What will it take to change our gun laws? Twenty first graders torn apart by 100 Bushmaster rounds couldn’t do it.
Would 100 first graders torn apart by 500 bump stock rounds fired by an AR-15 do it? Would four senators and representatives from Congress torn apart by .45 caliber rounds from a 100-round drum magazine on an old Thompson do it?
So far we have had only two representatives in Congress wounded by shooters, Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Gabby Giffords of Arizona. What will happen if a senator is killed by a shooter? Will Congress act—or will it take five dead senators?
Retired New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said after the attempted suicide bombing of a subway that it was fortunate that only four were wounded. After that statement he reminded Americans that there would be at least one mass killing (at least four dead) by firearms in the United States that day—or maybe two. He also reminded us that there is only a 1 in 3.64 billion chance we will be killed by a terrorist—and a 5 in 100,000 chance we will be killed by a U.S. citizen with a firearm. The last count I had for mass killings for 2017 was 397 about two weeks ago. We have certainly ngone beyond 400 now.
When the Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock killed 58 and wounded over 500 country and western concert goers out of a crowd of 22,000 in a parking lot, he fired more than 1,100 rounds at humans in ten minutes. He had 12 rifles outfitted with bump stocks which turn semi-automatic rifles into automatic machine guns. Even with switching rifles and magazines he managed to fire about 110 rounds a minute.
If he’d have had a musket, which was the weapon of choice when the Second Amendment was sanctified, he would have had to be very skilled to get off two rounds a minute—or 20 rounds. The Las Vegas sheriff says he has not figured out why Paddock stopped firing because he still had 4,000 rounds in his hotel room when he killed himself.
We now kill about 33,000 and wound over 100,000 per year with firearms, costing us and the economy about $230 billion in productivity and to bury, repair, and rehabilitate. Shooters kill an average of 42 people every day; and about 45 commit suicide with firearms every day, many of them veterans.
Our gun laws are basically still based on the musket, but now we can buy machine guns and 50-caliber sniping rifles that can blow up an engine block. We can sell bump stocks that turn a semi-automatic of 50-60 rounds a minute to 400-500 rounds.
On Black Friday, the sales day after Thanksgiving, the FBI had 203,086 firearm background checks to handle. It covered 185,713 requests last year. This is insanity at the highest level, way beyond blubbering and demented howling.
The weapon of choice of mass killers
As a Marine back in the 1950s I fired the Garand M-1 rifle, a semi-automatic that fired eight-round clips. At most a fast shooter could fire about 40-50 rounds per minute if they had the clips handy. This 30-caliber weapon could do a lot of damage with a muzzle velocity of about 2800 feet per second.
The weapon of choice of mass killers is the AR-15, which fires a smaller bullet at a slightly higher speed (depending upon ammunition). The AR-15, called an assault rifle, is actually named after the designer, the Armalite Corporation. It looks like a military weapon, all black gun metal, and is the most popular of all semi-automatic rifles in the country.
Why the rifle is selected by many who have never touched a military weapon will have to be answered by psychiatrists who study ego, fantasy, and problems associated with penis size. Trauma and emergency room surgeons call the AR-15 “the perfect killing machine” that can fire hundreds of rounds per minute with the assist of bump stocks or trigger mechanisms.
But it’s the bullet (smaller than most) that is fired at a very high speed that causes the most damage. Most handguns fire rounds at between 800 and 1200 feet per second. The bullet makes a hole through flesh but a round fired at 3000 fps creates extra shock waves that blast through large corridors of flesh. It’s a matter of simple physics—but we all know what Republicans think of science.
Rifles designed for large animal hunting have the same effect, but a semi-automatic assault rifle type has very low recoil, which allows the rifle to be fired again and again with relative ease.
Dr. Peter Rhee, who got his experience treating Marines in Iraq from AK-47 assault rifle bullet wounds, is now chief trauma surgeon at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital. He describes the AR-15 damage this way: “If you survive an assault rifle injury, the complications are tremendous, things like the intestines will often leak, and you can have all sorts of problems with abdominal walls and hernias. Everything you fix can fall apart.”
We are absolutely nuts to have sold almost 14 million of any type of weapon like the AR-15 in the civilian firearm market. If we are going to stop the present obscene carnage, they should all be melted down and turned into lawn furniture and auto parts.
The strong link between murder rates and income inequality
There is a steady increase in road rage shootings as the highways get busier and the chasm between the rich and the poor gets wider. People get angry and “disrespected” when they are concerned about their economic well-being in a political system that’s going “feudal.”
The World Bank has done studies of how the murder rates differ so much from the United States and countries that have relative equality among citizens. The status of males in the society is the main factor.
In the U.S., males are concerned about their status so much that 77% of murder victims are male. In the Nordic countries 50% of the victims are male. 90% of the murders in the U.S. are committed by males.
The inequality chasm is so wide that large numbers of U.S. males do not have well-paying jobs and cannot support a family.
We have had 1,552 mass shootings in the U.S. since the 20 first graders were slaughtered at Sandy Hook. In those mass shootings 1,800 people were killed and over 6,000 were wounded. Gun nutcases out there want to hold the record of killing 100 first graders, or 200 concert goers, or 10 senators. The Las Vegas shooter has the current killing record—for a little while.
We will easily surpass 400 mass shootings this year—and the number will continue to climb as inequality increases. We have to understand that the increase in mass shootings is a unique and tragic American problem. No other country comes close in firearm deaths—and only large mass killings make the news now. Single firearm murders do not even make page 16.
The news is often underwhelmed and desensitized by politicians citing worthless “thoughts and prayers.”
John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” described poverty in the Great Depression. Now we have “The Grapes of Wealth.” While the top 1% has gained 205% in income since 1980 and the top .001% has gained 636%, 117 million Americans have gained 0% and are living paycheck to paycheck.
They are getting royally pissed. The rich will need more security at all times, more safe rooms in their gated mansions in New York and Montana, and more armored limos to go to their private jets.. Private and public schools will need to add more technological security, bulletproof glass, locks, and safe areas.
We will have more mass killings and more individual killings as inequality increases. Thirty years ago the bottom 90% owned 40% 0f all wealth. Now the bottom 90% owns only 27%. People love to eat almost every day. They will find food somehow. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
The violent history of one Glock 17
A Glock 17 was for sale in a Virginia strip mall firearms store for $325. A clean man bought the gun for a “dirty” man. Mr. Clean lied on federal form 4473 used for the background check.
Six days after the purchase, the dirty man used it in a gun battle that wounded six in Washington, D.C. Three days after this shooting it was used in a road rage incident at a D.C. traffic light. The victim was a cop who was on her way to testify in a murder trial. She drove after the shooter but lost him in traffic. The same night the road rage shooter struck again, shooting a victim four times--and then drove away.
That same Glock 17 then appeared in an adjoining state. It became a ‘community’ gun, available to friends who wanted to use it to commit crimes. The gun was finally tracked through court files, interviews, photos, surveillance cameras, and 911 calls. This one firearm was involved in 12 separate crimes before the police got their hands on it.
This Glock 17 was just one of about 400 million firearms in the hands of civilians in this country. It’s time we recognize we have a very serious national firearm problem on our hands.
Victims of Mass Shootings Describe Their Post-Bullet Days In The Guardian
Austen Eubanks lost his best friend Corey Depooter in the library of Columbine High School during that mass shooting. Austen was shot in the hand, treated for his injuries, and sent home with a 30-day supply of opiate medication. He became addicted to drugs from cocaine to Ecstasy to heroin over the next 12 years. He finally got “sober” after multiple arrests for assaults, thefts, other bad behavior, and going through “treatment” many times.
Alex Teves was killed in an Aurora, Colorado theater while trying to shield his girlfriend Amanda from the mass killer’s AR-15.
Damian Meins was not going to go to his office in San Bernardino that day because he had the flu, but he was called to attend a meeting. That day two mass killers, a man and wife wearing tactical gear, entered the building and killed 16, including Meins, and wounded 24 before they were shot and killed by police.
Brandon Wolf and his partner and two gay friends often went to the Pulse Club in Orlando to dance and meet friends. They were there the night a shooter with an AR-15 killed 49 and wounded dozens. Brandon and his partner survived the mass killing but their two friends were killed.
A 28-year-old woman was shot in the head in the Vegas massacre and is still in the hospital. A 41-year-old man at the concert was shot in the spine and will spend the rest of his life paralyzed. After the Las Vegas mass killing country music icon Rosanne Cash said: “The NRA funds domestic terrorism.” She’s right.
The NRA and the gun lobby are the most effective terrorist organization in the United States. Just examine the death and injured toll.
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