Dangerous Radicals

Careful with those square root signs ....

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

KATC (Josh Meny) reports:

Deputies say they searched the teenager's home after a tip came in that he was planning to bring a gun to school on Wednesday spread through social media.

"He committed no crime. He was the victim of the ole morphing of information [phenomenon]," explained Allen Parish Sheriff Doug Hebert….

Allen Parish School District Superintendent Michael Doucet explained that it was a poorly judged quip between one student to another in a math class.

"The students were working together, and a student made a math symbol of a square root sign, which kind of looks like a pistol. And he was helping a weaker student, and the student says, 'Well, that looks like a pistol!' And he just made a comment [like] 'let's just get to work before I shoot you with a pistol," said Superintendent Doucet.

Gossip turned it into a rumor about the student plotting to carry out a mass shooting at Oberlin High School….

Right now, the school district is not allowing the student on school property, and he's awaiting an expulsion hearing to determine if he can continue attending the school system.

Scott Shackford here at Reason reports more, and questions why the student is facing expulsion; I have little to add to that—but I do have the post title, and I just couldn't resist. Thanks to read Jeff Horton for the pointer.

NEXT: When Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel Was Accused of Corruption, He Responded: 'Lions Don't Care About the Opinions of Sheep'

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  1. You left out the most frightening part of the story:

    In response, the school board set a new policy.

    Any student accused of talking about guns or school shootings will be investigated by three entities: the school board, the sheriff’s department, and the district attorney’s office.

    If an incident like this occurs again, Doucet explained the protocol.

    “The first thing we’re going to do is remove that student from the premises with proper authority. Then, we’re going to have a home visit done by detectives of the sheriff’s department, and if no charges are filed, we’re going to conduct a threat assessment on the student,” Doucet said.

    Kind of hard to talk about current events, isn’t it? Hell, you can’t even bring up this story without being taken on the perp walk.

    1. I also wonder how they will explain the “Active Shooter Drills” that some schools seem to do now?

    2. Blatant 1st Amendment violation.

    3. Anyone want to bet that students calling for an “assault weapons” ban or “universal background checks” will also be subjected to this nonsense?

  2. Our “authorities” have lost their collective minds. They panic over trivia.

    Meanwhile, the killer in Florida had police visits made either 28 or 39 times [accounts differ], the FBI and sheriff failed to follow its “protocols” after credible threats and a sheriff deputy who could have stopped the killing was a coward who stood outside apparently playing with himself.

    1. I agree with you about most of what you wrote. But I’m not sure about the last sentence. I would like to believe that if I had been the cop, I would have gone into the building. But armed with a handgun, against a military-grade automatic rifle . . . if I had gone in, it would have been with the assumption that–unless I was lucky enough to sneak up on him–I was going to my death. The line between cowardly and self-preservation is a fine one.

      Having said that; knowing that he *was* a trained law enforcement officer who did stay out of the danger area is hard to swallow. For you and for me, in the safety of our homes. But infinitely more for the families of those hurt or killed. I do get that.

      1. Good guy with a gun bunkum. He’s trained in exactly the tactics needed for that situation, probably wearing a vest, would have the element of surprise (he’s following the sound of gunshots, the shooter hears nothing but his own noise). At least he resigned his job, rather than placing the police union and department leadership in the unenviable position of months or years to relieve him of his job.

        1. And according to Trump, we just need more of him in our schools!

          1. So the next time your life is in danger, I presume you won’t be calling the police, since they’re obviously all cowards?

            1. How often is your life in danger? I can’t say mine has ever been, save at the hands of drivers.

              1. Why don’t you go spend some time in a 911 dispatch center and see for yourself how many times people desperately need the police.

                My point wasn’t hard to understand. I’m starting to wonder if you’re perhaps a dwarf, since it flew about 3 feet right over your head.

                1. My point wasn’t hard to understand.

                  Which is rich, because you clearly missed my point, which wasn’t that Trump is wrong to think that we need more police in schools, but that Trump thinks we need more armed people with little training and no experience “defending” schools from active shooters. We have no reason to think that armed teachers, volunteers, etc., are going to react any better than the security guard did.

                  1. Actually, we do, SimonP. Simple economics means that you’ll only ever have at most one or two “resource officers” in a school. Some of those officers will be well-trained, brave and level-headed. Others… will not. Like all humans, they have a spectrum.

                    Armed teachers and volunteers will also be on a spectrum. Now, on average, you would hope that the center-mass of the law enforcement population would be a little higher than the center-mass of the alternative population. But 1) some research (such as the comparison of crime rates committed by police to crime rates committed by concealed carry holders) suggests that there might be no difference and 2) even if there is a difference, it is small compared to the spread of the two populations.

                    Now we get to math. With the in-school “resource officers”, you get one or at most two draws from the population. With the armed teachers and volunteers, you get twenty or thirty. Even if the law-enforcement spectrum is higher, you have better odds of getting a courageous, well-trained, level-headed respondent from the volunteers because there are simply more of them.

          2. To SimponP:

            30 Aug 2010 Sullivan South (Sullivan County, Tennessee) in-school SRO Carolyn Gudger engaged an armed intruder Thomas Cowan who had the prinicipal at gun point. Cowan demanded her gun and access to the fire alarm system. She held him in a stand-off until other deputies arrived and entered in minutes. It ended with Cowan dead. http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/gudger.asp

            We don’t need more of that Broward county coward in our schools. We need more like Carolyn Gudger in our schools. We have had School Resource Officers in all four county high schools since 1997. They are not just armed guards, they conduct several in-school public safety programs.

            Get over the Trump Derangement Syndrome and try thinking outside your box.

            1. Your example is nearly eight years old. Just because it works once or twice doesn’t mean it’s an effective strategy going forward.

              Get over the Trump Derangement Syndrome and try thinking outside your box.

              Like you’re “thinking outside the box”? Let me ask you: Why do you think the “solution” to school shootings is arming more teachers? What precise set of commitments and preconceptions are leading you down the road of accepting that random gun violence is just a fact of our schoolchildren’s lives, and we just have to find the best way to protect them from it?

              “Trump derangement syndrome” gets thrown around a lot here, but – funny thing! – it turns out to be a useful heuristic. If you automatically disagree with Trump, 95% of the time you’ll be absolutely on the right side of the issue.

              1. Why do you think the “solution” to school shootings is arming more teachers?

                Arming “more” teachers? How many are armed now?

        2. He was not a “good guy with a gun”. He was a corrupt individual that had been given a cush job in a corrupt organization following an insane ideology.
          However, its more likely than not that, if he had been cornered (as many teachers were), despite all his personal flaws, his fear would have been channeled towards better ends because randomly discharging 12 rounds in the vicinity of the active shooter would have greatly reduced said shooter’s ease, comfort, and accuracy (unless that kid was a secret SEAL).

      2. An AR-15 is NOT a “military-grade automatic rifle.”

        Nor has it ever been.

        1. Legal pedantry aside, the AR-15 has every characteristic which makes a military grade rifle the effective mass killer it is intended to be. It features automatic operation, interchangeable magazines, and shoots light-weight, low-recoil, high-velocity ammunition. The Las Vegas shooter killed your gun enthusiast talking point as dead as his other victims.

          Please, just stop with that. It’s no better than any other attempt to obstruct reasoned discussion.

          1. How about you stop posting ignorant statements.

            The AR-15 is not an automatic weapon.

            Reasoned discussion isn’t based on lies, Stephen.

            1. It’s a semi-fully-auto-loada- militaristic-a-matic-bullet-spittin’ murder machine, to be exact.

          2. IOW it’s a scary looking rifle you don’t like so ban others from owning them. Virtually every characteristic you listed fits, oh, I dunno, a majority of pistols, mini 14’s, and a plethora of other rifles. The LV shooter did no such thing btw, in fact he proved that an individual has to make use of a high rise building overlooking an extremely crowded event for a bump stock (an add on btw) to have any measurable effectiveness. “Obstruct” reasoned discussion appears to be your intent. DO you happen to know how many people were killed last week by weapons other than the AR15, shot and wounded? Do you know how many of those shooters were already convicted felons? Why do most of you gun grabbers only care when a group of white people get shot, otherwise, meh.

          3. You’ll have to excuse Lathrop. He’s a graduate of the Lawrence O’Donnell school of Ignorance-Based Condescension.

      3. We should not and must not depend on paid craven PUBLIC SERVANTS to run towards battle fire. That is the civic duty of volunteers that are old, battle tested, invested GRANDFATHERS. Cops just want to go home safely at the end of their shift, while grandfathers want to see (their) kids safe.

      4. “But armed with a handgun, against a military-grade automatic rifle … if I had gone in, it would have been with the assumption that–unless I was lucky enough to sneak up on him–I was going to my death.”

        Even if it was a military rifle, which it wasn’t, why would you assume you were going to your death? A rifle is terrible for close quarters combat. Its hard to maneuver, big, and unwieldy. A 9mm handgun, the common police issue, is easy to maneuver and won’t get in the way when trying to move around. The cop would have an advantage in doors.

        1. BillyG: “Even if it was a military rifle, which it wasn’t, why would you assume you were going to your death?”

          Because if you make that decision, the likelihood of your dying that day would have shot upward by about a million percent. Sane people tend to notice changes like that. Trying to rationalize that conclusion out of sight with gun pedantry seems less than perfectly rational.

          1. There are two dead AK-47-toting would-be jihadists from Arizona who, after being put down by a lone cop and his service pistol in a straight-up shoot-out, would likely beg to differ with your ignorance-based analysis.

      5. First, the deputy was not facing a ‘military grade automatic rifle”, end of story, period. Second, how exactly did the deputy KNOW what weapon the shooter had? Third, the deputy is not at a disadvantage in confined areas (class room) simply because he has a pistol. Had this coward deputy entered the building and fired only one shot, he would have forced the shooter to disengage the kids. You comment suggest the shooter is even more highly trained than the deputy, which is preposterous of course. I can’t think of single man I served with that would not have engaged the shooter, even if all we had was a pocket knife. My own kids, whom are each excellent shots, would have engaged the shooter. To suggest the deputy wasn’t a coward because of this, that and the other, is to completely ignore reality. That kid would have stopped shooting other kids had the deputy engaged, even from a protected position. The irony in all the NRA hate is that the average NRA member would have flown right by the coward deputy and engaged the shooter, trying to save lives. I know many teachers that are veterans, any one of them would have engaged. Putting that first round down range completely changes the mentality of the shooter and forces him to the defensive, not the offensive. Far too many people seem to not understand this and simply want to excuse the deputy’s actions. The lack of action is inexcusable period.

      6. C’mon santamonica,

        1. An AR-15 is NOT a military grade firearm.
        2. An AR-15 is NOT an automatic firearm.
        3. If your assumptions above were correct then the firearm the officer had would also be a “military grade, automatic”.
        4. I would also note that the rate of fire is the same between the two firearms. While the velocity of projectile is different, the difference is less than a blink of the eye, IOW no real difference.

        My apologies, however having been trained by my father who was an officer as well as my military training, I know this officer is a coward. Seriously, 18 y/o men & women in the military have had to face far worse than these officers. So too have numerous other officers that serve in communities and cities across our nation.

  3. “Dangerous Radicals”

    Well played, sir!

  4. Wow. A 1A violation, with the state selectively suppressing speech about 2A rights.

  5. This is what you gun nuts want. Remember that.

    Since you will holler and cry over the slightest attempt to get guns off the streets, our schools’ teachers and administrators are pushed to ever-further extremes to try to grapple with the problem. What are the warning signs? How do we respond? Is it any surprise that some kid’s overheard comment and overblown rumor leads to a heavy-handed response? What principal or teacher wants to be responsible for letting something like this blow over, when we have our president tweeting over the “cowardice” of a trained security guard who didn’t run in, guns blazing, to take out the Florida shooter?

    We’re making our schools into prisons, and it’s your fault, gun nuts. Don’t come back here and complain about First Amendment violations or the brutish incompetence of public employees. You’re the ones blocking our better options here. Being oversensitive over ill-considered remarks is the only alternative you’ve left us.

    1. Good lord what a fallacious paragraph.

      How about secured and staffed entrances to schools? How about monitored, real-time surveillance of the perimeter so officers know who’s approaching the school before they’re inside? How about a repeal of the “Gun-Free Zones” nonsense, where 98% of mass-murders have occurred?

      Sounds like several alternatives actually do exist aside from trampling on the First Amendment.

      1. Yes, schools as armed and heavily surveilled fortresses. That’s just so… free.

        1. Thanx for demonstrating your ignorance.

          Why do you hate children? So much so that you won’t even provide the same basic security used for other gov’t functions!

      2. Like I said: We’re making our schools into prisons, and it’s your fault, gun nuts.

      3. Cavanaugh, you don’t sound like someone who has spent much time recently around public schools. ALL the entrances secured and staffed? It is to laugh. There isn’t any budget for that. And you can’t just lock the doors and guard one entrance. That’s what many public schools already do. Leaks like sieve, because everyone judges that the practicality of using the doors outweighs the infinitesimal cost to safety. Not everything in society can be organized around gratifying the privileges of gun enthusiasts.

        1. Why would you presume that a school needs more than 1-3 entrances?

          Can 1-3 entrances be staffed by SROs? Yeah, they can.

          Can they have security cameras for the outside of the school? Yeah, they can.

          Can all other doors be relegated to emergency exits only? Yeah, they can.

          It’s not like taking the most basic steps for building security works virtually everywhere else without infringing upon Constitutional rights. Oh wait:

          Yes, it does.

        2. Correction: 2A is a Constitutional Right not a “privilege” just as much as 1A, et.al.

    2. Good lord what a fallacious paragraph.

      How about secured and staffed entrances to schools? How about monitored, real-time surveillance of the perimeter so officers know who’s approaching the school before they’re inside? How about a repeal of the “Gun-Free Zones” nonsense, where 98% of mass-murders have occurred?

      Sounds like several alternatives actually do exist aside from trampling on the First Amendment.

      1. Mr LaPierre of the NRA doesn’t seem to think there are ‘several alternatives’: “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun”. Only.

        And what are your secured and staff entrances suppose to do? Presumably not block the entry of weapons (you wouldn’t want to follow the CPAC model!), since that would be basically trying to enforce a guns-free zone – which is nonsense.

        Can I guess… these secured entrances (digression: around the perimeter of all schools? – where do you live where that’s even comprehensible; do we put in barbed wire?) will allow weapons (got to avoid that gun free zone nonsense), and allows almost everyone and their weapons in (what’s the point of the second if we get to hyper-regulate who is ‘correct’ enough in the current government’s eyes to carry one while picking up their child), but steer everyone through this new mental-illness detector you just invented? A clever mental illness detector no less, one in which in no way deems non-conformity as a problem justifying loss of constitutional rights. But no, not one that requires you to already have committed a serious crime, that would be consistent with current law but based on recent history would not achieve very much. So basically it has to predict that you will commit a crime (remaining consistent with constitutional rights of course, since if 2A is sacred so is the rest of it). Because that’s a great idea, though the implementation seems challenging.

        1. So the alternatives I mentioned are invalid because LaPierre says so?

          Amazing fallacy.

          Do you know the first thing about building security? It doesn’t really seem so. I’m going to wade into your cesspool of an argument anyways.

          Have you ever been to a Wal-Mart? Did you notice how they have security cameras in the parking lots, and around the outside of their building? Did you notice how the only entrance and exit customers are permitted to use are staffed by employees?

          Knowing whom is about to enter your building, and making sure that they use entrances that the building owner desires, is the most BASIC of building security protocols. If you wish to take a step further, you make sure that those approved entrances are staffed by people responsible for…wait for it: security.

          No barbed-wire needed. Your post is a fallacious disaster. Please do better next time.

          1. It ain’t a Wal-Mart. I never saw a Wal-Mart with about a thousand-plus teenagers in it, all looking to convenience their friends by letting them in and out the side doors?often while trying to stay out of sight of authorities. And for Wal-Mart, funneling everyone in and out of one entranc?by the cash registers?is a money-maker. It cuts down on shoplifting.

            In a school system, paying for that level of security?which at each school would cost far more than at any Wal-Mart?would be a dead weight loss. And for what? To convenience gun enthusiasts? That’s insane. Let the gun guys suffer themselves the inconveniences their enthusiasms generate.

            “It’s my right!” can’t become an all-purpose justification for whatever level of social disruption gun people demand next. At some point the right has to accommodate others needs too. And this nation is already far past that point.

        2. I would suggest that a good policy would be that, if you choose to create a gun free zone, you have a legal obligation to secure that zone with severe financial penalties for failing to do so.

        3. Presumably not block the entry of weapons (you wouldn’t want to follow the CPAC model!), since that would be basically trying to enforce a guns-free zone – which is nonsense.

          Like most anti-2A blowhards, you’re fundamentally confused. There’s nothing wrong with actually enforcing a no-firearms policy. What’s stupid is posting signs and relying on a “no guns zone” declaration as some sort of magical protective talisman. That you don’t comprehend the difference makes it impossible to take you seriously.

    3. “We’re making our schools into prisons, and it’s your fault, gun nuts.”

      I’m not a gun nut, but let me respond. Here’s the problem: the firearm availability war was lost /long/ ago. We’re a nation with almost as many firearms as people. And we have a second amendment. And we have a “gun subculture” largely involving hunting and target shooting. And only a small percentage of gun violence is committed with legally-acquired weapons. And it is almost impossible to predict who will become a mass killer. The are many a guy like the Florida shooter who will never harm anyone, and some mild-mannered seeming people who will. What do you propose to do?

      Try these.

      (1) Do you want to take gun rights away from everyone who has a mental health issue (it has been proposed) — which would include people with depression, or eating disorders, etc.? Or at least those with serious violent tendencies? Fine. Do it. There may be some effects down the road.

      (2) Get rid of AR-15s? Fine. But what firearms would replace them?

      (3) Outlaw bump stocks? Fine. They’ve been used in one shooting, and you can get plans for making them on the internet. But fine.

      [continued]

      1. [continued from above]

        (4) Better/required background checks? Fine. That goes with #2. But how many shootings would it have stopped, given the ready availability of illegal weapons. [remember how, years ago, Daniel Patrick Moynihan suggested tongue-in-cheek that we forget outlawing guns and outlaw bullets instead?]

        (5) What more? If you’re talking a more general gun confiscation, that’s a tough row to hoe, and likely impossible.

        Given all that, just what do you propose as a doable policy other than ranting at “gun nuts”? Do all the above, but /don’t/ hold your breath waiting for an end to school shootings.

        As much as I loathe the bastard, aspects of Trump’s idea are a good, almost-immediate approach Not the arming teachers part, but, yes, hardening schools. Metal detectors and guards. Frankly it works. We use this with government buildings, sports facilities, airports, and so on. So yes this is making them “prisons” (more like fortresses). Nothing else can have any immediate effect. Tax firearm sales to pay for doing this in every school district that wants to do it. For Christ’s sake, it can actually be done! Israel does it, and they are chock-a-block with guns and a simmering Palestinian population. Can you actually think of anything else that will deal with this in real time?

        Israel protects its schools

        1. 1) There is no statistical correlation between having a mental illness, and being a violent criminal. 43+ million Americans every year seek treatment for mental illnesses of some kind. To take away their rights without having committed any crime whatsoever would be illogical, and a violation of both the 14th and 2nd Amendments. The government cannot possibly prove a narrowly-tailored compelling interest when you look at the actual numbers.

          3) Bump stocks can be replicated with a rubber band, or a belt loop. The benefit of banning them, however, is that at least the gun manufacturers would not be making profit off of them. Since the point of one is arguably to get around the 1986 FOPA restriction on automatic weapons, I personally see no reason for them to profit off of it.

          Securing schools appropriately is no more creating a prison than any other business that already takes building security seriously. Prisoners can’t leave, students can.

          There is little reason to not have security cameras and entrances staffed with either metal detectors, police officers (SRO’s), or both. It sure as hell can’t be LESS effective than putting up a sign stating it’s a “Gun-Free Zone.”

        2. This is one of those ‘Man, we tried nothin’ and we’re all outta ideas’ things.’ You now live in a society where gun attacks on schools are a fact of life. Security at schools is going to have to be increased no matter what happens because even with the best will in the world the guns aren’t going to sensibly regulated overnight, let alone become sufficiently difficult to obtain to deter shooters. That could take years. Heavier security at schools aimed at dealing with gun attacks isn’t a solution to the problem, it’s an outward symptom of the problem. Since no solution that directly addresses guns can be perfect and will be difficult you’re advocating nothing except exacerbating a symptom.

          1. “Heavier security at schools aimed at dealing with gun attacks isn’t a solution to the problem, it’s an outward symptom of the problem”

            It’s a response to the facts on the ground! No, nothing is ever perfect–that’s why the FBI missed all the red flags on the shooter. But it can actually work and work quickly.

            Though it’s neither here nor there, I’m personally fine with most of the things I mentioned above, and I’ll add limiting clip capacities to — say — the eight rounds that our soldiers won WWII with. Everything except taking 2nd amendment rights away from people with non-violent mental illnesses. Just don’t expect it to make much difference and don’t come bitching when the first school shooting happens afterwards.

            1. The facts on the ground are that it is easy to get hold of murder machines to take to schools and high vantage points over concerts and such. I will bitch like fuck at every school shooting now and forever. You poor thing you must so sick at the bitching after every. single. school. shooting.

              1. And everyone interested in reasonable discussion on the topic will ignore you, because your only tactic is to “bitch like fuck” and strawman fallacies.

                Do you honestly think that you’re going to convince anyone with behavior like that?

        3. From what I’ve read, better reporting of folks with mental problems, felons, and domestic abusers to the NICS background check system would have kept the Va. Tech, Charleston, and Texas church shooters from buying guns from a dealer.

        4. What more? If you’re talking a more general gun confiscation, that’s a tough row to hoe, and likely impossible.

          Yeah, ’cause you said so? There is plenty of room left, post-Heller, to significantly reduce the availability of guns in the U.S.

          As much as I loathe the bastard, aspects of Trump’s idea are a good, almost-immediate approach Not the arming teachers part, but, yes, hardening schools.

          Simply put: We should not be “hardening” every “soft” target in order to deal with an issue that is caused by the widespread and easy availability of firearms. We should not have to live in constant fear of gun violence whenever we go to school, the mall, the movie theater, etc. There will be no end to the “hardening,” once we decide that’s our only option.

          Israel is no model. You are talking about a nation living under constant fear of terrorism, a threat its politicians only seem committed to exacerbating. That is the exact opposite direction we want to go. You’re essentially saying that lurking teenage marauders in our schools are our equivalent to a population of second-class citizens and non-citizens who are lashing out in violence because they are systematically blocked by corrupt politicians from doing literally anything else.

          1. “We should not be “hardening” every “soft” target in order to deal with an issue that is caused by the widespread and easy availability of firearms.”

            I suppose your theory is supported by the fact that these incidents overwhelmingly happen in ‘soft target’ locations.

            Meanwhile, buildings with actual security and those that don’t promote “Gun-Free Zones” seem to be amazingly free of these incidents by comparison.

            Something seems wrong with your theory.

            1. What’s wrong is you are obliged to harden all your soft targets because of gun attacks.

            2. Something seems wrong with your theory.

              What do you think my “theory” is, numbnuts?

              I’m not saying that “hardening” targets, given the ubiquity of guns, would be ineffective. Sure, let’s make every school, mall, concert performance, movie theater, etc., basically a prison. Metal detectors, armed guards everywhere, constant surveillance, controlled freedom of movement. I mean, in the Amazon era, why go anywhere anyway? Then the shootings might go down. There’ll be no one to shoot.

              But no, what I’m saying is, instead of making our entire society a lockdown society, maybe we ask ourselves why we’re having to defend ourselves against all this gun violence in the first place. Maybe it’s because we have so many guns. Maybe we should do something about that.

              1. It is very unfortunate that this commenting system doesn’t offer an ignore feature, because you are unwilling, or incapable of, any attempt at logical, legitimate discussion.

                WHY DO YOU THINK THIS CRAP HAPPENS OVERWHELMINGLY IN PLACES THAT PROHIBIT FIREARMS?

                Now take your strawman and ad hominem fallacies and consider yourself ignored.

                1. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS CRAP HAPPENS OVERWHELMINGLY IN PLACES THAT PROHIBIT FIREARMS?

                  Well, it doesn’t. Schools, yes. But it happens at malls, theaters, and apparently across the street at open-air concerts. It doesn’t happen only in “gun-free zones.”

                  Now take your strawman and ad hominem fallacies and consider yourself ignored.

                  What a crybaby you are! I just explained why your question isn’t relevant to the point I’m making. You’re the one trying to strawman me, and I’m just pulling you back on course. So now you’re throwing a tantrum because I won’t engage in the debate you would prefer to have (and win).

                  And then you ask me a question and declare me “ignored.” Sure, we’ll see how that goes. Moron.

                  1. Thanx for demonstrating your ignorance.
                    Over 90% of mass shootings occur in Gun Free Zones and high gun control areas.

                    Since you only focus on firearms, you have missed all the recent mass murders that have occurred in other countries with strict gun control laws. Those incidents, usually committed with bladed weapons and explosives (aka bombs), kill and injure more people than the US.

                    1. Those incidents, usually committed with bladed weapons and explosives (aka bombs), kill and injure more people than the US.

                      Or a guy with a truck (87 fatalities).

        5. Pox, there is no real-time solution. As you suggest, that is unrealistic. It took decades to build this mess. Now we have to tear it down?again over many decades. Adopt that frame for expectations, and most of your objections?maybe all of them?go away.

          What guns replace AR-15s? Less deadly ones. (Note, I am deliberately not scaling “deadly” in terms of ballistics, because those matter less than other factors I do mention. Dead is dead, and .223 dead is just as dead as 30-06 dead.) Less deadly, like the guns predominant in civilian society in the 1950s:

          1. Few detachable magazines. Make that none, now.

          2. Few with semi-automatic operation. Limit that further, now.

          3. No light-recoil, high-velocity bullets anywhere.

          Less deadly guns, by itself, reduces bad consequences from poor mental health monitoring, or sloppy background checks. But maybe those could improve.

          Confiscations? Don’t try it. Just outlaw import, manufacture, sales, re-sales or inheritance of contraband guns. Make the only buyer for a contraband gun the federal government. Pay fairly. And replace it for free with a well-made, conforming new weapon?designed without the unreasonably dangerous combination of features built into the AR-15 and others of its type.

          Over decades, that could work. And it would start working immediately.

          1. 1950s?

            Do you even realize that semiautomatic firearms (pistol, rifle, & shotgun) have been produced by civilians for civilians since ~1905? The government did not start using them until much later. Semiautomatic firearms are over 50% of all firearms in the USA.

            I would also note that I can fire a revolver, lever action rifle, or pump shotgun almost as fast as a semiautomatic. I can also swap magazines and keep a similar rate of fire as having one larger mag.

            Seriously, it would help if you actually acquired some basic knowledge instead of using propaganda for your whining. I was taught to use firearms as a preschool child by my LEO father. I taught my children around the same age, and will teach my grandchildren too. When one is taught to respect and take appropriate care of firearms, especially at a younger age, then one has a tendency to be a law abiding firearm owner.

      2. ‘m not a gun nut, but let me respond. Here’s the problem: the firearm availability war was lost /long/ ago. We’re a nation with almost as many firearms as people. And we have a second amendment.

        Gun buyback programs easily deal with this issue.

        And we have a “gun subculture” largely involving hunting and target shooting.

        Who gives a shit? How many teen deaths are acceptable in order to preserve this “subculture”?

        What do you propose to do?

        Reduce the number of guns owned, first of all. Do that with gun buyback programs and compulsory insurance for gun owners. Require licenses and make licenses hard and expensive to get.

        Do you want to take gun rights away from everyone who has a mental health issue…

        I really don’t give a shit. Sure. You can’t complain about over-reach on mental health unless you’re also talking about restoring gun rights for felons, who have every right to their Second Amendment protections that you and I do.

        Get rid of AR-15s? Fine. But what firearms would replace them?

        Who cares? Ban them too. Who needs an AR-15 to defend themselves?

        Outlaw bump stocks?

        Complaining that any proposed incremental measure fails because it is incremental is not arguing in good faith.

        1. Gun buyback programs easily deal with this issue.

          On what planet? Do you seriously think anything remotely close to a majority of the guns in this country are being held by people who would get rid of them if they could but just can’t figure out how to do so? For bonus points, how many guns in that category are truly at risk in being used in a mass shooting by someone other than the ambivalent owner?

          Unsurprisingly, cities that have actually tried buyback programs have obtained the sort of drop-in-a-bucket results you would expect.

          1. Do you seriously think anything remotely close to a majority of the guns in this country are being held by people who would get rid of them if they could but just can’t figure out how to do so?

            No, I think people who own more guns than they feel they need would welcome an opportunity to sell guns that don’t have much value to them for some cash. ECONOMICS.

            For bonus points, how many guns in that category are truly at risk in being used in a mass shooting by someone other than the ambivalent owner?

            Obviously, unless we are able to identify with perfect foresight which guns will be used by which troubled men to engage in shooting up so-called “soft targets” (like schools, or gay bars, or outdoor concerts, or…), then no gun control measure could really be effective. We have to get to those guns.

            No, it’s statistics, science. What we know is that there’s a positive correlation between gun availability and gun violence of all sorts. Causation? Who knows. But enough evidence to be suggestive. I’d say it’s worth a try. Or we could just keep living in terror. Tough choice, I know.

            Unsurprisingly, cities that have actually tried buyback programs have obtained the sort of drop-in-a-bucket results you would expect.

            Lots of different approaches have been tried, maybe not all of them effective. I’m sure it’s just a matter of getting the incentives right. Probably a mix of the carrot and stick. But I’m sure your anecdata trumps all that.

            1. OK, so in one exchange you’ve retreated from “gun buyback programs easily deal with this issue” to “well, maybe actual gun buyback programs haven’t really worked all that well, but those are just ANECDOTES, dude, and I’m sure we can disprove Einstein’s definition of insanity and increase the buyback rates 100-1000x if we just keep trying and find EXACTLY the right mix of the carrot and stick.” Hope springs eternal, I suppose.

          2. Life of Brian: “For bonus points, how many guns in that category are truly at risk in being used in a mass shooting by someone other than the ambivalent owner?”

            All of them. Well-made guns have a nasty habit of lasting longer than their original owners. It’s when original purchasers disperse their arsenals?quite likely after death, and sometimes before?that those guns have an increased tendency to fall into the hands of criminals. That tendency has been well-shown with regard to pistols?including even pistols obsoleted by law enforcement agencies.

            With relatively new-to-the-market AR-15 gun types, that cycle is barely begun. For that reason, it is unwise to suggest that present experience is an accurate gauge of the social hazards which may come from today’s exploding sales of AR-15 type guns.

            The right policy to avoid drop-in-a-bucket results is to outlaw all sales of contraband-type guns, except to the federal government, and be patient. Other incentives, such as free replacements using non-contraband types for guns accepted in buy-back programs would also help.

            I have another reply above, to Pox, which adds a bit to what I say here.

        2. You sound like a Progressive Democrat. Wanting 2A Rights only for the rich 1%ers, just like the Progressive Democrat plantation owners of old, especially when they lost the Civil War and used the KKK, Jim Crow laws, segregation, etc.

          Why do you hate poor people?
          Why do you hate POC?
          Why do you hate women?
          Why do you hate children?

        3. You sound like a Progressive Democrat. Wanting 2A Rights only for the rich 1%ers, just like the Progressive Democrat plantation owners of old, especially when they lost the Civil War and used the KKK, Jim Crow laws, segregation, etc.

          Why do you hate poor people?
          Why do you hate POC?
          Why do you hate women?
          Why do you hate children?

    4. “We’re making our schools into prisons, and it’s your fault, gun nuts.”

      Schools were turned into prisons long ago, and it started in the inner city. Metal detectors, permanent police presence, gang fights. Carry on tyrant.

      1. Is there a reason you don’t view that phenomenon as absolutely continuous with what we’re witnessing now? Oh, is it because “inner city” codes as “black,” and the Parkland massacre codes as “white”?

        1. Ah, yes. The ‘racist’ card is thrown.

          1. If you can provide an alternative explanation for why gun violence in the “inner city” schools should be treated as a distinct phenomenon from what just happened in Parkland, feel free to provide it. Until then, your whinging about “calling us racists is the true racism!” just makes you look dumb.

            Personally, it seems to me that “inner city” gun violence and “suburb” gun violence has a common cause – the widespread availability of weapons whose primary function is to kill people. The libertarian commitment to failing to see this obvious connection is one of their more entertaining idiocies.

            1. If you can provide an alternative explanation for why gun violence in the “inner city” schools should be treated as a distinct phenomenon from what just happened in Parkland

              You seriously can’t figure out why gang violence and the actions of a lone nut-job are distinct phenomenon? You’re a special kind of stupid, aren’t you?

    5. “trained security guard who didn’t run in, guns blazing”

      He was a deputy sheriff with body armor, not a “security guard”.

      “run in”

      Who was asking him to “run in”? He just had to cautiously enter, observe the tactical situation and act according to his training. He had the training and experience advantage and tactical surprise, the shooter (unless he was at the entrance) would not have known he was there.

      “guns blazing”

      No, using his weapon when he was in range and had a reasonable chance.

      Police have successfully engaged suspects with rifles before and lived.

      1. Yes, very interesting and relevant, yes, uh…

        So… what? You want to justify piling on the security guard? Sure. Let’s do that. And then tell me what you’re going to say when 55-year-old Ms. Collins over in 7th Grade English cowers behind her desk instead of “observing the tactical situation” per her 10-hour training course while Billy from 9th Grade stalks the halls with a handful of weapons.

        1. You want to justify piling on the security guard?

          That you don’t know the difference between trained law enforcement officers (y’know…like deputies with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office) and “security guards” is yet more proof of your profound ignorance.

          Oh, and…there were 4 of them in total, not just one.

    6. Cry over the slightest attempt? Laughable, and that’s being kind. No one will shed a tear if we start locking up convicted violent felons in possession, for life, on the first offense. Let’s do talk about lowering violent gun crimes, start with what no one will shed a tear over happening and then come back and lets talk getting guns off the street. I say no one will cry, not quite true, the progressives will howl at the moon, as if disparate impact is why so many of their base voters will be doing life, add to that the thousands of lives that will not be six feet under thanks to the same felons doing life and what’s not to like. No, instead let’s talk about banning a bump stock, or scary looking black rifles. Fairly obvious those actually ‘crying’ over attempts to remove guns from the streets are the same folks demanding more useless laws that serve only to make otherwise law abiding citizens in to felons. But hay, critical race theory and all, for the chirren, right!

  6. “This is what you gun nuts want. Remember that.”

    and ~this~ is the best that simon can do, eh

  7. I appreciate the clarification of just exactly what was said. A comment turned into a rumor etc. It wasn’t just a single thing he said about it looking like a gun or joking about “shooting,” which the week when someone killed seventeen people at a school with a gun might upset people.

    As I noted in the last thread on this blog on this issue, the original stories vaguely spoke about a “comment” a certain student said, while multiple students made comments about the same thing.

    The overreaction while schools are sensitive over school shootings where nearly twenty people have died is fairly understandable if not justifying searching his home etc. As I noted there, you will find overreactions of this nature in a country this size & libertarians/conservatives will in various cases themselves overreact about something as well. It’s a human thing to do and other times, there won’t be a strong enough reaction.

    There is obviously a humorous side to it as well.

  8. Every time any such thing happens (and sometimes when it doesn’t), everybody goes all Barney Fife.

    You can’t stop that from happening, but you can act to diminish it. Part of that is to get civil libertarians on the authorities’ cases.

    Here in Carmel, IN, the high school has had to publicize and try to debunk several rumors and broadcast information about more ordinary incidents. Parents have responded that the school was covering up for a planned school shooting, and have said they’ll keep their kids at home. At least the school isn’t threatening kids who joke about a mathematical gun.

    1. Can they talk about Schroedinger’s cat in a physics class? Though that involved poison, not a gun ….

  9. Raising our children to be petty authoritarians? What could go wrong?

    1. Giving them guns?

      1. This shooting proves for the umpteenth time that we can’t trust the government with guns. The left’s theory that the government can protect us has failed. We need guns to protect ourselves.

        1. All your guns failed abysmally to protect these kids. Your infantile need for guns was the reason these kids died.Take some personal responsibility for a change.

  10. So what do libertarians think of these ideas?

    Tighten up reporting to the NICS database. the Va. Tech, Charleston, and Texas church shooters were able to buy and possess firearms because they weren’t timely reported.

    “Red flag” laws, that would allow police, family or mental health professionals to petition a judge to ban individuals that can be shown to be a danger to themselves or others from possessing or buying firearms.

    When a protective order is issued for spousal abuse, a warrant to seize all firearms the abuser has is issued.

    When people fail an NICS background check, investigate to see if they’ve violated Federal law by falsifying their application, and prosecute if they have. ATF currently prosecutes less than 1%.

    Prosecute straw purchasers who provide firearms to those barred from having them. DOJ prosecutes less than 100 such crimes a year.

    1. Jerry B. — here are some off-the-cuff responses.

      (1) Tighten up reporting to the NICS database. the Va. Tech, Charleston, and Texas church shooters were able to buy and possess firearms because they weren’t timely reported.

      ==> Tightening up databases sounds like a decent, technical idea. The question here is “why were they loose?” How do they operate? What would effectively have to be implemented here to get better coordinated?

      (2) “Red flag” laws, that would allow police, family or mental health professionals to petition a judge to ban individuals that can be shown to be a danger to themselves or others from possessing or buying firearms.

      ==> From a civil libertarian standpoint there are some issues. First, the individual should be able to challenge the ban. Second is a series of things. (A) How long would it last? (B) What are the actual criteria that will be used in a determination? (C) I’m concerned that these things tend to get interpreted more and more broadly — rather like arresting a kid for making a gun joke in school. Did the guy once throw an empty plastic milk jug at his wife during an argument or saying to someone “Karma bites”?

      [continued]

      1. [continued]

        Not a joke. It’s the “society of saints” issue that Emile Durkheim discussed over. In a world where people are ever better behaved, the standards become ever tighter, and people are condemned for actions that once would not have raised an eyebrow. It’s /why/ schools expel children for bringing their inhalers to school, or giving a friend an Advil. Or why schools have a kid arrested for burping.

        (3) When a protective order is issued for spousal abuse, a warrant to seize all firearms the abuser has is issued.

        ==> Same general issue as above. Is this person forever banned from owning, based on a non-violent disagreement with his ex, where he pestered her?

        (4) When people fail an NICS background check, investigate to see if they’ve violated Federal law by falsifying their application, and prosecute if they have. ATF currently prosecutes less than 1%.

        ==> So why don’t they prosecute more? This seems an administrative matter where the laws in place simply aren’t being enforced. It’s likely funding and priorities.

        (5) Prosecute straw purchasers who provide firearms to those barred from having them. DOJ prosecutes less than 100 such crimes a year.

        ==> Again, /why/ aren’t they being enforced? As with #4, is this a situation where laws get passed for symbolic and short-term emotional import, and for the notorious virtue signaling, but there is little follow-up, little specific funding, largely a burden on enforcers? But by all means enforce.

        1. As to why authorities fail to file NICS reports, a lot apparently has to do with bureaucratic inertia, or ‘shielding’ folks declared mentally incompetent from exposure. The ‘carrot and stick’ bill currently proposed might overcome that somewhat.

          As to ‘red flag’ laws and protective orders, seems that anything you can petition a judge to do to someone, they should be able to petition for relief, given good evidence they’re no longer a danger.

          I have no idea why ATF and DOJ don’t more vigorously prosecute these gun crimes. I’d guess more bureaucratic inertia, and more focus on stuff like the drug war. I’d be happy to legalize, tax, and regulate most drugs, release non-violent drug offenders with their records expunged, and use the resources freed up to go after violent criminals instead.

          None of these suggestions are a cure-all, but they would likely be more effective and more practical to implement than something like confiscation of semi-automatic rifles.

  11. I wonder how many folks who think that we should keep guns out of the mentally ill think we should keep guns out if the hands of Muslims as well? Is the argument different?

    1. Current Federal law says we can keep firearms from anyone “…who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution”. That’s quite a way from just mentally ill. I’d be fine with keeping firearms out of the hands of Muslims, along with anyone else, who have been so adjudicated.

      1. Sure but lots of people now are proposing further restrictions on the mentally ill. And of course, civil commitment, which allows the indefinite detention of people without trial, has its own problems.

        1. I’ve generally seen Liberals proposing stuff like banning anyone who takes medication for issues like depression from owning firearms. I certainly don’t think that’s a good idea. Generally, current law for declaring someone mentally defective or committing them requires a hearing where the person being evaluated gets a chance to have their side heard. That’s fine with me. If states pass ‘Red Flag’ laws that allow gun removal hearings for persons that the police, family, or mental health professionals believe they can show are a danger to themselves or others, I’d prefer that that person also has their day in court, as I would for folks getting a protection order against them.

          That being said, I have no problem with removing firearms from folks who are shown in court to be a danger to themselves or others.

    2. Okay, but I reckon since so many massacres have been by white men, we should keep guns out of the hands of white men, too.

      1. Yup. Same argument. But I’ll bet you’ll find it a lot less popular when used against Muslims or crazy people.

        1. Er, more popular.

          1. Are you kidding? It’s an excellent argument and will prove immensely popular. Lead by example, white men, and Muslims and crazy people will be sure to follow.

      2. So the retail shootings that belong to the non-white portions of the citizenry in greater proportions based on population don’t bother you?

        Are you prejudiced against whites?

        (Ha. Played the race card first, so you can’t)

        1. One set of shootings and gun-related murders at a time. There are SO MANY different types of gun violence and gun-related deaths and injures, try to focus on one at a time before pulling back to the big picture of the ongoing gun holocaust.

  12. Historically, when people in certain parts of the country wanted to be seen as doing something, they would start rounding up blacks and Jews. By that standard, maybe this is something of an improvement.

    1. Of course, gun control laws will result in the above.

      1. No they won’t. If anything it’ll make it harder for you to round up your neighbours.

  13. Allen Parish School District is committed to protect all its students from these dangerous weapons of math instruction.

  14. Here is a thought for the guns-in-schools advocates. If the guy had entered the school, and confronted the assailant in the midst of his crime, and shot him, saving at least some lives, what would have happened? He would have been hailed as an example of extraordinary courage, meriting the thanks of a grateful nation. A hero.

    Think about that. Your plan for protecting school kids depends for practical success on conduct which everyone actually regards as extraordinary, and making it instead into something expected as a matter of routine. Of course it’s gratifying to think that. And it’s probably very good for the self-esteem of people who do think it?to imagine themselves as members of a group so celebrated for its exalted high character?Donald Trump, in his imagination, rushing in without even a weapon, thinks that way.

    But the original judgment is certainly more accurate than the romantic expectation. Heroism is celebrated because it is rare, not because it is routine and practical.

    1. You are conflating two different things.

      On one hand, a widespread program of training teachers to be armed guards is hard to justify on economic grounds – the numbers just don’t work out even using much higher valuations per life than we use for other public policy decisions.

      One the other hand, though, when you’re lucky enough to have that retired military or whatever staffer, state laws that forbid any armed staff no matter the circumstances are forgoing a freebie.

      To follow your reasoning, it’s like saying ‘people brave enough to jump in rivers or run into flaming buildings to save a child are rare, so let’s outlaw saving drowning or burning children’. We celebrate heroism because we want to encourage it; outlawing heroism is a bit odd. After all, no one is asking you to be brave if it’s not in your nature; they just want a fighting chance if they are brave enough to take it.

      (I’m more optimistic about human nature than you are, but I’m going with your pessimistic views here for the sake of discussion)

      1. Absaroka, you want the widest conceivable scope for gun-carrying, for its own sake, not because you think it is practical school safety policy. Your description gives the game away?how sometimes you would get a freebie because some previously-trained person would be on hand to behave heroically. That’s invoking chance?chance with a double dose of uncertainty?both with regard to the person being around, and with regard to his/her capacity for heroic action. That’s not a foundation for policy, it’s wishful romanticism?as multiple accounts of both spree shootings and military combat back as far as the Civil War copiously attest.

        Heedlessly equating guns and heroism is the root of the policy mistake being made by guns-in-schools advocates. It must be wonderful to have something that confers a personal virtue so rare and elevated as courage, and yet to think many people can be successfully trained to it?or indeed, to think they can go out and just buy it, and strap it on.

        1. Your response is kind of a bizarre non sequitur.

          I equate guns with heroism like I equate fire extinguishers with heroism; to wit, not at all.

          But outlawing fire extinguishers in schools because not everyone might be willing to put out a fire seems passing strange to me.

          It’s not that I think arming teachers is a reasonable policy – I don’t – but the passionate objections seem more religious than practical.

          (I gotta confess, I have never understood the emotional entanglements about guns, on either side of the arguments. In my circles, they have always been tools, no different than chainsaws or kitchen knives. Needful of care in use, and just the right tool for some things, useless for others – but they don’t have any emotional content for me, any more than any other inanimate objects. If they do have strong emotional overtones to you, you shouldn’t assume everyone else inhabits your personal reality)

          1. You are defending against a charge I didn’t make. I noticed you weren’t a guns-in-school advocate. You were clear about that. So that part of my comment wasn’t directed at you, but at other readers who are advocating guns as school safety policy.

            With regard to your fire extinguisher analogy?isn’t the comparison more apt if you equip the school with a bunch of drip-torches, like fire crews in the West use to set backfires, and ignite controlled burns? Assuming you see the point, do you think it would be good fire-safety policy to stock drip torches in schools, and train teachers to use them?

            1. “isn’t the comparison more apt if you equip the school with a bunch of drip-torches, like fire crews in the West use to set backfires, and ignite controlled burns? Assuming you see the point, do you think it would be good fire-safety policy to stock drip torches in schools, and train teachers to use them?”

              That would be a great point if setting backfires was a useful technique for fighting structure fires.

  15. Apparently there are only 2 possible approaches available:

    1) Do nothing when given numerous (in the tens) instances of an indivdual’s violence and mental illness, including explicit threats that he plans to shoot up a school.

    2) Freak out and over-react to every innocuous statement made by a student.

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