What If There's Nothing We Can Do About Mass Murders?

When unpleasant things happen, such as the Newtown shooting, people understandably call for "something" to be done, and politicians are happy to oblige — usually with legislative "somethings" that have been sitting on the shelves for years, waiting to be dusted off. But one of the sad facts of life is that some problems aren't fixable. There really are things that we just have to live with. In an interview with The Daily Beast's Megan McArdle, criminologist James Alan Fox raises the possibility that mass murders may be one such problem.

According to Fox, part of the problem with mass murders is that they are so rare. That makes them unpredictable, becuase they rise out of circumstances that almost never lead to people doing such things. There is a profile of the typical mass killer in the United States, but only in the broadest possible form.

I'm often asked if there is a profile of the mass murderer. Well, there is. Typically a white male who has a history of frustration and failure, who is socially isolated and lacking support systems, who externalizes blame onto others, who suffers some loss or disappointment perceived to be catastrophic, and has access to a powerful enough weapon (usually, but not necessarily a gun).

The follow-up question I usually get is whether we can therefore identify mass murderers in advance, and the answer is a resounding "no."

Although there is a profile, thousands of citizens fit the profile yet will never hurt anyone, much less kill a crowd of people.

Mass murders, despite the impossible-to-miss headlines, are also not on the rise. Mother Jones may say otherwise, but only by tweaking the data in unscientific ways. Says Fox, "If one examines the full range of cases--all shootings with at least four victims killed, the numbers have been trendless."

But whether they trend up, down, or remain continuous, mass killings are horrendous. So what is to be done? Will the mental health interventions favored by conservatives do any good?

[E]xpanding mental health services would be a good thing, even though it would have little effect on mass murder, because these guys typically see the problem in someone else, certainly not themselves.

Not only do mass killers not perceive themselves as having problems, he says, they generally don't have track records of mental health issues that stand out from the crowd.

What about further restrictions on gun ownership, as touted by many liberals?

[C]ertain sensible gun policy changes would take a bit out of ordinary crime, but at most a nibble out of mass murder.

That's because, he continues, "[t]hese are very determined and deliberate people who will almost always persevere no matter what impediments we place in their way."

What about media coverage? Does that encourage copycats?

To some small degree. Copycatting does exist, of course. And the nature of the coverage matters. There is a big and important distinction between shedding light on a crime and a spotlight on the criminal.

But when asked for examples of copycats, he includes some shooters who preceded the 24-hour news cycle that is often blamed for encouraging new killers. They seemed to seek out and emulate people who stood out as celebrities in their own mind, even before the saturated media coverage of today.

And don't forget that mass murders have held steady at a very low rate through the changes in news coverage.

Fox does say, "We may never know if our preventive efforts make a difference, but that shouldn't stop us from trying." But he also cautions:

However, when people say we need to do X, Y, or Z to ensure that something like Sandy Hook will never happen again, well, they should prepare to be bitterly disappointed.

While Fox is an advocate of what he refers to as "sensible gun policy changes," which seem to boil down to universal background checks and restrictions on the number of guns purchased at a time, he has written repeatedly that it's unlikely to have any effect on the sort of event we saw at Newtown. Last summer, he wrote that neither gun controls nor concealed carry permits would be effective weapons against mass murderers (though I'll add that I reserve the right to keep the means of defending my family and myself, in hopes of making a difference).

Mass killers are determined, deliberate and dead-set on murder. They plan methodically to execute their victims, finding the means no matter what laws or other impediments the state attempts to place in their way. To them, the will to kill cannot be denied.

Unpredictable? Hard to profile? Plan methodically? Let's not forget that the worst school killing in this country, to-date, remains the Bath school disaster of 1927. It was planned for a year by the school board treasurer, and committed primarily with explosives.

Some problems really can't be fixed. Mass murders seem to be one.

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  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Lies and calumny!

    Utopia is just a legislation or regulation away....

  • Hugh Akston||

    The road to paradise is paved with targeted bans and entitlements!

  • $park¥||

    But one of the sad facts of life is that some problems aren't fixable. There really are things that we just have to live with.

    Liar, liar, you're pants are on FIRE!

  • $park¥||

    You're? Really?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Stop othering Trouser-Americans.

  • Zeb||

    You are pants and you are on fire!

  • mr simple||

    Last summer, he wrote that neither gun controls nor concealed carry permits would be effective weapons against mass murderers

    Well, no, a piece of paper or plastic probably isn't going to do much for the average citizen. It takes a gun to stop someone like that.

  • PapayaSF||

    Indeed. Note that the Mother Jones piece excludes all attempted mass shootings that were stopped by someone else with a gun, and use the remainder to "prove" that armed citizens don't stop mass shootings.

  • sarcasmic||

    The obvious solution is to disarm any potential victims so that no one can fight back. I mean, if people could fight back and stuff, everyone would die in a hail of bullets. Best if only the mass murderer is armed. That's the best way to minimize the body count.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'm a white, male, frustrated failure. I hate stuff. Like people who drive in the left lane for miles and miles and miles. Where do they think they are, Ohio?

    I'll be back.

    Maybe.

  • Drake||

    Good description of a Libertarian.

  • Zeb||

    God Damn It the left lane is for passing!

  • $park¥||

    Tell that to drivers from Connecticut.

  • Zeb||

    I've tried.

  • KDN||

    Or Virginia. Or Delaware. Or New Jersey. Or truckers on I-80. Or New York. Or Nevada. Or California.

    What I'm saying is just about everybody is a terrible driver. And chances are you're one too, nobody in particular. I'll make an exception for North Carolinans, they seem to understand the concept; it must be all that NASCAR.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I've noticed that Alabamians give the left lane the proper respect also.

    I'd like to combine this with immigration. I don't care where you are from. As long as you understand "Left lane fast. Right land slow", I think you should get citizenship. If not, deport their ass right away. Back to England or wherever the hell your crappy family came from, I don't care.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Mass killers are determined, deliberate and dead-set on murder. They plan methodically to execute their victims, finding the means no matter what laws or other impediments the state attempts to place in their way. To them, the will to kill cannot be denied.

    It's almost as if murder required a general sort of intent a... a guilty mind. For those who enjoy Latin, mens rea.

    But what am I talking about? Mass murder will never happen again if we just pass the right legislation.

  • ||

    All we have to do is explain to the politicians that sometimes it's better to just do nothing because some problems are intractable. I'm sure they'll listen if we use logic and talk to them nicely.

  • oncogenesis||

    [C]ertain sensible gun policy changes would take a bit out of ordinary crime [...]

    Ever notice how prohibitionists love to color their proscriptions with trump words like "sensible"?

  • Drake||

    Sulla ended the Roman civil war and political unrest with sensible proscriptions.

  • $park¥||

    Well, everybody knows that the only way to reduce gun violence is to put a sensible registration system in place and to conduct mental health checks on those applying for registration. EVERYBODY KNOWS IT!

  • ||

  • PapayaSF||

    And how they tend to lack convincing real-world evidence that further restrictions will do any good?

  • BlueBook||

    I have one shake for breakfast, another for lunch, and a sensible dinner!

  • T||

    Fuck you, Tommy Lasorda, you fat fuck.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Or "common sense" things like banning cosmetic features and making killers reload.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    We can just ban cosmetics.
    Let them go out without eyeliner.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    While logical in theory, in the chaos of the moment, few gun owners would be prepared to mount an effective counterattack. And in a crowded setting, such as the movie theater clouded with tear gas and smoke, it would be virtually impossible to distinguish the bad guy with a gun from the good guys with their guns.

    So, if it can't always work, it can't ever work.

  • Fluffy||

    The actual mechanics of how an intervention would go down don't matter.

    Mass murders are planned events. The way to disrupt planned events is to introduce variables that cannot be planned for.

    If the shooter can't gauge whether or not someone will be armed at his target location, it makes his planning infinitely more difficult.

    It would be like trying to plan a burglary without knowing if the target house has an alarm system or attack dogs.

  • Brandon||

    Or guns?

  • Zeb||

    Yeah. And a lot of mass killers seem ready to give up or kill themselves at the first sign of serious resistance.

  • ||

    contrary to the theorizing here, i've investigated shootings where "civilians" were armed.

    in my experience, armed citizens are if anything OVERcautious in choosing to engage.

    i had one case where two were armed. the first didn't engage (according to her) because she was unsure of her backstop. therer was an apartment building about 1/4 mile away behind her target and no jury would fault her if a stray bullet hit somebody, and there was a very small chance of same happening (no ped traffic etc.)

    another didn't shoot because he saw the murderers slide had locked back (ran out of ammo) AFTER he had executed a man point blank on the ground. he was CLEARLY justified in shooting the fleeing violent deadly force using felon, but didn't feel comfortable doing so (apparently letting the man retreat to a position of cover and;or where he could possibly reload was preferable in this man's mind).

    i've responded to numerous incidents where armed citizens used their guns WITHOUT firing to apprehend individuals and imo and ime (and based on reading case studies of numerous shootings) armed citizens rarely make the situation more dangerous and almost always are restrained and careful in their target choices

  • Brandon||

    +1 Dunphy.

  • rts||

    armed citizens rarely make the situation more dangerous and almost always are restrained and careful in their target choices

    Probably has something to do with lack of immunity.

  • Zeb||

    That's a good perspective to see. Usually all you hear about this sort of thing is the stories the NRA publishes where it all worked out well for the person defending himself, or scare stories from anti-gunners. It'd be nice to see some research not intended to push an agenda. I could say that about a lot of things.

  • Enough About Palin||

    KILL YOURSELF. DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN.

  • Professor Booty||

    The thing that would likely prevent me from engaging unless I absolutely had to do so to save my life would be the fear of being lit up by your boys in blue when they confuse me for the original shooter.

  • Contrarian P||

    That's good information, Dunphy, and a good point of view that we don't often get on this board.

  • Omni||

    I dunno, knowing the way the laws and the prosecutors are I'd be hesitant to shoot a "fleeing violent deadly force using felon" cause the first thing they'll say is that he was fleeing and thus no longer an imminent threat, thus deadly force is a no no, thus I'm now the one on trial.

  • Raston Bot||

    it would be virtually impossible to distinguish the bad guy with a gun from the good guys with their guns

    Would the bad guy be the one firing indiscriminately?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Good guys don't have guns, duh. Except government employees.

  • ||

    Has there ever been a guy going on a spree-killing right after he got laid?

    Obviously free mandated sex is the real answer. I'm sure Sandra Fluke will pitch in and do her part (hey hey, it's free guys, I didn't say it was gonna be perfect).

  • $park¥||

    I'm sure Sandra Fluke will pitch in and do her part

    It's entirely possible that this will lead to the first ever post-sex killing spree.

  • Brandon||

    "You're on birth control, right?"

    "You didn't pay for it yet."

    Killing spree.

    Your idea could use a little polishing, PS.

  • ||

    i agree wholeheartedly. there is a natural inclination to DO SOMETHING, but if somebody is intent on committin' mass murder, absent intel beforehand (which most of the time you won't have), they are going to be successful most likely.

    imo, the best thing we can have is an armed populace, because a mass murder attempt in an armed populace is going to be, on average, less successful.

    the legal system is a blunt instrument and it can't solve a lot of stuff. the idea that there is something that can be, that must be done, is natural. i understand it. i empathize with it. but it doesn't make sense.

    we can definitely handle the mentally ill better than we do. a big problem is we are not willing to spend. i have to invol sometimes 2 or 3 people in a week (sometimes go weeks without an invol) and it is pretty much revolving door, even in cases where you think they should hold them a bit and get them some help. but people who don't want help, as is often the case, well pscyhology is a weak enough "science" when you have willing patients, but when they are unwilling and are convinced they are fine, it's pretty close to useless.

  • ||

    i'll say one thing ... RELIABLE high capacity magazines DO make mass shootings easier. i don't see how anybody who knows the first thing about firearms can think differently. it doesn't therefore follow that bans on same are justified, but reloads take time, and leave most shooters vulnerable

    i think firearms rights advocates, myself included, are being dishonest when they say that high capacity magazines don't help mass shooters.

    contrarily, i think in most cases, full autos are detrimental, because of muzzle rise, and running out of ammo too soon, etc. that unless you are firing into a very dense crowd , in most cases, a mass shooter with a full auto will have a lower kill total than one with a semi-auto.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    but reloads take time, and leave most shooters vulnerable

    How much time and vulnerable to what?

    A very slow and deliberate reach into a backpack or vest for a magazine and getting the magazine into the gun would take, what, 3 seconds? What's going to happen in those three seconds, absent armed resistance, that's going to make a difference?

    As a concept, magazine capacity could be a factor. In reality, aren't the scenes of these shootings littered with partially-filled magazines as the shooter reloads often?

  • Zeb||

    Who knows? But I think an honest person needs to admit that large magazines do make it easier to shoot more people faster with fewer vulnerable moments. I agree that in circumstances where no one else is armed it is unlikely to make a difference. But it is the one thing that people are talking about banning that does have some bearing on effective mass killing.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I agree that it theoretically can. And gun free zones theoretically work.

    However, if it can be shown that shooters typically don't utilize the large capacity mags because they choose to reload more often than they have to, the actual impact of any such restrictions would be much smaller than in theory.

    In addition, a person bent on mass murder can carry a functionally unlimited amount of ammo while the targets, even if armed, are severely limited. In practice, it seems at least as likely that smaller magazines will tilt the odds even more in favor of the murderer in some cases without much of a corresponding penalty in others.

  • Zeb||

    "And gun free zones theoretically work."

    Unless all access to the zone is protected by metal detectors and armed guards, I think that might be a bit of a stretch.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    "Theoretically", zeb. Of course, as soon as someone brings a gun into that area, it ceases to be a "gun free zone" Theoretically, it's impossible to be shot in a gun free zone.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    It's not an issue of helping the mass shooter. Cho killed more people at VT than any other school shooting. The largest mag he had was 14 rounds. It's a small issue of convenience.

    As far as reloading giving people a chance to react, what are they going to do? When the shooting starts, everyone is going to run and hide as far away as possible. If you're running away and haven't been shot, you're going to keep running if you're not being shot at. If you are the heroic type and decide to hide until they reload, you've got ~ 1 second to get out of your hiding spot and build up enough steam to get to them. Go ahead and practice this. Go hide somewhere that would conceal you from a shooter and time how long it takes for you to get up and run 15 feet or so. Most likely, it took you longer than it takes to reload or pull out a sidearm and shoot your ass. More likely than not, you'll end up a dead hero like all those that tried to stop Adam Lanza, Eric Harris, or Seung-Hui Cho.

  • Loki||

    More likely than not, you'll end up a dead hero like all those that tried to stop Adam Lanza, Eric Harris, or Seung-Hui Cho.

    If you can get away, great, but in a situation where it's not possible or very likely that you can get away, personally I'd rather go down fighting. Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and take the other guy down first. Either way I'd rather try than to just go out like a bitch.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    I agree that you can try, I would too if I didn't have an escape route. Of course, I'd rather be armed so I could respond from a distance.

  • Loki||

    IDK, 3 seconds is probably plenty of time to react and take someone down, either with or without a weapon, IF (key word) you know what you're doing. Unfortunately there are so few people out there who know even the first thing about self defense that the odds of an "average Joe" being able to intervene, even in the case you described above where the shooter slowly and methodically reloads, is pretty damn slim. For fuck's sake, it's not that hard to learn at least the basics of self defense, both armed and unarmed yet I guess most people are either too lazy to bother learning, or incorrectly assume that the cops will be able to help them in time if anything ever happens.

  • R C Dean||

    I think you're optimistic, Loki.

    The task is for a single unarmed defender to disarm the shooter before he can get one single shot off. Because that shot is likely to be into the defender, and then its pretty much over with.

    That is a pretty low-probability event, IMO, absent an extraordinary amount of luck and/or skill. The basics of self-defense aren't going to do the job. You have to remove the gun from the shooter and immobilize him.

  • Zeb||

    I think you're right, it won't make any significant difference in most situations. But, unlike bayonet lugs, pistol grips or flash suppressors, a large mag does give one the ability to shoot more, faster. That is certainly not a good reason to take them away from law abiding people, but at least it has some functional advantage, unlike the other scary looking "assault weapon" features.

  • Fluffy||

    The really funny thing is that America's high mass murder numbers (relative to some other countries we might name) is probably a result of our progressive history.

    Most of our mass murderers perceived themselves to have some imaginary grievance. Overwhelmingly, these are not Leopold Loeb events driven by morbid curiosity for experience. These guys are angry men with detailed rationales motivating them (to the extent that motive evidence is found).

    And unfortunately we are taught as Americans to expect our grievances to be addressed, or to kick ass. That's really not the case in pussy countries like Canada, or Asian nations where individuals are taught that their personal grievances do not deserve redress.

    To get rid of mass murder in the US you'd have to fundamentally change the character of our history and society.

  • ||

    this is a good point. in the US, the idea of the primacy of the individual, and his capacity if not duty to effect change is rather unique.

  • Lord Humungus||

    +1 internetz - good post.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    That doesn't explain the dudes who regularly snap in places like China or Japan and knife a bunch of school girls to death. Hell, "running amok" comes from a long-standing concept in Malay culture.

  • BlueBook||

    Interesting. I thought it came from the seven year Vulcan mating cycle.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Loki||

    Wouldn't that be "running Pon Farr"?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Drat, I just remembered it's illegal to shoot near a roadway. I'll have to stay home and knit myself a pair of socks.

  • John Galt||

    No need for panic, there are around 313,914,040 people living in the USA, with or without mass murder we are in no danger of running out of people at anytime in the foreseeable future.

  • ||

    I'll confess that outlawing private transfer honestly wouldn't bother me that much, as long as there's no registration scheme to go along with it. It would be annoying, but I could live with it.

    What I want to see is someone in Congress float a compromise bill that has universal background checks and takes silencers and short-barreled rifles and shotguns off the NFA list. I would love to see how that would go over with the anti-gun crowd.

  • nicole||

    You are so out of the club. How can you let them ban private transfer before all the speculators who just panic-bought a ton of guns are ready to sell for cheap?

  • ||

    You make friends with a racist Pollack gun dealer who will do the transfers for $15. DUHHHHHHHHHH.

    I'm not in support of it, but I think the convenience of being able to get suppressors and SBRs without paying $200 and getting a LEO signoff would be worth the inconvenience of having no private sales.

    Not that that will ever happen. In conclusion, fuck banning private sales.

  • ||

    Oh, and ending the 1986 MG freeze. Let me have unregistered suppressors and SBRs, and let me register new MGs, and I'd go along with universal background checks. Come on, TEAM BLUE, let's MAKE A DEAL.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    No, compromise means that you submit to their demands.

  • Jordan||

    What If There's Nothing We Can Do About Mass Murders?

    IMPOSSIBLE WE NEED A POLICE STATE RIGHT NOW FOR TEH CHILDRENZZZ!!11 Ban guns! Ban video games! Put a straight jacket on anybody who looks weird! Establish Marine garrisons in elementary schools!

  • ||

    Defecation occurs.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Would the bad guy be the one firing indiscriminately?

    That would be the cop; so, yes.

  • ||

    troll-o-meter:.01

  • sarcasmic||

    Seriously though, the best way to combat mass shootings is to take away the shooter's certainty that all law abiding people in certain places are guaranteed to be unarmed and helpless.

    It is that certainty that emboldens these people and allows them to kill indiscriminately.

    Taking down the 'gun-free zone' signs do not guarantee that someone there will be armed, but it takes away the certainty that everyone will be unarmed.

  • Pro Libertate||

    We need one thing. Heavily armed AIs that hover around and protect each of us.

  • nicole||

    We can call them...helicopter parents!

  • Pro Libertate||

    I said AIs. Parents are too irrational. And usually not adequately armed.

  • $park¥||

    They'll still be flying machines of death, they'll just be called Helicopter Parents. Like in a Big Brother way, everyone likes the idea of a parent always looking out for their safety.

  • nicole||

    Yes, exactly.

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    Speak for yourself. Well, on the adequately armed part at least.

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    It would sound good in my daughter's voice,

    "It's my flying Daddy of DOOOOM!"

  • Jordan||

    +1 Tulpa

  • entropy||

    A personal defense global murderdrone network?

  • T||

    Murderdrone fights! Shit, yeah!

    2 drones eneter, 1 drone leaves!

  • $park¥||

    Like Pokemon only with murderdrones! Awesome!

  • A Serious Man||

    You're on the right track Pro L. What we need is a combination of the greatest science fiction movies. A combination of Robocops, given directives by Pre-Cogs, and with a reserve force of Blade Runners to take down any rebellious skin jobs.

    And of course Obama will reserve the right to nuke it from orbit, just to be sure.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Couldn't we just join the Culture and get our AIs for free? There are no strings attached.

  • ||

    Goddammit, I can't wait to be enslaved by (sort of) benevolent robot gods.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Like it would be any worse than being enslaved by dishonest morons.

  • $park¥||

  • Pro Libertate||

    Always with the negative waves, Moriarty, always with the negative waves.

  • Agammamon||

    Look goddamnit! We are a nation of laws and the culture is a bastion of lawlessness.

    How can we guarantee your right to pursue happiness if we can't force you onto the path to happiness?

  • ||

    word. it aint a remedy, but it certainly helps disempower the shooter

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "What If There's Nothing We Can Do About Mass Murders?"

    Then that means after every incident, the government will pass another law, because the previous laws after the previous incident were clearly inadequate. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  • Zeb||

    a white male who has a history of frustration and failure, who is socially isolated and lacking support systems, who externalizes blame onto others, who suffers some loss or disappointment perceived to be catastrophic, and has access to a powerful enough weapon

    That describes probably 5% of the population (as a rough guess), doesn't it?

    There is absolutely nothing that can be done about mass murderers (except defend yourself).

  • R C Dean||

    That describes probably 5% of the population (as a rough guess), doesn't it?

    Based on the libertarian vote at the last election, I would say more like 1%.

  • SugarFree||

    Or we just ban white males that haven't had a girlfriend in 5 years.

  • R C Dean||

    In what universe does having a wife or girlfriend make you less likely to lash out in a fit of rage?

  • Zeb||

    I think that the idea is that the girlfriend allows you to keep your murderous rage where it belongs. At home.

  • Zeb||

    And just in case anyone misses the Simpsons reference, I do not in any way condone beating up your girlfriend (though I suppose it is preferable to mass murder).

  • Enough About Palin||

    Free Wi-Fi for all proposed by FCC chairman
    The Federal Communications Commission is eyeing making free Wi-Fi available; wireless providers object.

    http://blogs.ajc.com/business-.....e-thought/

    You know who else nationalized their country's communications industry?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Free? I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get that at my house, but I'd still be paying for it.

  • db||

    I get junk mail all the time advertising subsidized satellite internet service because I live in an area with no wired service. I can't even get DSL. But I have great cell signal.

  • Loki||

    However, when people say we need to do X, Y, or Z to ensure that something like Sandy Hook will never happen again, well, they should prepare to be bitterly disappointed jump right back on their favorite hobbyhorse and use the outrage to push for MOAR LAWS and MOAR CONTROL.

    FTFY

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The thing that would likely prevent me from engaging unless I absolutely had to do so to save my life would be the fear of being lit up by your boys in blue when they confuse me for the original shooter.

    No kidding.

    "Let's just shoot everybody. OFFICER SAFETY!"

  • R C Dean||

    I had an interesting conversation with Mrs. Dean about this, looking at a scenario where there's a shooter, say, in a mall, and he goes past you, giving you a clean head shot from behind.

    Do you just "execute" him? Or do you up your odds with the DA/jury by telling him to drop it, give up, whatever, thus exposing yourself to fire?

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Personally, I'd drop the shooter. In this situation, my life is already in enough danger to justify the shooting and I'm not willing to put my life at further risk by alerting the shooter to my presence.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Bang. "Drop it!"

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    My brother is both a good shot, and very jumpy. That's about how he'd handle it.

  • $park¥||

    Tell him to drop the weapons first. Fire if he does anything other than drop the weapons.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Only question here is "Head or Back?"

    In a quietly rational way, I think Head is safer. But I'd probably be pretty nervous. So I think the first 2 are aimed at the back, and the third one can go for the head.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Always aim for center mass. Unless you're a DAMN good shot under pressure. Center of mass has lots of vital squishy parts to hit and if you're loaded with personal defense rounds, they're not gonna fight back.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Do you just "execute" him?

    I don't think so. But everything looks easy when you're watching from the couch.

    Of course, in reality, I'd be hiding behind a pillar, thinking, "Maybe I SHOULD be lugging one of those stupid guns around with me everywhere I go."

  • Almanian.||

    Just more evidence that we need to make a Pre-Crime Unit a fucking priority. We need that shit to happen YESTERDAY!

    What I did there? I just saw it...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Upthread, there's some discussion about the time it takes to rush a reloading shooter.

    I know a guy who is a big time IDPA shooter, and as I recall, a lot of their scenarios revolve around the assumption that somebody can reach you from fifteen feet or less in 2 seconds.

    Of course, ten yards is practically sniper distance for those guys.

    Personally, I think throwing stuff at the shooter, to keep him from getting squared up is the best plan, assuming you are not in a position to shoot back.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Throw stuff.. Yeah, that's a great idea. Unless you're "throwing" a round at 1000+ fps (or ninja stars), all you're gonna do is piss the shooter off and alert them to your exact position. Anything small enough (that's not a ninja star) to throw accurately isn't going to do much harm. Anything that's large enough to do harm is going to take a lot of skill, strength, and time to throw. Time that the shooter is going to use to shoot you.

    Seriously, though. Ninja stars are the way to go.

  • Mark Follman||

    J.D.: I appreciate your focus on the issue of mass shootings, which deserves continued attention. It is without a doubt a complex problem. But frankly, it's just lazy to think that mass shootings can only be studied by defining them as all gun crimes in America involving four or more deaths. James Fox himself has agreed that that's an arbitrary and imperfect parameter. More here: http://www.motherjones.com/pol.....s-alan-fox

    It's equally lazy, I think, to suggest that nothing can be done to diminish mass shootings. What if, say, the 31 killers we documented who used high-capacity magazines hadn't had such easy access to them?

    I'd also encourage your readers to give a little more serious thought to the assertion that ordinary citizens with guns stop public shooting rampages. It's a fantasy with no solid evidence to support it. http://www.motherjones.com/pol.....-shootings

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    so no mass shooting has ever been stopped or lessened by an regular guy with a gun? Is that what the motherjones article is going to prove?

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Except for the actual cases where it DID happen. Funny thing, facts. They're true whether Mother Jones tells you about them or not.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Big problem with their "study". They claim that no mass shooting has ever been stopped by a citizen with a gun and then proceed to list some examples of where that exact thing DID happen. Also, completely ignored by this article is the fact that EVERY mass shooting with the exception of Gabby Giffords in the last 50 years has taken place in a gun free zone.

    Hmm, a study where they don't count the instances where civilians stopped them because not enough people were killed to call it a mass shooting, contradicts itself within the same article, and ignores the fact that the shootings take place where civilians are not allowed to have guns. Yeah, seems legit.

  • jdtuccille||

    Mark, thanks for stopping by. Your argument with Fox, a respected criminologist, should probably be taken up with him. His objection, by the way, to your methodology, isn't that it's "arbitrary and imperfect," but that Mother Jones doesn't stick to it in a consistent way.

    As readers have already replied, we have incidents on record, including the Pearl High School shooting, in which matters were ended by an armed civilian (assistant principal Joel Myrick at Pearl). Armed civilians may, in fact, keep the death toll low enough that such incidents don't end up as mass shootings.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What if, say, the 31 killers we documented who used high-capacity magazines hadn't had such easy access to them?

    What if?

    What if those people had not been so completely untethered from reality they thought shooting a bunch of strangers would somehow improve their situation?

    What if.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Anything small enough (that's not a ninja star) to throw accurately isn't going to do much harm.

    Read more better.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Are you talking about the "squaring up" part? Unless you've got a steady stream of things to throw at them, squaring up isn't going to be a problem and if you DO have a steady stream to throw at them, they're going to just start shooting in your general direction until you die, so good luck with that.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It's a fantasy with no solid evidence to support it.

    "You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can
    with a kind word alone."

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