Welcome to the eighth installment of the Gun Control-Fact vs. Fantasy series by the intellectual patriot, J.V.
“Let’s stop playing games. The problem is people, not guns. Our society suffers from a deficiency of personal responsibility – not from an excess of personal freedom.”
- Star Parker, African American Writer and Commentator
FOR SAFETY, BAN HANDS AND FEET
There is a place for psychiatric drugs. However, there is not a place for wholesale, mass drugging of our children. But, leaving this issue aside, if we are to ban guns instead of drugs, may I humbly suggest that we also ban hands and feet, as well as knives (and let’s include butter knives – you can never be too careful… and besides, someone might sharpen one with a whetstone). Within a month of the Aurora, Colorado tragedy, nine people were killed and others wounded in a knife attack in China (this is a different Chinese knife attack from the one that occurred the same week as the Connecticut shooting, where around two dozen were stabbed). There are a multiplicity of fatal knife attacks I could choose from in the US, but to choose a recent one at random, there was one in Flint, Michigan, where five were killed and eight injured by a knife wielding assailant. Thankfully, race-baiter Al Sharpton has already indicated knives are a possible target for the U.S. – hear him say so himself…
Of course, once we are done banning knives, perhaps we can ban vehicles, too. In case you don’t remember, there have been mass killings with cars where people drove into crowds in both NYC and Chapel Hill, NC., just to name a couple. The fact of the matter is, that, per the FBI, the number one weapon used in homicides is a baseball bat: in 2005, there were 445 murders with rifles, but 605 with hammers and clubs; the next year the figures were 438 and 618 respectively, and this trend continued through 2011 with 323 murders committed with a rifle, and 496 with hammers and clubs (and I am omitting the other years for brevity’s sake, not to play the usual leftist game of leaving out inconvenient facts, such as what Al Gore does with his faux global warming charade). Breitbart.com correctly concludes from this that “if more people had a gun, less people would be inclined to try to hit them in the head with a hammer.”
Shtfplan.com illustrates the death toll from guns vis-à-vis other modes of killing graphically below:
And one more point: a handful of men with no guns, only boxcutters, murdered over 3,000 people over a decade ago, and Timothy McVeigh before that murdered hundreds with no guns in Oklahoma City. Maybe we should be banning other farm implements and warehouse tools!
Personal Liberty.com, cites similar figures with non-firearm murders. In 2010 alone, 742 people were killed by hands or feet, with 540 people killed by blunt objects (and, let’s not forget the 98,000 to 106,000 – contingent upon which study you use – of people who died last year as a result of FDA approved drugs). There were similar statistics exonerating rifles for 2011 from the FBI: Out of approximately 8,500 gun related homicides, only 3% used rifles of any kind. Meanwhile, knives killed 1,694 (five times as many as all rifles combined), blunt objects a few under 500, and hands and feet 728. In 2010, only 0.1% of all gun homicides involved five or more victims. Even the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence admits that, since 2010 up to the time of the Connecticut shooting, a grand total of 35 people had been killed in 9 separate incidents in which an assault weapon was involved (even if the gun was not the murder weapon). There is very little evidence the assault gun laws will actually do anything, as prior to the federal assault weapon ban, the type of firearms banned were used in a mere 2% of gun crimes (and these were mostly pistols), per a National Institute of Justice study. Regarding the assault gun ban, University of Pennsylvania criminologist Christopher Koper and his co-authors concluded, “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.” Too small for “reliable measurement!?”
And regarding automatic weapons, as Natural News points out they “… are highly regulated, extremely expensive ($15,000+) and VERY difficult to acquire. They’re also extremely rare and have NEVER been used in any school shooting in America. Just to acquire an “automatic weapon,” you must go through extensive background checks and fingerprinting. You must apply to the federal government (ATF) for permission, then wait six months or longer to be “approved” by the ATF.” Per this article, a true “assault rifle” must have a selector switch between single, three round burst, and full auto fire. Importantly, not a single one of the civilian AR-15s actually have these features, and thus there are virtually no “military” assault rifles on the street today. Besides, the military seldom uses automatic fire themselves, as it is generally is not of value by virtue of being inaccurate. If you would like a factual description of what an assault rifle is, see the article by former peace officer Earl Griffin. Meanwhile, the whole ban on high capacity magazine to prevent mass killings is a logical non-sequitur. Why? Because the average reload time on an AR-15, or similar, is two seconds. Most mass murders take minutes, or more. In the case of Sandy Hook – if in fact the gunman really did use the assault rifle as claimed and fired 150 rounds – he obviously changed his 30 round magazine at least four times, and only stopped when armed police closed in on him. Worse, if a criminal shooter is carrying multiple guns, they simply swap guns and reload when possible. In other words, the Feinstein law banning high capacity magazines will do zilch. Except take away on one more liberty. If you wish to verify how quickly it takes to reload, see the videos of people doing so:
But, the simple proof is in the pudding. The deadliest mass murder in US history was at Virginia Tech in 2007, with 32 people killed. Was a machine gun used? A vilified AR-15?
The shooter simply used two vanilla handguns, supplied with a backpack full of Feinstein-approved 10 round magazines. Similarly, at Columbine, one of the two boys simply carried 13 ten round magazines with him. The math is not hard to do. Unless you have a leftist agenda, and are willing to sacrifice lives for that agenda – as the left has always been wont to do.
A letter signed by 1,100 Green Berets and Special Forces veterans also spelled out the difference between an automatic (in this case a M4A1) and semi-automatic AR-15, in a letter to Washington, DC (see the entire letter), they note the AR-15 is a rifle that “cosmetically looks like the M4A1 carbine assault rifle, but it is impossible to configure the AR-15 to be a fully automatic assault rifle. It is a single shot semi-automatic rifle that can fire between 45 and 60 rounds per minute depending on the skill of the operator. The M4A1 can fire up to 950 rounds per minute.” And regarding high capacity magazines, they decry the gun grabbers uninformed comment that “just a few seconds of changing magazines could have saved the lives of people. Rather, the letter notes “As experts in military weapons of all types, it is our considered opinion that reducing magazine capacity from 30 rounds to 10 rounds will only require an additional 6 -8 seconds to change two empty 10 round magazines with full magazines. Would an increase of 6 –8 seconds make any real difference to the outcome in a mass shooting incident? In our opinion it would not.” As Exhibit A of this fact, the letter cites the Columbine massacre, noting “When the Federal Assault Weapons Ban became law in 1994, manufacturers began retooling to produce firearms and magazines that were compliant. One of those ban-compliant firearms was the Hi-Point 995, which was sold with ten-round magazines. In 1999, five years into the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, the Columbine High School massacre occurred. One of the perpetrators, Eric Harris, was armed with a Hi-Point 995. Undeterred by the ten-round capacity of his magazines, Harris simply brought more of them: thirteen magazines would be found in the massacre’s aftermath. Harris fired 96 rounds before killing himself.” A summary of this Green Beret article.
In any event, fully automatic weapons have been banned since the 1934 National Firearms Act (before which even children could order guns through the mail, with parental permission) – though of course media either doesn’t know this, or doesn’t know the difference between an automatic and semi-automatic, or for the few that do have a modicum of knowledge, think it is ok for the police to have them – witness the Salt Lake City Tribune, which published an editorial stating “Assault weapons that can fire numerous times in seconds are designed for only one thing: killing large numbers of people. The military and law enforcement officers need that ability; ordinary law-abiding citizens do not.” Yes, you read that correctly – apparently the police need to be able to kill “large numbers of people” in their routine of daily law enforcement in Obama’s America. What? To polish off Joe Businessman who was doing 10 miles over the speed limit as he was late to Johnny’s basketball game? Maybe take out a few 10 year olds skateboarding where they shouldn’t be? Did anyone at the newspaper even read what this person wrote? As the Examiner concludes about this inimitable piece of ignorance, “If there is any conceivable scenario in which law enforcement officers need to kill “large numbers of people,” then “large numbers of [we the] people” need as much firepower as we can possibly acquire.”
But here is a question for you: As columnist Jacob Sullum writes, if large capacity magazines are not useful for self-defense or defense of others, why not impose the same limit on police and bodyguards? And if the capacity for additional rounds do provide more protection, why should law-abiding citizens be denied that protection? The reality is that a larger magazine allows a defender to engage multiple assailants – not uncommon in today’s gang filled world – in a situation where there often can be “the fog of war.” In any event, the assault rifles the left wines about – which only fire one bullet per pull – means they are no more automatic their a “standard” pistol which does the same thing. Of course, the Feinstein amendment rushed to ban cosmetics like pistol grips, which Ben Crystal points out are about the same thing as banning car spoilers to stop car accidents. And, oh yes – the car accident total, as of 2009, saw an average of four children under age 14 killed every day, with 500 injured. A total of 31,000 people in total were killed. No frantic outcry from the media there.
Mark Almonte, in his March 4, 2013 article, Why Does Anyone Need a High Capacity Magazine, takes each objection against high capacity magazines and handily dispatches them. Almonte’s paper deserves a full read by anyone interested in this question, but in summary, the gun grabbers have a gross misconception about bullet stopping power and accuracy, and a misunderstanding about the true threat of multiple attackers, which in turn denies people the necessary means to effectively defend themselves. On what basis, Almonte asks, do politicians arrive at a ten bullet limit per magazine? What is their evidence or research for this? As a matter of fact, there is none – it is just an arbitrary political choice. Almonte also notes the only shot that can reliably cause immediate incapacitation is a hit to the brain or spinal cord, and even a bullet directly to the heart allows a criminal to have enough oxygen in his blood to continue shooting for 15 more seconds. And contrary to Hollywood movies, many bullets do not have the power to knock a human down – otherwise the recoil from shooting would knock the shooter down. FBI statistics state that “A ten pound weight equals the impact of a 9 mm bullet when dropped from a height of 0.72 inches… and equals the impact of a .45 when dropped from 1.37 inches.” Worse, an assailant on crack, meth, high on adrenaline, or the like will often prevent him from even feeling pain, or knowing he has been shot. As a case in point, Almonte cites the case of Michael Platt:
“In 1986, in Miami, FBI agents were involved in a shootout. Despite being shot six times, Suspect Michael Platt was still able to gun down two FBI agents and injure three others. Platt was hit by four more gunshots, but he continued to be a threat by pointing a gun at responding officers. It wasn’t until bullet number twelve struck Platt in the chest that he was incapacitated. Similar examples of suspects being shot five to six times without being incapacitated occurred in Philadelphia and Georgia. In a self-defense situation, you may have to inflict half a dozen or more gunshot wounds on your attacker in order to neutralize the threat. That’s assuming that you are able to land half-a-dozen hits on your target.”
The issue of accuracy is also central, according to Almonte, noting “According to an NYPD report, there were 16 officer-involved shootings in 2005 where the suspect shot at police officers. The NYPD officers hit their targets 8% of the time. The officers fired an average 17.3 rounds to stop the threat. One factor that certainly contributed to the low percentage of hits is that in 70% of the gunfights, the suspect shot first. Other studies have officer-involved shootings at a 51% hit rate, but they don’t include officer-involved shootings that have no hits, and they don’t isolate gunfights, where the suspect is shooting at the officer.” Almonte also notes another study by Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, in which he states that in 53% of defensive gun use in the U.S., the victim faced multiple attackers. So, now you have issues of stopping power, accuracy and multiple attackers in over half of defensive situations. That means doubling the number of bullets needed for each additional attacker!
But why take my word for it? Let me simply cite leftist New York Times, which notes that police officers – who must continually train and certify with their firearms – only hit their targets 34% of the time. In other words, they only hit one of three shots. What do you expect of a nervous, working stiff homeowner who is suddenly awakened at 4 AM, and has to hit a moving target in the dark? I suggest we leave the 10 round magazines, if they are so effective, in the hands of those protecting Ms. Feinstein and her minions.
Then there is the leftists’ “war against women.” In fact, women account for 46% of all defensive gun use – critical in that this helps equalize the size and strength differential. Reducing the magazine size only helps the bad guy when he attacks a woman.
Almonte concludes his article by asking, “If a law-abiding citizen, who’s cleared a background check and received firearms training, can be trusted with one bullet, why can’t he or she be trusted with a hundred bullets? Is the first bullet any less deadly then the 99th?
One more detail needs to be said re. assault rifles. To get more exact about the figures cited above relative to rifles and crime, according to the FBI’s CIUS report on Murder Victims by Weapon, the grand total of firearms used in 2011 to commit murder was 8,583. Of the 8,583 murders, only 323 rifles were used, or exactly 3.76% of the total, of which only a smaller portion of that 3.76% were “assault rifles.” Too small for reliable measurement indeed. Perhaps, if the gun grabbers really want to keep us safe, they could ban the FDA with the tens of thousands who have died from their sanctioned drugs. (Now you know why Dr. Marcia Angell, MD., former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, stated – regarding the FDA and the like – in the New York Review of Books, January 15, 2009: “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”). And I am not alone. Dr. Barbara Starfield of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health a dozen years ago published Doctors Are The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US., in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Starfield’s documented how 225,000 Americans die from iatrogenic causes – including 12,000 deaths per year due to unnecessary surgery, 7,000 per year due to medication errors in hospitals, 20,000 due other hospital errors, 80,000 due to hospital infections, and 106,000 due to negative drug effects. Natural News.com states that doctors kill 2,450% more Americans than all gun related deaths combined. As it relates to psychotropic drugs, should we count the dead in Aurora and Sandy Hook among those iatrogenic deaths? Other doctors may concur, such as Dr. Joseph Mercola who cites a study by Dr. Bruce Pomerance of the University of Toronto who concluded that properly prescribed and correctly taken pharmaceutical drugs were the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Mercola also cites an article authored in two parts by Gary Null, PhD, Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, Martin Feldman, MD, Debora Rasio, MD, and Dorothy Smith, PhD, that come to similar conclusions. However, it is not the point of this article to take issue with the FDA, other than to question the association between massacres not with guns, but rather due to psychotropic drugs.
John Noveske, a gun manufacturer who was killed in a mysterious car crash, also asks the same questions about drugs and gun violence: He notes the following cases on his Facebook site, just before his mysterious death. Note that many of these cases are related elsewhere in this paper, but are added here in that for some cases, Noveske adds additional information, while other cases are not listed elsewhere in this paper. All the cases here are gun murders, but serve to illustrate that psychotropic drugs are clearly related to violent death.
Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.
Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.
Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.
Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.
Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.
Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.
Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.
Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.
A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.
Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded..
A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.
Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.
TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.
Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.
James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.
Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania
Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) – school shooting in El Cajon, California
Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.
Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.
Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic’s file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.
Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.
Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.
Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself shortly after his Lexapro prescription had been doubled.
Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems. Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.
Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and a University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide – hanging from a tall ladder at the family’s Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.
Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet. Kara’s parents said “…. the damn doctor wouldn’t take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil…”)
Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002, (Gareth’s father could not accept his son’s death and killed himself.)
Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family’s detached garage.
Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft. Seven days later his mother found him dead, hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.
Kurt Danysh, age 18, and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters, trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.
Woody ____, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.
A boy from Houston, age 10, shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.
Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.”
Matti Saari, a 22-year-old culinary student, shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.
Steven Kazmierczak, age 27, shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.
Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen, age 18, had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School – then he committed suicide.
Asa Coon from Cleveland, age 14, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.
Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his New York high school.
Missing from list… 3 of 4 known to have taken these same meds….
What drugs was Jared Lee Loughner on, age 21…… killed 6 people and injuring 14 others in Tuscon, Az
What drugs was James Eagan Holmes on, age 24….. killed 12 people and injuring 59 others in Aurora Colorado
What drugs was Jacob Tyler Roberts on, age 22, killed 2 injured 1, Clackamas Or
What drugs was Adam Peter Lanza on, age 20, Killed 26 and wounded 2 in Newtown Ct
Roberts is the only one that I haven’t heard about being on drugs of some kind.
The upshot of all this? Intellectual honesty, as well as respect for the dead, demands that we examine all possible causes of these massacres. But, of course, that would not match with the agenda of the left and the gun grabbers.
But lets leave the drug angle behind. There are other bad reasons behind the gun controllers. Another reason to support the availability of guns is that – contrary to the leftists’ fondest wishes, mankind is fallen. As Jeff Jacoby has noted “[Wars are not] caused by nuclear missiles, or al-Qaeda terrorism by box cutters. We fool ourselves if we imagine that by fixating on missiles and box cutters we can avoid reckoning with the cruel side of human nature. … The desire to believe … that ‘people are truly good at heart’ is powerful. Sadly, history refutes the idea that human nature alone will make a good world. Controlling bad things may sometimes be prudent. But it is above all by controlling ourselves — by fortifying the better angels of our nature — that the struggle against evil progresses.”
Stop back by tomorrow for the 9th episode of Gun Control-Fact vs. Fantasy.