And here we are yet again.
Another nut with a gun and grudge.
And the enraged monkeys emerge from the trees to shriek and fling fistfuls of their own fecal matter at each other.
Guns! Guns! one side wails, More Guns!
Mental Illness! Mental Illness! screeches the other.
The field that separates the two warring camps is full of the wounded and the maimed and the dead, their bodies decorated in blood and steaming monkey dung. It is a gulf devoid of both reason and sanity.
I really hate to say, see? I told you so. But, here we are, déjà vu all over again.
Only this time there’s a variation on the theme I wrote about in The Seven Stages of Gun Violence. Given that this is the third shooting on a military base in recent memory (shootings on military bases are nothing particularly new, it’s just that all of a sudden it’s fashionable to act like you actually give a shit), the new argument being hurled back and forth like warm monkey turds is whether or not military personal should be allowed to carry loaded weapons on base – and not just loaded weapons, but concealed weapons under their uniforms – so that they may shoot down their fellows should it become necessary.
Given the law of unintended consequences, I do have to wonder what the military will look like after a few years of institutional paranoia, of soldiers regarding each other as potentially murderous lunatics, sleeping with one eye open and ready at any moment to gun each other down. Morale, esprit de corps, trust, respect, too bad those things can’t be measured quantitatively in empirical values, because I’d love to see a trend graph after a few years of armed fear in the ranks – coupled to a post-war drawdown and reduction in funding. 1975, here we come.
I wasn’t going to write about this, not here, not in detail, not again.
I updated and reposted the previously mentioned Seven Stages of Gun Violence and I figured that was enough. Frankly I’m sick of this, sick of the bloodshed, sick of the carnage, sick of the apathy, sick of the insanity we continue to inflict upon ourselves like the shrieking primates we are.
But between social media and online searches for gun control and gun violence and military shootings, which inevitably led people to the previous articles I’ve written in this series, folks started to show up on Stonekettle Station. And thus, as always when I won’t let the raging baboons post comments here, I get email.
Most of it is pretty obnoxious.
I looked at the the common theme of the hatemail, and then I proposed a simple scenario for my audience on Facebook. Something to spark conversation and an exploration of the issue.
I suppose I should have known better, I’ve been doing this long enough, but I’m nothing if not a tilter at windmills.
The folks that are allowed to comment on my Facebook wall are a pretty reasonable bunch, probably because I ruthlessly weed out the dullards who can’t behave like civilized human beings. But, see, that simple post was shared far and wide, and some of the resulting comments were … well, hang on to that thought and we’ll come back to those comments in a minute.
First, the bit I posted on Facebook:
I'm getting email, to wit:
Military personnel are well trained in firearms. They should be required to carry their weapon at all times on base, locked and loaded. In a case like the Fort Hood shooting(s), or the Navy Yard shooting, or the Norfolk shooting, they could respond immediately to defend themselves. You're a faggy America-hating Nazi if you don't agree.
Ok. Fair enough.
How about this: You're a military policeman. The alarm goes off: active shooter in the vicinity of the Troop Medical Campus, shots fired, people down, number and identity of gunman/gunmen unknown, location of the active shooter or shooters unknown possibly moving through the buildings killing randomly, possibly in the parking lot, possibly in the lobby of the main hospital building, possibly in the VA reception area - the situation is unclear, there are multiple reports and descriptions of the shooter, all different, all confused. You just know there's at least one shooter somewhere in the medical campus. You and your fellow cops respond. You arrive. You have no idea what you're getting into. You jump out of your cruiser, weapon drawn, safety off. There are soldiers and civilians down in front of the building. It's like a Quentin Tarantino movie. Blood. Smoke. Screams. The staccato crack of continuous gunfire echoes off the buildings so that you can't even tell where it's coming from - the classic problem of urban warfare. Chaos. Restricted line of sight. Panicked non-combatants. Armed military personnel have engaged the (possible) shooter, there is a three-way firefight going on. You see dozens of men and women in uniform crouched behind cover exchanging fire with other men and women in uniform crouched behind cover returning fire. They all look exactly the same.
Now, you have to do something, right now. It’s your job. You raise your weapon and step forward...
Just one thing, one little thing before you pull the trigger: Which one is the bad guy?
Or perhaps bad guys, plural? Come now, it's easy, after all you're an expert, right? Quick, which one is the bad guy? This isn't a video game. This is the real thing. Choose wrong, you die, other people keep dying. Choose wrong, you kill the men and women you're supposed to be protecting and then you can live with that for the rest of your life, if you live. Better hurry up, you've got a fraction of second, and here comes the rest of the cavalry with their guns out and the same choice to make and how do you know the shooter isn't one of them? This is what you wanted, everybody armed, everybody shooting, so come on, Hero, which soldier do you kill first?
I spent most of my adult life in uniform under arms. I'm a trained and certified firearms instructor. I'm a trained and certified force protection officer. Now, as a civilian, I do consulting on a military base. You don't have to listen to me, but ask yourself something: if arming military personnel on post is such a great idea, why then haven't those experienced, trained, and knowledgeable soldiers in command positions joined your side? Why aren't the NCOs and the Colonels and the Admirals and the Generals demanding en mass weapons free on base?
What do they know that you don't?
You're entitled to your opinion, but you REALLY don't understand the situation at all.
It was a simple thought problem.
There are many ways a scenario like this could play out. Multiple shooters. Shooter already dead and nobody realizes it, either by his own hand or as a result of direct fire. Shooter hides among the victims and waits quietly for law enforcement. Or maybe there never was a shooter at all and it was all a terrible mistake triggered by something stupid – say like a soldier fumbling his weapon and causing an accidental discharge which is then perceived by other stressed out combat vets as an active threat.
The idea here was to start a conversation among my Facebook following, because that’s what I do there (yes, that’s correct, not everything on Facebook is about cats and duckfaced girls). And that’s what happened. And that continues to be an interesting, adult, and reasoned exchange. But many folks shared my post, and the comments under those shares provided the impetus for this essay.
Let’s start with this comment from a guy whose force protection and military expertise, according to his Facebook page, appears to consist mostly of really liking Transformer movies:
I think Jim is being a little bit of a bitch about this. The police and soldiers (especially now that urban combat is common place) have been trained for these situations. It's relatively easy for them to identify who the aggressor is. With civilians on base, the reason why soldiers aren't armed is the same reason banks don't have security guards... insurance. You are liable if there is a death on your premises, and the chances of someone getting killed goes up dramatically if there are armed guards. The real question is, how do people keep getting on these bases with firearms? Can the military not afford metal detectors (or are they still looking for a vendor who will overcharge them by 10000%)?
I think Jim is being a little bit of a bitch about this. I’m not really sure what this means other than he doesn’t like what I wrote, so that makes me a bitch. Says the grown man who posts pictures of comic book action figures on his Facebook page.
The police and soldiers (especially now that urban combat is common place) have been trained for these situations. It's relatively easy for them to identify who the aggressor is. Right, the bad guy looks like a giant metal robot made out of car parts, sure. Meanwhile, outside of kiddie movies, it’s often a whole lot different. Remember the first Fort Hood shooting? In the first minute, how many shooters were there? No, don’t roll your eyes, answer the question, how many? Don’t know? The answer is three. In the chaos and confusion, responders at first thought there were three shooters. Besides Major Nidal Malik Hasan, two other soldiers were identified by military personnel as being involved. Those men were detained and interrogated. It didn’t take investigators very long to figure out the other men had nothing to do with Hasan’s murderous rampage, but what if the soldiers who initially thought they did were armed and prepared to take action? In that confusion, in that moment when people are dying and you just don’t know, in that moment, those two innocent men could easily have become targets for their fellows.
Now, how many shooters were initially reported when Aaron Alexis pulled out a shotgun and started killing people inside the NAVSEA building at the Washington Navy Yard?
As to it being “relatively easy” to identify the shooter, answer a question for me. Remember when the LAPD shot three unarmed civilians by accident because they confused two small Asian women delivering newspapers and a skinny white guy on a bicycle for a large angry black man in tactical gear carrying an assault rifle? No? Maybe it’s just me. Funny thing, those cops were specifically trained in active shooter situations, unlike soldiers they were professionals in this exact situation, and they had a detailed description of the shooter, and they weren’t under fire and had time to consider the situation, and yet…
The first minutes of any attack are confused and unclear and can easily result in friendly fire. In fact, certain military and terrorist tactics are designed specifically with this in mind, induce maximum confusion, get friendly forces to engage each other. I know, part of my job in the military was designing warfighting doctrine and tactics exactly like this. Hell, blue on blue engagements happen in battle on a far too frequent basis, even when the enemy isn’t actively trying to make that happen, even when soldiers are trained to look out for it. You don’t have to believe me, you can go ask Pat Tillman’s family about it. But I guess they don’t teach that at Comic Book University.
There is an enormous difference between a law enforcement situation and unrestricted combat in the warzone. That’s why the training is very, very different for each type of operation. That’s why the rules of engagement are different. Hell, that’s one of the reasons soldiers and Marines often regard occupation and peacekeeping duty as far worse than actual combat. I’ve been professionally trained in both operations, but don’t take my word for it – ask any cop who used to be a soldier. There are plenty of them around.
That said, my critic fails to specify exactly how (short of the bad guy actually being a giant robot made from car parts) other soldiers and military police would know who’s who in this scenario, given that they’re all dressed the same and all shooting. And given that in the real world, when it really happened, witnesses actually did, in point of fact, misidentify innocent soldiers as shooters. Instead, the critic waves his hand and claims that it’s “relatively easy.” You know, like when you’re a cop running into a school full of panicked children and you have to figure out which child is killing the other ones in the middle of a crowd – but yeah, it’s relatively easy and cops don’t lay awake at night sweating this exact situation.
With civilians on base, the reason why soldiers aren't armed is the same reason banks don't have security guards... insurance. You are liable if there is a death on your premises … Say what now? Talk about the fallacy of false equivalence.
Banks generally don’t have armed guards nowadays because a) they’ve gotten a lot better at passive and active security systems, and b) because armed guards pretty much guarantee the robbers will come through the door shooting. There’s a significant reduction in loss of life if the bank personnel don’t attempt to engage the criminals in a shoot out – and, really, what does this do for the critic’s position of arming everybody? Frankly, he seems to be the kind of guy who tends to shoot himself in the foot, at least figuratively.
That said, a bank robbery and an active shooter are two completely different threats. Totally different tactical problems in law enforcement. You can’t compare the two, primarily because the goals of the perpetrators are completely different. And we don’t restrict the free carry of weapons on base because the government is worried about liability. Weapons are restricted for many reasons, from accountability for expensive and deadly government property to concern over accidental or deliberate shootings and everything in between.
The real question is, how do people keep getting on these bases with firearms? Can the military not afford metal detectors (or are they still looking for a vendor who will overcharge them by 10000%)?
Sixty to eighty thousand people enter and leave Fort Hood every day. Sixty to eighty thousand. Twenty to thirty thousand enter and leave San Diego Naval Station, every day. Twenty-five thousand active duty military and civilian personnel come and go from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, every day, thirty thousand military family members access that same base on a daily basis, more than one hundred thousand veterans use the base hospital, commissary, and military exchange monthly. Here in Alaska, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson supports similar numbers. A quarter of million people work or live on the various bases in and surrounding Norfolk.
So, what exactly are you going to do? Metal detectors, pat downs, and car searches every day? At every base? Really? You’re going to provide that kind of manpower, that kind of equipment? Because we do that, you know. It’s called Threat Condition Delta, and everybody coming onto base gets thoroughly inspected. Want to guess how long it takes to pat down every person and inspect every vehicle on a base like Fort Hood? Even if you restrict access to only essential personnel, you’re still looking at scanning 40,000 people – all at the same time, because they all show up for work at the same time. Which is why we only do it when we have a credible threat, because otherwise it’s impossible to do business.
As I said, this guy just doesn’t understand the problem. But, hey, tell you what, maybe if we got ourselves some magic robots from outer space…
So, who’s the bitch now?
Yes, I know, but I just couldn’t help it.
Moving on, another person opined:
It's not a problem to know who the bad guys is- the one shooting people. In Israel, every 18 years old carries a rifle everywhere (both in the army and when they go home every weekend). It does make for a much safer environment. If a Palestinian terrorist starts shooting innocent civilians, then you know for sure that someone will take him down very fast. That's why most of the terrorist acts in Israel end immediately after they start with far less casualties than other places (like the Norway massacre). You don't need to wait for MPs - that's the whole point. The other soldiers would have taken him down as soon as he started shooting - cause they had GUNS. In fact, one of the routine practice drills is to simulate a Palestinian in Israeli military uniform infiltrating the base and then starts shooting everyone. It is basic training.
The commenter is moving the goal posts.
It's not a problem to know who the bad guys is- the one shooting people. [sic]
Unless he’s not shooting people when you happen to look in his direction.
Unless random good guys are also shooting – which was the whole point of my original comment.
Unless there’s more than one shooter.
Unless the shooter knows your tactics, because he’s one of you, and he takes deliberate measures to hide among the victims or mask his actions or otherwise evade, conceal, confuse, and/or escape.
In Israel, every 18 years old carries a rifle everywhere (both in the army and when they go home every weekend). It does make for a much safer environment.
Right, no terrorism or random shooting in Israel.
If a Palestinian terrorist starts shooting innocent civilians, then you know for sure that someone will take him down very fast. That's why most of the terrorist acts in Israel end immediately after they start with far less casualties than other places
Ah, and there we are, the fallacy of false comparison. Palestinian terrorists, i.e. the enemy. Not quite the same thing as an active shooter who is one of your own troops.
And speaking of logical fallacies, I think we need a new one: the “Bu Bu But that’s how they do it in Israel” fallacy.
Oh, yes let us handle gun ownership the way the Israelis do. Let us indeed. You bet.
You can start by chucking out the 2nd Amendment, or rather you can start by actually enforcing the 2nd Amendment. The whole thing, especially that part about a “well regulated militia.” Gun ownership in Israel isn’t a right, it’s a duty enforced by law. You own guns in Israel because you’re required to help defend the state, not just you and yours. I can’t wait to see you implement that in America. And you don’t just run out and buy yourself an AR-15 and start patrolling the streets. It starts with universal conscription, in high school. Every single person will be required by law to undergo training and background checks before they are allowed to touch a gun, along with periodic refresher training and civil defense drills. Did I mention universal registration, both for your weapons and for you? Yeah, see, you were given that gun by the government for a reason, because if you’re not in uniform, once you’ve completed your active duty obligation, you’re still part of the civil defense force and that means the government keeps a record of your training and guns. And you can just forget about gun stores and gun shows and all of the rest of the American gun porn. And then let’s talk about the penalties for irresponsible gun use.
I’ve been there, it’s an ok place, pretty girls, intelligent educated folks, great food – best olives I’ve ever had. The beer is pretty good. Heat. Sand. And religion leaking out of every crack. Government of loons. Sure, it’s a dandy place, if you like living in an armed camp in the middle of a war zone. If you like tanks in the streets and armed soldiers on every corner and machine guns on the playground. If you like looking over your shoulder all of the time. If you like government surveillance and pervasive military security that would make Edward Snowden hyperventilate himself into a stroke. Sure, you bet. Let’s do that. I think it’s a great idea, you go first, Conservatives, the rest of us will be right behind you.
Let me be blunt, screw Israel.
You want to go live there, be my guest. I’ll help you pack. But I will bet you whatever sum of money you like, that should you actually try to impose the actual kind of universal gun carry they have in Israel, the very first people who would start screaming fascism! Nazis! would be the NRA and the Tea Party and those advocating right now for arming troops on base.
Here’s another one:
That article seems a bit disingenuous. The MP's wouldn't have to worry about who was the bad guy because there would be no more shots after the BG was taken out. The good guy would be more than happy to lay down his gun when they arrived and explain the situation later.
It wasn’t an article, it was a couple of lines on Facebook, but, hey, why spoil a thing with facts, eh?
The MP's wouldn't have to worry about who was the bad guy because there would be no more shots after the BG was taken out
Right, it’ll go down just like that. Every time.
The good guy would be more than happy to lay down his gun when they arrived and explain the situation later.
You have to admire this guy’s optimism. But then again, he lives in a magic world of rainbows and flying bunnies where the good guys wear white hats and the bad guys look like Boris and Natasha from Rocky & Bullwinkle.
oh and the answer on who to shoot would be everyone not face down after the command cease fire and surrender your weapon is given. after all You make a strong argument but you don't explain why a nut was allowed to run around shooting people on a military base. Was he supposed to be armed and it not why was he permitted to do this? These people definitely deserve to be better protected or to protected themselves.one guy with a gun can be over powered by soldiers that are already signed up to get shot at.... maybe Marines are different...
Marines are different alright, I don’t think anybody would argue that.
Because in the middle of a shootout, Marines will just lay down, cease fire, and surrender their weapons, right?
Because it’s always so neat and tidy, right? Shooter on one side, Marines on the other, clearly delineated. Cops show up, Marines meekly surrender their weapons, bad guy is left standing in the middle of the playing field holding his gun in one hand and his dick in the other. Because that’s how it’ll go down, right?
The writer is being disingenuous. I mean we can all make no win situations to try and justify things. I mean what if the shooter is in an MP uniform...... Oh no now we need to restrict weapons to only certain MP's.... What if it happens at a rifle range? Oh no lets restrict the military from doing live fire!
Yeah, that’s what I said.
And what’s with “disingenuous.” Is that the Facebook word of the day?
It’s always the same with these people, hysterical all or nothing, the fallacy of the false dilemma. What? You don’t think arming every soldier on base with live weapons all of the time is a good idea? Why, then you must mean no soldier can ever use a weapon ever!
You can’t reason with these people because they are not reasonable people.
Also, I don’t think “disingenuous” means what this guy thinks it means.
I posted a scenario, one based on my own training and experience, and I asked my readers – whom I know to be generally a reasonably intelligent bunch, but most have little experience in this sort of thing – to consider it as a thought problem, something to think about as the start of a conversation on the topic. I didn’t say that was the only way things would happen. I didn’t even imply it. There’s nothing disingenuous about it.
When I went through Anti-terrorism training as an intelligence officer, we were given a number of scenarios to consider. Mine was an attack on the Hoover Dam via a large scale explosive concealed in a semi-trailer (this was when US93 actually ran across the top of the dam, before the new bridge was completed). Did that make my instructors “disingenuous” because they gave me that scenario? Were they implying that the only terrorist attack would involve a truck full of fertilizer? Or was it something to think about in the larger conversation? And was it “disingenuous” of them to assume I was smart enough to figure all that out without having to have it explicitly explained, you know, like normal people?
Also, since the commenter missed it, a hell of a lot of active shooter and terrorist situations are no win scenarios. Ask the guys who might have to shoot down a jetliner full of innocent civilians in order to prevent a larger tragedy about that sometime.
Okay, but could it happen? Could it? Sure, it could happen. Just like yesterday at Fort Hood, a soldier goes bugshit. Or like the time before he pulls out a gun, screams Allah Akbar and starts killing people. And another soldier, armed and alert for danger and ready to rock and roll on a second's notice, shoots him down. Bang! Threat ended. Sure. It could certainly happen that way.
What’s more likely? This last scenario, or the first one I floated up above? Or something in the middle?
Beats me. There’s no way to tell until it happens, and it never happens the same way twice.
What is likely, however, is that when the shooter screams out his war cry and starts blazing away, what you get - even among experienced and prepared troops - is panic and confusion and chaos (also, not everybody is a troop, some of them are civilians, maybe even kids depending on where on base you are). Now you've got a crowd of screaming people, many armed and with their weapons out, which one is the shooter? And we’re back to where we started.
And just for completeness sake, what weapons are we talking about here? Most soldiers don't carry pistols, they carry rifles or more likely nowadays an automatic carbine with burst capability and a VERY high muzzle velocity. Wait 'till somebody starts blazing away in the middle of the crowd with one of those.
And if you’re going to advocate every soldier carry a loaded gun on post, how do you feel about mandating that they all just wear ballistic armor all of the time instead? Hey, I’m just asking.
And then there’s the other side, the crazy.
The other side of the argument is mental health. We don’t need more guns, we need better mental healthcare for our active duty military and our veterans.
I certainly won’t argue against that and I don’t know many who would.
But it's not all one or all the other.
The problem isn't mental health.
The problem isn't guns.
The problem is people with mental health issues who have access to guns. Crazy people with guns, that’s the problem, right there.
Plastic explosive, C4, Semtex, is just an inert block, completely harmless (well, I wouldn’t eat it) about as dangerous as a handful of Silly Putty … until you insert the detonator. Then it makes a hell of a bang.
The common phrase is that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. I’m not sure I agree, and I’m leery of empty platitudes on general principle, but let’s just say that’s true. Guns don’t kill people, but they sure make it easier for people to kill people.
A drunk may be a danger only to himself, but let him get behind the wheel and that danger is magnified many times.
That’s what a gun is, it’s a force multiplier. A magnifier.
A gun is a tool, but unlike a wrench, or a car, it's a tool engineered specifically to kill, and certain guns such as the .45 ACP carried by the shooter at Ft Hood yesterday are specifically designed to kill human beings.
The blame may indeed ultimately rest with the person, but the gun is a force multiplier which amplifies human lethality many times.
The problem of gun violence is complex.
The problem of PTSD and suicidal depression is complex.
These problems are extremely difficult to diagnose with any degree of quantitative value. It’s a process and it takes time, sometimes years just to diagnose properly. And you can’t say if a person is this much depressed, has this much PTSD, he’s going to explode. Hell, we don’t even know why some people get PTSD and some don’t even though they had nearly identical experiences. I came home and I don’t even have bad dreams, but men who served alongside me in the exact same environment suffer terribly from PTSD. Will they go murderously insane and start killing others? Will they decide to kill themselves? I for damned sure don’t know, and neither does anybody else, those men and women just take it one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time. It’s different for everybody.
It’s not just guns.
It’s not just mental health.
Addressing one side of the issue without addressing the other is no solution at all. Q.E.D.
Certainly the problem of mental health, particularly in veterans, must be addressed. But it's not enough to go around shouting "mental health! mental health!" you actually have to do something about it. And one size doesn't fit all. And it's not as simple as handing out a couple of pills. And it costs money, a lot of money, and it's going to keep costing money, forever. That is the price of war, one of many.
But here's the kicker, not everybody who decides to commit violence is mentally ill. Not even a significant fraction. The vast majority of gun violence is committed by supposedly sane people. So it's not enough to throw up your hands and shout "mental illness!" You also have to address the tool. Canada, England, Australia, places where it's much harder to get a gun, have the same relative ratio of mental illness as we do here in America, including combat induced PTSD in returning troops, and yet the incidences of gun violence are a fraction of that in the US. And it's not because they do such a great job of treating mental illness.
To be clear here, I'm a gun owner.
I believe strongly in responsible gun ownership - emphasis on responsible.
I am NOT advocating elimination of the 2nd Amendment, far from it.
I’m saying it’s not as simple as more guns, or less guns, or yelling PTSD!
Jim Wright is entitled to his opinion, but he really doesn't understand the situation at all.
Where did you find this idiot?
Jim Wright doesn’t understand the situation at all. Where did you find this idiot?
You know, I was only in the military for two and a half decades. I only served in three warzones. This year marks my 30th year working on military installations around the world. I taught weapons. I own weapons. I taught anti-terrorism and force protection.
Where did you find this idiot?
Well, you’ll find me standing next to Lt. General Ed Anderson, a 39 year Army officer, West Pointer, and combat vet, who said, "I don't think that's an appropriate solution to what we have seen at Fort Hood,” when asked on the record about allowing troops to carry live weapons on base. "This has to be very, very carefully thought out. The implications of what that would result in. There are other means by which you can enhance security on installations than arming everyone. […] You could make the case they would have gotten him; maybe yes, maybe no. But then you have a Wild West situation there. It is just not the right thing to do."
Where did you find this idiot?
You’ll find me standing next to Major General Paul Eaton, who said, "We train our military police to a higher standard, they are trained first as infantry and then additional training in law enforcement and how to handle situations like a law enforcement officer." When asked specifically about allowing unrestricted carry on base, he replied emphatically, "I am not in favor of that."
Where did you find this idiot?
Standing next to Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett, who stated, "We already have lots of weapons on base. We have great law enforcement personnel, we have great military personnel who can protect us. It seems to me that the real focus should be on people who have some type of mental or emotional problem, we should concentrate on that."
These men, they just don’t understand the situation at all.
And how about this idiot? This is retired Colonel Jack Jacobs, wounded in action twice, three Bronze Stars, two Silver Stars, and the Medal of Honor.
But yeah, Colonel Jacobs doesn’t understand the situation at all. Where did they find this idiot?
Where oh where did they find this idiot?
Addendum 1: Every time I write one of these, I hope it's the last. But it never is, there's always another massacre. Always.
The Seven Stages of Gun Violence
The Bang Bang Crazy Series:
Part 1, What we need, see, are more guns, big fucking guns
Part 2, Gun violence isn't the exception in America, it's who we are
Part 3, Sandy Hook, the NRA, and a gun in every school
Part 4, More dead kids and why we have laws
Part 5, Gun control and a polite society
Part 6, The Christopher Donner rampage, they needed killin'
Part 7, Still more dead kids and let's print our own guns!
Part 8, Let's try blaming the victim, shall we?
Part 9, Armed soldiers on post, sure, nothing to go wrong there.
Part 10, Big Damned Heroes!
Part 11, Two in the Bush
What do we do about it? How do we change our culture of gun violence? Bang Bang Sanity
Addendum 2: As noted elsewhere, I’ve been around guns my entire life. My dad taught me to shoot when I was a kid – in fact the very first gun I ever fired was my dad’s prized black powder .75 caliber smooth bore Civil War trench piece when I was about four years old. I still own my very first gun, bought from Meyer’s Thrifty Acres in Jenison, Michigan, for me by my dad when I was fourteen years old – a lever action Winchester 30-30. I got my first deer with that gun. I grew up shooting, at home, in the Boy Scouts, hunting, target shooting, plinking, with friends and with family. Thirty years ago I joined the military and spent my entire life there. I know more than a little about guns. I’m a graduate of the Smith & Wesson Rangemaster Academy, the nation’s premier firearms instructor school. I’m a certified armorer and gunsmith. I’ve attended pretty much every boarding officer and gun school the military has. I hold both the Expert Pistol and Expert Rifle Medals. I’ve taught small arms and combat arms to both military and civilians for nearly thirty years now. I’ve fired damned near everything the US military owns, from the old .38 revolver to a US Navy Aegis Guided Missile Cruiser’s 5” main battery – and everything in between. I can still field strip a Colt .45 M-1911 pistol and put it back together in under a minute, blindfolded – I happen to own several of them, along with numerous other semi-auto pistols and a number of revolvers. I used to shoot professionally and in competition. I helped to design, test, field, and fire in combat US Military weapons systems. I’ve spent my entire life in places where gun usage is extremely, extremely, common. I have a Concealed Carry Permit. I’m an Alaskan and I typically carry a gun in the wilds of Alaska on a regular basis. I am neither pro-gun nor anti-gun, a gun is a tool, nothing more. If you feel that I’m ignorant of guns, or that I’m anti-gun, or unAmerican, well, you’re welcome to speak your piece – just so long as you can live with what comes after.