nuts with guns and grudges, again.

Yesterday, a nutcase went on a rampage and shot dead ten people in Alabama, in the gun-crazy United States, where they let just anyone own a firearm.

Today, a nutcase went on a rampage and shot dead fifteen people* in a high school near Stuttgart, in Germany, where they have strict gun control, registration for anything bigger than a pellet gun, and a tough need-based purchase license system that would make politicians in New Jersey or California weep with joy.

For good or bad, guns are a highly desired commodity.  As the War on Drugs has shown us, you cannot get rid of those, no matter how many laws you pass, how strict you make those laws, or how much time and money you spend on enforcement. Anyone who wants a gun can obtain one if they want it badly enough, regardless of the laws in place.  You cannot stuff the technological genie back in the bottle just by drafting words on paper.  Gun control only works on those who obey the laws in the first place.  Spree killings by unhinged lunatics can happen, do happen, and have happened in countries with loose gun control, strict gun control, and total gun prohibition.  They’ve happened in the United States, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, France, Austria, the UK, and Canada, among others.

I’ve said it before on more than one occasion, but it bears repeating: the only thing that will quickly stop a spree killer is another gun.  The final body count is solely determined by whether that gun is already at the scene of the crime, in the holster of an intended victim, or whether it needs to be carried there in the holster of a police officer.

*The CNN article quotes ten dead in Germany, but the German newspapers say the victim count is “at least fifteen”.  The shooter was a 17-year-old former student who fled the scene on foot and was later killed in a gunfight with police.

28 thoughts on “nuts with guns and grudges, again.

  1. swamp(FI) says:

    Yup. Shooting started less than hour after a proposal for new firearms legislation was published in Finland. The same proposal that was initiated after Kauhajoki shootings last fall.

    Sincere condolences for the families of the fallen ones and injured, their suffering is all too real. But some of those bullits will land up here too….Yes, we’re still alive but about to be screwed.

    The concept of concealed /open carry has allways been a bit…too “wild wild west” for me. Simply because that has never been a custom here in Finland. But after these school shootings here and abroad….I don’t want to go down like that. With that thought in mind, open/concealed carry makes sense. Big time.

  2. perlhaqr says:

    CNN now claims 16 in Germany.

    Unlike Cho, Kretschmer didn’t waste any time in the school. He killed 13 people in his first two minutes. Unless every teacher at the school was armed, I’m not sure even Vermont carry regulations in Germany would have done them much good. There wasn’t a lot of time for anyone to get there.

    OTOH, it might have saved the last three people, which is of course a worthwhile goal.

    Swamp: I’m sorry to hear you guys are undergoing the UK transformation. Y’all make good firearms up there.

  3. Allison says:

    The only reason a person could have to own a gun is to kill something, whether animal or human. I’m sick of listening to people talk about their right to own a gun (what if the govt. turns on us?, I like hunting, blah, blah, blah.) If we can’t agree on no guns at least no semi-automatic weapons. If you can’t agree to that then you shouldn’t be in possession of any firearm, because you are obviously crazy.

  4. Marko says:

    Allison,

    is that why we issue guns to cops? So they can kill people? I mean, since that’s the only reason why anyone would ever have one.

    Also, please educate yourself on the subject before you try to formulate restrictions. For starters, please define “semi-automatic weapon”, and tell the class why those are so much more evil and dangerous than the non-semi-automatic weapons.

    “Everyone who doesn’t agree with my opinion on something I know next to nothing about is obviously crazy.” That statement says a whole lot more about your mental state than mine.

  5. Michael says:

    Marco,

    Obviously you fail to realize that logic and reason have little to nothing to do with the sheep wanting more and more restrictions. Typical conversations go something like this:

    Sheep, “Just call 9-1-1!”

    Me, “The Police have no duty to protect you.”

    Sheep, “Bahhhh – Guns are Baaaaaad. People can’t be trusted baaaaaa.”

    Me, “Israel has no public shootings because the last few times someone tried it, they were shot down by – wait for it – armed civilians.”

    Sheep, “Shall Issue States will have Blood in the Streets! People will shoot over minor arguments!”

    Me, “Florida was one of the first shall issue states and they have less crime and no blood in the streets. That’s why so many other States have followed their example.”

    Allison wrote it so tellingly, “I’m sick of listening to people talk about their right to own a gun.” Translation – I’m sick of hearing logic and reason tear down my emotional argument against guns. Baaaaaaaaahhhhhhh.

    Keep writing/fighting the good fight and maybe, just maybe, we’ll convince someone “on the fence.”

    Michael

  6. T.Stahl says:

    It happened just at the other side of Stuttgart. At work we had lively discussions just until I left at half past seven.
    Last I heard was 15 victims dead plus the killer shot by the police. Father allegedly a sports shooter with 16 firearms of which one was missing when the police came for a search.

  7. Phil says:

    If you can be trusted with a break-action shotgun, you aren’t going to start any crap with a crew served full auto machinegun. Defining one type of guns as “good” and one type as “bad” is just silly, pointless, and a waste of time. You will either behave yourself or you will not. A person doesn’t go from being a sensible and responsible pillar of the community to being a lunatic psycho on a rampage because you replaced his 16 gauge over/under skeet shotgun with a fully “tacticooled out” AR-15 or even a fully automatic M14. Some folks just won’t behave even if all they have is a plastic spork that breaks off at the handle when put into anything thicker than the tapioca pudding at the asylum. The solution to dealing with those people is not to render the rest of the populace defenseless before him should he manage to obtain a more capable weapon. It is to allow people to choose to obtain effective means of defense.

    Believing that guns exist only to kill is foolish to the point of outright stupidity; there’s plenty of devices in this world that were devised for one reason or another yet have been pressed into service to kill people by the dozens. There was some nutjob a while back who drove his SUV over a bunch of college students at a bonfire- he didn’t need a gun to cause any mayhem. It goes back to my previous point- take away the obvious weapons and they’ll repurpose something that looks quite innocuous to cause harm.

    My sympathy to all the victims and their families, but the blame for these acts rest solely upon the perpetrators, not upon inanimate objects owned by people who have been perfectly law abiding. Let’s put the blame where it belongs.

  8. Kristopher says:

    As long as the average person is disarmed, the massacres will continue.

    A nutter will always be able to get a gun … even if he has to deliberately run over a traffic cop to get one.

    Only an armed victim can prevent an active shooter. In fact, it usually shuts them down fast. Any armed resistance immediately results in the nutter either offing himself or running away.

  9. LittleRed1 says:

    In response to the shootings at VA Tech and a couple other universities, the response of the institution to which I pay tuition was . . . have vigils and post more “no guns” stickers.

    Thanks for making us the biggest target in the state, oh great administrators.

  10. MacGuffin says:

    “A nutter will always be able to get a gun … even if he has to deliberately run over a traffic cop to get one.”

    I wish I could remember where I saw it but I recall something very close to that happening in one of those “gun free” cities. A police officer was found beaten to death, his sidearm and the shotgun from his trunk were missing.

    If guns are the problem then we need to take them from the police first. Turns out the Alabama shooter went to the state police academy. He didn’t graduate but it would appear he passed the background checks and psych evaluation required to enter.

    Why is it that we hear about school shootings in Germany, UK, and USA but not in Israel? Perhaps it is because the teachers there are armed. I do recall a couple of recent incidents in Israel of people using construction vehicles to cause great mayhem. Both ended with the drivers being shot by armed citizens. Do we require every tractor and bulldozer be registered now?

    Here’s a good bit of information.

    http://blog.joehuffman.org/2009/01/20/MoreBradyCampaignScoreCorrelations.aspx

    This blogger decided to correlate Brady Scores (The Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence gives scores to states based on their gun control laws every year, a higher score means more gun control.) to crime rates. Turns out that gun control has little to do with crime control. One especially interesting bit from that blog entry was the fairly high correlation to a low Brady Score (and therefore less gun control) and a low incidence of forcible rape. I guess rapists prefer unarmed victims.

  11. MacGuffin says:

    “Only an armed victim can prevent an active shooter. In fact, it usually shuts them down fast. Any armed resistance immediately results in the nutter either offing himself or running away.”

    Compare the church shooting in Illinois to the one in Colorado.

  12. Unfortunately, only law abiding citizens can read and/or follow the no firearms stickers and signs, As all the school shootings show. I live in VA not even an hour from VT, and there was A LOT of discussions among average gun owning citizens about the fact that if any of those students had been allowed to carry a weapon, either concealed or open on campus, then maybe there wouldn’t have been as many casualties. It has always bugged me that I cannot carry on my children’s school grounds, but any wacko can walk in and shoot and I would be unable to protect my children. The laws need to be looked at by reasonable, sane people who see the flaws in these laws.

    I treasure my guns and my carry permit and the security it gives me as a woman and a mother of young cute kids. I enjoy reading the posts and comments on this blog.

    I hope this made sense to y’all, I’m on some steroid meds that make my brain not work real great, but I hope it still came through.

  13. Marko says:

    Loud and clear, Karena, and seconded on all points.

  14. Connie says:

    Allison,

    A few years ago I would have completely agreed with your statement. Fortunately, I’ve taken the time to educate myself since then. It’s been a gradual transition and today I am beyond grateful that several people took the time to challenge my preconceived notions about firearms.

    I don’t own a gun for the sole purpose of killing something. I don’t hunt (I have a hard enough time just squishing bugs) and I have absolutely no desire to end another human life. I do have a desire to protect my own life as well as my loved ones’ lives, however, and that’s why I own a gun.

    I’m sorry you think I’m crazy if I disagree with you. Please don’t be so quick to write something off if you have minimal to no experience with the issue at hand. You’d probably be surprised at just how many normal/rational people are gun owners. For every lunatic out there who is plotting to gun down as many innocent victims as possible, there exist thousands if not a million times more decent people who are willing to step up and defend such innocent lives with their own firearms.

  15. Jen says:

    Maybe this is a good time to ask this question. I have a gun in the house, recently acquired from my dad (20 gauge). The best way to protect my family is to have a good working knowledge of the safe and accurate use of the gun.

    I have fired it twice, on range, shortly after we got it. It scared the pants off me. I need to get back out to the range and practice with it (as well as various other handguns, IMO), but the fact that firing the thing scares me makes it difficult to actually go.

    What is the best way to get over this? Maybe the indoor range, with its loud echoes, is not the best place to start? If not, where else can I go? I am 100% not interested in hunting; I live in GA.

    Thanks for any advice; I think this is the best place to get it.

  16. Phil says:

    Jen, the quickest way might be to start shooting with something a bit less threatening than a shotgun. A 20 gauge is pretty far from an earth shaking shoulder cannon, but when you have little to no firearm experience, it can be daunting.

    I might recommend starting by doing some shooting with a cheap bolt action .22; I think you can even get one at Wal-Mart for $100 (at least it used to be possible). That will help you learn the basics of shooting for an extremely low cost.

    If you have some familiarity with firearms, I might recommend learning a shotgun sport like skeet or trap. It will teach you how to lead targets and aim the thing (not to mention shooting). For this, I would try and find a local shotgun club- they will often have instructors who will be happy to introduce you to the sport. As you learn the sport, you’ll learn the gun.

  17. aczarnowski says:

    It seems so obvious to me; a distributed threat requires a distributed defense. Weapons carried citizens is as distributed as we can get. More citizens should carry!

    Jen,

    I’m sorry to hear your first experience sucked. Overcoming that first impression will be hard, but I’m very glad to hear you’re willing to try!

    An indoor range is not a good spot for long guns. Actually, and indoor range isn’t a great experience in general, but is often the best we have. I don’t know GA, but if there’s an outdoor range or trap/skeet club, I’d visit and take a look around. Get a feel for the place and ask a few questions to get an impression. If you get a bad feeling, move on. If you get a good impression, ask if there’s any introductory classes, or an NRA certified instructor that does beginner courses at the facility.

    Finding a location you’re comfortable learning in, and a person that can help you through the first hurdles, is your fastest way to being confident any firearm.

  18. Kaerius(SWE) says:

    I’ve grown ever more pro-carry as the years have gone by and things like this happen. I live in Sweden, with a total population of about 9 million. We have strict gun-control, not unlike, I think, germany, finland, etc.

    It doesn’t stop guns flooding in though. The criminal gangs shoot eachother from time to time and perform armed robberies on banks, money transports, etc. Not just those have illegal guns either, a girl I know has a glock in the attic that a former boyfriend gave her, probably rusted shut by now, as she doesn’t tend to it, but it kind of demonstrates how ineffectual the law is.

    While we haven’t had a mass school killing yet, we did(in my home town no less) have a private in the army(all irregulars, we don’t have a standing army), taking his service weapon and killing 7 with it, back in 1994. Unlike a lot of mass killers, he didn’t take his own life, and is currently serving a life sentence(which he recently tried to get a set time to, but were denied).

    I’ve been trying to get into a pistol shooting club(just for the fun of plinking), but the by law mandatory safety course is only held once a year, and I missed the one last year, and it looks like I’ll be missing the one this year too(because I’ll be off in southeast asia for 3 months, starting around the time they hold that course). We also have a law that you need to be in a club for 6 months before being eligible for a permit, and the first permit must always be a .22LR, subsequent permits can be gained, but you need to be vouched by your club that you “need” one.

  19. Jeff says:

    Jen,
    My wife and I are avid target shooters and have introduced at least 10 young women to handgun shooting over the years. (We are NRA certified safety instructors as well but haven’t had time to participate in formal classes for a while due to busy, unpredictable schedules.) I always start them out with a 22 revolver. Recoil is negligable for anyone bigger than a smallish 7 year old and we can concentrate on safe handling and proper use of the sights. From there we go to a 38 special revolver for a bit more recoil that they adjust to easily. These girls were completely new to handguns and shared your apprehensions but they learned quickly. By the end of the session they were shooting 44 special ammo comfortably and with reasonable accuracy. (The 44 special is the precursor to the 44 magnum and is much less powerful.)
    As to where to shoot: see if there is an Isaak Walton League in your area. They often have excellent outdoor facilities and may sponsor introductory courses. If not, they can probably tell you where such things are in your part of Georgia. Check the NRA website as well.
    BTW, unless you are bigger and stronger than the average woman, stay with revolvers with a barrel of 4″ to 6″. A four inch barrel is probably optimum. That lets the weight of the gun rest in your hand. A longer barrel will probably not balance as well for you. My wife, who is tiny, prefers that configuration.
    Hope this helps and that I didn’t get too long winded.

  20. Joe says:

    Jen.
    You have narrowed down to the biggest issue. Loud noises like that are unpleasant in a really visceral way, you can get used to it and train to deal with it, but it is real. Shoot outdoors, lots of ear protection (ear plug and ear muffs) and realize that the adrenalin reaction is normal. I would recommend that you look at the forums http://www.georgiapacking.org to find some local resources.

  21. tomadan says:

    It is not a coincidence that gun smugglers come to the United States for these military-style weapons. Guns like these are so easily available in such quantity that they define the civilian gun market in America.

    http://tomdiaz.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/mexican-gun-trafficking-testimony-by-tom-diaz-before-us-congress/

  22. Regolith says:

    tomadan: Most of the heavy equipment acquired by Mexican drug cartels either comes from south of the Mexican border, or from the Mexican military themselves. Often Mexican police will confiscate a large weapons cache that includes hand grenades, RPG’s and fully automatic weapons, all of which are nearly impossible or extremely difficult to obtain in the US.

    These are implements found in the Mexican military, however, and their military has had over a hundred thousand deserters in the last several years. The drug cartels are actively recruiting these deserters – to the point of advertising on billboards – and they are very likely encouraging them to bring their duty weapons with them.

    Simply put, US gun laws are not the problem. The culture of violence and corruption in Mexico is. We could completely seal off the border, ban every gun in the US, and Mexican drug cartels would still obtain firearms, because their sources don’t bow to US or international laws.

  23. Tam says:

    tomadan,

    It is not a coincidence that gun smugglers come to the United States for these military-style weapons.

    Wow. I’ve worked in the firearms retail business for my entire adult life, and yet you and Tom Diaz know more about it than I do. Awesome! Teach me.

  24. Kristopher says:

    Unpermitted guns are illegal in Mexico, but permits are almost impossible to obtain.

    The penalty for having a full-auto AK is the same as the one for having a bolt-action rifle. So people buy AKs. Not US made semi-auto copies … but the real thing.

    On New Years Eve, and some festival nights, Mexican towns sound like war zones from folks firing in the air.

    Pistols are also smuggled in … and are smuggled in by the same folks that transport drugs.

    Basically, Mr. Diaz … your opinion is full of crap.

  25. T.Stahl says:

    “On New Years Eve, and some festival nights, Mexican towns sound like war zones from folks firing in the air.”

    That’s why back in the German army we called emptying our G3s on the F-setting “Mexican unloading”.😉

  26. Firehand says:

    Jen, as was said, for an indoor range especially, use plugs and muffs both. Midway has some electronic muffs
    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productnumber=774928
    that work quite well; put in your earplugs, put the muffs on and turn the volume up. You get the benefit of double ear protection, but when no shots are being fired you can still hear what’s going on around you.

  27. DON STAPELFELD says:

    MARCO….i LOVE YOUR BLOGS ON THE GUN ISSUES.WE NEED MORE PEOPLE LIKE YOU IN THIS FIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS……….IT IS A FACT THAT AMERICA IS WELL ARMED .WHY HASN’T ANT OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD TRIED TO INVADE TH U.S,THEY KNOW THAT THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY ARE PACKING !!!

  28. Nolene says:

    I’ve been around guns since I was 5. My dad had a gun shop and the first thing he taught me was “A gun is an inanimate object. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” At the end of the day, having one makes me feel safer and sleep better, knowing that if something should happen, I stand a chance. In South Africa, the police take hours to get to you, and they’re so incompetent, it’s usually more of a pain to call them than anything else. That, and they can’t really be trusted. In a corrupt and unpredictable world, guns offer us a chance to help someone in need, or protect our families. I’m proud to be a responsible gun owner. One day, when you anti-gun people are cowering and waiting for the police to arrive, maybe someone near you will save your life with the very thing you so despise. It will be a sad day when guns are taken away from the responsible people who applied for them and respect them.

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