Monday, December 24, 2012

A Chicken In Every Pot, A Gun In Every School

What you see above is Run. Hide. Fight, a primer on surviving an 'active shooter' incident. I recommend watching it--I believe it's "best practices." The film-makers, in what cannot have been a coincidence, show the federally posted no-gun zone warning on the door as the shooter goes in. I think that's kind of clever.

Here is the NRA's response to the shootings. Here is PDB's (my go-to source for informative gun-talk) analysis.

What Do I Think Of That?
Here are my thoughts are broken into two categories: The Defense and the Attack.

The Defense
The Defense that the NRA has come up with is, unsurprisingly, to put guns in schools--either in the hands of teachers or of armed guards. Perhaps, ideally, both.
  1. Mass killers of the Aurora / Sandy Hooks type do not, I believe, target schools because, per-se, they are gun-free zones. I think they choose them for more personal reasons (work-place shooters choose the environment they were humiliated in, school shooters choose the school they went to, etc.). Where a shooter is targeting an area that does not directly link to their lifestyle, I suspect it is chosen for tactical considerations and impact (perhaps symbolism as well). I think it is no surprise that "The Joker" attacked a bat-man movie. I suspect if we had Laza's head in a jar he would tell us that the kindergarten insured him of ultimate infamy or, perhaps, would have most horrified his mother--whatever imaginary targets he wished to avenge himself on. Anyone who tells you that the gun-free-ness of these areas is what makes them targets is having you on. The NRA, so far as I can tell, did not go there--but a lot of other people have. It's bullshit.
  2. It is pretty unlikely that even if teachers were allowed to carry there would have been one in the all-female Sandy Hooks elementary school. This isn't a gig on women--it's demographics. Women are at least 2-3x less likely to carry than men are (from what I can find) and only about 10% of the population is CCW licensed anyway. Again, as far as I know. 
  3. Even if one was carrying the idea that she could've stopped the shooter is questionable but it's not insane. There is some evidence that, these guys, when confronted with an armed civilian, will back off as their "fantasy bubble is popped." I don't think, despite what I've read, that we have enough to make good on that theory. These guys are wearing body armor now-a-days and have much longer range higher capacity weaponry. If the armed civilian is not making good use of cover he or she will be at a serious disadvantage.
  4. In the case of an armed guard, things are slightly different as the guard will have some degree of training (i.e. the school teacher who, out of a night's fear, decides to concealed carry and gets a .32 for her hand-bag is not going to have the same trained mental response to an ex-soldier who has a 9mm and is ready as a defender). We will still roughly have to hope that the shooter falls apart: if two pros shoot it out, the one with the armored vest, the AR-15, and tons of 30 round mags has a big advantage over the guy with the 9mm and one extra mag. Still, who knows.
The Attack
The attack part is where the NRA shifts the blame from guns or guys who get guns too easily or guys who get access to the wrong guns too easily to "the culture of violence." There is some thinking that this would be an attack on "Hollywood's rights" and therefore might "shut them down" (Oh, noes, Marcell!! They're coming after our precious rights now!! The MEANIES!! ALL WE DID WAS GO AFTER THE SECOND AMENDMENT").

This is wishful thinking: the Hollywood violence-fetish machine glorifies violence and guns. More people have learned the correct names and calibers of more weapons through video games than training ... I can guarantee it. The left wants to shut down those ultra-violent movies too--so the NRA and the high-left agree on something ... they just don't know it yet.

What's interesting about the "attack" though, is not its approach (ultra violent media has been a point of discussion for a long time) but rather its targets. Lanza may have played Grand Theft Auto but chances are he'd never watched Natural Born Killers (1994) or played Mortal Kombat (1992). Those are hot-spots for the generation of Lanza's parents--those were the things they watched (Lanza was born when Mortal Kombat came out and was 2 when NBK premiered). They called out Bullet Storm which was, yeah, violent--but hardly a big name (where's DOOM, which is what the Columbine kids played?) and did the research to find Kindergarten Killer which they did not mention was, erm, European.

I think that the "tell" here is that the NRA knows they have a public relations problem--namely that despite the truth (or 'the truth') the American populace sees the AR-15 as a military weapon which somehow wound up in the hands of a mad-man and there is no way the NRA can just, in good faith, come out and say: "Yes, it did wind up in his hands--and that's fine--the GUN was not the problem--it was the guy and ... the only solution to the guy is to have someone stop the guy."

Except that's exactly what they do have to say--because, more or less, it is the only thing to say. So they say it--but then they have to say something else or they look like caricatures who would say the same thing if Lanza had gotten his hands on a Tac Nuke ("Tactical nuclear weapons are already over-regulated! The United Nations places UNCONSTITUTIONAL limitations on fusion weaponry that our FOUNDING FATHERS would NEVER AGREE TO!!").

They know that the specifics around the lack of definition of "assault rifle" and the fact that a 30-round magazine is not exactly an "Extended" magazine but, rather, is the "standard size" for that kind of weapon (go into any National Guard armory and see what the magazines look like--you'll find no 10-round mags) will baffle almost any non-expert observer. They also cannot say "There is NO WAY short of FORCED COLLECTION to take these weapons out of circulation." If they say "We could ban them completely TODAY and they would be on the market at reasonable prices for 100 years" people would be aghast.

So they don't--instead they have to make an appeal to the people they think are most likely to vote: baby-boomers and Gen-X'ers who understand the controversy around NBK and Mortal Kombat and will, hopefully, be horrified by Kindergarten Killers (and maybe were horrified that they paid for Bullet Storm--full price, anyway). These people are now reasonably responsible adults--and voters--who the NRA hopes to have the conversation with. If they started talking about Call of Duty and Battlefield they'd start losing the youth vote and they don't really want to touch that.

Yes: those are the people they are afraid might be doing the killing--but no, Adam Lanza doesn't vote.

His mother does. Or, well, would.

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