What will it take to end this madness?

Another week, another gunman goes into a crowded venue and opens fire, this time killing 12 people, wounding 16 others, and then apparently killing himself. This time the event took place late on Wednesday night at 11:20 pm at a crowded country and western themed bar and grill frequented by college students at nearby Pepperdine University in an affluent area near Los Angeles.

So far no motive has been ascertained for this rampage but the gunman has been identified as a 29 year old former marine who has had prior minor brushes with the law.

We have had 307 mass shooting in the last 311 days, so are now at an average rate of about one mass shooting per day in the US, resulting in 328 deaths and 1,251 injured. Four out of the five biggest mass shootings in five decades took place just in 2018.

This is intolerable. My impression is that gutless politician who have been rightly shamed for offering just ‘thoughts and prayers’ after prior atrocities are saying that less frequently now. Instead of finding new platitudes, lets hope that we have some action.


  1. says

    a 29 year old former marine who has had prior minor brushes with the law.

    let me guess… questionable discharge, history of discipline problems, and the ‘minor brushes’ are domestic violence calls (or maybe, outside chance, uncharged public assaults)?

  2. says

    To highlight how horrific things are, some of the survivors (and possibly victims) last night were survivors of the Las Vegas shootings.

    It’s now at the point where there are people who have been at the scene of more than one mass shooting.

  3. Canadian Steve says

    What will it take to end this madness?

    It will take a complete collapse of the USA. The corruption and gridlock is baked in and can’t be changed from within. It will only change when it utterly fails to the point that the country can’t limp along any further. I was listening to a podcast about “guns and god” looking at the intersection of religion and gun culture in the US south. It blew my mind. It’s very clear to me that the people they interviewed (and the very large number of people closely connected to them) genuinely believe that what they are doing is morally correct, if not actually a moral imperative. Even if this represents only 25% of the southern and rural population, it’s enough to ensure that nothing changes.

  4. jrkrideau says

    It’s now at the point where there are people who have been at the scene of more than one mass shooting.

    I once felt South Africa was the most dangerous place in the (somewhat) developed world. An old mate of mine had a friend drop her wine glass and take him out with a rugby tackle to avoid the machine guns.

    Maybe vacationing in SA is sounding better?

  5. sonofrojblake says

    Mano said:

    This is intolerable

    That is the nub of the matter. YOU ARE WRONG. It is obviously, demonstrably tolerable. Unless you, Mano, can demonstrate that you are making concrete plans to leave the US, plans you are already acting on -- it’s tolerable.

    Serious question: if you live in the US, and have no immediate plans to leave, just how bad does this shit have to get before it really DOES become intolerable and you get the fuck outta Dodge?

    I mean it -- we’re apparently already up to one mass shooting PER DAY. But hey, it’s a big country. Maybe it needs to be one per week? One per day? In all seriousness -- at what point would rational people think “fuck this” and leave?

    Note I am discounting any possibility that there’s any other option for rational people. You’re not going to be able to change anything to affect this. Sandy Hook proved that. If, as a country, the massacre of little children doesn’t make you change your minds, nothing will. As a country, that’s what America is like, you just have to accept that. Or, you know, move to somewhere civilised.

  6. stephen oberski says

    You are still far more likely to be injured or killed in a car.

    Why is that not intolerable ?

    The are some basic human characteristics that do not allow us to properly quantify risk and act accordingly.

  7. jrkrideau says

    That is the nub of the matter. YOU ARE WRONG. It is obviously, demonstrably tolerable. Unless you, Mano, can demonstrate that you are making concrete plans to leave the US, plans you are already acting on – it’s tolerable.

    Mano , head North!!

    Well not too far. Tuktoyaktuk may be a bit extreme but London is not bad. A bit humid .

    Ottawa is probably better as long as you don’t mind freezing half the year.
    If you are from Cleveland the climate may be an improvement.

    Wait a minute, as a dedicated teacher Tuktoyaktuk might not be a bad choice.

  8. Jenora Feuer says

    A number of people have identified Sandy Hook as the ‘watershed moment’… that was the point where it was obviously decided that killing young schoolchildren was more acceptable than gun control for a large portion of the U.S., including a majority of the lawmakers. The fact that this was the one where the concept of ‘crisis actors’ started becoming big as people tried to deny that they were accepting the deaths of young children is probably not a coincidence.

  9. avalus says

    @ Stephen #9: Really? A “cars are dangerous, too”-argument? Fuck you! You are part making mass shootings tolerable with this “Duh it ain’t so bad, people die anyway” attitude.

    The only use for firearms in modern civil society I see is hunting. And the US seem to have a human-hunter problem.

    Sorry for the swearing, Mano.

  10. springa73 says

    Regarding the question of how bad things would have to get before large numbers of people would leave the US, I think the answer is “much worse”. For one thing, even though these mass shootings are becoming more and more common, overall per capita homicide rates in the US have been dropping for decades, and are much lower now than they were in the 1970s or 1980s. If there wasn’t a mass exodus back then, there probably won’t be now.

  11. says

    @13, Not true. Although the per capita homicide rate is lower now than it was in 1970, 1980 or 1990, current data from the CDC show a recent increase: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/2017/029.pdf
    Further, the 1970-1990 span was a broad peak with values for 1950 and 1960 below current levels.

    @9, Oh please, not the “car” canard. If we compare the rates of death based on hours of usage, cars are orders of magnitude safer than guns. Virtually every American is in a motor vehicle every day, multiple times and often for extended periods (greater than 15 minutes per trip). By comparison, how many Americans are actively using guns at these rates every day? (And no, cleaning or maintaining a firearm isn’t active use-it’s tantamount to someone cleaning their car). It’s for similar reasons that the NTSB reports travel accidents based on passenger miles traveled, not raw numbers of people killed, when comparing different modes of travel.

  12. A Lurker from Mexico says

    @ stephen oberski
    Can you point to any accidental mass shooting?

    The reason I ask is because I think it’s pretty tolerable to live at the mercy of random chance. I may fall in the shower, get hit by lightning, grow a tumor. There are measures I can take to change my odds or do damage control should they happen. But I, as an individual, can’t control other people’s intent. And that’s where these situations, while less likely statistically, become more urgent.

    Living at the mercy of others is a state of perpetual vulnerability. I know I won’t get hit by lightning when it’s sunny outside. When and where can americans be certain that a nutjob with a gun won’t shoot them?

    It’s been proven empirically that mass shootings happen at schools, kindergardens, malls, offices, parks, at day, at night, etc.
    A child in a classroom can know they won’t get run over there, likewise inside a cinema, inside a church or during a concert.

    Lacking gun regulation, the main reason you haven’t been shot by someone where you stand right now is that no one has really thought of doing it yet (the means to do it are readilly available, the will to do it is really the only relevant variable). Armed guards (either police or “good guy with guns”) may be a deterrent on the micro scale of an individual case, but you can’t possibly organize a militia large enough to be present at every posible venue (or make sure that they themselves don’t become the agressors).

    All of this is also the reason why people panicked over terrorism despite it being even less likely than dying in a mass shooting. Though, putting it into perspective, hijacking a plane is a bit harder than acquiring a gun in the US. Dontcha think?

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