America's gun problem is completely unique: Why is it that for all the outrage and mourning with every mass shooting, nothing seems to change? To understand that, it's important to grasp not just the stunning statistics about gun ownership and gun violence in the United States, but America's very unique relationship with guns — unlike that of any other developed country — and how it plays out in our politics to ensure, seemingly against all odds, that our culture and laws continue to drive the routine gun violence that marks American life. [more inside]
President Obama says mass murder has become routine, and prayers just aren't enough. Since the Sandy Hook massacre in December of 2012, there have been 142 school shootings in the United States, including today's murder of 10 students. In total, there have been been nearly 1,000 mass shootings in less than three years, "with shooters killing at least 1,234 people and wounding 3,565 more."
"It is simply easier for some people to believe that the United States government has concocted a vast conspiracy to take away all of our guns than it is to believe that it is too easy for a mentally ill person to acquire one and shoot anyone they want. And now those same people are taking it out on the families of the victims of gun violence after a tragedy." What Do You Say To A Roanoke Truther? Ben Collins, The Daily Beast
One year later:
- A year after Michael Brown’s fatal shooting, unarmed black men are seven times more likely than whites to die by police gunfire
- Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won't end.
- In Ferguson, Anniversary of Killing Begins Mostly Quietly
- 11 Striking Photos That Show A Forever-Changed Ferguson.
- A Year After Ferguson: Obama Tells NPR He Feels 'Great Urgency'.
- 'Things will never be the same': the oral history of a new civil rights movement.
The Washington Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting by police in 2015, as well as of every officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty.
Overall, blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities when adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred.
The day Chris Kyle died - an account of the fateful gun range encounter between the subject of the film "American Sniper" and fellow veteran Eddie Ray Routh. Routh has received a life sentence for killing Kyle and freind Chad Littlefield, with a jury finding his claims of PTSD to be "an excuse".
Audio recordings show that airspace restrictions over Ferguson following the killing of Mike Brown, supposedly due to shots fired at helicopters, were actually to keep the media out. Meanwhile federal charges against Darren Wilson are looking increasingly unlikely.
Why Did Michael Brown Die in Ferguson? - According to the police of Fergusson, Missouri it was because he reached for an officer's weapon, necessitating that he be shot multiple times as he ran away empty handed. Eyewitness tell a different story. Whatever happened the killing has prompted demonstrations and looting. Ferguson police responded in full force, firing teargas and wooden rounds into crowds of protestors and sealing the area off from the media. In the wake of the tragedy questions of racial profiling, the paramilitarization of police and media depictions of black shooting victims have been raised. Meanwhile the shooter has not been named to preserve his safety.
The Simple Facts About Mass Shootings Aren't Simple At All
The first step in stopping future mass shootings is figuring out what we know and working from there. Unfortunately, the real first step is getting rid of a bunch of stuff we “know” that turns out to be wrong.[more inside]
John McAfee is the founder of the McAfee security software company, one of the first and, to this day, one of the biggest. But it's what he has done since leaving the company in 1994 that has attracted him notoriety. After working on instant messaging software for a few years, McAfee devoted himself to thrill-seeking: yoga, jet skiing, and "aerotrekking," or flying small aircraft at low altitudes. After the 2008 financial crisis reportedly wiped out most of his personal fortune, once estimated at $100 million, McAfee decamped to Belize, where he began promoting a business venture aimed at halting the spread of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. But as science writer Jeff Wise (who also wrote the aerotrekking article) detailed after interviewing him in 2010, McAfee's commitment to the project seemed half-hearted at best, and his behavior came off as erratic and even paranoid. In a follow-up article, written after Belizean police raided McAfee's compound on suspicion of illegal weapons possession and drug manufacturing, Wise explores how "the enlightened Peter Pan seems to have refashioned himself into a kind of final-reel Scarface."
"The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal: A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust." [more inside]
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed assault rifles to be smuggled into Mexico, so they could be tracked. The weapons were then used in a spree of murders, including that of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The operation was called "Fast and Furious". The Mexican government was apparently unaware of the operation, and is investigating. The ATF is going to have a review of whether their strategy supports "the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico".
In the wake of the Port Arthur massacre, in 1997 Australia implemented a gun buyback program that reduced the stock of firearms by around one-fifth, and nearly halving the number of gun-owning households. Leigh and Neill (2010) find that the buyback led to a drop in the firearm suicide rates of almost 80%, or about 200 lives per annum (with no significant effect on non-firearm death rates). This translates into an annual benefit of $500M, or $800 000 per weapon destroyed. However, Baker & McPhedran (2006) have previosuly concluded that there was no impact on homicides.
In the wake of The Scarlet Pimpernel, countless figures have flamboyantly stalked the night. Among them were the scofflaw Arsene Lupin and his more violent contemporary, Fantomas. So influential was the latter that imitators soon arose, plying their merciless wiles on others. Among them were Fu Manchu, the nefarious Dr. Mabuse, the hooded Diabolik, and Matt Wagoner's Grendel. Not even Donald Duck was immune from the seductive lure of crime. [more inside]
96 Minutes... 40 years later. Texas Monthly has an article that, through eyewitness accounts, tells the tale of Charles Whitman. Forty years ago today--before 9/11, Columbine, Oklahoma City, "going postal"--Whitman perpetrated an act of public terror that impacted the national conscience. It all began when he killed his mother. Then he started typing a letter that, after he killed his wife, he finished hand-writing. Then he went to the Tower with a small arsenal and began the slaughter. Over 96 minutes he killed 13 more people and wounded 34 others until off-duty Officer Ray Martinez made it to the top of the tower and killed Whitman. (more inside)