Mass Shootings, Notice a Pattern?


Welcome back to the Scuttlebutt. 


I was off the grid over the weekend, at an SCA event, so I didn’t hear about the shootings until I got home Sunday evening.  


First, let me say I’m grateful that neither of the shooters was more successful.  I will not mention their names, the people that do these sorts of things are not sane and seem to want to see their name everywhere, even (maybe especially) at the cost of human lives.


Now I’m not sure that both of these events are the same sort of event… the Brooklyn shooting has no suspects in custody, no one that they’re looking for… This smacks of a gang thing, a “you’re doing this shit on our turf” type thing.  Maybe I’m wrong, we shall see.


The Gilroy shooting, on the other hand, was a classic “mass shooting by a crazy man”, though there’s some question as to whether he acted alone.  (if he had a second shooter they really suck at shooting.) 


So, we have to ask ourselves, what does this have in common with other shootings? With the implied question: What can we do to keep this from happening again?


Well, there’s the obvious answer, the one that all the pundits and politicians immediately go for every time someone dies at the wrong end of a gun… 


The trouble is, obvious is often wrong.  Yes, he had a gun. Bravo, you are a keen master of the obvious.  NO SHIT. But, here’s the thing, mass murders happen all across the world, and in places where you can’t get guns, they use knives, or cars, and often rack up a higher body count.  (a knife makes no noise, and a car is a sound we’re used to, so no one runs for cover until they see bodies flying up in the air.)


Let’s dig a little deeper because here are the things to keep in mind with that “easy answer”:

1) The likelihood of a firearm being involved in a crime, excluding those carried by a cop, or used by the victim is less than 1 in a million or .0001%!  Hint, your car is far more likely to kill someone than my gun.  

2) The number of firearms in the US is estimated at 393 million guns.  That’s a damn big genie that ain’t going back in the bottle. My point here is that no buyback program, no confiscation program is going to get all of those firearms.  (oh, and that estimate is probably low, there’s a lot of firearms out there still around from before people kept records, and properly cared for, a hundred years is an easy lifespan for a rifle, I know, I have one that old.)  


Furthermore, if you TRY to take them by force, or by “color of law”, you just started the third revolution.  The first one was started because a bunch of law enforcement types (yes, they were military, the lines were far blurrier then, and right up until after the second revolution.) tried to follow the orders of the legally appointed government, and confiscate the firearms of a place called Lexington, and a place called Concord.   The second we call a civil war because the rebellion failed. In spite of its failure, it changed the nation forever, in a lot of ways, some good, some not so good. Revolutions failed or successful never result in a return to the status quo. Ask the Scotts, or the Irish or for that matter the Chinese, the Russians, the Cubans, the Syrians, etc. et al.

I promise you, disarming the US is not a real possibility, short of war, and I would not place large amounts of money on who would win… Even ignoring the foreign governments who would love to get involved in such a thing.

OK, let us look at other commonalities with mass shootings… Humm here’s one, they happen in places where the shooter feels safe.  Gilford is in the heart of the biggest anti-gun area in the US. How much good did that do? They had metal detectors and cops to ensure that no one bought in so much as a knife… Fuck, cut the fence and go on in!  Brooklyn, right in the middle of the SECOND largest anti-gun area in the US. Owning a gun LEGALLY in NYC is like owning a fucking fighter jet with the weapons still active, in any other state in the US. Yeah, you can do it, but you gotta be rich, well connected or both.  How much good did that do them?


I’m going to segue here for a second… If you look at places like Wiki you see a list of “mass shootings” as long as your arm.  But then they define a mass shooting as three or more people shot, in a public place. That includes gang wars, drug deals gone wrong, family violence, etc. etc. etc. I’m not counting anything like gang on gang, or drug deals gone wrong.  That’s just an example of the old adage, figures don’t lie, but liars figure. So, I’m discounting that sort of thing, if you can’t see why, you probably don’t belong here, Huffington post is located elsewhere on the web.


Look, with the exception of Vegas all of the “random shootings” took place in “gun-free zones”. We’re talking places like schools, festivals, malls, and the like.  They’re places where the shooter had two very important things: A lot of targets, and no worries that any of them could shoot back!


Vegas is an outlier for a lot of reasons, shooting back would not have helped, the fucker was in a place where engaging him with a handgun would be like pissing on a forest fire. Even then it is worth noting that the concert he was shooting down into was a gun-free zone.  We’ve never heard a decent explanation of Vegas, OK maybe he just tripped offline, but that’s a weird one to me.


There’s another key thing about all of the mass shooting incidents.  When presented with resistance, (with the exception of the NYC shooting, and I’m not convinced that wasn’t gangland) the shooter either kills himself, surrenders fast, or gets quickly killed by the responder.


Now let’s see, with that data, what conclusion could we draw???  Bad guys seek “safe” zones, where folks can’t effectively resist… Bad guys stop offensive action when resistance is given… (in fact, the time to first response has a direct correlation to casualty count!)   


Gods, if ONLY there was something, we could do to make bad guys less likely to open fire, and more likely to either stop or die quickly if they DO open fire…


Stay wary, stay armed! It’s a dangerous world out there.


Until next time, 


I remain,   

Yours in service

William Lehman


  1. I know the Christmas-time mall shooting in Portland, the guy THOUGHT it was a gun-free zone because that’s what the sign on the door said.
    Thankfully, a guy who’d been drafted to play pack-mule for a friend was more familiar with Oregon gun laws and was carrying; that one, before the information came out, I thought was a standard murder that had happened in a mall. Only two victims. (It’s actually a very useful incident to know about– you can check the biases of a list by if they include it, how it was stopped, and if they count the murderer’s suicide as a “death or injury.” Pro-defensive-gun lists can be identified by it, too!)

    • you are not wrong. It’s often telling how much detail they give in a list, whether or not they’re cherry picking data.

  2. Glad to see your mentioning foreign involvement in the event of another civil war here. Many folks comment on the possibility of our having a war without anyone else deciding to invite themselves in. No, if we get into it nations and terrorist organizations would take full advantage of it.

    • Not to mention how the various nuclear forces would react. I fear that the best hope we would have is if all the nuclear forces (SSBNs, Missile silos, Strategic and Tactical theater air delivered) said “we’re not involved in this, the only thing we’re going to do is hit any foreign force that decides to get into the fray. I say this because I have no doubt at all, that a totalitarian leaning leader, realizing he is losing would be tempted to use them.
      We’ve already had one congressman who was briefly running for president make the statement “how could you fight against us if we chose to confiscate all firearms? We’ve got nukes.”

    • That’s one man’s opinion, I, however, tend to lean towards the opinions of such men as Patton, Puller, and Halsey, all of whom were noted scholars, and had the opinion (to quote Patton) “If I want their attention, I use language, they remember that. If I really want them to remember it, I make it extra dirty.”
      As a published novelist, who is also the author of several 100 and 200 level courses for the United States Navy’s civilian workforce, I haven’t noticed any complaints from admirals or ESE level civilians on the magnitude or volume of my vocabulary.
      But thank you for your concern.

  3. Not disagreeing with your larger point, but if only 1 in a million guns are used to commit a crime, then there are only something like 393 different guns that have ever been used to commit a crime. It can’t be that unusual.

    • Well, bear in mind the crime we’re talking about here is “mass shootings” which are actually damn few on the ground, in spite of the inordinate amount of attention paid to them by the press and politicians.

  4. People that study such events have noticed that most of these random shooters live in a fantasy world where they’re invincible, righteous killers of “others”, much like a video game. Unarmed targets just amplify that feeling. When they take fire, however, it bursts their little balloon. Shit gets real. Then they tend to run away, surrender, or just kill themselves.

  5. Do not also discount the breakdown in family units. Lots of young men raised without a father in the home. Prager has a great video about that.

    • I’m sure that plays a part in some of these. It’s a complex situation and politicians are using it as an opportunity to push a simplistic solution that also drives their agenda.

  6. Has anyone done a study correlating “gun free zones”, state gun restrictions, concealed carry laws and open carry laws vs mass shooting? My suspicion is that you will find that mass shootings happen more often (and possibly with more losses) in states with the strictest gun laws and in “gun free zones. I would love to see the data as a possible solution to mass shooting i.e. liberalize concealed carry to reduce mass shootings.

  7. yetanotherjohn – John Lott’s book “More Guns, Less Crime” is what you’re looking for. Originally published in either the 80’s or 90’s, more recently is a third edition. Other references under Don Kates, Alan Gottlieb and Stephen Halbrook. The “study” you mention is multiple and has been continuous for at least 50 years.

  8. Killing one or more people does not require mental illness. Symptoms of serious mental illness generally preclude the planning and executive skills needed to carryout these operations. Any diagnoses of a mental illness that is assigned after the fact should be viewed critically, if not skeptically.

  9. I think every bodies missing an important piece of this puzzle. Called me a wacko, nut, conspiracy nut, but i remember a quote i read a long time ago. “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, third time is enemy action”. these shootings seem to occur every time there are major incidents with major members of congress and the senate (especially the democratic and republican rhinos) but maybe i’m seeing things and am “out there”, but i don’t think so. i also think we are either in the very early stages of the third revolutionary war or just on the cusp, waiting for just that perfect moment and God i hope that I’m wrong, but again I don’t think so.

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