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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

Besides his penchant for domestic abuse and his military background, another interesting connection emerged between the Sutherland Springs shooter and other recent killers. His weapon of choice was the AR-15, which seems to have become a favorite of mass murderers as of late. As Michael Skolnik pointed out on Twitter this week, the men behind mass shootings in Aurora, Orlando, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Umpqua Community College, San Bernardino, and now Sutherland Springs all used the rifle, a semiautomatic gun licensed to Colt but with variations produced by several other manufacturers.

USA Today notes that the weapon has exploded in popularity in recent years, more than doubling in the past 10 years to about 3.7 million rifles manufactured in 2015. But the AR-15 is still not as renowned as other semiautomatic rifles, and its popularity is dwarfed in comparison to the handgun. So why has this particular gun become so popular for mass shooters? It may be because the gun is particularly fetishized by men under 30, the demographic for many of these killers. The gun industry and pro-gun media market the semiautomatic rifles to the most juvenile of gun enthusiasts, fostering a dangerous obsession with deadly weapons among immature young men.

It’s likely that the shooters all chose the AR-15 because they were modeling their behavior on other highly publicized killers before them. Master firearms instructor Dean Hazen, owner of the Gun Experts in Mahomet, Ill., told USA Today he thinks mass shooters prefer the AR-15 based on nothing besides a “copy-cat” mentality. “It’s really just a perception thing,” Hazen said. “There are rifles that are more powerful and more dangerous than that, but they’re not being used.” Shooters also like that the semiautomatic rifle is a civilian version of the similar M-16, used by the American military.

While it’s certainly possible that mass shooters choose their weapon on a copy-cat instinct, there are important technical reasons why the AR-15 is so preferred. The AK-47 is more well-known in American culture, but while the two guns are similar, TacticalGear.com explains, the AR-15 is more user-friendly, as it shoots farther, fires more rounds per minute and is lighter than the AK-47. Thus, in many ways, it’s more fearsome.

These weapons are also easier for shooters to get their hands on, not due to any specific loopholes (it’s already incredibly easy to purchase a gun in some states), but because of the AR-15’s pricetag—it’s generally cheaper than other semi-automatic weapons. One version has a retail price under $800, according to Voice of America while some are available for as little as $500. As Guns and Ammo wrote in its review of the particular model of AR-15 used by the Sutherland Springs shooter, “the best part of all” when it comes to the rifle is that it is “manufactured in the USA, and you won’t have to refinance your house to own one.”

Gun enthusiasts agree that the wide variety of customization options makes the AR-15 even more appealing. In a write-up on the gun titled “Why the AR-15 is America’s most popular rifle,” the NRA blog explains that “AR-15s can be skinned or wrapped in all different types of colors and patterns,” such as this one, which appeals particularly to those who stockpile weapons in preparation for the zombie apocalypse:

The blog post encourages fans of the AR-15 to “Make it even cooler and #FightTheNoise – add a suppressor from SilencerCo.”

SilencerCo is one of Donald Trump Jr.’s favorite gun accessory companies. In a promotional video for the company, he cheerily advocates for gun silencers, claiming his own hearing has been damaged as a result of firing too many non-sound-suppressed guns, and insists on the importance of “getting little kids into the game” to protect them from a similar fate. Trump Jr. is one of the more prominent manchild gun lovers, but there are plenty of others like him, and they form a major subculture within gun enthusiasts that seems particularly linked to the AR-15.

The Week’s Matthew Walther sees a connection between the killers at Sandy Hook, Aurora, Orlando, and this week in Texas: all were men under 30 with a childlike obsession with semiautomatic rifles, part of the community of “revoltingly adolescent, video-game-addicted LARPers who think that their hobby of playing dress-up with murder weapons is a constitutional right.” Writing about what he terms the “adolescent cult” of the AR-15, Walther explains how AR-15 enthusiasts often fetishize their weapons, like one who reviewed the “‘gotta have it’ accessories that’ll turn your AR into something fierce.” The same review glowingly endorsed products such as a muzzle device that “looks stupidly sexy on even a bone stock gun” and will help you in “close quarters fighting or even shooting out of a vehicle.”

Much has been written about Hollywood’s glorification of guns over the years and the impact it has had on young mass shooters. The Columbine killers were teenagers notoriously obsessed with the Matrix who dressed in black trench coats like the movie’s characters when they entered their high school to kill 13 people. Certainly, television and film glamorize weapons, especially in productions targeted at young men who think guns will make them appear more manly. But the gun industry has followed Hollywood’s lead. For years, gun companies have been using the association between guns, toughness and masculinity in order to sell the AR-15. Bushmaster ran an ad campaign featuring a semiautomatic rifle positioned next to the tagline, “Consider your man card reissued.”

(Photo Credit: Ammoland)

In 2016, a girls’ softball team in Oregon raffled off an AR-15 as a fundraiser. Then, just a week after the Las Vegas shooting, a Mississippi church used two of the rifles to raise money, and had children manning the raffle ticket table. An Oregon high school auctioned off the AR-15 to raise money for the booster club. Many of the parents who defend this behavior insist that fostering a love for guns in their children is part of the great American tradition of preserving the Second Amendment.

If gun culture isn’t busy marketing guns to children (and man-children) who salivate over them, it’s flipping the Oedipal narrative on its head, encouraging people to care for their AR-15s much as they would their own family members. In a piece on “Great Ways to Trick Out Your AR-15,” Guns and Ammo pays homage to the “Rifleman’s Creed,” which “emphasizes the importance of building a bond with your rifle, learning how it works and respecting it as a best friend or brother.”

The piece continues, “tricking out an AR-15 is the perfect way to personalize a rifle and simultaneously build a bond with it.” When describing a rifle purchase, the author draws a creepy analogy to welcoming a new baby into the home, writing, “Most folks who buy a new AR-15 usually have plans for how to accessorize it before they even bring it home.” The article is filled with rhetoric that personifies the AR-15, encouraging readers to “transform it into something you can proudly call ‘my rifle.’”

Considering the lonely, alienated nature of mass shooters, it’s no wonder they’re drawn to weapons the gun industry promises will become their new “best friend.”

Liz Posner is a managing editor at AlterNet. Her work has appeared on Forbes.com, Bust, Bustle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @elizpos.

 

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21 responses to “Why The AR-15 Is The Weapon Of Choice For Mass Shooters”

  1. White Hat says:

    Guns are machines of death. It’s what they’re designed to do. It’s what they’re for. They have no other purpose.

    I grew up as a hunter, first going hunting with my Dad as early a 6 years old, carrying a bb gun out pheasant hunting. I owned my own personal shotgun when I was 12, and I was a licensed deer hunter well before I could drive. Dad used our hunting trips to teach us manly things like smoking cigars and drinking.

    I never shot a deer, despite many opportunities. I just couldn’t. I’d go hunting to hang out with my Dad and sit alone in the woods, counting the minutes until I could go back to camp and smoke more cigars and bond with my dad. Deer were, like somehow, sacred. God’s gift of grace, elegance and beauty, every classical music piece I ever heard, come to life. I never did shoot one. When I went to college, I finally found the courage to sell my shotgun.

    Guns are machines designed to kill. Automatic weapons are designed to kill indiscriminately, hundreds if not thousands of rounds of flesh-tearing rounds per minute.

    If not for the Shrieking Victims, it might even seem fun somehow. It’s like a video game isn’t it? But when you suddenly realize you’re a misanthropic monster, it kind of loses that appeal, doesn’t it? When you’re forced to realize that you aren’t even human in any way anymore. A psychotic monster. No wonder why so many mass murderers kill themselves.

    Guns are machines of dealing death. There aren’t ANY valid reasons for multi-round firing capacities. If you’re a righteous hunter you only need one round to kill the beautiful animals (god’s gift, though you might reasonably dispute that) out there in the woods.

    But for 10 years or so now I’ve come across many people who think they’re going to “fight the power” by facing off those who are coming for their guns.

    Dude. If they’re coming for your guns they have legal (thoughtful, carefully considered) reasons for coming for your guns. You are NOT going to face them off at your door, they’re not going away until you are dead or incarcerated, that’s just how it works in the USA of the 21st Century.

    Rid yourself if your “good guy with a gun” fantasies ASAP, and let the legal system do its job. If nothing else, it will help keep nutball losers like Stephen Paddock (500 dead and/or injured) from their fantasies. You wanna help the world? Do this thing.

    • Matt Quigley says:

      Firearms ownership has nothing to do with hunting. You have to strike that from your mind before you can understand the nuance of the situation. I’m glad you sold your shotgun. If you had no use for it, and it caused you anguish, why keep it?

      The problem I have with your argument is that you are projecting your own personal ideas on firearms ownership onto everyone else, and giving the government carte blanche to remove that right.

      Humans have a natural right to self defense, and it exists whether a government says there is a legal right or not. 250 years ago self defense was accomplished with the rifled musket, in 250 years it might be ray guns, but today self defense is accomplished with semi-automatic firearms like the AR-15. That’s just how it is. Arguments like “why do you NEED an AR-15?” are pointless, just like no one had to ask you “why did you NEED to sell your shotgun?”

      No fantasies here. I don’t think confiscation is possible, nor do I expect gun owners to face down the might of the government on their front stoop if it was. But I also harbor none of your morbid fascination with the deadliness of an inanimate object. Rifles of ALL kinds only account for 3-4% of gun murders each year. Do you really think that banning them would lower the murder rate by 3-4%? It’s naive to think so.

      • White Hat says:

        a) 500+ dead and wounded in Vegas. 26 dead in the latest church shooting. These would not have been possible without a semi-automatic rifle.

        b) A semi-automatic rifle which has no valid purpose except for mass slaughter. It is a MILITARY device, not a self-defense device.

        See, I think we start the discussion in the wrong place. Let’s start here: zero guns = zero gun deaths. Starting there, we permit certain types of guns for certain specific purposes, and accept the number of deaths we KNOW will occur.

        Mis-use of a gun should be a crime. Mis-storage of a gun (with kids around, say) should be a crime. I’m of the opinion that there are no “accidental deaths,” because it’s prima facie evidence of mis-use or mis-storage of a lethal device which HAS NO OTHER PURPOSE except killing.

        I suppose there’s the self-defense argument, I hear that a lot from gun lovers. But in reality, if someone knocks on your door and puts a gun in your face, your personal firearm becomes only the first thing stolen. THAT is the reality, not some fantasy about self-defense.

        • Matt Quigley says:

          “A semi-automatic rifle which has no valid purpose except for mass slaughter. It is a MILITARY device, not a self-defense device.”
          100% untrue. Can’t be more clear on this. There is literally nothing correct about that statement. Not sure if it’s ignorance, indoctrination, or willful deceit, but you’re wrong. Semi-automatics are the most common type of civilian-owned firearm, and the most common firearm used in self-defense and hunting. Name one military on the planet that standard-issues a semi-automatic firearm to their infantry. Name one.

          Mis-use of a gun IS a crime. Not sure what your point is here. As for “mis-storage,” I agree that parents should bear the full brunt of responsibility for not properly storing their arms or teaching their children firearms safety.

          There is no self-defense fantasy here. Only cold-blooded reality. Violence happens, I accept that. I am not afraid of it happening, otherwise I wouldn’t leave the house. Just like if I was afraid of a car accident I wouldn’t drive. But I take responsibility for my own safety, and I hope you stop this personal vendetta against others who choose to do so.

          • White Hat says:

            Excuse my poor terminology. I should have said military-style assault weapons instead of semi-automatics. As in “there’s no justfication for military-style assault weapons in American society.”

            Re your fantasy of defending yourself, I guess you’ve never been mugged. When it happens, you don’t have time to find, load, aim etc., you simply hand over your valuables. Including your precious gun.

            I suppose if carrying a gun makes you feel safe enough to leave your home, then so be it. But this is the truth: If you ever pull your gun, in any situation, you have to be prepared to kill with it. Because that is what guns are for, not influencing people’s behavior. Guns are machines for killing. That you imagine otherwise makes you simply wrong.

            I decided long ago that if I had a gun I’d ALWAYS hesitate to shoot it at a person, which invalidates its use in self-defense. If you don’t feel the same way, then you shouldn’t have one either.

          • Matt Quigley says:

            Please be aware that “military-style assault weapon” is a made-up term used to blur the distinction between semi-automatic firearms and fully-automatic assault rifles and machine guns.

            When you say “military-style assault weapons,” you are describing millions of semi-automatic firearms legally owned for hunting, sport-shooting, and self-defense.

            I bring this up because language matters, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of using loaded words and appeals to emotion because they are in such constant used by biased sources.

            I’ve never been mugged, and I hope I never am. And my gun is not “precious,” it cost $400 ten years ago. My life and the life of my family is precious, which is why I choose to take responsibility. Will I be successful in defending myself if I ever find myself in that situation? I have no idea, but self-sufficiency is important to me.

      • PrecipitousDrop says:

        People who argue in favor of unlimited gun ownership “for self defense” advocate shooting other people. Period.

        • Matt Quigley says:

          Standing against the banning of semi-automatic firearms, which is a 100 year-old technology, means you’re for “unlimited” gun ownership? You may want to check your argument, there seems to be something wrong with it.

          • PrecipitousDrop says:

            No.
            Read it again.
            No part of it refers to type of firearm.

          • Matt Quigley says:

            Well, then I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. When you defend yourself with a firearm, sometimes people get shot. Some people need shooting. If you live your life by robbing, injuring, and murdering innocent people, you deserve to be shot by your victims. That’s not controversial, is it?

          • PrecipitousDrop says:

            Who decides which “people need shooting”?
            You?

          • Matt Quigley says:

            You have no cause or reason to think that. You’re really stretching it. It’s not even moderately interesting talking with someone who jumps to such an insane conclusion. You’re smarter than that.

            But to answer your question, a victim gets to choose. If someone is in fear for their life during a violent assault, and that assault can be judged by a reasonable person to carry the threat of crippling injury or death, they have the legal and moral right to defend themselves.

            Do you think that it is morally justifiable that victims defend themselves? I assume you do. I hope you do.

            Which means that there is one person in your list that does not belong. George Zimmerman was judged in court to be under threat of grievous bodily harm from his attacker, so he was legally justifiable in using his lawfully-owned firearm to defend himself. You and I probably agree that he’s a piece of ****, and his actions leading up to him having his head bounced off the pavement were a series of mistakes, but the bottom line is: someone initiated deadly force against him, and he defended himself.

          • PrecipitousDrop says:

            I agree that you’re probably not an obsessed, depraved monster.
            Yet, you are cool with killing — for “self defense”.
            And what is “self defense”?
            Per you, it is your perception of threatened harm to yourself or someone else.
            The difference between reasonable people and depraved monsters is their motivating perceptions. I agree that depraved monsters have wildly defective perceptions. The problem is, so do sane people — when they’re frightened, or angry.
            Plus, what reasonable threat does a law abiding US citizen face that requires an AR-15?
            Finally, when did non-lethal assault or robbery become capital crimes?

          • Matt Quigley says:

            These are all good questions. I’m not positing my own definition of self-defense, I’m sticking to the law, which is surprisingly balanced and (despite what some say) is not heavily favored toward unnecessary violence.

            Self-defense law isn’t common knowledge for everyone, so it’s easy to think that anyone can get away with murder by claiming self defense (like the South Park “stand your ground” episode). But your perception of a threat doesn’t matter. What matters is what holds up in court – what the lawyers, judge, and 12 jurists say.

            In order to use deadly force and not go to prison for life you have to be able to prove that the person you defended yourself against was willing, able, and actively seeking to do you grievous injury. To use the Zimmerman case, once he fell down and was getting his head bashed into the street, in the eyes of the law he was in danger to being killed. You can’t shoot someone for punching or kicking you, that doesn’t come close to meeting the threshold in the eyes of the law (unless it’s a man vs a woman, or the the size/strength disparity is very large). But if you fall down, and you can no longer deflect the blows, and your attacker is not relenting, then the law gives you the option of meeting that deadly force with your own. But every case is different.

            To answer your last question, it’s a gray area, and differs from state-to-state. If someone breaks into your home you have the right to assume that they mean you harm. Even if their intention is to grab your TV and leave, you don’t know that, and the law gives you the right to defend yourself under many circumstances. They’ve already committed a violent felony – breaking and entering. They’ve committed trespassing. It’s a gray area, but suffice to say that if it’s shown that you have reasonable cause to suspect that they were only after property, you have no right to use deadly force. You have to prove that it was reasonable for you to assume that they meant you harm.

            Finally, the AR-15 question. Citizens face every threat that police do. For every call that a cop goes on – robbery, murder, etc, that crime happened to a citizen. Cops show up with AR-15s. I’m ok with an average Joe using what the cops use. They’re fine for home defense in a lot of circumstances. Who are we to say what’s going to work best for an individual? We should be wary of assuming we know what someone else “needs.” But most people own them for fun or hunting. Crime is rare in the U.S. outside of a few neighborhoods.

            These aren’t assault rifles. There’s this idea being tossed around that a semi-automatic rifle is too powerful or dangerous to be in civilian hands. That’s silly. It’s a rifle. Semi-automatics have been around for 100 years, and detachable magazine rifles have been owned by civilians for 70 years. Can they kill people? Of course. But rifles of all kinds only account for 4% of gun murders annually. Banning civilian ownership isn’t going to lower the murder rate or even make it harder for mass shooters to get one. Remember Bataclan? You can’t own a rifle in France, yet they got fully automatic AK-47s.

          • Matt Quigley says:

            These are all good questions. I’m not positing my own definition of self-defense, I’m sticking to the law, which is surprisingly balanced and (despite what some say) is not heavily favored toward unnecessary violence.

            Self-defense law isn’t common knowledge for everyone, so it’s easy to think that anyone can get away with murder by claiming self defense (like the South Park “stand your ground” episode). But your perception of a threat doesn’t matter. What matters is what holds up in court – what the lawyers, judge, and 12 jurists say.

            In order to use deadly force and not go to prison for life you have to be able to prove that the person you defended yourself against was willing, able, and actively seeking to do you grievous injury. To use the Zimmerman case, once he fell down and was getting his head bashed into the street, in the eyes of the law he was in danger to being killed. You can’t shoot someone for punching or kicking you, that doesn’t come close to meeting the threshold in the eyes of the law (unless it’s a man vs a woman, or the the size/strength disparity is very large). But if you fall down, and you can no longer deflect the blows, and your attacker is not relenting, then the law gives you the option of meeting that deadly force with your own. But every case is different.

            To answer your last question, it’s a gray area, and differs from state-to-state. If someone breaks into your home you have the right to assume that they mean you harm. Even if their intention is to grab your TV and leave, you don’t know that, and the law gives you the right to defend yourself under many circumstances. They’ve already committed a violent felony – breaking and entering. They’ve committed trespassing. It’s a gray area, but suffice to say that if it’s shown that you have reasonable cause to suspect that they were only after property, you have no right to use deadly force. You have to prove that it was reasonable for you to assume that they meant you harm.
            Finally, the AR-15 question. Citizens face every threat that police do. For every call that a cop goes on – robbery, murder, etc, that crime happened to a citizen. Cops show up with AR-15s. I’m ok with an average Joe using what the cops use. They’re fine for home defense in a lot of circumstances. Who are we to say what’s going to work best for an individual? We should be wary of assuming we know what someone else “needs.” But most people own them for fun or hunting. Crime is rare in the U.S. outside of a few neighborhoods.

            These aren’t assault rifles. There’s this idea being tossed around that a semi-automatic rifle is too powerful or dangerous to be in civilian hands. That’s silly. It’s a rifle. Semi-automatics have been around for 100 years, and detachable magazine rifles have been owned by civilians for 70 years. Can they kill people? Of course. But rifles of all kinds only account for 4% of gun murders annually. Banning civilian ownership isn’t going to lower the murder rate or even make it harder for mass shooters to get one. Remember Bataclan? You can’t own a rifle in France, yet they got fully automatic AK-47s.

          • PrecipitousDrop says:

            I’m aware of the law.
            Please stop pretending that fear and anger do not skew our perceptions — or that, “I feared for my life,” is a tried-and-true Get Out of Jail Free card.
            Citizens who presume the duties of law enforcement officers are rarely heroic. They most often pose significantly higher risks to everyone involved.
            When you can answer why France doesn’t have four or five Bataclan tragedies every year caused by their own native born citizens — like the US does — we’ll talk. Otherwise, I’ll continue to deduce it’s because France does strictly limit firearms ownership.

            Maybe it’s time to register firearms ownership like we register vehicle ownership. Every day, we prove that we can account for over 253 million cars and trucks. States and counties can operate gun registries, just like they operate the DMV. They can set the fees, fines, and penalties, and run background checks for private sales, trades, and gifts. Keep your guns. Have as many as you like. By all means, “keep and bear arms” as per Constitutional protection. We just need to tighten up on the non-protected aspects of firearms — purchase, sale, trade, and manufacture. There is no reason to make mass shootings easier to accomplish.

          • Matt Quigley says:

            Never said fear and anger don’t skew perception, and how many different ways did I explain that what a person claims doesn’t matter; it’s what you can prove to a “reasonable person,” ie. a jury? After three paragraphs of me basically saying you can’t get away with murder on the “self defense” excuse, you appear to be trying to pin the opposite statement on me.

            “Presume the duties of law enforcement…” – are you saying what I think you are? Dial 911 and wait? Let me just come out and say it: you are not okay with someone defending themselves in the face of a violent attack. Unless you are referencing a very specific circumstance, like a person should not fire into a crowd in order to stop a murderer, I have to say that you harbor a very morally questionable position, and are making a very broad generalization.

            I don’t know the crime statistics of France, but I’ll wager that their firearm murder rate is 10 times lower than the U.S., and their overall murder rate is 3-4 times lower than the U.S. The latter is all we should worry about, of course.

            Bataclan and the Nice truck attack both had larger death tolls than Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs combined. The U.S. has never had an attack, excluding Oklahoma City and 9/11 that was as deadly as either. But you probably meant to add up all the mass shootings, in which case, yes, the U.S. has a much bigger murder problem. But…86 people killed with a truck in 1/10 of the time it took the Las Vegas shooter to do what he did.

            I understand the sentiment that firearms make murder easier in certain situations, but destroy every firearm on the planet and you have done nothing to solve crime or hate. You have, however, created a situation where brute strength, aggression, and numbers are what rule in a violent encounter. Ask yourself if that is preferable in the wide range of futures that we face.

            2% of our counties account for 50% of our gun homicides. Gun crime is exceptionally rare outside of essentially a few dozen neighborhoods in the entire country. According to the FBI, 80% of gun homicides are linked to gangs or drugs. These aren’t “mass shooters”, though they sometimes end with 3 or more people shot. Cheap handguns, not scary black rifles, kill 90% of those murdered by a gun.

            You think registration is going to do the trick? This gun problem would be solved by the government knowing who owns what and mailing out $50 fines because Mary Joe Wallace in Portland forgot to re-up her registration on her AR-15? I know the need to DO SOMETHING is strong, but come on. If we didn’t register our vehicles, would road fatalities double in the next ten years?

          • Matt Quigley says:

            Never said fear and anger don’t skew perception, and how many different ways did I explain that what a person claims doesn’t matter; it’s what you can prove to a “reasonable person,” ie. a jury? After three paragraphs of me basically saying you can’t get away with murder on the “self defense” excuse, you appear to be trying to pin the opposite statement on me.

            “Presume the duties of law enforcement…” – are you saying what I think you are? Dial 911 and wait? Let me just come out and say it: you are not okay with someone defending themselves in the face of a violent attack. Unless you are referencing a very specific circumstance, like a person should not fire into a crowd in order to stop a murderer, I have to say that you harbor a very morally questionable position, and are making a very broad generalization.

            I don’t know the crime statistics of France, but I’ll wager that their firearm murder rate is 10 times lower than the U.S., and their overall murder rate is 3-4 times lower than the U.S. The latter is all we should worry about, of course.

            Bataclan and the Nice truck attack both had larger death tolls than Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs combined. The U.S. has never had an attack, excluding Oklahoma City and 9/11 that was as deadly as either. But you probably meant to add up all the mass shootings, in which case, yes, the U.S. has a much bigger murder problem. But…86 people killed with a truck in 1/10 of the time it took the Las Vegas shooter to do what he did.

            I understand the sentiment that firearms make murder easier in certain situations, but destroy every firearm on the planet and you have done nothing to solve crime or hate. You have, however, created a situation where brute strength, aggression, and numbers are what rule in a violent encounter. Ask yourself if that is preferable in the wide range of futures that we face.
            2% of our counties account for 50% of our gun homicides. Gun crime is exceptionally rare outside of essentially a few dozen neighborhoods in the entire country. According to the FBI, 80% of gun homicides are linked to gangs or drugs. These aren’t “mass shooters”, though they sometimes end with 3 or more people shot. Cheap handguns, not scary black rifles, kill 90% of those murdered by a gun.

            You think registration is going to do the trick? This gun problem would be solved by the government knowing who owns what and mailing out $50 fines because Mary Joe Wallace in Portland forgot to re-up her registration on her AR-15? I know the need to DO SOMETHING is strong, but come on. If we didn’t register our vehicles, would road fatalities double in the next ten years?

          • Matt Quigley says:

            Precipitous Drop, looks like The National Memo doesn’t like what I’ve been saying. They deleted my last two posts. Guess we’ll have to leave it here! Take care and best wishes.

    • It’s good of you to offer some sanity and wise advice based on your personal experience. Your honesty is refreshing, and you are in touch with your humanity. Too bad those who have an obsession with guns, rather than a healthy respect for it and how to use it properly, are no longer in touch with their human qualities.

  2. In spite of all the excuses gun users who are fanatically attached to the gun, the violent nature of America stands out in stark contrast to other nations. Yes, there are religious fanatics who use explosives, the generality of the people in nations that have had jihadists grow up in their midst are not prone to just go off the deep end and set off a bomb because of some personal gripe or financial problems.

    Even in Yemen and in Oman where wearing a khanjar—an ornate and stylish knife—is fashionable, for many men it is simply an ornament worn for aesthetics to appear fashionable.

    America has sold its soul to the devil so to speak by wallowing in violence, as a result of too much media glorification of gun use. And since a lot of men and boys lack a sense of personal balance, from being too privileged and taught to overemphasize the machismo, many American males are easily impressed by gun fire.

    Too much “Rambo”, and stylized violence which we saw in “The Matrix” genre, and way too much idolizing of the image of the cowboy on TV for decades has led to generations of men wanting to use a gun, ostensibly for hunting. Maybe being overly carnivorous in our eating habits, instructed to be overly competitive in a macho way, being materialists in our outlook, to see women and others deemed weaker as just objects to be manipulated, and being indoctrinated in a formal to always think in terms of “Survival of the Fittest” contributes to the nation being so mentally unbalanced and obsessed with killing when we feel aggrieved for whatever reason.

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