Tag Archives: AR-15

Law Abiding Citizens and Their Lethality

I’m getting weary of the Republican refrain that the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens must be protected — presumably to own lethal weapons of war like the AR 15 and MCX.

We need to remember after each mass shooting that the “gun owner” was, as the almost cliched statement goes, “a law abiding citizen” until he wasn’t.  What the AR 15 and MCX rifles do is increase the lethality of mass shootings.   Not sure about this? Here’s a report from a hospital radiologist:

“In a typical handgun injury, which I diagnose almost daily, a bullet leaves a laceration through an organ such as the liver. To a radiologist, it appears as a linear, thin, gray bullet track through the organ. There may be bleeding and some bullet fragments.

I was looking at a CT scan of one of the mass-shooting victims from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who had been brought to the trauma center during my call shift. The organ looked like an overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer, and was bleeding extensively. How could a gunshot wound have caused this much damage?” [Atlantic]

The Atlantic article is difficult to read, and the examples cited by the author on the effects of high velocity bullets going through the bodies of adults and teenagers are disturbing.  Imagine for a moment the effect on those 6  year old children at Sandy Hook?  Exit wounds the “size of an orange.”  Children unidentifiable except for their clothing?  What I have yet to hear from the “Gun Club” is why civilians should possess weapons capable of such lethality.  And, we’ve known what kind of damage these guns do since 1977.

“Wounds inflicted by high velocity, center-fire rifles firing hunting ammunition are radically different from wounds caused by handguns or .22 rim-fire rifles. Injuries from pistol or .22 rim-fire bullets are confined to tissue and organs directly in the wound track. In contrast, high velocity rifle bullets can injure structures without actually contacting them. This is due to the temporary cavity produced by such missiles with the resultant shock waves having pressures of up to 200 atmospheres (20 MPa). Organs struck by such high velocity rifle bullets may undergo partial or complete disintegration.”  [NCBI January 1977]

41 years after the NCBI report a radiologist in Florida must remind us what these weapons do to human bodies.  However, the “Gun Club” will not admit that weapons like the AR 15 and MCX are more that mere “hunting rifles.”   It’s obvious a center fired high velocity firearm with a high capacity magazine is far more lethal than a criminal shooting a 9mm semi-automatic hand gun such as in the Fort Lauderdale example.

Not to make too fine a point to it, but what the NRA is saying to the American public is “law abiding citizens” should have the “right” to possess and use weapons which are designed for military use and which are capable of creating mass LETHAL casualties when used in public spaces. 

The Las Vegas shooter was a “law abiding” citizen until October 1, 2017 when he killed 59 people and injured 527 others.  He started shooting at 10:05 and ended the barrage at 10:15 PDT.  Again, 59 killed, 527 injured in 10 minutes.

The shooter at the the Sunderland, Texas, First Baptist Church killed 26 people and injuring 20 more on November 5, 2017.  He should never have had any firearm in the first place, his history as a domestic abuser was a matter of record.  However, records aside — what he purchased and used was a Ruger AR 556.

The shooter in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, used a SIG Sauer MCX and a Glock 17 9mm handgun on June 11, 2016 to kill 50 people, 38 of whom died at the scene.  Police reports indicated he had fired at least 110 rounds.

Variations on an Old Theme

Most of the “Gun Club” apologists are simply playing variations on the same old tune: “We can’t do anything about this.”  (Read: We don’t want to do anything about this because the military style rifles are popular)

Variation OneWhat we need to do is get these guns out of the hands of disturbed people.   And, so what do you propose?  Are these voices advocating mental health evaluations for every buyer of a center fire high velocity firearm with large magazine capacities?  This variation includes it’s very own instant objection.  No one would advocate the invasion of personal privacy required to perform these mental evaluations on every applicant for these weapons; ergo — we can’t do anything about this.

Variation Two: We can’t punish law abiding citizens for the sins of the few who misuse these weapons of war.   Punish?  I am not being “punished” because I cannot purchase an RPG 7 (rocket propelled grenade launcher.) Nor am I being “punished” because owning a Russian-Jordanian RPG 32 anti-tank grenade launcher is forbidden to me. I am being protected from those who would do me and fellow citizens harm if they use these things.

Variation ThreeWe must protect the 2nd Amendment.  Yes, why not.  However, as I’ve said time and again, no right is absolute.  At the risk of redundancy, I can’t “yell fire in a crowded theater,” there are limits to my freedom of speech; nor can I create a mob and call it “freedom” of assembly,” nor can I speak slander and print libel and call it protected by the 1st Amendment.

Until the gun manufacturers and their lobbyists come to the humane conclusion that weapons of war have no place in civilian society, we will continue to have very lethal “law abiding” people among us.

Comments Off on Law Abiding Citizens and Their Lethality

Filed under Gun Issues, Politics

Guns and Money

Stonewall NRA How Much? Thus far into the 2016 election cycle the National Rifle Association PAC  has donated a total of $398,400 to Federal candidates with $3,500 going to Democrats and $394,900 donated to Republican campaigns.  The Safari Club International PAC has contributed $17,000 to Democratic candidates and $317,500 to Republicans.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation PAC has donated $118,500 with $2,000 to Democratic candidates and $116,500 to Republican candidates.  The National Association for Gun Rights PAC has donated $29,000 to Republican candidates, and nothing to Democratic ones. The Gun Owners of American PAC has donated $9,585 with all contributions given to Republicans. The Ohio Gun Collectors Association PAC has distributed $7,000 all of which has gone to Republican candidates. The Dallas Safari Club PAC has donated all $3,000 of its contributions to Republicans.  [OS.org]

The NRA PAC has donated $75,000 so far to the National Republican Senatorial Committee; $30,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee; $15,000 to the Republican National Committee; $9,950 to the Blue Dog PAC, $5,000 to the Republican Party of Iowa; $5,000 to the Republican Federal Committee of Pennsylvania; $5,000 to the Republican Party of Tennessee; $5,000 to the Republican Party of Kentucky; and, $5,000 to the Republican Party of Idaho.  [OS.org]

We also need to consider the NRA lobbying arm, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, which runs issue-based campaign ads of its own.  This organization cannot donate directly to candidates but is allowed to receive millions of dollars in donations from corporations.  It is not required to disclose the donors but manufacturers like Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger & Company have announced large donations to the NRA-ILA in the past. [CNN]  It’s public knowledge that during the two year period of the 2014 election cycle the NRA spent almost $36 million on lobbying, campaign contributions, and related political spending. [CNN]

Who Gets? Nevada Congressional candidate Cresent Hardy received $3,000 from the NRA PAC.  Joe Heck, Senate candidate in Nevada received $4,950 from the NRA PAC.

Cresent Hardy received another $2,000 from the Safari Club International PAC.  Senate candidate Joe Heck also received $2,000 from the Safari Club International PAC. Current Nevada Senator Dean Heller also received $2,000 in the 2016 cycle from the Safari Club International PAC.   The recipients are those listed in reports up to May 16, 2016. [OP.org]

The Response

The tragedy in Orlando, Florida, illustrates in a horrible way why simplistic thinking is detrimental to civil discourse in America.  And, the NRA response was perfectly predictable:

“Radical Islamic terrorists are not deterred by gun control laws. The San Bernardino terrorist attack wasn’t stopped by California’s so-called “assault weapons” ban. The gun ban in Brussels didn’t prevent the terrorist attack there. And France’s strict gun control didn’t stop the two attacks in Paris, committed with fully-automatic rifles and grenades.

Repeating the same thing but expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Law-abiding gun owners are tired of being blamed for the acts of madmen and terrorists. Semi-automatics are the most popular firearms sold in America for sport-shooting, hunting and self-defense.” [USAToday]

Heck, Hardy, and Heller have accepted NRA donations, and thus we’d have to assume they adhere to the arguments set forth by the NRA – logical flaws and all.

blood drop

The line that criminals (or terrorists) are not deterred by gun control laws is getting a bit stale.  Bank robbers aren’t deterred by laws designed to prevent robberies, but we have them on the books so that those violating the laws will be prosecuted.  Gun safety regulations are just that; laws designed to keep people safer – from successful suicides, assaults with these deadly weapons, and terrorist attacks.

blood drop

There is nothing quite so illogical as setting up an impossible standard and then insisting that all legislation perfectly meet that Impossibility. No law prevents all murders, all robberies, all auto thefts, or even all terrorist attacks, BUT doing nothing isn’t really a viable option.   Again, banning the sale of sliding side cribs for infants will not prevent all infant deaths, but it has prevented some, and for that we should be grateful.  We don’t ban all toys, but we don’t allow the sale of lawn darts which killed a handful of people and injured a few thousand.  The idea isn’t that we will be Perfectly Safe, but that we will be SAFER if military style weapons and high capacity magazines are not available to every single individual in America.

blood drop

Yes, expecting a different result from the same action is silly – however, the point is that we haven’t taken ANY action to curtail the proliferation of military style weaponry in civilian hands.  In fact, we’ve done the reverse.  There are at least 70 instances in which state legislatures have weakened gun safety law since the Sandy Hook massacre. [HuffPo] Congress, as is relatively obvious, hasn’t enacted any measures related to keeping Americans safer – none.

So, let’s turn this argument around.  The NRA pleads that what we have done since Sandy Hook hasn’t made us any safer.  True – we’ve weakened laws on the books, and the Congress has done nothing; therefore, expecting our environments to be safer is “expecting to do the same things and expecting to get another result.”

blood drop

The “poor me” gun owners argument is also getting bromidic.  No one is “blaming” those “responsible gun owners” for attacks in San Bernardino, Orlando, Charlestown, Blacksburg, Fort Hood, and Aurora…

Indeed, these were carried out by the deadly delusional among us. The real question is WHY we continue to countenance the easy sale and distribution of deadly weapons, regardless of the hands unto which they are committed?

blood drop

Semi-automatics are the most popular firearm sold in America,”  is NOT an argument for believing that continuing to do nothing will make us all safer.  Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup for Babies was a very popular product in the 19th century, and indeed it would sooth those teething little critters – with the 65 mg of morphine per fluid ounce.  To Mrs. Winslow’s concoction we might add Lloyd Manufacturing’s Cocaine Toothache Drops, Kimball’s White Pine and Tar Cough Syrup, and Laudanum – the latter being exceptionally popular.  Merely because an item is “popular” doesn’t mean it is a wholesome, safe, and generally useful product.

blood drop

Military style weapons are for military and law enforcement use. Period. Yes, a person could “go hunting” with an AR-15, but why? Most hunters use sporting rifles and shotguns so as not to “mess up the meat.”  At the risk of repeating myself – a person might use an AR-15 for hunting especially if the individual is of the type inclined to use a D8 Cat to move a bag of potting soil.  As far as home defense goes – just who do they think is going to show up?    Granted my marksmanship leaves a lot to be desired, but if I haven’t hit the “target” with my first couple of shots what would make me believe that I will do any more damage with the next 30 rounds? Except perhaps to complete the total “air-conditioning” of my living room?  I don’t expect a small army of burglars. I expect that statistics will hold that most burglars operate alone and unarmed.  The odds are against my ever needing a high capacity magazine attached to a highly lethal weapon – so why bother with the purchase?

blood drop

All too often when the smoke clears from a tragic shooting we find that the motives of the shooters were a complex mix of mental illness, delusional thinking, personal issues, political ideologies, and were far more complicated than simply ascribing blame to a singular causal factor.  However much the NRA wants to believe that Orlando was exclusively a terrorist attack, and however much Daesh would like to claim it, the shooter’s ideation remains cloudy – was it homophobic? Was it terroristic? Was it both? What other factors may have been involved? Was it a dramatic version of suicide-by-cop going down in a blaze of glory when his life was falling apart?  We don’t know much at this point and we may not know much more later in the investigations.  What we do know is that it didn’t take all that much effort for him to purchase all the firepower he needed to implement his irrational plan.

Questions

To those Federal candidates and office holders like Hardy, Heck, and Heller:

1. Do you believe that anyone should be allowed to purchase a high capacity magazine for a military style weapon which can be easily modified to function as an automatic weapon?

2. Do you believe that military style weapons should be readily available in the marketplace for civilian use?

3. Do you believe that simply because we can’t prevent every tragic loss of life to suicide, homicide, or assaults that we should do nothing to alleviate the situation?

4. Do you believe that individuals who can’t pass a background check should be able to purchase guns at a gun show?

5. Do you believe  that persons who are adjudicated mentally ill, have a history of spousal abuse, or who are on “no-fly” lists should be allowed to purchase military style weapons and high capacity magazines?

Perhaps instead of taking the NRA’s nihilistic approach – there’s nothing we can do – we ought to be discussing how we can implement a general policy based on the concept that every little bit helps, and that doing Something is  preferable to doing Nothing.

Comments Off on Guns and Money

Filed under Gun Issues, Heck, Heller, Nevada politics, Politics

A Study In Contrasts: Responses to Orlando Shooting from Titus and Hardy

Orlando Shooting 

Titus Nevada’s First District Congressional Representative gets it:

“The nation is devastated by this horrific act of terror and hate at a nightclub that symbolizes the empowerment of the LGBT community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their loved ones, but they are not enough. This senseless loss of life from gun violence must stop. As we mourn, we must  continue to reflect upon and fight for civil rights during LGBT Pride Month. Terror must not silence our collective voice.”  Dina Titus (D-NV1) [KTNV]

Hardy 2 For every act of terrorism there is a target. In the instance of the Pulse in Orlando the target was the LGBT community.  And, then there’s Representative Cresent Hardy’s response to the tragedy, one who obviously doesn’t get it:

“I want to lift up the victims of this horrible attack and their loved ones while giving thanks to the brave first responders who undoubtedly prevented further loss of life.
“Last night’s attack is a reminder that we must remain vigilant against the clear and present danger of radical Islamic terrorism. Whatever differences we may have here in the United States, we are all Americans and we all cherish our freedoms and way of life. Together, we will come together to defeat this extremism in defense of our fellow citizens and our liberty.” Cresent Hardy (R-NV4) [KTNV]

There’s nothing quite like using the generic “victims of this horrible attack” to avoid saying L G B T.  The victims were members of the LGBT community and their friends.  Representative Hardy focuses on the the Muslim community with the catch phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” as if saying the magic words will strike terror into terrorist hearts – not likely. It’s just more fodder for the Daesh-IS propaganda machine which would be delighted if the United States were to announce a “war on Islam;” it would make their narrative ever so much more effective when recruiting the disaffected, the marginalized, and the unstable.  Rally round the Flag (maybe not that Rainbow One) folks, to defeat “this extremism.” This dangerous but miniscule extremism. Let’s be clear: Islam is a religion; Daesh/IS is a death cult.

There are about 1.6 billion adherents to the Islamic faith, and the old count of 25,000 to 31,500 members of Daesh (IS) was revised recently to a range of 19,000 to 25,000.  Let’s be generous and allow Daesh some 31,000 members.  Get out the handy plastic brains and the calculation is 31,000 divided by 1,600,000,000; or, 0.00019375; or, 0.0194%.  What this number illustrates is what the Feds have been trying to tell us for some time now – the danger lies with the Lone Wolves.  Well armed Lone Wolves.

AR 15

If we read Rep. Hardy’s statement carefully we’d note that not once does he mention HOW the victims died.

Representative Titus did notice the method by which 49 people were killed, and 53 others injured — “senseless loss of life from gun violence…” in this case from the mass killers’ weapon of choice the AR-15.

“The AR-15’s popularity with killers has continued as well. This past October, Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, went on a rampage with an AR-15 at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore. He killed nine people before killing himself.

The AR-15 was among the weapons used by Islamic terrorists Syed Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, when they opened fire at a social services center in San Bernardino, Calif., in December. They killed 14.” [NYDN]

The ubiquitous AR-15 (there may be as many as 9 million of these weapons of mass killings in circulation in this country) also appeared at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, and the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting. [TP]

However, Representative Hardy, the recipient of some $3,000 so far in the 2016 election cycle from the National Rifle Association, is probably not going to mention HOW the LGBT victims in the Pulse died at the hands of a delusional lone wolf armed with an AR-15.

Perhaps, Representative Hardy doesn’t want to speak to delusional lone wolves who shoot up gay bars, but any rational discussion of these mass killings should incorporate HOW the LGBT victims died, and why so many.  So many? Because technically the AR-15 can fire 13.3 rounds per second, or 800 rounds per minute. Some claim that the AR-15 is capable of 45 rounds per minute, in the pre-modified state.  Somewhere in the middle is the relatively easily attained capacity of 120 rounds to 180 rounds per minute. [quora]  Add some high capacity magazines, and our lone wolf is prepared for carnage. 

“In his piece at Human Events, Keene (NRA) ridiculed the notion that AR-15-style rifles ought to be banned just because “a half dozen [AR-15s] out of more than three million have been misused after illegally falling into the hands of crazed killers.” But the AR-15 is very good at one thing: engaging the enemy at a rapid rate of fire. When someone like Adam Lanza uses it to take out 26 people in a matter of minutes, he’s committing a crime, but he isn’t misusing the rifle. That’s exactly what it was engineered to do.” [Slate]

Careful here, a half dozen AR-15’s were misused after “illegally falling into the hands of crazed killers?”  First, the guns themselves are no longer illegal in the hands of civilians. Secondly, the gun in Orlando was sold to a person legally capable of its purchase – so too in San Bernardino, – so too in Newtown.

Thanks to the National Rifle Association and its minions in Congress we have NOT renewed the assault weapons ban, we have not limited the sale of high capacity magazines, we have not enacted statutes for universal background checks, we have not statutorily denied the sale of assault weapons to those on terrorist watch lists.  Indeed, in the GOP controlled 114th Congress we have not even voted on these issues.

Perhaps now more than ever Representative Titus’s words ring true: “Terror must not silence our collective voice.” 

Comments Off on A Study In Contrasts: Responses to Orlando Shooting from Titus and Hardy

Filed under gay issues, Gun Issues, Nevada politics, Titus