Friday, July 20, 2012

Colorado Shootings and CCW Holders

Mass shooting events are horrific.  They're scary.  They leave us all reeling and wondering what we can do to protect ourselves.

The Left tends to immediately jump to gun control as the solution.  Unfortunately, there's no evidence gun control prevents or mitigates mass shooting events, as pointed out by John R. Lott Jr. in his excellent column, "Gun Control and Mass Murders."

The anti-gun Left won't ever admit that the statistics show gun control isn't effective.  The rest of us, convinced by logic and the data might ask, "What else can we do?"

Colorado's shall-issue CCW policy really can't be faulted.  Unfortunately, nobody in the Colorado theater was carrying, or was quick enough to try to defend himself, herself or others.

Others are saying a CCW holder would have no chance in a dark, stinging-gas filled theater against a Kevlar-wearing assailant.   Yes, the circumstances were horrific, and it wouldn't have been easy, but it certainly wouldn't have been impossible.  The neck, legs and arms aren't protected by the usual Kevlar vests.  Even shots to the vest can be effective in causing crushing injuries and incapacitating an assailant if he's not wearing stiff body armor, or a vest that includes ceramic plates (such plates stop heavier rounds and more effectively diffuse a bullet's energy).  We can only guess at what might have happened if the madman had met resistance. 

What we do know is that madmen have committed such atrocities since humanity can remember.  They're awful.  They make us seek for answers even though the motives of the insane are (thankfully) rarely comprehensible to the sane.

While we will never know how effective or ineffective armed resistance might have been in this incident, we do know disarming lawful citizens wouldn't have helped or changed anything.

Very well written in the same vein:

More clear thinking on celebrity calls for gun control after this incident:

Thomas Sowell with another angle and more excellent commentary: 

Colorado shooter may not have had a bullet resistant vest or other body armor at all:


tom said...

"What we do know is that madmen have committed such atrocities since humanity can remember."

I don't think we can shirk this kind of thing off as merely human. There's something about this type of massacre that is particular to our time and place. The first certain aspect, of course, it the technology behind cheap firearms. Beyond that, why are the vast majority of these shooters (in the U.S. and Europe) relatively young white men? (There might be a category issue here too, since Hasan at Fort Hood is stuffed into the terrorism box, but we might place him in the random violence category). Breivik was rather old for a mass-shooter and he's just over 30. He ostensibly also had the most ideological/political motivations, not necessarily dissimilar to the motivations of Hasan.

Anyway, maybe it's just my field of knowledge, but I can't recall that anything like this ever happens in Asia or Africa (the nerve gas attacks on the Japanese subway come to mind, but that was organized by a cult), and the majority of the world population lives in Asia and Africa. Obviously, a lot of violence takes place in those places, but it's not this kind of violence. This kind of individualistic, random, mass-shooting is a distinctly American phenomenon, though it's rubbed off on Europe.

The other problem that you don't want to grapple with is that James Holmes was apparently a lawful citizen until he wasn't. Disarming James Holmes, the lawful citizen, most certainly would have changed things. But nowadays, consideration of how to mitigate this sort of thing is prohibited from polite conversation. It's just one of those things madmen do. Nothing to be done about it.

Mark said...

You might want to look up statistics of schizophrenia occurrence and age of onset.

Mark said...

Also, what are your concerns about "cheap firearms"? I first saw the details about the firearms last night, and they certainly aren't cheap.

Remington pump shotgun, Glock .40 (very common police issue) and an M&P AR-15 style (typically around $800) are quality weapons. Not the gang-favorite $100 to $200 handguns.

Andrew said...

Fort Hood is stuffed into the terrorism box because that is what it was:

The idea that mass shootings are an American phenomenon that rubbed off on Europe is completely unsupportable. You might as well say that they're a European phenomenon that rubbed off on America given the evidence presented in the John Lott column.

But here's where you're absolutely right. When a man goes insane and decides to kill a large number of his fellow beings, he'll do it with whatever tools he has at hand, and society is unlikely to have a lot of warning. They're lawful citizens right up until they aren't. Since we have no futurecrimes precogs to help solve that problem, the only solution is immediate mitigation through proper defense by trained CCW holders.

“Bad people will find a way to do harm whether it’s homemade explosives, illegal weapons or flying planes into buildings. Restricting law abiding citizens right to bear arms is not the answer.” (From:

tom said...

1: cheap firearms. $10,000 is not a lot of money if you don't care about the future. The same cannot be said of $100,000.
2: Ft. Hood. Yeah it was terrorism, but its similarities to other mass-shootings not considered terrorism are at least as important as its differences.
3: Finally, I don't oppose conceal-carry or most liberal interpretations of the 2nd ammendment. I don't personally find firearms useful (the idea that a gun is going to protect me from government tyranny is kind of ridiculous), but if someone wants to be strapped, that's fine with me, so long as they are held responsible for their use of that firearm. Seeing as the conservative movement has, for the time being won the gun-control argument hands down, I would suggest that those who really care about preserving the status quo on guns might want to start thinking more creatively about how mass
shootings can be prevented. I don't particularly care what guns get banned, but you can see the tide starting to pull back on gun control. When a gunman has so effectively exploited the element of surprise, there's very little that can be done at that point regardless of who is armed or who isn't.

There are certain similarities to the debates about marriage. You expressed some ideas on marriage a while back that would have been interesting compromises for the left ten or fifteen years ago, but that ship has sailed. Gay rights activists can reasonably hope that in another 10 or 20 years, most states will have accepted marriage equality. They have no motivation to accept civil union compromises now. Likewise, while the NRA controls the conversation now, they might not always be so strong. Now is the time for the NRA to come up with some ideas other than hoping that George Zimmerman is on hand to save the day.

Mark said...

Your thinking here is so muddled that it's pretty much nonsense. Just for example, same-sex marriage has been rejected in every state where it's been voted on (over 30).

Ft Hood's similarities to other mass shootings are indeed striking. Such as the fact that Pres. Clinton thought it would be icky for soldiers to be armed while on base, so the shooting was in another gun-free zone.

tom said...

Oh Mark, you're suck a philosopher.

tom said...

heh, what a typo... such