Another school shooting in Florida: At least 17 dead

I’ve just heard on the news that at least 17 people (CNN says 16, but another has died) have been killed in a school in Parkland, Florida: the shooter was a former student who has apparently been taken into custody.

What can one say when school shootings like this become an everyday affair in America? (This is the 18th school shooting this year, and it’s only mid-February.) I can’t wish for the dead to come back. All I can do is hope for fewer guns in America, and express deep sorrow to the families, friends, and loved ones of those who were taken too soon.

UPDATE: CNN adds this:

The suspect, 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz, is in custody, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. The sheriff said he was expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons.

137 Comments

  1. SusanD
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Once Americans accepted the killing of their children, all hope for gun control was lost. America – never gonna fix it.

    • Christopher
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Exactly what I was going to say. Once we decided that it was more important to own guns than protect our children from them, the argument was over and we lost. Clearly black lives don’t matter, blue lives don’t matter, children’s lives don’t matter, only the 2nd amendment matters.

      • Posted February 14, 2018 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        Only a total misunderstanding of the 2nd Amendment (ignoring the first 13 words) matters.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Past tense. Appropriate.

    • Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes. It’s a lost cause.

    • Martin X
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      Not with that negative attitude, we won’t.

      • SusanD
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:17 am | Permalink

        I’m not American and don’t live there (thank the gods) so it doesn’t matter what my attitude is. But, as soon as you’ve fixed it, let me know and I’ll help you to celebrate.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:28 am | Permalink

          Brava Ms. S! Technical K.O. 🙂

          • SusanD
            Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:59 am | Permalink

            (bows to audience with smug look, waits for withering riposte from Martin X)

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:38 am | Permalink

          Wait, why are we jumping on Martin here? He’s right, isn’t he? IMO too many USians give nothing but lip service to the problem.

          • SusanD
            Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:36 am | Permalink

            No one is “jumping on Martin”. He chose to reply to my comment, I replied to his. So what are he and you doing besides talking about it?

            • Diane G.
              Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

              Rereading this thread, I can see how many of the quips could be interpreted more than one way. I probably chose the wrong way initially for yours, Susan. Apologies!

              • SusanD
                Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

                Hey, no worries!

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

          See that Noodly Appendage coming towards you?

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      Thoughts and Prayers haven’t seemed to work either. When will the media just stop using TaP in fear of embarrassment and stupidity. It is such an apparent paltry sentiment by now. Children bodies torn apart = thoughts and prayers from the authorities and nothing…fucking nothing else. Sick.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:40 am | Permalink

        Aren’t the media just reporting what actual people say? I think you’ve picked the wrong culprit.

      • sensorrhea
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

        Luckily we now know how to respond, if necessary, to mass shootings thanks to science and big data. The Thoughts & Prayers Calculator!

        The future is truly bright!

        https://sympathometer.firebaseapp.com/

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I checked because I figured you would report on this one. As you have explained, what can be said that has not already been said about this madness in America. I read the other day that Remington, the gun company that makes the AR-15 has declared bankruptcy because of slow gun sales. However, they will go on making guns and waiting for an upturn in sales. If Trump really wanted to do something about crime in America, he would stop talking about Immigration and start talking about gun control. Fat chance.

    • Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately Remington is not the only company that makes the AR-15. Anderson, Smith & Wesson, Colt, Armalite….a whole slew of companies make the abomination. We’re not going to see any decline in them.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Remington, the gun company that makes the AR-15 has declared bankruptcy because of slow gun sales.

      See this ?
      [img : smallest violin in the history of the universe, playing very quietly].
      Guns make people so much safer. Honest, Ossifer!

    • mordacious1
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Colt makes the AR-15. Remington makes a similar rifle called the R-15 There are similar rifles made by other manufacturers. Remington has a reputation of making lower quality rifles and that’s one reason they’re having financial problems. It’s not because the sales of these weapons are decreasing in popularity.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        We can always use more experts such as yourself. AR-15, AR-15 style. This article and more says lower sales and troubles since their gun was the one used at Sandy Hook. I do not deal in these people killing weapons so I will defer to you.

        https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/beleaguered-gun-maker-remington-files-bankruptcy-n847316

        • mordacious1
          Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          Fine. The main reason Remington is having trouble is that their parent company was losing financial backing because of skittishness after Sandy Hook.

          When Obama took office he talked a lot about gun restrictions. R-15 sales boomed, as they do whenever people think they will be banned or severely restricted. Bushmasters were cheap, fairly available and were popular in the buying frenzy that Obama created.

          After Trump was elected, sales dropped, but have remained higher than their pre Obama levels. Most manufacturers of AR-15 type rifles are doing okay, but not as well as under Obama.

          If you get your wish and Trump starts talking gun control, sales will skyrocket again. Be careful what you wish for.

          BTW, Remington makes many more products than the Bushmaster. I doubt if sales of their other guns declined.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

            Last I checked, bankruptcy does not care what models are selling and which ones are not. Those AR type guns should all be banned from manufacture, from sell or ownership. Tomorrow would be good. I’m sure you know full well why guns sales went up after Obama was elected is because all the gun crazy idiots were afraid Obama was going to take away their guns. Such a waste of money but only in America.

          • eric
            Posted February 14, 2018 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            I presume the skyrocketing sales is essentially a form of speculation? I.e. people expecting that in the future, they’ll be able to sell this now-illegal item for 4-5 times what it costs now? Because other than that, I’m having a hard time understanding the logic of “gee, I already have 2 of these solid-hunk-of-steel items that won’t wear out for hundreds of years. but if they’re going to be illegal, I’d better get a number 3 and 4.”

    • Pliny the in Between
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Randall, another big reason for the Remington bankruptcy are the product liability claims against them for defects in some Model 700 series rifles leading to injuries and deaths.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        defects in some Model 700 series rifles leading to injuries and deaths.

        I … gaaack. By the tasty meatballs of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Sauce Be Upon Her) what is going on in that country? If it weren’t for all the deaths, mutilations and miseries, there would be a deep mine of comedic insanity there.

        • Richard
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          I was once approached by a recruitment agent who was looking for a Safety Inspector (*) for armoured fighting vehicles. I found that equally ironic.

          (*) not my line of work at all, really don’t know why he contacted me.

  3. cruzrad
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    3…2…1..’This is not the time to address gun control regulations’.

    • Posted February 14, 2018 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes, we can expect the NRA to say that the solution is to provide more guns to teachers (and maybe students).

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Didn’t they start that campaign a fistful of weeks ago?
        I’ll rephrase that … the campaign stepped up, recently, so that it impinged on my attention, recently.

      • Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        Key to this is the admittedly clever way the gunman appears to have set his victims up. He brought a gas mask and smoke bombs, seems to have then pulled the fire alarm as the school day was nearing completion, and then opened fire as the kids came out of their rooms.

        Does anybody think that if students or teachers had been armed that they could have fought back without at least some friendly fire hitting their fellow students? Not to mention, in a crowded hallway with smoke, who could see who to shoot back at?

      • W.Benson
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        The NRA has never sent condolences to families nor attended funerals of a shooting victims.

  4. Mike Cracraft
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I predict silence. Silence from the NRA and silence from their prostitutes in congress.
    Aside from the usual bullshit “thoughts and prayers”, it will all be forgotten in 2 weeks
    and we will sit and wait for the next mass murder.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      silence from their prostitutes

      Real prostitutes have (generally) a highly developed sense of personal danger. If you’re going to call the service-sellers in the US Congress anything, they’re “wannabe imitation prostitutes”.
      The Congressional oxygen-users probably “stay” brought less reliably than a working girl/ boy/ “orifice carrier” as well. Dangerous people to deal with. The elected representatives, that is.

    • Posted February 14, 2018 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      If you couldn’t get a rise out of congress when a gun nut shot up the Republican softball practice, why would anything else be expected to? The last name of the suspected shooter is reported to be Cruz. If he turns out to be either an illegal or DACA person (is that redundant?), wait for the shit to hit the fan from the Republicans.

      • Doug
        Posted February 14, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        But that would be politicizing the shooting! It’s too early to do that!

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:45 am | Permalink

        Yes, but remember–a “good guy” (actually, gal, IIRC) with a gun apparently did prevent greater tragedy in this particular case…

  5. DENNIS
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    One thing you can do, perhaps, is help us figure out what there is in the design of constitutional federalism that takes certain policy issues off the table. As a farm boy I learned about safe handling of a shotgun for pheasant hunting and a rifle for rats, but we were not the least bit interested in spending for weapons beyond that and taking on the risks.

    Oh yes children could have a bb gun for target practice and shooting trash birds like SPUTSIES

    EVEN IN 1966 WHEN I TRAINED TO TEACH CRITICAL THINKING IN COLLEGES WHILE IN GRADUATE STUDY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, WE WERE CAUTIONED NOT TO LET STUDENTS WRITE ABOUT GUN POLICY ISSUES BECSUSE IT WAS TOTALLY A MINDLESS HOT BUTTON ISSUE IN THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM.

    Then help me find out how to keep an android cell phone from locking the CAP KEY so it looks like I am starting to shout.

    • eric
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      One thing you can do, perhaps, is help us figure out what there is in the design of constitutional federalism that takes certain policy issues off the table.

      There is nothing whatsoever in “the design of constitutional federalism” that takes gun control off the table. In fact it’s not technically off the table at all; IIRC Gallup and PEW regularly show that most Americans favor stronger gun control measures, as do most Democratic congresscritters.

      The reason it’s been off the table for the past decade or so is (1) last election’s conservative swell guaranteed no such legislation would even get out of either side of Congress…or survive Presidential veto. (2) The NRA has been quite successful in turning campaign contributions and PAC-type ads into congresscritters that won’t support gun control laws. And (3) even Democratic administrations tend to prioritize it behind a host of other issues (passing a budget, health care, etc…).

  6. koseighty
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Another round of thoughts and prayers.

    And silence.

  7. claudia baker
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Absolute fucking madness.

  8. glen1davidson
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Just yesterday I noticed in a school a sign telling what to do in the event of a school shooting. I hope that they had some signs up there, maybe to save a few lives and injuries.

    Who thought that getting shot was going to become a routine hazard when going to school?

    Glen Davidson

  9. Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Last line in the BBC article about this; “Since 2013, there have been 291 reported school shootings in America, which averages out to about one per week.”

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      NRA : this is an appallingly low figure. We need more such events to increase our sales.

  10. rickflick
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Disgusting.

  11. Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Sickening.

  12. Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    The bad news coming out of my TV set never ceases to amaze me. Things that happen these days in the US were absolutely unheard of in years past. I might sound like a downer for when I say that our social structure and basic morals have all but completely fallen apart. Yet, there is plenty of evidence to support my statement. There’s something horribly wrong with a society cranks out this kind of shit on a weekly basis.

  13. glen1davidson
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    (This is the 18th school shooting this year, and it’s only mid-February.)

    Yes, and there’s nothing good to be said about any of them. However, what that means does matter, and it is potentially misleading on its own. The 18 is simply cases where a gun has discharged at a school, and need not involve any attempt to harm anyone.

    Eight of the shootings hurt no one at all (and I believe I read about one, where a girl brought a gun to school and it discharged when it fell, or some such thing). Two were suicides (attempted or completed) that were not aimed at harming any other human.

    Of course that still leaves at least several murders and more injuries in about a month and a half, which would have been sensational a couple decades ago.

    Still, the mere mention of 18 school shootings should certainly not be stated without some notion that the threshold for counting is relatively low.

    Glen Davidson

    • rickflick
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      That makes me wonder what the actual threshold of tolerance is. Would 100 killed per year stop the madness? Perhaps if it topped a proverbial 1000 youngsters in a single year. In any event, I’m pretty sure 10,000 children would cause legislation of some kind. perhaps they’d opt for background checks for every gun sold, or even registration.

      • SusanD
        Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        It’s already way past 1000 children a year. In 2016 it was 1876 children dead in gun homicides and another 1279 children in other deaths by gun. I doubt that even a doubling of those figures would prompt change.

        • rickflick
          Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I was thinking of the mass shooting category, but the whole of these deaths should be counted. Unfortunately no one seems to be noticing unless it a school shooting.

    • Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I understand that these weren’t all attempted murders, and should have said that. But the problem is still severe.

    • Jessy Smith
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      In most first world countries a minor child getting unsupervised access to firearms would not only be newsworthy itself, but would in many circumstances result in charges being brought against the firearms owner for failure to secure his/her firearms.

      In the USA, it’s just another day that ends in ‘y’.

  14. Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place and commented:
    I think the problem is automatic and semi-automatic rifles rather than simply the number of guns. Australia bought all these weapons back 20 years ago and we haven’t had a single mass shooting since.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:52 am | Permalink

      Yes, I think the gun control movement would stand a much better chance of success if it homed in exclusively on semi-automatic rifles. One hurdle at a time.

    • Craw
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:04 am | Permalink

      I think your point is a good one but your factual claim is incorrect. There was for example a mass shooting in Wedderburn in 2014.

      • Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        In that incident, 2 people were murdered with shotguns and 1 was stabbed with a knife. No automatic or semi-automatic weapons were involved, and not a mass shooting.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      I think that would certainly help but I think the real problem in the US is cultural. A culturally instilled reverence for guns coupled with the culturally instilled vision of the ideal US citizen as a tough hombre, heroic in a crunch, who doesn’t take any shit from anyone, especially the government.

      Coupled with the enormous amount of guns that exist in the US I think this issue will take a lonnnnggg time to change. The sooner we start making changes that are actually effective the better.

  15. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    We still haven’t managed to outlaw the “bump stocks” used on the semi-automatic rifles in the Las Vegas shooting last October. What will it take?

  16. Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I am so sorry for the poor parents whose children have died today. It must be unbearable.

    It seems obvious that most of the children who die in these attacks will lead ordinary, decent lives leaving no history, as Hardy’s poem had it. But some of them would have been extraordinary, discoverers of new things or bringers of joy to the rest of the world.

    The ex-world number 1 tennis player Andy Murray and his brother Jamie could easily have been murdered in the Dunblane school massacre in 1996. As they were not, we would never have seen this astonishing piece of sporting beauty from Andy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuAxC911Me8

    The parents’ light has gone out of their life, but we have lost the delight of their children’s future.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      Well writ! +1

    • Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:24 am | Permalink

      Here’s how it works in the UK:

      In 1986 a gunman with two semi-automatic rifles and a pistol shot dead 16 people in Hungerford. The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 was passed in the wake of the massacre, and this banned the ownership of semi-automatic centre-fire rifles and restricted the use of shotguns with a capacity of more than three cartridges.

      In 1996 a gunman shot dead 16 children and a teacher at Dunblane Primary school, using four legally-held handguns. In 1997 two separate Acts of Parliament resulting in the complete banning of all breach-loading handguns in private ownership in England, Scotland, and Wales.

      QED

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:40 am | Permalink

        +1

  17. rickflick
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Nicholas Kristof of the Times has an interesting idea to reduce gun deaths – treat the problem as a public health issue. The model is regulation of cars.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/06/opinion/how-to-reduce-shootings.html?smid=fb-share

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      The CDC tried considering gun deaths as a public health issue in the early 1990s. Congress (House? Whatever.) passed a law of some sort to prevent that. Clearly the NRA had learned from the situation of the vehicle industry, saw and recognised an existential threat, and acted to neutralise it.
      They’re not stupid. Unfortunately.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        But at least cars, now, are pretty safety-conscious.

        We need to find a Ralph Nadar of guns…

      • rickflick
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        I had forgotten about that previous effort and it’s aftermath. But, what congress can do, congress can undo. Let’s hope for a gradual change in attitudes. Support for guns is largely driven by fear of the other, the alien, or big government. Perhaps change will have to wait until the fear subsides.

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          And I suspect such fear is driven by political hatred, right vs. left, as stoked by the ruling plutocrats, scheming to take the the focus off their avaricious goals. And since money = power, this is gonna be a tough nut to crack.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          Hope? Yes.
          Unfortunately realism is that, as USian society is fragmented – witness yesterday’s story about the Xtian-only town, “gated communities”, “there goes the neighbourhood” attitudes, and the long-standing problems of ghettozation (sp??) – then the fear that “the other” will have a gun too becomes decreasingly irrational.
          If a particular work-prospect comes off, and Al-Shabbab don’t get any closer, then I’ll have to give really serious consideration to learning how to use a weapon. Just as a backup for the professionals, of course, but if shit comes to shove, it’s stupid not to take appropriate training when it’s a realistic probability.

          • rickflick
            Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            Sam Harris has some tips you could use.

  18. sshort
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Let’s not overlook the enormous mental and emotional trauma and scarring of the surviving students and their families. These wounds will follow them for life.

    This is not only a public health emergency in the immediate sense of bodily harm, it is a mental health pandemic playing out in simply unknowable ways across the entire citizenry.

    At least we have religion, politics, and a zoo of pharmaceuticals to keep us sane.

    • sshort
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      I see I was gathering my thoughts as rickflick was posting the Kristof article. I don’t mean my comment to be an add-on or a rebuttal in sny way. My initial phrasing was independent of seeing rick’s comment.

      Thank you for posting that. A very comprehensive argument.

  19. Frank Bath
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Shocking. Guns are for killing people, but why are there so many Americans who want to go out and kill? Or so its seems from this side of the Atlantic.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      It is all part of the mindless culture we have and it is overwhelmingly attached to the male population of all ages but particularly the young and mentally unbalanced. We have an unlimited quantity of these people and guns. It is also a large part of our broken political system that worships money and more money and lacks any form of morality.

  20. BobTerrace
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    This happened 27 minutes from where I am in Florida. There are no laws limiting guns at all in the state.

    I am saddened that the second amendment has been interpreted incorrectly in the last 60 or so years. The text is clear – guns are for a militia.

    • sshort
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      No man is an island. Yet, somehow, we have decided a man is a militia.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        Just remember, there is no interpretation of the second amendment that says you cannot regulate guns and make other guns illegal. Way too much time is spent making noise about the second amendment and forgetting we use to regulate the hell out of guns and could do so today.

        • sshort
          Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          Excellent point. It’s been inverted into e religious dogma of “liberty.”

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:55 am | Permalink

          + 2

        • rickflick
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

          You’re right about the 2nd amendment, but it has become an irrelevant aspect of the problem. The gun lobby controls the congress so even though a majority of Americans support gun control, legislation has been stalled. A gun control candidate can’t get elected in too many districts.

  21. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    The screens assure every viewer – the good guys with guns have come to save them.

    What a fraud.

    • Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      I’d like to hear the very best argument from an American in favour of US liberal gun laws. I’d like you not to use the “sacred value” of the 2nd Amendment, because that is disputed piffle. I want you to use statistics on violence and some sort of statistical evidence that liberal gun laws reduce overall violent deaths.

      Comparative analyses with other states would be useful. I’d also request an evidence-based explanation of how statistically it is better, less violent and more socially cohesive to arm individuals rather than the democratic state, with which in true American, Lockean and Hobbesian fashion one agrees the social contract, and defines the state as working to your benefit.

      Finally, if you think that the state works against your individual interests, which of course it does from time to time, why do you think that your right to bear arms is your necessary defense? And if I grant your right to bear arms, under which circumstances do you think that right should become a necessity? Why do you bear arms now, and not just hold the mere right to them in reserve?

      • Posted February 14, 2018 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        To begin with, nobody can quote official government statistics in the same way someone might be able to quote statistics on the flu. Congress has made it virtually illegal for any money to be spent at the CDC (to reference the earlier post about treating this as a health issue) to study gun violence.

        https://www.thetrace.org/2015/12/cdc-gun-violence-research-wilmington-suicides/

      • Posted February 14, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        “In a party-line vote, the House Committee on Appropriations barred the Centers for Disease Control from funding research on gun violence, retaining a measure that was first attached to a spending bill by a pro-NRA Congressman nearly 20 years ago.”

        https://www.thetrace.org/2015/06/cdc-funding-gun-violence-rider/

        That’s 21 years and counting now.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:14 am | Permalink

        You’re asking me?

        • Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

          No, I am asking any American. I have never come across a non-US conservative who would ever consider defending the 2nd Amendment. Non-Yanks just never support US gun laws, in my experience. I suspect they think they are a pitiful mess.

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            That’s great but I don’t see what my comment has to do with it.

            • Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

              Because it is thematically linked.

              • ThyroidPlanet
                Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

                Sounds fascinating.

                I’m done.

              • Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

                I really have no idea why you objected to my placing my comment where I did, thyroid. And to be honest I am bewildered by your replies. I agree that we should leave it there.

              • ThyroidPlanet
                Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

                I did not object.

  22. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Our idiot governor down here, Rick Scott, just came on the tube and said that the explanation for this is that there exists “pure evil.” That’s it. Oh, and he offered up that he’ll be praying for the victims in area hospitals. As if any God who would allow this massacre to happen can be petitioned by prayer to intervene on behalf of the wounded.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Yes, another giant idiot of the republican party and most likely a life long NRA member. I wonder how many parents of kids murdered with guns are voting republican these days.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      He came off as a bumbling carny caught in a scam gone horribly wrong and unconvincingly trying to act like he gives enough of a shit to stop scamming people. I’m embarrassed to have him as a governor. Not as embarrassed as I am to have Trump as POTUS, but that bar ain’t but a Planck length high.

    • nicky
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Well, if pure evil exists, it appears to be embodied in the NRA.

  23. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    There was a Skyhooks song, “Horror Movie”.

    “Horror movie right there on your TV,
    Horror Movie, it’s the 6:30 news…”

    That was when the Vietnam war was on the News a lot.

    But it is still aptly topical.

  24. Posted February 14, 2018 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    20—50 gun deaths per month are perfectly normal for the USA. Americans rather should accept that they don’t live in a democracy and have no say in matters anyway.

    In the US, you have a small sandbox of issues to debate intensely, guns amomg them, and while you fight over every inch of that small box, the people in charge do whatever they please, and rearrange the landscape all around you.

    This is why, in my view, there is are such heated conflicts over guns. It’s not just the guns themselves, where it should be easy to accept some Common Sense. It must be a dividing and conlicted area so that Republicans can keep everyone busy with that division. It prevents Americans from seeing common intersts that would unite them against the ruling class.

    There are many more such areas that have been hyped up to be identity-defining and alas people can be manipulated to play along (thanks to the American media landscape).

    • Posted February 14, 2018 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      * gun deaths from mass shootings,
      https://massshootingtracker.org/data

      • Posted February 14, 2018 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        Mass shootings are defined IIRC (and seems to be confirmed here) as four or more victims. Certainly appears according to this tracker that America hasn’t been praying nearly enough.

        • Craw
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:33 am | Permalink

          Definitions vary. Congress defined it as 3 or more killed, the FBI usually means 4 or more. But there is no reason why either should accepted as definitive. If 2 are killed and 37 wounded I would call that a mass shooting, as would most people. Mass shooting = a lot of people shot.

  25. yiamcross
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    They need to find out what’s causing this. Since they’ve eliminated guns as the root of the problem some serious research needs to be done to pin the blame on something else.

  26. Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    18th incident in 2 months! I live in England where gun control is very strict. Even if you obtain a license to own one, you cannot casually carry it around with you like a smartphone or a wallet. We have had FOUR incidences of mass shootings by lone madmen in my lifetime, and I’m 59.

    • Richard
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:03 am | Permalink

      I’m 58, and I can only remember three: Hungerford, Dunblane and Cumbria. What was the fourth?

      Also, in the USA the *police* kill a thousand or more people every year. In the UK the police have killed about seventy since the year 1900.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:30 am | Permalink

        Dunblane isn’t in England.

        For England I’ve got the following Mass Shootings [figures not double-checked]:

        Lone shooter, Place, Year, Killed, injured
        Derrick Bird, Cumbria, 2010, 12, 11
        Robert Sartin, Monkseaton, 1989, 1, 14
        Michael Ryan, Hungerford, 1987, 16, 15
        Barry Williams, Midlands, 1978, 5, 3

        To this you can add this guy if a spree over 12 days qualifies:
        Barry Prudom, North Yorks, 1983, 3, 1

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:06 am | Permalink

          BTW, I can’t see any English lone gunman ‘mass shootings’ before 1978, so the all time total is 4 or 5 individuals.

      • rickflick
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:48 am | Permalink

        But what would you do if the British government decided to oppress and enslave you? How would you fight back? With umbrellas? Many in the US fear that the British government will invade once again like they did in 1775. They will still be using flintlocks so our AR-15s will keep us safe. 😎
        In fact the slogan of the NRA since Charlton Heston headed that organization was, “…from my cold, dead hands!” It is believed by millions of people that the US government will come after them with crow bars and actually pry hunting rifles out of their hands and throw them into a dumpster for melting.
        The reason for all of this nonsense, of course, is the gun lobby. Their interest is to sell as many guns as possible. They can dictate what legislation will and won’t be passed. They do it by threatening to campaign against any candidate who doesn’t love guns. All they have to do to defeat a candidate is advertise that they want to confiscate guns from everyone’s cold, dead hands.

        • Richard
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

          “But what would you do if the British government decided to oppress and enslave you?”

          Her Majesty the Queen would dismiss Parliament and appear in an emergency TV broadcast telling everyone to calm down and have a cup of tea. We would then wait patiently until it stopped raining, at which point everyone would be too pleased to see some blue sky to be bothered about oppressing anyone.

  27. Daniel Engblom
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    They should not release the suspects name to the public, they do not deserve the attention they crave for.

    • SusanD
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 2:02 am | Permalink

      Totally agree with that. But, you can’t suppress free speech. Would be good, though, if just the crime then the punishment was reported, and nothing in between. Don’t give them free air.

      • Daniel Engblom
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:20 am | Permalink

        Pinker had an interesting conversation on just this with Joe Rogan (you can find the show on youtube), where Pinker brought up that for instance I think in Canada sports commentators and broadcasters have changed their standards where they don’t give the air of publicity to people who run out on fields for instance, to not encourage desperate attention seekers.

        So you can get a change in norms and ethics without any suppression in free speech, once the connection will become clearer that people go absolutely crazy just for their 15 minutes of fame, that after you kill a few people everyone will read your opinions and manifestos where before you were a nobody screaming into the void.

    • nicky
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Note that not all shooters have just attention on their minds. They have the Just Cause.
      Breivik or Farook & Malik come to mind, just a few of many.

      • Daniel Engblom
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Yeah it’s rarely one simple thing, but people with causes also want platforms from which to preach to the masses.
        I remember the theatrics of someone like Breivik, publicity stunt comes to mind. Who would have read his crazy ideas or cared that a loser like him was doing nazi salutes if it weren’t for the attention we gave for his atrocious crimes?
        These people look for that evolutionary drive of building any kind of reputation, getting any kind of attention, just to stand out, and often resort to “ends justify the means” type of thinking.

    • Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      This never works, unfortunately. First tried by ancient Greeks when a guy whom I shall not name set the great temple of Artemis on fire to get his 15 minutes of notoriety.

      • Daniel Engblom
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        Wait, you’re saying it has actually been tried?

        I don’t recall in history such a moment where all news outlets decided not to publish on rampage shooters etc, for long enough to influence the unspoken incentive structures of society, telling everyone that killing is not acceptable means of acquiring a right to speak up and be heard.

        And your data or anecdote is some example from over two thousand years ago?

        You do realize for most of ancient history precisely the people who managed to rack up the biggest body counts were the ones who attained status, built up reputation and the ability to be an authority figure.

        • Daniel Engblom
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          I’ll just add that it’s not a proper counter example if only one little sub group in a society decides to not speak about a person and their deeds, that still leaves everything surrounding it commentating on this behaviour.

          Example: See how the left-leaning liberal aversion of certain taboo topics has backfired and made people outside of those circles more vocal and passionate about those subjects.

          This kid who killed all those people will be reviled by most in society, but all he needed was a martyrs complex and a desire to belong and be noticed among the minority whose respect and attention he craves.

  28. jay
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    This horrible incident brings to mind something that I’ve been thinking about for some time.

    The problem is FAR deeper than guns. When I was a teenager in the 60s, guns were MUCH easier to get than today, and were common. Every sporting goods store, hardware stores, even some department stores sold guns. You could even get them by mail. Gun racks with rifles in the back of pickup trucks were common. Seeing a couple of teenagers walking along a country road with guns during hunting season was perfectly normal. But we didn’t have this.

    Recently I was talking to a senior at the high school I graduated from over 50 years ago. She explained that the school was spending a million on security upgrades. When I went to school there, doors were unlocked during the day, there were no student or visitor IDs, no electronic locks, no security guards or police officers. Occasionally a couple of kids would get into a scuffle but it was quickly handled just by the teachers. I never saw a cop there other than the times they would come to give us safety lecture.

    What the hell has happened? The town still looks pretty much the same. Why is it so much more dangerous? We had violent entertainment, virtually every western or cop show on tv had some shooting each week. But it did not seem to inspire this.

    I think that really, for the past decades our culture is rotting from the inside out. A society cannot survive it its core culture (all the unwritten rules of behavior that people tend to accept) falls apart.. Some would say breakdown of culture started with the chaos of the later 60s. I never thought that to be true, but looking back, it might not be such a farfetched idea. As Roger Scruton has argued, you can’t just tear something down, especially cultural attitudes that have evolved over centuries of human experience without something even more compelling to replace it. “Do your own thing”, while fine in small doses, does not scale to culture.

    Historically, the varied cultures that built this country were not random, they had all evolved over time to bring communities together. And the ones that succeeded in that role built America. Cultures built on destruction can be a cancer. I worry that is spreading now.

    [And the issue is NOT Trump vs Hillary. The issue is decades long and overrides individual politicians.]

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 17, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Uh-oh – I’m gonna recommend Kurt Andersen’s Fantasyland again – how America went haywire- a 509-year history.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted February 17, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        500 not 509

  29. Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    As horrible as these school shootings are, the vast majority of the shooting deaths and injuries in the US are caused by handguns.

    That is the real reason why effective gun control in the US is so unattainable. Even if we succeed in removing military-grade weapons from our society, how are we going to reduce the number of handguns???

    • jay
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      An interesting statistic:

      The total national murder rate rose last year–30 percent of that increase was accounted for by five Chicago neighborhoods. Almost certainly largely tied to gang conflicts.

  30. Vaal
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Another gut-wrenching tragedy.

    And when I read of the shooter’s obsession with guns all I could think of were the type of threads I read in some forums where young American men gather. For instance a Martial Arts sub forum I frequent. Often enough there will be threads like “So what are you carrying?” and people will enthusiastically pile in on the guns they own, and the ones they carry daily. And despite that the forum has members from all around the world, all the gun fetish talk is inevitably comprised of the Americans.

    I find it creepy and unsettling every time I see the giddy conversations about guns by americans, and even more so when these mass shootings happen.

    (Of course I know there are also plenty of sane americans who are not gun-nuts).

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      (Of course I know there are also plenty of sane americans who are not gun-nuts).

      As I recall from the last time I wasted electrons on USian gun insanity – probably dozens of mass shootings ago – there are somewhat more registered weapons in the US than there are people – but only about one person in four owns a gun, and most of them only own one gun. So there are around 2~3% of the US population with 5+ guns each.
      Those 2~3% of the population are the ones to watch very carefully.
      I wonder what would happen if the Rest of The World put a question “Do you own a gun? … Do you own at least 4 guns? …” on visa application forms (note the wording – it doesn’t make owning 4+ guns sound like a sign of dangerous insanity), and then refuse entry to the people who tick the 4+ guns box.
      Actually, probably nothing much would happen – the overlap between “never been abroad” and “own 4+ guns” is probably pretty high.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        That’s what I remember from the time I did some research on the subject, too.

        Sadly, 2-3% of Americans is still a lot of people.

        Another category to…not really dismiss, but separate out, I think, consists of all the gang violence. It accounts for a large number of deaths but is quite a different problem from the lone-wolf, mass-shooter phenomenon.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

          Oh indeed. The gangs have perfectly simple reasons for their shootings – money, via the media of drugs, sex or robbery in (probably) that order.
          Even someone of Trump’s “towering” intellect can understand those reasons.

          • Diane G.
            Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

            Like the Trump Tower allusion there… ;D

            As I understand it, a lot of the gang violence is gang vs. gang–territory disputes, just plain rivalry, initiation rites that require shootings…from which one would hope they’d self-eliminate, but unfortunately the conditions in many big US cities lead to a continual supply of new gang-prone kids…

            There have been middle-school kids here in Kalamazoo convicted of gang-rivalry murders. Unbelievably sad.

            • rickflick
              Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

              This is a lot like the mob violence in the early last century. Also note that about half of gun deaths, if I have this right, are suicides. This makes me think there’s a real need for doctor assisted exits as well as for better mental health support.

              • Diane G.
                Posted February 16, 2018 at 12:46 am | Permalink

                Good points, all!

  31. jay
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Another interesting question for potential study:

    What medications (Ritalin etc?), if any, do these shooters have in common?

  32. nicky
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I see US-ians (well not all, of course, but many) as the frog in the beak of the stork: if I just go a bit further I will come out.
    And of course the NRA echoes that: just keep going deeper, you will come out in the end if you go deep enough.

  33. Barry Jones
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    The 9th Circuit gave a scholarly opinion saying the 2nd amendment is limited to the military.
    Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F. 3d 1052 – Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit 2002

    Then the US Supreme Court gave a scholarly opinion saying the 2nd amendment extends to private civilians too. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 US 570 – Supreme Court 2008

  34. Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I have read some comments at Yahoo!News about this mass shooting, and they were mind-boggling. The article said that former classmates and others who knew the shooter had seen red flags and were not much surprised now. Commenters asked why, then, nothing was done, and stated that this must be changed. In a word, they suggested that kids should report the weird, loner classmate to FBI so he can be locked up before he snaps.

  35. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Anyone else notice flags at half staff?

  36. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    These are the same story but trying different links :

    “What Students Said About Guns After 14 of Their Classmates Were Killed”

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/02/18/us/emma-gonzalez-florida-shooting.html?referer=https://news.google.com

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 18, 2018 at 2:16 am | Permalink

      Ah, I note the short one from NYT made a piccy doodle show up.


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