Update: At least 5 dead in Santa Monica rampage shooting and arson attack; gunman identified

Discuss

120 Responses to “Update: At least 5 dead in Santa Monica rampage shooting and arson attack; gunman identified”

  1. peregrinus says:

     Poor souls.  Caught up in some idiot-with-a-gun situation.

    • Stonewalker says:

       murderer-with-a-gun

      • Echo says:

         Quick defend the guns! Don’t hurt their feelings!

        • Stonewalker says:

          Do you prefer to solve problems by approaching them with a faulty premise?  I’m honestly kind of amazed that you were able to turn my comment into a tribalistic paradigm.

          You go ahead and flitter about with culture war.  I’m interested in objective problem solving.

          • marilove says:

            “I’m interested in objective problem solving.”

            Well, you might have a bit of a problem, then.  Humanity isn’t objective.

          • bingo says:

            there is no faulty premise.  the OP made an “idiot with a gun” syllogism, you made a “murderer with a gun” syllogism.  Not so terribly distinct if you read “idiot” with it’s modern connotations.  

            I’m sure you’ll cite all the standard articles, etc. but in a population of 300 million people, some will be mis-wired, misanthropic, or otherwise sociopathic.  I’m a lot less fearful for the well-being of our society if the most readily accessible weapon they have is a baseball bat.  

            The real faulty premise is all the “good guy with a gun” auto-responses from folks–this man was armed to the teeth and had body armor.  Fishing around in your jacket for that .44, are you?  Good luck with that.

            Aside from the impassioned auto-responses, there is the real quantitative matter of the abundance of guns and the finality of suicide.  But that’s not nearly as frequently discussed.  I’m offline and not responding, but feel free to reply with the carlin article or some such saying it’s all useless and freedom is being abidged daily.  Consider me auto-responding with articles on japan, australia, etc. and the health and security of society being established by background checks and gun laws.  

            Good day.

          • Stonewalker says:

             I’m just gonna side step all the projection you’ve gone and put on me.  Good day indeed!

      • hugh crawford says:

        idiot-murderer-with-an-idiotic-gun-that-idiots-like-because-it-is-easy-to-use-and-fun-if you-are-the-right-kind-of-idiot

        Really, if drivers see someone  carrying one of those things on a public street the socially responsible thing to do is run over them before they see you.

        Assuming at least a medium size car and sufficient velocity of course.

      • chgoliz says:

        That’s what you call an idiot with a gun.

        Know what you call an idiot-with-a-knife-or-bat-or-drunken-fists?  Someone indicted for assault & battery.  Maybe even attempted murder.  Only a small percentage will be actual murderers.

  2. Mitchell Glaser says:

    The moral of the story is clear: fewer libraries and more guns!

  3. Kommkast says:

    Well.. shit. @.@

  4. Digilante says:

    If you give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of guns, they will at some point write the plays of Shakespeare in bullethole-braille on each other. No need to act surprised.

  5. crummett says:

    Here we go again.

    • Boundegar says:

      It’s okay. It’s normal now.

      • SwimmingTowardsPie says:

        In point of fact, these sorts of things have been common for some time.  Just getting more attention of late (which I believe to be a lot of why they became common in the first place).

        • Navin_Johnson says:

           Yeah, they never used to report on gun rampages/massacres…..

          • SwimmingTowardsPie says:

            Of course they used to report them.  It’s just that since the early/mid-90s any such event has received days of saturation coverage with the perp’s name splashed all over the media.  

            This is probably due in part to the advent of 24-hour cable news networks.  I would refer you to an earlier BB thread, back from just after the Sandy Hook massacre:http://boingboing.net/2012/12/15/charlie-brooker-on-media-cover.html

          • Navin_Johnson says:

             It could just be that these kinds of massacres are more common Columbine going forward. Since you made the statement we’ll let you cite your work that they’re not.

          • SwimmingTowardsPie says:

            @Navin_Johnson:disqus  It isn’t my theory, though I do find it interesting and convincing.  

            It’s true that gun massacres have increased in the past 20 years or so.  They really started happening in the 80s, and became more common in the 90s.  Last year was an especially bad year.  There have been other bad years too – 1999 was a bad year. But there were years between then and now that had few or (like 2002) had NONE.

             http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-dataIt’s equally true that the amount of 24/7 news coverage devoted to “if it bleeds it leads” stories has skyrocketed as well.  

            When we had only major-network news and part-time CNN, and news coverage wasn’t driven solely by ratings, this kind of thing didn’t – COULDN’T, really – get as much coverage as it does now.At the very least, it’s an odd coincidence, isn’t it?  

            Also of interest: The number of households that own guns seems to have been dropping for quite some time.

            It is also beyond dispute that the number of gun murders overall has also dropped by a large percentage.  They’re, like, half of what they were two decades ago

            But if anything, guns have become somewhat more difficult to obtain since the early 90s.

            So…what’s the deal?

          • Navin_Johnson says:

             It’s true that gun massacres have increased in the past 20 years or so.

            Exactly. They are more common now.

            Also of interest: The number of households that own guns seems to have been dropping for quite some time.

            As guns get concentrated into the hands of hoarders, crazies and stockpilers vs. hunters/farmers and rural types as we steadily have become a more urban country.

            But if anything, guns have become somewhat more difficult to obtain since the early 90s.

            How so?

          • SwimmingTowardsPie says:

            (NB: I hate Disqus’ nested commenting system.  Ugh)

            Guns have become somewhat (and I used that word deliberately) more difficult to obtain due to the institution of background checks in the early 90s.  Prior to that they were even easier to obtain.  Prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968, you could order them by mail (a la L.H. Oswald).

            Though the checks haven’t been universal, they do seem to work to some extent, as evidenced by how many people have been barred from purchasing a gun because of the checks (at least 1.5M altogether).

            I also would like to take issue with your blanket characterization of those who own multiple guns as “hoarders, crazies and stockpilers.”  This is inaccurate, inappropriate, and utterly unhelpful.  

            Yes, there certainly are the loosely-wrapped paranoids who have an arsenal at their disposal.  There are collectors who own lots and lots of guns.  But they are almost certainly outliers.  

            Having two, or three, or even several guns doesn’t make you a loon.  If one enjoys hunting, target shooting, or just massacring defenseless tin cans, it’s quite easy to find oneself accumulating a number of firearms of different types.

  6. Your headline is a little inaccurate there was arson in santa monica, not at SMC.

  7. Dave1183 says:

    “…ballistic vest.”

    I’m betting the guy bought that online, and if the G Men are looking through our stuff, that seems like the kind of thing that might have raised some eyebrows. I guess the moral of the story is that you can do just about anything as long as you don’t break into a computer.

  8. Brainspore says:

    Days like today are the reason I had to adjust my Facebook settings so I wouldn’t see status updates from my gun-loving friends.

    • Xploder says:

       No offense but just because someone has a propensity for gun collecting, it does NOT mean that they’re gonna go on a rampage and shoot the shit out of a bunch of people. There are nuts everywhere you know.

      • Brainspore says:

        That’s not what bothers me. I just couldn’t take any more of the “we’re the REAL victims here…” bullshit.

      • fireshadow says:

         True, but today’s events will lead to comments about this would have been prevented if everyone on campus was carrying a gun.  The gun enthusiasts will also be arguing that now is not the time to be thinking about gun control, along with the “we’re the REAL victims here” attitude that Brainspore mentions above.

        • robuluz says:

          The US is hosting such a steady continuous stream of horrific, large scale gun violence that you might never have the right opportunity to think about gun control ever.

          What a weight off your minds!

          • Dan Hibiki says:

            well, there was that one day last year: http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/28/justice/new-york-murder-free-day

            but then everyone was busy talking about how no body was shot that day, and how weird that was.

          • peregrinus says:

             You know, I think it’s actually kind of romantic.  The ol’ Wild West spirit – that tang of blood and scent of a fearful populace facing arbitrary death by high velocity lead injection, it’s been missing from modern America.

            Hell, I bet it’s benefiting tourism!  I could make a mint selling package holidays on the basis the chances of seeing a real live non-Disney blood ‘n’ guts shootout is much higher in the US than in any other developed nation.

            I could even sell the thrill that members of the tour group may themselves be shot, multiple times, with multiple weapons and calibres – now that, people, is something exciting!

            I really think I’m on to something.

            *pray* don’t restrict the carnage *pray*

      • acerplatanoides says:

        There are nuts everywhere you know.

         Especially on social media

      • SedanChair says:

        Yeah no I got exactly what he meant. We can be real one-note fiddles sometimes.

      • chgoliz says:

        That’s not what I got from reading the post.  It’s not that Brainspore’s “friends” are likely to go on a shooting rampage, but rather they’re going to go on a gun-splaining rampage all over Facebook.

    • SuperMatt says:

      The best adjustment to Facebook’s settings is “delete account.”

  9. Stonewalker says:

     I feel extremely obligated to leave this here – http://www.dancarlin.com/blog.php/entryview/131

    Core concepts:
    -violent crime is down in the USA 50-ish% from what it was 30-ish years ago, and continues to drop year after year.
    -mass killings are down as well.  This is a particularly bad year for mass killings, especially mass shootings.
    -humans are really bad at understanding the rarity of spectacularly horrible events.
    -don’t stay up at night worrying about being a victim of a mass shooting because they are truly miniscule among all the other types of violent crimes (which, again, are way way down).
    -crafting policy to deal with a massively tiny minority of crimes is not an effective approach.  “How do you devise national policy changes to deal with what 0.00000033% (or less) of the population is doing?”

    I wish everybody would listen to Dan Carlin.  He is talented at pulling interesting perspectives out of situations and getting people to think about them.

    • Brainspore says:

      -crafting policy to deal with a massively tiny minority of crimes is not an effective approach.  “How do you devise national policy changes to deal with what 0.00000033% (or less) of the population is doing?”

      The number of Americans who commit mass shootings is far, far greater than the number of Americans who hijack airliners, yet we have a number of measures in place to mitigate the risk of airplane hijackings (some more effective than others).

      • Stonewalker says:

        And I would certainly argue that our “security theatre” in the US is ineffective and damaging to our rights.  I am in no way defending the TSA’s/DHS’s devastatingly ineffective policies.

        It’s a difficult thing to communicate – the idea that we are all vulnerable to violent crime at all times, and that even with the strictest, most authoritarian laws, a single person can still choose to wreak havoc and murder on those around him.

        I’m not saying “do nothing” necessarily, but I am saying that I don’t want to live in a society where the laws restrict people so well that an individual couldn’t murder somebody if he wanted to.  We are talking about Logan’s Run style government at that point.

        • Brainspore says:

          I’m all for throwing out the bad and keeping the good. As far as I’m concerned, pre-9/11-type airport security screenings coupled with reinforced cockpit doors are reasonable measures to mitigate the risk of airplane hijackings. But that’s still “crafting policy to deal with a massively tiny minority of crimes,” just like gun control measures.

          Obviously we can’t be 100% safe from all crimes all the time. But that doesn’t mean that the benefits of uninhibited access to assault weapons are worth the cost.

          • Xploder says:

             Arguing the relative merits of ways to stop airplane hijacking vs mass shootings is stupid beyond belief. It’s like comparing…I dunno…apples and whales? The two are a completely different phenomenon and the ways to PERHAPS curtail either one HAVE to be completely different. After all, better cockpit doors are NOT going to stop some crazy bastard that wants to shoot a bunch of people because.

          • Gilbert Wham says:

             Not letting them have guns is though. It’s super-effective.

          • Singe says:

            Another reasonable measure to mitigate the risk of terrorist attacks is to not start wars and bombing campaigns in foreign nations. Especially ones with little to no public oversight.

          •  Also, how do you define “assault weapon?”  Black?  Has handles?  Semi-automatic?  There are real problems with all of those definitions.  The true “assault weapons” are fully-automatic, and hence generally illegal.  It is nice to see people try to propose solutions without any real knowledge of what they are trying to regulate .. but I guess that Congress does that all the time.

        • chenille says:

          I don’t understand how so many people call gun violence so rare that we
          should be careful doing anything about it, then  bring up gun control as
          a gateway to a totalitarian dystopia as if it were a serious threat.

          Because, you know, crafting policy based on a few people getting killed
          every day is an overreaction, but basing decisions on a
          completely hypothetical situation at odds with what has happened everywhere else in the first
          world is common sense.

          Yeah, interesting perspective you’ve brought, holding up real people being murdered against 1970s science fiction, lest anyone react to this in an unreasonable fashion.

      • SwimmingTowardsPie says:

        we have a number of measures in place to mitigate the risk of airplane hijackings (some more effective than others).

        Which – as has been discussed at length and repeatedly on this very blog – are in fact not really effective.  

        It’s the “must do something” approach that leads to a lot of bad, stupid or ineffectual laws.  The PATRIOT Act, for one.  

        • Brainspore says:

          Wrong. The metal detectors are reasonably effective, which is why hijackings are much rarer than they once were. Most of the post-9/11 security theater, not so much.

          • SwimmingTowardsPie says:

            ISTR metal detectors in airports well before 9/11, though – like since the 70s at least.


            Most of the post-9/11 security theater, not so much.

            Fair enough.  I will concede that I should’ve qualified my original post a bit more to say that the “security” measures are only *almost totally* useless – metal detectors, and reinforced cockpit doors being two useful ones, along with possibly baggage x-rays.

          • Brainspore says:

            ISTR metal detectors in airports well before 9/11, though – like since the 70s at least.

            Absolutely, which is why you don’t hear stories about guys like D.B. Cooper on a regular basis anymore. We recognized a glaring security hole and we addressed it in a reasonable manner.

        • 10xor01 says:

          Don’t forget that the PATRIOT Act was all ready to go when 9/11 happened.  Somebody was waiting for the opportunity to get it passed.

      • CLamb says:

         There are as well a number of measures in place to mitigate the risk of mass shootings. For example, it is currently illegal to own an AR-15 in California unless your registered it with the California DOJ on or before January 23rd, 2001 and even then there are restrictions on where and when you may have it in your possession. I haven’t seen any reports as to whether or not the looney was using a registered AR-15. Have you?

        • Brainspore says:

          There are currently no effective measures in place to mitigate the risk of mass shootings. Regional gun laws are a joke if anybody with a wad of cash can just drive a couple of counties over and buy an AR-15 at a gun show without so much as a background check. Any meaningful gun policy would have to be on a national scale.

          • CLamb says:

             Really, no effective measures? I’ll bet the National Firearms Act has prevented at least one mass shooting since its passage in 1934. In the particular incident of this article the swift response and action of police officers definitely mitigated the risk of many more people being the victim of the mass shooter.

    • Navin_Johnson says:

      I love his history podcasts, but this is irrelevant. We live in incredible peace compared to violence in times past, but that’s no reason to quit trying to improve and make better policy to avoid things that are completely avoidable. This is derailing and dishonest.

      • Stonewalker says:

        I am so glad you know of and listen to Hardcore History!  I linked to his blog post because he was writing about a recent spree shooting, and I think all of his points still apply to this one that just happened at Santa Monica College.  I’m not being disingenuous and I actually didn’t intend to advocate anything other than getting BB readers to check out Dan Carlin.  I may have crossed over into policy points, but I didn’t really want to do that.  So that’s probably my bad.

        I certainly didn’t intend to imply that governments in the US should just give up on trying to craft policy regarding violent crime and mass shootings.  Dan explores some difficult ideas, however, in this blog post as well as two recent “Common Sense” podcasts.  And some of these difficult ideas revolve around axing ineffective policy, even if the policy has an emotional/cultural mandate behind it.  I was really trying to express that concept.  Ineffective solutions don’t help anybody, especially when those solutions are built upon or encourage tribalism/culture war.  I would argue that a policy that is ineffective but has a cultural mandate does more damage than good.

        It’s one thing to pass ineffective policy (at worst, it just doesn’t solve the problem), but it’s quite another thing to pass that policy with a culture divide mandate (which causes/encourages division among peoples, and again doesn’t actually solve the problem it was supposed to solve).  That stuff is damaging to our Republic and our Democracy in the US.

        If you haven’t already, you should check Dan Carlin’s current events podcast called “Common Sense”.  He is so objective and is so good at cutting through the political game.  I wish I could hang out with him!

        • Navin_Johnson says:

          Fair enough, will do. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Am a big fan of his Roman Empire, and Mongol pieces, “Thor’s Angels” etc.. Am about to purchase some of his pieces on very early history too now that he’s finally got them up on itunes. He seems very fair and evenhanded with his history pieces. Cheers.

    • Steeevyo says:

      No facts please. Thank you.

    • chgoliz says:

      Maybe he could look at the statistics for how many women and children are shot in their homes by their “loved ones”?  Those numbers are not down from “30-ish years ago”.

  10. ffabian says:

    Obviously the victims are at fault for not carrying enough guns with them and stopping the shooter.

  11. peregrinus says:

    Is it too early to talk about banning black clothing?

  12. Petzl says:

    But just remember:  Don’t mention gun control. 

    (Now is not the time.)

  13. Fresh_Prints says:

    Wow. What is it with Americans and guns?

    • PickledBeatnik says:

      The NRA purchased our democracy and turned it into guns.

      • Xploder says:

         You’re a fool. It clearly states that the guy was mental. Do you REALLY think that this happened only because of the type of gun he had?

        • rocketpj says:

           Not, but if he didn’t have a gun it would have been smaller in scale, if not horror.

        • peregrinus says:

           There’s a word for that, someone will help me.  Something like false hyper-rationalization.

          Where someone attempts to overturn / eradicate the premise and / or value of a statement, by attributing the cause of the event referred to to a tangential influence, thereby parrying the content of the statement itself, and attempting to mislead other readers to follow the intrinsically ridiculous nature of the new statement, which although on its face appears reasonable, erodes the foundation upon which the original statement was made.

          He was able to do it because of the weapon he had.  The AR-15 is a wonderful weapon for assault.

          Don’t deny that.

          • MertvayaRuka says:

             “He was able to do it because of the weapon he had.  The AR-15 is a wonderful weapon for assault.”

            Absolutely. That’s why the UK doesn’t have them and nobody has ever been able to do anything this awful since their ban.

            Except for Derrick Bird, who managed to kill about twice as many people as this guy using no firearm more modern in function than you’d be able to find in the late 19th Century.

            So yeah, let’s bet people’s lives on this idea that the only weapon that will do for mass murderers is “assault rifles” and that all we have to do to stop them is make all the nasty black rifles go away.

          • Gilbert Wham says:

             And Bird was the only mass shooting here in recent years. This is how many in the last twelve months? Your argument is ludicrous.

          • MertvayaRuka says:

             @boingboing-28267ab848bcf807b2ed53c3a8f8fc8a:disqus :
            The discussion was revolving around the idea that this latest douchebag could not have done what he did without an AR15 or similar weapon. Bird is just one example to the contrary. A whole bunch more of them can be found at the following link.

            http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/12/14/1337221/a-timeline-of-mass-shootings-in-the-us-since-columbine/

            Sure, you have to do a bit of research, but you go ahead and have a look through that list. Nearly every shooter on there used some type of handgun. They also killed as many or more people than this piece of garbage. So the premise of “He was able to do it because of the weapon he had.  The AR-15 is a wonderful weapon for assault.” is false. Making policy based on such a premise is ludicrous.

          • Gilbert Wham says:

            (Fuck Disqus and its stupid nesting)
            How is that even remotely germane?
            My point is, I can count the number of mass shootings here over the last twenty six years on one hand. First time, it was Michael Ryan in Hungerford. At this point, assault rifles were banned (and, I believe, limits put on the magazine capacity for pump-action shotguns). Next one was Thomas Hamilton in Dunblane. Handguns were banned, except at legitimate shooting ranges.

            I’m not so sure they’d go as far as banning shotguns, as it’d put the backs of the huntin’ shootin’ and fishin’ crowd right up, plus it’d make all the farmers cross. However, I couldn’t give a flying fuck what kind of gun he used. What I’m saying is, if people don’t have guns, they can’t shoot each other. It really is that simple.

            Yes, there’ll always be black-market guns. Big woop. For the most part, they’re used in organised crime, not by wackadoodles out to kill the general populace. And, by simply legitimising the trades that organised crime profits from, we could pretty much rid the country of those ones too.

            I’ve used guns, I understand how they work, and how to operate them ‘safely’. I’ve also had them pointed at me in anger. And I much prefer living in a world where it’s really, really hard to obtain the damn things.

          • MertvayaRuka says:

             @boingboing-28267ab848bcf807b2ed53c3a8f8fc8a:disqus :

            “What I’m saying is, if people don’t have guns, they can’t shoot each other. It really is that simple.”

            What’s not simple is making an estimated 300+ million firearms disappear. “If there were no guns, nobody would shoot anybody” isn’t just simple, it’s simplistic. This is grasping for magical solutions to a complex problem. The UK has never had the level of private firearms ownership the US does. Your solution is not going to work here.

             The majority of violent crime with firearms committed in the US is with illegally-obtained firearms. You know, those black market guns you don’t seem to care about. The ones that have killed more people than all the mass shootings in the US and the UK combined even if we decided to throw the Oklahoma City bombing in there to try and tip the scales.

            You are correct in assuming that the number would drop if we ended our ridiculous war on drugs as that would knock back the violence problem in multiple areas. But this crusade against “assault weapons” will do nothing but create a false sense of security while punishing tens of millions of people for the actions of less than two dozen people in a little over a decade.

            “However, I couldn’t give a flying fuck what kind of gun he used.”

            Neither did Bird, nor most of the shooters on the list at that link I posted. That’s the problem you and others seem to be overlooking.

          • Gilbert Wham says:

            No, you engineered it to be about that. I’m all for controlling all guns. It works here. The situation is more difficult in the States, granted, but as someone quite rightly pointed out, you need to register, be licensed to use, and medically okayed to drive a bloody car.  The same thing needs to happen. That is my point. Not just the ‘nasty black rifles’, but all the rifles. And, once more: three mass shootings in more than a quarter-century. As opposed to one every couple of months.

          • Singe says:

            Can we stop saying “wonderful” in favor of possibly “effective”?

          • chgoliz says:

             Strawman argument?

        • Brainspore says:

          Do you REALLY think that this happened only because of the type of gun he had?

          I don’t think that explosives cause mental people to blow up buildings, but I still think it’s reasonable to have measures in place to keep the wrong people from acquiring explosives.

        • Gilbert Wham says:

           No, it’s because he was mental and he had a gun. The type of gun is immaterial. It should be really, really hard to get hold of a gun. Because people are idiots.

  14. Stefan Jones says:

    Thank you for the concise reporting, Xeni.

  15. SuperMatt says:

    How do I tell the good guys with guns apart from the bad guys with guns?

    • peregrinus says:

       Shoot them.  The former will look at you and their last rattling breath will utter “you idiot, I’m a good guy”, whilst the latter will … um … fuck.

      Ask each what the other one would say if you asked them whether they’re a good guy with a gun.

  16. 10xor01 says:

    Uhmerica, fuck yeah!  Wonder if I’m too old to be accepted by Australia.

  17. 10xor01 says:

    Anyone who owns an AR-15 is one of the bad guys.

    • nate says:

      I agree. Just like anyone who owns a car is one of the bad guys as well. 

      • 10xor01 says:

        And we already require all the car owning bad guys to register their cars, even if they purchased them at an auto show.

        Let’s require the same for guns.

        • nate says:

          That’s a great idea! It’ll prevent any killings just like registering a car prevents all DUI related deaths! Such sage advice .

        • Singe says:

          Registering your car? That’s madness! It’s just a slippery slope to the government wanting to confiscate all our cars!

  18. Xploder says:

    Ya know, I LOVE reading here but it seems to me that the majority of posters are so hell bent on denying reality when it comes to things like guns that I just want to puke. Are you all aware that gun violence has actually decreased by 50% in the last ten years or do you just ignore that shit? Yeah, there have been some spectacularly violent episodes of shootings in the last while but still, even considering those, gun violence is STILL down.

    I’m neither an NRA member ( I hate them and their ridiculousness) nor an advocate for arming everyone but let’s be realistic here. The anti-gun rhetoric gets real old, real quick.

    If I’ve managed to misinterpret what you guys are saying, then by all means, please, enlighten me.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Yup. Everybody but you is wrong. That’s reality. Yup.

    • peregrinus says:

       10,000 homicides by firearm per year in the USA.

      4,821 deaths by firearm since Newtown – http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html

      Way too many.

      You are enlightened, grasshopper.

    • MertvayaRuka says:

       Congratulations, you’ve found the civil liberties blind spot. This is that place where “For the children!” and “Any number of deaths is too many!” perfectly justifies the kind of law enforcement overreach, disproportionate legislative response and presumption of future wrongdoing that is normally rightfully criticized when applied to any other public safety issue like terrorism, drugs, etc.. This is that place where using the freshly-dead to shame people into agreement suddenly becomes a valid debating tactic.

      It doesn’t matter that violent crime with firearms has decreased. It doesn’t matter that incidents like this one represent a ludicrously small percentage of AR15s sold in the US. It doesn’t matter that we’ve all ready had mass murderers using double-barrel shotguns and bolt-action rifles that make this jackass look like a fucking amateur. All everybody seems to know is, these guns are evil. Anyone who wants to own them is evil. Anyone who says murders can still rack up the body count without these kind of guns is evil. Or alternately, stupid, a shill for the NRA, a racist, a FOX News watcher, what have you.

    • Singe says:

      The anti-gun rhetoric gets real old, real quick. So do all the various shootings.

  19. rocketpj says:

    I’m fairly sure the most effective way to end these mass killings would be to enact a law that immediately and retroactively changes the name of whoever the killer is to ‘Pathetic Loser’.  I mean change it all the way back to his birth certificate, report cards, everything he has ever done.  From the point of the incident onwards, all media must refer to the actions of the ‘Pathetic Loser’.  Take away every scrap of romantic ‘hail of bullets’ fantasy from the act.

    Right now, just like after the (shudder) kindergarten killings, Aurora and all the rest, the only names I actually know are those of the killer.  Giving him the glory he seeks.  Which fucking sucks, cause I’d rather know about the people who were not Pathetic Losers whose lives were stolen.

    At the very least, could we do it on BoingBoing?  From now on, the semi-monthly headline about yet another mass killing be something like “Another Pathetic Loser kills some people, whose names were ___________”.  “The Pathetic Loser killed some people, then was killed by police.  The Pathetic Loser’s was angry because he was a Pathetic Loser”.

    Instead of analysis of his motivations or whatever fucking bogus loser reasons we might find, let’s focus on the victims – some stories about them, and only ever refer to the Pathetic Loser as what he was.

     

    • geolith says:

      It would be interesting  to see what the results would be if the media and the broader social discourse “shunned” the perpetrator of a mass shooting, and if we as a society went one step further and made the perpetrator anonymous, now and forever – a social cipher. 

      Perhaps a hacker collaborative could craft a virus to aid the process. 

      I do think it is important to understand the motivation of these individuals, and their attraction to military-style weapons, to the extent it is possible, but history doesn’t need to know their names.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        The problem with that is that the government would be very happy to do the same thing to lots and lots of people who commit other ‘crimes’, like protesting against them.

        • geolith says:

           Well, first, it’s not a problem when the events don’t warrant the use of quotation marks, eg. it *is* a capital C crime, and second, who said anything about  “the government”? 

          Social action by common consensus of the people; no consensus, no action. 

          OK,  @rocketpj:disqus did suggest a law, but the normative behavior regarding the reporting of the names of victims of rape and minors accused of crimes suggest the result is possible without government action.

          Oh, wait, I forgot: Fox News would screw things up…
          http://bit.ly/11tsssm

      • hugh crawford says:

        Lots of people refer to the ashole who shot John Lennon as “the ashole who shot John Lennon” , whether they knew his name or not. It was a deliberate thing at the time.

  20. jtegnell says:

    1) past history of mental health problems

    2) semiautomatic rifle

    Here’s the problem. We need background checks, we need to limit access to military weaponry. Plain and simple. Doing these two things wouldn’t restrict anyone’s access to hunting rifles or handguns for home and personal protection.

    I’m not holding my breath, though.

    • Gilbert Wham says:

       

      Doing these two things wouldn’t restrict anyone’s access to hunting rifles or handguns for home and personal protection.

      And there’s the problem, right there.

    • DewiMorgan says:

       “military weaponry”? You seem to be conflating semiautomatic with automatic. It’s understandable, and encouraged by the media, by their choice of terms. But this is not military weaponry.

       - Military weaponry: automatic, assault rifle.
       - Civilian weaponry: semiautomatic, “assault weapon”.

      BIG props to BoingBoing for calling it exactly what it is: an “AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle”.

      Watch out how many other places will be calling it an “assault weapon”, or even getting it completely wrong and calling it an “assault rifle”.

    • Gilbert Wham says:

       I’d leave the military bit out, and just go with ‘weaponry’ myself.

  21. Mitchell Glaser says:

    I live quite near the college. This morning tourist buses were already bringing gawkers by, even though the street in front is still closed off by the police. Amazing and nauseating.

  22. Preston Sturges says:

    Pretty clear he wasn’t carrying 1,300 rounds of ammo, which would have weighed at least 40 lbs. 

  23. Anything not made of metal is made of toilet paper?

    A sack of concrete mix weighs about 90 pounds, and is made of paper.

  24. chgoliz says:

    1) Why do you assume I was talking about camping gear instead of what I said?

    2) Why do you assume the Pathetic Loser was knowledgeable enough about firearms to know how many rounds he could shoot at one time without stopping to clean?

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