2012's Mass Shootings And Some "Gun Control" Observations

Tyler Durden's picture

With the resurgence of gun control politics storming to stage center over the past 72 hours, and providing yet another fulcrum point of social division precisely at the time when the nation is already hopelessly divided on other key political talking points which look set to push the Fiscal Cliff debate unresolved into 2013, below we provide two useful benchmarks to frame the "gun debate." The first, courtesy of WaPo, is an interactive chart of all mass shootings, including all the relevant details, taking place in 2012. The second, is a dispassionate and fact-based observation courtesy of BusinessWeek of the realities and challenges facing politicians, and the broader society, as America grapples with 200+ years of Second amendment history on one hand, and a society that is ever more "troubled", and increasingly prone to violence and murder on the other.

First, click on the chart below for a jump to the WaPo's succinct and interactive chart showing all 2012 mass murders.

Second, we recommend everyone read the following narrative from BusinessWeek's Paul Barrett, titled "A Post-Newtown Guide to the Gun Control Policy Debate", in which without any attempt to score political brownie points (a rare occurrence these days), the author "reviews some of the proposals that politicians and others will talk about in coming weeks."

From BusinessWeek:

Demonization A couple of weeks before Newtown, our premier sports broadcaster used his Sunday Night Football halftime soapbox to issue a heartfelt appeal for reducing the prevalence of handguns. Responding to the Kansas City Chiefs’ Jovan Belcher murder-suicide, Bob Costas said, said: “Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it.” Similar pained cries have echoed in the wake of the Connecticut disaster —for example, this column by the New Yorker‘s Adam Gopnik, entitled, “Newtown and the Madness of Guns.”

The emotionalism is understandable. Yet railing against guns in general gets us nowhere. What are Costas and Gopnik suggesting? Confiscating some, most, or all of the 300 million firearms already in private hands? The Second Amendment, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, says that’s not happening. Our democratically grounded political system says that’s not happening. The United States, for better or worse, is a gun culture. Nearly half of American households have one or more guns, according to Gallup. Publicly mourning the degree to which firearms are woven into the fabric of our society only plays into the hands of those who contend that any discussion about regulating guns is a pretext for prohibition. The hard truth for gun foes is that the firearms are out there, and they’re not going away.

Assault weapons President Barack Obama supports a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, according to White House aides. After asserting this position during his 2008 campaign, Obama dropped it, fearing a politically costly fight with the National Rifle Association and its allies in Congress. The Newtown shooting revives the issue because the killer used an assault weapon—more precisely, a semiautomatic military-style rifle—to kill most, and possibly all, his victims, according to the Connecticut medical examiner.

We tried an assault weapons ban from 1994 to 2004. It didn’t work. To avoid the restrictions of a poorly written law, gun manufacturers simply made cosmetic design changes and then enjoyed a sales boom. American gun enthusiasts reliably buy more of any make or model opponents want to deny them. Moreover, while black matte military-style rifles may look especially ominous to the uninitiated, they’re not more lethal, shot-for-shot, than grandpa’s wooden-stock deer hunting rifle (which is derived from an earlier generation of military weapons). Fully automatic machine guns—capable of firing a stream of bullets as long as the trigger is depressed—are already unavailable, unless you have a special permit. And finally, any proposal to ban the manufacture and sale of new assault weapons would do nothing about the many millions lawfully owned by private citizens. Democrats are not going to propose impounding rifles already in private gun racks.

Large-capacity magazines The coming proposals to limit the size of magazines, the spring-loaded boxes that contain ammunition, are more relevant, if no less controversial, than assault weapons “bans.” In a mass killing, the lethality of a semiautomatic rifle (or pistol) relates to how quickly and often the shooter can fire before reloading. Law enforcement officials said Sunday that the Newtown shooter used multiple 30-round magazines with his rifle, firing something on the order of 100 rounds in a very short period.

It’s not difficult to buy a 50-round “drum” magazine. Banning civilians from owning such magazines, it seems to me, would not infringe on anyone’s Second Amendment rights. Perhaps the same could be said for 30-round magazines, or 20-round magazines. Choosing the cap is necessarily arbitrary. The assault weapons ban of 1994-2004 prohibited the manufacture and sale of new magazines exceeding 10 rounds. In theory, we could reinstitute that rule.

The problem with restricting magazine capacity is that to make such a limitation meaningful, Congress would have to ban the possession of large magazines, not just the sale of new ones. Otherwise, the millions of big magazines already on the market will provide an ample supply to future mass killers. As a matter of political and law enforcement reality, are lawmakers prepared to send sheriffs and police out to take away all privately owned magazines exceeding 10 rounds? In the 1990s, the answer was no. Has that changed? I doubt it.

Background checks Here is where there’s room for achievable, meaningful improvement. The existing computerized background-check system screens out felons, minors, and other prohibited categories. The system has gaps, however. It covers only sales by federally licensed firearm dealers. “Private collectors” are allowed to sell guns without background checks. By some estimates, 40 percent of all sales slip through this gaping loophole. It ought to be closed. Nonlicensed sellers could be required to conduct their transactions via a licensed dealer, who would receive a small fee.

Improving the background-check system would make it more difficult for some significant number of shady characters to obtain guns. (They could still acquire them illegally, of course.) The Newtown shooter tried to buy a rifle at a local store shortly before his rampage and was turned away when he wouldn’t submit to a background check.

However, an improved background-check system would not have stopped the Newtown killer from doing what he did: scooping up his mother’s legally acquired guns before shooting her and all those teachers and children. Mass killers tend to be young men who, despite deranged minds and evil hearts, prepare carefully. Some have clean records before going berserk. Others obtain their weaponry from relatives or friends. Fixing background checks is worth doing. It won’t stop the next Newtown.

Mental illness Now we are getting to the heart of the matter. Congress and executive branch agencies at the federal and state level can do more to make sure that disparate and often disorganized records of individuals who’ve been found to have serious mental health problems find their way into the background-check system. The law already prohibits people who’ve been adjudicated mentally ill from buying firearms. We need to do a better job of collecting and disseminating the relevant information.

Many who are dangerously mentally ill escape treatment that would prevent them from harming themselves and others. Short of mass murder, hundreds of thousands of mentally ill people commit crimes and end up in prison without adequate antipsychotic medication. It’s too difficult for relatives, friends, teachers, and others to civilly commit dangerously mentally ill individuals before they do harm.

Taking steps well short of incarceration—our current de facto policy for warehousing the dangerously mentally ill—would be a humane alternative for all concerned, and it could prevent school shootings. This is not gun control, per se, yet it deserves urgent attention.

Personal responsibility People who own guns need to keep them away from children and psychologically troubled members of their households. With the right to own firearms comes great responsibility. We don’t yet know all the details about the Newtown killer and his deceased mother. Yet it’s hard to imagine what she was thinking: a disturbed, antisocial, 20-year-old son and a half-dozen guns?

The most important gun control can’t be legislated. It’s common sense.

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Lets_Eat_Ben's picture

Bill Hicks was truly a visionary. He began as a comedian, but toward the end of his life he was more of a prophet. He sought to tell us the truth and he knew they would kill him for it.

I know exactly what Bill Hicks has said about guns. I believe in the spirit of Bill's message regarding guns and violence; I dis-like violence as well. But what do you think Bill would do in the face of a tyrannical government beating down the door, demanding you go with them to a FEMA camp? What do you think Bill would do if they came to take his family, his property, or his freedom unjustly?

Are we to just give in to evil?

Raymond K Hessel's picture


Make a funny face with his mouth.

Try and tell a joke but get pistolwhipped before he gets to the punch line.


trollin4sukrz's picture

"Since this tragic shooting there has reportedly been a massive rise in gun sales."

Was a flippin zoo at the gun counter at Walmart yesterday. Some of the folks seemed to be in a panic and alot of ammo and weapons were sold out.. It was an eye opener I am telling you, not to mention the amount of women buying black rifles as well.

Abiotic Oil's picture

Last time they banned regular capacity mags (i.e. 30 rounders for AR's) they doubled and trippled in price almost overnight.

I'm going to start a new ETF for re-hypothecated magazines if anyone is interested.

XitSam's picture

Brownell's still had PMAGs in stock for regular price Saturday. Not all colors but that's kind of normal.

Edit: On the other hand, this just ran on my news feed.

q99x2's picture

You forgot to add infinitum.

firstdivision's picture

The most rational statement I read on the issue said

"Be honest with yourself, banning guns in the US isn't happening.  More realistic

  • Gun permits should require training and mental evaluations that the person's expense.
  • Guns are the owners responsibility, along with what is done with it.  Your gun used in a massacre? You're an accessory.  That's right, keep the fucking things locked unless you're carrying it.
  • Give mental health professionals more power.  The severally mentally ill, need to be sectioned if they refuse treatment, they clearly pose a greater threat then your neighborhood pothead.  We're too soft on real threats, and too hard on victimless ones.
  • A database should be created and maintained through a gun tax to indentifity potential crazies and refuse them guns.
  • Close loopholes on gun sales.
GubbermintWorker's picture

Give mental health professionals more power? One of the problems we have are general practioners giving young people drugs like prozac and other SSRI's like its candy! Most people who get this shit don't even see a real phycologist or phyciatrist.


And a data base of the severly mentally ill? Wow, I can see abuses there for sure. Like, if you bellieve in the Constitution of the United States, you could be mentally ill!

firstdivision's picture

More power to detain those that pose risks.  Under current guidelines, unless the person actually commits a crime, they cannot be forced into treatment/therapy/sectioned off from society.

Five8Charlie's picture

"Under current guidelines, unless the person actually commits a crime, they cannot be forced into treatment/therapy/sectioned off from society."

And the problem with that is... what?


I sure as hell don't want to live in a place where individuals can be "sectioned off" who don't comform to society - by the judgement of that society.


Clark Bent's picture

Then you won't like Obamacare. How many articles are there all laying the groundwork to "prove" that an attachment to old fashioned liberty ideas are mental disorders? 

spastic_colon's picture

....and this should extend to our police forces and all protection agencies correct?

Cynthia's picture

These massacres are not merely about mentally disturbed loners or lax gun control laws. They are the logical outcome of an increasingly militarized culture that glorifies violence -- whose leaders publicly tout their "kill lists" and readiness to use armed force to further the "national interest." We are a gangster nation -- we should expect the occasional drive-by massacre.

When I saw the picture of Barack Obama, the mass murderer of Muslim children, weeping a bitter tear over the deaths of these children I could not believe the cognitive dissonance.

We as a country practice moral disengagement, like concentration camp commanders who could kill thousands in the day and come home to a loving family in the evening. 

Ruffcut's picture
  • People should understand their guns and protect them from theft
  • Tell mental professionals to go fuck themselves and get a real job.
  • A data base should be created to identify crazies? You are proof that it won't work.
mr. mirbach's picture

As long as psychopaths are included on the crazy list,  I can identify at leat 536 psychopaths in D.C. that should be on that list


Raymond K Hessel's picture

Your last bullet point got a down arrow from me.

The term "loophole" is a marketing device.  

The idea came from the same group that makes crappy laws.  There's no such thing as a loophole in legislation because as someone pointed out quite brilliantly, humanity is an open system.

Loopholes make them sound like a geological formation, an Act of God, that came out of nowhere.  That's not true.


Goy_Debt_Slave's picture

Obama only orders the Murder of American Citizens when he is wearing his Nobel Peace Prize.



Cynthia's picture

The problem of the school shootings goes far beyond guns. This country has an ethos of violence, and every institution, from politics to media to entertainment, is responsible. We have a president who kills children daily with his drone program, and who has given himself the right to assassinate any US citizen he simply thinks might be anti-American (no trial by jury or presumption of innocence allowed).

On top of that, we have an entertainment industry that makes billions off the violence it assaults our senses with daily, a “defense” industry that is the biggest money pit in history, and politicians who stand in front of the entire world and lie just to get us into more useless and unnecessary wars. In light of the death and destruction of families, lives and property that this country has wreaked throughout the world, do we really expect to evade the consequences of our violence?

sessinpo's picture

Cynthia:  "This country has an ethos of violence, and every institution, from politics to media to entertainment, is responsible." "On top of that, we have an entertainment industry that makes billions off the violence it assaults our senses with daily, a “defense” industry that is the biggest money pit in history, and politicians who stand in front of the entire world and lie just to get us into more useless and unnecessary wars. In light of the death and destruction of families, lives and property that this country has wreaked throughout the world, do we really expect to evade the consequences of our violence?"


And who is responsible and has control over those items you specified? The people, the population. I point out like those that thought they were being cute by bringing up video game violence that the poster was not addressing the real problem. Even if video game violence or violence in movies is PROVEN to have have an effect - it is not the cause. No one forces one to watch a violent movie or play violent games. I hardly watch movies (or TV) at all. I don't waste my time with video games. In other words, I don't have that need - I have more important things in my life to fill that void.

Matt's picture

Do you post on Facebook?

It is starting to sound like you are a dangerous loner like the Sandy Hook Killer because you do not conform to social norms.

L_Conquistador's picture

I'd be interested in reading an analysis of the shooters and their employment status.  It seems to me that they tend to be unemployed and "lost".  I cringe when I think of all of the young men graduating from high school who are unemployed, not participating in productive activity, and have perhaps given up on their future.  Idle hands are the Devil's workshop.

BLOTTO's picture

I wonder what Suzanne Collins thinks - the occulist/satanist that wrote the 'Hunger Games' series....

You know...the trilogy about kids killing kids in a Dystopia, post-apocolyptic world...


Symbolic or coincidence?


Collins resides in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, with her husband and their two children.[5] She is a Roman Catholic.[17]


otto skorzeny's picture

I think the stranger coincidence is that the nutjob from CO and CONN's dads were involved in the LIBOR scandal at a high level. And the CONN kid's mom was preparing for a "financial crisis"-who better than the wife of a GE tax attorney would know better than anyone that the S might HTF. there are no such things as coincidences

JohnFrodo's picture

I want to live beside Frank Herbert and Kim Stanley Robinson

Abiotic Oil's picture

Foreshadowing of the plot by the Illuminati? Terrence McKenna's Time Wave Zero? Random coincidence?

From 1:58 in the Batman Dark Knight movie.  Only words legible on the map are "Sandy Hook"


Or for more fun from the past along those lines.  Here is Neo's passport from the Matrix which expired on 9/11/2001



GubbermintWorker's picture

"The most important gun control can’t be legislated. It’s common sense."


Uh, there's the rub....that is in short supply.

besnook's picture

omg! mainstream media addressed the mental illness correlation to gun violence. next thing you know they will cite the research that shows a 1% side effect of violence and/or suicides caused by ssri drugs. does businessweek want to go out of business for not towing the line?

darteaus's picture

Every mass shooting proves that the government can not protect you.

See the way the Israelis shepherd their classes around - with 2-4 armed people.

john39's picture

and yet the zionists in the U.S. government are the biggest proponents of gun control over the American population... 

sessinpo's picture

I think most people have junked john39. It's just about as bad as Flake meister. john 39 is an insult to the bible.

john39's picture

big chunks of the bible are an insult to God.  wtfu.

Goy_Debt_Slave's picture

Since going out this winter looks dangerous.. here is a nice reading list.

Project On Government Oversight

Here it is -- 10 Books That Matter: POGO's Winter Reading List. Have you read any of these? Do you have recommendations of your own? http://www.pogo.org/about/books/2013winter/2013-winter-books.html

besnook's picture

enough of the crazy killers. they are obvious and predictable. let's address the child killer in chief.

buzzsaw99's picture

killing little brown babies abroad doesn't count

fuu's picture

We need new gear in the ZH store, stuff that reflects the slide into main stream mediocrity.

Maybe a ZH iPhone case.

Or maybe just change the tag line, "On a long enough timeline every site becomes the MSM."

I am sure that WaPo, Gallup, Business Week, The New Yorker, CNN, and the LA Times appreciate the traffic.

Texas Ginslinger's picture

What's the difference between an assault weapon and your basic gun..??

Seems you could assault anyone with a functioning plain old gun and a few bullets.


john39's picture

of course, but to the sheople, "assualt weapon ban" sounds logical and reasonable...   because they don't understand the scope of what is being proposed.

DosZap's picture


What's the difference between an assault weapon and your basic gun..??

Plenty, the true definition of an assault weapon, is a centerfire rifle of NOT full powered RIFLE amunition(intermediate powered cartridges), and is capable of Semi, and FULLY AUTOMATIC FIRE).

If it does not meet these two criteria, then it is not, never will be an ASSAULT WEAPON.....................

Seems you could assault anyone with a functioning plain old gun and a few bullets.

Yes, correct, you can ASSAULT anyone with your hand, fist,or knife ,fork, posicle stick,etc,etc.

Dangertime's picture

Are there any fully automatic rifles for sale in the US?  And if so, what make/model?  I thought those were banned.

Urban Redneck's picture

There are thousands and thousands of them, but there have been none added to the NFA register (a prerequisite for private transfer) since the NWO Fascist HW Bushy was running things.

Funny how none of those weapons ever get used in a crime...

Raymond K Hessel's picture

There is no difference between an assault weapon and any other kind of weapon.  

The term "assault weapon" is a marketing device used by the government to make firearms on a list they created seem scarier and more dangerous than weapons not on the list.

Don't be glamored by terms from the progressive, fascist, "go big or go home" government dickholes.  They are very good, the best, at using words and images to get you to respond emotionally.  

Respond intellectually.  

I know, it's hard to think, but if thinking were easy, it'd be your mom! 

aerofan3's picture

Martin Niemoller, a German WW1 submarine captain, who, after the war, became a pastor and theologian, spoke about the inactivity of the German people following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group. He spent 4 years in concentration camps for speaking the truth as he saw it, and narrowly escaped being assassinated by the SS guards.


So lets's look at his words and apply them today in the context of the American administration's 2012 purchase of 450 million rounds of hollow point ammunition:

First they will come for the 'terrorists',
And we will not speak out because we are not terrorists.

Then they will come for for the 'demonstrators',
And we will not speak out because we do not demonstrate.

Then they will come for the 'objectors',
And we will not speak out because we only object silently.

Then they will come for you;
And, it's likely that no one will speak out for you, because the powers that be will arrive in force and pick off the opposition one at a time! As individuals you will be vastly outnumbered! 

If it happens, this is how it will be.


francis_sawyer's picture

 francis_sawyer is at the DEMONSTRATOR phase [by virtue of speaking out on ZH where the one of the principal problems exists]...


Luckily [for the rest of you ZH-ers] you have people like VAST-DOM [playing the part of the SS] to keep me silent... 

Edit: Vast-Dom also appears to have patented a francis_sawyer seeking AUTO JUNK app for his kewl I-Phone for all you peeps that REALLY want to fit in with the NWO crowd... [Only .99 joobux at the app store ~ go & get one]...