Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby darkone238 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:18 pm UTC

mike-l wrote:Anyway, that all aside, I've spent a lot of time looking at gun stats, published by both pro and anti gun groups, and it's hard to find any evidence that gun bans are effective in any way. I feel the best solution is regulation and training. CF Switzerland (wiki), where pretty much every male between 20 and 30 has a gun, but gun violence (and violence in general) is incredibly low (eg the homicide rate is 0.66 vs the US at 5.0, per 100,000). Guns, In my opinion, should be treated like cars, registered to individuals who are then responsible for them, requiring training to operate, etc, but generally available to those who would have them.

While I am not "incredibly anti-gun" I agree with this 110%. For those that would have them, make sure they're trained and responsible.

As far as assault weapons being scary and more destructive and dangerous, take a look at the V-tech massacre. Over twice as many casualties as Aurora and only pistols used.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Diadem » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:46 pm UTC

So I was watching a very short clip of the preliminary hearing. And it was weird.

The judge started with "typically you have the right to be advised of the charges", implying he doesn't have that right. Why not? Then the judge went on to say he was being held without bond, but then the next part he was ordered to stay away from the home of the victims or any locations where they might be. That seems contradictionary?

Are those all just ritualistic legal jargon? Or is there actually some substance in there?
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:49 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:Firearms frequently go *down* in price when entering the black market.

Unlike drugs which have be manufactured illegally and typically smuggled into markets with high demand, firearms are manufactured legally just about everywhere for military and law enforcement use. And even if they aren't being manufactured domestically, they are being legally imported.

Black-marketeers just have to divert or otherwise 'misappropriate' legal shipments, or just steal them from the warehouse. Illegally smuggled or manufactured firearms have to compete on either price or features with those that are just stolen and prices are generally driven down.


Well, empirically, it seems like Beta C-Mags today are $200 to $300... but were closer to $700 during the ban... this website claims they went up to $1000. So I'm going to have to assume that they indeed were more expensive because of the ban. I'm not a gun enthusiast though, so this is outside of my specialty.


These prices were for *legal* drum magazines. See, the Federal Assault Weapon's ban didn't actually ban all high-capacity magazines, but only those manufactured after a certain date.

From the wikipedia article
During the period in which the AWB was in effect, it was illegal to manufacture any firearm that met the law's definition of an "assault weapon" or "large capacity ammunition feeding device", except for export or for sale to a government or law enforcement agency. Possession of illegally imported or manufactured firearms was outlawed as well, but the law did not ban the possession or sale of pre-existing "assault weapons" or previously factory standard magazines which had been legally redefined as "large capacity ammunition feeding devices". This provision for "pre-ban" firearms created a higher price point in the market for such items, which still exist due to several states adoption of their own assault weapons ban.


The law restricted the legal supply of firearms, driving prices up similar to how the NFA and closed machine-gun registry has driven the price of legal automatic weapons up.

In this quote from the SavvySurvivor article

With the government versions of the magazine costing around $250, there was a hot market in rebuilt and "brand blotted" C mags obtained on the restricted market and then the markings modified for a healthy profit on the open market.


The 'restricted market' is the market for military and law enforcement who have access to firearms and accessories that are not legal for civilians to own.

Some individuals with access to restricted firearms and accessories were buying new magazines at low prices, modifying them to look like pre-ban magazines eligible to be sold on the open market to civilians, and then selling them for a hefty mark-up, taking advantage of the price difference between restricted magazines and civilian legal ones during the ban.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Ghostbear » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:50 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:I didn't miss it, I ignored it because it is completely irrelevant. Based on the data, firearms legislation in Canada has had no noticeable effect on the amount of people dead - that's the only thing that actually matters. Are firearm deaths worth more points than stabbing deaths?

Only if you refuse to actually think before trying to interpret the data. Do you expect firearm legislation to result in an immediate reduction in deaths? No, you expect it to be more long term -- all the guns and ammunition from before the legislation will still be out there and will take time to filter out of the system. Taking that into account, and the years of major legislation in Canada (by that page -- 1934, 1969, 1977, 1991), then looking at the graph, you can see that barring a brief jump in the early 90s (which was mimicked in the US), that Canada had reached it's stable point for homicide rates in the mid 80s. The US did not do so until the early 2000s. Probably the most important regulation there was the 1969 restricted/prohibited law, and while that passed during a long term rate increase, it's the last such sustained growth in rates for Canada -- afterwards, it's all a general trend of reduction. The US by comparison has multiple periods of 5+ year long growth in homicide rates. If anything, interpreting the data would lead you to believe that their regulation worked.

You're also continually ignoring that the data is meant to be taken together. Canada's homicide rate is very low and their rate of firearm involvement in homicides is about half that of the US; those firearm homicides weren't all replaced with something else -- instead, many of them just didn't happen. All this without placing onerous and rights destroying regulations -- they've limited the ability to carry guns in public spaces (effectively no concealed carry), require registration of guns purchased, require owners to pass a safety course, place additional regulations on handguns, and block access to high capacity magazines and guns that are especially dangerous to people. You can still own many guns, it's just much more difficult to carry them around in public, and the ones that are easier to hide in public are more restricted as a consequence.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Diagoras » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:28 pm UTC

I normally lurk on this forum, but as something has come up that I have some experience with (statistics, especially when it comes to examining the effects of policy on different countries) I thought I might toss in my two cents.

I've seen a lot of attempts to prove that gun control successfully reduces violent crime, and most of them haven't been very convincing. For example, the previous post tries to take one datapoint (Canadian homicides) over time against a very different data point (American homicides) over time. Not only does this completely ignore the multiple differences between the two societies, and any potential confounding variable, but the poster even attempts to connect a stabilization in crime rates in 1980 with a law passed in 1969.

When statisticians attempt to examine things like gun control's effect on gun crime, there are many ways. If you're try to prove that gun control reduces crime, you have to examine delta T diff X (sic, it's been a while). This means that you find two very similar locations (ie. two small towns that are culturally, economically, etc. very similar) in which one has X policy, and the other has Y policy. Then you observe the how the stats in question (homicide, violent crime, non-violent crime) change over time. Then you do this many, many times to establish a correlation. And even that's not quite sufficient for establishing a causal relationship!

To disprove that postulate is way easier. All you need to do is find a good few cases where, while controlling variables as best you can, violent crime either hasn't risen faster than the national/state average after repeal of gun control laws, or violent crime has risen faster than the national/state average after gun control laws have been passed. Of course, one or two times could be a fluke, so you'd want to gather a variety of instances across the country where this has happened to establish that there is no solid correlation between the two.

From what I recall, the consensus is that their is absolutely no statistically significant evidence that gun control reduces crime. In fact, most of the fights are over whether widespread gun ownership decreases crime - a position I am currently rather skeptical towards due to the (in my opinion) limited amount of evidence.

When I get home, I'll try to post some studies and meta-studies here (if anyone shows interest). The ones I recall were dry reading, but were surprisingly good research for such a politicized issue. JustFacts's gun control page is decent at defining the terms involved and laying out the broad arguments and methods used, though anyone with formal statistical training probably isn't going to be hugely impressed.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Ghostbear » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:53 pm UTC

Diagoras wrote:For example, the previous post tries to take one datapoint (Canadian homicides) over time against a very different data point (American homicides) over time. Not only does this completely ignore the multiple differences between the two societies, and any potential confounding variable, but the poster even attempts to connect a stabilization in crime rates in 1980 with a law passed in 1969.

I have a forum name, you know. You can call me something other then "that poster" while speaking in a manner that seems to assume I won't actually read your post.

The idea of comparing Canada and the US is that both countries will generally see the same social shifts, being neighbors with tightly interwoven economies, a shared language, shared geopolitical goals, and so on. This is reflected in the chart -- they both experience the same basic trends. I was highlighting that while they do both follow the same up-down-up-down-down course, Canada is significantly smoother. The link between the 1969 law and the mid 80s was the fact that (as I said in my post) you don't expect such laws to have an immediate affect -- limitations are going to take time before they start to filter through and limit what's available, since people will still own things from before the law is passed. This is especially highlighted because a lot of the regulations were in just making it non-trivial to purchase firearms that are more dangerous to people, while not strictly outlawing many of them. That is definitely something you would expect to take a while to permeate through and have an influence.

You, like Thesh, have also happily ignored that I am not trying to present that data by itself -- it is not meant to be used in isolation, and I have never tried to do so. I have linked it with the fact that Canada's rate of firearms in homicides being about one half that of what it is in the US. Those figures are meant to be taken together, not in isolation!

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Diagoras » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:20 pm UTC

I have a forum name, you know. You can call me something other then "that poster" while speaking in a manner that seems to assume I won't actually read your post.


I don't know your name, I could only see your handle. Is there some way to access people's names?

The idea of comparing Canada and the US is that both countries will generally see the same social shifts, being neighbors with tightly interwoven economies, a shared language, shared geopolitical goals, and so on. This is reflected in the chart -- they both experience the same basic trends.


I'm sorry, but that's completely insufficient. In formal statistical analysis, the difference between extremely similar small towns can be too great to allow them to be used due to surprisingly small racial imbalances. You cannot just handwave the substantial difference between two separate nation-states when examining the effects of policy, and you sure as hell can't conclude anything about the efficacy of a policy from one datapoint.

I was highlighting that while they do both follow the same up-down-up-down-down course, Canada is significantly smoother. The link between the 1969 law and the mid 80s was the fact that (as I said in my post) you don't expect such laws to have an immediate affect -- limitations are going to take time before they start to filter through and limit what's available, since people will still own things from before the law is passed. This is especially highlighted because a lot of the regulations were in just making it non-trivial to purchase firearms that are more dangerous to people, while not strictly outlawing many of them. That is definitely something you would expect to take a while to permeate through and have an influence.


How in the world can you know that it was the gun control law that resulted in the stabilization, as opposed to a million other potential confounding variables? Especially when you give said variables up to ten years from when they occurred to influence things? That's not even remotely rigorous.

You, like Thesh, have also happily ignored that I am not trying to present that data by itself -- it is not meant to be used in isolation, and I have never tried to do so. I have linked it with the fact that Canada's rate of firearms in homicides being about one half that of what it is in the US. Those figures are meant to be taken together, not in isolation!


And? That's just a datapoint. It doesn't really tell us anything other than Canada's firearm-homicide rate is half that in the US. We have no idea why.

I'm really unclear as to exactly how the statistics you're using relate to this issue, and I'm unsure of the level of rigor that you're demonstrating. If you could lay out your statistical argument plainly - including what each citation, in your opinion, demonstrates - I would be appreciative. My main concerns are that you appearing to be handwaving away a phenomenally large differential between the US and Canada, and using a single datapoint to generalize a conclusion.

Apologies if I've been too concise, I'm still at work.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby mike-l » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:02 pm UTC

The US is an outlier in pretty much any group of countries when it comes to (among many others) violent crime stats. If you plot gun ownership by country vs violent crime by country, you get pretty much random noise. But when you control for GDP, Gini coeffecient, etc, the noise becomes less random, and there actually seems to be a slight downward trend (gun ownership decreasing violent crime), except for the US, which lives waaay above the line.

Again, I say this all as someone who went to the data with the express intent of showing that gun ownership is a bad thing.

On the other hand, there's a very strong correlation between increased social inequity and violent crime, increased education and decrease in violent crime, and so on and so on.

Of course, this dude was a PhD candidate, so he's an outlier too. But then, he killed 12 people, there's 9357 other gun homicides to account for this year as well.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Ghostbear » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:08 pm UTC

Diagoras wrote:I don't know your name, I could only see your handle. Is there some way to access people's names?

The handle is what I was speaking of -- which is why I said "forum name" instead of just "name".

Diagoras wrote:I'm sorry, but that's completely insufficient. In formal statistical analysis, the difference between extremely similar small towns can be too great to allow them to be used due to surprisingly small racial imbalances.

Which is a fair criticism, however I my following of the data provided would be that such differences principally manifest themselves in the lower absolute rates, as we do see both countries following the same basic trends.

Diagoras wrote:How in the world can you know that it was the gun control law that resulted in the stabilization, as opposed to a million other potential confounding variables? Especially when you give said variables up to ten years from when they occurred to influence things? That's not even remotely rigorous.

How in the world can you know that the gun control laws had no effect, as opposed to a million other potential confounding variables? How can we conclude that the economy grew or shrunk because of tax increases or decreases instead of the million other factors? With lots of figures such as this, there won't be enough data to be able to sufficiently isolate a single figure (and in many cases, including here, you'll see conflicting external data sources if looked at too broadly -- e.g. Switzerland and the UK, though Switzerland is something I would consider a supporting argument if anything; people there are trained in the proper and safe usage of those firearms). Thus, we make arguments based on logic and try to incorporate the data available as we can, while attempting to not make our argument wholly reliant on that data. You're free to go back to my posts and attack that logic and not just the data -- it is not wholly reliant on the data.

Diagoras wrote:I'm really unclear as to exactly how the statistics you're using relate to this issue, and I'm unsure of the level of rigor that you're demonstrating. If you could lay out your statistical argument plainly - including what each citation, in your opinion, demonstrates - I would be appreciative. My main concerns are that you appearing to be handwaving away a phenomenally large differential between the US and Canada, and using a single datapoint to generalize a conclusion.

This indicates to me that you didn't actually read more than just my one post and are foolishly presuming it to be my principal and entire argument. Try going back a page and reading my post presenting my argument there. If you have already read it or still wish clarification afterwards then I'll go ahead and do so, but I'd rather skip that for now as it seems that you did not read it.

The usage of Canadian data was meant to show that the only way to reduce homicide rates through guns is not, in fact, just taking all of those guns away -- Canada has a high gun ownership rate, but a lower rate of gun homicides. All while having legislation that seems fairly well targeted at reducing gun homicide (limited access to high capacity magazines, strong prevention of guns in public spaces, additional regulations on handguns as opposed to "long rifles", etc.).

mike-l wrote:The US is an outlier in pretty much any group of countries when it comes to (among many others) violent crime stats. If you plot gun ownership by country vs violent crime by country, you get pretty much random noise. But when you control for GDP, Gini coeffecient, etc, the noise becomes less random, and there actually seems to be a slight downward trend (gun ownership decreasing violent crime), except for the US, which lives waaay above the line.

Again, I say this all as someone who went to the data with the express intent of showing that gun ownership is a bad thing.

It's like nobody actually bothers to read what I have written in any detail. I choose Canada as a point of reference because they have a high gun ownership rate that is much closer to the US than to other countries of comparison. It was to point out that regulation on those guns that are owned can be effective instead of needing to rely on blanket bans of firearms. It was to counter Thesh's argument that the only way we could accomplish anything would be to completely ban all firearms.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby mike-l » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:44 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
mike-l wrote:The US is an outlier in pretty much any group of countries when it comes to (among many others) violent crime stats. If you plot gun ownership by country vs violent crime by country, you get pretty much random noise. But when you control for GDP, Gini coeffecient, etc, the noise becomes less random, and there actually seems to be a slight downward trend (gun ownership decreasing violent crime), except for the US, which lives waaay above the line.

Again, I say this all as someone who went to the data with the express intent of showing that gun ownership is a bad thing.

It's like nobody actually bothers to read what I have written in any detail.

Yeah, that wasn't directed at you in anyway, just a general comment on the topic. Apologies if it came off differently.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Ghostbear » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:45 pm UTC

mike-l wrote:Yeah, that wasn't directed at you in anyway, just a general comment on the topic. Apologies if it came off differently.

Oh, sorry, looks like I jumped the gun there. I assumed it was directed towards me because it was against the general attribution people had erroneously been making to me in all the posts around that one.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Thesh » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:09 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:You, like Thesh, have also happily ignored that I am not trying to present that data by itself -- it is not meant to be used in isolation, and I have never tried to do so. I have linked it with the fact that Canada's rate of firearms in homicides being about one half that of what it is in the US. Those figures are meant to be taken together, not in isolation!


You are completely missing the point. The US and Canada are different countries that are different socially and culturally. You can't just go from "This number is bigger than that number" to "Therefore, it's gun regulation".
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Diagoras » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:25 pm UTC

Which is a fair criticism, however I my following of the data provided would be that such differences principally manifest themselves in the lower absolute rates, as we do see both countries following the same basic trends.


And again, that's not sufficient to prove correlation let alone causation, which is what you seem to be applying.

How in the world can you know that the gun control laws had no effect, as opposed to a million other potential confounding variables?


Burden of proof? In statistics, we assume the null hypothesis until evidence arises otherwise. And that's just to establish correlation - causation has even stricter standards of proof, and that seems to be what you're trying to imply.

How can we conclude that the economy grew or shrunk because of tax increases or decreases instead of the million other factors?


There's a reason that macroeconomics is so contentious - good statistical evidence for a position is extremely difficult to gather. They tend to use macroeconomic models that predict a variety of things, and see how many hold true. So the answer is that often we really can't, and that's why there are so many arguments.

Issues like gun control are blessed by relative federalism in the US. While national macroeconomic policy is controlled by nations, and thus has a preposterously high differential, gun control is often controlled to a wide extent at state and local levels and thus we can examine, for example, a town with concealed carry vs. a very similar town without one.

With lots of figures such as this, there won't be enough data to be able to sufficiently isolate a single figure (and in many cases, including here, you'll see conflicting external data sources if looked at too broadly -- e.g. Switzerland and the UK, though Switzerland is something I would consider a supporting argument if anything; people there are trained in the proper and safe usage of those firearms). Thus, we make arguments based on logic and try to incorporate the data available as we can, while attempting to not make our argument wholly reliant on that data. You're free to go back to my posts and attack that logic and not just the data -- it is not wholly reliant on the data.


That sounds like a justification for just-so stories. If gun control had a systematic effect on violent crime, we would be able to measure and quantify it across many separate localities - just like we can with factors like income inequality and education. If statistical evidence doesn't exist for your position, you have to explain why your predictions are not showing up in the data.

The usage of Canadian data was meant to show that the only way to reduce homicide rates through guns is not, in fact, just taking all of those guns away -- Canada has a high gun ownership rate, but a lower rate of gun homicides. All while having legislation that seems fairly well targeted at reducing gun homicide (limited access to high capacity magazines, strong prevention of guns in public spaces, additional regulations on handguns as opposed to "long rifles", etc.).


I did read your argument, and you are trying to establish a causal relationship between gun ownership and homicide rates using a single pair of datapoints (Canada vs. the US). I'm pointing out that that's insufficient to even establish correlation, let alone causation, when dealing with public policy and its effects. You need to prove that that legislation is *even related* to the lower homicide rate before you can begin to suggest that they're causally related, and you haven't passed that bar. See my original post for the kind of analysis which is required to begin to think about establishing correlation.

It was to point out that regulation on those guns that are owned can be effective


Yet again, you're not jumping a step ahead - you're jumping two steps ahead. You're implying that there's a causal relationship between gun ownership and gun laws (using Canada as an example), when the data you've presented isn't even sufficient to establish a correlative relationship between the two.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Diagoras » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:26 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:You, like Thesh, have also happily ignored that I am not trying to present that data by itself -- it is not meant to be used in isolation, and I have never tried to do so. I have linked it with the fact that Canada's rate of firearms in homicides being about one half that of what it is in the US. Those figures are meant to be taken together, not in isolation!


You are completely missing the point. The US and Canada are different countries that are different socially and culturally. You can't just go from "This number is bigger than that number" to "Therefore, it's gun regulation".


Exactly. You need to control for variables as much as possible when trying to refute the null hypothesis - and the most common method is either a buttload of delta T measurements, or (more commonly and more rigorously) a number of delta T charts with minimum difference between examined localities, blocking, and careful notation of any uncontrolled variables.

And even then there are arguments! :p

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby PerchloricAcid » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:03 pm UTC

Updates, yo.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Dauric » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:57 pm UTC

PerchloricAcid wrote:Updates, yo.


I'm just going to reiterate what I said earlier: Gun control is taking up the entire discussion when he was observably disturbed, and a better institutional handle on mental illness would have triggered -existing laws- that would have prevented his buying of firearms. The gun club picked up on it and denied him membership. People at University of Colorado's medical school should have still been in a position to pick up on his deteriorating state. Unfortunately the best response for institutions like that is to kick the troubled person out (there was a report that his withdrawal from the neuroscience program was "encouraged" by University of Colorado) , to get as clear of the trouble as possible to minimize liability, to kick the mentally ill to the curb and let the problem be someone else's, usually the police's. Whether it's the homeless guy being arrested for vagrancy, or the homicidal shooter in the school/theater/whatever our treatment of the mentally ill falls most frequently on the police and that is not something they are organized to deal with.

The laws to deal with this incident on the gun control front are already in place, but they hinge on our detection and treatment of mental illness, which the U.S. is abysmal at across the board. Politically gun control gets all kinds of attention, just look at this thread. Guns are sexy and cool, treating the mentally ill, not so much. Gun control has been a hot-button issue for decades, it's resting on numerous studies that at best come out as "inconclusive", politically it's a stalemate and has been for decades. Mental health hasn't gotten nearly that kind of consideration or even basic airtime,even though it's just as prevalent a theme in these incidents as the use of firearms or explosives, and it's entirely possible that better handling of mental health issues would prevent suicides in those who may be experiencing similar deterioration but don't inflict it on others, so by working to improve mental health treatment we're not just dealing with rare one-off incidents, but a broader range of societal and personal ills.

Edit:

I mean fuck; News Hour, a PBS program that I generally respect, is doing a segment on gun control in the wake of the shooting but no discussion of detecting and dealing with the person behind the gun even though mental illness is almost by definition of the act intrinsically part of these events.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:36 am UTC

Thesh wrote:You are completely missing the point. The US and Canada are different countries that are different socially and culturally. You can't just go from "This number is bigger than that number" to "Therefore, it's gun regulation".

Funny, I remember you linking their homicide rates just a page ago to support your own argument; if you can't compare them due to their social and culture differences, then you can't link their homicide trends either.

That aside, you are completely missing my point, which is that your claim that we can only reduce gun based homicide rates through complete bans is completely unsubstantiated. Other countries with high gun ownership rates manage to have a lower rate of homicides that include firearms than the US (not to be confused with total homicide rates) -- clearly, you can still allow citizens to own firearms while reducing how often they are used to kill people.

Since daring to mention the US at all appears to have been a lightning rod, I went ahead and made a chart of Canadian homicides including a firearm as a percent of all Canadian homicides from 1980-2010. I couldn't get earlier data, so it's a bit imperfect as the major legislation appears to have been in 1969 and 1977 (and clearly misses the 1934 regulation), but it does include data comfortably surrounding the 1991 regulation:
Image
It looks like it was generally successful at lowering the rate to me, though subject to relatively erratic swings. Not the biggest of changes, but, as I said, the data I had available missed the bigger regulation years.

Diagoras wrote:I did read your argument, and you are trying to establish a causal relationship between gun ownership and homicide rates using a single pair of datapoints (Canada vs. the US).

I'm going to skip the rest to just highlight this: No, I am not doing that. Not in the slightest. If you had actually bothered to read what I wrote (over several different posts, even), you would notice that I am not trying to link gun ownership to homicide rates. Why would I choose a country with a high gun ownership rate to contrast with the US if that was what I was arguing? Why are you interpreting "We can reduce the number of homicides that involve guns without banning guns" as "Gun ownership is linked to homicide rates"? Interpreting those as the same argument doesn't make any sense at all. Please take the time to actually read what I write in the future, instead of just saying that you have.

Dauric wrote:The laws to deal with this incident on the gun control front are already in place, but they hinge on our detection and treatment of mental illness, which the U.S. is abysmal at across the board. Politically gun control gets all kinds of attention, just look at this thread.

Within the context of this thread, I think it's because mental health isn't controversial amongst the people posting -- discussions here naturally gravitate to where people disagree.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Dauric » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:55 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Dauric wrote:The laws to deal with this incident on the gun control front are already in place, but they hinge on our detection and treatment of mental illness, which the U.S. is abysmal at across the board. Politically gun control gets all kinds of attention, just look at this thread.

Within the context of this thread, I think it's because mental health isn't controversial amongst the people posting -- discussions here naturally gravitate to where people disagree.


I disagree, I think there's a lot to discuss about the mechanics of these kinds of issues and I think there's a lot of potential disagreement on these issues among us if we delved in to them. How do you determine, from a bureaucratic position at any rate, the difference between someone in a deteriorating mental state to someone having a bad day/week/month/year who needs to go blow off some steam? Is our current state of mental health diagnosis able to accurately determine the difference between someone who is becoming dangerously detached from reality and someone who's choosing to be harmlessly eccentric? Who should be making determinations of someone's mental health, should it be a government agency, private contractors, some hybrid of the two? Should it be organized at the federal or state levels? How should it be funded? Where should we draw the line between voluntary treatment and forced institutionalization? Should we have some mechanism where someone put in to the system and loses their rights (be they to bear arms or other rights) can be declared cured and have their rights returned to them? What rights should be in question for those who may be a danger to themselves or others? At what point does the society need to restrict someone's self determination for their own good? .........

Sure we all probably agree that mental health issues need to be addressed, but that's the end of the discussion where it shouldn't be, and it gets pushed off in favor of tired circular arguments on topics that don't really go anywhere new.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Lucrece » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:17 am UTC

Image

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/07/23/n ... ef=polbeat

People really need to find some other way of obtaining meaning for their dreary, mundane lives other than choosing to mimic murderers.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby broken_escalator » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:17 am UTC

I may have missed something but it doesn't sound like this guy was mimicing the CO murderer. The article stated that he was planning to kill a former employer in another state, then again, who knows what the fuck he's thinking.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:28 pm UTC

If he was the typical gun-nut, then his logic could have been "Another massacre will not happen in MY theater!" If he actually brought those guns with him to the movies.

I am of the opinion that throwing more guns at the situation makes things worse. But I know plenty of gun nuts who think that if they were the ones with a handgun in the theater that day, then they would have shot back and mitigated the massacre.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Tirian » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:52 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:But I know plenty of gun nuts who think that if they were the ones with a handgun in the theater that day, then they would have shot back and mitigated the massacre injured or killed an extra dozen people while aiming for the only guy in the room wearing bulletproof armor.


I love this plan! I'm excited to be a part of it!!

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby broken_escalator » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:58 pm UTC

Hey now, they've practiced this in many different simulations. You might even say they're ready when duty comes to call.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby AvatarIII » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:13 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:But I know plenty of gun nuts who think that if they were the ones with a handgun in the theater that day, then they would have shot back and mitigated the massacre injured or killed an extra dozen people while aiming for the only guy in the room wearing bulletproof armor.


I love this plan! I'm excited to be a part of it!!


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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Роберт » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:12 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:
Dauric wrote:The laws to deal with this incident on the gun control front are already in place, but they hinge on our detection and treatment of mental illness, which the U.S. is abysmal at across the board. Politically gun control gets all kinds of attention, just look at this thread.

Within the context of this thread, I think it's because mental health isn't controversial amongst the people posting -- discussions here naturally gravitate to where people disagree.


I disagree, I think there's a lot to discuss about the mechanics of these kinds of issues and I think there's a lot of potential disagreement on these issues among us if we delved in to them. How do you determine, from a bureaucratic position at any rate, the difference between someone in a deteriorating mental state to someone having a bad day/week/month/year who needs to go blow off some steam?
etc. There's a lot of good questions to ask about how we should detect and treat those with mental problems. How bad is too bad? If someone is considered to have mental health issues that mean that they shouldn't have access to guns, what does that mean for their family? No one in the household should be allowed to own guns?

I assume you're wanting some sort of "mental health" database that gets checked during background checks?
broken_escalator wrote:I may have missed something but it doesn't sound like this guy was mimicing the CO murderer. The article stated that he was planning to kill a former employer in another state, then again, who knows what the fuck he's thinking.

From the article:
Also in Courtois’ car, police found newspaper clippings about the mass shooting Friday during a showing of the same Batman movie at a Colorado movie theater, according to McCausland.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby broken_escalator » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:03 pm UTC

Right, so I didn't miss anything then.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Роберт » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:58 pm UTC

broken_escalator wrote:Right, so I didn't miss anything then.

Perhaps you missed what Lucrece meant by mimic.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Dauric » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:17 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:etc. There's a lot of good questions to ask about how we should detect and treat those with mental problems. How bad is too bad? If someone is considered to have mental health issues that mean that they shouldn't have access to guns, what does that mean for their family? No one in the household should be allowed to own guns?

I assume you're wanting some sort of "mental health" database that gets checked during background checks?


"Wanting" no. The thought of such a database terrifies the shit out of me. It also terrifies me that it's something that modern societies might actually need. I'm also afraid that it's the first option a lot of policymakers are going to suggest.

I think the real problem in this case was that people were observing him deteriorating, but there's no mechanism to take those observations to someone without taking the issue to court for forced institutionalization, and IIRC you have to be a family member to do that. The Phd program he was in was small, the program director described it as akin to a family. His breakdown was severe enough that he was leaving strange messages on answering machines. People were watching him deteriorate, but there's really not a lot they can do about it when they observe it happening.

... Or I'm wrong about that and there's something they could have done, but my ignorance about what someone can do when they observe someone else breaking down is widespread, and the mental health industry has some public education they need to be doing.

... Or some combination of the two...
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby broken_escalator » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:19 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Perhaps you missed what Lucrece meant by mimic.

Ahh actually I did. It makes a lot more sense now >.<

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:20 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:But I know plenty of gun nuts who think that if they were the ones with a handgun in the theater that day, then they would have shot back and mitigated the massacre injured or killed an extra dozen people while aiming for the only guy in the room wearing bulletproof armor.


I love this plan! I'm excited to be a part of it!!


There are numerous examples of legally armed citizens using their weapons to stop or mitigate these kinds of massacres without going all 'action-hero-wannabe'. Events where legally armed citizens make things worse are much rarer (to the point that I can't recall any).

Also, there was no body armor, just a basic 'tactical' vest with pockets for ammo pouches and stuff. No kevlar and no trauma plates.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Nordic Einar » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:58 pm UTC

Also body armor doesn't make one impervious to gunfire and it only protects the area it covers. You'll note police and the army wear body armor too and irregulars manage to injury or kill a great many of them pretty frequently.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Роберт » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:03 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:
Роберт wrote:etc. There's a lot of good questions to ask about how we should detect and treat those with mental problems. How bad is too bad? If someone is considered to have mental health issues that mean that they shouldn't have access to guns, what does that mean for their family? No one in the household should be allowed to own guns?

I assume you're wanting some sort of "mental health" database that gets checked during background checks?


"Wanting" no. The thought of such a database terrifies the shit out of me. It also terrifies me that it's something that modern societies might actually need. I'm also afraid that it's the first option a lot of policymakers are going to suggest.

I think the real problem in this case was that people were observing him deteriorating, but there's no mechanism to take those observations to someone without taking the issue to court for forced institutionalization, and IIRC you have to be a family member to do that.

So what, on a high level, are you proposing? That there should be clear steps to report people as acting "mentally unwell" so that the average Joe knows what to do when someone is acting "off"? It would have certainly been great if someone was tipped off that this guy was seeming to loose it and they went to check it out and were able to stop him from going on his murder spree, but I don't see a good way to implement that.
Last edited by Роберт on Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:43 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:42 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:I disagree, I think there's a lot to discuss about the mechanics of these kinds of issues and I think there's a lot of potential disagreement on these issues among us if we delved in to them.
[...]
Sure we all probably agree that mental health issues need to be addressed, but that's the end of the discussion where it shouldn't be, and it gets pushed off in favor of tired circular arguments on topics that don't really go anywhere new.

I think that's still a bit different than the kind of discussion that happens over gun controls (which has been a more broad "does it work?" instead of "how should we do it?"), but I think this is also an interesting sub-topic, so I'll stop this line of thought.

I think that as a first step kind of solution for mental health, it would probably be best to make it much more easily accessible to people in general. If it's easier and more common for people to see a professional for the various mental health issues that crop up, it'll develop much less of a stigma (I still see this often, and I think it acts as a strong detriment to people seeking help) and thus encourage people to be more willing to seek it out when they need it. I doubt cases like this develop suddenly (indeed, it's oft mentioned that he planned for months) -- if people were more willing and able to see someone as the issues start to develop, events like these might be able to be prevented before they even enter the imagination stage. So my take would be to increase the general availability first and foremost, and then fix the stigma around getting that help. Also useful would just be general quality improvements -- I know all of my experiences with it centered around "we can throw this medicine at you" with little ability to try to deal with other issues, and a shift towards more non-medicated treatment would likely be necessary if the system was dealing with more cases in their early stages.

I'm not sure that any changes tailor-fit for these kinds of events would actually need to be made for it to be effective.

Nordic Einar wrote:Also body armor doesn't make one impervious to gunfire and it only protects the area it covers. You'll note police and the army wear body armor too and irregulars manage to injury or kill a great many of them pretty frequently.

That's a bit of a poor comparison though. Rifle and armor piercing rounds (which is what you would generally expect "irregulars" to use) are very good at limiting the benefits of body armor. That is not the kind of round that you would expect to be used by someone with a concealed carry or similar.
Last edited by Ghostbear on Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:08 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Dauric » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:58 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
Dauric wrote:"Wanting" no. The thought of such a database terrifies the shit out of me. It also terrifies me that it's something that modern societies might actually need. I'm also afraid that it's the first option a lot of policymakers are going to suggest.

I think the real problem in this case was that people were observing him deteriorating, but there's no mechanism to take those observations to someone without taking the issue to court for forced institutionalization, and IIRC you have to be a family member to do that.

So what, on a high level, are you proposing? That there should be clear steps to report people as acting "mentally unwell" so that the average Joe knows what to do when someone is acting "off"? It would have certainly been great if someone was tipped off that this guy was seeming to loose it and they went to check it out and were able to stop him from going on his murder spree, but I don't see a good way to implement that.


I completely agree in that I don't see any good way to implement that either. A program like that raises specters of people in Men-In-Black suits following people around with clipboards checking off a list of behaviors. I think it would be horribly easy to abuse for personal agendas in addition to other disquieting aspects.

I don't really have any coherent proposals, I'm not even sure if -anyone- has any coherent proposals out there. However something that's completely broken might serve as a starting point for discussion.

I think another useful line of thought is around the current difficulty in looking for help for oneself. Even with the Affordable Care Act mental health is at best an afterthought in medical policy. If someone's mental state is causing them problems it's probably effecting their ability to earn money, which in turn makes it difficult to afford counseling, treatment or medication, which means the deterioration continues unchecked, making it harder to seek help... We don't know if J.H. ever recognized his own deterioration or considered seeking help for it at any point, but even if he had it might not have been a viable option for other reasons.

Ghostbear wrote: If it's easier and more common for people to see a professional for the various mental health issues that prop up, it'll develop much less of a stigma (I still see this often, and I think it acts as a strong detriment to people seeking help) and thus encourage people to be more willing to seek it out when they need it.


I think the social stigma is another important point that probably impacts how lousy our state of mental health is.

I'm not sure that any changes tailor-fit for these kinds of events would actually need to be made for it to be effective.

This is actually the other point I was making, the improvements we need to make to mental health aren't ones that need to be tailored to these specific and extremely rare events. They're pretty much basic improvements that apply to a broad range of circumstances that currently are not done well.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Роберт » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:06 pm UTC

Perhaps the reason mental health doesn't get discussed so much is because we don't have any simple ideas that we think we'll solve the problem.

"Keep dangerous weapons away from people who don't need it" is simple and makes sense.
"All law-abiding, health individuals should be well able to defend themselves" is also simple and also makes sense. From both sides, you can pull out ideas of good laws and random statistics that appear to back your point, and it's a popular political issue.

When has mental health care been a political issue? What is a good simple idea that seems to solve significant mental health problems (regardless if it really does)?
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:31 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:I think the social stigma is another important point that probably impacts how lousy our state of mental health is.

Almost certainly. Fortunately, I don't think it's a chicken-egg problem -- I suspect that with proper funding and good policies, the mental health system could be improved without needing to remove the stigma first. And then the improved system would (hopefully) remove the stigma. It's interesting to note that it's not a minor stigma either -- as recent as 1972, a vice-presidential candidate was forced off the ticket once it was revealed that he had gotten treatment for depression.

Dauric wrote:This is actually the other point I was making, the improvements we need to make to mental health aren't ones that need to be tailored to these specific and extremely rare events. They're pretty much basic improvements that apply to a broad range of circumstances that currently are not done well.

Perhaps tailored was a bit strong, but it seemed to me that a lot of the questioned options you tossed out were much more severe than where I think we should start. Before we start worrying about forced treatment or removing rights from those found unwell, we should make quality mental care to be generally available. In this post you don't seem to disagree with that notion, but I just felt I should explain where I was coming from there.

That said, I definitely think that the first priority should be those basic improvements, and only after we get those in place and can observe the results of it should we seriously consider further steps from there -- the argument for or against a lot of those options could change rather significantly after seeing how the basic improvements work out.

Роберт wrote:"Keep dangerous weapons away from people who don't need it" is simple and makes sense.
"All law-abiding, health individuals should be well able to defend themselves" is also simple and also makes sense. From both sides, you can pull out ideas of good laws and random statistics that appear to back your point, and it's a popular political issue.

I'm still not seeing how those are particularly conflicting with each other, unless you use extremely broad definitions of "need" and "defend themselves". I know for my arguments, a big part of the reason I used Canada as a comparison point with the US is because they still have high levels of gun ownership. Even the often used counterpoint of Switzerland is not really the counterargument most in favor of gun rights see it as -- the laws are not at all lax for those outside of the Swiss militia, and for those in the militia it requires them to have adequate training in the effective, proper and safe usage of their firearm, while ammunition for those militia weapons appears to be relatively strongly regulated.

I know I have never argued for just taking people's firearms away, but instead to find the useful or potentially useful regulations that other countries have used, and seeing if they can be brought here and maintain that effectiveness. It's just rather difficult to talk about those because too many people erroneously jump on that as the boogeyman of "banning guns". There's a sharp difference between "regulate but keep legal" and "make illegal", that many people very often miss.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Me321 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:24 pm UTC

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/07/25/ex ... mailed-to/


He mailed his plans to a psychiatrist at a university, its unclear if the package arrived on the 12th or on the 19th or 20th, but it was not found till yesterday, and I havent seen any other sources but this article.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:36 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:
Tirian wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:But I know plenty of gun nuts who think that if they were the ones with a handgun in the theater that day, then they would have shot back and mitigated the massacre injured or killed an extra dozen people while aiming for the only guy in the room wearing bulletproof armor.


I love this plan! I'm excited to be a part of it!!


There are numerous examples of legally armed citizens using their weapons to stop or mitigate these kinds of massacres without going all 'action-hero-wannabe'. Events where legally armed citizens make things worse are much rarer (to the point that I can't recall any).

Also, there was no body armor, just a basic 'tactical' vest with pockets for ammo pouches and stuff. No kevlar and no trauma plates.


I think the problem in this particular scenario was that the theatre was dark and the attacker had launched smoke grenades into the room before opening fire. Considering that handgun accuracy is pretty dismal outside of 20 feet anyway, probably only the people sitting in the seats immediately next to where he opened fire would have ever had a chance of hitting him, nevermind the pandemonium as the crowd tries to scatter out of their seats.

[edit]Also, of course, a single gunshot wound, especially from a handgun, is extremely unlikely to kill or even disable a person immediately. In all likelihood, the shooter returning fire would need to score multiple hits in quick succession to actually disable or kill him.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:02 pm UTC

Well, I don't see the firearm issue as any more important than the film showing. Would less people have died if he'd used a weapon other than a gun? Probably. Would less people have died if he'd bust in on a theater showing some terribly unpopular movie? Probably. But all that's quibbling over the body count. The primary problem is that someone decided that the thing to do was to kill a whole lot of strangers.

It's a shame the guy didn't get mental help a *lot* earlier. If the gun club denied him access based on how crazy he was sounding, I would have hoped that family or friends would have noticed something was amiss, and tried to help him a bit.

That said, since we've ventured onto a coupla side topics, I'll certainly opine on them as well.

On the idea of a mental health registry, and restricting access based on it...it exists, to a limited degree. There's a question to that effect when buying a gun, and it's certainly illegal for people with a history of severe mental health to own a gun...but checking on this varies by state, and there's no guarantee they'll catch anything. And past problems are very different from current problems, so this is...sketchy at best. Obviously, there's also a huge potential for misuse if this were to become a massive thing, and that's definitely concerning. That said, these sorts of crime are fairly rare, and are statistically not a big thing. Perhaps more benign measures to promote mental health are the way to go first.

On large mags: I've got one of the hundred round mags in question. Why? Honestly, because it's fun for target shooting, and there's also a bit of one-upmanship inherent in most hobbies. Having the biggest, the best, or whatever is something people pursue. It's a bit on the heavy side, a bit slower to load(fits much tighter than my 30 rnd mags), and probably isn't the best practical choice for anything...including this tragic application. This, failure to clear a jam(very basic operating failure here), and the ordering of ammo in quantities that frankly, make no sense(6k rounds is what I got from the news. A quick expedition to the scale with the ammo I had on hand and some basic math got me an estimate of 229 lbs, not counting firearms, mags, body armor, etc. Far, far too much. He can't have had it all with him.) It all just indicates that the guy was not really that familiar with firearms, and was picking stuff based on factors like perceived awesomeness due to media exposure than actual effectiveness. Probably for the best, considering the jam.

On "assault rifles": I happen to own an AR-15. Why do I need it, you ask, implying that it is far more lethal than a deer rifle? Well, firstly, it's not more lethal than a deer rifle. Mine fires a standard 5.56 round, which is actually not terribly large as rounds go. Back when I used to deer hunt, I carried a 30-06, which had substantially better range, size of projectile, or any other metric you care to mention. Both had removable mags and were semi-auto. Power has nothing to do with why people buy these guns. I picked up mine for a coupla reasons. First, it's modular, and lots of accessories exist for it. I like tinkering with things, and see no reason why my gun should be treated differently than my computer. Secondly, I got some time practicing with it when I was in the military. May as well use something you're already somewhat decent with. Thirdly, ammo was pretty reasonably priced. I can go to the range and fire a lot more rounds than I could with the deer rifle for the same price. Easy call. "fight the powah" type arguments seem fairly irrelevant here, as frankly, you could do roughly the same things with either gun...with probably the same success(or lack thereof).

On CCW defense in this instance: Well, it's a rough scenario. Even had I been in the theater, with a gun...there's bound to be some confusion, and this makes it pretty hard to identify a shot. The most likely scenario is that nothing really happens all that differently, as all you see is crowds of people running the hell away from something in a dark room. It would take a fair bit of luck to be able to utilize your CCW. That said, I don't typically engage in CCW myself. Nothing against those who do, and I'll certainly get a license once MD gets on board with allowing it, but even where legal, carrying a gun can sometimes be a hassle, and frankly, the odds of someone busting into my screening of a movie are very, very small. So, in weighing the hassle vs the risk, I can see why many would opt to not carry to the theater.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby EdgarJPublius » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:27 pm UTC

I'm not saying that an armed citizen would be able to leap into action and score a perfect headshot through the dark, panicked and smoke-filled theater. When armed citizens have been involved in massacre type events in the past, they have acted with caution and restraint, waiting for an opening such as the attacker reloading or switching weapons to make a move.

In many such cases, just the presence of armed resistance when the attacker was vulnerable was enough to subdue them, without the armed citizens needing to fire a single shot.
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