Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shooting at Batman Premier

The latest shooting tragedy in a U.S. will surely spark a new round of discussions concerning gun control in the U.S.
I won't pretend that I have any answers or solutions to this problem.
 I doubt that banning of guns would work as a policy. Banning of alcohol in the U.S. prohibition era was a policy failure. Banning of drugs has been a dismal failure of public policy which sees no solution in sight. Therefore, why would banning of guns policy succeed?
Consider that in Australia, where guns are strictly regulated and controlled...

  • Clifford Bartholomew massacre - A man shot dead ten members of his family in Hope Forest near Adelaide, September 1971.
  • Milperra massacre - Two biker gangs, the Comanchero and the Bandidos, engaged in a shoot-out in a hotel car park, killing 7 people in 1984, including a bystander. Only one defendant was acquitted on the murder charges.
  • Joseph Schwab - 1987, Schwab shot dead 5 people in and around the Kimberley region in Western Australia before being shot dead by police.
  • Hoddle Street massacre - Armed with two rifles and a shotgun, Julian Knight shot 7 people dead and wounded another 19 in 1987 before surrendering to authorities.
  • Queen Street massacre - Armed with a sawn-off rifle, Frank Vitkovic roamed the Australia Post building killing 8 and wounding 5, also in 1987. When the weapon was finally wrestled from him, he committed suicide by jumping out of a nearby window.
  • Surry Hills massacre - Paul Anthony Evers killed 5 people with a 12-gauge shotgun at a public housing precinct in Surry Hills in 1990 before surrendering to police.
  • Strathfield massacre - In 1991 Wade Frankum killed 7 people and wounded 6 others with a large knife and an SKS before turning the gun on himself when he realised he could not escape.
  • Central Coast Massacre - Malcolm Baker killed 6 people and injured another with a shotgun in 1992 before being arrested by police.
  • Port Arthur massacre - In 1996, armed with two semi-automatic rifles, Martin Bryant killed 35 people around Port Arthur and wounded 21 before being caught by police the next day following an overnight siege.

What I can't figure out is this, if there are more guns in the U.S. than people, how come there wasn't at least one gun toting patron in the movie theater?

If U.S. citizens believe that gun ownership is a right to self-defense, and I'm not questioning that thinking, then how come more people don't carry guns? 


Mattexian said...

The short answer to your query of "why wasn't someone else in that theater armed" is that the corporate owners of the theater have a "no guns" policy, which in those states which allow concealed carry, also allows the property owners to disallow said carrying on their property. In most places, they only need to post a sign citing the appropriate portion of the law that allows them to forbid lawful concealed carrying of firearms on their property. In the days since this latest shooting, many in the gun-owning community are encouraging ignoring the signs from now on, as the business owners have proven more than once that they are unable and unwilling to protect their customers against a nutjob intent on mayhem, terror, and murder. At worst in most places, if a concealed-carry holder is caught with their firearm on restricted property, they are asked to leave or face charges of trespass. (The likelyhood of being caught is negated by the simple fact that one's firearm is supposed to be CONCEALED, i.e. hidden, covered up, secreted, away from prying eyes. The main ways to get caught with it are to unintentionally uncover it, or do something stupid like drop it on the floor in a restroom or changing room.) Also, some of the political pundits have pointed out the hypocrisy in the news, that well over 200 people have died due to firearms in Chicago so far this year, where legal ownership of much of anything is illegal; and in South Texas this weekend, a pickup filled with 23 people wrecked and killed 12, and none of the usual suspects of our liberal politicians are calling for new restrictions on ownership or use of motor vehicles. (Since it happened in South Texas, and there were 23 folks packed into one truck, along with the news not reporting on their ethnicity, it's easy to assume the pickup was full of Mexicans of dubious citizenship status, i.e. illegal immigrants.)

Another aspect of gun ownership and concealed carrying in the US, where it's legal, is that only a small percentage of gun owners go thru the training and licensing, and the average demographic is of older males, not the type to be going to a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie. Combine that with many businesses, as I mentioned before, that post signs disallowing said concealed carrying on their premises, and the odds of a CC holder meeting with an armed criminal is low, altho there are a few news stories that haven't received as much coverage, due to them proving that an armed citizen CAN fight back against the criminals. First, in this last week in Florida, a 72-year-old man with a CHL (concealed handgun license) shot back against two younger thugs who tried robbing an internet cafe. Second, in Aurora, Colorado, where the movie shooting occurred, back in April, a recently released felon tried shooting up a church, and only succeeded in killing one congregant before he was himself killed by an off-duty police officer who was there himself for the services. Both of these stories have barely been aired, as most news agencies have an unspoken agenda of "gun ownership and lawful gun defense use BAD, gun crimes GOOD". If there's any coverage of a gun owner using his guns for lawful self-defense, it's treated and covered as a local issue, while mass murders are given nationwide (and international) news coverage.

Mattexian said...

One correction on the news item from South Texas of the 23 people packing into one pickup truck: my wife watched the news more closely than I did and said there was one Mexican and the rest were from Honduras, and more have died at the hospital, since the crash.