Guns etc

A psychopath answers the question the NRA and others ask, do regulations work?

From p.280 'Columbine' by Dave Cullen [bold added]

"Eric manufactured three more pipe bombs: the Charlie batch. Then he halted production until December. What he needed was guns. And that was becoming a problem.

Eric had been looking into the Brady Bill. Congress had passed the law restricting the purchase of most popular semiautomatic machine guns in 1993. A federal system of instant background checks would soon go into effect. Eric was going to have a hard time getting around that.

"Fuck you Brady!" Eric wrote in his journal. All he wanted was a couple of guns - "and thanks to your fucking bill I will probably not get any!" He wanted them only for personal protection, he joked: "Its not like I'm some psycho who would go on a shooting spree. fuckers."

Eric frequently made his research do double duty for both schoolwork and his master plan. He wrote up a short research assignment on the Brady Bill that week. It was a good idea in theory, he said, aside from the loopholes. The biggest problem was that checks applied only to licensed dealers, not private dealers. So two-thirds of the licensed dealers had just gone private. "The FBI just shot themselves in the foot," he concluded."

Eric was rational about his firepower. "As of this date I have enough explosives to kill about 100 people," he wrote. With axes, bayonets, and assorted blades, he could maybe take out ten more. That was as far as hand to-hand combat would get him. A hundred and ten people. "that just isn't enough!"

"Guns!" the entry concluded. "I need guns! Give me some fucking firearms! "

"Reynolds: Would any of the various proposals have actually prevented the tragedy that is the supposed reason for them?

Leiter: Yes, a total ban on private ownership of semi-automatic weapons, such as the Bushmaster rifle used by the Newtown killer, would have made a difference. We can not control very well who gets ahold of guns once they are in private hands, but we can do better at controlling the kinds of guns that are even in circulation. Australia has kindly run a natural experiment for us: after a series of mass shootings, culminating in the Port Arthur incident in which 35 were murdered in 1996, the conservative Prime Minister John Howard (who, some will recall, supported President Bush in the Iraq war) spearheaded uniform gun control throughout Australia; "the new gun laws banned rapid-fire long guns, specifically to reduce their availability for mass shootings. Under the 1996–7 Australian Firearms Buyback, 643,726 newly prohibited semi-automatic and pump-action rifles and shotguns were purchased by the federal government from their civilian owners at market value....Tens of thousands of gun owners also voluntarily surrendered additional, non-prohibited firearms without compensation."

"Late in 1997, Eric took notice of school shooters. "Every day news broadcasts stories of students shooting students, or going on killing sprees," he wrote. He researched the possibilities for an English paper. Guns were cheap and readily available. Gun Digest said you could get a Saturday night special for $69. And schools were easy targets. "It is just as easy to bring a loaded handgun to school as it is to bring a calculator," Eric wrote... "Ouch!" his teacher responded in the margin. Overall, he rated it "thorough & logical. Nice job." 'Columbine' p199 Dave Cullen

"The logic is inexorable: as more private individuals acquire guns, the power of the police declines, personal security becomes more a matter of self-help, and the unarmed have an increasing incentive to get guns, until everyone is armed. When most citizens then have the ability to kill anyone in their vicinity in an instant, everyone is less secure than they would be if no one had guns other than the members of a democratically accountable police force.

The logic of private gun possession is thus similar to that of the nuclear arms race. When only one state gets nuclear weapons, it enhances its own security but reduces that of others, which have become more vulnerable. The other states then have an incentive to get nuclear weapons to try to restore their security. As more states get them, the incentives for others increase. If eventually all get them, the potential for catastrophe — whether through irrationality, misperception, or accident — is great. Each state’s security is then much lower than it would be if none had nuclear weapons."


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