I don't know; it sounds far more reasonable than the liberals I've heard these days. Did you catch this creature--Soledad O'Brien, or something like that, try to talk to John Lott? She almost could speak; remarkable.
But let me put it to you this way--Mr. Obama once talked all sorts of talk about how individual mandates are unconstitutional, that's why he's better than Mrs. Clinton, & that he supports marriage. Politicians do not so infrequently make reasonable remarks, but this world is a wide vale of tears...
I do personally think Lott needs to back down (and pro-gun proponents need to be more cautious when citing him). There appear to be a lot of problems with both his data and the conclusions he draws from it. But from what I saw of Soledad O'Brien's conversation with him, she had her mind made up to make sure he couldn't get his point across at all - even flawed as it is. Unfortunate.
However, I don't make the mistake of conflating democrat reporters, with democrat politicians. :) I am significantly less concerned with what a liberal talking head says, versus a voting legislator as I feel there is more distance between the two in this party, than I feel is often the case with the republicans.
I do not believe that Sen. Feinstein is more knowledgeable on the matter than Ms. O'Brien, but if you have any handy way of dispelling my illusions, proceed apace. Do you think, for example, that Mr. Obama could deal with this issue more reasonably than the John Lott's of this world?
As for the other issue, I regret that you do not have a better feel for the GOP. The conservative base is opposed to illegal immigration & would not mind immigration laws based on merit; or a fence. The GOP would never do that. The GOP was for amnesty, if you remember Messers Bush, Jr. & McCain. There is a world of difference between political opinion & politics on that side of the fence on several other issues.
Liam made the valid point that correlation is not causality: maybe mass killers want areas that happen to be gun-free zones for some reason other than their gun-free-ness.
The examples shown here, excluded by the Mother Jones study, show another explanation: mass killers do go for areas that aren't gun-free zones. But look what happens when they do.
So I think what we should be considering is: how many successful mass shootings in areas in which only the shooter had a gun, as opposed to areas in which his targets do as well? I can't think of any that fit the latter description.
In a nonsense "study" going around the Internet right now, Mother Jones magazine claims to have produced its own study of all public shootings in the last 30 years and concludes: "In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun."
The magazine reaches its conclusion by simply excluding all cases where an armed civilian stopped the shooter: They looked only at public shootings where four or more people were killed, i.e., the ones where the shooter wasn't stopped.
In addition to the Portland mall case, here are a few more examples excluded by the Mother Jones' methodology:
-- Mayan Palace Theater, San Antonio, Texas, this week: Jesus Manuel Garcia shoots at a movie theater, a police car and bystanders from the nearby China Garden restaurant; as he enters the movie theater, guns blazing, an armed off-duty cop shoots Garcia four times, stopping the attack. Total dead: Zero.
-- Winnemucca, Nev., 2008: Ernesto Villagomez opens fire in a crowded restaurant; concealed carry permit-holder shoots him dead. Total dead: Two. (I'm excluding the shooters' deaths in these examples.)
-- Appalachian School of Law, 2002: Crazed immigrant shoots the dean and a professor, then begins shooting students; as he goes for more ammunition, two armed students point their guns at him, allowing a third to tackle him. Total dead: Three.
-- Santee, Calif., 2001: Student begins shooting his classmates -- as well as the "trained campus supervisor"; an off-duty cop who happened to be bringing his daughter to school that day points his gun at the shooter, holding him until more police arrive. Total dead: Two.
-- Pearl High School, Mississippi, 1997: After shooting several people at his high school, student heads for the junior high school; assistant principal Joel Myrick retrieves a .45 pistol from his car and points it at the gunman's head, ending the murder spree. Total dead: Two.
-- Edinboro, Pa., 1998: A student shoots up a junior high school dance being held at a restaurant; restaurant owner pulls out his shotgun and stops the gunman. Total dead: One.
By contrast, the shootings in gun-free zones invariably result in far higher casualty figures -- Sikh temple, Oak Creek, Wis. (six dead); Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va. (32 dead); Columbine High School, Columbine, Colo. (12 dead); Amish school, Lancaster County,
I liked that column, too.
Other liberals confronted with the facts of the case have noted sagely that correlation is not causation--we are all wont to be reasonable when it is to our advantage.
But up until something better comes along, I'll go with the obvious. So John Lott tells Ms. O'Brien point-blank that the theater chosen for that dreadful mass shooting was the only one advertising it was a gun-free zone, but it was not the closest to the shooter, nor the largest, nor for any other reason a favorite, & all were showing the film--she was, let's say, speechless. Debating a political matter is one thing; deciding what to do, a somewhat different thing; & doing it also somewhat different. The decision ought to be reasonable--to go with the obvious.
we are all wont to be reasonable when it is to our advantage.
I'd like to think I am always reasonable - perhaps that is always to my advantage.
I don't disagree that this is often the case, but there are few instances where I think the killers involved had enough presence of mind to even check if that was a factor. Almost all schools are gun free zones - they are shot up because they are schools, not because they are gun free zones. Workplace killings tend to be the or former workplace of the killer - not because it was a gun free zone. And frankly, until I hear from the Colorado theater killer why he chose that theater, I would not want to assume its gun free status was the reason (except maybe as a protest that he wasn't allowed his guns there another time).
I don't accept obvious correlations, as reasons for crazy people to do things.
Will - thank you for the additional information above - certainly, as a former concealed weapons carrier (and likely future one) it's good to see examples of where tragedy was averted as a result. Certainly, having armed citizens can be beneficial - I do not, however, think we can expand that out to gun free zones being a risk factor or decision point for nutjobs.
It's not impossible that in some cases being reasonable is generally to your advantage; after all, that's the whole point of self-interest rightly understood & a commercial republic. But the exceptions can be exciting...
Now, as for the other thing. There is a lot of evidence that crazy people are not stupid. Some have given themselves up rather than die; few show that they take unnecessary risks; many show careful preparation & sometimes careful execution. When shooters start attacking crazily with tinfoil guns & tinfoil hats or any other crazily inefficient ways, then I'll take your opinion more seriously. Meanwhile, I like to think of it more as war, where it is reasonable to exaggerate rather that underestimate your enemies' level of reason.
Fair point. Crazy does not equal stupid. I would still like actual data to suggest the link more than the correlation, before we build policies around it.
Data may be difficult to obtain--I mean reliable data--because this is a rare enough occurrence...
I don't think it matters whether it is a correlation or a causation. Gun free zones clearly don't keep people safe, as intended, regardless of whether they attracted the shooter specifically because they were "gun-free zones".
If the goal is to protect people, no further data is needed. If the goal is to test whether gun free zones actually attract shooters, or whether they simply fail to protect from a shooter that would've gone there anyway ... then more data is needed. I find the latter question entirely irrelevant from a policy perspective.
We would need to evaluate the numbers of non-mass shooting firearm deaths as well to decide if it makes them safer or not. Certainly as relates to junior high, and high school age, when you get gang activity in the schools - keeping the schools a gun free zone would at least help minimize those killings - and whether adding firearms to those environments is advisable.
Certainly as relates to junior high, and high school age, when you get gang activity in the schools -keeping the schools a gun free zone would at least help minimize those killings