortable with about a twenty-round magazine. Admittedly, it's partially because I gained most of my familiarity on military equipment, but it's also because that means you have to carry far less bulky magazines and spend far less time on reloading.

I don't hunt, but if I did, I would assume that you would need more ammo, not less, for a few reasons: first of which that you're shooting a moving target that you absolutely need to kill quickly. If you only wound it, you are condemning an animal to die slowly, its meat utterly wasted. You are pointlessly killing an animal for no purpose. Thus, you need to be able to shoot several more rounds quickly if you miss the first shot. (Especially as many people want to limit scopes, that allow you to take the first shot accurately and well.)

Is there a real reason one needs to be able to wander into Walmart or the local gun store and buy such bullets? Or am I woefully misunderstanding some property of movie theatre walls and/or bullets?

You are woefully misunderstanding some property of walls and bullets. Cheaply made walls, in particular, are not very solid - they're often built around a frame of wood or metal, but with drywall on top - which you can punch through if you're not careful. Bullets - any bullets - can go through these very easily. Bullets can go through car doors as well. They can punch through most substances that are used in modern cheap construction.
posted by corb at 3:12 PM on July 20, 2012


Waiting in line for Batman at the moment. Got here about an hour early concerned about getting a good seat, but right now it's just me and one other dude. Maybe it'll pick up soon, maybe the real enthusiast went last night, or maybe after last night people aren't as eager.
posted by Atreides at 3:13 PM on July 20, 2012


People seriously are going to avoid going the movies because of this?

I live in Denver.

The only thing that might scare me out of going to a movie in the near future is fear of the gun nuts who will be trying to sneak in their guns "for self-defense."


Our local wingnuts on the Denver Post public forums are out in force saying that the only reasonable and logical course of action right now is for everyone to buy a gun and get a concealed carry permit so they can be armed everywhere, at all times. Yes, everywhere, at all times - church, school, work, vacation, grocery shopping, playground, movie theaters.
posted by caryatid at 3:17 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


OWS spinoff Black Bloc

Media hysteria notwithstanding, "black bloc" refers to a tactic, not an actual organization, that predates OWS by at least 20 years.
posted by kengraham at 3:20 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Poor Jessica Ghawi. She just missed being in one random shooting, and then got killed in another. That's incredibly bad luck.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:21 PM on July 20, 2012


What has been more successful in preventing or quelling, or exposing, police brutality over time? The Panthers? Or civil liberties attorneys, non-violent protestors, civilians armed with video cameras, shapers of public opinion, etc.?

I wasn't defending the panthers, and I wrote all about how I disapprove of such tactics. My post was simply about how not all rhetoric about arms as social-justice-devices or checks on state power or whatever is McVeighian loony rhetoric, even if I disagree with it. No need to froth.
posted by kengraham at 3:27 PM on July 20, 2012


Are you arguing in favor of legalizing explosives for general use and home defense, or what? I'm asking, because that's what it sounds like from my end.

How do you interpret my post as arguing in favour of legalizing anything? I said, explicitly (actually, in two comments) that I pretty much categorically disapprove of gun ownership. What the fuck are you even talking about, that it sounds from "your end" like kengraham is advocating "home defense explosives"?

Can we get some nuance-appreciation in here, or are we all going to just ban metaphorical costumes?
posted by kengraham at 3:32 PM on July 20, 2012


Why, with the power of free speech and tactics that have proven effective over time in the courts and elsewhere, in an open system (for all its many, many faults), does anyone need to argue, "Hey, we need this, 'cause look how small explosives and arms have kept the military busy in Afghanistan and Iraq," and then argue that this overrides the safety of everyone else?

No one here is saying that, unless I've missed something. There was a claim that citizens with small arms are useless against a formal military, and it was pointed out that events in the last decade would suggest differently.

The problem is that the methods being suggested here (gun control of a UK variety, say) would be a great way to lower the epidemic of gun violence affecting poor, urban neighborhoods. It would not, however, be a particularly effective way to avoid this kind of crazy attack, particularly by someone with the resources and social capital to (with time and patience) become a legal gun owner even under more restrictive rules. You prevent that by fixing whatever it is that is broken in US society that makes so many young men look to violence as a solution, and not be able to get the mental health assistance that they probably need.

It's been claimed a couple of times that the 1990s assault weapon ban would have prevented this, but all that did was prevent new sales. All during the duration of the ban you could still buy whatever you wanted on the used market, and there were cheap and mostly legal workarounds, too, like buying an SKS or other rifle manufactured before the ban, or that lacked the specific features that were banned. Prices were definitely higher because of constricted supply, but hardly stratospheric; a normal middle class person could still buy those kinds of guns during the ban.
posted by Forktine at 3:33 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another tragedy which Colorado's permissive gun laws failed to prevent. Typical NRA nonsense, why is it the only time these gun nuts have a gun is when they shoot their buddy accidentally while hunting or when a 6 year old is playing unsupervised. What is the point of living somewhere with permissive gun laws if the only outcome is that some kid gets shot by the neighborhood watchman for looking dangerous.

FWIW, the US rep for that district has been fighting for more gun control and was pretty upset (in both emotional senses) this morning.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:35 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


In addition to the gas mask, he wore body armor and a helmet and was dressed completely in black. His gear included a throat protector, a groin protector, a bulletproof vest and leggings, and tactical gloves.

The idea of a theater full of armed patrons trying to shoot back at this guy through the smoke makes my stomach drop more than he does.
posted by argonauta at 3:39 PM on July 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


The idea of a theater full of armed patrons trying to shoot back at this guy through the smoke makes my stomach drop more than he does.

Seriously. Can all the "an armed society is a polite society" guys all go live on their own island please, so the rest of us don't get hit by stray bullets?
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:42 PM on July 20, 2012 [24 favorites]


Like I said, the guy who stopped the Cafe Racer shooter stopped him with a chair. Clearly cinemas need to unbolt their chairs from the floor.
posted by Artw at 3:42 PM on July 20, 2012


My Facebook feed is chock full of people posting motivational poster-type meme-screeds about how the "gun grabbers" are coming because of this incident, and about how it's an Obama plot tied into Eric Holder's involvement in the Fast and Furious affair. Is anybody else getting this, too?
posted by vibrotronica at 3:42 PM on July 20, 2012


There was a claim that citizens with small arms are useless against a formal military, and it was pointed out that events in the last decade would suggest differently.

With cases involving improvised explosives in Iraq and Afghanistan, NATO-airpower-and-US-covert-consultant-backed fighting by rebels in Libya, and the Black Panthers in the United States. I am not making this up.
posted by raysmj at 3:44 PM on July 20, 2012


I removed all those people from my Facebook thing months ago.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:44 PM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Is anybody else getting this, too?

I'm not getting that, but I'm getting pictures of a sad looking Batman in front of an American flag with a caption that reads "7/20 - Remember." God, the 21st century is weird.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:45 PM on July 20, 2012 [19 favorites]


People seriously are going to avoid going the movies because of this?

I went to the movies last night. At the exact time that the shooter was making his final preparations in Colorado, I was in Brooklyn sitting in a pitch-dark movie theatre.

I had plans to see another movie this weekend. I may still go. But it just doesn't feel good, somehow. Not because I'm afraid of copycat shootings or anything. Or because I'm making some irrational assumption that movie theaters are dangerous places.

It's just too close. What used to be a fun diversion, an escape from reality and my hot apartment for a couple hours, now has this absurd connection to tragedy. It's a little like if someone said, "Hey now, who wants to go for a drive?" the day after the Kennedy assassination.

I'm not afraid to go to the movies. I just suddenly don't feel like going to the movies. As I type this in the production office of a movie. Where I sit next to several people who were involved in the production of The Dark Knight Rises. This is my livelihood. It's one of the things I've loved the most since childhood. And yet I'd kind of rather just go home and drink.
posted by Sara C. at 3:50 PM on July 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


I don't care what you call any rifle or gun. I just want people to tell me in what circumstance they envision themselves needing a gun like a Glock that shoot 30 bullets to "defend themselves" against home invasion or a mugging.

For people who want to know why you need a high capacity magazine for self defense, here's an answer from a law enforcement agent.

And saying 'Okay, rich people, have all the guns you want, but we'll make sure the proles can't afford them' is kind of fucked up, but ignore that for a second.)

I think we need to not ignore that, even for a second.

Ridiculous. It's much easier to walk into a theater with a completely legal loaded gun or two, plus backup magazines and kill 14 people than it would be with a knife or bomb.

It is way, way easier to kill mass amounts of people in a crowded room with a bomb than with almost any kind of firearm.

Gun laws in NYC are fairly reasonable. I owned a hunting rifle there and registration took some time, but it was not a huge deal at all and there are two rifle ranges in NYC city limits that are open for members of the public to join

Please tell me you're kidding. Applying for a premises permit costs close to 400$, and it is next to impossible to get a concealed carry permit. Those rifle ranges you mention, you have to have a NYC rifle permit to join, don't you? And not to mention all of those rifles have to meet the now-defunct assault weapons ban standards?

NYC is where gun sanity goes to die.

But is it really that crazy to argue for a maximum of two guns per person, stronger background checks, longer waiting times, and for the banning of automatic rifles?

Yes. Two guns a person? Which two guns? Different guns have different uses. A pistol is not a rifle is not a shotgun. What about target shooting? Different guns have different effects at different ranges and for different purposes. Hunting is not self defense.
posted by corb at 3:52 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


With Jessica Redfield in particular (I haven't seen much yet about the other victims), it's especially poignant having seen her very last last tweet while waiting in line, her lively spirit during an interview, and narrow escape from another mass shooting in Toronto just over a month earlier. It's unspeakably saddening being made more real; and while this happened physically far away, feels close to home. This could have been a friend...a sister. There are 11 others with similar stories, dreams, friends, and families. All people just like anyone else we all know and love. Their lives were cut short today by senslessness cruelty, and disregard for human life...

I think there's a place for debates like those above me. I hope we get it all figured out someday. My last contribution to this thread is one of respect, regards, and sadness for those that are no longer with us. Rest in peace.

.
posted by samsara at 3:53 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]




I am not making this up.

To the extent that you're talking about my mention of the Black Panthers (and AIM, and the incident in Keizer's essay), you are making this up, because that's not what I was talking about. It's like you pick the emotionally loaded keywords out of comments and ignore the rest, because I was giving examples where although obviously citizens with small arms are ineffective against modern militaries, and therefore the stuff about "overthrowing tyranny" is ridiculous, there are incidents in which it could be argued* that specific small collections of people have used violence or the threat thereof to defend themselves against oppressive activities by specific small collections of people. That you think this means I agree with the paranoid "they're coming to take our guns" rhetoric means that you didn't read the whole comment, and the fact that you got all snarky, regardless, is a shitty fact.

*Not even necessarily by me! I even said I am not in favour of such tactics, just that I don't condemn people whose motivations I don't understand very well.
posted by kengraham at 3:53 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is anybody else getting this, too?

Nope. I unfriend those people at the first sign of wingnuttery.
posted by caryatid at 3:56 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


What essay about the Black Panthers? I'm only responding to a listing of their efforts against police brutality listed as an example, with no link to an essay. It's not remotely snarky to say that civil liberties attorney and other societal effects had a vastly greater effect on quelling and preventing police brutality against black people. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 led to the hiring of more black officers over time, y'know. But if you want to argue that the Black Panthers acted in a vacuum, by all means go ahead.
posted by raysmj at 4:01 PM on July 20, 2012


I removed all those people from my Facebook thing months ago

People I am not even friends with are tagging these images with what looks like the names of everyone on their friend lists, so I am seeing propaganda with "Suzi Q. Was tagged in this pic along with 500 others". I didn't even know it was possible to game Facebook like that.
posted by vibrotronica at 4:01 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or you don't want to address the effect of non-violent protests that led to the Civil Rights Act, etc., fine, argue with yourself.
posted by raysmj at 4:02 PM on July 20, 2012


I'm not afraid to go to the movies. I just suddenly don't feel like going to the movies.

the (awesome) Wes Anderson movie came out right around the same time there was some news about a boy who was kidnapped in my neighborhood when I was a child. The news got me thinking about him and what might have happened, and the movie had references - very light, but, a search, worried parents - to missing kids. I didn't want that association, so I put off seeing the movie for a week or two until it could just be awesome again.

Obviously it wasn't a fear thing. It just seemed like it could make something that I wanted to be good feel a little heart-sinking. Better to just go out for dinner.
posted by mdn at 4:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's telling that the @NRA, @NRAnews, the @FriendsofNRA, and the @NRAblog twitter feeds have been eerily silent for roughly the last 24 hours.
posted by crunchland at 4:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there anything they could say which wouldn't be jumped on as either callous or self-serving? Seems like silence is the best thing they can do.
posted by Justinian at 4:08 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's telling that the @NRA, @NRAnews, the @FriendsofNRA, and the @NRAblog twitter feeds have been eerily silent for roughly the last 24 hours.

If anyone posted this here already, I missed it: "Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?"


posted by hermitosis at 4:08 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Please do not start a Libya derail. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad at 4:08 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


mdn, that's the very movie I saw last night.
posted by Sara C. at 4:09 PM on July 20, 2012


Shooter believed to have Adult Friend Finder profile under the name, classicjimbo. The age, dyed red hair, and hometown of Aurora, CO match descriptions of the shooter. The profile, dated July 5, 2012, has the eerie tagline: "Will you visit me in prison?"
posted by jonp72 at 4:11 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


She could have been a friend...a sister.

And the killer could have been a friend and a brother. The deaths of good people we don't know have as much proximity to us as that. We just choose to consider ourselves part of the better narrative.
posted by liketitanic at 4:11 PM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


People seriously are going to avoid going the movies because of this?

We're a nation that agreed we should all take off our shoes before we get on airplanes because some moron tried to set his Keds on fire.


Nineteen Saudis did 9-11, now we have the TSA exploring the genitals of American grandmothers, 2 wars against non-Saudis, and we continue to buy Saudi oil. If you told me the Entertainment Security Administration was going to start feeling up movie patrons, why would I be surprised?
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:13 PM on July 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


Your comment reads like an NRA brochure. No reasoning, but plenty of emotion, racist dog whistles, and appeals to patriotism. Thank god people like you are keeping the country safe.

OmieWise, why do you keep accusing people of racism or racist dog whistles for supporting gun rights? The person who wrote that didn't so much as mention race once in her statement.

Okay, I have a question - TWICE now in this thread I've seen people say that they would have a problem with "the government" coming to "confiscate their weapons". Where did the notion that gun control meant the confiscation of legally-obtained weapons come from?

EmpressCallipygos: Many police departments, including the NYPD, reserve the right to come and take legally obtained weapons if gun control laws are later passed that limit the calibre or type of weapons permissable.
posted by corb at 4:14 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


What essay about the Black Panthers? I'm only responding to a listing of their efforts against police brutality listed as an example, with no link to an essay.


The listing of the Black Panthers was in response to a request for a more recent example than the one given in an earlier-quoted essay.

It's not remotely snarky to say that civil liberties attorney and other societal effects had a vastly greater effect on quelling and preventing police brutality against black people.

It's also not what's being discussed.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 led to the hiring of more black officers over time, y'know. But if you want to argue that the Black Panthers acted in a vacuum, by all means go ahead.

I don't, and didn't, want to argue any such thing. Asserting that A is effective is different from asserting that A is more effective than B, or that A is the most effective thing, and moreover, I didn't even assert that A (the Black Panthers's tactics) were effective. I merely made a point that the fantasy image of a bunch of armed citizens squaring off with the government, or whatever those folks in the Tea Party picture upthread dream about, is not the only lens through which to interpret the idea (that I do not even endorse!) that perhaps an armed citizenry is a check on power.

Also, I haven't advocated any type of policy of any sort in this thread, so I don't know where you get the slanderous "legalize explosives" hyperbole. I said that I don't think people should have guns and that I don't think the government necessarily has the moral authority to regulate guns, especially since that regulation is implictly at gunpoint. That doesn't mean I advocate any laws, or obey or disobey any laws, about guns or otherwise. It's just, like, my opinion, man.
posted by kengraham at 4:15 PM on July 20, 2012


Yeah, count me as another person who understands why you wouldn't want to go to the movies after this. It's not even really a fear thing, except for that niggling, irrational little fear that you can't help. It's just that this movie is not going to be anywhere near as enjoyable as it might have been before a dozen people were murdered while watching it. And considering this is Nolan's grimdark Batman franchise, it wasn't exactly going to be sunshine and rainbows and delightful improbable villains anyway. I'm still going tonight, because someone has already bought me a ticket, and fuck if I'm going to let this asshole win in any appreciable way, but I frankly don't think I'll ever be able to think about the movie without thinking of the shooting, and the movie's inevitable violence is going to be really unpleasant.
posted by yasaman at 4:18 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


We’ve Seen This Movie Before - Roger Ebert

Should this young man — whose nature was apparently so obvious to his mother that, when a ABC News reporter called, she said “You have the right person” — have been able to buy guns, ammunition and explosives? The gun lobby will say yes. And the endless gun control debate will begin again, and the lobbyists of the National Rifle Association will go to work, and the op-ed thinkers will have their usual thoughts, and the right wing will issue alarms, and nothing will change. And there will be another mass murder.

That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection. The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at the Aurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:21 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's also not what's being discussed.

Huh? What's being discussed is a shooting in a movie theater and by association all responses to it, not what you brought to the discussion per se.
posted by raysmj at 4:32 PM on July 20, 2012


the legal establishment tasked with determining his "sanity" would have had a strong political interest in pronouncing him "mentally ill" in order to discredit his writings which, viewed separately from his heinous acts, raise serious questions that connect to issues with which we as a society for real have to contend.

Oh, please. His screed was sufficiently long and complicated that 99% of the world would never be able to read it, and was automatically discredited when he became a mad bomber. If you really think the "legal establishment" would read his stuff and quake in their boots, "Our existential basis is put in question, we must suppress this!" you have a very exaggerated opinion of the quantity of self-questioning that goes on in the "legal establishment".

As for gun control in America, this is as good a time to talk about it as ever - which is to say it's a complete waste of time as always (except in a few areas of the US which are on the edge, let me know where I can send money) because it will never happen.

A plurality of Americans are in love with guns, and literally nothing anyone says will ever convince them otherwise. Americans love their violent films, they love their guns, and they love their wars. I'm sure a lot of mefites are responsible gun owners, a category which includes present and past friends of mine, but you aren't the people I'm worried about.

Consider the following:

1. America has had soldiers fighting in some foreign country or other continuously for over 70 years.
2. American spends about as much money on weapons as all other countries put together - more than any country in history.
3. America has a higher murder rate than any other first world country.
4. America has more people incarcerated than any other country (and has a higher incarceration rate than any other first world country).

America is by far the largest and most powerful military force in the history of the planet and has an unprecedented number of weapons in private ownership as well - and these weapons aren't for show, they are being used, aggressively and often.

It is simple as this: America loves war, weapons and violence. They are proud of being the strongest, and they're going to show everyone else.

This has gotten much worse since I was a child, when Presidents at least pretended that peace was a good thing - now no one does that, both political parties compete to see how belligerent they can appear.

I unfortunately expect to see increasingly many shootings like this in the future, as life becomes increasingly unlivable for your average American, but I don't expect that will affect America's long affair with weapons and warfare at all...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:38 PM on July 20, 2012 [23 favorites]


Huh? What's being discussed is a shooting in a movie theater and by association all responses to it, not what you brought to the discussion per se.

Okay. More precisely: it's not related to the point that was being advanced by that example, and it's disingenuous, and also weird, to respond to the things that people say as though they held specific views, when they explicitly disavowed those views.

I know that civil rights lawyers are important, and that the Civil Rights Act has made a large difference to many people, especially in comparison to the Black Panthers' armed activities, but I'm not sure why you injected those things into a discussion that is not about those things, to answer claims nobody ever made. I'm also not sure why you insinuate that people who explicitly state that they don't support tactics involving weapons, and who explicitly state that they are opposed to gun ownership, of thinking that explosives should be unregulated. Why did you say that?
posted by kengraham at 4:43 PM on July 20, 2012


[raysmj, kengraham, now would be a good time to take your side conversation to memail. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 4:45 PM on July 20, 2012


In order to drive a car, you're required to hold insurance to pay for others injuries/losses due to an accident. Would a similar insurance structure work for guns? It seems so heartless that there's no system in place to at least pay for the victims medical bills, even if it can't restore their peace of mind.

FWIW in a previous MEFI thread I worked out that math. Here is an updated version:
  • To cover full the economic cost of the injuries and fatalities caused by guns in the U.S. would require an 'insurance rate' of $448 per gun per year or $4.48 per bullet purchased.
  • Something more comparable what we pay for automobile insurance--with limited medical expenses, limited pain and suffering reimbursement, and so on--would be more like $44 per gun per year or $.44 per bullet purchased.*
I think it is an interesting idea.
  • It goes along with the general American ideas that you can do whatever you like but if your choices end up injuring others you have to take personal responsibility for the consequences.
  • Taxpayers currently end up paying about half of the medical costs of firearm injuries--just over a billion dollars per year. The American taxpayer is subsidizing gun owners, and American taxpayers just hate that. The last thing we need is "gun welfare" and "socialist gun ownership policies"--gun owners should pay their own way, not ride on the coattails of the American taxpayer!
  • And if you're not really interested enough in your gun to pay its annual gun insurance premium, then just turn it in and problem solved for everyone. I'll wager than gun ownership would go down a lot with even the $44 annual gun insurance requirement.
Also you'd find insurance companies putting the kinds of restrictions on gun ownership and use, simply on a rational economic basis, that no one dares approach in the current U.S. political climate.

* These figures are based the figure of 223 million guns in the U.S., the WAG of 100/bullets fired per gun per year, 32,538 annual U.S. firearms deaths and 2X as many nonfatal firearms injuries, the figure of $100 billion in total economic costs for firearm injuries and fatalities (p. 19), and assuming $150,000 average insurance payout per fatality and $75,000 per injury. Obviously there is some WAGging in there but it gives a general idea of what total societal costs are and how much they would be if spread equally per firearm.
posted by flug at 4:48 PM on July 20, 2012 [64 favorites]


"of thinking" ----> "think".
posted by kengraham at 4:48 PM on July 20, 2012


I've actually long thought that treating guns in a similar way to how we treat cars (universal registration, mandatory insurance, test for licensing, etc.) would be an excellent step in the right direction.
posted by kyrademon at 4:52 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


There is not a single action in our nation's history where the government regulated or otherwise altered the rights to do or not do something--vote, earn, possess weaponry, make children work, own people, limit driving speed, not dump poison into the water, etc. etc--that in its effect inconvenienced the life of a person who thoroughly enjoyed their prior ability to do said thing.

This is absolutely not true, especially when it comes to gun laws. For example, I had to give all of my guns to someone else, thus losing any ability to enjoy them, when I left the military and came back home to New York.

In the aftermath of Columbine, my school took the bold step of outlawing trench coats on campus. When a kid did show up with a trench coat, he was suspended and sent into counseling.


Oh, god, I remember that. I had to remove my trench coat because someone had shot up Columbine. So stupid. Trench coats, especially wool ones, are warm and useful.

Taxpayers currently end up paying about half of the medical costs of firearm injuries--just over a billion dollars per year. The American taxpayer is subsidizing gun owners, and American taxpayers just hate that. The last thing we need is "gun welfare" and "socialist gun ownership policies"--gun owners should pay their own way, not ride on the coattails of the American taxpayer!

I believe gun owners would argue that taxowners simply shouldn't pay the medical costs of firearm injuries - or indeed, many would argue that taxpayers shouldn't pay the medical costs of anyone's injuries.
posted by corb at 4:55 PM on July 20, 2012


I don't think violent movies have much to do with actual violence. (IE: Japan) Like it says in the Ebert editorial, it's not like this guy actually saw the movie. The theatre was just a place where he could find a lot of victims.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:57 PM on July 20, 2012


Wow, raysmj, you seem to have totally misunderstood kengraham's comment from the getgo and are arguing with him about things he hasn't actually said. He's never said a thing like the "gun-toting route would have been preferable". You are the one who brought up illegal explosives, not kengraham. And he has replied multiple times in this thread that he was not advocating violence. Seriously, WTF?
posted by oneirodynia at 5:00 PM on July 20, 2012


The explosives was in reference to a statement someone made above re IEDs and small arms of that sort. And explicit statement was made about them.
posted by raysmj at 5:12 PM on July 20, 2012


And the killer could have been a friend and a brother. The deaths of good people we don't know have as much proximity to us as that. We just choose to consider ourselves part of the better narrative.

It's not quite like that, and I was hoping that'd be my last comment here. Sure, I'm affected by the person I currently know more about. And when expressing empathy, of course it is with the victim of a violent crime. The difference in proximity is undoubtly that the shooter is still alive. There's a human element that reminds me of friends and family I know that are very close to me. For the shooter, currently he is as relevant as the guns he carried...and as I don't have any, I can't relate them as possibly being "my guns." I can't relate to the chairs in the theater as being the chairs in my theater. Nor do I want to. It's not that I'm choosing the better narrative...I'm sure if he has relatives I'll relate to their experiences and pain as well. I'm rather expressing a form of sympathy that realizes the fragility of life is the same for everyone, even those close to me that have been around as long as I remember. As I recently lost someone close to me, it is especially a poignant realization. The comment that I'm simply choosing the better narrative somewhat belittled the entire sentiment I was trying to express.
posted by samsara at 5:13 PM on July 20, 2012


.
posted by Skygazer at 5:19 PM on July 20, 2012


This guy is still alive. Presumably we'll know what his motivation was at some point. I think one of the major contributing factors to having all of these spree killers recently is the economic situation. How many have their been since 2008? Seems like a ton. This guy was a PhD dropout. Likely he had very few job prospects going on.

What weird me out about his target is that he may not have had any 'message' or 'cause' at all. He didn't shoot up his university to "get back" at them for making him a failure. Maybe he just wanted to draw as much attention and notoriety to himself as possible.

Also you have some of these idiotic "real life superheroes" running around these days. I wonder if he wanted to be a "real life supervillan" - if in his mind this was just some kind of, like, extreme cosplay merging the worlds of fantasy and reality. Seriously fucked up.

(In fact, now I'm reading he was calling himself the Joker - so yeah, sounds like he was a deranged 'fan' acting out his fantasy. Seriously fucked up)
Absolutely it is. Thinking that gun control will keep guns out of the hands of criminals is very similar to thinking that drug control means they'll never be able to get high.

We're already at war with ourselves about drugs, which is a VERY great deal of why America is such a dangerous place. Do you really want to increase the tension, instead of decreasing it? People having guns is not a problem. It's only using them that's a problem.
Sure, criminals may still have access to guns, But they may not want them. A typical criminal is a rational actor trying to make money by selling drugs, stealing TVs, etc. If the penalty for getting caught is higher with a gun, they may chose to go without one. Lots of people break the law in the UK and guns are very, very rare because they would vastly increase the penalties if caught. And, if you know other criminals are unlikely to have a gun then you don't need one either. Turf wars between gangs can always be resolved with knives and baseball bats.

The other problem is that when you compare guns and drugs, lots of otherwise normal, law abiding people buy and enjoy drugs. But why would they want an illegal gun? It would do nothing for them just sitting there. Going to a shooting range wouldn't be an option. Unless they were going to shoot someone, they wouldn't need it, and it wouldn't be worth the risk. With drugs, small amounts are really easy to conceal.

There's no doubt that a spree killer would love to get their hands on gernades, RPGs, anti-aircraft weapons, chemical weapons (beyond teargas), and highly radioactive compounds if they could. But those things are illegal. But because no one who isn't a deranged madman or a terrorist organization wants any of those things, there isn't any underground market at all. Ordinary, everyday people want illegal drugs, and that is what fuels the underground market.

If guns were illegalized in the US, you'd see a much, much smaller illegal gun market then the illegal drug market. The demand just wouldn't be there, the way it's not there for nuclear weapons.
No doubt, but in the US, there are also more white men than POC men.
In the age range of spree killers, I don't think there are that many more white men then non-white men.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Friday that the shootings that took place in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater hours earlier were a result of "ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs" and questioned why nobody else in the theater had a gun to take down the shooter.
Louie Gohmert is the same guy who thought Muslim terrorist women might be sneaking into the US to have "Terror Babies". He's clearly an idiot.

But the whole idea of "If they were just armed, they could have shot back" is so fucking stupid. Clearly this guy was ready to die. He was wearing ballistic armor. In order for someone to shoot him they would have had to stand up, take aim in the midst of all that tear gas and gotten off a clean shot, through the armor, while the shooter himself would have had plenty of time to fire off multiple rounds from his semi-auto at the person trying to shoot him. It just would not have worked at all.
With regard to the shooting itself: it does not shock me. Back in 2007 one of the Freakonomics authors asked "If You Were a Terrorist, How Would You Attack?" It was linked on MeFi as well. I emailed the author with my suggestion, which was an opening night coordinated attack on movie theaters using readily-available semi-automatic weapons. I speculated that the likely response would be mandated airport-style security at theaters and a tremendous amount of economic damage to the movie industry. Since this was only a single attack and may not have been politically motivated (we'll see), I don't know what the fallout will be like.
You'll never have TSA style bullshit at the theater. People will just stay home and watch movies on DVD or Netflix. There are lots of people who chose not to fly nearly as often in order to avoid the TSA but there's no other option if you want to get across the country quickly.
....Why WOULD they? What in your background is making you think you would be prevented from owning a gun after you undergo a background check?
What would have prevented this guy or any of the other spree killers from doing the same thing? Most of them have no criminal records. Sometimes they're obviously disturbed (like the VTech shooter) but this guy seems to have seemed pretty normal. So what kind of policy could you possibly put in place that would prevent spree killings? Normal everyday gun violence, maybe. But as far as spree killing goes it seems like you would have to ban guns entirely.
I like what happened on Something Awful. They made argument about gun control in that thread a bannable offense.
Well, you must be a pretty big fan of the status quo if you want to ban people from even talking about changing it.
posted by delmoi at 5:24 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


XQUZYPHYR: "I said that the 1994 assault weapons ban legally banned the sale of both AR-15 rifles and extended ammunition magazines, both of which the suspect legally acquired at a store because Congress did not renew it. Had the law still been in place, he would not have been able to do this."

Except it didn't. It banned detachable magazine fed semi-automatic rifles with two or more of the following, folding or telescoping stock, pistol grip, bayonet mount, flash suppressor/threaded barrel or Grenade launcher.
In 1995 you could still walk into any gun shop and buy an AR-15. As for extended capacity magazine, anything manufactured before 1994 was totally legal to sell. And since the AR-15 (and AK47 style rifles) were based on military rifles exempt surplus magazines were cheap and plentiful.
posted by the_artificer at 5:24 PM on July 20, 2012


Of course with this particular guy it might be a moot point. He clearly did have access to bombs, as his home is rigged to blow. But I think you can actually cause a lot more carnage with guns then you can with a small bomb. If he'd had a car bomb or something maybe he could have done a lot of damage to the theater, but if it was just something he was carrying, he probably couldn't have killed and injured as many people in the theater.

(also, it sounds like at a certain point he started shooting people in the legs, rather then the head)
posted by delmoi at 5:28 PM on July 20, 2012


I'm going to irresponsibly speculate that his actions are the result of methamphetamine psychosis resulting from abusing Adderal or ther popular "study drugs."
posted by humanfont at 5:29 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


If guns were illegalized in the US, you'd see a much, much smaller illegal gun market then the illegal drug market. The demand just wouldn't be there, the way it's not there for nuclear weapons.

From that comment, I was wondering if maybe you didn't live in the US, until I saw who you were. I guess you don't live in the same US I do, anyway. :-)

Right-wingers have been waiting for the government to come get their guns for freaking ever. You try that, and there will be blood in the streets. There will be mass insurrection if you try to take people's guns, potentially even a second civil war.

Totally not worth it. What holds this country together is mutual respect and tolerance, and if you refuse to tolerate people having guns, well, they're heavily armed, and they're not going to tolerate you trying to take them, or much of anything else you have to say, either.

Result: highly unpleasant.
posted by Malor at 5:30 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


.


I'm having a rough time processing all this, and I'm grateful for all the comments and links. The tone has been very respectful, and it reminds me why I'm a part of this forum. Thanks.

There's a lot that's been said about the gun control piece (I think we need more) and the mental health piece (the guy clearly needs some help). I've also been really struck by culture piece. It's remarkable to me that we live in a culture where one can say:

Poor Jessica Ghawi. She just missed being in one random shooting, and then got killed in another. That's incredibly bad luck.

I agree it's unbelievably bad luck, but there's something about this type of violence happening to someone twice that makes my stomach churn and inspires feelings of total helplessness. Does anyone else wondering where we're going with all this?

jbickers post really drove it home for me vividly - I have the same image of my son at an event like this in a few years, and the thought that it could become senselessly violent when it need not is devastating.

Cell phones in the pockets of dead children will continue to ring, indeed.
posted by Otherwise at 5:37 PM on July 20, 2012


Statement by Christopher Nolan:
"Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of 'The Dark Knight Rises', I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community. I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families."
posted by BobbyVan at 5:39 PM on July 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


Just a follow-up, AMC Theatres is not banning costumes, just full-face masks and prop weapons. Which I suppose is reasonable.

(although one of the great images I remember from seeing LotR Trilogy Tuesday was the two guys in full Ringwraith costumes who swept up to the snack bar and said, in Wraith hiss-voices, "Large popcorn, large Coke, bag of skittles".)
posted by mephron at 5:40 PM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


People seriously are going to avoid going the movies because of this?

I went this morning. Because fuck that guy.

The movie is really good.

It's hard to watch, though, knowing that at some time during it, a man started murdering audience members. But there is no reason to think there will be a rash of copycat killers going into theaters, and I was planning on seeing the movie today anyway.

I can't help but think of that awful image from Columbine of that poor boy with the broken arm climbing out a window to get to safety. I think this is why the horror of this event feels so profound -- because we know what it looks like. We know the awfulness of it.

I feel so bad for Jessica Ghawi just now. And for her family. I feel bad for everyone in that theater, and in that town.

I was the first to bring up mental illness. I don't regret doing it, and I have enormous sympathy for the experience of mental illness. I know it is sometimes a fatal illness, and that, in very rare circumstances, it can be fatal to other people. To my mind, it is like lightning striking. You don't blame the lightning. You just know these things something happen.

At the same time, you put up lightning rods. It is illegal for people with certain sorts of mental illnesses to obtain firearms. It's already law. Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, had a documented history of mental health problems. It should have precluded him from buying weapons, and yet he had no problem.

I agree it's dual problems. The first is that we address mental health issues so badly -- it is stigmatized to the degree that mental health records often aren't shared or made public, and, even when diagnosed, many cannot afford the treatment they need. And then we have this all-or-nothing gun culture that will brook no compromise. There are laws on the books to keep the mentally ill from getting guns -- some created in response to Virginia Tech. They are widely ignored.

I don't know what the story is with this shooter. Maybe this was some hideous political statement. But if it does come out that there was unaddressed mental illness, I would prefer that this create the opportunity to discuss these dual failings.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:40 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Huffington Post has a "how you can help" page with links to different resources in Aurora.

Sorry if this has already been linked, but I was feeling overwhelmed and thought someone else might want to donate to one of these resources, too.
posted by dragonplayer at 5:44 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I agree it's unbelievably bad luck, but there's something about this type of violence happening to someone twice that makes my stomach churn and inspires feelings of total helplessness. Does anyone else wondering where we're going with all this?

Reminds me John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar. Future dystopia of an overpopulated world where among other concerns, there were muckers, people who would just go spontaneously violent in crowds, kill everyone they could.

Great book by the way. SPOILER ALERT. The thin hope it offers is that the human species will eventually evolve, develop enhanced empathic abilities. I like to think we're sort of doing that. Horrific as the events in Colorado are, if this was seventy years ago, we'd be right smack in the middle of WW2 with magnitudes more people being brutalized and killed every minute of every hour of every day for pretty much six solid years.
posted by philip-random at 5:49 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The other problem is that when you compare guns and drugs, lots of otherwise normal, law abiding people buy and enjoy drugs. But why would they want an illegal gun? It would do nothing for them just sitting there. Going to a shooting range wouldn't be an option. Unless they were going to shoot someone, they wouldn't need it, and it wouldn't be worth the risk. With drugs, small amounts are really easy to conceal.

People would want an illegal gun for many of the same reasons they want legal ones: to protect themselves and their families. There will always be a market. It would absolutely be worth the risk for many, because they would weigh that possibly going to jail would be better than possibly losing their life to violence while they were unarmed.

But the whole idea of "If they were just armed, they could have shot back" is so fucking stupid. Clearly this guy was ready to die. He was wearing ballistic armor. In order for someone to shoot him they would have had to stand up, take aim in the midst of all that tear gas and gotten off a clean shot, through the armor, while the shooter himself would have had plenty of time to fire off multiple rounds from his semi-auto at the person trying to shoot him. It just would not have worked at all.

Does anyone have any stats or links to what type of ballistic armor he had? As someone familiar with ballistic armor, I have to say not all of it is the same. But they wouldn't have had to get a clean shot through the armor- they would have shot through the gas mask. Gas masks don't stop bullets, and head shots are generally kill shots.
posted by corb at 5:51 PM on July 20, 2012


But the whole idea of "If they were just armed, they could have shot back" is so fucking stupid. Clearly this guy was ready to die. He was wearing ballistic armor. In order for someone to shoot him they would have had to stand up, take aim in the midst of all that tear gas and gotten off a clean shot, through the armor, while the shooter himself would have had plenty of time to fire off multiple rounds from his semi-auto at the person trying to shoot him. It just would not have worked at all.

I do have my doubts that some random dude might have been able to stand up, aim, and take a shot, hitting the gunman in the gas mask and ending the tragedy, many folks who get the concealed carry permits are highly trained and exceptional shooters. Many are ex-military. If there were police in the theater at the time were was carrying, it's not unreasonable to think a highly trained officer couldn't have pulled this off.

We also need to stop using the words semi-automatic if we don't know what they mean. Pretty all guns with the exception of revolvers and pump action shotguns are semi-automatic weapons.

Does anyone have any stats or links to what type of ballistic armor he had? As someone familiar with ballistic armor, I have to say not all of it is the same.

I don't know, but I'm not sure that everyone realizes that if you are wearing ballistic armor, it's not like bullets bounce off of you like you're Superman. If someone shot him in the chest with a .357 magnum revolver at 25 feet, it would probably knock him down at the least, right?
posted by King Bee at 6:05 PM on July 20, 2012


humanfont, I don't get the allusion. He had dropped out of grad school some weeks previously.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:07 PM on July 20, 2012


People would want an illegal gun for many of the same reasons they want legal ones: to protect themselves and their families.

This is such bullshit fantasy.
posted by maxwelton at 6:07 PM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


The non-stop coverage of the booby-trapped apartment is doing nothing but making this guy's murders seem smarter. I was at the gym, trying to stop myself from glancing up at the captioned Anderson Cooper idiocy by thinking about that little kid in his Batman costume.

Fuck the breathless coverage of this guy's oh-so-brilliant plan to blow up his apartment and take a few cops with him. Just go back to normal programming with updates every hour if there's been any progress worth reporting, Anderson. Stop enabling this shit.
posted by mediareport at 6:08 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Option 1: Fail at life. Avoided by opposite sex. Flunk out of graduate school. Nobody notices you. Die in obscurity. Universe doesn't care. Total time other people spend thinking about you: 1000 hours.

Option 2: Kill lots of innocent people. Most talked about person in America. Obama and Chrtistopher Nolan are talking about you. Weird chicks writing you at prison every day; some cute. People write books about you/base entire careers around thinking about you. People talking about you long past your death. Total time other people spend thinking about you: 100000000-200000000 hours.
posted by dgaicun at 6:11 PM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


> People would want an illegal gun for many of the same reasons they want legal ones: to protect themselves and their families. It would absolutely be worth the risk for many, because they would weigh that possibly going to jail would be better than possibly losing their life to violence while they were unarmed.

A third possibility might be to stop living in fear. I'm always struck by how much terror and fear gun owners are always projecting to me - that they'd be defenseless without their weapons and that terrible things would happen to their kids.

In most places in the United States, the chances that people will inflict violence on you is actually very small, and it's not clear that the net effect of weapons really is to make you all on the balance safer, given that the fact that the United States is so much more violent than other first world countries and has so many more weapons. Remember, the most likely target of any given gun is its owner, and after that, the owner's family members...

If the area you live in is really so objectively dangerous, why do you live there? There are plenty of really nice places in the world where you aren't being threatened by your fellow citizens, and a lot of them have other benefits like universal health care too.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:11 PM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


I know a state trooper that was shot while wearing a bullet proof vest. I don't remember what he was shot with (a hand gun). He said he had the wind knocked out of him and he had a contusion like he'd been hit with a baseball bat. I'm not saying they are always like this, but he was put down by the bullet. The difference was he was able to get back up eventually.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:12 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Police cheif is on TV right now. He said he bought 6,000 bullets and a 100 round drum magazine.
I'm going to irresponsibly speculate that his actions are the result of methamphetamine psychosis resulting from abusing Adderal or ther popular "study drugs."
You're right, that's pretty irresponsible.
posted by delmoi at 6:13 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


If there were police in the theater at the time who were carrying

But there weren't. And the reason there weren't wasn't because of gun laws.

I don't see what laws could have been changed that would have effected whether or not a highly trained person with excellent marksmanship and crisis response skills happened to be in the theater that evening and happened to be carrying a weapon.

(I mean, yeah, the theater has a "no guns" policy, but I imagine that that's honored and enforced to the same extent the "no outside food" policy is honored, and in any case a currently serving cop would be likely to be allowed in if armed.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:16 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know, but I'm not sure that everyone realizes that if you are wearing ballistic armor, it's not like bullets bounce off of you like you're Superman. If someone shot him in the chest with a .357 magnum revolver at 25 feet, it would probably knock him down at the least, right?

It hadn't occurred to me, but yes, people may not be aware of that fact. You are correct that even at higher levels, the amount of force is in fact some trauma. I personally wouldn't shoot for the body armor, but it's not like it would have been useless if people had.

I don't see what laws could have been changed that would have effected whether or not a highly trained person with excellent marksmanship and crisis response skills happened to be in the theater that evening and happened to be carrying a weapon.

We know that highly trained individuals with excellent marksmanship and crisis response skills happened to be in the theater. At least four of them. I wish they had been armed. I wish like hell they'd been armed.

(I mean, yeah, the theater has a "no guns" policy, but I imagine that that's honored and enforced to the same extent the "no outside food" policy is honored, and in any case a currently serving cop would be likely to be allowed in if armed.)

Enforced? Sure. But a lot of law-abiding citizens follow the rules whether or not they're enforced. Sure, some people sneak food in, but most don't. And I imagine most people would think that the no-guns policy was a lot more serious than the no-food policy.
posted by corb at 6:24 PM on July 20, 2012


King Bee : I do have my doubts that some random dude might have been able to stand up, aim, and take a shot, hitting the gunman in the gas mask and ending the tragedy, many folks who get the concealed carry permits are highly trained and exceptional shooters.

Seriously, a lot of CCWs take that right as a very serious responsibility... As in, several times a week, they practice El Presidente with a "Mozambique Tap".

And while a crowded theater certainly doesn't compare to a well-lit range... If we had 300 guys running through the same well-rehearsed drill, even if most of them missed, you would have had a fine red mist instead of a 2nd innocent corpse.
posted by pla at 6:25 PM on July 20, 2012


I live in a country* with a ban on drugs and guns. The difference in crime is noticeable. I like it that way. I don't think all guns should be banned in the U.S. but slippery slope arguments, and "it'll never work so why even try" arguments are harder to take seriously from here.

*It is vastly smaller than the US with less border issues...South Korea.
posted by nile_red at 6:26 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm so glad that Wilder brought up the medical costs question, because I have been reading through the whole thread wanting to ask the same thing.
The US health system is just impossible to wrap your head around from outside. It seems so brutal, and now my heart has an extra layer of ache for the victims.
posted by Catch at 6:31 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Fuck the breathless coverage...
posted by mediareport at 21:08 on July 20


Eponysterical but true.

you would have had a fine red mist

Sometimes it seems like proponents of gun ownership for "personal defense" are excited at the prospect of being present at tragedies like this one. Perhaps I'm wrong, though, and there's some other reason why one might talk in a callous and hyperbolic way about people being shot.
posted by kengraham at 6:34 PM on July 20, 2012 [17 favorites]


People would want an illegal gun for many of the same reasons they want legal ones: to protect themselves and their families.
Except they'd be far, far more likely to be arrested and thrown in jail then end up in a situation where end up in a situation where they might need to defend themselves.

So it wouldn't be protection at all, in a practical sense. Owning an illegal gun would put them in serious danger of arrest. And they could substitute a taser or whatever as well.

Look, Drugs are illegal. And chemical weapons are illegal. It's easy to get drugs and it's impossible to get chemical weapons. That's because drugs are intrinsically enjoyable.

But while shooting at a shooting range might be fun. It isn't so much fun that people are willing to spend years in jail to do it in states where guns are more highly restricted.
I do have my doubts that some random dude might have been able to stand up, aim, and take a shot, hitting the gunman in the gas mask and ending the tragedy, many folks who get the concealed carry permits are highly trained and exceptional shooters. Many are ex-military. If there were police in the theater at the time were was carrying, it's not unreasonable to think a highly trained officer couldn't have pulled this off.
Oh please. Sure if you put actual batman in the actual theater, maybe he could have stopped it too! (Of course, he wouldn't have used a gun to do so). The fact that this guy wasn't shot has nothing to do with the theater's "no guns" policy (I mean, I've been to cinemark theaters before and I never even knew about the policy. People who carry guns around probably do bring them into the movies)

But it's such an absurd argument. The first argument was the whole "If more people were armed, they could have shot the gunman" But now they need to be "trained and exceptional shooters"? It's ridiculous. making gun laws more lax is not going to increase the number of "trained and exceptional shooters" in any given situation, totally ready to put down any spree shooters.

The problem I have with the gun rights nuts isn't the people who like to to the shooting range or hunt, it's people who think they totally need a gun in order to be "safe" walking around, going to the store, whatever. It's ridiculous. And situations like this really expose their rambo mentality. They honestly think that they can get into a gunfight with a guy with an AR-15 with a 100 round barrel clip and full body armor , including a helmet and a gasmask and win with a pistol, no armor and in a crowded theater full of tear gas.

Is it hypothetically possible? Sure, there's a chance that he might get off a lucky shot, but it would be much, much more likely that he'd just get shot while taking aim.

Or look at the Gabby Giffords thing: There were armed people nearby, but they weren't able to do anything.

I'm not even that anti-gun, really. But the argument that more people walking around with guns in any given situation will result in less death are delusional. What if George Zimmerman had had a Taser instead of a pistol? even if you believe everything he says a Taser would have done everything that he says he needed to do. And he wouldn't be facing the prospect of life in prison, let alone the loss suffered by Martin's family.

I'm just saying the whole "if more people had guns, this wouldn't have happened" thing is based on nothing but action-movie fueled fantasies.
posted by delmoi at 6:34 PM on July 20, 2012 [50 favorites]


honored and enforced to the same extent the "no outside food" policy is honored

I'm pretty sure the "no guns" policy is honored more often by the people who might happen to have a permit to carry, because the penalty is normally pretty bad if you are found to have a gun where you're not supposed to have a gun (go to jail, lose the permit, lose all your guns, probably fired from your job, etc.). I don't know about the people who carry in public illegally. My belief is that gun are not regularly present in theaters.

I know for a fact that my local theaters all have the "no concealed weapons" signs. I don't take my concealed gun to a movie theater (or pretty much anywhere, honestly).
posted by timfinnie at 6:40 PM on July 20, 2012


If we had 300 guys running through the same well-rehearsed drill, even if most of them missed, you would have had a fine red mist instead of a 2nd innocent corpse.

Because certainly any bullets that missed would have been contained within the theatre and would not, say, pass through the walls and hit anyone else.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:41 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


even if most of them missed, you would have had a fine red mist instead of a 2nd innocent corpse

What??

Didn't we already establish that bullets went through the walls and hit people in the adjacent theaters? Not to mention that the idea that he could have been stopped between his first and second shots sounds like some kind of superhero fantasy.
posted by argonauta at 6:42 PM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


Again, you can't pass a law that makes people bring guns to a theater. You can't pass a law saying that private businesses aren't allowed to have "no guns" policies.

Colorado already has very easy-to-obtain concealed carry permits. What other laws that would be Constitutional would have increased the likelihood that there would have been an armed, skilled person among the theater?
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:45 PM on July 20, 2012


Tragic news today as Hero #1 was mistaken for a second shooter by Hero #2, who was immediately shot by Hero #3 who knew what was going on, who was shot by Hero #4 who had just arrived on the scene, who was then shot by police.
posted by gerryblog at 6:46 PM on July 20, 2012 [37 favorites]


The Body Count - Roger Ebert on the price of guns.
posted by Artw at 6:48 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Felons can't buy body armor either. I just think that's interesting.

As to the a highly trained person could have yadda yadda I would point out that a trained person would shoot for center mass. It might have put the guy down. Might not have. Dark, smokey, chaotic. Even military elite would have had a hard time making that shot stick.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:50 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think these types of arguments just increase the divide. I look at them and am shocked and horrified by so many people who want to take away people's rights to carry. I imagine many pro-control folks are also horrified by those of us who want to have competent weapons.

But this whole "the aliens are talking" bit makes us less and less willing to listen to each other.
posted by corb at 6:50 PM on July 20, 2012


timfinnie, I don't know about Colorado, but in Ohio if you bring a gun into a private business that says "no guns" they can refuse service and eject you from the premises, but there's no criminal repercussions---you're in violation of the business's policies, not of the law. It's only a misdemeanor if you refuse to leave.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:51 PM on July 20, 2012


This isn't TV. A normal person -- not an army sniper, just someone who maybe hangs out at the gun range every so often -- isn't going to take down a heavily armored person in a darkened movie theater with a single shot, especially after the other frightened people start screaming and running. This whole argument is completely deranged.
posted by gerryblog at 6:53 PM on July 20, 2012 [16 favorites]


"Armed Giffords hero nearly shot wrong man."

"I came out of that store, I clicked the safety off, and I was ready," he explained on Fox and Friends. "I had my hand on my gun. I had it in my jacket pocket here. And I came around the corner like this." Zamudio demonstrated how his shooting hand was wrapped around the weapon, poised to draw and fire. As he rounded the corner, he saw a man holding a gun. "And that's who I at first thought was the shooter," Zamudio recalled. "I told him to 'Drop it, drop it!'"

But the man with the gun wasn't the shooter. He had wrested the gun away from the shooter.

posted by gerryblog at 6:54 PM on July 20, 2012 [28 favorites]


I don't want to take away anyone's right to carry. The people in that theater who were adults who weren't felons had the right to carry. I'm saying the right to carry isn't a panacea, and that this tragedy has nothing to do with right to carry laws.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:54 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


gerryblog has it in a nutshell.

There have been plenty of public spree killings in the USA over the years, and I can't personally recall any that were stopped by heroic gun-toting citizens. Of course, I could be wrong.
posted by Existential Dread at 6:57 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't want to eliminate rights to own or even carry guns. I honestly don't. I just think that the "buckaroo" mentality that makes some people think that they could've/would've downed this guy in a split second only encourages an enthrallment with gun power and gun violence that is not a net positive thing.
posted by argonauta at 7:00 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Seriously, a lot of CCWs take that right as a very serious responsibility... As in, several times a week, they practice El Presidente with a "Mozambique Tap".
Yeah, and they're delusional.
I think these types of arguments just increase the divide. I look at them and am shocked and horrified by so many people who want to take away people's rights to carry.
You know what else is horrifying? 12 dead people and 70 injuries. Yes, people do want to take away the right for people to carry concealed weapons. It doesn't seem necessary and poses a risk to other people. The Trayvon Martin case is a perfect example of the problem. This guy was a "law abiding citizen", not some criminal, but as a result of his actions a perfectly innocent teenager was killed.

It's not unreasonable at all to think that people might not any random person to have life or death power over them just because they are so paranoid and cowardly they can't leave the house without being able to defend themselves with lethal force.
posted by delmoi at 7:02 PM on July 20, 2012 [17 favorites]


Sidhedevil, I don't know about OH law. I was presuming some things, I guess. My CCW trainer pretty much stated (I paraphrase) "If the police are told you have a gun where you aren't allowed to have one, you are going to jail. You will lose your right to even touch a gun." Now, he was a former sheriff, and I believed him. I also think that SC has looser laws than most places. I am OK with being wrong on this. And from a (just now) reading of SC law, it states that only the 2nd offense mandates a punishment, I think I am.

But as a gun owner, I think it's terrible that violating the wishes of a property owner where a weapon is involved isn't a serious crime.
posted by timfinnie at 7:05 PM on July 20, 2012


From Artw's Ebert link:
Here is a record of mass shootings in the United States since 2005. It is 62 pages long. It was compiled by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
It just goes on an on... Someone gets shot to death every three or four days in the USA. As malor and others have said, the reasons have as much to do with poverty and crime and the War on Drugs as anything, but the sheer magnitude of it is terrible. Every few days.
posted by Kevin Street at 7:07 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


There have been plenty of public spree killings in the USA over the years, and I can't personally recall any that were stopped by heroic gun-toting citizens. Of course, I could be wrong.

You are wrong. Here's one that also happened in Aurora, CO. (What's in that water, anyway?)

It's not unreasonable at all to think that people might not any random person to have life or death power over them just because they are so paranoid and cowardly they can't leave the house without being able to defend themselves with lethal force.

I think this is an extremely uncharitable interpretation of why someone might want to protect themselves. Many of those wishing to protect themselves have been the victims of violence or sexual assault in the past, and prefer not to experience that again. I don't consider that either paranoid or cowardly, particularly given the statistics on violence and sexual assault in the USA.
posted by corb at 7:09 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yes, people do want to take away the right for people to carry concealed weapons.

When you say this you actually mean you want to take away the right for people to carry weapons in public at all, I assume? You don't just want, for example, guys like Zimmerman to be carrying their pistols openly on their hips?

Not arguing with you, just clarifying.
posted by Justinian at 7:09 PM on July 20, 2012


Why isn't there more widespread use of tasers and other nonlethal weapons by private citizens? The cost?
posted by Apocryphon at 7:13 PM on July 20, 2012


I'm torn on the gun issue. I'm a gun-owner from a family of responsible gun-owning farmers. I also think that the populace should be able to defend itself against the government if necessary. OTOH, if powerful, high-capacity firearms are available, tragedies like the CO mass murders *will* happen.

Of course I realized that Metafilter would be full of appeals for more gun control. Half of me sympathizes with those appeals.

Let me point out that, whatever its merits might be, gun control is a losing issue for the Democrats. If the Dems push for gun control now, they will lower their odds of winning in November. A Republican victory will be a disaster for the country and the world.

Given that it isn't clear what we should do about firearms, given that criminals already have them and that that is not going to change, given that significant gun control simply isn't going to happen now in the U.S., and given that pushing for it is political suicide, let me suggest that one should not push too terribly hard for it right now.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 7:13 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why isn't there more widespread use of tasers and other nonlethal weapons by private citizens? The cost?

Brilliant point. I'd guess that part of the problem is that tasers are not nearly as fun to shoot.
posted by Strass at 7:15 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


My friend and co-worker Scotty grew up in the Denver area and used to work across the street from the the theater where this happened. He described Aurora as 'the Queens of Colorado,' a very diverse but relatively harmonius city where this kind of stuff was not expected, but whre the hell would it be expected, I guess?

Sympathies to the victims and families.
posted by jonmc at 7:16 PM on July 20, 2012


Why isn't there more widespread use of tasers and other nonlethal weapons by private citizens? The cost?

It just doesn't make the news.

IN this case it would have also been pretty unbalanced and unlikely to succeed.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:17 PM on July 20, 2012


There have been plenty of public spree killings in the USA over the years, and I can't personally recall any that were stopped by heroic gun-toting citizens. Of course, I could be wrong.

Here are a couple of notable cases.

New Life Church shootings (2007) (In an odd postscript, the woman who saved the parishoners' lives claimed to have been fired from the church for after informing leadership that she was a lesbian.)

Appalachian School of Law shooting (2002)
posted by BobbyVan at 7:17 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why isn't there more widespread use of tasers and other nonlethal weapons by private citizens? The cost?

Generally, inefficiency and lack of range, would be my guess.
posted by corb at 7:20 PM on July 20, 2012




Great, we only need another 200 annual averted spree killings or so before we break even on gun culture. Keep up the good work!
posted by mek at 7:30 PM on July 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


I believe gun owners would argue that taxowners simply shouldn't pay the medical costs of firearm injuries - or indeed, many would argue that taxpayers shouldn't pay the medical costs of anyone's injuries.

Well, they can argue all they want but the fact is that taxpayers end up paying half the medical cost of gun violence in the U.S., and insurance companies pay the other half--meaning that everyone's insurance rate is jacked up a little to cover the cost.

Why in the world should taxpayers and those with insurance carry the burden of the cost of firearms injuries?

Let those who want to own and use guns buy the insurance and pay the cost.
posted by flug at 7:31 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


cjorgensen : As to the a highly trained person could have yadda yadda I would point out that a trained person would shoot for center mass.

You should look up my earlier phrase, "Mozambique Tap". It covers exactly that situation, where two shots to center mass don't stop the attacker. On a fail-to-stop, next shot goes to the head - Admittedly a slightly harder target to hit, but you don't see a whole lot of folks wearing bulletproof head armor.
posted by pla at 7:32 PM on July 20, 2012


Mozambique tap?

That expression alone is enough to communicate exactly how fucked up the "Gun Enthusiast" culture is.
posted by Sara C. at 7:37 PM on July 20, 2012 [31 favorites]


If someone shot him in the chest with a .357 magnum revolver at 25 feet, it would probably knock him down at the least, right?

At most, the target receives almost the same energy as the shooter. But that's only if the bullet hasn't bled much energy into the air, and if it dumps all its energy into the target. Unless .357's pose a serious risk of knocking their shooter down, they can't have enough energy to knock down a similarly-massed target.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:39 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


kengraham : Sometimes it seems like proponents of gun ownership for "personal defense" are excited at the prospect of being present at tragedies like this one.

Would you feel all that bad if someone had taken this guy out as soon as he opened fire? 50+ victims earlier than he made it to?


delmoi : But while shooting at a shooting range might be fun. It isn't so much fun that people are willing to spend years in jail to do it in states where guns are more highly restricted.

Believe it or not, some of us decide where to spend our adult lives based on that fact, among others.

Would I carry in a state that bans it? No! I wouldn't risk my right to carry in such a stupid manner. Would I live in a state that bans it? Again - An unequivocal no (and I even avoid spending time in such states, which unsurprisingly have the highest rates of gun crime).
posted by pla at 7:39 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the LA riots, post-Rodney King, I was told by a friend that the Asian population more or less had to defend themselves from angry rioters and looters, because the cops were only protecting the white nighborhoods....Nevermind that they had essentially zero to do with racist cops, and that the racist cops were all protecting the white citizens; the rioters didn't care about that, and were just looking for things to burn. (Empahasis mine.)

Not to derail, but that last part really needs some context.
Latasha Harlins (July 14, 1975 – March 16, 1991) was a 15-year-old African-American girl who was unlawfully shot and killed by Soon Ja Du, a 51-year-old Korean store owner.

....Police say that Du erroneously concluded Harlins was attempting to steal, evidently not seeing the money Harlins was holding....On November 15, 1991, the jury...found Du guilty of voluntary manslaughter, an offense that carries a maximum prison sentence of 16-years in prison. However, trial judge, Joyce Karlin, sentenced Du five years of probation, four hundred hours of community service, and a $500 fine.

In addition to the immediate trigger of the Rodney King verdicts, a range of other factors were cited as reasons for the unrest. Anger over Korean American shop-owner Soon Ja Du's weak sentence...was pointed to as a potential reason for the riots, particularly for aggression toward Korean Americans.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:41 PM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


Kevin Street : Every few days.

300,000,000 people in the US.

Three hundred million people.

"One in a million" means 300 times a day.

Statistics. Most people really, really suck at it.
posted by pla at 7:46 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


IN this case it would have also been pretty unbalanced and unlikely to succeed.
Sure, a taser wouldn't work here. But it would probably work in most of the situations where CCW users might use their weapons successfully. As I said I don't think someone with a pistol would have had much of a chance. Ultimately, a bullet doesn't put any more energy into a vest as it does into the arms of a person shooting it. If you're fully armored up, it might knock you down, but the idea of taking down this guy with a pistol in a crowded dark theater full of tear gas just seems highly unlikely.

Whether or not concealed carry should be banned is really beside the point in this shooting, but I'm just pointing out the absurdity of the idea that if we just had more people with concealed fire arms in the theater things would have worked out.
On a fail-to-stop, next shot goes to the head
Which also wouldn't have done anything given the fact he was wearing a Balistic helmet Maybe you'd get really, really lucky and knock him down, giving you (and other people) time to run away.

But really. It's just pure fantasy. This guy had an AR-15 with a 100 round clip, plus extra guns. He was fully armored. It's entirely possible that he might shoot you while you were taking aim.

And on top of that, the theater was full of tear gas. You might not even be able to see, your eyes would be watering.

There's a slim chance that someone might get off a lucky shot but there's also a good chance that if there were more then one person who was armed that even more people might have ended up being shot.

posted by delmoi at 7:50 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


The thing no gun nut wants to tell you is just how inconvenient and dorky it is to carry. I don't mean the permit or training is a hassle. I mean carrying the gun around either concealed or openly is just awkward. A holster isn't all the comfortable. You could out it it a bag, but then what if you leave your gun somewhere. A holster is worse than an IT utility belt from a fashion perspective. It is a bit like deciding to carry a bike helmet everywhere just in case you want to hop on a rent-a-bike. It might make you safer, but it so bulky and awkward to carry.
So you get the gun after some horrible incident happens to you. You get the training, carry for a while. Eventually though it ends up in the gun safe in the morning when you are in a hurry to run an stand. Then later you are going jogging in the park and you realize even though there have been a few dog bites, rapes and assaults on this trail, your gun is still in the safe. You will become aware at this moment that you did remember your $600 iPhone is connected to yor arm along with $200 Nike and the $200 Nike+ watch. So there you are alone in the park flashing $1000 of consumer goods, no gun.
Thus I'm launching a new kickstarter for a gun that is also a smartPhone and music player. I'm going to do what Nest has done for thermostats to guns.
posted by humanfont at 7:50 PM on July 20, 2012 [16 favorites]


many would argue that taxpayers shouldn't pay the medical costs of anyone's injuries

FYI the study is here, with many details. Most of the government cost is because many of the victims are covered by Medicaid or Medicare. Getting into an argument about whether those should be abolished is getting a bit beyond the scope of this discussion.

Looking at it in a little more general terms, the cost of medical treatment for gun violence will be born by:
  1. The victim
  2. Insurance companies, including gov't programs like Medicaid & Medicard. Generally it will be the victim's insurance, though in some cases it may be insurance held by some 3rd party (like the theater, in this case)
  3. The perpetrator
In this case, the perpetrator caused many, many millions in damage and has essentially no assets. So options #1 and #2, supplemented by donations from the general public, will cover all these costs.

Why do the victims, insurance companies (ie, everyone with insurance), and taxpayers have to pay the cost of gun violence? People who want to own guns should pay those costs, and gun insurance is a simple way to make that happen.
posted by flug at 7:53 PM on July 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


Compare and contrast:
Believe it or not, some of us decide where to spend our adult lives based on that fact, among others.

Would I carry in a state that bans it? No! I wouldn't risk my right to carry in such a stupid manner. Would I live in a state that bans it? Again - An unequivocal no
vs.

300,000,000 people in the US.

Three hundred million people.

"One in a million" means 300 times a day.

Statistics. Most people really, really suck at it.
Statistically, you have no reason to need to carry a gun at all, since the legitimate need to defend yourself with a gun is even less likely. Yeah, it's true that people are terrible at statistics, but statistically you have no need to carry a gun to defend yourself at all. And therefore, no reason to worry about having it taken away.
posted by delmoi at 7:54 PM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm not sure what your point is, pla. Even adjusted for population, the US has the 12th highest rate of firearm-related deaths in the world. (Per Wikipedia.)

And man, Estonia must be one dangerous little country. It's 9th.
posted by Kevin Street at 7:56 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh speaking of the medical costs. The governor did say at a press conference they were looking to raise money to help pay them. Still pretty fucked up though that these people may have to face hefty medical bills if enough funds aren't raised. And of course, people injured in less notorious cases might have to pay their own bills too.
posted by delmoi at 7:56 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


On National Review's "The Corner" blog:
This incident should not surprise us. Over the past half century, we have emptied out the state psychiatric hospitals but then failed to provide treatment for half of those discharged. They have ended up, in increasing numbers, homeless on the streets, in jails and prisons, in emergency rooms, and committing violent acts, including homicides. Three studies suggest that individuals with untreated severe mental illnesses are responsible for approximately 10 percent of all homicides, and another study suggests they are responsible for more than 10 percent of rampage murders. We are now seeing about two such mass killings associated with mental illness each year.

...

Why don’t we provide proper treatment? The main reason is that state governors and legislatures think they are saving money. They are not, of course, since these untreated people end up costing us money in jails and prisons or by causing tragedies such as the one we are witnessing. Ultimately we need to hold governors and state legislatures responsible for such tragedies. And, sadly, it seems to take tragedies like this to even get their attention.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:59 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


humanfont : I mean carrying the gun around either concealed or openly is just awkward. A holster isn't all the comfortable.

You haven't seen many of the sub-2lbs semis and under-the-clothes holsters then, have you?

Yes, it certainly takes some getting used to. Yes, you need to learn not to reach for the top shelf on your carrying-side. But you all but forget you have it after a week of carrying it.


delmoi : This guy had an AR-15 with a 100 round clip, plus extra guns. He was fully armored.

You make the single best point so far, one I can't really negate with clever words or any sort of "you'd have to be there to understand" argument. But y'know, sooner than it took him to kill 12 people and wound 58(+?) others, someone in a fully-armed theater would have lucked out. And y'know, getting hit by a 45 even with a bulletproof vest on? It kinda throws off your aim (a 45 bullet carries roughly the same amount of energy as falling from roughly 3 feet - Not going to kill you if diffuse, but you won't just ignore it). Would you consider 70 people merely wounded a worthwhile tradeoff?
posted by pla at 8:01 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


humanfront, forget the kickstarter campaign and get yourself a fanny pack. Many off-duty cops use one to carry while jogging.
posted by mlis at 8:03 PM on July 20, 2012


But y'know, sooner than it took him to kill 12 people and wound 58(+?) others, someone in a fully-armed theater would have lucked out.

With all the other bullets they fired bouncing harmlessly off the walls, I assume.
posted by gerryblog at 8:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Someone in a fully armed theater would have missed the bad guy and hit a bystander, and then some other guy would assume he was the shooter and aim at him instead, and then...
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


delmoi : Statistically, you have no reason to need to carry a gun at all, since the legitimate need to defend yourself with a gun is even less likely.

Statistically, most people will get mugged, at the point of a gun or really nasty looking knife, twice in their lives.

I'd rather kill than depend on both those bath-salts-psychos having a firm grasp of the consequences of their actions.

Simple as that.
posted by pla at 8:05 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


You will become aware at this moment that you did remember your $600 iPhone is connected to yor arm along with $200 Nike and the $200 Nike+ watch. So there you are alone in the park flashing $1000 of consumer goods, no gun.

To what extent is the I Need A Gun To Protect Myself thing an extension of the idea of America as a country of working class people who see themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires?

I mean, ooooooh, look at you with your name brand sneakers and your smartphone and your fancy pedometer! Seriously? I am by no means wealthy or flashy, and yet during any given commute I'm carrying upwards of $1000 of stuff. And I don't even wear jewelry. I'm pretty sure this isn't all that rare, nowadays. I see people on the NYC subway system openly using macbook pros (i.e. a $1500 laptop) to watch TV.

Nobody wants your stuff. Seriously. The idea that you need a gun because someone might steal your iPod Touch while you're out jogging is a politically and economically dangerous fantasy. If we could all just come to terms with the idea that most of us are middle class and live modest lives and mostly have the same kinds of stuff that other modest middle class people have, America would be a much better place.

(Humanfont, this isn't at all directed at you.)
posted by Sara C. at 8:07 PM on July 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


Great, we only need another 200 annual averted spree killings or so before we break even on gun culture. Keep up the good work!

To be fair, the people who brought up those incidents were responding to claims that the idea of "the heroic armed citizen fighting back" never happens. This shows that it has happened before. Seems like moving the goalposts to claim that there has to be a certain quota.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:07 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Someone in a fully armed theater would have missed the bad guy and hit a bystander, and then some other guy would assume he was the shooter and aim at him instead, and then...

Now that's just ridiculous. Everyone would be able to instantly tell the Good Guy Firing A Gun In A Crowded Theatre from Bad Guy Doing Same by the set of his chiselled jaw and his big white hat. Everyone who knows anything about handguns knows that much!
posted by Catch at 8:09 PM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


[We appear to have reached Peak Pro-Gun Rhetoric. At this point, please tone it down or let it go before things get weird. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 8:10 PM on July 20, 2012


pla, you are kind of scary. I know you feel like you are rational and totally one of the great gun owners of the world but I really hope I don't run into you.
posted by edgeways at 8:11 PM on July 20, 2012 [24 favorites]




The mister and I were planning on seeing the movie next weekend. After seeing the news my thought was no no no, no movies, uh-uh, no way. But as Bunny Ultramod said upthread - fuck that guy. We're going to see it any way.

My thoughts and good wishes are with the victims and their families and friends. I hope you all heal soon and well.
posted by deborah at 8:27 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been wondering for hours if James Holmes isn't one of Mefi's own.
posted by de at 8:27 PM on July 20, 2012


I am an American, born and raised. I also have dual citizenship with a EU member country through a parent. When I am in Europe, some of the teenager relatives will sometimes ask about the pro-gun crazytown attitudes in the US and I am always at a loss to adequately explain. Thankfully most of the time an adult is around to change the subject.
posted by mlis at 8:27 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


My overwhelming cluelessness has been corrected -- I now understand that in a dark, closed space a fully armed audience of universally highly trained amateur gun enthusiasts will simultaneously and immediately be able to correctly identify the location of the shooter and bring him down despite his body armor before he is able to get off a second shot, all without hitting any bystanders and without any of our heroes firing the wrong way.

This is obviously what would happen, and I don't see why I was unable to recognize it before.
posted by gerryblog at 8:29 PM on July 20, 2012 [22 favorites]


mediated self -

I know that latter is Hollywood-ese for "shit, our movie that was 100% in every way conceptualized so that it would Win The Weekend and make the mostest moneyz evar is now not going to perform according to plan because of a horrible tragedy outside our control." How do we spin this? There are probably assistants getting fired just sort of out of the blue over this as we speak.

But still, it does sound at least a little bit classy. And I'm glad to hear that they're at least giving lip service to the notion that maybe box office grosses aren't the most important thing in the world.
posted by Sara C. at 8:30 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


.
posted by xorry at 8:31 PM on July 20, 2012


Sara C.: weekend numbers will likely still be reported by rival studios
posted by mediated self at 8:33 PM on July 20, 2012


The Ph.D. dropout angle is really compelling to me (finished dissertation in April, defending in Sept., go figure bureaucracy). I wonder if "personal issues" led to the withdrawl, or if there was a pressured withdrawl which led to "personal issues."

If I did totally wig out and do something spectacularly stupid and selfish, I want you to tell them that it was because of the stupid wooden-roof mounted HVAC units that should never have been installed there in the first place.

Anyway, everyone I know who is pro-gun always strongly states the point that "you are responsible for what comes out of your gun, all the way downstream." And "Every bullet that comes out of your gun that is unaccounted for is a $10k lawyer's bill."

Sure, if the gunman was dropped after the first few shots, if there was a theater packed with concealed carry permits, how many innocent people could have been killed/injured? How would the people with CC permits feel after the fact?
posted by porpoise at 8:33 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you don't want the pro gun viewpoint, however, might I suggest you use your Mod-like powers on the ANTI-gun crowd equally?

If you haven't read about Rat Park (linked upthread), you ought to. I think one thing you're missing trying to have this gun debate, is that many people here believe the solution to this problem is to create a better, healthier society where there's no need to carry around weapons of death in our day to day lives. And to many, America's obsession with guns seems like an unhealthy manifestation of an underlying sickness; ultimately a (not unfounded, but also self-fulfilling) distrust of fellow humans

So to come in here arguing for more guns is missing a lot of the point. 200 million guns in a society of antique gun collectors and sportsmen would strike me as an oddity. 200 million guns in a society growing increasingly afraid of its fellow citizens, with more guns being aggressively presented as the solution to the current, excessive violence ... is concerning

We should not need to live in a society where citizens are skilled in mozambique tapping military-equipped assailants. Stop train. Turn around. Instead of trying to make the world a safe place from people like this, try to make it a nice place for everyone
posted by crayz at 8:34 PM on July 20, 2012 [27 favorites]


Nobody wants your stuff. Seriously. The idea that you need a gun because someone might steal your iPod Touch while you're out jogging is a politically and economically dangerous fantasy. If we could all just come to terms with the idea that most of us are middle class and live modest lives and mostly have the same kinds of stuff that other modest middle class people have, America would be a much better place.


Except that as stated above, people will be mugged for just those things. In the last year, I've witnessed three mugging incidents. Over smartphones and wallets and stuff that yes, is just what every middle class person might own, but there are also an awful lot of people that are not middle class.

[We appear to have reached Peak Pro-Gun Rhetoric. At this point, please tone it down or let it go before things get weird. ]

Can people also tone down the peak anti-gun rhetoric? Because otherwise, this seems a bit unbalanced.
posted by corb at 8:35 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Mozambique Tap no less... ease back, have a gatorade, you're gonna chafe. Perps, center mass...
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:35 PM on July 20, 2012


Can people also tone down the peak anti-gun rhetoric? Because otherwise, this seems a bit unbalanced.

Funny, I wonder why most people taking part in a discussion about a guy running amok and shooting people in cold blood would be anti-gun.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:38 PM on July 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


Can people also tone down the peak anti-gun rhetoric? Because otherwise, this seems a bit unbalanced.

When the anti-gun people start talking cheerfully about personally killing people, I'll be happy to so direct them. It's nice to have both sides, but one-upping the stakes always ends badly for threads.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:39 PM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Would you feel all that bad if someone had taken this guy out as soon as he opened fire? 50+ victims earlier than he made it to?

What's your point? Si vis pacem, esto wingnuttum?

"Take out" is another spineless, violence-apologist weasel-word. You mean "killed". Whether such a defensive killing would have been justified (I wasn't there, so I have no opinion on this specific instance of counterfactual vigilantism) is beside the point, which is that maybe this type of tragic shit would be less prevalent in a culture that didn't hide disrespect for human life in euphemisms like "take out" and instead encouraged people to end their emotional childhoods on schedule, rather than condoning whatever weirdass psychological baggage makes them talk about turning human beings into a "fine red mist" -- right the fuck after a mass shooting -- to persist past the age at which toy-fetishizing, the division of the world into "good guys and bad guys", and the glorification of violence becomes creepy and pathetic.
posted by kengraham at 8:39 PM on July 20, 2012 [32 favorites]


Except that as stated above, people will be mugged for just those things. In the last year, I've witnessed three mugging incidents. Over smartphones and wallets and stuff that yes, is just what every middle class person might own, but there are also an awful lot of people that are not middle class.

Yes. I was mugged at gunpoint, face on the ground gun to the back of the neck sort of thing. He got about $60. If I had been armed, I would 50/50 now be dead

Let's make an awful lot of people middle class?
posted by crayz at 8:39 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'd rather kill than depend on both those bath-salts-psychos having a firm grasp of the consequences of their actions.

Really? You'd rather kill a guy than give him your wallet?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:39 PM on July 20, 2012 [21 favorites]


[opens MetaTalk to wait for the inevitable, sighs a world-weary sigh]
posted by gerryblog at 8:40 PM on July 20, 2012


Maybe this is just the crazy streetsmart New Yorker in me, but

If you are mugged at gunpoint for your wallet, Blackberry, fancy pedometer heartrate monitor thingum, iPad, Manolo Blahniks, whatever, you give them what they ask for and then you go home and call the cops and cancel your credit cards and whatnot.

Duh.
posted by Sara C. at 8:40 PM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


What if they stab/shoot you anyway (anecdata, I know, but happened to an acquaintance)? Muggers don't have a SOP.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:44 PM on July 20, 2012


Instead of a gun, I carry around a second wallet with $20 in it. If I am mugged, I throw the wallet and run away.

It hasn't come up yet, but, as I understand it, it works pretty well, and all I'm out is $20, instead of a trial for manslaughter or possibly my life.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:44 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Really? You'd rather kill a guy than give him your wallet?

I would rather kill a guy than give him my wallet in response to his threat of violence. Yes. Absolutely, 100 percent. And in context of this thread, I would definitely rather kill a guy than allow him to continue shooting civilians.


However, can someone tell me why the concept of the Mozambique Tap is terrifying because of its name? Do people hate Mozambique or something?
posted by corb at 8:46 PM on July 20, 2012


Oh dear
posted by de at 8:50 PM on July 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


It's not that it's terrifying.

It's that it's a desensitized reference to cold-blooded murder combined with a vaguely racialized reference to a lawless and poverty stricken third world country where one would presumably need to use said technique in order to, I dunno, protect one's precious consumer electronics or whatever.

In other words, it's not scary, it's gross.
posted by Sara C. at 8:50 PM on July 20, 2012 [51 favorites]


Have you considered carrying a taser and using that on the mugger?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:50 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


However, can someone tell me why the concept of the Mozambique Tap is terrifying because of its name? Do people hate Mozambique or something?

Since I've never had gun training and only learned the history of the technique from Googling it, all I had to go on was the name, which suggests (to me and perhaps to others) not just an enthusiasm for killing but an enthusiasm for racial violence.
posted by gerryblog at 8:51 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, and people who really and truly think they would be willing to murder someone over $50 and a Starbucks Frequent Caffeinator card clearly do not live in any part of the world where they might actually risk getting mugged for real.
posted by Sara C. at 8:52 PM on July 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


Mother Jones: To look at the the frightened eyes of the survivors in Aurora, and see only our own intrinsic goodness, and our political enemies' implacable evil, is the most impenetrable vanity. It's not politics, it's just tribalism. And it's grotesque. But we shouldn't mistake this kind of pettiness for politics itself, which is far too important an arena to cede to those who are incapable of seeing a tragedy and wondering, above all, what it says about themselves. We should be talking about why this happened, and what, if anything, can be done to prevent it from happening again.

National tragedies are political. They're too important not to be.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:53 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, and people who really and truly think they would be willing to murder someone over $50 and a Starbucks Frequent Caffeinator card clearly do not live in any part of the world where they might actually risk getting mugged for real.

I live in the same place you do, Sara. I just hate giving in to muggers, and find Bernie Goetz a little more of a hero than I think you would.

It's that it's a desensitized reference to cold-blooded murder combined with a vaguely racialized reference to a lawless and poverty stricken third world country where one would presumably need to use said technique in order to, I dunno, protect one's precious consumer electronics or whatever.

Yeah, this is absolutely not the case. It's a reference to the "creator" of the technique, who developed it in the Mozambique War of Independence. It's not a racial thing at all.

Have you considered carrying a taser and using that on the mugger?

Tasers are not legal to carry for private use, even if I had considered it.
posted by corb at 8:56 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do people hate Mozambique or something?

1. It sounds euphemistic and casual, when, having Wikipediated it, one finds that it actually refers to shooting a human being twice in the chest and, should the victim continue to be alive, shooting them in the head. The name is dishonest.

2. It refers to a technique apparently developed by a mercenary fighting on the side of an imperial power during the Mozambican War of Independence. Awesome situation to memorialize in your technical jargon, folks.

I would rather kill a guy than give him my wallet in response to his threat of violence. Yes. Absolutely, 100 percent.

What's in your wallet?
posted by kengraham at 8:59 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Tasers are not legal to carry for private use, even if I had considered it.

Yet guns are... Something about this does not seem right.
posted by Strass at 8:59 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Maybe this is just the crazy streetsmart New Yorker in me, but

If you are mugged at gunpoint for your wallet, Blackberry, fancy pedometer heartrate monitor thingum, iPad, Manolo Blahniks, whatever, you give them what they ask for and then you go home and call the cops and cancel your credit cards and whatnot.

Duh.


Sarah, I'd like to respectfully disagree with you there. You see, I actually grew up in New York and I was mugged there when I was younger, and I don't recall being "asked" for anything. What happened was that the two black guys flanked me, pulled knives, and one of them said to the other "Jab him - take his wallet!" And then I pulled out my own knife and they froze. We stayed that way for fifteen seconds before a car drove by (illuminating all our faces clearly) and since there were witnesses, we both stood down. They put their knives in their pockets and walked one way, I lowered my knife cautiously and walked in the other direction.

The key thing I want to emphasize here is that at no point was I ever "asked" for my stuff. I would simply have been stabbed and robbed if I hadn't been armed that day. I might even have died. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of negotiation, but it's really naive to assume that you always have the option to negotiate. The sad truth is that sometimes, people just want to kill you. If you haven't learned that, you're not as streetsmart a New Yorker as you think you are.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:59 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


who developed it in the Mozambique War of Independence. It's not a racial thing at all.

I'm not sure I see how that follows.
posted by gerryblog at 9:00 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wolf- do you think the situation would have played out the same if you and your muggers all had guns, though?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:02 PM on July 20, 2012


Oh black guys.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:03 PM on July 20, 2012 [23 favorites]


The more guns that were in that theater, the less would be the body count. Body armor or not, he would not have been seriously slowed down had there been citizens shooting back at him. This insanity will continue - until the bad guys realize that there are citizens who can - and will - stand up to a psychotic attacks like this.

We have a broken medical system that sends seriously sick mentally ill people out into the streets. Guns can be bought on any street corner. Legal or not. We have a broken system - and you damned well better realize that protecting yourself is becoming less of a choice and more of a necessity.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 9:03 PM on July 20, 2012


Yeah, this is absolutely not the case. It's a reference to the "creator" of the technique, who developed it in the Mozambique War of Independence. It's not a racial thing at all.

That's whitewashing it quite a bit.

It's a reference to colonialist mercenaries doing battle against Mozambican guerillas who were fighting for their country's independence.

Classy.
posted by Sara C. at 9:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


I own a gun. Yet the idea of a bunch of scared shooters trying to hit one man dressed in black, in a dark,crowded, tear-gas filled theater terrifies me more than the killer. To fantasize a gunfight stroked me as massively irresponsible.
posted by happyroach at 9:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


Yet more encroachment of the police state? Isn't the War on Drugs fucking enough?

Haven't the last thirty years taught you that prohibition doesn't work?


I just wanted to pull this out from the thread, because I think it's an important symptom of this American sickness. There is some assumption that Liberty somehow means abandoning all reasonable governance to avoid trampling on people's rights.

But that's just now how the world works. There are competing moral codes which often intersect: here we have the right of an individual to own semi-automatic weapons versus the right of other individuals not to be 1) shot and killed by someone who legally owns weapons and decides to use it illegally, or 2) live in a society flooded with weapons that are designed to kill people efficiently, where it's easy for criminals and the mentally ill to use weapons illegally.

The upside to supporting gun ownership rights is that more people get to own guns, some believe for the laughable concept of armed rebellion against the US Army. Sure, you can get away with fighting the USG it in remote parts of the world, far from supplies and passable roads, but it simply isn't going to happen in America. You'd better vote with your vote instead of doing nothing and buying guns, because there are hundreds of thousands of armed troops around the country that can probably hit any town with hellish ordinance in less than an hour. (If you don't like it, you should probably start lobbying against the military and standing armies in general. That collection of AR15s is simply a pebble under the foot and track and wing of the US armed forces. Really.)

The upside to supporting the right to be free of a society clogged with these death machines is that more people will probably live. Now, how does this differ from the drug war? Well, I can't kill dozens of people with a joint, or an eight ball, or even with meth. I cannot terrorize someone with a bong or even a needle full of heroin in the same way a gun terrorizes and destroys rooms full of people. That's why government authority used to control and mitigate the dangers of guns make a hell of a lot more sense than the drug war. Drawing these links between completely opposite purposes of government — like saying "You want health care from the DMV?" — is disingenuous and irrational. I don't know why it sells to so many people when it is, on it's face, a complete non-sequitor.

I can just as easily say, "You mean you don't want health care from the same people who sent men to the moon, and have rovers exploring Mars and the outer reaches of space?" Government can do something for the greater good, and that's proper, even if it does somewhat limit the freedom of a vocal minority. Some people want to live in a society without police or fire protection or roads or schools, but they are ignored, and rightly so.
posted by deanklear at 9:05 PM on July 20, 2012 [23 favorites]


Wolfsdream, your experience runs counter to everyone I've ever met who has been mugged.
posted by Sara C. at 9:05 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wolf- do you think the situation would have played out the same if you and your muggers all had guns, though?

I honestly don't know. What I do know is that I never felt as panicked and ashamed as I did that night, and I'm a fairly imposing guy. Imagine how much worse it could be for a woman. I'm of the opinion that nobody should ever have to feel that helpless, and if that means giving a gun to every man and woman in America, I'm totally OK with that. I acknowledge that accidents will happen, but at least nobody will have to feel like a helpless victim anymore, and though this may sound unsympathetic considering the context, in the grand scale of things I fully believe that is worth some collateral damage.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:08 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you are mugged at gunpoint for your wallet, Blackberry, fancy pedometer heartrate monitor thingum, iPad, Manolo Blahniks, whatever, you give them what they ask for and then you go home and call the cops and cancel your credit cards and whatnot.

Duh.


See, some people aren't wired up to do that. You can disagree, and its pretty obvious a lot of mefis certainly do, but some people would rather put up a fight than give up or run away. I have no problem with the idea of an individual killing someone to defend their life or property.

Oh, and people who really and truly think they would be willing to murder someone over $50 and a Starbucks Frequent Caffeinator card clearly do not live in any part of the world where they might actually risk getting mugged for real.

I'm pretty certain that some thieves would be willing to kill you for those items, and I don't see the logic in spending a lot of time trying to figure out if they were or not. If someone is trying to rob me, and threatening me with a weapon, I have to assume they intend to kill me.
posted by KHAAAN! at 9:09 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Imagine how much worse it could be for a woman.

Oh, black guys and women. I see.
posted by Sara C. at 9:09 PM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Maybe there could be research done towards more effective and safe nonlethal defensive weapons. Elon Musk could open a division for Tesla that specializes in it?
posted by Apocryphon at 9:10 PM on July 20, 2012


Why do the victims, insurance companies (ie, everyone with insurance), and taxpayers have to pay the cost of gun violence? People who want to own guns should pay those costs, and gun insurance is a simple way to make that happen.

Is there any organization or campaign working on this as a national issue? I would far rather put my energy toward this than spin out against the well-funded NRA agenda. (And, after all, some of the most vociferous 'gun rights' defenders are also furious about 'free rides on us taxpayers'. win win.)
posted by Surfurrus at 9:11 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


BTW, as a local, and I don't know if this has been pointed out or if it has tremendous relevance to the case, but the murderer lived in a REALLY shitty neighborhood. Worse than any in Denver, perhaps. Aurora is just east of Denver, and it happens to be where a lot of the poor and desperate people moved when Denver itself became hipper and safer and more expensive.

Well, the part of Aurora he lived in, anyway. Most of the city is pretty well off. It's big. But the Colfax corridor, where the killer lived, (Colfax is the old Highway 40) is pretty sketchy.
posted by kozad at 9:11 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]




Oh, black guys and women. I see.

I don't think people should be condescending about this.

I've got ladybits - does that mean I can say this without being taken for a sexist? I'm also a survivor of sexual assault. And let me tell you, without getting into specific details of a particularly ugly situation: my assailant was armed, and had I been armed, I would have not been assaulted. And like wolfdreams, I'm not waiting around to see what else people want to take when they want me to surrender anything.

TASER electronic control devices are not considered firearms and are legal to carry in most states without permits.

Most does not equal all.
posted by corb at 9:12 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Restricted from consumer use in MA, RI, NY, NJ, MI, HI, District of Columbia"
posted by the_artificer at 9:12 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd rather kill than depend on both those bath-salts-psychos having a firm grasp of the consequences of their actions.

Heh. I'd rather face the fictitious bath-salts guy any day than any of the very real gun psychos I've met over the years.
posted by telstar at 9:14 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


some people would rather put up a fight than give up or run away

It's convenient how like 99% of people who feel this way live in White Haven, PA.

Those tend to be the same people who assume that Inner City Crime involves mostly depraved crack-addicted criminals who'd murder you as soon as look at you (and yet they're the ones who use expressions like "Mozambique Tap"!).
posted by Sara C. at 9:14 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


psychotic attacks

Can we not do this unless there's evidence that an actual psychotic episode was involved?
posted by kengraham at 9:14 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


this might be meta but I really wish that this whole debate was moved to a separate thread
posted by Apocryphon at 9:15 PM on July 20, 2012


Oh, black guys and women. I see.

Gosh Sara, I'm so sorry that my mugging didn't fit into your idealized, ethnically-diverse vision of what a mugging is "supposed" to be. Would it have made you feel better if one of the people who wanted to stab me was a middle-class white female, and the other guy was her wacky gay indian sidekick?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:15 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pepper spray is, however, legal in New York if you prefer not to kill people for self defense.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:16 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was poking fun at the fact that you brought BUT WHAT IF I HAD BEEN A WOMAN into it, as if women

can't defend ourselves,
are valuable mostly for our sexuality,
and must go around feeling weak and victimized all the time.
posted by Sara C. at 9:17 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Pepper spray is, however, legal in New York if you prefer not to kill people for self defense.

Not exactly. Pepper spray in certain (read: effective) concentrations is not legal to sell in NY, so if you want it, you have to cross the border into other states to buy it and bring it back. And if you do buy pepper spray in the city, you get placed on, no shit, a fucking list. Just like if you buy body armor.

NYC is straight up insane in terms of allowing people to protect themselves. It is that, more than anything else, that makes me feel unsafe here.
posted by corb at 9:19 PM on July 20, 2012


[The hypothetical mugging is trending towards being hostile and personalized, and everyone's done a good job not going there too much this thread. Can we all please move on?]
posted by restless_nomad at 9:20 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Imagine a world without guns.
posted by mattbucher at 9:23 PM on July 20, 2012


Imagine a world without guns.

Simpsons did it.
posted by gerryblog at 9:25 PM on July 20, 2012


NYC is straight up insane in terms of allowing people to protect themselves. It is that, more than anything else, that makes me feel unsafe here.

Yet New York is 45th among states in gun deaths. Relax!
posted by Wordwoman at 9:26 PM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


For the sake of a less heated discussion, I'm going to assume that even gun rights advocates would like to see a reduction in killings like this. I'm also going to assume that everyone on MeFi knows that the USA has a disproportionate number of gun deaths compared to other countries. It's also pretty damn obvious to us MeFites that there is no simple solution to this problem as it has it's roots in politics, culture and socio-economics. So why don't we skip the rhetoric and hypothetical shooter situations, and take a look at policies which have been successful in other countries? Links to successful policies would be much appreciated.

NB: I am not saying that these things will magically make the USA a safe and happy place with puppies and sparkles and double rainbows for everyone. Just looking for things that might make incremental improvements to the current untenable situation, even if applied at local and state level with a patchwork effect.

1. Bullets and guns only available through registered gun dealers, rather than big box supermarkets or wherever. I feel like this could actually have some positive effects for the gun-owning community, in that dealers and buyers would get to know each other better (and much harder for customers with mental illness to slip through the cracks if they have to make regular visits to the same store for ammo) and it'd help support local economy, etc.

2. Gun insurance was proposed above - is it actually in place anywhere? I feel like this might mesh well with the personal responsibility mindset, plus allows for differential pricing based on the type of weapon, frequency and place of use, etc. Responsible shooters pay less, etc.

3. Restrictions on gun ownership based on capacity rather than other categorisations: the more bullets it can pump out at a time, the fewer people are entitled to have one.

4. Campaign finance reform to prevent regulatory capture. I feel like we've covered this a lot in other non-gun-related threads though.

5. Continued improvements to the health care system - not just mental health, but to prevent people from becoming financially desperate, which leads to other societal problems, drug abuse, etc.

6. Industrial relations reform (not sure if that's what it's called in the USA): better workplace conditions, for the same reasons as better healthcare.

7. Possible consolidation of gun laws across groups of states? Other countries have much more uniform sets of laws regarding weaponry, which makes things easier to deal with across the board. I can't imagine all of America getting onto the same plan, but I could see a group of states with high populations of hunters agreeing to have a set of laws of Type A, but more urbanised states having a set of Type B, and another group of states going for Type Wild West, or whatever.

What else has worked in Canada, the UK and the rest of Europe, Australia and Asia?
posted by harriet vane at 9:27 PM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


Imagine a world without guns.

It actually existed.

I wonder if they had long, drawn-out arguments over crossbow laws, sharp stick waiting periods, and big rock control?
posted by KHAAAN! at 9:28 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oops. that should have been assault crossbow laws.
posted by KHAAAN! at 9:33 PM on July 20, 2012


Pretty all guns with the exception of revolvers and pump action shotguns are semi-automatic weapons.

Double action revolvers are effectively semi-automatic. And there are lots of other kinds of non-semi-automatic guns: bolt actions, lever actions, breech loaders, and muzzleloaders, just to name the common sorts.
posted by jedicus at 9:34 PM on July 20, 2012


harriet vane: "What else has worked in Canada, the UK and the rest of Europe, Australia and Asia?"

Better healthcare and socioeconomic safety net?

KHAAAN!: "I wonder if they had long, drawn-out arguments over crossbow laws, sharp stick waiting periods, and big rock control?"

In 1139 Pope Innocent II banned the use of crossbows against Christians.
posted by the_artificer at 9:37 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Why do the victims, insurance companies (ie, everyone with insurance), and taxpayers have to pay the cost of gun violence? People who want to own guns should pay those costs, and gun insurance is a simple way to make that happen.

Gun manufacturers should pay those costs too, but they don't, as per the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. I'm going to write to my representatives and ask them to repeal it. If they were subject to liability lawsuits, they could not stay in business.
posted by Wordwoman at 9:37 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


1. Bullets and guns only available through registered gun dealers, rather than big box supermarkets or wherever. I feel like this could actually have some positive effects for the gun-owning community, in that dealers and buyers would get to know each other better (and much harder for customers with mental illness to slip through the cracks if they have to make regular visits to the same store for ammo) and it'd help support local economy, etc.

Problems with that I think are the problems that exist in locations that do try to limit this - NYC has these laws, and what it means is that it effectively prices out lower-income people from owning and possessing guns and ammunition. It's as though a state forced people to only buy new cars rather than used cars. Some people still like buying new guns directly from firearms dealers, but others prefer to buy them from private sellers - and it's more handy for those people who need to raise cash in a hurry, for example, as happened in a recent AskMe.

2. Gun insurance was proposed above - is it actually in place anywhere? I feel like this might mesh well with the personal responsibility mindset, plus allows for differential pricing based on the type of weapon, frequency and place of use, etc. Responsible shooters pay less, etc.

It would be much harder to legally impose, due to the fact that gun ownership is Constitutionally guaranteed. And what would happen if someone didn't pay their gun insurance? Would they simply be prohibited from going outside with their gun, or would they have to surrender them to the police? I can't see that going well.

3. Restrictions on gun ownership based on capacity rather than other categorisations: the more bullets it can pump out at a time, the fewer people are entitled to have one.

As referenced above in the link from the police officer, high capacity magazines are often needed for self-defense situations. In that link, the shooter took 22 hits before finally collapsing. A lower capacity magazine would not be effective for self defense.

7. Possible consolidation of gun laws across groups of states? Other countries have much more uniform sets of laws regarding weaponry, which makes things easier to deal with across the board. I can't imagine all of America getting onto the same plan, but I could see a group of states with high populations of hunters agreeing to have a set of laws of Type A, but more urbanised states having a set of Type B, and another group of states going for Type Wild West, or whatever.

We kind of already have this, in a sense. But I'm curious what sort of thing you think this would fix? I mean, I as a pro-gun advocate argue for standardization of laws on concealed carry and gun possession, but more as an aid to law-abiding gun owners not getting surprised by gun laws as they drive through a state than anything else.
posted by corb at 9:38 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


harriet vane What else has worked in Canada, the UK and the rest of Europe, Australia and Asia?

Well, apparently they have managed to regulate the items that go into a well-stocked kitchen, because, as was helpfully pointed out above:

Tragedies like this happen; that is a sad reality of life. Even if my some miracle guns were successfully kept out of the hands of psychopaths, a well-stocked kitchen has enough explosive chemicals to level a city block.
posted by mlis at 9:46 PM on July 20, 2012


If they were subject to liability lawsuits, they could not stay in business.

Or they would be much more careful about what kinds of guns they sell and who they sell them to.

Another thing we should do is institute mandatory gun insurance that covers the cost of gun-related deaths. Since a registration scheme is probably politically infeasible (even more so than mandatory insurance), then only workable scheme is a large, lump sum premium at the time of the gun purchase.

If we have to have a gun culture, we should at least push the costs on to the manufacturers and owners of guns.

As referenced above in the link from the police officer, high capacity magazines are often needed for self-defense situations. In that link, the shooter took 22 hits before finally collapsing. A lower capacity magazine would not be effective for self defense.

Anecdotes are not data. I would be very surprised if a significant fraction of successful cases of self-defense by a private citizen required more than the 7-9 bullets carried by a typical revolver or pistol.
posted by jedicus at 9:47 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, apparently they have managed to regulate the items that go into a well-stocked kitchen, because, as was helpfully pointed out above

There are significantly more steps and levels of difficulty to making a bomb out of household chemicals than there are to grabbing a gun and shooting things. This is why there is a lot more gun violence than bomb violence in the world. I am not making this up.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:51 PM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Bombs are a derail; we can talk about kitchen regulation next time there's a bombing. Let's stick to the gun issue for now.

others prefer to buy them from private sellers

I hadn't thought about private sellers, but again that seems more personal than buying them from Walmart. The checkout chick doesn't care and can't tell if you're not mentally well, but a private seller at least has the right to decide they'd rather sell to someone else.

It would be much harder to legally impose, due to the fact that gun ownership is Constitutionally guaranteed.

Car ownership is a right too, and we still say you have to have 3rd-party insurance. What do we do in cases of lapsed car insurance? Pay a fine, etc? I'm just saying that responsible gun owners would be happy to do this in case of accidents (insurance takes care of it instead of being sued), and that would put pressure on the lazy middle ground. You could make it so the insurance is part of the standard paperwork, gets transferred in cases of private sale, etc. Again, won't protect us from the lunatic fringe, but let's just work on one thing at a time.

high capacity magazines are often needed for self-defense situations.

This is *highly* debateable and would not be accepted as a proposition in anywhere except the US. And we can't legislate based on edge cases like this theatre shooting, but we can on everday muggings, etc. where apparently the mere presence of a weapon is sufficient deterrent.

re: 7. I actually think gun owners not being surprised by laws as they move around is a pretty great reason in itself. But it's more about having a predictable setup reduces paperwork for dealers and buyers, for permits, etc. Generally accepting that since gun ownership in the USA is a fact of life, why not make it work efficiently? It'd take some of the heat and emotion out of things if gun owners felt that their legitimate needs and wants were given the respect that comes from being sensibly accounted for in legal matters, which is what happens elsewhere in the world. I'm interested in defusing the cultural antagonism as well as reducing deaths.
posted by harriet vane at 9:55 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


jedicus : Double action revolvers are effectively semi-automatic.

Mods, please don't delete this, because the above expresses EXATCLY the kind of ignorance that plagues this discussion.

A "semi-automatic" means a very specific kind of gun. TOTALLY orthogonal to a revolver, whether single or double action.

A revolver has a barrel (that serves as the chamber itself) that rotates each cartridge into position between the firing pin and the barrel.

A semi-automatic, whether single or double action, takes a magazine and uses either the spring force from the magazine, or the force from the previously fired round, to load the next cartridge into the chamber.

The "semi-automatic" part refers to how the next cartridge moves into the chamber. It either "revolves" into position, or it "semi-automatically" gets loaded from the magazine. The term has nothing to do with how rapidly the gun can fire - jedicus correctly (though at the same time, wildly incorrectly) points out that a double-action revolver can fire just as fast as a double-action semi.
posted by pla at 9:55 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


harriet vane : but we can on everday muggings, etc. where apparently the mere presence of a weapon is sufficient deterrent.

Even in cases of self-defense, "brandishing" commits a crime in and of itself.
posted by pla at 9:57 PM on July 20, 2012


I'm kind of wondering about the extent to which Americans are actually obsessed with guns. I know gun nuts exist (and pla might count as one), but almost all the people I know who own guns are hunters. They like hunting. Guns are something they hunt with, but they're not obsessed with them, anymore than carpenters are obsessed with saws.

I've known a couple people who owned a gun for self-defense. They also didn't seem very obsessed.

Framing the debate this way seems to assume that all gun owners are nuts, and therefore any rational conversation with them is impossible, no gun owners could possibly be concerned about incidents like this, and none of them would never entertain any regulations aimed at making them less likely.

My personal experience suggests that this is not actually the case.
posted by nangar at 9:59 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ack! A revolver has a CYLINDER. Not a barrel. Mea culpa.
posted by pla at 9:59 PM on July 20, 2012


Statistically, most people will get mugged, at the point of a gun or really nasty looking knife, twice in their lives.

I haven't seen anyone question this statistic yet, so I am doing it now. Do you have a cite for this?

It sounds way, way excessive. Seriously, you are suggesting that over 50% of the American population is going to get mugged TWICE?!

Cite it.
posted by marble at 10:01 PM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


I have been mugged twice, once at gunpoint, once at knifepoint.

Glad that's all over. STATISTICALLY I SHOULD BE DONE.

I had no knife or gun in either circumstance. Somehow I made it out okay.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


There are significantly more steps and levels of difficulty to making a bomb out of household chemicals than there are to grabbing a gun and shooting things. This is why there is a lot more gun violence than bomb violence in the world. I am not making this up.

*sigh* I needed to include the sarcasm tag with my comment.
posted by mlis at 10:06 PM on July 20, 2012


re: 7. I actually think gun owners not being surprised by laws as they move around is a pretty great reason in itself. But it's more about having a predictable setup reduces paperwork for dealers and buyers, for permits, etc. Generally accepting that since gun ownership in the USA is a fact of life, why not make it work efficiently? It'd take some of the heat and emotion out of things if gun owners felt that their legitimate needs and wants were given the respect that comes from being sensibly accounted for in legal matters, which is what happens elsewhere in the world. I'm interested in defusing the cultural antagonism as well as reducing deaths.

Harriet Vane, even though I really disagree with you on some of your contentions and whether or not I think they're necessary, I do want to say I really appreciate you (for more than just your clever Sayers-reference!) I think that you're right - it really would take a lot of the heat and emotion out of things if gun owners felt that their legitimate needs and wants were given the respect they feel they deserve.

I think the problem I'm having communicating though is that there are an awful lot of things that gun owners understand simply from having experience with the gun world, but non-gun owners don't understand. We're seeing that a lot in this thread, with the definitions over "automatic" and 'semi-automatic" for example, and also in terms of what counts as a "high capacity" magazine.

I'm at a loss in terms of how to express this in a non-charged way. Do you have any ideas? For you, what would help you in terms of getting information that gun owners have without feeling pressured or attacked?
posted by corb at 10:09 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


humanfront, forget the kickstarter campaign and get yourself a fanny pack. Many off-duty cops use one to carry while jogging.

Fanny packs aren't really a good counter-example for humanfront's "carrying a gun makes you look dorky" argument.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:15 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


>"at least nobody will have to feel like a helpless victim anymore"

This is an illusion. The problem with allowing yourself to feel reassured that you have empowered yourself and no longer need to feel that you can be made into a helpless victim is that it simply isn't true. There are so many things in life that can easily snatch away the feeling of being in control that it is worth the effort of acknowledging, in some genuine philosophical examination, our vulnerability as human beings. We cannot make ourselves safe from all things. We must, I believe, prepare ourselves to face the truth, no matter how much we fear it, that life is fragile and we are not and cannot become invincible.

I grew up with guns. I learned to shoot. I have hunted, lived on a farm where guns were sometimes necessary and I brought up my children in a house where a loaded shotgun was always kept. There was a gun collector in the family. A friend who kept a gun under the driver's seat, calmly told my son in the passenger seat where he was sitting in front of his house, to "put your head on your knees and don't move." The friend then shot the mugger who had a gun pointed at my son's head. So I have thought about guns for many years and in many contexts.

Nothing is going to protect a human being from being vulnerable or being a victim of something in life. The feeling of being a victim is an insult exactly in proportion to the illusion one has about one's own importance. Why should one feel safe and another innocent be destroyed. Do we really believe we are all discerning and wise enough to take on the role of judge and executioner as George Zimmerman did? He was perhaps trying not to feel like a victim. Twenty states now have these so-called "stand your ground" laws. Shouldn't it be harder than that to "shoot first and ask questions afterward?"

The heritage of the West is still with us in many areas of the country, mostly sparsely populated states. Cities require a different set of rules, I think. We see that in traffic law, in zoning restriction, in many other ways. Keeping the peace is different in cities. I would argue for a much more nuanced, careful examination of our country's gun culture. We need to grow up as a people and as a nation. We can make thoughtful laws that take all areas and people into account. We can also take more care to educate people to think critically about guns, violence, anger, and emotional maturity and to teach what is required to achieve more harmony and true tolerance in our society.

When I examined myself for several years to be sure I knew if I would hesitate that fraction of a second that it would take for my gun to be snatched and used against me, I had to acknowledge that I would not take a life without thinking at least a fraction of a second. I no longer have small children in the house and I do not live in the wilderness. There are too many guns in my city and I am not a person who could fire without thought. Therefore, I don't own a gun.

Yes, I have been mugged at gun point and at knife point and, being a woman, I have also been--at two different times--raped by people who overpowered me. I have been a victim. I am a human being. I do not think I am any more or less human than the next person. I can choose how I feel about what happens to me. Even, if I cannot always avoid being a victim, I know I cannot kill without thought. I'd like it if there were very strict controls over weapons which are unnecessary for the conduct of ordinary civilian life in rural areas and even more strict controls over all firearms in densely populated areas.

I believe that handguns are weapons made to kill people and no one should have one unless they meet some pretty rigorous standards of gun custody and behavior. They should be licensed and face stiff penalties for infringing the rules. They should bear the burden of proving justification for every shooting of a person, animal or another's property--no more so called stand your ground laws. Someone walking through your neighborhood is not a trespasser. I am not the person to write gun rules but can we not find the wise and knowledgeable among us to write them?

Above all, let us please teach our children to think about the things that are hard problems in our lives and our society and to be willing to stay with those difficult but important questions without leaping to the easy answer or jumping onto the first bandwagon that sports an attractive slogan. We have to relearn that some problems are not easily solved. Feeling empowered is not the same thing as being powerful.

Too many people die because a someone sees a gun as something to make him feel better.
posted by Anitanola at 10:16 PM on July 20, 2012 [94 favorites]


I'm kind of wondering about the extent to which Americans are actually obsessed with guns. I know gun nuts exist (and pla might count as one), but almost all the people I know who own guns are hunters. They like hunting. Guns are something they hunt with, but they're not obsessed with them, anymore than carpenters are obsessed with saws.

Just about everyone I know who has guns has them because they enjoy shooting them at targets at gun ranges and etc. I don't know that it qualifies as nuttery but it does seem to be liking guns for the sake of their being guns.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:18 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


What else has worked in Canada, the UK and the rest of Europe, Australia and Asia?

Part of it is that the USA has an unusual recent history with respect to systematic, longstanding, deeply-ingrained oppression of a specific ethnic group. Racism is a serious problem almost everywhere, but I think decades of conditioning about largely imaginary bogeymen, originally intended as a way to preserve in fact a racial hierarchy that it was increasingly difficult to preserve in law, was somewhat unique to the US and resulted in persistent fear and distrust of one's neighbours, even if in many cases the explicit racism is gone.

Even the 2nd Amendment smacks of "we must remain ready and equipped to crush a slave revolt", and the maddening downside of a constitution is that apparently people develop a lazy attitude in which all of the in-the-trenches-with-the-first-principles thinking needed to have a functioning society is deemed to have been done for them in 1791 (in the case of the 2A), and that the ultimate test of the collective response to some problem is now just whether or not it's consistent with THE WORD. I'm not sure that constitutions are treated as so holy in other countries that have them.

(Practically this means that, yeah, gun insurance would seemingly be hard. The health insurance mandate survived "as a tax" and, upthread, it was mentioned that the tools of exercise of a constitutional right (the precedent is ink and paper) are untaxable for constitutional reasons, or something, so the excellent idea of drowning gun ownership in liability insurance might well be impossible just because of the obsession with precedent and constitutionality over a more evidence-based approach to governance.)

Other deeply-ingrained fragments of history include the fact that the US was a pretty rural place until recently, and I'd imagine that a reasonable chunk of the population owned guns for legitimate subsistence reasons far into the 19th century, or even later. I'd say something about the role of guns in stealing the place from its original inhabitants, but that happened here in Canada*, too, so maybe it's less of a cultural factor for some reason.

So I think some of the resistance to gun control comes from deeply ingrained cultural features that aren't present elsewhere, and it would unfortunately be hard to implement sane policies. Also, as I said upthread, I'd to some extent question the legitimacy of certain such policies given the way that past and current US governments have played seriously fast and loose with civil liberties that are way more clearly legitimate than the right to own guns.

*Before anyone jumps on me for talking shit about the US from outside, or whatever, I did grow up there...
posted by kengraham at 10:20 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


marble : I haven't seen anyone question this statistic yet, so I am doing it now. Do you have a cite for this?

Good on you! I actually got my math backwards on that one. Not 2-to-1, but 1-to-2 (a bit less, actually - a bit over 0.4% per year, so 40% if you live to see 100).

As for a cite, Will the FBI itself suffice?

Still... 40%? Make fun of me for getting my numbers backward (I take my licks where deserved), but I'd still call that way to high a probability to just go whistling merrily past that dark alley...
posted by pla at 10:23 PM on July 20, 2012


Right, so get your taser or pepper spray.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:25 PM on July 20, 2012


Statistically, most people will get mugged, at the point of a gun or really nasty looking knife, twice in their lives.

Wait, what?
posted by jokeefe at 10:31 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


infinitywaltz Fanny packs aren't really a good counter-example for humanfront's "carrying a gun makes you look dorky" argument.

Except, his argument was that carrying a gun is uncomfortable and awkward as well as being unfashionable.

"The thing no gun nut wants to tell you is just how inconvenient. . .I mean carrying the gun around either concealed or openly is just awkward. A holster isn't all the comfortable." [emphasis added]

He then goes on to say, "A holster is worse than an IT utility belt from a fashion perspective. It is a bit like deciding to carry a bike helmet everywhere just in case you want to hop on a rent-a-bike. It might make you safer, but it so bulky and awkward to carry."
posted by mlis at 10:32 PM on July 20, 2012


Here's my proposed gun regulation: All gun owners must carry their guns in a purse.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:39 PM on July 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


I had no knife or gun in either [of the times I was mugged]. Somehow I made it out okay.

I guess the two guys I know who got shot during their mugging must have really been asking for it.

Seriously, can we stop with all the snark about how dangerous muggings aren't? It's nice that all you people have been so lucky with the nicely worded requests for your stuff and the perfectly reasonable behavior of your assailants, but a whole lot of other people haven't been, and there are definitely times when being armed has saved the life of some innocent person being accosted. Stop pretending that it couldn't possibly happen just because it hasn't happened to you.
posted by IAmUnaware at 10:44 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also, in terms of the high capacity magazine usage, it looks like the shooter was using a 100-round drum magazine, not a 20 or 30 "extended round" magazine.

So it's possible that a compromise could still be reached: 20 or 30 round magazines could still be unrestricted, while potentially inquiring as to reasons why someone might need a 100 round magazine. (Which, as a pro-gun advocate, I cannot personally conceive of needing even /in/ a military context, unless I was being overrun.)
posted by corb at 10:55 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks, corb, I appreciate that. We don't have to agree, but having a nice sensible debate is always fun :) That said, I need to get some work done today so after this comment I'll let others have their say.

I will say that the distinctions between different types of guns is actually the most boring part of the discussion for me - as with any hobby, only hobbyists care about the details (let me tell you about knitting yarn types sometime! keep several hours free! it's totes fun, honest!). I mentioned Slap*Happy's capacity distinction because it made sense to me, but if responsible gun advocates (i.e. not the NRA) come up with some other categorisation that prevents people from having military-powered weapons for hunting or target-shooting or self-defence, I'd just fall in line and give it my full support.

I'm not only pro-gun-control, I'm Australian, which means that a lot of the gun world info you talk about is doubly unusual to me. I probably shouldn't even put too much into this discussion because of that, but I hoped an outsider might be able to bring the conversation to a less hypothetical level. And I care very much about my MeFite friends - I hate to think of any of you being in that theatre, or being attacked, or anything like that.

But it's also worth noting that gun advocates such as yourself often display a lack of knowledge of the alternatives out there in the world. In this respect, I'm reminded again of the health care debate in the US, or the college sports issue (thinking about the discussion in the Sandusky/Paterno thread). You're so steeped in the culture that you can't imagine the alternatives. And so your (not you, corb, specifically) goal looks like you want to increase gun ownership, while the rest of the world has found that reducing it really *does* make things better.
posted by harriet vane at 11:00 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


In 1139 Pope Innocent II banned the use of crossbows against Christians.

That seems fair, as long as there's also a ban on using six-pointed ninja stars against Jews.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


Sorry, I really should be working, but one thing in Australia which I find quite good is that if I want to get into target-shooting as a hobby, I need to join a club. I can't just buy a gun and set up some targets out in the bush. Again, bringing gun users together into a community instead of letting them become lone wolves with odd ideas festering in their heads. I think it's got benefits beyond basic gun control, and is more about creating a culture that's actually worth participating in.
posted by harriet vane at 11:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


In 1139 Pope Innocent II banned the use of crossbows against Christians.

That seems fair, as long as there's also a ban on using six-pointed ninja stars against Jews.


And crescent axes against Muslims.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:06 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


The thing no gun nut wants to tell you is just how inconvenient and dorky it is to carry. I don't mean the permit or training is a hassle. I mean carrying the gun around either concealed or openly is just awkward. A holster isn't all the comfortable. You could out it it a bag, but then what if you leave your gun somewhere. A holster is worse than an IT utility belt from a fashion perspective. It is a bit like deciding to carry a bike helmet everywhere just in case you want to hop on a rent-a-bike. It might make you safer, but it so bulky and awkward to carry.

This, a thousand times this. Even modern small ultralight guns are still heavy and awkward to carry. You can get a sense of it by taking a staple gun (or even just an office stapler) and tucking it into your belt behind your hip. Not too bad for walking around the room, right? Now try sitting in your car for a long drive, hugging your coworker's spouse, or bending down to help that sweet little old lady pick up her oranges. If you had to, you could get used to it, but it's not comfortable.

I'm not sure what your point is, pla. Even adjusted for population, the US has the 12th highest rate of firearm-related deaths in the world. (Per Wikipedia.)

That's an interesting chart. I would have guessed the US would have been higher on that list than it was, and some of the European countries were higher than I would have guessed, too.

But it's also worth noting that gun advocates such as yourself often display a lack of knowledge of the alternatives out there in the world. In this respect, I'm reminded again of the health care debate in the US, or the college sports issue (thinking about the discussion in the Sandusky/Paterno thread). You're so steeped in the culture that you can't imagine the alternatives. And so your (not you, corb, specifically) goal looks like you want to increase gun ownership, while the rest of the world has found that reducing it really *does* make things better.

I've lived in places far higher than the US on that chart of gun violence, and places far lower. There is a long and very complex history to the US's relationship with guns, and solutions to violence here need to acknowledge and deal with the complexity of that history. Again, as has been mentioned repeatedly, the problem here is not the level of gun ownership, it's the place of violence in our society. (And looking again at that chart of gun violence, many of the places with horrifyingly high rates of gun deaths -- many times that of the US -- have long had incredibly strict gun policies and low legal gun ownership rates. Just having strict rules won't automatically get you good results.)
posted by Forktine at 11:09 PM on July 20, 2012


NYC is straight up insane in terms of allowing people to protect themselves. It is that, more than anything else, that makes me feel unsafe here.

I don't even live there, but I've lived for a few recent years in New Orleans (where I was never mugged, for the record), and .. dude. Dude!!!

Seriously, you have it far, far easier in re to crime there than the residents of most major cities, as far as violent crimes go. I'm talking basic statistics here, not what your perception is.
posted by raysmj at 11:09 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The argument that 'had someone in the theatre been carrying, their intervention would have mitigated the damage' is speculative and seems to address the least effective moment of intervention. When Holmes entered the theatre, it was already too late for any practical effective intervention to occur.

Surely, the chain of events that culminated in this tragedy offered earlier opportunities to disrupt the perpetrator. My neuroscientist acquaintance posts this academic view. To my mind, this avenue of investigation is now more than ever culturally necessary.

Contemporary American society seems to generate these tragedies pretty often. All the gun talk (pro & con), while cathartic, is ultimately misdirected. It's the 'mental health' talk and the 'vacuous, isolating culture' talk and the 'scarcity of mental health resources' talk that might ultimately create some better outcomes, in my view.
posted by j_curiouser at 11:17 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


(And looking again at that chart of gun violence, many of the places with horrifyingly high rates of gun deaths -- many times that of the US -- have long had incredibly strict gun policies and low legal gun ownership rates. Just having strict rules won't automatically get you good results.)

Someone said far upstream on this thread that in examining US gun culture and gun violence, we also need to examine and solve the social instability that causes people to feel unsafe. I think I tend to agree in a sense. I don't necessarily agree on many proposed solutions to said instability, but I think that there are a lot of people feeling as though they don't trust the society they live in, or their fellow neighbors. Often this is justified. This may also be why more rural areas, with less instability, don't have problems with gun violence, even given the larger amount of guns.

Seriously, you have it far, far easier in re to crime there than the residents of most major cities, as far as violent crimes go. I'm talking basic statistics here, not what your perception is.

If you look at this in terms of statistics for the city as a whole, sure. If you look at NYC as a patchwork of tiny neighborhoods, many of which are high crime and badly policed (such as Brownsville, for example), there are some intensely, intensely high crime areas, even given statistical rather than anecdotal analysis.
posted by corb at 11:17 PM on July 20, 2012


> > and gun insurance is a simple way to make that happen.

> Is there any organization or campaign working on this as a national issue?


We more or less came around to the idea of gun insurance at the end of this MeFi thread. I confess that that thread and this one are the only times I have heard that specific idea.

I think it's a good idea and wouldn't be too surprised if others had come up with this or similar ideas (like the idea of a gun tax that would go to cover the expenses of gun victims). I would love to hear about it if some group is pushing it, but I don't know of any group that is.

I think gun insurance could be done constitutionally in the U.S. You could tie it to things like gun purchase and/or sales, it could be required as part of licensing, it could be required at shooting ranges and for the purchase of hunting licenses.

Ideas like this could be piloted in cities and urban areas where there is significant support for gun control (that's where gun control tends to be the highest in the U.S., and despite the constitution, various ways have been found to reduce access to guns--so more can be found).

Undoubtedly some experimentation would be required to figure out just how to work around constitutional restrictions, but I think it could be done. It could be implemented as a tax, for instance--surely federal, state, and local governments all have the right to put a tax on guns.
posted by flug at 11:20 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Again, as has been mentioned repeatedly, the problem here is not the level of gun ownership, it's the place of violence in our society.

Well, yes, I agree - that's why I think looking at the cultural issues surrounding this in other countries is worth a look too, and suggested health care reform and campaign finance reform. But in the meantime, why not try a few steps back from the precipice, even if it doesn't solve everything?

Also, the countries ahead of the US on that table are not what I would consider happy places to live.
posted by harriet vane at 11:26 PM on July 20, 2012


The getting mugged conversation is pretty far afield but I guess I was "mugged" three times and was threatened with a gun once. For the record I was born and raised in New York.

Twice nobody asked for anything, they just punched the shit out of me and took my stuff. These were more like attacks where they just happened to rob me as well. I was also mugged at gunpoint, I was pretty young and was probably just the only person around late at night. The dude didn't seem hostile or even that into it so I said something like " sorry man, I don't have any money either" and he sort of sighed and walked off. The other time I was threatened with a gun it was a confrontation like you see in the movies, where kids are shouting at each other and someone pulls a gun out. All in all I can back up the guy unthread that said that when he was mugged they never asked for his wallet, just took his shit.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:37 PM on July 20, 2012


someone in a fully-armed theater would have lucked out.
In a fully armed theater? SO now you've gone from we need one person with a gun to we need everyone to have a gun. Plus it's just incredibly ridiculous to imagine okay one guy opens fire and then every single person in the theater tries to shoot him? All of them? You would end up with a lot more then 12 corpses. It's beyond absurd.
Statistically, most people will get mugged, at the point of a gun or really nasty looking knife, twice in their lives.
That's just completely false. The robbery rate is about 133/100,000 and only about half of those take place on a street. So you'd have to live 1,400 years to be mugged once, and almost 3,000 years to be mugged twice at the current rate.

And you're complaining about other people's grasp of statistics. Ridiculous. You say people have no reason to worry on the one hand about gun deaths because they're rare, and yet you're terrified about other crimes, which are also rare and want to shoot people who do them. You're willing to move across the country to somewhere you can carry a gun legally, but not just move to somewhere with low crime rates.

It's totally delusional and detached from reality. And the fact that people who want to carry guns are usually this delusional is all the more reason to be against it. If people who wanted to carry guns all seemed rational and sensible, it would be one thing. But if you ever talk to them they all seem totally nuts, and seem to think they live in an action movie universe where danger lurks around any corner and they'd be able to take down a gunman with full body armor in a crowded theater - Or fantasize about a theater full of people carrying concealed weapons as if most people even want to carry a weapon on them 24/7. The reality is most people would hate to live in a society where they actually had to carry a weapon on them all the time. They wouldn't go to the movies if they thought they might get shot or have to kill someone just to do it.

Even if handgun ownership was mandatory and carrying completely unregulated, only a few paranoid nutjobs would be armed in a typical theater.
I've been wondering for hours if James Holmes isn't one of Mefi's own.
I've read he has a very low profile online, at least under his own name. No facebook or twitter. He could have pseudonymous accounts around the web, and that seems likely, but who knows.
Except that as stated above, people will be mugged for just those things. In the last year, I've witnessed three mugging incidents. Over smartphones and wallets and stuff that yes, is just what every middle class person might own, but there are also an awful lot of people that are not middle class.
When did society decide that it's reasonable to kill people in order to protect you iphone from getting stolen anyway? I realize that if you are being mugged, it's a very dangerous situation, but the idea that it's somehow worth killing someone over your smartphone is a little messed up.
I would rather kill a guy than give him my wallet in response to his threat of violence. Yes. Absolutely, 100 percent.
I think most people would see that as completely insane. That's the difference between gun nuts and those who aren't: we don't want to kill people. Killing another human being is something that we think should be avoided unless someone else's life is seriously in danger. Now obviously there is a potential that someone might get killed in a mugging. However, saying that you'd rather kill someone then give up your iPHone is, well, not normal I don't think.
Tasers are not legal to carry for private use, even if I had considered it.
Uh, yes they are. They're not even regulated. You can buy them online
There are significantly more steps and levels of difficulty to making a bomb out of household chemicals than there are to grabbing a gun and shooting things. This is why there is a lot more gun violence than bomb violence in the world. I am not making this up.
Yeah, that's ridiculous. You can always machine your own guns if you want. All you need is some good steel and a CNC router. (in fact, here's a youtube video showing how to mill an AR-15 lower receiver (here he is shooting it). People can make guns and they can make explosives. But it's a lot harder to buy a finished bomb then is to buy a finished gun.

The fact that something is possible to DIY is not a good argument for it not being regulated.

This guy might have been skilled enough to make his own gun, but a lot of spree killers aren't that bright.
As for a cite, Will the FBI itself suffice?
Did you even read your link? I looked at the 2009 stats earlier. The rate of robberies was 133/100k, only half were on streets/roads (i.e a 'mugging')
posted by delmoi at 11:46 PM on July 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


Forktine: And looking again at that chart of gun violence, many of the places with horrifyingly high rates of gun deaths -- many times that of the US -- have long had incredibly strict gun policies and low legal gun ownership rates. Just having strict rules won't automatically get you good results.
I'm not sure that's the case. Looking again at the Wikipedia page, the countries ahead of the US are:

1. South Africa
2. Colombia
3. El Salvador
4. Jamaica
5. Honduras
6. Guatemala
7. Swaziland
8. Brazil
9. Estonia
10. Panama
11. Mexico


America is the first "developed nation" on the list (with 4.14 gun homicides per 100 000 people per year) until you hit Finland at 17. And with Finland it's nearly all suicides. The next nation on the list is Northern Ireland, with 5.24 gun homicides per 100 000 people per year. So the US has twice as many homicides per capita as Northern Ireland.

Mind you, America's neighbours on the list, Mexico at #11 and the Philippines #13, both have more than twice as many gun deaths as the US. But I don't think Mexico has very strict enforcement of gun laws. Not sure about the Philippines.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:54 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Tasers are not legal to carry for private use, even if I had considered it.

Uh, yes they are. They're not even regulated. You can buy them online


Because I am tired of repeating this for people who think I'm just making this up for the funsies: yes, tasers are illegal in New York City for citizens to own. And New York City is one of those places that makes gun owners nervous whenever anywhere else in the country starts talking about restrictive laws.

Honestly, I think half the problem with arguing about gun control laws is that a ton of people think immediately only of their own situation and locality, and think that all laws across the country must be similar to their own. Because they are able to reasonably get concealed carry permits, then everywhere must be like that. Because they're able to carry tasers, everyone must be able to.

This is emphatically not the case.

However, saying that you'd rather kill someone then give up your iPHone is, well, not normal I don't think.

This is a matter of perspective. For many people and in many areas, the notion that it is better to tamely and submissively give your property to someone else because they have threatened you and asked for it is completely foreign and definitely not normal. "Normal" is relative, by way of its very definition.

It would be nice if people could understand that different areas and cultures have different norms, without making that equal "nutty." I don't call people who would rather give their wallets over than harm someone "pacifist nuts." I call them people who make different choices than I do.

It'd be nice if we could try talking to each other instead of past each other.
posted by corb at 11:58 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Statistically, most people will get mugged, at the point of a gun or really nasty looking knife, twice in their lives.

As others have been saying, this is nowhere near true. There are about 120 violent robberies per 100,000 population in the US every year. The "average American" thus has a 1 - 120/100,000 = 0.9988 chance of avoiding mugging each year. Now, it's probably not accurate on an individual level to assume that a person's chances of being mugged one year are independent of their mugging chances the next year, but on a population level, I'd guess this assumption is OK. In this case, the odds of avoiding mugging 80 years in a row are
(1 - 120/100000)^80 = 91%.
posted by zeptoweasel at 12:01 AM on July 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


I went and saw it. Fuck that guy.
posted by Artw at 12:23 AM on July 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ah crap, this is what I get doing math after midnight.

Northern Ireland has about 20% more gun homicides per capita than the US.

The US is #18 on the list when you sort it for gun related homicides, and not total gun related deaths like before. It's preceded by

1. South Africa
2. Colombia
3. El Salvador
4. Jamaica
5. Honduras
6. Guatemala
7. Swaziland
8. Brazil
9. Estonia
10. Panama
11. Mexico
12. Philippines
13. Estonia
14. Paraguay
15. Nicaragua
16. Northern Ireland
17. Zimbabwe

So the first "developed nation" is Northern Ireland, then the US. But the same general relation still holds, since the next developed nation is the Czech Republic at #25. And their homicide rate per capita is less than half that of the US. Everybody else in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, all below the US with gun murder rates that are much smaller.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:24 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Because I am tired of repeating this for people who think I'm just making this up for the funsies: yes, tasers are illegal in New York City for citizens to own.

My comment on the pepper spray got deleted before, but could you cite me the legislation on pepper spray concentrations that are giving you trouble? I can't find them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:36 AM on July 21, 2012




By the way, the rates used in that article are for an eight-block area of what the neighborhood is. I would guess that's either a precinct or community policing district, may or may not align with recent Census tracts. Cities don't tend to measure crime by neighborhoods, and neighborhood boundaries are popular in nature anyway, amorphous.
posted by raysmj at 12:45 AM on July 21, 2012


Whatever is believed about how easy to get a gun it is in Brownsville, the fact remains that NYC's gun laws - in Brownsville, especially in Brownsville, where stop-and-frisk has its height, still have no effect on the shootings. So the strictest gun laws in the nation cannot protect the citizens of that neighborhood and other neighborhoods.

Some might argue it's because it's like shooting fish in a barrel. Law-abiding citizens are not armed, while law-breaking citizens are overly so.

Cities may not measure crime by neighborhoods, but it's because it's to their advantage not to do so...
posted by corb at 12:50 AM on July 21, 2012


Slap*Happy writes "As explained above, automatic and semi-automatic are synonymous, despite what the fire-arms enthusiasts tell you. "

They may be synonymous with the ignorant in the same way the ignorant think a clip is the same as a magazine (a mistake made dozens of times in this very thread) but this isn't very esoteric technical jargon and people who are familiar with guns do not use those terms interchangeably. Certainly anyone who would advocate on either side of the gun control debate should be familiar with the more specific meanings of those words unless their goal is to obfuscate the issue.

jonbro writes "I am questioning why you need semi-auto at all. 'People will scream if they can't get them' seems not enough reason. I guess shooting two deer at the same time is cool. Quite truthfully, my belief that making the only allowed rifles bolt action being something that would help safety in these situations may be misplaced. I am happy to hear if that is the case."

For the same reason we need cars with more than a 30hp capable of doing 2, 3, or 4x the legal highway limit. They are fun. Target shooting with a semi automatic weapon is fun in a different way than shooting with a single shot or bolt action weapon. Think of how much safer the country would be if all cars were limited to 30 hp per tonne and were governed to 110kph or whatever the highest speed limit in the States is. Maybe even add on graduated licensing where one would be restricted to just 50kph/35mph unless you managed to qualify for a more expensive and hard to get high speed licence.

EmpressCallipygos writes "Okay, I have a question - TWICE now in this thread I've seen people say that they would have a problem with 'the government' coming to 'confiscate their weapons'. Where did the notion that gun control meant the confiscation of legally-obtained weapons come from?"

It's a common pattern. Places that move from loose gun control to restrictive gun control invariably pass through a confiscation stage (either immediate or by banning the transfer of weapons). That was the case in Canada and in the UK. Really I'm not sure how you can go from "anyone can buy a gun no questions asked for cash at a gun show" to any kind of restraint of ownership for selected groups without confiscating weapons either directly or via third party. If I'm a sociopathic weapons hoarder and you pass a law saying I can't own a gun how do you reconcile my gun owing status with the law without confiscating my guns?

lester's sock puppet writes "there may be a protracted legal fight to make the theater pay for care as the gunman allegedly entered a door that was supposed to be locked."

This seems really shaky to me. It would be different if the door was locked to protect patrons (like say an exit door on a day care) but theatres lock doors to protect the theatre's bottom line. Certainly I've never felt that anyplace with access limited by a simple cash transaction would be any safer than the street out front. This whack job could have stormed the lobby and the results would have been the same.

Davenhill writes "Make gun companies financially liable for gun deaths and let the free market sort out the details."

Let's also make automobile companies responsible for auto deaths, alcohol companies responsible for deaths linked to alcohol, publishing companies responsible for deaths related to books, electronic companies responsible for losses due to piracy, etc. etc. This is a pretty slippery slope that one should be afraid of embarking on. Gun companies are selling a legal product that can be used in many legals ways and I'd guess the vast majority of fire arm use is legal.

"But is it really that crazy to argue for a maximum of two guns per person,"

Two guns is totally inadequate for anyone who is even a semi serious all season hunter. The barest minimum is three (shot gun for birds, .22LR for rabbits and similar size animals, and a medium size CF like a .308 for big stuff) and even that is pushing it. You really should have two shotguns (a different gun for game birds than for geese) and at least two centre fire rifles (a smaller one for deer and a larger one for elk/moose/bear) in addition to the .22lr. Sure you can get by with the three or fewer if you don't go after everything but there are plenty of people who hunt all that stuff. And it'll be more expensive because you'll need to use a heavier gun on lighter targets than is strictly required. Pluss you'll need a different gun (or two or three) for target shooting.

pla writes "You haven't seen many of the sub-2lbs semis and under-the-clothes holsters then, have you?

"Yes, it certainly takes some getting used to. Yes, you need to learn not to reach for the top shelf on your carrying-side. But you all but forget you have it after a week of carrying it."


I doubt it, at least in my case. I carry a ~250 gram radio around 8 hours a day for work for the past year and it it a total pain. The weight is unbalancing. It gets hooked on things. And if I clip it to my belt it ramps up the difficulty in using the toilet.
posted by Mitheral at 1:00 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's not to their advantage. It's too damn hard and the perceptions of what their boundaries are change (I lived in one in New Orleans that had a good and bad part, which as one friend told me could define by lowering your voice, to say you lived in the not-as-well-off one, or spoken normally to say you lived in the better one--at the same time it could've been a part of two other smaller neighborhoods, or one larger district, that one being Mid-City, for those who care), you probably won't learn much from it anyway, for a variety of reasons. Anyway, law-abiding citizens are not being shot en masse in the better neighborhoods, right? Murders are down, from what I've read over time, even in larger districts of NYC and Brooklyn, ones that have areas you can target as being high-crime, from what they were in the '80s and '70s.

Arming the "law-abiding" citizens won't matter much either, given the high levels of economic and societal dysfunction within them. Maybe it'll just mean that more guns get stolen and sent back on the streets. Economic and community development, public health, education, etc., are where the answers lie there, ultimately, not more law and order crackdowns OR gun laws loosened on the grounds of getting more guns to law-abiding citizens.
posted by raysmj at 1:03 AM on July 21, 2012


"Statistically, most people will get mugged, at the point of a gun or really nasty looking knife, twice in their lives."

"I actually got my math backwards on that one ... a bit over 0.4% per year, so 40% if you live to see 100)."


"Most people will get robbed twice" to "most people will get robbed never" is a fairly large change in claims, however you are still wrong. For one, most people don't live to 100 or get mugged when they are 2. And the 2010 rate appears to be 0.12% (122.7 per 100,000) instead of 0.4%. This would put the average lifetime chance of getting robbed at something like 8-10%. And, as noted, if we restrict the definition to street-type robbery even that estimate needs to be halved. And the same link indicates that about half of robberies don't involve a gun or a knife. So the original claim continues to deteriorate in significant ways...

Of course, crime rates fluctuate, and these estimates could go anywhere in the future. Here's a paper that calculated lifetime probability of victimization about 25 years ago, when American crime was much higher than it is now. The author concluded there was a 30% chance of getting robbed ever, and a 5% chance of getting robbed twice.
posted by dgaicun at 1:39 AM on July 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


[Comment deleted. For the nth time, don't make things personal. Read the note below the comment field, and try not to make a difficult conversation even more angry and hostile.]
posted by taz at 1:41 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Argh, #9 is actually Brazil. Doesn't change anything, though.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:17 AM on July 21, 2012


Let's also make automobile companies responsible for auto deaths, alcohol companies responsible for deaths linked to alcohol, publishing companies responsible for deaths related to books, electronic companies responsible for losses due to piracy, etc. etc. This is a pretty slippery slope that one should be afraid of embarking on. Gun companies are selling a legal product that can be used in many legals ways and I'd guess the vast majority of fire arm use is legal.

None of your analagous "products" are designed to kill, or are built to destroy life. Cars, booze, books, really? Death and grievous injury are not the point of those things and they are the point of guns. Factor in that guns are concealable, damaged individuals have relatively easy access to them, recession pressure, drug abuse, mental illness, fragmented families, on and on ... well, it seems to be a pretty hollow "right" to defend when we accept the kind of collateral damage as occurred in Aurora.
posted by thinkpiece at 2:47 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


"You can get a gun like a box of Pampers"
vs
"the strictest gun laws in the nation"

How can both of these statements be true? Unless the strictest gun laws in the nation are in fact remarkably lax, and just stricter by comparison with places that hand guns out for free in cereal boxes.

I'm not familiar with stop and frisk laws, but a quick googling makes them sound more like a way for police to harass people they think look suspicious than an actual method of gun control. Like the TSA of gun enforcement. And it's not on the list of 'methods other countries use to control unlawful gun usage'. Sorry to harp on that, but dammit, if what you're doing isn't working, then it's time to look at what has.

And re: people assuming that permissions for tasers, pepper spray, concealed carry etc are the same everywhere... well we get back to the standardisation I mentioned earlier ::waggles eyebrows hopefully::
posted by harriet vane at 3:05 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Malor: What holds this country together is mutual respect and tolerance, and if you refuse to tolerate people having guns, well, they're heavily armed, and they're not going to tolerate you trying to take them, or much of anything else you have to say, either.

I have zero tolerance for irresponsible gun-toting idiots*, and I think you'd find that most of them are actually cowards with false bravado, anyway. Lots of bark as long as there's no danger, but very little bite at the first sign of trouble.

Result: highly unpleasant.

In contrast to the current state of things? Highest murder rate in the first world? Highest per capita imprisonment rate in the first world?

* I don't think all gun-owners are irresponsible idiots.
posted by syzygy at 3:12 AM on July 21, 2012


corb:OmieWise, why do you keep accusing people of racism or racist dog whistles for supporting gun rights? The person who wrote that didn't so much as mention race once in her statement.

Keep accusing? I don't know what you're talking about. But the beauty of a dog whistle is that you can introduce the topic without using the words, and with deniability. So you can talk about a young kid dressed in a hoodie instead of a blqck hoodlum, or you can talk about crackheads instead of talking about scary black hoodlums. But you knew that. I think you know all about racist dog whistles.
posted by OmieWise at 3:46 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Saying that the folks with guns will get mad and shoot us if we try to pass laws that take away their guns is actually an argument IN FAVOR OF passing laws that take away their guns.

Just sayin'.
posted by kyrademon at 3:49 AM on July 21, 2012 [11 favorites]


There have been plenty of public spree killings in the USA over the years, and I can't personally recall any that were stopped by heroic gun-toting citizens. Of course, I could be wrong.

corb: You are wrong. Here's one that also happened in Aurora, CO.
Nope, the shooter was not heavily armed, and police say he didn't appear to be targeting the church, specifically. In other words, he was not prepared to go on a shooting spree - no AR-15 with 100-round drum. He had a handgun and shot (and killed) one person before an ex police officer shot him. He may have been under the heavy influence of alcohol or drugs at the time, as well, as he had a slow motion car accident that stretched hundreds of feet before the church where the car came to rest - simply not comparable in any way.

BobbyVan:
New Life Church shootings (2007)
Nope - the person who ended the shooting was working as a security guard at the church, and was not a random, armed person carrying a concealed weapon. Try again.

Appalachian School of Law shooting (2002)
Nope - the shooter was subdued by an unarmed former marine and police officer after the shooter had already dropped his (only) firearm, which reportedly had no more bullets in it. He reportedly had two additional, albeit empty clips with him - i.e. he was done shooting, already. Try again.
posted by syzygy at 3:54 AM on July 21, 2012 [18 favorites]


corb - Good faith question: I read your linked article about the police officer and the gunfight that ensued, and read it in the context of the discussion re: limiting ammunition. I am a bit confused about your stance because the article, as written, seems to be outlining an exceptional circumstance, and I doubt it would have been written at all if it were not, except in the context of law enforcement instruction. Even then, the anecdote clearly outlines a case in which a law enforcement officer was attempting to stop suspect from running away/evading capture, which is rather different from most self-defense scenarios, unless "self-defense" is just a pretext for the killing of the assailant.

It just strikes me as having a moth problem, but gearing up to fight Mothra. Besides which the above case actually really underscores the impracticality of firearms as a personal defense weapon - you shoot a guy 22 times and he's still shooting at you, if you were a normal person without a police radio that's just two dead bodies at the end of the day.
posted by Tikirific at 4:28 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


A whole new market for XRay machines just like all the cinema halls in New Delhi.
posted by infini at 4:40 AM on July 21, 2012


> I would simply have been stabbed and robbed if I hadn't been armed that day.

That is total BS. I'm a 25+ year New Yorker, I've been mugged once and had another couple of mugging attempts, but more, I read the newspapers and the crime statistics.

Yes, there are a tiny number of psychopathic muggers, but most of them are mugging to get money and have an interest in not getting caught. They know that if they mug you and you walk off, you might not call the police, and if you do, the police won't really care - but if they stab you there's suddenly dozens of police cars on the scene.

Your chance of being seriously injured during a mugging are very small, and more, a majority of those injuries start when the muggee puts up a fight.

When I was mugged, I wouldn't have been hurt at all if I hadn't chased after the muggers yelling threats, and even then one of the guys simply waited round the corner and punched me fairly accurately in the head and left, and I was fine a couple of days later.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:46 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I agree that a fanny pack is not a solution. You are much more likely to get mugged wearing a fanny pack. The mugger will make you hand over the pack and then you'll be really screwed. Also fanny packs make you a victim of a fashion crime.
posted by humanfont at 5:01 AM on July 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


1. Many pro-gun-control arguments (some gestured at above) presuppose that, if you are attacked by a deranged murderer, you are better off unarmed than armed. (Any argument that points to the fact that an armed citizen defending himself might hit someone else, or that two such people might shoot each other, or whatever, in effect presupposes that. Such arguments must presuppose that any harm done by armed responders in such incidents will be worse than the harm done in their absence, other wise they are irrelevant.) But this presupposition is obviously false.*

There are tough questions here, and having a lot of firearms in the culture comes with a cost. But let's not inject the irrational argument above into this mess.

2. I have to say, I'm always stunned to see that so many people argue e.g. that being mugged isn't so bad if you don't resist, or that you just give them your money and go on your way. It's not that I don't think this is a position worth considering, but it strikes me that this is a demeaning way to live and to think of oneself. It's rather like allowing yourself to be bullied.

3. I'm also astonished by the strange criticisms of people who arm themselves, to the effect that they have fantasies of heroism. Most do not, but they also don't want to be victims. They tend to be people who clearly perceive the duty to resist evil. They may have other problems, they may do more harm than good...I'm not committing myself on those points. But it's weird and sick to characterize them as being weird and sick.

*I'm reminded of the stupidest thing I've ever seen on television, Diane Sawyer's anti-firearm hit piece "If I only had a gun," in which she sets up the worst and most intellectually dishonest experiment in the history of the world to try to prove (or "prove"), in effect, that if you are attacked by a maniacal killer, you are better off being unarmed than armed. Utter insanity.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 5:21 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gun control/No gun control... my burning question remains... why is the US at the top of the world in these sorts of loner mass killings? And it seems to be getting worse.
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:36 AM on July 21, 2012


Of course, the odds of you being attacked by a deranged murder are significantly smaller than that of being accosted by a mugger with some sense of rational (if antisocial) self-interest.
posted by stevis23 at 5:38 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Omniwise, you're kind of going a little far there.

And according to the statements I'm hearing on the morning news, Holmes obtained his guns legally. It strikes me that when it comes to gun control, all that need be done is not adding NEW laws, but more consistently enforcing EXISTING laws. I don't have a problem with people owning guns after a background check.

Enforcing laws at a gun show is a loophole - and I understand the difficulty is that background checks take a few days to process, by which time the gun show is over. But could not the gun show point-of-sale simply be a place to place an order, and then the gun seller ships the gun along later once the background check is complete? Kind of like they do with new cars, I would assume (you go to the car shop and place your order and pick it up later, it's not like you place your order and they go in the back and insta-grow your car for you). Or, could a generic background check not be made available for people to apply for BEFORE the gun show, culminating in some kind of certification that buyers must present to gun show sellers?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:51 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


> I would simply have been stabbed and robbed if I hadn't been armed that day.

That is total BS.


You think he yelled "jab him" as a feint? Why not just say, "Give me your wallet"?

Also, punches to the head can be fatal/crippling fairly easily. Don't downplay the violence done to you.
posted by adamdschneider at 5:51 AM on July 21, 2012


This picture is starting to show up in my Facebook feed now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:03 AM on July 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


Killing someone over a phone or $50 may be "normal" to some people, but that doesn't make it any less disturbing. In fact, I think it might be a pretty good illustration of why there are so many gun deaths in the US. Some Americans value other people's lives less than their phone, so of course they're going to go for their gun faster than someone in another country that didn't have this twisted culture.
posted by Mavri at 6:04 AM on July 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


For those interested in how the ideas and enforcement of civilian gun possession varies internationally, I'd suggest the last chapter, "Balancing Acts: Regulation of Civilian Firearm Possession" (free pdf downloads of all chapters) from Small Arms Survey 2011: States of Security .

"You can get a gun like a box of Pampers"
vs
"the strictest gun laws in the nation"

How can both of these statements be true?


It's actually not quite true -- you can rent guns, but you have to buy pampers. And (importantly), you can buy the diapers legally, but buying or renting a gun there will be strictly illegal. The point the person is making, though, is that the strict regulations haven't created a lack of gun access for at the criminals. (There were some interesting articles, the subject of an FPP here I think, recently about the phenomenon of shared "community" guns, kept in public areas. Partly that's because of the risk from the stop and frisk laws, and partly it does reflect the increased cost and decreased supply of guns, that they become more like car-pooling.)

Enforcing laws at a gun show is a loophole - and I understand the difficulty is that background checks take a few days to process

No, it's a straightforward political loophole. The FBI background check, as detailed above, takes maybe fifteen minutes, from filling out the form to getting the ok. So on the one hand it's just a reflection of the power of the gun lobby, but on the other hand it's also a pragmatic reflection of the fact that sales of used guns between private people are entirely unregulated, so what is the point of requiring background checks inside the gun show when you could buy the same used gun from the same individual, without a background check and totally legally, out in the parking lot?
posted by Forktine at 6:08 AM on July 21, 2012


> why is the US at the top of the world in these sorts of loner mass killings? And it seems to be getting worse.

Is it though? Wikipedia's list of rampage killers doesn't really suggest that that's the case. (I'm not claiming though that an incomplete list on Wikipedia is anything like an unbiased sample.) The US is a large anglophone country, so incidents that happen here get a lot of coverage in the English-language press, but they certainly happen elsewhere (see Oceana in particular). It's also likely that the relatively easy availability of firearms in the US leads to higher casualties in such incidents compared to other anglophone countries.
posted by nangar at 6:15 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


> It's not that I don't think this is a position worth considering, but it strikes me that this is a demeaning way to live and to think of oneself. It's rather like allowing yourself to be bullied.

"Demeaning" is not a nice word.

I've told the following story on Metafilter before.

I have a temper (as you might have guessed from me chasing the muggers screaming at them).

Years ago I was walking through Times Square - I was wearing a suit and feeling pretty dapper. Suddenly, someone came up and punched me in the jaw and knocked off the tiniest tip of a canine tooth (I can't even see it in the mirror but I felt it instantly).

I turned around, prepared to kill someone, and it was a homeless man. "You bumped into me and didn't apologize!" he said. I knew this to be untrue as I'm a little hypersensitive about bumping into people.

But he was disgusting. He wanted to fight, I felt he wanted us to roll in the street on Times Square. I didn't want to touch him. And then I thought to myself, "If I walk away from this, I still have a great life, he still has his terrible life, and I've learned a lesson - never get into a fight with someone who has nothing to lose."

The mugger might not have "nothing to lose" but he has a lot less to lose than I do. I have a great life. Would I want to risk it over a few dollars I will never miss? No way. This is not a "demeaning" attitude, it's a mature, responsible attitude - I control my anger and reduce my risk.

I would never have been mugged in the first place, frankly, if I hadn't been in a very low state with my guard down. The other two mugging attempts were easily and entertainingly avoided, one with an umbrella, one simply by walking away briskly (and then giving the guy the finger when I reached a safe area).
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:15 AM on July 21, 2012 [19 favorites]


Has anyone seen confirmation of the supposition that the booby-trapped apartment and call phone call were part of the plot?

Namely, that the loud music was started by a timer with the hopes that a noise complaint would lead to police forcing their way in, causing an explosion to draw all the first responders to that location? Then, when he opened fire in the theater, there would not have been anywhere near the number of responders available and many more would have perished?

I heard someone (sorry can't remember who) also report that the "phone call" he received was in fact an alert of some sort that let him know that the apartment bomb had by that point NOT gone off... so he chose to continue anyway. ??
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 6:28 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


To all the commenters who advocate for gun ownership as a means of protecting your possessions from would-be thieves: perhaps by insisting that your possessions are so valuable that violence is justified in defending them, you are sending the message to the rest of the world that violence must also be justified in obtaining them.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:34 AM on July 21, 2012 [13 favorites]


delmoi : Did you even read your link? I looked at the 2009 stats earlier. The rate of robberies was 133/100k

Yeah, I guess we can just ignore the rapes and outright murder, since I did specifically say "mugging". Who'd want to defend themselves against those?
posted by pla at 6:35 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's also likely that the relatively easy availability of firearms in the US leads to higher casualties in such incidents compared to other anglophone countries.

I can see an argument for easy availability leading to more incidents, but once an incident has begun, how does easy availability lead to higher casualties?
posted by adamdschneider at 6:44 AM on July 21, 2012


ColdChef, thinking of your friend's daughter this morning and hoping her medical condition is better.

Mefi people, let's be respectful even in our disagreement. Yesterday's events should be a reminder that life is short, we are fragile, and the only thing that sometimes gets us through terrible events is kindness to each other.

Lessons from Jessica Ghawi:
I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:47 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


> I can see an argument for easy availability leading to more incidents, but once an incident has begun, how does easy availability lead to higher casualties?

Not all killing sprees involve guns. I'm guessing knife attacks have fewer casualties.
posted by nangar at 6:52 AM on July 21, 2012


> how does easy availability lead to higher casualties?

Perhaps look at the current event, where the fact that the shooter had four guns, 6000 rounds of ammunition, a high-impact bullet-proof vest and tear gas certainly contributed to the high casualty rate?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:54 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


> > Let's also make automobile companies responsible for auto deaths, alcohol companies responsible for deaths linked to alcohol, publishing companies responsible for deaths related to books, electronic companies responsible for losses due to piracy, etc. etc. This is a pretty slippery slope that one should be afraid of embarking on. Gun companies are selling a legal product that can be used in many legals ways and I'd guess the vast majority of fire arm use is legal.

> None of your analagous "products" are designed to kill, or are built to destroy life. Cars, booze, books, really?


A better analogy is tobacco companies. They have been sued very successfully, not simply because they were selling tobacco but because of the *way* they were selling it.

If I recall, the laws protecting firearms manufacturers and sellers were enacted when a similar series of lawsuits showed signs of possibly being successful.

That is a law that could be profitably revisited as well. The goal there would not necessarily be to put the onus of every gun-related death onto the companies, but rather to encourage in a concrete way responsible advertising, distributing, and sales of firearms.

Much as we do with alcohol and tobacco companies.
posted by flug at 7:00 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


(I also doubt if the availability of particular kinds of weapons is related to the number of killing sprees, but it probably does affect the lethality of such attacks.)
posted by nangar at 7:00 AM on July 21, 2012


But he was disgusting. He wanted to fight, I felt he wanted us to roll in the street on Times Square. I didn't want to touch him. And then I thought to myself, "If I walk away from this, I still have a great life, he still has his terrible life, and I've learned a lesson - never get into a fight with someone who has nothing to lose."

Anyone who wants to argue with pla about gun control should really try to absorb the wisdom of this comment first.
posted by hermitosis at 7:22 AM on July 21, 2012 [14 favorites]


perhaps by insisting that your possessions are so valuable that violence is justified in defending them, you are sending the message to the rest of the world that violence must also be justified in obtaining them.

I am thinking the same thing. If it's "normal" to kill for a few of your material possession, then that also normalizes others who use violence to obtain those material objects. I do not respect someone who uses violence to "protect" a bunch of stuff, any more than I respect the person who uses violence to obtain those material objects.

I have a sister that was mugged with a gun to her head, about 15 years ago in DC's Georgetown. Neither of us can fathom any desire to lay a finger on a gun, or ever harm another person. Sure, losing your wallet or phone sucks, but to kill in order to protect them? That is as utterly batshit insane to me, as killing to obtain a wallet or phone. Yes it's wrong to mug someone and use or threaten violence - but I do not want to ever be responsible for ending another person's life. They can take my stuff - I can eventually replace them - if I kill them to protect my material possessions, that's it. They're dead and final. I do not want that to be on my shoulders. I am honestly astounded that people are really ok with that. Your objects are not worth more than another person's life, however wronged your feel by them.
posted by raztaj at 7:23 AM on July 21, 2012 [30 favorites]


raztaj: but I do not want to ever be responsible for ending another person's life.

Exactly. Lots of people asked me if I was getting a gun after I was attacked years ago. It was and remains completely out of the question for me.
posted by marimeko at 7:49 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would rather kill a guy than give him my wallet in response to his threat of violence. Yes. Absolutely, 100 percent.

And if someone's right in front of you, already pointing a gun at you, and intent on shooting you if you don't give up your wallet, you will get shot before you get to your gun.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:52 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


OKCorral is so yesterday.
posted by de at 7:54 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow a lot of misinformed people out there. So many just plain wrong statements about guns, gun types, and how guns work. It seems that most of the people using this tragedy to push a certain political agenda don't really know much about the thing of which they are afraid...imagine that. Since the volume of misinformation is so large I will pick two three things to point out.

1. Anyone can buy as fully automatic weapon...yes fully automatic. All one needs to do is get a tax stamp and register the weapon with the ATF. Of course a fully automatic AR platform will run one around $20-30,000.

2. Even if one can't get the prerequisite paperwork and money together for a fully automatic platform there are other options. These setups are called a bump fire stock, which is perfectly legal and approaches the rpm of a fully automatic.

3. Assault rifles actually are a thing and have been around since the first one of its kind. Then of course there is the most infamous of them all the AK-47.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:01 AM on July 21, 2012


"You can get a gun like a box of Pampers"
vs
"the strictest gun laws in the nation"

How can both of these statements be true? Unless the strictest gun laws in the nation are in fact remarkably lax, and just stricter by comparison with places that hand guns out for free in cereal boxes.


Primarily because it's a city of eight million people, and because police are currently not authorized to go house-to-house searching for guns. Aside from stop-and-frisk, which is touted by the police as the number one way they recover guns, the primary way illegal guns are identified is when they are used, or when someone is arrested for something else and the guns are found.

Gun control disarms law abiding citizens; it does not disarm criminals. In particular, as someone mentioned above: guns last hundreds of years with proper maintenance. Even if they stopped selling new guns everywhere tomorrow, it would still be a near impossibility to eliminate them.

I personally also think that strict gun control produces illegal gun use, rather than stops it. If it is extremely difficult to obtain a legal gun, many people who would normally not break the law will choose to own a gun illegally rather than wait years and spend thousands of dollars to get a legal gun.

Let's go down the breakdown:

Let's suppose you want to own a gun in NYC for personal self defense. You're also a law abiding citizen. You don't even have so much as a parking ticket.

What's your procedure? Well, first let's try the case that should be significantly easier: you want to carry a rifle in the home. You think it'll be easier. It's certainly way easier to aim.
The cost for the application is $140. The cost for them to fingerprint you is $94.25 (for ten minutes of work). You also need to bring your birth certificate, your original social security card, four color passport size photos. They ask you if you've ever been the subject or recipient of an order of protection, and if so, you need to explain the circumstances. (Not sure why being the victim of domestic violence puts you as a bad risk for owning a gun, though I do think it's messed up.) You also need proof of address - either a utility bill, a written lease, or a signed and notarized statement by someone who does have a utility bill that you live there. Oh, did I mention utilities don't include cellphone bills? Maybe you should get a landline, just so you can prove to the NYPD that you live in your own house. What, you only have a cellphone and an internet account? Neither of those are utilities. If you want your internet account to count, it must be "comprehensive cable, telephone, and internet."

You have to sign a consent form releasing all mental health records to the NYPD. That's right, all records of treatment. Not just "was this person confined to a mental institution" or "what's the diagnosis" but all records of whatever you may have said in confidential treatment.

You have to agree that you can sell your rifle or shotgun only to a licensed rifle dealer, to a policeman, or to a non-NYC resident.

You must not store your rifle loaded. And ammunition must be stored separately. What this means is that in the event of someone attempting to break into your home, you need to go get the weapon from the safe, and then go to the OTHER safe where you keep the ammunition. This is one of the most ridiculous requirements.

You also can't buy or sell any weapon that doesn't have a "safety-locking device", which you would think would be a safety, but would be wrong. They mean something so that only you can fire the weapon - and that's after you've already gotten it out of the required safe. Like a trigger lock or combination handle. Something that adds yet another level of complexity to the action of pulling your rifle out in order to defend your home.

Your permit only lasts for three years: after three years, you need to renew this process and pay another couple hundred dollars.

Let's say you're approved. Permits are currently taking around a year, so let's hope nothing has happened to you in that time. Now we're moving on to the great part- time to buy your weapon. Oh, well, you must buy your weapon new. For some reason, buying your weapon used from a private seller is a great crime to the NYPD, even if you send them full documentation of every part and parcel of your weapon. So tack on another several hundred dollars to the price.

Now let's look at rifles. I'm a lady with not as much arm strength as I'd like, so I'd like to get a pistol stock to help ease the burden of holding up the weapon and so I don't have to lean the magazine on anything. Oh, wait, pistol stocks are illegal for no goddamn reason. Well, moving on. I live in a small apartment, so I want to at least get a folding stock so I can get a smaller and lighter gun safe. Oh, no, wait, folding stocks are also illegal for no goddamn reason. Well, at least that's all the rules? No, the police commissioner needs to decide whether there are any additional unwritten features that make my preferred weapon "more military than sporting", so I need to tell the police what model I want and see if they'll let me. Awesome.

I also need to designate a "rifle safeguard", not for who GETS my rifles in the event of my death, but who is going to immediately go to my house, get my rifles, and SURRENDER THEM TO THE NYPD on the event of my death. Because god knows, it's not like I'd like to pass those to my kids or anything.
posted by corb at 8:02 AM on July 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just to clarify some states have laws prohibiting fully automatic weapons even if the federal government allows them. So what I should have said was that if your state allows it anyone can get a fully automatic weapon.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:05 AM on July 21, 2012


Gun control disarms law abiding citizens; it does not disarm criminals.

Sure. And on Thursday afternoon, James Holmes was a law abiding citizen and not at all a criminal.
posted by raztaj at 8:07 AM on July 21, 2012 [18 favorites]


Perhaps look at the current event, where the fact that the shooter had four guns, 6000 rounds of ammunition, a high-impact bullet-proof vest and tear gas certainly contributed to the high casualty rate?

Four guns does not increase the casualty rate. In fact, the casualty rate would have been higher if he had stuck to only one gun. 6000 rounds of ammunition also do not increase the casualty rate. Do you know how heavy and bulky 6000 rounds of ammunition are? I am not sure if I personally could physically lift 6000 rounds of ammunition. The 100-round drum, maybe, but the amount of guns and ammunition this guy had at his house did not affect the casualty rate at all. Nor did the bulletproof vest affect the casualty rate - and it's things like this that make people worried, because people want to ban the bulletproof vests that can protect innocent citizens. Tear gas? Yeah, definitely, tear gas grenades are not equipment that is generally readily available to citizens as it stands. The same with smoke grenades.
posted by corb at 8:08 AM on July 21, 2012


the two black guys

Picard, his face in his palm, his brow furrowed.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:09 AM on July 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Noted without comment.
posted by ColdChef at 8:10 AM on July 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


pla: Yeah, I guess we can just ignore the rapes and outright murder, since I did specifically say "mugging".

Yes, you did specifically say "mugging". You specifically said it, then spouted off incorrect statistics for the crime of mugging, not once, but twice.

It seems your first incorrect statistic was, what, at least 10 times worse than the truth, your second at least two times worse than the truth? So obviously it's time to move the goalposts to include other crimes, since the mugging thing didn't go so well for you. Disingenuous, at best.

Who was it who said, "Statistics. Most people really, really suck at it."

Oh, that's right.
posted by syzygy at 8:11 AM on July 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


You must not store your rifle loaded. And ammunition must be stored separately. What this means is that in the event of someone attempting to break into your home, you need to go get the weapon from the safe, and then go to the OTHER safe where you keep the ammunition. This is one of the most ridiculous requirements.

That's because Bloomberg doesn't want you to own a gun for protection. I had no problem with this. I owned a rifle for the sole purpose of hunting. NYC is one of the safest cities to live in. Some of the things they require you to do are very unfair and should be reformed (the utility bill was really difficult for me to obtain as a renter whose utilities were included in the rent, which seems to discriminate against non-property owners), but I don't object to having a system for rifle approval. Most people in NYC do not need a gun.

Chicago is another matter. Here I have felt the kind of fear that drives me to contemplate owning a weapon for the sole purpose of possibly having to kill someone. I have contemplated owning such a gun illegally. But to be honest, it's easier for me to stay away from certain places than to do that. And I do not believe arming citizens is a sustainable strategy for making a city safe. I also don't want to be part of the paranoid violent culture that I came from, where nearly all my relatives have multiple loaded and ready guns. It makes me angry that I have to even contemplate owning a gun to protect myself with, but then again, unlike my relatives, I have lived in Europe, where somehow they managed to create cities without warzones.

I'm sure almost all of the guns that make parts of Chicago so terrifying are illegal. Crimes with illegal weapons will happen regardless of what laws you have. But that doesn't mean laws are pointless. If they create a barrier to entry, then they will prevent some crimes, particularly crimes of passion.
posted by melissam at 8:15 AM on July 21, 2012


Also, I was going to go through a long spiel about handguns, but it appears that the NYPD at some point in the last year have removed both the concealed carry license and the target shooting license from their webpage, unless you own a business, which only proves my point even more.
posted by corb at 8:18 AM on July 21, 2012


So the first "developed nation" is Northern Ireland, then the US.
To note, Northern Ireland has been experiencing a low-level civil war for 40 years. The statistics used to make that list even comes from about 1994, before the Good Friday Agreement helped to ease the situation significantly. For example, the Loughinisland Massacre by the UDA, which saw 6 killed and 5 injured, took place in 1994, along with retaliatory killings by the IRA. It tightly followed the pattern of the Greysteel Massacre the year before, in which the UDA killed 8 and injured 13, and by the same group which undertook the Castlerock Killings earlier in the same year, killing 4 and injuring 1.

In short, "better than Northern Ireland" for firearm deaths is hardly a glorious position.
posted by Jehan at 8:38 AM on July 21, 2012 [14 favorites]


the utility bill was really difficult for me to obtain as a renter whose utilities were included in the rent, which seems to discriminate against non-property owners

Electricity was included or you paid but it wasn't in your name. If it was included , that was a really really good deal and you should have lived there forever.

I don't think anyone has legal guns except cops so all these licensing requirements are moot anyway. They pass from person to person, some come from other places and are bought in the street. It isn't like anyone goes to the guy store and buys a gun, you buy them off some guy who is selling a gun. Personally, I wouldn't buy a gun off a street criminal. With my luck I would end up with a murder weapon but I know guys, mainly local retail and bar owners, who buy guns off of random people.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:07 AM on July 21, 2012


I am completely oblivious to the logistics of how you would use a firearm in defense of a mugging. Someone sneaks up to you and puts a gun to your head. If you're carrying a purse, he demands your purse, which you have to give him or he'll shoot you. The purse has a gun in it. Five seconds later you have zero guns and he has two.

If you're not carrying a purse, he tells you to empty your pockets. You have a gun in your pocket. He sees it, and either shoots you, or makes you hold your hands up while he takes your gun. Five seconds later you have zero guns and he has two.

How exactly does this work again? And why does this mean we have to let everyone have AR15 assault rifles?
posted by moammargaret at 9:08 AM on July 21, 2012 [15 favorites]


A whole new market for XRay machines just like all the cinema halls in New Delhi.posted by infini at 7:40 AM on July 21 [?]

What a great solution. More money to be made eh?




A law enforcement official who asked to remain anonymous said the suspect had purchased a ticket, entered the theater and propped open the emergency exit while he slipped out to "gear up" and return armed.


-latest story on google news.

perhaps we could station armed guards at the exit.


> I would simply have been stabbed and robbed if I hadn't been armed that day.

That is total BS. I'm a 25+ year New Yorker, I've been mugged once and had another couple of mugging attempts, but more, I read the newspapers and the crime statistics.


only a few times in 25 years...not bad. Your advice is sound, give it up but that is not working in other parts of the country. One can give it up and then they shoot you anyways. Here in Flint Mi. we just shoot the fuckers, no kidding, there is some interesting data on those victums who are shooting back. IT WORKS.
posted by clavdivs at 9:09 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]




am completely oblivious to the logistics of how you would use a firearm in defense of a mugging.

O.K.
This happened to me two weeks ago. I was walking to the store and three dudes came at me, varying their course toward me....maybe 50m yards...they were going to make a move. So I put on my uglies and headed towards them throughing off the element of suprise and not allowing them to scatter and surround. Then I just reached my hand into small of my back and said "hey fellas"

not a word. These guys have been robbing the neighbors for weeks. I did not have a firearm, they just think I did. I did have a knive which was ready. Also ambush is 75% of the mugging but that can very. I have prevented four robberies by having a pistol but NOT brandishing it.

The best weapon is your brain and a dog. A gun is a last resort situation.
posted by clavdivs at 9:18 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Aurora theater shooting: Officials to breach booby-trapped apartment

Within the next hour, bomb technicians in Aurora expect to breach the booby-trapped apartment of theater shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes.
posted by futz at 9:21 AM on July 21, 2012


Yeah, I'm not trying anything like that. I'd end up actually dead instead of just pissed I lost a couple bucks.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:22 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


The absolute best way to fend off a mugger is to BE a mugger! They'll never expect that!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:28 AM on July 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


many of which are high crime and badly policed (such as Brownsville, for example)

Oh, come on.

Brownsville is the worst, or maybe the second worst, neighborhood in the city. The vast majority of New Yorkers do not live in Brownsville and do not have to think about self-protection in the way that someone who lives in Brownsville might. What's more, if New York took a more Colorado-esque approach to gun ownership, that wouldn't solve the problems in Brownsville.
posted by Sara C. at 9:45 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am completely oblivious to the logistics of how you would use a firearm in defense of a mugging. Someone sneaks up to you and puts a gun to your head. If you're carrying a purse, he demands your purse, which you have to give him or he'll shoot you. The purse has a gun in it. Five seconds later you have zero guns and he has two.

If you're not carrying a purse, he tells you to empty your pockets. You have a gun in your pocket. He sees it, and either shoots you, or makes you hold your hands up while he takes your gun. Five seconds later you have zero guns and he has two.


Assuming this is a good-faith question:

First, possession of firearms should go hand in hand with vigilance. I don't think anyone would argue that firearms will significantly and positively affect a situation where someone isn't aware of their surroundings, or doesn't react quickly to scenarios. I firmly believe that if you are someone who does not possess good situational awareness or respond quickly in a crisis, you owe it to yourself and others not to carry a gun.

Second: Keeping a gun in any place besides on your body is a bad idea. People who carry firearms frequently almost never carry in either a pocket or a purse. They generally either carry in the small of their back or at their side or shoulder. These are not places your average mugger will check, even if he does have the draw on you. However, you should not be in a position where a mugger can get the draw on you. Situational awareness will help with this. If you're in an uncertain situation, you should generally have your hand at, on, or near your weapon, to prepare for a swift draw. Draws can and should happen in seconds. However, as posters have noted above, generally you have your hand in position to draw your weapon before other people would be in position to immediately counter you.

In an ideal self-defense with a weapon situation, as clavdivs has mentioned, you rarely need to actually draw and certainly not fire the weapon. The fact that you are armed already makes you too high an opportunity cost to be a good target.
posted by corb at 9:59 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


maggiemaggie writes ". my burning question remains... why is the US at the top of the world in these sorts of loner mass killings? And it seems to be getting worse."

Crime in the states has been declining since the 70s pretty well across the board. I'd be this is a seems like not based in reality and the result of the 24hour news cycle plus better information flow.

flug writes "A better analogy is tobacco companies. They have been sued very successfully, not simply because they were selling tobacco but because of the *way* they were selling it."

IMO the tobacco companies are a horrible example as their product when used as directed and intended kills about half it's users. The same is not true of firearms the vast majority of which don't kill anyone.

AElfwine Evenstar writes "Anyone can buy as fully automatic weapon...yes fully automatic. All one needs to do is get a tax stamp and register the weapon with the ATF. Of course a fully automatic AR platform will run one around $20-30,000."

Blatantly false. California (the most populous state at 38 million) for example has made it pretty well impossible for the average citizen to obtain most class 3 weapon.
posted by Mitheral at 10:05 AM on July 21, 2012




FTA:

First, officers would face the tripwire setup: strands of wire filament attached to a “hyperbolic” explosive. This device was designed to mix two chemicals together to create a blast. To disarm it, the official said, bomb squads would probably use a “bottle shot” — a container of water with a detonation cord inside. When it explodes, a powerful wave of water shoots out, hopefully breaking the device apart without the heat of an actual explosion.

Then, the official said, the bomb squad would face about 30 canisters packed with explosive powder. These were described as looking like black 16-inch softballs, some with rubber coatings. Similar canisters are used in big-city fireworks displays. But the canisters in Holmes’s apartment, the official said, were believed to contain “smokeless powder” — a setup meant for maximum force, not a colorful display. They would either be removed by officers in bomb suits or, possibly, destroyed.

Finally, the third challenge: a set of containers that appeared to hold a mix of liquid accelerant, black powder and bullets. The official described these as looking like “like a Guinness poured into a half-and-half, a black and tan.” The lighter-colored liquid was on top, and the heavier powder and bullets had settled to the bottom. The containers were expected to be moved to city dump trucks filled with explosive-deadening sand and driven elsewhere for disposal.

The apparent intent of all this, the official said, was “to kill and maim any first responders or anyone that came in there.” The official said that authorities hoped to complete the touchy work of disarming the apartment by the end of Saturday.

posted by futz at 10:11 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Was he hoping to make it back to his apartment? Or lure the police there? I don't quite get the purpose of booby trapping your home if you give up outside the theatre. But then the whole thing doesn't make sense logically to me. The more I live this life the more I am starting to embrace the idea of evil existing in the world.
posted by kanata at 10:15 AM