As you can see from this 1986 image, I am not "anti-gun". Being for rational gun control doesn't mean being anti -gun!
Chris Harper Mercer, killer of nine at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, was evidently a serious gun nut in Torrance, CA before moving to Oregon with his mom. Neighbors interviewed after this latest tragedy said he couldn't wait to practice with his assorted guns at the nearest range. It was his 'fun' thing to do. Was he a screwball? Maybe, maybe not. What we do know - and as informed by reason, not passion - is that if there wasn't such easy access to guns in this country he'd likely not have offed nine people. Had he access only to knives, I doubt he'd have killed even two. That is bad, to be sure, but not as bad as nine - because the whole basis for gun control is the ease in killing.
You don't have to get too close to a person, merely take the safety off and pull the trigger. (At least one report from a former Army, UCC student on the line with Scott Pelley 2 nights ago, indicated belief that Mercer used revolvers, not rifles, in his killing spree). With a knife it's a different story. Even a Bowie knife would have to wielded with expert speed and precision to ambush nine people and kill them - and it would assume the intended victims just stood there like zombies without fighting back. Since we know at least one Army vet was there and put himself out - to even take bullets to protect other students- it's clear he'd have done the same for a knife-wielder and likely been even more successful.
Thus, rationally limiting access to guns, to the extent Barbados does for example (making knives the only easily available weapon), would have definitely limited the body count.
Now, think about this: If this was a terrorist attack, say using an IED in the campus quad to kill nine, you can bet your bippy Homeland Security and the national security state, Pentagon would be on it in a heartbeat. Massive searches would be done and all bomb-making equipment seized then confiscated. The authorities wouldn't make sport. So why not with guns used in a mass killing? Well, because the Right's screech monkeys would pitch a fit, and declare their 2nd amendment rights were being taken away. Which is hogwash.
But don't tell the Right's murder weapon protectors that. Hell, if there was a 2nd amendment for IEDs they'd screech like hell to allow any citizen to have them because hey, the "terrorists are gonna get them anyway!"
In the wake of the latest incident, as reported by Gary Legum at salon.com:
National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke was quick to blame the media and second the idea that reporting on shootings leads to copycats. Right-wing rage monkey Michelle Malkin suggested gun control advocates refrain from commenting on breaking news of shootings, for reasons that elude all reasonable explanation. Does she think we’re going to find out the shooter used a marshmallow gun or actually stabbed all his victims with a grapefruit spoon?
BuzzFeed writer Joel Anderson tweeted a perfectly anodyne, if sarcastic, observation about the availability of guns in America. For this, a conservative writer for the Washington Free Beacon went after him and brought along so many conservatives that Anderson seems to have briefly deactivated his account.
Again, utter insanity and certainly no hint of reason or logic. Again, if IEDs were found to be taking out lives at a clip - 294 in 274 days (the current rate of mass gun deaths), would we not act to go all out to regulate their components and deny mass access? Of course we would!
Let us in fact counter a number of gun myths:
Myth #1: ‘They’re coming for your guns!”
Fact: America’s roughly 80 million gun owners already have the feds outgunned 79 to 1.
Total weapons owned by law enforcement and the military: 4 million
(Side note: Ok, I will concede that the feds do have military fighter jets, tanks, nukes and now – from recent news’ reports- a powerful laser capable of blowing jet planes out of the sky. So even with a 79:1 ratio it might be a tad unwise for a United Citizens Militia to go up against Uncle Sam!)
Myth #2:”Guns don’t kill people- people kill people”
Fact: The states with the highest gun ownership rates have a gun murder rate 114% higher than those with the lowest gun ownership rates.
Secondary fact: Bullets kill people! Take all the bullets away and all the guns are useless, and so are the bad guys who might use them on good guys!
Myth #3: “An armed society is a polite society”
Fact: Drivers who carry guns are 44% more likely to make obscene gestures at other motorists and 77% more likely to follow them aggressively. Among Texans (who admittedly may not constitute the optimum unbiased sample) those with concealed handgun licenses were sentenced for threatening someone with a firearm 4.8 times more than those without.
Myth #4: “More good guys with guns can stop rampaging bad guys.”
Fact: The total number of mass shootings stopped by armed civilians in the past 30 years: ZERO
The chance that a shooting in an Emergency Room involves a weapon taken from a guard: 1 in 5.
Myth # 5: “Keeping a gun at home makes you safer”.
Fact: For every time a gun is used in self-defense in a home, there are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts and 4 accidents involving guns in or around the home. Making the last more likely: 43% of homes with both guns and kids have at least one unlocked firearm. Assaying all mass shootings between 2009 and 2015, it's been found that 70 percent occurred in the home. Of these, 57 percent involved a family member or current or former intimate partner. 81 percent of the victims were women and children. These killings were not done by 'crazies' but usually normal people who simply lost it in the midst of a heated argument and reached for the weapon nearest and dearest - a gun. Maybe the perp was a gun collector or maybe he just owned one for "protection" - but ultimately it was turned not on an intruder but on his own loved one.
To see a case to do with what I'm referencing here, go to: http://www.salon.com/2013/04/09/new_jersey_4_year_old_accidentally_shoots_6_year_old_in_head_ap/
Myth # 6: “Carrying a firearm for self-defense makes you safer.”
Fact: In 2011, nearly 10 times more people packing heat for self-defense were shot and killed in arguments than by civilians packing heat trying to stop a crime. A Philadelphia study found that the odds of an assault victim being shot were 4.5 times greater if he carried a gun and his odds of being killed were 4.2 times greater.
Myth # 7: “Guns make women safer.”
Fact: Six times more women were shot by husbands, boyfriends and ex-partners than murdered by male strangers. A woman’s chances of being killed by her abuser increase more than 7 times if she has access to a gun.
Myth # 8: “Vicious, violent video games deserve more blame than guns.”
Fact: Japan spends $10 more per capita on violent video games than the U.S. Its total gun homicides in 2008? ELEVEN.
In the U.S. the same year: 11,030.
The difference? 88 firearms per 100 people in the U.S. but in Japan only 0.6.
Myth # 9: “More and more Americans are becoming gun owners.”
Fact: More guns are being sold, but they’re owned by a shrinking portion of the population. In 1973, 50% of Americans said they had a gun in their homes, today 43% do.
Myth #10: “We don’t need more gun laws, just enforcing the ones we already have!”
Fact: Weak laws and loopholes backed by the gun lobby make it easier to get guns illegally, including via ‘straw purchases’ (e.g. having someone with a clean record buy a weapon for a felon.) Nearly 40% of all gun sales involve private sellers and don’t require background checks. One investigation found that 62% of online sellers were willing to sell to buyers who couldn’t pass a legal background check.
Will any of these myths being shattered make any difference? Will they help the parents of the Newtown or Umpqua victims make their case? This is doubtful so long as reason and common sense take a back seat to ideology and irrationality fueled by tons of NRA lobby money. The sad fact is, as with other areas, one party is almost totally contaminated by gun lobby money so they will not likely change – not even to pass a law for universal background checks which 90% of Americans support.
It appears we are stuck with President Obama's portrayal of "routine response" because that is all that the thought police of the NRA and its right wing allies in the media and congress will permit.