Mass Murder’s Bright Future

Grief, mourning…blah blah.  I’m trying my best not to cry because tears seem so hypocritical: what about Darfur?  What about the Congo where this happens regularly?  But I can relate to movie theaters and Americans!  And I really do, my heart reaches out to them.

Also, James Holme’s theater shooting is actually kinda unique.  Most killers, even the crazed Joseph Kony, is still trying to get something.  Jihadists are sincerely trying to punish the infidel at least.  James Holmes, he’s just crazy evil.  Doing it for no damn reason because he’s totaly evil.  Right?  Shit…yeah he was a counselor at a summer camp for needy children in 2008, attended UC Riverside as a scholarship student and graduated with highest honors.  “Academically, he was at the top of the top,” Chancellor Timothy P. White said.  Campus police had no run-ins with him.  Niether did the police at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  It looks like the only problem he’s had with the police was a speeding ticket in 2011 (CNN).  He actually seemed to be doing fine before he dropped out of school about a month ago.  Still, he enjoyed a cold one recently with a friend, which can’t make him too nuts:

“Jackie Mitchell, who lives close to Holmes, had a beer with him on Tuesday.  Mitchell was stunned at news of Holmes’ alleged involvement in the attack.  “You would never guess he was a violent guy,” Mitchell said, describing Holmes as “nerdish” and “a book-smart type guy.” (CNN)

But of course, there was something wrong with him.  Apparently he called himself “the Joker” when he got arrested, had dyed his hair red, and his voicemail was described as a creepy batman-themed fiasco with “evil” laughter.  And also he shot 70 people in a crowded movie theater wearing .

On the first airing of the Factor with Bill O’Reilly, which I watch because I love Bill, “nothing can be done about this; the guy was just evil” maybe four or five times.  I hear this sentiment echoed in the news, and most experts seem to agree, nothing can be done about this.  What can be done about pure evil?

Really?  Ok.  First off, the guy was obviously not totally evil.

Also, it seems that we can do something about this if we wanted.  The guy bought $6,000 of ammo on the internet.  Large volumes of tactical gear was shipped to his house and work in the mail (CNN).  From whom you might ask?  “Chad Weinman, CEO of TacticalGear.com of Chesterfield, Missouri, told CNN earlier that his company had a receipt matching Holmes’ name and his Aurora address.”   The receipt showed $306.22 spent on a bullet-proof vest, magazines, 100 round ammo clips, and a big knife.  CNN reports:

“Holmes paid for a two-day air delivery when he placed the order on July 2, which would seem to indicate he wanted the materials in a hurry, Weinman said.”

The firm sells equipment to military and police personnel — as well as weekend warriors, Weinman said.

The gear that the firm believes it sold to Holmes is manufactured by a company called Blackhawk Company, a “popular brand in tactical circles,” Weinman said.

“We were pretty shocked to have discovered it,” Weinman said.

“Oh, my God, we couldn’t believe it” was how one of the company’s owners reacted, Weinman said.

The AR-15, one of Holmes four weapons, was inherited as a family heirloom from his father’s father father, who bought it from a local fur-trapper and fought with it in the Civil War.  Sometimes he uses it to hunt deer.

Purchasing a 100-round magazine for an AR-15 is unusual, weapons experts said. The AR-15 is designed for easy reloading. “Even without the grand-sized mags, many people who are practiced can reload in 1½ to 2 seconds,” said Steven Howard, a Michigan attorney and security and firearms expert.”

James had recently bought the AR-15, as well as 3,000 rounds for it.  CBS News says that he went to a Fed Ex to pick up 150 lbs of ammo he bought at once.  A UPS driver says Holmes had 90 packages delivered to his workplace on the University of Colorado medical campus.  He bought the guns at Gander Mountain Guns and a Bass Pro shop in May.  He had tear gas.  He had smoke bombs.  While shooting people, the police cheif said he wore  a helmet, vest, leggings, throat protector and groin protector (source).   All in all, Holmes spent at least $15,000 in the last few month or so on guns, chemicals, explosives, and ammunition. (CBS)

My point, I guess, is that this guy was obviously prepping for something and had radically changed his life recently for no clear reason.  Why can’t background checks for buying guns and such large amounts of ammo include a short investigation into recent mental health?  Is that too onerous?  Maybe there are better ideas out there.

Now, I am not a big gun control guy, and some 2nd Amendment people make some sense, but obviously everyone, NRA fans and not, are taking crazy pills.  The truth seems fairly simple: James Holmes was not evil, but he did go nuts.  Americans, like all people, have a tendency to go nuts.  But Americans can buy guns, thousands rounds of ammo, combat gear, whenever they want, no questions asked, and go nuts with style.
  1. In 1949, Howard Unruh killed 13 of his neighbors and was committed to mental institution.
  2. In 1966, Charles Whitman kills his wife and baby in the morning and then shoots 46 people, killing 16.
  3. In 1982, 40 year-old prison guard George Banks kills 13 people, including 5 of his own kids.
  4. In 1984, James Huberty kills 21 adults and kids at a local McDonalds before being shot by a policeman an hour later.
  5. Cho Seung-Hui, the VA Tech shooter, looking altogether sane as he calmly describes his rationale for killing random strangers: “I’m getting back at rich fucks” (paraphrase).

    In 1991, 35 year old George Hennard crashes his pickup truck  through a wall, shoots and kills 23 people, and then shoots himself.

  6. In 1999, in Colombine, two students kill 13 and wound 23 others before killing themselves.
  7. In 2007, 23 year old Seung-Hui Cho kills 32 people and wounds many others.  Before killing himself, he sent in a tape laced with profanity citing the need for revenge on the wealthy.
  8. In 2009, 28 year old Michael McLendon shoots 10 people, including his mother, grandparents, aunt and uncle, and then himself.
  9. In 2009, a man named Wong shoots 13 people at an immigrant community center, and then kills himself.
  10. In 2009, at Ft. Hood, Nidal Hasan, age 39, kills 13 people and shoots 32 others.  (Source is CNN)
So, how can we still be shocked?  How can the guy who sells tactical gear over the internet be shocked?  How can Bass Pro be shocked?  How can I be shocked?  But I am.  It is shocking how shocked America is.  Shootings like these have been happening for a long time and will keep happening as long as people become mentally ill and have access to guns.  If they had access to can openers, they would use that.  If they had access to nuclear warheads, they would use that.  Frankly, I am surprised it does not happen more, considering US rates of suicide and depression.
So, what is the solution?  Maybe we should ban guns entirely.  Maybe.  Or maybe we start with just asking some more questions when someone buys an AR-15 with a 100-round magazine.  That is, of course, if it is not too inconvenient.
I’m with Bloomberg.  I want to hear Romney and Obama talk about their position on gun control.
Advertisements

About Jer Clifton

Look up, friend. The world is too beautiful for my eyes alone. View all posts by Jer Clifton

2 responses to “Mass Murder’s Bright Future

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: