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About this blog: Real power doesn't reside with those who make the final decision, but with those who decide what qualifies as the viable choices. I stumbled across this insight as a teenager (in the 1960s). As a grad student, I belonged to an org...  (More)

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Parkland School Shooting: Why work for a good solution when there is a proven non-starter?

Uploaded: Mar 1, 2018
This is not a discussion of the pros and cons, although I will include some notes about the complexities. Instead, my focus will be on the abysmal politics currently on display. I encourage readers who are parent or grandparents to use this tragedy as an opportunity to encourage children to think and debate about what separates effective advocacy from ^Virtue Signaling^. Sorry this is a bit late in coming out. If you are reluctant to discuss this example, there are examples in local politics(foot#1) and elsewhere.
Note: The location of links is too muted, so I have added carets (^) to mark their locations.

If past patterns hold, it is likely that the momentum for a solution has already been sabotaged by the gun-control advocacy groups and supporting media, especially CNN. CNN's so-called ^Town Hall^ (also on ^YouTube^) would have been better called an adversarial, partisan rally for gun-control. Recognize that gun-control is not the only potential means for reducing these tragedies, and may even be less effective than less controversial approaches. Especially when there are readily available alternatives to guns for a killing spree.

----Respect and Good Faith----

What CNN arranged was an event to berate and humiliate several of the invited speakers. While it may not have occurred to many of the students that antagonizing others is not the way to build support for a solution, it is inconceivable that CNN didn't realize this, and thus one needs to ask what CNN's motives were. Peddling outrage?? Pursuing a political agenda? ... Behavior such as CNN's has become so common and so flagrant as to lead to increasing questions about whether they are sincere about their purported objectives or have another agenda or are just posturing (Virtue Signaling).

I have no sympathy for the two primary targets at the "Town Hall".(foot#2) My issue is with the message being sent by the audience and participants. That message was that they saw no room for facts or other perspectives. That there is no room for debate ("Ready, Fire, Aim") much less deliberation ("Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy, and many more before and since). The attitude was that anyone who didn't support their unspecified action were evil and child murderers.(foot#3) Would you expect such people to be willing or able to operate in good faith?

For at least two decades, gun-control advocates have known that their fallacious use of the term "assault rifle" derails discussion. So when you hear them use it, you should assume that is likely an "in your face" declaration that they have no intention of listening to other perspectives and situations.

Cameron Kasky was one of the students chosen by CNN to supposedly ask a question. What he delivered was an extended (multi-minute) denunciation, which should have been no surprise to CNN: He had established himself in the days before as the articulate, hyper-partisan that he was during the "Town Hall". For example: "Senator Rubio: It's hard to look at you and not look down the barrel of an AR-15-type and not look at Nikolas Cruz (the shooter)." Of the presentations of the reaction to the partisanship, the best I have encountered is a ^YouTube video^.(foot#4)

Trying to bully an opposing perspective into submission is often a failure because it drives people who might well have supported you into opposition. But it is crucial to not only have respect for other stakeholders, their issues and their perspectives, but to have respect for facts. After far too many years of this, I have reached the point where I have gone past being highly skeptical of the claims of gun-control advocates, to regarding trying to sort out fact from fiction as a waste of time. However, I do read it because it is important to be aware of the propaganda that is being distributed. For example, the gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety put out a press release that was used uncritically by the mass media. It claimed that Parkland was the 18th school shooting of the year, but when skeptics looked at the data, it was found to be inflated by 125% (10 of 18 were spurious). For example, it included suicides at schools, including a ^one at a former school^. Another "school shooting" occurred when ^a third-grader somehow managed to pull the trigger on a holstered gun of a police officer at that school^.(foot#5)

Shameless manipulation of statistics is all too common. The majority of gun deaths in the US are suicides, with homicides related to criminal gangs being much of the remainder. I see gun-control advocates conflating and shifting between significantly different categories and terms to support their claims. Similarly in ranking countries, they will shift between total incidents and incidents per capita with little or no warning.(foot#6) Back when I was being skeptical of the advocates, I wasted a lot of time seeking out the (uncited) studies that they seemed to be using.

At the end of this blog is a long section that combines nonsense from a prominent gun-control group plus some of the fundamental science and technology about this issue.

"It is so much easier to believe than to think; it is astounding how much more believing is done than thinking. It is more astounding that an honest study was not made of conditions resulting from %the levees-only policy%. Not only was essential data not available but it appeared as though the failure to acquire it was deliberate. The determination to carry out this impossible theory was so great that, with many, it appeared to be an obsession." - James Parkerson Kemper, an engineer who was a critic of the flood control policy on the Mississippi River after the flood of 1922, writing about the conditions that made the ^Great Mississippi Flood of 1927^ so catastrophic.

----^Unconscious Incompetence^ and ^Dunning–Kruger effect^----

For citizens attempting to talk about issues with legislators, a common surprise is how little many of them know about the laws they are sponsoring. While they are aware of interest groups being involved in shaping legislation, they didn't realize how detached those legislators could be from the drafting. Not only is it not uncommon to see a legislator unable to answer simple questions about their own prepared statements, but there are instances of them becoming confused reading their own prepared statement, including repeatedly stumbling over key terms. How can a citizen have confidence in the result? A law that is viewed as invalid licenses disobedience: Some will violate it, and many more will ignore violations. Even law enforcement officers and agencies will ignore such laws because their credibility and authority to enforce valid laws is undermined if they enforce ones widely seen as illegitimate.

Legislators backing gun-control and the advocates behind them are a prominent example of this. For decades they have been adverse to learning the basics that would be part of a 10-minute introductory briefing. "Adverse" is an understatement because they refuse to learn when their "misconceptions" are pointed out. The (student) demonstrators after the Parkland shooting are an example of the refusal to do basic homework. They call for a ban on "automatic weapons" and "silencers", despite those items already being restricted (since 1934?) and neither of them having been involved in a mass shooting in the US (to my knowledge) other than in gang wars (eg ^Saint Valentine's Day Massacre^ in 1929). They also call for "background checks" or "background checks for rifles", despite this having been the law since 1993 (Brady Bill), with some exceptions (that I think are questionable). Ask yourself how willing you would be to enter into negotiations with groups that have demonstrated utter contempt for facts and a predilection to bully?

----Publicity, not results: Virtue Signaling----

The nature of politics is that politicians favor items that generate positive publicity and ignore the mundane. An example of this is our infrastructure problems: Politicians love to dedicate a new bridge so they will push for funds for it, but will not adequately fund the maintenance of that bridge.

Background checks for gun purchases are an example of this larger phenomenon. The Parkland shooting and multiple other recent ones could have been prevented with a competent background check system. However, problems with the implementation of this system have been widely known since the beginning, both the widespread failures to enter information into the system and delays and failures in the flow of information between the components.

Because of the desire of the gun-control advocates and their allied politicians for publicity, the likely outcome will be the passage of some new legislation that does little or nothing to deal with the problem, while the fixable problems in existing programs persist. Perversely, the failure of proposed legislation may benefit the advocates and politicians more than its passage because failure provides a continuing call-to-action and eliminates the need to find a new issue to promote.

----Tradeoffs----

Much of the current discussion is dominated by advocates who reject risk assessment. For example, the calls to hardening schools is unlikely to reduce school shooting, but simply relocate them. Instead of going into the school itself, the shooter could simply wait until school is letting out and shoot into the crowds. Or he, or an accomplice, could pull a fire alarm, or phone in a bomb threat, or ... The tactic has already been tried.

Similarly, hardening all school represents a massive investment that is almost certain to come out of the money available for actual education of children, which is likely to do more cumulative harm than the school shooters. This has already happened in the asbestos panic. Because there was some asbestos in schools that was a serious health hazard, school districts spent enormous sums removing all asbestos despite warnings from experts that the process of removing the non-problematic asbestos could increase the exposure of students to that hazard.

"We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do it."

In a previous blog, I presented a cautionary example that is commonly part of lessons about dealing with infrequent situations. In the example, there is a rare fatal disease that has a risky cure, but testing for and treating that disease results in more people dying than are saved.(foot#7) How did that happen? People who didn't have the disease died from the treatment because the diagnostic test was not perfect. Proposals to greatly increase the number of armed people present in a school is an analogous situation. There are going to be accidents, such as above where the police officer's safety holster was designed to prevent firing, but apparently it hadn't been tested against the small fingers of a third grader. And mistakes are inevitable in the selection of who can be trusted to have a gun in a school.

----The inconvenient complexity of mental illness----

"For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong."

Would you support having guns taken away from someone who poses a danger to himself or others? Seems reasonable ... at first. The biggest category of gun deaths is suicides. Would you support taking guns away from people who are depressed? Would you insist that those guns be returned when a person is no longer depressed? This is the first problem: There are too many examples of bad faith by law enforcement in not returning guns. Various categories of depression are typically short-term, such as postpartum depression and depression after the death of a loved one. The threat of permanent confiscation would discourage those sufferers from seeking treatment, thereby increasing the risk of suicide by gun (or in some cases, murder-suicide or murder). When California passed new gun control laws (in 2014?), our legislators decided to ignore these situations and made it difficult for an at-risk person to temporarily transfer his guns to a trusted family member or friend. ^Assembly Bill 2817 - Firearms: emergency transfers^ has been proposed to partially address this problem, but the language is vague and could easily be interpreted as applying only when there is a substantial or immediate risk of a suicide attempt, and not when there is only an increase risk. For example, changes in antidepressant medications carry a risk of inducing suicidal thoughts, and these can come on quite quickly.

Then there is the various levels of anxiety and ...

----The NRA----

One of the long-term self-deceptions of gun-control advocates is that the NRA's political power comes from its campaign contributions. This has been debunked repeatedly over the years, both by the NRA's total campaign contributions and contributions to individual candidates. They are a very minor player in this aspect. The NRA's power comes from the perceptions by politicians that the NRA can mobilize a significant block of voters. I used perception because it is very hard to measure: The people who contact a politician about a particular issue are not a representative sample of the electorate. Also, the issue that a voter raises with a politician may not be decisive in how he decides to vote. Plus, according to polls, there can be substantial policy differents between the membership and the NRA leadership.

----Why is the AR-15-type rifle popular?----

From what I read, the AR-15 is very well designed, potentially revolutionary. During the trials by the US military in the late 1950s and early 1960s, actual soldiers achieved significantly higher accuracy scores with the AR-15 than with conventional rifle designs. Notice that this is the reverse from the common claim in the media that the AR-15 was derived from the military's M16 automatic rifle, implying that a big motivation of purchasers is to have a rifle that looks like the M16.

The better accuracy came from multiple factors. Light recoil. Lighter weight. And notice that the top of the shoulder stock is in line with the barrel (^picture^), whereas the traditional rifle design has it noticeably lower (^picture of M14^) and thereby creating torque that causes the gun to climb. Higher velocity bullets have flatter trajectories (less time for gravity to act). And many models offer a shoulder stock whose length can be adjusted 3-4 inches to better fit people of different sizes (adults and children). And because of the volume of production, it is often listed as a good value. The large number of such rifles supports an very active marketplace for accessories.

When advocates for gun-control disparage owners with false reasons for their purchases, that only further confirms that those advocates are unwilling to listen to what others have to say, much less to treat them with due respect.

----Example nonsense and some science----

This long section provides both an example of a prominent advocacy group putting out nonsense and some fundamentals that might help you differentiate knowledgeable people from those spouting uninformed or deceptive slogans. The example is the gun-control group associated with ^Gaby Giffords^, the former Arizona Congress member who was critically wounded during a mass shooting. Shortly after the Las Vegas shooting, that organization put out a press release "Legal and Lethal: 9 Products that could be the next bump stock" (2017-11-15) -- the bump stock being what the Las Vegas shooter used to greatly increase the rate of fire for his semi-automatic rifles. Item 8 on page 8 was a ^muzzleloader^ - a single-shot rifle that you have to load from the front end of the barrel. The first obvious error speaks only to the credibility of what else was written. The press release claimed "Muzzleloaders fell out of favor as a firearm of choice almost a century ago, and are generally seen as primitive antiques." That would place the transition near or after the end of World War I, which happened 99 years and 4 days before the press release (1918-11-11 vs 2017-11-15). The machine gun was the defining weapon of WWI. It was over 50 years before that (mid-1860s) that muzzleloader were being replaced by single-shot breechloaders and some magazine-fed ("repeating") rifles.(foot#8)

The muzzleloader pictured in the press release is the ^Maxim 50 by SilencerCo^ which I easily found with my first web search. The press release's first concern is "Cue the .50 caliber muzzleloader, which delivers a particularly lethal .50 caliber round." This indicates that this group doesn't understand the fundamentals. The first approximation for lethality is kinetic energy of the bullet, which is its mass times the square of its velocity. The muzzleloader in question uses only black powder, which burns much slower than modern propellants--it is classified as a "low explosive" whereas modern propellants are "high explosives". To compensate for the low velocities of these bullets, heavier bullets were required not to make them "particularly lethal", but to make them adequately lethal.

If they meant that the muzzleloader's .50-caliber round is more lethal than modern bullets of the same caliber, that is utter nonsense: For a modern rifle, there is typically a range of bullets that have been designed in shape, weight and materials for different purposes. If the press release meant that that a .50-caliber round was inherently more lethal than smaller caliber bullets, that is also fundamentally wrong (see below).

Suppressive fire, lighter bullets, higher velocities: Experience in World War II and the Korean Conflict was that the vast majority of rifle bullets were not fired in attempt to kill an enemy, but rather as suppressive fire, that is, bullets whose purpose was to discourage the enemy from shooting back as you maneuvered to get into a position where you could kill him. In video coverage of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, you probably have seen a soldier fully protected by a wall lift his rifle over his head and spray bullets in the general direction of the enemy. Since the lethality of suppressive fire is largely irrelevant, the military decided to shift to lighter ammunition so that soldiers could carry more. To compensate for the lighter weight of the bullet, its velocity had to be increased.

AR-15-type ammunition: First, recognize that lethality is a result and can be produced in many different ways. The muzzle velocity of a bullet from a black-powder muzzleloader is subsonic (speed of sound: 1125 ft/sec = 741 mph at sea level at 68 Fahrenheit). The muzzle velocity of a typical pistol is modestly supersonic. The muzzle velocity of an AR-15-type bullet is around Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound): 2750 ft/sec to 3750 ft/sec for heavier to lighter bullets (respectively). But the lethality of the AR-15-type bullet is not just from its kinetic energy, but from its speed passing through tissue and organs, an effect similar to a sonic boom (shock wave) in the air. This is typically referred to as ^hydrostatic shock^, but the details are controversial, especially since the predictions have been both supported and contradicted by battlefield experience.(foot#9) And there are are other aspects (Surprise! It's complicated).

Silencers/Suppressors: The press release's second concern is "This weapon is designed with a built-in device to suppress its sound." This is commonly called a silencer, with noise/sound suppressor being the more accurate, and this manufacturer uses the alternative moderator. Understand that black-powder muzzleloaders are very loud. So loud that when they have been fired in historical demonstrations, nearby car alarms were set off even when only partial loads of powder was used. The specifications say that this suppressor reduces the noise to 139 db (decibels). For comparison, a 9mm (semi)automatic pistol that is favored by law enforcement produces 160 dB. If you were sitting in the front row at a rock concert, you would typically be hit with about 120 dB. A normal conversation is about 60 dB. Extended exposure to sounds over 85 dB can cause permanent hearing damage. Yet, gun-control advocates cannot help themselves in claiming that this would make this weapon virtually silent, and thus an ideal assassination weapon.
Note: I suspect that deer hunters are the target audience for this product because many states have separate seasons for muzzleloaders (and archery) before the regular season. Being early means that the hunter has a much better chance of even seeing a deer.
Note: dB (^decibel^) is a logarithmic, not linear, scale. And be skeptical of exact numbers because they are subject to too many environmental and measurement factors, such as the placement and characteristics of the measuring device. And the human ear perceives sounds differently from the measuring devices.

If you search the web for information on sound suppressors/silencers, you will find many articles claiming that suppressors cannot reduce sound to the equivalent of a mild cough, such as what one sees in the movies and on TV. For most cases this is true, and especially for the screw-on type suppressors shown. In a ^Mythbusters episode^ (4:41) a SilencerCo suppressor on a .45-caliber pistol reduces noise from 161 dB to 128 dB, but also changes the frequency profile, and that can change how it is perceived by both humans and equipment designed to detect the location of gun fire, such as the ShotSpotter system used in Oakland and other cities.

However, it is possible to design a gun where the shot is effectively silenced, that is, the noise from the mechanical operation of the gun is louder than the shot. The British did this very successfully in World War II in a variant of their Sten submachine gun. The US attempted to replicate this in its M3 submachine gun (aka the "Grease Gun"), but were only partially successful. The Germans decided not to try, despite pleadings from their commandos and airborne troops.(foot#10) Recognize that the level of noise suppression was achieved only by integrating the suppressor into the design of the gun, and not with a small, screw-on suppressor.

Why are suppressors now an issue?
Suppressors have long been heavily regulated. There is a push from various quarters to relax some of the regulations with the rationale being that they could provide some hearing protection. The US military is reportedly considering widespread use of silencers for just this reason. I haven't seen any details on what is being promoted or considered.

Suppressors: the science:
A suppressor works by providing space for the propellant gases to expand into plus a way to more slowly release those gases into the outside air. This creates less of a pressure wave (sound). Suppressors on high powered guns typical provide only limited sound reductions because the size needed for greater suppression is problematic..

When a gun is fired, there are three basic categories of noise. First is the mechanical noise, which is typically insignificant compared to the rest. Second is the explosive burning of the propellant for the bullet. Third is the sound of the bullet passing through the air. The standard ammunition for almost all modern firearms propels the bullet at supersonic speed, producing what is called a "ballistic crack", that is, the sonic boom from the bullet. A suppressor can reduce the second category, but can do nothing about the third--because it occurs after the bullet has left the gun.(foot#11)

----Footnotes----
1. My blog "^The 'You're despicable' style of politics^", 2016-09-22

2. No sympathy for targets in Town Hall:
During the Republican Presidential Primary, I judged Senator Marco Rubio to be behaving like an arrogant, dogmatic, disrespectful, entitled teenager. So him facing versions of himself was karma.
The NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch's belligerence is routinely over-the-top, but usually in venues where she is throwing red meat to the true believers. What I have seen of her speaking to the general public--as at the "Town Hall"--she tends to be somewhat more reasonable.

3. Video essay: ^CNN & the Intellectual Shield Children | You're Either With Us or Against Us^ (12:18) - Matt Christiansen, 2018-02-21.

4. Video essay: ^The Worst Part of the CNN Gun Town Hall | Kid Activist v Marco Rubio^ (12:11) - Matt Christiansen, 2018-02-23.

5. Video presenting detailed examination: ^"18th School Shooting of 2018" - Be Skeptical | Parkland, Florida^ (8:44) - Matt Christiansen, 2018-02-16. In the Show More expanded description, there are links to reports on the 18 incidents, media reporting of the press release, and to the advocacy organization.

6. Manipulation of statistics:
Video: ^Vox Rebuttal: Gun Control Propaganda Debunked^ (19:48) - StevenCrowder, 2017-03-17.
Takes apart a long stream of misuse of statistics. This is interesting both for the topic and for the technique. Also see if you can spot where he himself is abusing statistics.
Vox Media Inc is a collection of media sites that are decidedly left-leaning and partisan advocacy.
The video being critiqued is ^The state of gun violence in the US, explained in 18 charts^ (7:09) - Vox, 2016-02-22.
The related article is ^America's gun problem, explained^ by German Lopez - Vox, originally published 2015-10-03 and updated on 2018-02-15.

7. Saving the few kills more:
See the section Base Rate Fallacy of my blog ^Swastikas, censorship, false positives and kittens^, 2017-09-07.

8. Historical details on replacement of muzzleloaders:
During the American Civil War (1861-1865), muzzleloaders were the most common rifle, but breechloaders were beginning to be widely used, both single shot and repeating (magazine-fed). Most notable was the ^Spencer repeating rifle^, which can be regarded as the "assault rifle" of its day. In Europe, a single-shot bolt-action breechloader --^Dreyse Needle Gun^--had become the standard rifle of the Prussian army during the 1860s (some units had it in the mid-1850s). The superior French ^Chassepot^ was in widespread use in the French army during the 1870 Franco-Prussian war. By 1870, no significant country regarded a muzzleloader as a viable battlefield rifle. World War I combat was dominated by artillery and the machine gun, but saw the development of automatic weapons for individual soldiers: the submachine gun and the first automatic rifle (precursor to the modern assault rifle).

9. Hydrostatic shock:
"^What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns^" by Heather Sher - The Atlantic, 2018-02-22.
"They weren't the first victims of a mass shooting the Florida radiologist had seen--but their wounds were radically different." Recognize that the doctor's descriptions of how the damage was created is not from direct knowledge, but from the (controversial) literature. However, the description of the wounds is useful knowledge.

10. The silenced Sten Gun: Listen for yourself:
Video: ^Sterling Mk5 Suppressor (L34A1)/HD^ (1:21) - Kafkanishian, 2014-10-26. To get a sense of the sound level, notice the level of the mechanical noise from it operating. The famous Nazi commando leader Otto Skorzeny claimed to have had a soldier fire a full clip from a suppressed Sten gun while walking a few paces behind some generals. Although the generals didn't hear it, they still refused to support such a gun (another own goal for the Nazis).

11. Ballistic crack:
The video ^What a Silencer really Sounds Like^ (3:10, cued at 0:50) - Garry Thomas, 2009-10-06.
This is a demonstration of a pistol first without a suppressor and then with one. Because this pistol--a Walther P22--uses relatively low-power ammunition (.22-caliber LR rimfire), a screw-on suppressor is very effective at eliminating the noise from the propellant. What you hear is the ballistic crack and some mechanical noise.


----
An ^abbreviated index by topic and chronologically^ is available.


----Boilerplate on Commenting----
The ^Guidelines^ for comments on this blog are different from those on Town Square Forums. I am attempting to foster more civility and substantive comments by deleting violations of the guidelines.

I am particularly strict about misrepresenting what others have said (me or other commenters). If I judge your comment as likely to provoke a response of "That is not what was said", do not be surprised to have it deleted. My primary goal is to avoid unnecessary and undesirable back-and-forth, but such misrepresentations also indicate that the author is unwilling/unable to participate in a meaningful, respectful conversation on the topic.

If you behave like a ^Troll^, do not waste your time protesting when you get treated like one.

Comments

 +   3 people like this
Posted by Gun Company Lobby, a resident of Woodside,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 10:02 am

re: your comment on the gun manufacturers lobby, the NRA - "This has been debunked repeatedly over the years, both by the NRA's total campaign contributions and contributions to individual candidates."

If so small, then why doesn't Marco Rubio and others decline their contributions? Even then, the gun lobbyists dark (indirect) money is magnitudes greater than actual specific contrivbutions.

vox: "From 1998 to 2017, the NRA distributed $144.3 million in outside spending, or 10 times more money than it spent on direct donations to federal candidates."


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Former PA resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 10:11 am

Thanks for thoughtful exposition on a complex topic. You mentioned encouraging "children to think and debate about what separates effective advocacy from Virtue Signaling" and it's probably worth trying, although teens occupy an age range that has particular trouble with that distinction. "If my son weren't a Communist at age 17, I'd fear he had no heart; but if he were still a Communist at age 30, I'd conclude he had no brain" is a comment attributed to numerous 20th-c. public figures, but it expresses a basic reality about maturing wisdom.

OTOH, it's astounding how many mature adults without the excuse of youth (commentators, even legislators), when advocating serious firearm policies, also display their gross ignorance of firearm basics, their indifference to any importance of knowing what you're talking about even at the elementary (what you called "10-minute introductory briefing") level. Habitual language errors have become shibboleths for firearms ignorance (saying "bullet" to mean specifically complete ammunition, "clip" for any magazine, "silencer" -- originally a trade name from an early manufacturer -- for sound suppressor, a topic largely irrelevant from mass shootings anyway, being exotic and largely outlawed already). Hillary Clinton went further, after Stephen Paddock's Las-Vegas shootings, speculating "what if he'd used a silencer," thus demonstrating another ignorance of basics ("silencers" being largely irrelevant to rifle shots, normally supersonic in speed, which relates to their accuracy at distance, but also means much of their sound, as you noted, is from the sonic boom they create in passing through air). Ironically, early-1900s advertising from the Maxim Co. promoted its then-novel "Silencers," which did not yet carry today's associations with gangsters and murderers, with a photo of dainty young women stepping outdoors for target shooting that otherwise (presumably) would disturb their sensitive ears.

Now to wait for the accustomed posted comments from people who'll read little or none of your essay here, but instead spot hot buttons or trigger phrases, second-guess your whole position (or even motives behind it), then comment (at length) from their own second-guessings.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Gun Company Lobby: "If so small, then why doesn't Marco Rubio and others decline their contributions?"

My guess is that the importance of the contribution is not the money, but the signal. And rejecting the contribution would be a signal of hostility on the issue.


 +   11 people like this
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 1:59 pm

Doug,

I applaud your preference for facts and logical argument. As an observer, and sometime participant, in the "gun control" movement, I have to disagree with a part of your approach.

In finding misinformation and illogical arguments on "both sides", you are falling victim to the TV-news "both sides" fallacy, where a reasonable argument on one side is "balanced" by an extreme argument on the other.

This is actually a much simpler problem than the NRA -- the extreme -- wants you to believe that it is. Go find any good set of statistics on international homicide rates. I suggest the UN reports, but, you can find a digested version on Wikipedia:

Web Link

Pick a threshold, such as 2.0 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Look where the U.S. is. Look where most other developed countries are. What do you think explains why the US intentional homicide rate is so much higher than most comparable developed countries north, south, and equatorial, spanning so many different languages and cultures?

It is pointless to get caught up in arguments about the precise definition of an "assault rifle", or, "clip" vs "magazine" or what, exactly, a "silencer" is, or, its true purpose. The US is awash in guns. Gun proponents consider the murder rate in the US an acceptable cost for what they consider "freedom". Gun-control advocates disagree. It is that simple. That is why I consider the following paragraph beside the point:

>> For at least two decades, gun-control advocates have known that their fallacious use of the term "assault rifle" derails discussion. So when you hear them use it, you should assume that is likely an "in your face" declaration that they have no intention of listening to other perspectives and situations.

I turn that argument around. Any gun proponent that makes an issue of the use of "assault rifle", or, "clip" vs "magazine", or the use of the word "silencer", is derailing the discussion. Don't fall for it.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by no-position, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Directly related to the topic and entertaining: Jim Jefferies -- Gun Control (Part 1) from BARE -- Netflix Special

Web Link
[[Blogger: The bias of the comedian in this clip is seen in him asserting that "There is one argument and one argument alone to have guns and this is the argument: 'F**k off. I like guns.' " (@1:45). Apparently he hasn't heard of hunting, varmint control...]]


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by no-position, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 2:49 pm

There is a view that existing laws would be enough or even excessive to prevention of Parkland School Shooting, given proper enforcement. It is well explained here:
Web Link


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Bill, a resident of Barron Park,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 3:12 pm

We used to enjoy reading your blog posts, but this one is simply dumb and incoherent.

In summary, you've attacking a number of proposals from gun control advocates, their message and media where they speak. You believe that the advocate's proposals are so poorly formulated and unworkable that they represent sentiments rather than a plan of action. Your proof includes a myriad of facts, ranging from the Franco-Prussian War to to the Mythbusters TV series. As a result, gun control advocates are using what John Bartholomew calls "virtue signalling." That is, advocates are saying things that indicate they are virtuous, but not taking taking virtuous action.

Is that correct?


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Former PA resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 3:57 pm

First, thanks, "Bill," for illustrating my point in the last paragraph I posted above.

Second, I would scarcely have believed that anyone could maintain (as does "Anon") that 'Any gun proponent that makes an issue of the use of "assault rifle", or, "clip" vs "magazine", or the use of the word "silencer", is derailing the discussion.'

I'm no particular "defender" of guns, I have nothing to do with NRA, and have advocated for gun control -- real, fact-based control -- for decades. But would it ever make sense for a politician to (as an illustrative analogy) seriously propose public-health policy on epidemics not knowing what "bacteria" meant, or how a syringe basically works? That's the level of abject cluelessness I cited above, from people who purport to seriously propose policy, yet who evidently derive their basic firearms understanding from TV dramas. How can anyone discuss policy who will not bother to spend even a few minutes learning the subject's terminology? How can someone defend such an attitude, unless they are in the grip of an ideology that blinds them from ordinary logic?


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Eileen Wright, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 4:17 pm

"Gun proponents consider the murder rate in the US an acceptable cost for what they consider "freedom"."

It IS for our freedom. Every martyred student is a martyr to our freedom. The deep state in the government would have slaved us all long ago except it was put off by our guns. The Founding Fathers knew that when they made the Second Amendment. They faulted when they didnt make it the first Amendment. Remember that.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 4:40 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> Bill: "the advocate's proposals are so poorly formulated and unworkable...Your proof includes a myriad of facts, ranging from the Franco-Prussian War to to the Mythbusters TV series."

This is a good example of the unwillingness to engage in good faith. Neither of the cited facts was addressing "the advocate's proposals", but those mentions somehow discredit what I was presenting:
1. The Franco-Prussian War mention was to demonstrate that the authors of gun-control advocacy press release cared so little about well-known and easily checked facts that they appear to believe that World War I was fought with muzzleloaders.
2. The Mythbusters mention was a listen-for-yourself about noise levels.

> "That is, advocates are saying things that indicate they are virtuous, but not taking taking virtuous action. Is that correct?"

If an advocate is unwilling to do the homework on the issue to know whether what they are advocating will help or hurt, that is virtue signaling, or unconscious incompetence or an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect: Someone who is so incompetent or ignorant that they can't understand how little they know.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 6:00 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Re: Anon: "It is pointless to get caught up in arguments about the precise definition of ..."

Definitions matter and are essential to communication. In Through the Looking Glass, Humpty Dumpty proclaimed "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.", giving rise to the term "The Humpty Dumpty Theory of Meaning". (That was a blog I was working on when this one preempted it). Being dismissive of the meanings of crucial words signals that a serious discussion is unlikely.

> "Gun proponents consider the murder rate in the US an acceptable cost for what they consider 'freedom'. Gun-control advocates disagree. It is that simple."

This statement comes across as "I know what I believe. Don't confuse me with facts."
Legal gun ownership and background checks have been on the rise, yet the homicide rate is falling.
The correlations between gun ownership and homicide rates can disappear when you cut the data different ways - good statistical analysis involves cutting it along various factors in order to find interesting correlations. For example, high density urban areas have much higher homicide rates than other areas. Poverty is also predictive. Drug/gang related homicides are a major proportion. ...

The large majority of gun homicides are done with pistols, so why the emphasis on rifles?
Why isn't the problem of drug/gang homicides a largely separate issue from legal gun ownership?
Why does one think that the solution for gun suicides is the same for drug/gang homicides?

Reminder: Be careful of statistical analyses on gun deaths/homicides because the underlying data has lots of problems. There are different reporting standards, including not distinguishing whether the weapon was a pistol or rifle. Or the circumstance (drug/gang related, argument, ...)


 +   7 people like this
Posted by peninsula resident, a resident of another community,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 7:28 pm

"So when you hear them use [the term 'assault rifle'], you should assume that is likely an "in your face" declaration that they have no intention of listening to other perspectives and situations. "

I've noticed you like 'assuming' a lot. It does you no service.
[[Blogger: "a lot" = once.]]


I can appreciate your interest in being pedantic, and certainly an AR-15 does not meet the pedantic definition of an 'assault rifle'. However, its design has characteristics that make it lethal in many ways like an assault rifle:

* Maximum effective rate of fire: 45 rounds per min (source, Bushmaster XM15 manual, a weapon of similar design and specs: Web Link ). For the math-illiterate, that works out to 1 bullet every 1.33 seconds. That may not match an fully-automatic, but 45 bullets/minute is still a lot of bullets.

* With a bump-stock added, an AR-15's rate-of-fire increases into the hundreds per minute.

* As you noted, the velocity of the bullets from an AR-15 are particularly lethal:
"The muzzle velocity of an AR-15-type bullet is around Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound): 2750 ft/sec to 3750 ft/sec for heavier to lighter bullets (respectively). But the lethality of the AR-15-type bullet is not just from its kinetic energy, but from its speed passing through tissue and organs, an effect similar to a sonic boom (shock wave) in the air."

This has the result of effectively ripping internal organs to shreds, leaving nothing for surgeons to repair, unlike sub-Mach guns which leave a bullet path the size of a bullet (source, both you and Web Link).

That said, I think restrictions on these types of guns should not be based on their name or some inaccurate labeling of its function. Restrictions should be based on a gun's rate-of-fire and bullet 'force' (force = velocity * mass).


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 8:03 pm

Posted by Eileen Wright, a resident of Crescent Park,

>> It IS for our freedom. Every martyred student is a martyr to our freedom. The deep state in the government would have slaved us all long ago except it was put off by our guns. The Founding Fathers knew that when they made the Second Amendment. They faulted when they didnt make it the first Amendment. Remember that.

Eileen, you have been conned. But, even so, your statement above is the -perfect expression- of a (fallacious and extreme) viewpoint that I have heard many times. Thank you for summing it up so clearly and concisely.

>> > "Gun proponents consider the murder rate in the US an acceptable cost for what they consider 'freedom'. Gun-control advocates disagree. It is that simple."

>> This statement comes across as "I know what I believe. Don't confuse me with facts."

Umm, nope. See above.

BTW, the Atlantic article linked above should make it clear why the AR-15 is not at all like the .22 rifle you and I used as kids to shoot pop cans.

Web Link



 +   3 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 1, 2018 at 8:25 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Re: peninsula resident: "Restrictions should be based on a gun's rate-of-fire and bullet 'force' (force equals velocity * mass)."

Would a rifle that could fire 30 aimed shots per minute and has a muzzle velocity of 2400 ft/sec and a bullet 3 times heavier than the AR-15 be too dangerous? That is the Lee-Enfield, a bolt-action (not semi-automatic) rifle of the British Army dating back to before World War I.

Too much of what the gun-control advocates are saying seems to start with a desire to ban the AR-15-style rifle, or all semi-automatics, and working backwards.
A recent addition is the claim that a police officer with a pistol is no match for someone with an AR-15-style rifle because the latter's bullet travels so much faster. This was all over the media. Let's do some math: If the two are 100 feet apart, it takes the rifle bullet 0.03 seconds to cover that distance,
while the typical pistol bullet takes 0.08 seconds (at 1200 ft/sec). This difference is irrelevant in typical situations.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Gun Company Lobby, a resident of Woodside,
on Mar 2, 2018 at 9:17 am

"Every martyred student is a martyr to our freedom. The deep state in the government would have slaved us all long ago except it was put off by our guns. The Founding Fathers knew that when they made the Second Amendment"

Why doesn't the NRA have the COMPLETE 2nd Amendment etched into their lobby wall? They don't seem to remember the preface...

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the..."


(sorry, Douglas, I should know better than to engage with anyone who endorses 'deep state' fiction...)


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 2, 2018 at 9:49 am

Normally I don't post something like this, but, in the context of this discussion, this NYTimes inset-graphic has useful information on what this is about. Don't follow the link if you are easily disturbed. Link to NYTimes: Web Link


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 2, 2018 at 12:41 pm

The first school shooting (that I remember anyway) back in 1979 was in San Diego, CA where a 16 year old girl shot from her home at the school across the street killing two adults and injuring many children and a police officer with a gun given to her by her father for Christmas. Her motive was that she didn't like Mondays. A song was a big hit about it.

Why wasn't there an outcry back then with laws preventing this from ever happening again? Would a song be written about Parkland shooting today?

Web Link

Another article: Web Link


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 2, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

On earlier school shootings:
The University of Texas tower shooting in 1966. Weapons: bolt-action rifle, pump-action rifle, semi-automatic carbine (not included in definitions of "assault rifle"), 12-gauge shotgun.

Olean High School shooting in 1974. Weapons: bolt-action rifle, 12-gauge shotgun.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Keep it simple, a resident of Green Acres,
on Mar 3, 2018 at 4:08 pm

Tired of all the rationalizations and cherry-picked, hair-splitting gun-lover garbage out there. It's simple. The US has too many people with a sick fascination with guns - far beyond anything needed for hunting, realistic self-defense, or deterring tyrants. (If you don't think your personal love of guns is a sick fascination, fine, I'm not talking about you. Wink.) There's no other country in the world with this gun fetish. Maybe plenty of violent failed states out there, awash in weapons, and that warrant no comparison here. We have way, way more guns, and way, way more danger of gun-related injury and death, accidental, self-inflicted, domestic violence, mass shootings, whatever. We should try to reduce all of them. I don't care about the technical details of gun parts or ammunition. Don't. Care. This is simple. Sign me up as a supporter of anything that leads to fewer guns, less lethal guns, fewer armed people, guns that are harder to acquire and more regulated after purchase. I've heard all of the objections before, and none are a bit persuasive. Don't bother replying, I won't be back here to read some NRA talking points and deep state paranoia. (I mean, if you use that phrase, you might as well admit you gave up on critical thinking a long time ago.) Repeal the 2nd Amendment by replacing it with something more clearly-worded and modern, allowing for reasonable self-defense that balances the "right" to bear arms with the necessity of public safety.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Better Gun Legislation is Possible, a resident of Community Center,
on Mar 3, 2018 at 4:48 pm

It is possible to have much better gun control legislation that makes it harder for convicted violent felons to purchase guns while providing law abiding citizens with less restrictions (in California). Here's an article that talks about 5 simple common sense bills that could be passed right now that would make our society safer (e.g. banning bump stocks, universal background checks and improving the NCIS):

Web Link

However, some of California's gun control laws are overly restrictive. For example, requiring microstamping means no gun design introduced in the last few years is allowed to be sold in California.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Better Gun Legislation is Possible, a resident of Community Center,
on Mar 3, 2018 at 4:59 pm

Continuing... I'm also very proud of students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for giving voice to the many victims of senseless gun violence. They are absolutely right that we should not consider these student mass shootings an acceptable cost of gun ownership when there is so much more we could be doing to prevent violent convicted felons from obtaining firearms. I also applaud their challenging the NRA's excessive stances against widely supported gun control measures such as universal background checks. The fact that these high school students may not be policy experts is no reason to dampen their voices calling for needed changes. The students have touched my heart.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 3, 2018 at 6:02 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> RE: Better Gun Legislation: " The fact that these high school students may not be policy experts is no reason to dampen their voices calling for needed changes."

I disagree. The student spokespeople most commonly seen in the media are bigger extremists than the NRA. For example, anyone who disagrees with their ill-informed proclamations is a "child murderer". Their excesses have produced an easily foreseen hardening of positions.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 3, 2018 at 6:03 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

My normal rules for this blog is to delete -- either in whole or in part -- comments that rely on ad hominem arguments or misrepresent the positions of other, or have statements based upon belief.

However, because of the nature of this topic, I have not done so, partly because I think that those statements are revealing of the advocates (all sides) and because deleting them would raise claims of partisan censorship. In looking at the above comments, ask yourself if you could sit down with them and thrash out reasonable measures, or would it be an exercise in futility.

Notice the arguments that fewer guns would reduce violence is contrary to the statistics that murders have declined while gun ownership has increased. My suspicion is that the two are unrelated and the decline in murders is due to other factors.

Notice the argument that the bullets fired from an AR-15-style are more deadly than bullets fired from other rifles, ignoring the fact that there are many other rifles using the very same ammunition. The big difference between the AR-15-style and those other rifles? Largely cosmetic, such as a plastic stock vs a wooden one.

Notice the claim that the AR-15-style is more deadly than other rifles. This both ignores how deadly those other rifles are and it exaggerates how deadly the AR-15 is. In combat, there have been complaints from the troops that they would hit an enemy two or three times with bullets from their M16 or M4 rifles and he would be able to continue fighting or run away. In the US, some home invaders have been hit by multiple bullets and been able to flee and get themselves to a hospital.
The doctor in The Atlantic article I cited was based on an unrepresentative sample. First he was comparing wounds from a pistol to those from the AR-15-style, ignoring wounds from other rifles. Second, he described only the worst of the wounded. Recognize that while 17 were killed, 16 survived being wounded. This is not to minimize the shooting but to address claims about the lethality of the bullets.

About the claim that an AR-15-style can kill many more people, consider the stats from this shooting: about 150 shots were fired during a 6-minute period, or 25 per minute. This is a rate of fire easily achieved by someone with a (semi)automatic pistol, including changing magazines.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by David Hestrin, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Mar 4, 2018 at 5:46 am

People said 18 school shootings. Then they said 12. I just looked on CNN. There are 2 of those 12 that qualified as what I believe people think when they hear there was a school shooting.

Why not just use the facts? Why don't people say "that's a relief that it's really more like 2 and not 18. I was off by a factor of 9 or 6"? Why do they instead persist in debate mode?

Are they hiding their true intentions? Do they even have intentions?

What do they want?

Do they want all guns banned?

Okay, let's talk about that...

How will they ban all guns? Go to interview and search all humans on U.S. soil... and then also search all places where something that could perhaps fit in a cereal box could be hidden?

And then what? What if someone's already been searched and then they use their area to hide things? Have to search them again. Then what?

How will they ban them? Make it illegal to own a gun? With an amendment? Or without one? Separate the country into people that believe in the Constitution and people that believe we don't need to follow any laws so long as we have some story to back it up like "18 school shootings are too much, time to ignore the legal underpinnings of our civil society"?

How about this: first disarm the illegal criminals. Once they've proven they can disarm the criminals, maybe others will fall in line. Don't disarm the responsible law abiding citizens first.

I think that everyone can agree on this: we don't want guns in the hands of violence prone illegal criminals.
I think that everyone can agree on this: we want to stop further crimes from happening if we can.

Would anyone, given the opportunity, not want to stop the school shooting if it meant shooting the shooter?

If not, why not? Their preferred fantasy, instead of simply being a hero or someone else being a hero, is "I wish no guns existed"? I haven't had the opportunity, but I would like to believe that I'm the kind of person that would do something heroic. I would bet that a lot of parents would have driven at 100 miles an hour to the school if they could have and tried to do something. It is so sad. I would rather believe that people would do heroic things.

I would rather have a world where maybe some criminals exist but also some every-day heroes capable of protecting people exist, then have no heroes and just the knowing that all the submissive law-abiding people can't protect themselves against violent psychos or self-serving violent criminals.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 4, 2018 at 8:56 am

David Hestrin

You make some good points and reluctantly I have to agree with a lot of what you say, not because I want to but because the state of play as it is in this country means that guns can't just be banned, as much as many would like it.

However, ask yourself this. Why are there school shootings in America with a 2nd Amendment clause and there seem to be no school shootings in other countries as a regular course?

Could gun ownership have something to do with the fact that America appears to be the only country with school shootings? Other countries have organized crime and mental health issues, but they don't seem to have school shootings or even other types of mass shootings on such a regular basis.

What you say makes sense because the way life is here there is very little alternative. Laws can be changed, but that won't change people. An armed guard in a school may not be able to prevent a mass shooting and a teacher armed with a gun may have mental health issues. Both happened recently. Even in the past couple of days a young college student was able to kill his parents on his school campus with a gun registered to his father. The question has to be asked whether that father took his gun to the college to pick up his son for self protection just in case of a mass shooting situation.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 5, 2018 at 6:58 am

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger, on Mar 3, 2018 at 6:02 pm

>> I disagree. The student spokespeople most commonly seen in the media are bigger extremists than the NRA.

You should consider withdrawing this statement. In any case, any student who has seen their friends killed in one of these situations, or, any adult who has known a kid murdered within our system, may be inclined to ask why the murder rate in the US is so much higher than most of the developed world. And, in fact, there is a simple difference.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,

>> I would rather have a world where maybe some criminals exist but also some every-day heroes capable of protecting people exist, then have no heroes and just the knowing that all the submissive law-abiding people can't protect themselves against violent psychos or self-serving violent criminals.

You are describing movie fantasies. In the real world, most developed countries have laws that significantly restrict access to firearms, and, most have significantly lower murder rates. Statistics, vs, fantasies about "every-day heroes".


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 5, 2018 at 9:34 am

Anon

What you quote credit as being said by me was said by another poster, and in fact is not my viewpoint.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 5, 2018 at 9:51 am

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,, 13 minutes ago

>> Anon

>> What you quote credit as being said by me was said by another poster, and in fact is not my viewpoint.

Mea culpa, my apologies. Cut-and-paste error. That should have been:

>> Posted by David Hestrin, a resident of Menlo Park,


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 5, 2018 at 1:50 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> Re: Anon: " In any case, any student who has seen their friends killed in one of these situations, or, any adult who has known a kid murdered within our system, may be inclined to ask why the murder rate in the US is so much higher than most of the developed world."

You present my statement in a context very different from the one in which it was made. I did NOT question their right to question. Rather I criticized the counterproductive means by which they advocated for particular policies and their lack of knowledge to evaluate policy choices. Note: I didn't try to deny them the right to make uninformed statements, but rather it was a case of "Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do."

Analogy: Having witnessed a car kill a pedestrian does not make that person somehow qualified to decide which models of cars should be banned.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Santa Fe High school, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on May 18, 2018 at 11:45 am

Wow, we went two months until we had another school name seared into our minds.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 18, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

The early media reports are that the firearms used were a shotgun and a revolver (presumably 6 shot). Notice that neither of these were "military-style assault [sic weapons" nor did they have "large capacity magazines". Consequently, the focus of the gun-control advocates after Parkland would have had no effect on preventing this tragedy.
Recognize that the topic of this blog was about the counterproductive approach of the advocates.

The killer also attempted to use "explosive devices", similar to the mass shootings at Columbine, San Bernadino ... This suggests that even if firearms were unavailable, similar potential mass killers would resort to other means. Note that there isn't enough available evidence to speculate on why bombs are less favored and unsuccessful.

It is too early to even speculate on whether this mass shooting was a copycat or otherwise inspired by Parkland. With Parklard, the authorities and the media seemed to do a good job of pushing the killer into the background so that others wouldn't see such killings as a path to glory, infamy... This is similar to the policy on (minimal) reporting of suicides to avoid creating clusters. However, the unavoidable, intense coverage of Parkland and similar *might* inspire copycats, and this is something to keep in mind as more becomes known.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Santa Fe High school, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on May 18, 2018 at 4:31 pm

Yes, guns owned by another responsible gun owner.

Lest any think that my 'two months' comment indicated an absence of school shootings during that period: WaPo

"Santa Fe school shooting is 2nd this week, 3rd this month and 16th this year"

"The incident is the second school shooting in the United States this week, according to a Washington Post database of school shootings. After the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., a new generation of student activists vowed “never again." The Santa Fe shooting is the 10th school shooting since then.

The Washington Post's database has tallied 220 school shootings since the April 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. 2018 is shaping up to be the worst year for school shootings in America in The Post's database: The 16 shootings that have occurred this year tie 2018 with 2014 for the largest number of shootings in a given year. It is only May."


It. Is. Only. May.


"Consequently, the focus of the gun-control advocates after Parkland would have had no effect on preventing this tragedy" Does this sentence bring relief?




 +   2 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 18, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> "Does this sentence bring relief?"

That sentence reveals the basic difference between the commenter and me. He is concerned about feelings, whereas I am concerned about results.

Reminder: Don't believe the claims about the number of school shootings without researching each one claimed -- the counts tend to be heavily padded, as in the example I gave in the main text.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Santa Fe High school, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on May 19, 2018 at 10:20 am

I post facts and at the end ask, how do YOU feel about your sentence - and you come back with that? Okay.



Which of these 2018 school shootings do you FEEL doesn't "COUNT"? I will write a letter telling every student and staff at that school that you have decided their tragedy doesn't make it beyond a "claim."

---

The Sante Fe 10 dead?

The Dixon, IL shooting, luckily with no injuries, yet affected 1400 students?

The Highland HS in CA shooting that only wounded one?

The Forest HS in FL injury (1500 students lives changed)?

The Douglass Park School with 'only' 1 student shot?

The Big Sky High School where only 1,000 kids were traumatized?

The Seaside High School just down the road where 3 were shot?

The Huffman High School killing?

The Dalton High School shooting in front of 1,800 students?

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School 3,158 students that witnessed 17 shooting deaths?

The Salvador B. Castro Middle School shooting that saw bullits tear into 5 bodies?

The Murphy High Schoolshooting?

The Marshall County High School that killed 2 and wounded 16?

The NET Charter High School shooting?

The Italy High School kid that was "only" shot and wounded?

---


Please advise as to which tragedies rate as only 'claims'. Take your time - you can google each one based on the data above.

Or perhaps we can shift to common sense gun safety discussions?



 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Former PA Resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 19, 2018 at 11:53 am

Speaking of "counterproductive approach of advocates," after this week's case, KCBS radio interviewed Sen. (former SF Mayor) Diane Feinstein. The station has played excerpts regularly since then. Feinstein promptly criticized assault-style rifles and dwelt on that topic, concluding "NRA [in connection to such rifles] has to come to grips with what they are doing to this country."

News reports say the recent shooter used a shotgun and pistol taken from his father. (KCBS even added a comment to some of its replayings of Feinstein, pointing out that none of the legislation she'd advocated in the interview would have affected the recent case at all.)

Not that anyone who's followed Feinstein (traditionally "Di Fi" here in the Bay Area) has come to expect any standard of logical, thought-out, "adult" policy views. When her legislation to restrict some handguns caused a surge of pre-emptive buying, substantially raising the number of such guns in private hands, her comment was a pitiable that-wasn't-what-I-intended. Earlier, as Madame Mayor, she demonstrated her grasp of law enforcement, and memorably and permanently alienated police agencies then pursuing a high-profile serial felon who entered homes, when Di Fi publicly disclosed (with the pride of announcing a scoop!) that he was being linked to his crimes by footprints from a consistent shoe type. (Thus tipped off, the perp, undoubtedly grateful to Di Fi, simply changed shoes.) Why any official who does that isn't summarily indicted for justice obstruction is unclear.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Santa Fe High school, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on May 19, 2018 at 12:02 pm

So we return to grasping at any straws and hide behind the "counterproductive approach of advocates."

"Hey look at KCBS and DiFi!"

So much for a shift to common sense gun safety discussions. Zero desire for it from the gun fringe. Zero acknowledgement of the 16 school shootings so far this year. Zero interest in increased safety for Americans.

But: DiFi!


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Former PA Resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 19, 2018 at 1:01 pm

I don't know what that last commenter's problem is. My comment today responded independently to this thread, and the blogger's recent addition to it, not to any other comment. For that matter, many people (not hamstrung with angrily emotional dogma) would probably find it seriously relevant to "common-sense gun safety." I addressed the blog topic of counterproductive advocacy, and one particular high-profile public official with a long history of advocating views based on her "feelings" instead of (and even to the undermining of) useful results in the direction she advocates!

Name-calling and perverse misdirected second-guessing ("we," "grasping at straws," "from the gun fringe" [what "gun fringe?!?"], "zero interest in increased safety") show that other commenter's mind-set.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 19, 2018 at 1:05 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> Santa Fe HS responding to Former PA Resident: ... "Hey look at KCBS and DiFi!" // So much for a shift to common sense gun safety discussions.

DiFi has said that reasonable gun control has been a priority for her since the 1978 City Hall murders of Mayor Moscone and Sup Milk. Yet in her prepared remarks she routinely produces whopping falsehoods about basic gun facts. Although she doesn't make the most ignorant comments, she is routinely present in top-10 and top-20 list. Although she does occasionally acknowledge errors -- as Former PA Resident noted -- she doesn't seem to learn from them.

Why does this matter? You can't have "commonsense gun control" if the advocates have no interest in, and are contemptuous of, facts and practical matters. Faced with this, there are two major alternatives. First, that the advocates want gun confiscation, not control. Second, that the advocates have no interest in gun control beyond posturing and virtue signaling.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 19, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Re: Santa Fe HS on counts of school shootings

In the various current lists of "school shootings" are multiple instances of shootings in school parking lots resulting from conflicts between individual students. Move those shootings a few feet beyond the official school boundary and now they aren't "school shootings". What sense does that make?

Commenter SFHS focuses on the feelings of students in the school on whose property the shooting occurred. Ask yourself why is this so different from shootings involving students that occur elsewhere: going to or from school, in their homes, in the community,...

Addition:
The stats put out yesterday by CNN including shootings in housing that happened to be on college campuses. Pumping up the stats, but the arbitrary choices of what to include makes them meaningless for any serious purpose.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Santa Fe High school, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on May 19, 2018 at 4:18 pm

[[Deleted. Apparent troll - reverse argument, same conclusion.]]


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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