Shocked and Saddened


Wait till car bombs are the next big thing for the disaffected, disgruntled, and deranged. It's only a matter of time before the technology comes home-after all, its a product of american industriousness meeting high finance. Ask Mario Buda.…
Hear, hear, Paul.
The issue here is that the Free Market isn't willing to ponder the possible conclusion: that if you put all this evil juju up on the screen and blast the heck out of it in the media, those with less stable or weaker minds will be influenced!

The original modern Joker actor committed maybe it got to him too!

This is why I like my Batmen campy, and Pop Artish!…

Next up.

Pitchforks and mansion looting.
The Onion, of course, already handled this in their usual way.…
The avalanches of hatred pouring out of peoples' mouths are having their effect. Stress is bringing more and more people to the edge, and the constant barrage of selfishness and disdain for the 'other' is pushing them over.

The mentally ill can't get any help even if they want it, their families have no way to help them, and the system is completely shattered.

No, it's not surprising. And of course those with power aren't talking about it. I just wonder how much worse it's going to get.
I understand what you're feeling, but actually, these sorts of things aren't happening all the time. They're rare. They're so rare that when they do happen, they dominate the news and everyone's mind for days.

Things that happen all the time are things like car wrecks and people dying of illness because they can't afford health care. Those things happen so often, nobody pays any attention to them anymore.
These events do come in groups, everyone has already forgotten about the shooting in Tuscaloosa a week before when at least a dozen people were injured. Mass murder has become such a commonplace that we can just drop the last one like an old toy and pick up the new one because it provides sensations. The problem is it's always the same story and we do nothing about it. What is it about our modern culture that peomotes so much violence? The unifying factor in all of these tales is rage and lonliness.
@ 8, I don't know if it's true because I haven't bothered to confirm, but the stat flying around the web is that there are 20 mass shootings in the United States every year.

Now, why some of these end up dominating the news cycle instead of others is a matter of debate. Perhaps because this was seemingly more random than most? (Even mass shooters usually know or have an acquaintance with their victims.) Because it was the first time it happened at a movie premiere? It was big news even before word of his appearance and his booby trapped apartment made the web.

So... yes, some of these shootings - the ones that are unique enough to dominate the news are relatively rare. But that's just one more measure of how common they really are.
I'm still waiting for Obama to propose/support strong gun regulation. LOL!!! Who am I kidding!!!

But where do you go to buy some tear gas? I get the bullets but fucking tear gas?!?!? And keep in mind my cold medication I buy they freak out if I want more than one or two boxes.
@ 8,

Actually, mass shootings do happen all of the time in the US. The Brady Campaign has a list of all of the mass shootings since 2005. It's 62 pages long, and it's not comprehensive.
@ 8,

In fact, there have been 12 mass shootings nationally just since the Cafe Racer massacre on May 30th.
Ok, Paul. What solution do you propose?
There are 8800 gun homicides a year in the US. The people who can impact policy in this country have a finite amount of time and money to get shit done. I would hope that they are data driven rather than reacting to comparatively rare-but-painful events like this. Yes, in a perfect world we'd work through policies to make sure this never happens again. And in a perfect world, Seattle would have a fleet of snow plows to handle the once in a decade storm. And in a perfect world, we'd spend tons of time and money trying to stop domestic terrorism (wait, we actually did that, didn't we... ). But we're SHORT ON TIME AND MONEY.

If a legislator is asked "What are you doing about gun violence?", I would hope their response would be "Not a damn thing, except when I can find a spare moment or two between working on X, Y, and Z", where X/Y/Z is something like:

-improving the 60ish% high school graduation rate in Seattle and beyond (people with diplomas shoot people a lot less)
-helping the job market (people with jobs shoot people a lot less)
-trying to head off the 500,000 tabacco deaths PER YEAR
-trying to head off the 75,000 alcohol related deaths PER YEAR (note: there's a pretty solid link between alcohol and gun violence, so this would help a bit)
-trying to head off obesity-related deaths (375,000 deaths per year), etc.
How does one solve the problem of individuals devising ways to kill large numbers of strangers? Absolutely, it shouldn't be easy to commit such crimes, but making it harder won't "solve the problem."……

You might as well try to "solve the problem" of tornadoes. You can work to minimize their effect, but they will always exist.
At least the Democrats are talking about a ban on automatic weapons.…
@14 don't compare, for example, "a bunch of people shooting at each other in Omaha where nobody died" with either of the Cafe Racer or Aurora cases. Totally different root causes, totally different outcomes.
@13: And of those, 4 of them are listed as being in Chicago, IL. Good lord.

@17 - well gee, seeing as we have dozens of shootings every year, and I can count the number of 'knife massacres' that have occurred in the entire industrialized world in the last twenty years on two hands, what say we go ahead and ban all those fucking guns, just for the heck of it, and see if we can increase the number of knife massacres relative to gun massacres. I'll tell you right now, I like my chances against one guy with a knife a hell of a lot more than one guy with 6000 rounds on him.
A friend of a friend (with all due caveats) went to see TDKR over the weekend and apparently right before the movie started two men in the back stood up and told people not to worry since they were armed. Other than a few WTF faces, nobody left and nobody said anything.

Granted it's hearsay, but this was in the Tampa suburbs (site of the RNC convention in a month!) and so not outside the realm of possibility.
And here we have the reason that our country is incapable of solving any significant problems, from mass shootings, to the eCONomy, to climate change, to (insert any issue here), most people follow a simple process:

Step 1. Deny there's a problem.
Step 2. Deny harder.
Step 3. Claim there's nothing anyone can do about it.
Step 4. Insert fingers into ears and yell "LALALALALALA... you're a communolibroislamist who has no right to interfere with our society's glorification of violence and our sadistic, pathological narcissism and solipsism!!11!!"
Step 5. Rinse and repeat.
@21, exactly. But the gun lobby pretty much owns Congress and we all know that.
Actually it's MR. Forka (or Dr. Forka, s'il vous plait)
@21, suggesting that we ban all guns is not realistic.

Certainly it's reasonable to discuss banning certain kinds of guns, or making guns more difficult to obtain, but banning guns will remove guns from our culture in the exact same way that banning drugs has removed drugs from our culture.
Why don't you and Goldy and the rest get together and dedicate a portion of SLOG to tracking things like mass shootings in Seattle. Or even incidents where multiple shots are fired.

People have very short memories. So document the situation. Let them know the scope of the problem.
@21: There were 16,799 murders in 2009, according to the CDC. About 11,000 were committed with guns. That means a third of them were by other means, including knives, cars, poisons, etc. That's a pretty significant percentage.

It also means that .003% of the population were killed by gun violence. Now, that's higher than it should be, and no reasonable gun owner would deny that. But it also means:
*Less than .02% of legal gun owners were involved in gun homicides and fatal accidents, since many of those involved illegally owned weapons.
*Less than .005% of legally owned firearms were involved in a murder or fatal accident.

Again, that's more than there should be. But it'd be considered a fantastic average if the subject were almost anything other than guns. You're much more likely to die in any number of other ways, up to and including falling in the tub. This doesn't hold nearly the emotional weight, of course, but that doesn't mean it isn't more likely.
Adding to my post @28: to help put it in perspective, approximately .018% of privately owned cars were involved in fatal car accidents in 2005, the last year I can find complete data for. That's more than 3x as many irresponsible car owners as gun owners. More, when you think about the fact that America's 200 million legally owned guns are owned by only 50 million people, and there are 4x as many car owners out there. It's important to keep perspective if we're going to have a rational talk about this - not that I expect we will.
Everyone should insist that Obama demand draconian gun control laws right now and make that a plank in his re-election platform!
Et tu, NateMan? No, there were 16,799 homicides. All homicides are not "murders."
It's because we don't believe in Jesus. Except there are more fucking churches in this counrty than any in the world. Maybe you need to give preachers more money-yeah, that's it. Send preachers more money.
31, nearly all numbers on "gun deaths" include suicide. Its a blanket fact check failure when discussing the influence of firearms.

once screened, gun death numbers per capita are much lower than reported. adding to @28 s points.

Also, this screed sounds exactly like a pro life ( as in anti-abortion ) rant.
@31: I know. I said murders and fatal accidents.
Horrific things have always happened. It used to be that news of these occurrences rarely left the hamlets and hollers where they took place.

Now they're seen on endless loops across the nation, and sometimes worldwide.

Still: 7+ billion people in the world. ~60 million die each year; that's less than 1%.

I like those odds.
For the record, the CDC tracks all these metrics.

Guns are way down the list, past diabetus, car accidents and influenza.…

You are never going to stop these type of situations by talking about gun control. The only way to stop things like this happening is for America to improve it's society. Better health care, education, drug laws, economic opportunities, and more taxes. All things opposed by half of America right now.

Switzerland practically requires it's citizens to own assault rifles as they have a standing militia. They have very little gun violence. It's all about the quality of life. Right now the quality of life in America is low in comparison to other first world countries. That is where the conversation needs to begin.
fox news said it wasn't time to talk about this, because everyone's still upset. you sound upset, too. we probably should talk later when one of these shootings hasn't happened in the month.

so, basically, never.

@36: so?
One of the biggest unspoken problems with enacting any kind of reasonable, meaningful, tangible, call it what you will, gun control is that too much money is being made selling guns and ammunition. In this gilded age, profits trump everything regardless of consequences (see: warming, global). The current crop of amoral and unaccountable politicians will not do anything, as a group, to seriously curtail the money maker that is the gun and ammo industry. Or the defense industry. Or the petro-chemical industry. Or the health insurance industry. Just follow the money.
@38 railroading fear based legislation is idiotic, its how we ended up with the war on drugs and the TSA, both of which are abject failures.

Legislating portion sizes and speed limits would save more lives.

Wait, did I just use a fact?

oh shit sorry.

There is no realistic way out. We have nearly as many guns as people, and frankly guns have better political protection. There is no political will even in the center for an Australian-style national buy-back.
@37: Very well said.
Propose all the gun legislation you want, ban certain types based mostly on aesthetics, and you've still got that pesky second amendment to deal with. And I think the possibility of amending the constitution to change or replace it is basically nil. So there's that to consider.
@31: I remember our discussion on this very point from a couple of years ago. I am still waiting for your evidence that more than a handful of those homicides are, in fact, "justifiable".
"Propose all the gun legislation you want, ban certain types based mostly on aesthetics, ..."

How about instead of banning useless aesthetic features (will criminals care whether their semi-automatic rifle has a bayonet lug) go the opposite direction and REQUIRE useless aesthetic features.

All guns will now be bright pink.
@5 I wish The Onion would go back to writing fake news. This modern stuff is too depressing.
@31, oh and (just for accuracy's sake) here are the latest stats on the number and rates of all gun-related homicides in the U.S. by degree of urbanization. So, unsurprisingly, the worst epidemic is in our large urban cores. But it's almost as bad everywhere else.

Gun-related homicides by Urbanization (source:

Metro status # Deaths Crude Rate Per 10^6
Age Adj. Rate Per 10^6 (95% Confidence Interval)
Large Central Metro 66,212 69.1 67.2 (66.7 - 67.8)
Large Fringe Metro 20,324 26.2 26.6 (26.2 - 26.9)
Medium Metro 21,203 33.1 33.0 (32.6 - 33.5)
Small Metro 7,848 25.6 25.4 (24.8 - 25.9)
Micropolitan (non-metro) 8,531 25.7 26.2 (25.7 - 26.8)
NonCore (non-metro) 5,679 26.6 27.8 (27.1 - 28.6)
Total U.S. 129,797 40.2 40.1 (39.9 - 40.3)
Amen, Paul. Exactly right. Both these candidates favored the assault weapons ban, but neither has the balls to raise it now. Sickening.
And @47 I meant to clarify that the data are for the most recent period available (1999-2009).
Obama must call for the repeal of the Second Amendment! Demand that he do so before you give him another dollar or another vote!
Well, the thing is, politics is how we as a society discuss and fix problems.

Oh wow! In the pantheon of incredibly stupid Paul Constant comments, he's hit a new low!

Negative, Paulie, the political theater of the absurd is the way THEY coral idiots and mindless unthinking and nonanalytical morons such as yourself, dood!

Vote the "lesser of evils" -- claims Wall Street, and the mindless Paulie types will always fall in line.

We don't all live on Sesame Street, buster, and you don't even effing know who financed it and whose wife was the creator and long-time produce, now do you, douchey?
dude; the only reason this doesnt happen TEN FOLD is because all of the miserable kids trapped in this slowly boiling pot are being drugged en-masse. Fact: The average U.S. citizen alive today is FAR less happy than the avg. citizen living in 1960. Your fatal misstep is assuming that quality of life will keep increasing with the gradual move away from self-sufficiency.

Restructure into small scale, self-sufficient and sustainable communities and re-wild whatever land is left.
No one will be able to do anything until we find some way to take the wind out of the sails of the NRA and their holding the second amendment above anything else.
Apparently people are taking the Aurora massacre as their cue to arm themselves. Not sure how buying a gun works, but heard on my Canadian nightly news program that gun permit applications have spiked tremendously in recent days. This particular crime seems to be making people genuinely afraid. It would be wonderful if someone with a powerful voice spoke to that common experience and used it to unify people, instead of alienating them further.
nice Paul--that is the most cogent piece I've read about this incident.

Though I sometimes wonder if, in a super fucked up way, this isn't America's version of the Roman Colosseum... just more random--and thus more paranoia and fear inducing. It's the American way. Plus fear is essentially what drives gun sales (and anti gun control).
@55: Between my father, brother and I we own about a dozen guns. None of those were bought out of fear, but rather an enjoyment of hunting and shooting.

Couldn't it more easily be said that fear is what drives gun control? After all, the only reason behind it is people are scare they're going to get shot.
I don't see how "the right to own a gun" and "gun control" are mutually exclusive. Gun control isn't suppose to stop people from owning guns, it's to make sure that people who won guns own them for the right reasons and are able to handle them correctly. I live in Sweden, we have strict gun control, we also have a lot of guns and a lot of people who own and use guns for recreation. Anyone can get a gun. If I wanted to get a gun for shooting at a range I could, but I would have to be a member at the range for at least six months, I would have to prove that I own a safe storage unit for it, and my first gun can't be larger than .22 caliber, and I can't be insane or a convicted felon (I would also have to reapply for a new license every five years). If I wanted to get a gun for hunting I would have to get a hunting license first, which I can get after passing both a written and practical exam. Nothing of this seems unreasonable to me and none of it is stopping me from owning a gun, or several. I can even buy a used gun if I want to, as long as I can provide a copy of the original owners license. So I don't how gun control infringes anyones right to own a gun. Of course, with the restrictions imposed by our gun control laws it's impossible to legally own a gun for protection (you're not allowed to carry a gun unless headed to or from hunting area/shooting range and the gun can't be loaded when doing so, and you have to store the gun unloaded in a locked gun-safe when at home) but every statistic in the world shows that's a bad idea anyway.
@56 : Nate, I considered you--I know you're out there--and purposely phrased what I said not to be absolute. I used the word "essentially". And I absolutely stand by that. Fear is essentially what drives gun sales. Current gun sales in Aurora CO thoroughly underscore that. And historic statistics bear me out (60's, 70's, 80's... surprisingly the majority of Americans were pro gun control in the 50's; interesting history).

And speaking solely for myself I approach life fairly fearlessly. If you knew me you would know. I just think gun control makes a lot of sense. I'm not going to go into the why here; the statistics are readily available to those who are open to consuming them.

I don't think it could be more "easily said" that fear drives gun control, but you're right, it's part of the equation on both sides of the coin. How we react to fear is highly personal and obviously opinionated...
Look, the cold hard reality is as follows:

1. Anyone under 30 now lives in a society where, unless they were born to fairly wealthy parents, they will never get up to the next level in this society, but will be doomed to be serfs. Also known as social mobility.

2. Wages are stagnant with a 98-2 percent capital-labor split (not the usual 50-50) even though record corporate and executive profits are being amassed.

3. Remember France before the Guillotine? You're living in it.
I think post #37 has the most logical view on this issue so far. I think addressing social issues and quality of life goes way farther in preventing violence than banning guns. An outright ban, similar to drug prohibition, probably would create an unregulated black market with regards to firearms.

That said, I can't tolerate the idiocy of comparing gun violence to accidental deaths (car accidents, slipping in the shower, etc). Let's say that way more people die from slipping in the tub than from getting murdered by guns. What's your point? That we should regulate tub-slipping instead? Do you really not see a difference between truly random accidents and acts of violence that are carried out intentionally with the help of readily available, highly efficient killing devices? You truly don't understand why people might find it logical to regulate one and not the other?

Just because an outright ban may be uncalled for doesn't mean that effective regulation isn't up for debate. Let's take your example of how pervasive car accidents are: tons of people die in car accidents, and yet we don't ban cars. That's true. But we do have standards for who gets to drive, we have classes of vehicles that require extra qualifications, and people who drive drunk or recklessly can lose their licenses. This hasn't "cured" the problem of car-related deaths, but it does lower them far below what they otherwise would be. With cars, we don't use the inevitability of the existence of car accidents as rationale to give up on all regulation that might limit the pervasiveness of car accidents. If you heard someone arguing that we should, you'd probably call that person an idiot.

I fail to see how this doesn't suggest the benefits of taking a similar approach to guns. Sure, a gun ban is unrealistic. Sure, there are larger social issues that need to be addressed on top of any gun regulations. Sure, the existence gun deaths as a phenomenon is inevitable. However, they can be reduced if legal guns are more difficult to obtain for people who are irresponsible, mentally ill, or who have a history of crime and violence.

I own a couple guns, for instance, and the only things I shoot with them are deer, moose, and clay pigeons. This is because I'm a sane, nonviolent person, not because guns are benign. Regulations that allow me to legally buy rifles while preventing angsty teenagers from legally buying AK-47's might not be 100% effective, but they do make a difference (and they can always be improved upon). Let's not forget that the whole problem with black markets is that they're unregulated; so lacking regulation in the overall market is hardly a solution either. And pointing at more common causes of death is a logical fallacy; it says nothing about what can/should be done about THIS cause of death.