Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The fantasy- More guns=fewer shootings?

A new study points to the obvious. More guns have not made us safer. But we live in the NRA's fantasy world that says more guns equal less crime and will make us safer. It's just not true. Let's take a look at this Mother Jones article that has researched the issue of more guns and more mass shootings.
"In the fierce debate that always follows the latest mass shooting, it's an argument you hear frequently from gun rights promoters: If only more people were armed, there would be a better chance of stopping these terrible events. This has plausibility problems—what are the odds that, say, a moviegoer with a pack of Twizzlers in one pocket and a Glock in the other would be mentally prepared, properly positioned, and skilled enough to take out a body-armored assailant in a smoke- and panic-filled theater? But whether you believe that would happen is ultimately a matter of theory and speculation. Instead, let's look at some facts gathered in a two-month investigation by Mother Jones.
In the wake of the slaughters this summer at a Colorado movie theater and a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, we set out to track mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years. We identified and analyzed 61 of them, and one striking pattern in the data is this: In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun. Moreover, we found that the rate of mass shootings has increased in recent years—at a time when America has been flooded with millions of additional firearms and a barrage of new laws has made it easier than ever to carry them in public. And in recent rampages in which armed civilians attempted to intervene, they not only failed to stop the shooter but also were gravely wounded or killed."
And further, from this article:
There is no evidence indicating that arming Americans further will help prevent mass shootings or reduce the carnage, says Dr. Stephen Hargarten, a leading expert on emergency medicine and gun violence at the Medical College of Wisconsin. To the contrary, there appears to be a relationship between the proliferation of firearms and a rise in mass shootings: By our count, there have been two per year on average since 1982. Yet 24 of the 61 cases we examined have occurred since 2006. This year alone there have already been six mass shootings—and a record number of casualties, with 110 people injured and killed.
Armed civilians attempting to intervene are actually more likely to increase the bloodshed, says Hargarten, "given that civilian shooters are less likely to hit their targets than police in these circumstances." A chaotic scene in August at the Empire State Building put this starkly into perspective when New York City police officers confronting a gunman wounded nine innocent bystanders.
I suggest that you take a close look at this article. There is a map and timeline of mass shootings in America as well as the types of guns used by mass shooters and where they get them. It highlights, once again, that these shootings are an American tragedy. It is not a pretty picture.

Since this article was written, of course, my home state of Minnesota has suffered its' worst and first workplace mass shooting. I wrote about it in a previous post. It's interesting that the national media focused on the shooting for a day or two and moved on. Thus is the nature of mass shootings or any shootings in America. They have become so commonplace that we talk about them for a while and then move on. The victims' families and friends don't move on, however. They are now part of a club of which no one wants to be a member. I am part of that club. It's not exclusive. It includes families from all walks of life. It's a life time membership. There are no regular meetings or membership dues, except for the everlasting grief and pain that results from the brutal and totally unexpected death of a loved one. The survivors never forget either. In this article, survivors of the Minneapolis workplace shooting talk about their experience:
"Oh, my God, it's Andy! He's got a gun!" Yosef Ben Harush, a manager, shouted to other employees as he ran downstairs to the basement to tell workers to get out of the building.
Interviews with survivors of the state's worst workplace shooting in memory were made public Friday by Minneapolis police. Accent workers described the minutes filled with terror and bloodshed at the Bryn Mawr sign factory on the afternoon of Sept. 27. Some watched as Engeldinger calmly walked or jogged by them, wordlessly shooting employees while sparing others.
Five people died and three were wounded in the rampage. Engeldinger, 36, then took his own life.
Some employees interviewed by police said they knew that Engeldinger, the strange and quiet man who worked on the production floor, would be fired that day. His employment file "indicated there were issues regarding quality of work, showing up for work on time and dealing with other employees," according to the police report.
There's just nothing like the surprise and terror of someone who has a gun that can be used indiscriminately to kill anyone in the path of the shooter- from close range or far. It's difficult to get away from the trajectory of bullets. Terror reigns. Adrenaline rushes. Fear takes over. Survival instincts happen. Get away from this guy with a gun firing bullets at anyone in his path. Hide. Run. Call 911. And using your own gun rarely works in cases like this. But never mind, the NRA and its' minions sell myths about how easy it would be for someone carrying a gun to take out a shooter. It's a myth. Did Engeldinger buy the myth? He had guns for self defense. He had a permit to carry his gun. He bought into the NRA's version of American and then carried out a mass murder. He was mentally ill. Never mind. Guns should be sold to anyone.

Let's look at yet another article about our nation's spate of mass shootings that have not managed to make it into any discussion by the two men running for President, nor any candidates for that matter:
On his visit to Aurora, Barack Obama spoke a few half-hearted words—he might have wished he could venture more—on the topic. His rival, Mitt Romney, continued simply to pander to the rich coffers of the National Rifle Association. In Washington, you can be assured that hardly anyone will do more, and not simply because members of Congress “don’t have the spine to act,” the verdict of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband was murdered and son was wounded in a gun attack on a commuter train 17 years ago. The stark reality is that the half-century battle for gun control has been lost politically—again, and again, now perhaps permanently. And that outcome seems impervious to any new outrage perpetrated in the increasingly grim randomness of America as a recurring, movable shooting gallery.
How sad and how ludicrous. There is a lot more in this article worth reading as well because it highlights the stupid and dangerous influence of the NRA on politicians. We all know why guns cannot be mentioned in the political silly season. The NRA. Shhhh. Don't mention guns or gun policy. The Brady Campaign and Mayors Against Illegal Guns tried to get the issue onto the list of questions asked during the first Presidential debate in Denver, held just miles from the Aurora and Columbine shootings. But the question was not asked along with a whole host of others that weren't asked in the free wheeling debate that was allowed by moderator Jim Lehrer. From the Brady Campaign's President Dan Gross ( linked above):
Tonight an opportunity was missed to move our national conversation forward, but we, and the families, know that the conversation has only just begun.
We represent the 87 percent of Americans who want better and stronger policies to prevent gun violence and who believe we are better than a nation where mass shooting tragedies like the one in Aurora happen with such alarming frequency. 
We refuse to accept that politics stands in the way of our right to live in a safer nation. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to press our representatives to do what’s in the best interest and safety of the American people. These families, and the families of those murdered every day by guns, deserve nothing less. They know, we are better than this."
I wrote a previous post about why the question should be asked. In that post, I included this video which was run as an ad right before the televised debate. It's worth looking at it again:

I guess even a survivor of one of our nation's worst mass shootings can't even get the attention of our leaders. We shouldn't talk about guns. Shame on us all. We are better than this. My letter to the editor in the Duluth News Tribune was printed 2 days after the debate. This letter was printed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune as well imploring us all to take a good hard look at a very important national issue. As the letter writer said, "We have been conditioned by movies, television and videogames to believe in a fantasy world where an armed person is a kind of superhero -- a Dirty Harry keeping the world safe from the bad guys." Our "fantasy world" that says more guns makes us safer is just that- myth and fantasy propagated by one of the nation's largest and most well funded lobby group.

If we can't discuss such common sense issues as this important public health and safety issue, but rather talk about conspiracy theories about fudging numbers for the recent jobs report or whether or not President Obama was born in the U.S. or whether or not women should have access to birth control in the year 2012, we are fast becoming a nation that just doesn't care about what is going on in the every day lives of Americans. It's a fantasy world for sure. Except real people are dying in large numbers every day because of our nation's refusal to deal with our gun violence problem. Surely we are better than this.


  1. The second fantasy: more gun laws = fewer shootings.

    The reality: Harsher sentencing = more deterrent for criminal behavior.

    1. The reality- harsher sentencing won't affect people who use their guns in a moment of anger, despair, mental illness, etc. Prevention is the key.

  2. This article seems to be using a similar premise to the one you told me was unproven when I suggested that the long term drop in violent crime is related to the increase in the number of concealed carry permits. So this is basically an opinion that uses some data to justify this opinion.
    The article’s first premise suggests that the increase in firearms has resulted in an increase in mass shootings in the United States. In your previous discussion you made the argument that the number of guns in private hands isn’t necessarily relevant because the percentage of gun owners in a household has gone down. What it boils down to is if I can’t prove a drop in violent crime being caused by an increase in gun ownership or an increase in carry permits, then Mr. Follman can’t make a similar argument using some of the same data.
    I’m not going to argue with his definition of mass shootings, I wish he had a regular list of his data there because messing with a map slows me down. I didn’t look at all of the events, though I did see one instance of one mass shooting by a felon.
    A fairly common denominator of the shooting besides the use of firearms is that the majority of mass shootings occurred in what is referred to as a gun free zone. Mr. Follman makes the argument that citizens carrying firearms for self-defense haven’t been effective in stopping these mass shootings. Again, it would be interesting to be able to examine data in list form since it would be easier to determine the number of shootings that occurred in gun free zones. In the incidences that took place in a work place, it’s fairly common for employers to declare the businesses to be gun free zones for employees.
    The same can be said for the shootings on military bases. The military has no problem restricting the possession of arms on base. Except when doing field or weapons training soldiers rarely carry their issue weapons. And ammunition for these weapons is only issued at the ranges just before going on the firing line. The big exception to this in in a combat zone where soldiers routinely carry both weapons and ammunition. However the military has rules about the loaded status for these weapons. Privately owned weapons are very restricted on post.
    It would also be interesting to see if the states had shall issue permit laws in place when the shooting took place. In the one instance where a citizen was able to kill the assailant, the author refers to him as a vigilante. This sort of illustrates where the author’s feelings lie.
    The author uses two instances of civilians shooting assailants to illustrate the futility of citizen intervention. One was wounded and one was killed. The term for these two is hero. I can only hope that if I am ever confronted by such a situation I can perform just as honorably. The argument could be made that their intervention prevented them from becoming listed as a mass shooting.
    The author suggests that that the concept of heroism doesn’t result in success using as an example the 2002 since the “armed students” happened to be current and former law enforcement officers. I don’t see that being relevant. The author doesn’t fail to mention that the students in question including the current police officer had to run to their cars to get a firearm because the school was, you guessed it, a gun free zone.
    The video produced by homeland security recommends fighting an armed assailant as a last resort because, again, its civilian employees are barred from carrying firearms. Sort of comically, border patrol employees were required to watch this video, to include the armed border patrol officers.
    The author does make a valid point, that we need to improve states’ participation in keeping the NICS database updated.

    1. Good grief, Mark. Give it a rest. Gun free zones? it makes absolutely no difference. Shootings occur in places where guns are allowed and places where they are not. That is a specious argument. Shooters don't care if there are guns allowed or not when they are in the moment. To use that argument is saying that if only guns are allowed everywhere there would be no shootings. Total nonsense. Have you forgotten that most of these mass shootings were committed by otherwise law abiding citizens? Some by permit holders? They shouldn't have been legal purchasers or legal permit holders but our system allows easy access to guns and also allows guns just about everywhere. There are very few gun free zones left in America. People shoot at law enforcement officers knowing they are armed. The Minnesota road rage shooting happened practically right outside of a police station for Pete's sake.

      Did you notice that the latest border patrol agent who was shot in Arizona was killed by friendly fire? Was that a gun free zone? It shows again that even folks with guns can't stop the shootings and sometimes even inflict more harm. The articles addressed that. The NYC shooting was a prime example. Officers bullets ricocheted and injured by standers. This is the opposite of what the gun guys proclaim will happen in these cases.

  3. Your blog periodically tries to diminish the efficacy of a permit holder and their concealed weapon by propagating the fallacy that they're never to be found during a mass shooting.

    We both know that the number of permit holders in the US is very small. Clearly the odds that a trained permit holder would be in the same location as a mass shooting is extremely small. So, saying that more guns are useless because they're never there during mass shootings is like saying police officers are useless because they too are never there.

    The primary reason permit holders get permits is to protect themselves and their loved ones during an assault while away from home. Typically, this would be one or two assailants with a non-firearm weapon, not a mass shooting. In the former context, concealed handguns in trained hands are repeatedly found to be effective.

    Another reason why permit holders are never to be found in a mass shooting could be because most permit holders realize that even a justifiable shooting can ruin them and their families financially with legal costs. For this reason, I've heard many permit holders say they won't get involved in helping others. It's cheaper and safer for the permit holder to simply run and let others be killed, if the permit holder was never in the line of fire. The permit holder can later rationalize his/her guilt by believing that those who were killed could have exercised their right to self-defense, but chose not to, or by believing there wasn't a clear shot. This is just an extension of the diffusion of responsibility.

    1. " We both know that the number of permit holders in the US is very small. Clearly the odds that a trained permit holder would be in the same location as a mass shooting is extremely small. So, saying that more guns are useless because they're never there during mass shootings is like saying police officers are useless because they too are never there."

      I'm pretty sure you just made all of my points, Migo. Thanks a lot. When the law passed in Minnesota, the gun guys said it would make us all safer. We were sold a bill of goods. Of course it hasn't. The chances of a permit holder being anywhere near where a shooting takes place is slim to none. And, as to your last paragraph, indeed. Most permit holders don't want to be held responsible for a shooting. So why, then, do we need people carrying guns around in public places? People aren't even defending themselves with the guns. Instead, some of them are killing other people.

  4. Dear Mark, Have a nice week-end. You need to find something else to do. We will not agree on many things but your arguments are not getting us anywhere right now. You can't beat a dead horse and you can try to argue every point to its' ridiculous end but you are never done. I will be doing family things and just can't keep reading your long comments.

  5. Dear readers, One of you brought up Nazis. I will not be commenting on that. Another wants my definition of vigilantism. I will not be giving it. It doesn't matter and neither are cogent to any intelligent discussion.

  6. Japete,
    You call this a public health issue. I think perhaps we're using the wrong public health model to address this issue. I've been wondering if addressing the issue of gun violence might be better addressed using the same techniquea as aids/hiv is controlled.

  7. HIV/AIDS is spread through two main pathss, unprotected sex and sharing of needles by IV drug users. While advances have been made, AIDS/HIV is presently incurable and if untreated fatal. The challenge behind controlling the spread of the disease is that even though incurable and potentially fatal, sometimes people do stupid things when it comes to sex. Drug use is just plain stupid and I dont have an answer for that one.
    While a major public health issue, it was very apparent that there was no way any kind of government control over sex would work. So, they developed ways to try to control the spread which at the begining, many found to be distateful were needle exchange programs and an educational program encouraging "safe sex". These two programs have had a positive effect on the spread of AID/HIV.
    I believe that a similar plan could be used to address the problem of gun violence.

    1. I know who HIV/AIDS is spread. I still don't get it. You will have to explain more of what you mean. Are we going to "encourage" people to be safe with their guns? We do tell people to safely store their guns. But the NRA tells them to have their loaded guns always at the ready by the passing of conceal carry laws and claiming the need for self defense at home. How to counter that problem? If the sale of guns is the goal, the NRA can't tell people not to use their guns at home for self defense or not to want to carry loaded guns for self defense. Good luck with that one.

    2. That is pretty much my thought, education. However it needs to be more extensive and on a more aggressive scale. Like education for AIDS prevention and coincidentally sex ed, it would have to be introduced into schools. And like AIDS prevention and sex ed, some parents would object to the training and could chose to opt out in regards to their children.
      For constitutional and cultural reasons, guns in the United States aren’t going away. And restrictions on private ownership of firearms isn’t having an effect on violent crime. In fact, in most cases in the US bans on the ownership of firearms has had the opposite effect. If you know of any places in the US where the banning of guns has worked well, I’d like to hear about it.
      One thing I found in my readings about Switzerland is that the Swiss have ingrained into their culture is being responsibility for their actions. Which in my observations seems to be lacking in this country. This education has to cover the safe and responsible use of firearms.
      A good example of this training can be looked at here. http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_21710858/trap-shooting-league-gains-popularity-at-minnesota-high . This is a controlled and positive learning experience.

    3. If you come up with something that works, let me know. Engel dinger got shooting and permit to carry training and still murdetrd 5 people. The NRA claims that if kids ate trained they won't make midtskes. That is fantasy. Check out the Kid Shootings and Ohh Shoot blogs for how often people who are trained make terrible and deadly mistakes.

      There is no gun van suggested by my side of the issue no matter what you may hear. The answer is harder access to guns for those who should not have them. The answer is safe storage. The answer is background checks for all gun sales. The answer is requiring stricter requirements for who can carry and where they can carry. The answer is to stop the fear and paranoia coming from the NRA that hyped up gun sales. Better gun laws could prevent shootings. Education is portant but guns are deadly weapons designed to kill. It wasn't until law suits against car makers were successful that they stepped up to make cars safer. Education about driving drunk helped but safety features have made a difference for sure.

    4. "Have you forgotten that most of these mass shootings were committed by otherwise law abiding citizens? Some by permit holders? They shouldn't have been legal purchasers or legal permit holders but our system allows easy access to guns and also allows guns just about everywhere."
      I had read your posting and got the idea that you believe that all gun owners are potential criminals. It also seemed to suggest that you dont believe anyone should posess a firearm. I appreciate you setting me straight.
      What safety features would you recommend for guns?

    5. Read it again. I never wrote that. The fact is though, enough permit holders and otherwise law abiding gun owners are shooting people that we should be very concerned. We have a problem. We have too many people carrying guns in too many places and too easy access to guns- too lax permit laws. This is allowing for too many shootings. One is too many. One shooting victim is one too many. They are preventable. Let's start preventing them.

    6. Japete, I included your complete post below with the relevant portion that you said you didnt write. Were you possibly quoting someone else?

      japeteOctober 6, 2012 12:35 PM
      Good grief, Mark. Give it a rest. Gun free zones? it makes absolutely no difference. Shootings occur in places where guns are allowed and places where they are not. That is a specious argument. Shooters don't care if there are guns allowed or not when they are in the moment. To use that argument is saying that if only guns are allowed everywhere there would be no shootings. Total nonsense. Have you forgotten that most of these mass shootings were committed by otherwise law abiding citizens? Some by permit holders? They shouldn't have been legal purchasers or legal permit holders but our system allows easy access to guns and also allows guns just about everywhere. There are very few gun free zones left in America. People shoot at law enforcement officers knowing they are armed. The Minnesota road rage shooting happened practically right outside of a police station for Pete's sake.

      Did you notice that the latest border patrol agent who was shot in Arizona was killed by friendly fire? Was that a gun free zone? It shows again that even folks with guns can't stop the shootings and sometimes even inflict more harm. The articles addressed that. The NYC shooting was a prime example. Officers bullets ricocheted and injured by standers. This is the opposite of what the gun guys proclaim will happen in these cases.

  8. You said "Gun free zones? it makes absolutely no difference. Shootings occur in places where guns are allowed and places where they are not. That is a specious argument." Really? What percentage of mass shootings occur in non-gun free zones? Somehow I can't recall any at a shooting range or even a gun store.

    The article you quoted stated that there is not a single case of the killings being stopped by a civilian with a gun. Not True.

    10/1/1997 - Luke Woodham put on a trench coat to conceal a hunting rifle and entered Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi. He killed 3 students before vice principal Joel Myrick apprehended him with a Colt .45 without firing.

    4/24/1998 - Andrew Wurst attended a middle school dance in Edinboro, Pennsylvania intent on killing a bully but shot wildly into the crowd. He killed 1 student. James Strand lived next door. When he heard the shots he ran over with his 12 gauge shotgun and apprehended the gunman without firing.

    1/16/2002 – Peter Odighizuwa opened fire with a handgun at The Appalachian School in Grundy, Virginia. 3 people were killed before the shooter was apprehended by 3 students, Mikael Gross, Ted Besen, and Tracy Bridges with handguns without firing.

    2/25/2005 – David Hernandez Arroyo Sr. opened fire on a public square from the steps of a courthouse in Tyler, Texas. The shooter was armed with an assault rifle and wearing body armor. Mark Wilson fired back with a handgun, hitting the shooter but not penetrating the armor. Mark drew the shooter’s fire, and ultimately drove him off, but was fatally wounded. Mark was the only death in this incident.

    4/22/2012 – Kiarron Parker opened fire in a church parking lot in Aurora, Colorado. The shooter killed 1 person before being shot and killed by a member of the congregation who was carrying concealed.

    I loved the Brady Press announcement about the debates but why didn't you go with the first press announcement? The one that had the following quote ... "We also thank President Obama for outlining a clear plan to help reduce gun deaths and injuries. PLACE HOLDER FOR SPECIFIC LANGUAGE FROM DEBATE. We appreciate his renewed commitment to commonsense policy changes and will work to ensure his words are turned into action.

    When offered the same opportunity to address gun violence Gov. Romney punted. He failed to offer the leadership or solutions required to make our communities and children safer."

    I find it unusual that you already knew that Obama was gonna be the good guy when he has never accomplished anything for you and Romney signed a scary weapons ban in Massachusetts. Not much bias there huh?

    1. There have been more than a few shootings at gun ranges similar to this one: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30109090/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/mom-kills-son-then-self-shooting-range/

      Remember the 5 year old Massachusetts boy who was with his father at a gun show or exhibition of some sort who killed himself accidentally with a machine gun that his father let him shoot there? I do.

      There have been other accidental gun discharges at gun shows. Of course gun shows are supposed to be "gun free zones." I wonder why?

      The member of the congregation who shot the shooter at the church was a security person. You cited a few. There are very few and very few successful defenses by someone with a permit. For one thing, the chance that someone with a permit will be in the area of a shooting is very slim since only about 2% of the population is carrying concealed. Remember that at the Tucson shooting, the man with a permit decided it would be a very bad idea for him to use his gun. He admitted to almost shooting the man who tackled Loughner. The police would have seen another shooter and shot the guy. That is the risk of thinking you will save the day.

      No Robin. There are shootings at gun free zones and guns allowed zones. It doesn't matter to a person who is bent on causing death and destruction. Remember the Pittsburgh permit holder who killed 3 armed policemen in an ambush? I do. Remember the Tacoma coffee shop shooting where 4 armed officers were shot and killed by someone who should not have been released from prison? I do. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/four-tacoma-police-die-in-coffee-shop-shooting-ambush-in-washington-state/story-e6frf7lf-1225805196854

      "Clemmons has a violent, erratic past, and authorities in Washington state and Arkansas — where then-Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2000 commuted his 108-year prison sentence for armed robbery and other offenses — are facing tough questions about why an apparently violent and deranged man was out on the street." http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34194122/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/cop-killer-suspect-shot-dead-officer/#.UHGnt_k-tu8

    2. Robin, In fairness, there were some mass shooting listed in the article that were in public places. Though we have to keep in mind that it's hard to say if concealed carry was allowed. The interactive map made it a pain to look at the data.
      One example is there were two mass shootings in Washington state that took place in coffee shops. One was by an out on bail felon who targeted police officers that patronized the coffee shop.
      But I have noticed that a large number of these mass shootings take place where citizens arent allowed to defend themselves. One result of these shooting is a change in tactics in law enforcement. Instead of setting up a cordon and gathering intel, the new emerging tactic is to agressively hunt down the shooter.

    3. Japete, This is what I found about the security person you mention.

      "Parker sped into the parking lot of New Destiny Center church in Aurora, crashed into a car, then fired at people who came to his aid. The shooting killed Josephine Echols, the mother of a pastor at the church, police said. Echols’ nephew Antonio Milow, an off-duty Denver police officer who was attending a church service, then shot and killed Parker, authorities said."

    4. Mark, that is not true. Unless signs are posted otherwise, guns are allowed in bars, restaurants, coffee shops and other places where people are free to defend themselves with guns. If you check my blog, you will see many cases of accidental discharges of guns by conceal and carry holders where they are allowed to carry. Some of them resulted in serious injuries, others missing people. One infamous one is the teen-aged girl who was carrying a loaded gun in her purse that her father gave her ( illegal by the way). She dropped her purse at a Wyoming Starbucks ( where guns are allowed) and her gun went off narrowly missing several officers sitting in the coffee shop. Others have happened at restaurants and other places where guns are allowed. How can one protect themselves from law abiding permit holders who are that careless? Better not to allow the guns in the first place. Guns were allowed in the mall parking lot in Tucson but the shooting happened so fast, no one was able or could even think about defending themselves. The fantasy is that you guys believe you could. That's even scarier. It is ludicrous to think that someone in that movie theater could have defended themselves. You guys are just making things up. Even officers miss, as I have pointed out. Their adrenaline is high. Their anxiety is high. Their fear is high. Why would you be any different?

    5. Prohibited places are determined dependant on what state you're in. Some states dont allow carry in bars at all. Minnesota does, but also includes penalties for carrying while intoxicated, and the level for conviction is half of what is allowed for drivine.
      Actually a more accurate term is negligent discharges. Police officers have them too.
      As for the shooting in Tuscon, that in my opinion is an example of a responsible permit holder. He took long enough to make sure and he made the right decision.
      As we discussed before, no one can accurately say whether someone could have intervened in the shooting in Aurora. Even a police officer might not have been able to. But I'd be willing to bet even police officers are thinking the same thing you accuse "us guys" of thinking. Whether someone could have shot Mr. Holmes in that theatre is a moot point because law abiding patrons werent allowed the option since it was a gun free zone.
      You're correct, even police officers miss, as we've discussed before, police officers arent perfect, they're human, just like everyone else.

    6. Mark. It's a nice Sunday afternoon. The Vikings are going to be on. Enjoy the game. I've gone over these points ad nauseum on my blog and I'm not in the mood to carry on a protracted argument with you. You are relentless. Don't you have anything else to do?

    7. We don't know the shooter in Tucson made the right decision, and you don't have enough evidence to properly make that determination.

      You don't know for example if the guy was trying to get into the wrong car making an honest mistake, holding nothing more dangerous than a coat hanger.

      That people like you jump to the unwarranted conclusions you do with too little information is just part of the problem.

      YES, we CAN definitely say that no one could have intervened in Aurora Colorado. We can say that for several reasons -- there were no clear shots available, particularly when the theater was dark and smoky. The chances of taking down the shooter were clearly nil, given he was wearing armor. We know he was wearing ballistic armor because multiple sources have described it, closed circuit cameras show him wearing it, it is listed as part of the evidence against Holmes, there are receipts for him buying it, and multiple witnesses also confirm it.

      Anyone else armed in that theater would have caused much more confusion for the police and the victims, would have added to the number of dead and wounded, and would have provided absolutely ZERO benefit.

      And if you have any doubts about the benefit, I suggest you reconsider the case of the jackass with a permit who managed while sitting down in a theater seat to shoot himself in the behind, after going armed 'just in case'of a copycat Aurora shooting.


      I know you have trouble wrapping your head around this concept, this FACT, but the reality is that those people who own and carry guns are more a menace to themselves and others, as measured by number of shootings, both deliberate and accidental, than those people who do not own or carry guns. It is a simple, straightforward, statistical reality.

      That the gun nuts live in a fantasy land rather than fact-based reality is part of the core problem - DELUSION - of our gun culture.

      You have a totally unrealistic notion of what guns can and CANNOT do, and utterly mistake when and where to have or use them. That you could not understand WHY the Aurora theater made it impossible to safely fire, following the rules of gun safety -- which APPLY in these cases and in every other case -- just demonstrates that you are dangerous by your own words.

    8. dog gone says: YES, we CAN definitely say...

      You're doing exactly the same thing that you just finished criticizing another reader about. You're making unwarranted conclusions and confusing fact with belief. Were you at the Aurora theater that night?

      Have you ever been hit by a .45 caliber bullet while wearing body armor? It hurts like hell and one or more rounds would have disoriented Holmes enough to allow the defensive shooter to get close enough to stop him. It's also possible to stand on the theater seat so that the bullet would miss innocent bystanders and hit Holmes. Police use the inverse of this technique when forced to shoot in crowds.

      This didn't happen because there was nobody there to do it, not because it was impossible.

    9. Have you, Migo? Please tell me you haven't.

    10. No, I've never been shot, but ask any officer who has.

      A 230g, .45 cal bullet 50 yards away from the gun will hit your chest with the same energy as a 15 pound bowling ball dropped onto your chest from a 30 foot height (i.e. from a third floor window). Do you think someone is going to remain focused on killing after experiencing that kind of pain?

    11. Do you think the mentally ill young man who armed himself head to toe would have cared about any of that? He was on a mission. And if you think you could have accurately him in the dark theater with smoke and surprise without being shot yourself you are living in the fantasy world about which I wrote on this post.

    12. Dog gone, Listed below is why I say I know he made a good and proper decision. I do try not to say things if I dont have data to back it up. And there have been times when you folks here have set me straight.
      I Honestly dont know if anyone could have done anything in the theatre in Aurora, and unless you have hard data you dont either. If you do, I'd love to see it. All I know is that if there were any permit holders, there was no option since permit holders tend to be more law abiding than the general public.
      I tend not to go places that ban lawful carry if given an option. I vote with my wallet in those cases.
      If we carry your logic regarding menace to its conclusion, would that also apply to police officers? There are any number of articles you can find that show them making mistakes, some quite foolish and recent.
      As far as I know, we've never met, so you really have no idea about my skill or experience level. I believe I've said that no one really knows. I also have no idea about your skill or experience level regarding guns, so could you add some data that would legitimise your very decisive comment?

      Reporting from Tucson and Washington — Joe Zamudio was out buying cigarettes last Saturday when he heard what sounded like fireworks but quickly realized were gunshots. He reached into his coat pocket for the 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol he carried, clicking the safety off.

      He heard yelling around him: "Shooter, shooter, get down!"
      Zamudio saw a young man squirming on the ground and an older man standing above him, waving a gun.

      Zamudio, 24, had his finger on the trigger and seconds to decide.

      He lifted his finger from the trigger and ran toward the struggling men.

      As he grabbed the older man's wrist to wrestle the gun away, bystanders yelled that he had the wrong man — it was the man on the ground who they said had attacked them and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). The gun the older man was holding had been wrestled away from the shooter. Police later identified 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner as the suspect.

      "I could have very easily done the wrong thing and hurt a lot more people," said Zamudio, who helped subdue the suspect until authorities arrived.

      The fact that Zamudio was carrying a gun, and his split-second decision to keep it in his pocket, has come to encapsulate the complexity of the national gun debate.

    13. Migo, I've read in a few places that he wasnt wearing full body armor. That many seem to have mistaken a tactical vest made of ballistic nylon for genuine body armor. Here is where I found this info. It was on a lot of gun owner sites, but I wanted to find one a bit more neutral. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Aurora_shooting

      It is alleged that he then went to his car, which was parked near the exit door, changed into protective clothing, and retrieved his guns.[4][5] About 30 minutes into the film, police say, around 12:38 a.m.,[6] he re-entered the theater through the exit door. He was dressed in black and wore a gas mask, a load-bearing vest, a ballistic helmet, bullet-resistant leggings, a throat protector, a groin protector and tactical gloves.[7] Initially, few in the audience considered the masked figure a threat. He appeared to be wearing a costume, like other audience members who had dressed up for the screening.

    14. Exactly, Mark. He was wearing full body armor by any description of the word. I have seen pictures of it. He did look like he was in costume like others in the theater- clever guy.

    15. Japete, a tactical vest made of ballistic nylon is designed to carry equipment such as magazines and such. It isnt meant to be nor is it bullet resistant. In fact the I've been issued is mostly a mesh type fabric to help cooling. Here is an article discussing the vest he wore. http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2012/07/james_holes_tactical_gear_assault_vest_threats.php

    16. I agree with you, ssgmarkcr, I don't think he was bulletproof either. My motorcycle jacket and gloves are marketed as body armor being made of ballistic nylon containing plates of protective padding and woven with Kevlar fibers, however, they are most definitely not bulletproof, because the Kevlar fibers are not woven into an energy absorbing matrix. People see the word Kevlar and they believe whatever they want to believe even if it isn't true.

      Regardless, even if he was wearing a true bulletproof vest, a .45 cal bullet would have knocked him down on the ground in pain. A second bullet to the face would have killed him. Pain is pain regardless of whether one is insane. Only drugs or a neurological disorder can prevent one from feeling the pain.

      As for Joan's comment, I don't know if I could have shot at him or not, I wasn't there, so it's stupid to speculate on my behalf. However, I know many others with permits who can shoot with far greater accuracy than I can and under far greater stress having been trained by the Marines in Iraq. So it's really not accurate to say he was unstoppable.

    17. I don't intend to get into an argument about the clothing Holmes wore. Your source shows one thing. This one shows a different picture. http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/07/robert-farago/tacticalgear-com-statement-on-james-holmes-puchase/ This site calls it an assault vest.

      What difference does it make? Clearly he meant to arm himself with as many guns and as much ammunition as possible and protective clothing to avoid being hit by bullets of police or whoever might try to shoot him. We all know what he meant by what he was wearing.

    18. So Migo- you admit that you don't know if you would have shot at Holmes or even if you could have. It is stupid to speculate. But that is just what your side has done. Many have speculated that surely had they had a gun or someone with a concealed gun had been there, they could have stopped Holmes. That is mere speculation with nothing to back it up.

    19. Japete, you and dog gone have used the the belief that he was wearing body armor as part of your argument that armed self defense would have been pointless, therefore you assert there is no logical reason to carry a firearm for self defense.
      When I show that you're mistaken, you suggest I've given you faulty data , then say it doesnt matter anyway. There have been several times you and others here have called me to task for using incorrect logic, and I had no problem admitting it. That is part of a free exchange of ideas, it's a learning experience.
      You are correct that thinking an armed civilian or police officer for that matter could have shot effectively is speculation. Just as it's speculation that no one could have done anything.

    20. Mark- time to put this one to rest. No one said you gave faulty data. It is well understood that Holmes was wearing body armor. Why argue about the kind anyway? There is no point to it.

    21. The reason people are arguing about the kind of vest he was wearing is because you are claiming he could not be stopped by a CCW person because of it. I don’t have a definitive answer to what he was wearing, but the link you just gave us supporting your position from The Truth About Guns does not help your stance that it could stop bullets. The message from the retailer does not say anything about it being bullet resistant, and it quotes a price of $306.79 (including a knife and two pouches). That is WAY too cheap for bullet resistant Kevlar. Check out these prices for the real deal:


      I took a quick look at tacticalgear.com to see what they do have:


      This looks close, but note the disclaimer: Soft Armor and Ballistic Plates not included This is just the cloth shell, and it is $300 by itself.

      They also have ballistic plates for sale, but with the disclaimer that they are a restricted item to law enforcement, military, etc.


      If he was wearing armor that could stop a bullet, it appears he didn’t get it here.

  9. Mr. Holmes was not wearing body armor. He was wearing a Blackhawk "Urban Assault Vest" - you can see the item here - still available on the tacticalgear.com website.


    This is not a form of body armor, did not contain any protective material, and did not hold any type of ballistic plate.

    You can confirm this by reading the affidavit for probable cause for the arrest warrant or the other police reports around the investigation of this case. Initial media reports that he was wearing body armor were flat out incorrect.

    This vest is intended to carry a load - it is not intended to provide any sort of ballistic protection.