Another horror in the headlines: 20 or more killed in Texas church

From CNN; click on the screenshot to go to the story.

The shooter has been killed (or committed suicide), and there’s no more information at this time.

This seems to happen weekly now, but we can’t let ourselves become inured to the misery of dozens of grieving and uncomprehending families, friends, and lovers. People will certainly say “we must carry on as usual”, but surely there are things we can do besides “carrying on.”


  1. yazikus
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    This is becoming too close to normal, too frequent and too expected. I’m not an anti-gun nut by any means, but this is just madness. There are sensible gun policies that could be passed that would make these sorts of acts more difficult. Call your legislators! Tell them that prayers and thoughts aren’t enough!

    • Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      No use. It’s too clear that the money and the allegiance are staunchly on the side of the firearms industry. That won’t change until private money can no longer buy the votes of our so-called representatives.

      • yazikus
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        We can fire those bought reps. They are our employees.

        • Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          We sure can try.

          • BobTerrace
            Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

            The last Republican I supported was Eisenhower and I couldn’t vote because I was 5 years old, so I’m not one who keeps voting for them.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted November 5, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

              No love for Uncle Adlai Stevenson, Bob?

          • yazikus
            Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

            And that trying is something, at least. I live in an open carry state, and even in our capitol building you can open carry. Except for in the legislative galleries. We might ask our reps why that is.

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          Once we get big money out of politics.

      • mordacious1
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:43 am | Permalink

        It’s not the gun lobby…or our elected officials either. Last month a Pew poll registered 71% of Americans support the private ownership of handguns. Sorry to burst your conspiracy bubble, but it is the will of the people. If you want to get rid of the 2nd Amendment, you just need to convince a lot more citizens to see it your way. Good luck with that.

        • nicky
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:58 am | Permalink

          I guess that many of those supporting private gun ownership are not opposed to some sensible measures such as
          1 – Background checks for mental problems or criminal history.
          2 – One may also support private gun ownership and and support a computerised registry, who owns the gun and the characteristics (‘barrelprints’) on the bullets.
          3 – ‘Supporting private hand gun ownership’ is kind of vague, one can support private hand gun ownership, but not semi-automatic guns.
          4 – One may also think of limiting the number of guns per person, with stringent regulations for a collector’s license.

          My point is, a lot can be done without repealing the second amendment, and then, we didn’t even mention the ‘well regulated militia’ context.

    • BJ
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Who wants to pass laws that will save lives when it could cost them a couple million in campaign dollars?

  2. BobTerrace
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    At least 27 dead, 24 wounded. Paul Ryan, the spineless speaker calls for prayers.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Prayers? It was in a church, wasn’t it? If prayers worked…

      (sorry, no-one ever accused me of good taste)

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Not to worry. Probably almost everyone else here thought that, even if we didn’t say it.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink


  3. ariel
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    we can’t just carry on, as we have no free will to do so.

  4. Stephen Barnard
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Well, there are thoughts and prayers.

    I try to imagine the tortured soul of Wayne LaPierre when one of these happens.

    • Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      If thoughts and prayers were candies and pears we’d all have a very nice Christmas.

    • Rick Graham
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      How about your tortured soul knowing knowing the killer was already banned from owning guns (dishonorable discharge in 2014) & all you would do is disarm the citizen whose legal gun stopped him?

      I’d bet the shooter was a leftist who hates Christians. As soon as his Bernie shrine gets revealed we won’t hear about this again from media.

      Just like the Portland and Gary Scalise shooters.

      • Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Bernie shrine??? You’re delusional if you think Bernie supporters endorse this kind of behavior.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        That’s an interesting response.

        The killer was banned from owning guns? Is that a joke?

        • Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

          If you are dishonorably discharged you would be prevented from purchasing firearms (or so I’ve heard). Of course, with no background checks for private sales, he could easily have gotten one that way as just one example.

          • Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

            Or from your friends. Or from your mom. (cf. Adam Lanza.)

      • BJ
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure you’re right. All of these shootings seem to be committed by Bernie-loving lefties. It’s crazy.

        Oh, wait. I didn’t mean to say you’re right. I meant to say you’re an idiot.

        And I can’t wait for you to post a link corroborating the other “facts” you’ve so helpfully offered.

        • Rick Graham
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

          I’ll let you do your homework on Portland.

          And the Lefty / Socialist that just attacked Sen. Paul Ryan.

          @St Bernard: No joke. Criminals don’t follow the laws.

          • BJ
            Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

            Question: do you understand how percentages work? If so, take all the shootings over the last five years, figure out how many were committed by people on the left, and then come back to me and tell me whether, based on statistics, it’s a good idea to assume that a shooter is from the left when you hear about an incident. Even if you’re right about this particular shooting, the answer doesn’t change.

            Presenting one or two, or even three examples does not in any way help your point.

            And I’m not even some crazy lefty. I don’t consider myself of either side, and if you read my comments on this site, you’ll notice I tend to criticize the left more often than I do the right. I’m just a rationalist and a pragmatist, so seeing people pull this kind of crap will not elicit a kind response from me.

              • John Taylor
                Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:50 am | Permalink

                Only way to stop a bad guy with guns is to make sure the good guys have more guns. Bigger guns, shinier guns, guns for everyone! USA! USA!

                Good thing the good guy was on the scene with a gun this time. Averted a real tradegy. The last one in Vegas was a real tradegy. This one was peanuts. Too bad the good guys didn’t have more guns the last time.

              • John Taylor
                Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

                Less atheists and more guns. That seems to be the answer to all of this.

              • colnago80
                Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

                Ah gee, the Daily Mail, the most disreputable major newspaper in Great Britain. On the same level as Pravda and Izvestia in the former Soviet Union.

              • BJq=
                Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

                So, your answer to my first questions is a resounding “no.”

                It’s almost as if you believe pouring one more drop of water into a pool will change the facts of statistics, proportion, and percentages I laid out for you. You’re clearly not someone who is ready or who maintains the intellectual capacity to understand the irrelevance of what you have to say or post.

                Just an aside: when a person’s regular posting pattern is to leave links without any commentary, tell others to do their own research, and completely ignore any and all counterpoints made, it doesn’t give them the look of intelligence for which they’re hoping.

              • Posted November 7, 2017 at 4:52 am | Permalink

                Bjq=? Is that a new name or a mistake.I believe you mean BJ.

                As an aside, your second paragraph is a Roolz violation and I expect you to apologize for impugning someone’s “Intellectual capacity”. Please reread the rules and be civil in your posts.

              • BJq=
                Posted November 7, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

                Rick: Jerry is right that you deserve an apology from me. I tend to get emotional about certain subjects, and that is unbecoming of anyone, especially someone who tries his best to be a rational actor. Your disagreement with me does not make you any less worthy of respect, and it’s always been my hope that people like you and I can debate and disagree in a polite and respectful manner. I failed in this instance.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        Although people who use ‘leftist’ as a pejorative like that, are demonstrating a ridiculous bias, you do have a point.

        The fact is that there are guns everywhere. Handguns everywhere.

        Australia, often quoted as an example of successful gun control, never had such a prevalence of handguns. It was NEVER permitted to own one for self defense let alone carry one around for self defense.
        Thus Australia is not a good comparison.

        Without doing something about the massive amount of guns in the environment, they will be available to almost anyone who tries hard enough. And hard enough is not very hard.

        • Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

          It’s simple. You make it illegal to own a gun without a proper licence. You make it illegal to carry a gun in public except unloaded and in a case (for when you are going to the shooting range) and any transgressions are a felony and carry a prison sentence.

          Very soon it will become a liability to have a gun and people will stop carrying them, even most of the criminals.

          • Michael Waterhouse
            Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:22 am | Permalink

            Yeah, if that was really pushed it might work.
            I was thinking that drug offences carry heavy (unfair) penalties and people still do it, but on reflection it is completely different.

            Getting past the ‘right’ to have and carry a gun for protection may be hard to overcome but it probably does need to come to that.

        • Simon
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:40 am | Permalink

          Good point about “leftist”. “Libtard” as well. Same applies to “Drumpf”, “Rethuglican” etc.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

        That wins the lottery for most gratuitously obtuse comment of the thread. That sort of crap probably goes down well at NRA rallies.

        If the second citizen’s gun was legal, it’s highly unlikely that any foreseeable gun laws would take it off him. Unless he was a career criminal, in which case relying on the goodwill of such persons for your security is shaky, to say the least.

        More to the point, it stopped the killer 27 deaths too late. So much for the ‘good guys with guns’ delusion.

        As for your fantasy about the shooter’s politics – you have no evidence and it’s utterly irrelevant anyway.


      • Kevin Voges
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:19 am | Permalink

        “I’d bet the shooter was a leftist who hates Christians.”

        And also taught Bible studies at a First Baptist Church ….

        Is it too late to take that bet?

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

          … who followed atheist blogs and discussed atheism on Facebook. What odds are you giving?

      • somer
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:55 am | Permalink

        Funny how the US with its idiotic gun laws and macho Christian nut jobs has sky high gun deaths compared to the rest of the western world comparable only to errm Russia.

        • somer
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:59 am | Permalink

          America’s gun culture in 10 charts

          Homicide rates US versus Europe and Russia

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:52 am | Permalink

            Odd. When I took out travel insurance last year (which included death & hospital treatment) Russia was only medium-rated – Europe was one step higher. (No guesses which was the top-rated).

            Maybe Russian gunmen carefully avoid shooting tourists?


            • darrelle
              Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

              That might have to do with health care costs as much as risk factor.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

                Yes, that occurred to me, along with such insurance risks as losing your luggage or auto accidents or just cancelled flights etc.

                But it just seemed curious that if Russia is in the dire condition that map implies, it’s only in Class 3 for insurance purposes.

                I guess what I’m wondering is, is it really that bad in all of Siberia and if so, why?


      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:17 am | Permalink

        What good does that “ban” do, without mandatory background checks and waiting periods, when convicted felons can simply lie about their firearm eligibility, as Devin Kelly apparently did in obtaining the assault weapon he used to murder 26 people?

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:38 am | Permalink

        It’s been reported that the shooter taught bible study classes. You lose, asshole.

  5. Janet
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Trump tweets may God be with them. Ha. You’d think He woulda already bee there, in his own house, duh?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Yes, if there be a g*d, how does this happen? The all powerful, all knowing creature in the sky. Could he at least reduce the number of bullets per gun or put metal detectors in every church. Seems such a weak g*d when we consider the results.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, supplicants attend Sunday services to petition the Lord with prayer, but He won’t lift an incorporeal finger to spare innocent children there from a gunman. Sounds like something Ivan Karamazov would’ve included in “The Grand Inquisitor.”

  6. Geoff Toscano
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Every time I switch on my iPad I dread I might see the headline alert ‘gunman kills…’. It’s horrible. Is there no hint of a grassroots movement, some sort of political pressure, to try and address the madness of unbridled gun ownership? No, don’t answer.

    ‘Carry on as usual’ is rapidly becoming a phrase it wasn’t originally intended to be.

  7. Graham
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    People killed in church. Police vehicles on the scene with ‘In God We Trust’ written across the back. Beyond parody.

    • Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Mysterious ways, doncha know.

  8. Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    It should be all too clear by now. No matter how many horrifying mass shootings occur, there will be no significant change in how we regulate firearms sales and ownership in this country until we can get private money out of our elections so that those we vote for will heed the voters’ wishes and not those of the corporations who pay for their campaigns. And even that distant day will only amount to a beginning.

  9. Janet
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    How many of the people in that church do you suppose were gun owners themselves? Guns they presumably bought for protection. Guns that were undoubtedly sitting at home.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with open carry in houses of worship.

      As our Dear Leader said after the Orlando shooting seeing bullets flying in the opposite direction “is a beautiful, beautiful sight.”

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        There was a shooting somewhere just the other day, I can’t remember there are so many. Anyway, when the cops got there they had to sort out several people in the crowd who had guns. NONE of them had pulled guns at all during the shooting. That is the way it normally goes with these things. Everyone could have guns but nobody even thinks about using them.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          Probably just as well…


        • BJ
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          Can you imagine if several of the people in the nightclub that was the scene of the Orlando shooting had guns and tried to use them? There would have been even more casualties caught in the crossfire.

  10. Historian
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    As in the aftermath of every mass shooting, nothing will be done. People need their guns so that they have a means to fight the government when it comes to take away their freedom. How do I know? The NRA tells me so.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Saw Texas governor Greg Abbott on the tube, blaming it on violent cartoons and reality tv shows. WTF??

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      It’s so cute how the same people who are convinced that the U.S. military could whip North Korea’s ass in a jiffy, think that a pack of cretins with their home gun collections are somehow going to fight off the Feds when, well, whatever TF they think is going to happen, happens.

      • Simon
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:13 am | Permalink

        I have no doubt that an armed populace can reign in the abuse of power in a small community. Few people in local authority, especially someone with questionable behaviours, wants to involve outside forces to restore order or be responsible for a bloodbath. Armed opposition tends to make you think more carefully before going all authoritarian.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

          Exactly what the Clanton gang said just before the shootout at the O.K. Corral.

          • abear
            Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

            Was that the same Clanton gang that goes around smashing bystanders over the head with a steel bike lock?

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

          That’s a bit of a climb down from “they wouldn’t dare take me and my big gun” isn’t it? I’ve rarely heard a dafter scenario.

          If the local law is bent then the answer is to call in the Feds (in most normal countries, anyway).

          And if the Feds are your problem, and you’re hoping they’ll be too squeamish to squish you like a bug, then shooting at their tank with your peashooter is just going to give them a better reason.

          I find the dichotomy between “U!S!A!! U!S!A!!” in international affairs, and the paranoid fear and hatred of your own Gummint domestically, quite bizarre.


          • somer
            Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

            “I find the dichotomy between “U!S!A!! U!S!A!!” in international affairs, and the paranoid fear and hatred of your own Gummint domestically, quite bizarre.”

            Yes its such a strange US phenomenon for a substantial part of the US population (let me guess mostly Republican). It seems to be a kind of identity test for many of the earlier Anglo Celtic settlers. It stands at polar opposite to the great generous and engaged side of America. Hate the national government or even the idea of government but purport the greatness of the USA to other peoples. Despise all economic regulation – including sensible regulation and resent any group outside your race or nation you imagine is benefiting at your expense.
            Celebrate tooth and claw style capitalism as emblematic of meritocracy and land of opportunity – but have no objection to wealthy corporations bending govt and laws to their will or inserting themselves into the system.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        I make this argument to gun nuts all the time. I point out that when we send our troops over to Iraq or Afghanistan, we expect them to dismantle professional armies in weeks. But faced with obese civilians wielding light firearms, our military is apparently impotent.

        • Richard
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

          Those nuts probably watch the ‘Red Dawn’ films (both the 1984 original and the 2012 remake) and think they are documentaries: that good ole Ammurrican boys can defeat any evil Gummnit-backed army (of whatever nationality) with their hunting rifles.

          Or perhaps they will have heavier weapons:

          I can not imagine that in any other country (except for those in a state of civil war or complete government breakdown) private individuals could own and operate 20mm auto-cannon.

          • Richard
            Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            Sorry, I put a BREAK in the URL to stop it embedding, but it did anyway!

  11. Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Have amendments ever been repealed? Asking for a friend.

  12. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    At this time we know 27 people dead. The young white person was using a Ruger assault rifle. At some point a citizen with a gun began shooting at him. He dropped his gun and ran, got into a car and drove away. He wrecked a few miles down the road and the police chasing him found him dead in the car. So they do not know if he died from being hit back at the church or if he killed himself.

    • Richard
      Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:16 am | Permalink

      Well, there you have incontrovertible proof: the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Sheesh, what more do you people need?

      /s. (of course)

      • nicky
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        But the statistics do not support that argument: it is better if the ‘bad guy’ has more difficult or no access to guns in the first place.

        • Richard
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          I was being sarcastic there. I am fortunate enough to live somewhere with gun laws which do restrict such access, and I fully agree with you.

  13. Diane G.
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Popular comment following NYT story (writer’s nym is L’homme, so may have some ESL challenges; at any rate I corrected some of the typos:

    Wake up people. In America, nothing changes. This country is a fraud country. There is a freedom of speech to talk about anything. But politicians make sure that nothing changes. You can sit down and list all the thing[s] that [are] an emergency in America: gun violence, healthcare, prolonged war in the Middle East, bloated defense spending, institutionalized racism, public school woes, expensive colleges, crumbl[ing] infrastructure, opioid addiction, etc.

    Nothing will ever change. I’ve seen nothing and neither have you.

    It’s sickening to think of all the damage-control plotting the gun makers & their subjects are already zealously acting on.

  14. Glenn Borchardt
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the NRA should be in charge of cleanup.

  15. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    You can’t rob crazy people of their God given right to bear arms. That right is enshrined right in the clay tables which Moses handed to the Founding Fathers on clay tablets inscribed by God! 😦

  16. BJ
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    My nieces were at my house today, and when this showed up on the news, I mentioned it to someone else in front of them. They asked what I was talking about and I said “there was a shooting.” They asked where, and I responded that it happened in Texas.

    And they went back to playing board games.

    They weren’t the least bit fazed or worried. It was just regular news to them. That was a profound moment, realizing that these two young girls aren’t the least bit surprised or concerned when they hear about a shooting. It’s just a completely ordinary occurrence to them. Just something they hear about on the news every few weeks.

    Very sad.

  17. dd
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    This came across my facebook feed.Is that posting to which I link trustworthy? And by that I mean the individual claims.

    I am posting reluctantly, but if these claims are true…..

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      I do not see your information as particularly of interest? If he was an atheist, so what? If he was a southern baptist, who cares. The idea that another person at the church shot back at the guy, so what. He still killed dozens of people, with an assault rifle and then took off in a car. So did we save the day by another guy having a gun…not that I can tell.

      • BJ
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        And Pamela Gellar isn’t exactly the most reliable source for…well, anything. She’s a freaking nutbar.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:50 am | Permalink

        If he’s an atheist then, contrary to what posters are suggesting at The Friendly Atheist, he wasn’t motivated by Christianity.

        That doesn’t mean he was motivated by atheism, just that the Christianity motivation doesn’t hold water.

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

          Nazi? Dang!
          Racist? Scratch that.
          Transphobe? (h/t, David ‘Moslem Vikings’ McAfee) Nope.
          Christian? Oh, crap — he was atheist.
          …err… his motives are irrelevant!

        • Harrison
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          It was a silly argument in the first place. You can draw a causal link between religious dogma and religious attitudes toward, say, abortion, and attacks on abortion doctors. But there’s no popular scriptural justification for shooting up a church.

          But there’s a clear desire for there to be more “white Christian terrorists” to counter the increasing numbers of Islamist ones. To further the “all religions are equally good/bad” narrative.

      • jay
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:59 am | Permalink

        Screenshots of his facebook likes include several atheist sites, including ones I sometimes visit (as well as CNN).

        I saw a tweet where someone else posted ‘good riddenc…karma’ about the death of (likely) republican voters.

  18. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    I wanted to mention a couple of more things about this routine disaster that seems to happen in America on a regular bases. Just like Sandy Hook or Los Vegas, this killer was using the common assault rifle, probably a Ruger AR-556 that you can see easily on line and even buy one on line for about $700. You can also get all the 30 round clips you want. What is wrong is the fact that this weapon is even made and sold. It is not a gun used by hunters and serves no purpose accept to kill people.

    Attempting to keep this gun out of the hands of certain people is a pipe dream. If it is made and sold anyone can get them and everyone knows this. The only way you do this is don’t make them and don’t sell them. This guy who killed all the people today had been in the air force at one time and received a bad conduct discharge for assault and had spent time in Jail. He was court marshaled for assault on his wife and child. Whether this would have made him legal or not to have a gun is unclear. So the point is, the problem is the gun and it’s availability. Killing lots of people is the only purpose for these types of guns and they are useless to real hunters. To say this type of gun is reasonable and required because of the 2nd amendment is a farce. I guess this weapon has one more purpose I should mention and that is to make the manufacturer rich.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      What you say is true but isn’t it also possible to get automatic high powered hunting rifles?
      They would do exactly the same damage with the same size magazine, as an ‘assault’ rifle.
      More maybe if hunting ammo is used rather than military ammo.

      It is the clip size, as you say, that makes them so deadly in numbers.

      And, also, as you say, it is the general flood of guns everywhere that makes this stuff more possible.

      The magazine size on auto rifles is the only similarity with Australia. You can not get auto any more without proper need and then you can not get such large magazine sizes.

      That is the reason for whatever success Australia has had with ‘mass’ shootings.

      But we never had such a flood of guns, no right to bare arms and never a right (or privilege) to use self defense as a reason to have a gun.

      And, very few handguns.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:14 am | Permalink

        I think part of it might be that a 30-round magazine in hunting calibre is going to be much bigger and heavier than an ‘assault rifle’. That’s why assault rifles exist – much handier on the battlefield (or for carrying out massacres). This was the big step forward (in military terms) with the AK-47.

        My impression (I stand to be corrected) is that no hunter is going to lug a 30-round full-calibre magazine around the hills after game.

        Of course, any suggestion of limiting guns to those-that-have-a-legitimate-sporting-use would not go down well with the NRA.


        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:35 am | Permalink

          There are different calibers and cartridge sizes for hunting different game. Some very similar to the assault rifle calibers.
          7.62 for things like an AK-47 is very close to a .308
          and the 5.56 is like a .223.
          And others, all common.

          It is not so much that a hunter would lug such a magazine around but that a criminal could use such a gun, a hunting gun, with such a magazine, just as effectively.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:36 am | Permalink

          Also, we do have a right to bare arms, just not to bear arms.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:39 am | Permalink

          Also, again, hunters do not need 30 round magazines.
          Making those illegal would help.

          But, you know, freedom.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:23 am | Permalink

            Well that was the point I was working up to. If hunters don’t need ’em then who (legitimately) does?


            • Randall Schenck
              Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

              That is the point folks. Nobody needs these guns and they should not be made. Debating over the caliber or size of a gun is a stupid debate. It is meaningless. Hunting guns come in different sizes depending on what is being hunted. Has no place in this argument. These assault type weapons are not used by hunters. Hunters do not need 30 round clips in a semi automatic rifle. If they do, they better find some other sport. Most hunting does not involve rifles. Where I am from in Iowa they do lots of hunting and to my knowledge none of it is done with rifles. WHY you say? Because using a rifle is much more dangerous. Lets grow up and get the facts.

              • nicky
                Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

                Some hunters use a longbow or a crossbow. Now they are hunters with real hunting skills.
                I dunno, the hunting rifles I knew as a youngster had only one or, more often, two shots, and then they needed reloading. These cartridges contained many small bullets, ‘Shot’ I think it is called in English. I guess it would not work for elephants (unless at really close range), but then, who’s hunting elephants in the US?

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

                That would be a shotgun, speaking of shot and as I mentioned, the gun of choice for most hunting. Also much safer, unless you are Vice president Chaney and like to shoot people in the face. All bird hunting is with a shotgun and as I said, in some states you cannot use a rifle to hunt anything. It is dangerous since a rifle bullet can kill someone a mile away.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

                “Where I am from in Iowa they do lots of hunting and to my knowledge none of it is done with rifles.”
                That is the first time I have ever heard of hunting not being done predominately with rifles.

                I do not believe you.
                Rifles are ‘the’ hunting weapon except for special interests that try bow hunting or handgun hunting. Both dubious in my opinion because of lack of stopping power.

                My other point, about calibers was in response to a claim that a 30 round clip in hunting calibers would be bigger and heavier than ‘assault rifles, when the ammunition is almost identical.
                Also the rifles themselves are similar. Same calibers, same auto loading mechanisms, same ability to fire as many rounds as are in the magazine. The main difference is in the socks and grips and look.
                I short an automatic hunting rifle is extremely similar to an assault rifle, such that banning will still leave plenty of guns with the same capability.

                So, back to my point, it is the clip size that is the difference and not the gun.

                What do they use for hunting in your parts?

              • Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

                My son lives in NE Iowa and he hunts a little bit. I asked him via email: “What portion of hunting in Iowa is done with rifles?“. His response:


                Unless you count muzzle loaders, which technically is more like a shotgun.

                You can hunt with a rifle for coyote and some other things but it’s a small percentage of what you can hunt and the amount of hunting that is done overall.

                The main game is deer, turkey, pheasant and other small game and birds, which is all bow/shotgun.”

                Mr. Waterhouse should be more believing of what Mr. Schenck is telling him.

              • Stephen Barnard
                Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

                It really depends on where you live and what you’re hunting for. Here in Idaho the prize game is elk. The vast majority of elk kills are with high-velocity rifles. A dedicated minority use a bow. Same with deer. Ducks, geese, pheasants, chukar, and (God save our souls) snipe and cranes and various other so-called “game birds” are killed with shotguns, because it’s more efficient.

            • nicky
              Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

              Good point.

    • jay
      Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:12 am | Permalink

      Yes it was illegal for him to own a gun. Didn’t help much.

      The national ‘mental health’ check that some suggest its a requirement to get a gun (or probably eventually a LOT of things) is a bad idea. It would require detailed (detailed enough to quickly render a judgement) government records on everyone who ever decided to seek mental health counselling. Do we REALLY want that information kept by the government? Would that not be a strong deterrent to people getting psychological support? It’s already bad. Comments I made in confidence to a relative’s therapist wound up in court. (The state has wonderful ways to get access to one’s records… such as suggesting ‘if you want to see your daughter again…’ When under duress, they’ll grasp at anything).

      [As was pointed out in several places, automatic weapons are virtually completely illegal for private owners (or for hunting). They get made from existing guns, or in a quite a number or cases, stolen from the government]

  19. ladyatheist
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    When the attacker is an immigrant, DJT calls out for more restrictive immigration law. When the attacker is an American with an AK-47, eh? whaddayagonnado?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:43 am | Permalink

      When was that?


      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:02 am | Permalink

        After the recent New York truck attack, Donald Trump called for the end of a diversity visa program. Trump also called for the suspect to be executed (even those he has yet to be duly convicted of a crime, and even though New York state has abolished the death penalty). Trump also promised to send the suspect to the prison in Guantanamo (where no prisoner has been sent in a decade) so that the suspect would be denied the procedural safeguards of the United States justice system.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:34 am | Permalink

          I’m sorry, I caught myself out there, too quick on the trigger and also cryptic. I was referring to the ‘American with an AK-47’ bit, not the Trump reference which I fully agree with – Trump is truly beyond the pale.

          Probably nit-picking in the circumstances. Google tells me the Las Vegas shooter had one AK-type among his 19(?) guns but it seems untypical. We all know who stereotypically use AK’s and they’re not Americans.


          • Ken Kukec
            Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:02 am | Permalink

            The weapon of choice for American mass murderers is the AR-15-style rifle. That was what the Las Vegas shooter had modified with a bump stock and used on his 58-death rampage. Among the 23 firearms in his hotel room, he also had a dozen other semi-automatic rifles, including at least one Kalashnikov (mounted on a tripod).

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:04 am | Permalink

              You can read The Washington Post report on this here.

    • Simon
      Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:20 am | Permalink

      Whaddeveryado, it probably isn’t going to be unconstitutional, which immigration controls aren’t.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        The federal courts have found portions of Trump’s Muslim ban unconstitutional. Those would be the same federal courts that discovered a right to private firearm ownership in the Second Amendment.

  20. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    It was sad when the US president said ‘this has nothing to do with guns’ and then ‘let’s do what we do best [and something religious, I’m sure]’. An outsider could think: “Yeah, you sure excel in supplying guns to nuts!”

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 7, 2017 at 12:59 am | Permalink

      Oh, plenty of us insiders think so, too!

  21. Paul Woodcraft
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    News suggested (and could be inaccurate) that the suspect was followed, in a car, by a vigilante with a gun. The Vigilante rather than keep his distance & waiting for law enforcement to contain the situation, went on to murder the suspect. If this news is correct and then to hear your President praise this vigilante murderer for his actions seems an affront to the rule of law in the USA. Even Jack Ruby had the benefit of a trial.

    If these were Christians, then their standard should be higher than for others, to show the other cheek, & forgive those who attack them, otherwise, they are no different to the rest of us who might well want to hit back if attacked.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      This is the problem with the “good guy with a gun” scenario – it is still homicide. The “hero” should be charged with manslaughter at least. Perhaps a trial will exonerate him, but he should be subject to due process. Now that the mass shooter is dead, we’ll never know what his motive was.

  22. John Ottaway
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:54 am | Permalink

    If ever there was a demonstration of the pointlessness of the phrase, “thoughts and prayers”, this is it

    • jay
      Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:35 am | Permalink

      In all fairness, I think this is more for the living… it’s a psychological thing. Most people realize it doesn’t do anything real, hence the expression ‘you don’t have a prayer’. To the extent that it’s a ritual that may help some people handle grief, I’m not going to get uppity about it.

      I have many times seen atheists use the phrase ‘my thoughts are with you’ to people or families in tragedy. They just leave out the ‘prayer’ word.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

        “In all fairness” is pretty rich coming from someone who, above, cited a random, anonymous tweet to impugn atheists and leftists.

        • jay
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

          That’s absurd to suggest I was impugning atheists (including myself). I WAS however pointing out an egregious bit of ugliness.

          I don’t know anyone would assume this to be a blanket statement.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

            Must keep you busy, pointing out every egregious bit of ugliness on twitter. Saves you time, though, I suppose, never pointing out egregious bits of ugliness from the Far Right.

            • Diane G.
              Posted November 7, 2017 at 1:59 am | Permalink

              I’m confused. Which comment of Jay’s are you referring to?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted November 7, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

                This one.

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 8, 2017 at 2:56 am | Permalink

                OK, I thought it must be that one, but I sure don’t read it the way you do. Perhaps because I came to this discussion after the news was out that Kelly was in fact associated with atheist websites. It seems to me that in this thread a bunch of WEIT-ians were quick to take offense at the idea and were maybe shooting the messenger? I read Jay’s posts as just stating the facts under the idea that some of us would care to know about said association.

  23. Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Yes, this was a horribly tragic event. But think of the benefits of unfettered gun ownership! They are as follows:

    – ????
    – ????
    – and also, ????

  24. claudia baker
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Trump from Asia on the shooting:

    “Americans do what we do best” – what’s that? Kill each other?

    “This is not a guns thing” – No, it never is. It’s always a mental health thing. Never anything to do with guns.

    • nicky
      Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Actually it is a mental health thing. But the thing is, without a semi-automatic gun, better, without a gun, the death tollwould be closer to 2 or 3, not 27.

      • claudia baker
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        So, *something* to do with guns then?

  25. nicky
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I’m living in South Africa. I’m sure the murder rates here, even the gun murder rates, are even higher here than in the US (for different reasons, but still).
    I have no gun, and am not shy about that. The stats show that gun owners are 3 to 5 times more likely to die by the gun (often their own gun) than non-owners. How hard can the choice be?
    ‘Live by the sword, die by the sword.’

  26. Posted November 7, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink


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