There’s no place like Holmes


So now we’ll hear about how normal he was, wouldn’t hurt a fly, just your average kid who liked science and video games — and collected asault ammo by the bucketful:

CBS– Sources say investigators have found key evidence in dumpsters and trash bins outside of James Holmes’ apartment, including a shipping label from an internet ammunition store called BulkAmmo.com. Investigators also tell CBS News they have recovered a surveillance video of James Holmes picking up approximately 150 pounds of ammunition at a Federal Express outlet in Colorado.

They’ve interviewed a UPS driver who says Holmes had 90 packages delivered to his workplace on the University of Colorado medical campus. And sources say over the past several months, Holmes spent about $15,000 as he was putting together his deadly arsenal — guns, chemicals, explosives, and ammunition.

What’s scary is that is kind of normal, at least where I live and work. Which is deep in the heart of Texas, with a bunch of bright, mostly white, mostly male coworkers who grew up in suburbs, many still living at home. They’re almost universally inquisitive and quiet, hard to read, some are real nerdy. And an alarming number of them like to collect assault weapons and blast off boxes of ammo at local gun ranges like it’s some kind of fucking video game.

I understand, intellectually, that the odds of one of them being the next James Holmes are miniscule. But I have a bad, nervous feeling at work now, and every time I hear someone bragging about their goddamn home arsenol it makes me sick to my fucking stomach.

Comments

  1. Alverant says

    But you have to remember he’s a law-abiding gun owner and regular church goer. They NEVER go crazy and kill people.

    Oh wait..

  2. TxSkeptic says

    Alverant –

    I’ve been watching for news of Holmes religious affiliation. There was a small bit about him in high school in San Diego, but I’ve seen nothing else. Any sources for info on this?

    As neuroscience is a fairly new scientific field, and one that almost inherently challenges the notions of a soul, I expect anyone pursuing a PhD in it to be, at the least, a fairly liberal theist.

  3. anubisprime says

    Only one thing guaranteed …it will happen again!…and again!…and again!

    What do you expect of a society that glorifies the gun?
    It is not that there has been no previous warnings!

  4. says

    I do not think that gun control will do anything, this guy wanted to kill people, do you think if there wasn’t a legal way to obtain guns, this guy would have just given up, like, Oh dang, I really want to shoot some people but I can legally buy a gun and I dont want to get one illegally because that would be breaking the law.
    Sorry to say it but criminals really do not care about laws and will acquire what they want to accomplish their mission. This guy wanted to kill, with or with a gun.
    Outlawing guns will take guns out of law abiding citizens like me. Criminal will not care.
    We advocate for freedom of religion because it is the base freedom in our constitution, and our 2nd is to bare arms. Obviously our founding fathers thought it might be important if its the second right in our most important document ever.
    Saying that the freedom of religion is correct but the right to bare arms is not, is kind of picking and choosing like christians do with the bible.

  5. F says

    So the dude who couldn’t get a job and was therefore sent back to school is able to spend $15,000 on ammo. OK then.

  6. says

    The religius right chose gun control like they chose abortion and for one of the same reasons: it doesn’t cost the super rich conservative freaks anything. That’s one reason gay marriage has gotten as far as it has. The peasents fucking hate it, but the rich don’t care, it doesn’t cost them anything.

  7. bachalon says

    Fine, Joaquin.

    As I’ve grown fond of asking since Friday, “What do you propose?” I’ll meet you half-way: you can have your guns, but now tell me what you think should be done to keep them out of the hands of people like Holmes.

    The price for gun ownership shouldn’t be the occasional civilian massacre.

  8. shockna says

    But I have a bad, nervous feeling at work now, and every time I hear someone bragging about their goddamn home arsenol it makes me sick to my fucking stomach.

    Rightly so. Responsible gun owners don’t tend to brag about their collections. I have a few more than what I suppose would be called average, but I don’t see the purpose in bragging about it the way I’ve heard some of the nutcases do.

  9. sc_72744af7efe9efc694b5140d373d872e says

    I guess I kinda sorta agree with shockna that responsible gun owners dont brag about their collections, but there’s range between bragging to everyone who will give you the time of day and telling one of your friends at work who are also into shooting about a new gun you just got.

    IDK that I’d be too nervous about someone just because they talk about owning guns, seems more productive to judge how balanced they seem on the whole. Also, and its kinda hard to tell from whats out there on the guy, but it didnt sound like anyone at his school knew he had any guns.

    -Traveling Txn

  10. StevoR says

    @8.Stephen “DarkSyde” Andrew :

    The religius right chose gun control like they chose abortion and for one of the same reasons: it doesn’t cost the super rich conservative freaks anything. That’s one reason gay marriage has gotten as far as it has. The peasents fucking hate it, but the rich don’t care, it doesn’t cost them anything.

    Really not wanting to derail here and side issue but, hey, I’m pretty sure that some of the rich 1% will be gay too.

  11. jhendrix says

    I really am having a hard time seeing how it’s a bad thing to have someone shoot off a lot of ammo at a gun range “like it’s a video game”. It’s a hobby, and in that context, it’s harmless. It’s our right as Americans to own firearms. It’s on the same level as our freedom of speech and religion.

    Quite frankly, I’m happier having the ability to own a gun rather than not. As its been stated, the guy would have gotten a hold of the weapons legal or not.

    That the above activity is “normal” around you, and has probably been that way for a very, very long time – should point you in the direction that this kind of activity causes nutjobs to go crazy and kill people.

    We’re supposed to be skeptics who use logic and reason. Having gut reactions to just automatically try and restrict guns is not a very good solution to this problem.

  12. says

    @ joaquinlopez I don’t really think you’re right.
    I’m originally British, and over there it’s much more difficult to obtain guns, and while there are a few shootings mostly it’s knives and, unless you have one hell of a throw, that does rather limit your ability to perpetrate massacres.

  13. thomaspenn says

    @joaquinlopez (#6)

    We advocate for freedom of religion because it is the base freedom in our constitution,

    This is completely wrong. We’re for freedom of religion and speech and assembly because they good humanistic rights to have, not because they were somehow divinely revealed by the founders. The founders lived 200 years ago and thought it was OK to own people. There is nothing wrong with going through their ideas and picking and choosing. That’s why we’ve amended the constitution 17 times since the bill of rights was passed. The founders also recognized their own imperfections, which is why they included an amendment process.

    Additionally, the idea that “outlawing X will have no effect because criminals will still do X” applies for literally every activity X. It’s a tautology. It’s also a very simplistic view of human behavior. People usually don’t just decide to something, and then find whatever means necessary to do it.

    Do you think we’d have more biological weapons attacks if weapons-grade anthrax was sold in drugstores? Based on your argument, it shouldn’t have any effect at all, right?

    Why not sell guns to kids? Columbine proved that kids can still get their hands on guns, so why are we punishing the law-abiding ones? If a kid wants to shoot people, he’ll get a gun, right? So why bother even trying to stop them?

  14. says

    Would mass killers like Holmes still be able to plan and carry out their plans if we had tighter gun control? Pretty likely, because this was a well planned attack and even if we had pretty sensible gun control like Norway someone dedicated enough (like Breivik) would still manage to get around them.

    However most crimes are not planned months in advance but are impulsive so I would expect the number of gun deaths to fall if you restrict who can legally obtain a gun because when an argument escalates or a victim won’t cooperate they will be less likely to have a gun available (and it’s harder to kill someone with a knife). People only start talking about gun control in cases like this where it probably wouldn’t be as effective because of the single minded determination of a mass killer, when the real impact is on everyday crime, accidental death, and suicide (most suicide attempts fail, except for those involving guns).

  15. peterh says

    @ #4:

    The biggest massacre by a single person in the US killed 14 times as many as at Aurora and no gun of any sort was used.

  16. peterh says

    And there’s no such thing as “assault ammo.” Assault is a form of behavior, not a class of objects.

  17. says

    JH, didn’t say it was a bad thing, I said it worries me even though the odds are minuscule there is any reason for worry.

    But I’m sure we can count on assault weapons enthusiasts being sensitive and classy — perhaps by holding a NRA rally in the local mall where it happened?

  18. thomaspenn says

    @peterh (#18)

    The biggest massacre by a single person in the US killed 14 times as many as at Aurora and no gun of any sort was used.

    Is your argument that there should only be restrictions on the single most deadly weapon based on the metric of most deaths in a single attack by a single person?

    That’s a pretty silly way to write policy especially since the number of children (<15 years old) killed by firearms in the US in 1995 (957) was over 5 times greater than the total deaths in the Oklahoma City bombing (168). If you want to play a numbers game to try to show that firearms are inherently safe, you'll lose. Every year firearms play a role in more deaths in the US than 9/11, but apparently the proper response is to just accept these deaths rather than institute sensible gun policies that will not be perfect, but should certainly be better than the status quo.

  19. peterh says

    @ #21

    Not my argument at all. My general point is peoples’ perspectives get skewed beyond reason by the orgies of hair-tearing and finger-pointing that always accompany such horrific events.

    One cannot prepare for nor prevent all possible contingencies and simply slapping more ink on paper is the weakest possible way to approach even the most likely.

    Your gratuitous “proper response” is an unjustifiable shift in focus and topic.

  20. thomaspenn says

    My general point is peoples’ perspectives get skewed beyond reason by the orgies of hair-tearing and finger-pointing that always accompany such horrific events.

    You should really be clearer then. I don’t see how you made that point at all by what you said.

    One cannot prepare for nor prevent all possible contingencies and simply slapping more ink on paper is the weakest possible way to approach even the most likely.

    Well “slapping ink on paper” (i.e., writing laws) is how government functions. Everything it does literally starts with “slapping ink on paper” (even the 2nd amendment), and our society wouldn’t function without it. There will always be car accidents, but we still slap ink on paper to require that drivers are competent, their vehicles are safe, their vehicles are registered, etc. to reduce the risks associated with their use.

    Do you think there should be no laws or restrictions on gun ownership and use? How do you think “slapping ink on paper” will stop children from acquiring guns, or convicted felons? Why should we bother with the “ink on paper” banning guns on planes? I don’t want to be locked in a metal tube at 30,000 ft knowing that only the criminals around me have guns.

    Your gratuitous “proper response” is an unjustifiable shift in focus and topic.

    How on earth is a discussion of gun policy a gratuitous response to a shooting spree? It’s certainly much more relevant than a comparison of casualties between this tragedy and the Oklahoma City bombing.

  21. jhendrix says

    @Stephen (20)

    I’m not going to defend any gun nuts holding rallies in the area, but that’s inconsequential to looking at the problem (violence, mass killing) and then identifying whether or not more gun control laws will solve the problem.

    There is very good evidence that it would not solve the problem, and things like the Assault Weapons Ban from the past show that the gov is pretty poor at restricting access to guns that are dangerous on a technical standpoint (easily modified to go full auto, etc) vs. guns that “look scary” but are impractical for this kind of use.

    Believe me, I advocate for most of the same policies you do – but gun control is one issue that I believe the facts are on the side of the conservatives. Avoiding an emotional backlash for overreaching gun control is something that Obama and the left would do best to avoid; I think it would hurt terribly in an election year (and I do think it’s bad policy regardless).

  22. says

    All I am saying is that a gun ban will not work. Criminals are going to get there hands on them regardless. Geez, I know how to get illegal weapons, believe me, its not that hard. If somebody is willing to inflict harm on people, why would they care about a gun law?

    Like I said, the only people that are going to follow a law like a total ban are the ones that follow the law (well, for the most part, i wouldn’t), and leaving the weapons in criminal hands.

    There are already gun laws restricting felons and children from obtaining guns. And yet the felons still get there hands on them and they will still if there is a complete gun ban. As for the children, the majority would be the parents fault, improper storage, ect.

    When a gun is bought legally, they already do background checks. I have my concealed weapons permit, fee of about $55, a full background check and a wait of at most 30 days.

    And believe it or not, guns do serve a purpose other then killing people, I live in the country with horses, cattle and pigs. Along with the animal I want, there are also animals I do not want, like coyotes, aggressive dogs, rats and muskrats that attack my animals. I cant even count how many times Ive had to save one of my animals. Why would you want to take away my right to protect my animals?

  23. alienchaos says

    If you live by the second amendment, then it should certainly be OK to bear the arms that were available at the time of passage. I could maybe deal with a person owning a single pistol or rifle but why anymore than that? Why is it OK to own automatic weapons? Why not just have them for rent at gun ranges so those who just want to rip off a few rounds can do so? I just obviously don’t understand the joy of firing bullets at objects or animals and I’m an avid FPS gamer at that. I would venture that shooting a real gun in NO way compares to shooting one in a video game. Fortunately, the founding fathers showed a great deal more foresight with the first amendment.

  24. bachalon says

    Fine, Joaquin, what do you propose?

    I’m sick of hearing, “second amendment!” in response to what should be an obvious problem to most people.

    You want your guns; now how do we keep them out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them?

  25. says

    @alienchaos

    So in Washington state, it actually really hard and really expensive to legally purchase a own an automatic weapon. Not ok everywhere. And shooting is fun, its something that I dont do everyday. I dont hunt, I shoot for fun. I do have weapons training. I was in the Marine Corps and its especially fun to shoot when you can pretty do anything and when you do not have somebody yelling over your shoulder.

    And honestly, I think that the current gun laws should not be touched, if anything it really should be governed by the individual state like it currently is.

    There are laws that keep weapons out of “people that shouldnt have them” felons cant have them, previously been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity, anybody that is charged with an assault ect. The problem is these people can get a hold of guns by illegal means.

    Besides banning guns entirely, what would your solution be?

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