The Reality of Violence

by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

“Non-violence” by Swedish sculptor Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd
U.N. Visitor’s Plaza, New York, New York
A gift from Luxembourg.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last forty-eight hours, you have no doubt seen the coverage concerning the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado. If you possess even a minimal level of empathy for your fellow human beings, twelve dead and fifty-eight wounded when their only crime was wanting to see a movie can only be properly described as tragic. Among the dead accounted for up to this point are a man who had been celebrating his twenty-seventh birthday (Alex Sullivan), a member of our Navy (Petty Officer Third Class John Larimer), a twenty-four year old aspiring sports journalist (Jessica Ghawi), and a six year-old girl. Some less responsible outlets are reporting this little girl’s name (Huffington Post, looking your direction), but other more responsible outlets are not. I will not post her name for the same reason others have declined: the little girl remains unidentified because her mother, also a victim of this horrific crime with gunshot wounds to the neck and abdomen, remains paralyzed in hospital and has not yet been told of her daughter’s death. Even in reporting on events, sometimes a little discretion goes a long way and does not impair the “public’s right to know” in any substantive manner.

Over the next few days, you will see many attempts by people with various political agendas trying to monopolize on this shooting to promote their pet causes. In fact, it has already started and in a most heinous manner. During a radio interview on The Heritage Foundation’s “Istook Live!” show, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Friday that the shootings were a result of “ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs” . . . and questioned why nobody else in the theater had a gun to take down the shooter. Gohmert in one fell swoop illustrated that not only is he a base political opportunist, but that he apparently doesn’t understand the 1st or 2nd Amendments very well – a common affliction among Texas pols. Others pols are already using this as a way to promote their anti-gun agendas, their pro-gun agendas and the Twitter-verse is filling with statements from “our leaders” about this tragic event and all of them in some way self-serving.

I urge you to ignore these opportunists for a moment and to think about something else related to the Aurora shooting.

Multiple outlets are reporting that the accused gunman, James Holmes, had dyed his hair red and told the police he “was the Joker”.

There is the fantasy of violence. There is the reality of violence. They could not be more different in outcome. This presents the issue of instances like this where the line between fantasy and reality have clearly been crossed in some meaningful manner. Does this problem exist in the individual or in society itself? I submit the answer might be “a little of both”.

Jon Blunk and Jansen Young

Consider this: one of the elements of drama is that the hero (or something or someone the hero holds dear) must be in peril. It creates tension, it moves the story. You cannot have drama without an element of danger or risk and very often that danger or risk is portrayed in the form of physical violence. As a species, we are wired to find this entertaining.  There is nothing wrong with a bit of wish fulfilment in seeing the hero overcome adversity as entertaining.

The reality is starkly different. Witness real heroes like Jon Blunk who was killed defending his girlfriend Jansen Young during this rampage. Witness Jarell Brooks, a 19-year-old from Aurora, who put himself at risk to help Patricia Legarreta and her two young children escape, but not before he and Legarreta were wounded. Witness Eric Hunter, a 23-year-old from Aurora, who found two wounded girls and dragged them to safety in an adjoining theater before blocking the door to Theater 8 and preventing the alleged gunman from spreading his gunfire in to a new room of innocent theater goers.

All three possible outcomes. Death, wounding, escape from physical harm. All three equally heroic in that other lives were saved, some of them strangers with nothing in common but a love of the same kind of cinema and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s a funny thing about heroism though. As F. Scott Fitzgerald famously quipped, “Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.” In real life, the tragedies and the heroics are real and have real consequences. The hero does not always win the day as they are prone to do in fiction.

Does our propensity for dramatic entertainment, let alone dramas involving violence, feed a propensity for violence? This is a question as old as drama itself. On one side of the argument is the catharsis argument put forth by Aristotle in Poetics; that in viewing tragic events, the audience’s negative feelings like fear and pity are purged. This line of reasoning was later supported by psychologists and psychiatrists such as Sigmund Freud and A.A. Brill. On the other side are modern researchers who have found correlations between watching violence and the rate of violence in society, but causal connections between the two in the general population have been difficult to pin down. What is clear is that “exposure to media violence does not produce violent criminals out of all viewers, just as cigarette smoking does not produce lung cancer victims out of all smokers. This lack of perfect correspondence between heavy media violence exposure and violent behavior simply means that media violence exposure is not a necessary and sufficient cause of violence.” (“Media Violence and the American Public” by Brad J. Bushman and Craig A. Anderson, Iowa State University, American Psychologist, June/July issue, p. 482, 2001.) That a small segment of society seems particularly susceptible to being prodded in to violence through the consumption of media violence though seems undeniable. To me, this seems to comport with the rate in society of people with mental problems revolving around empathy like sociopaths and psychopaths. People who lack empathy would naturally not connect the actuality of violence with the fantasy of violence as they don’t care about the impact of their actions on others to begin with. Correlation is not causation and the root causes of violence are more complex than just a person’s entertainment choices. There are also environmental, social, economic, and personal history to consider. Some people in certain situations are simply going to be more prone to violence. While causation in the general population has been found in desensitization toward violence and violent entertainment, causation of real life violence with fictional violence has been more elusive although desensitization in itself has been can “[increase] aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, physiological arousal and aggressive behaviors, and decreases helpful behaviors.”

As a society, do we have a duty to mitigate all factors that can induce violent behavior in individuals? Even if that susceptible segment of society is a very small percentage of society? With complex compound causation, this is a practically impossible task, and even if “perfect mitigation” of contributing factors was had there are a certain percentage of society that are going to be violent psychopaths no matter what their environment is like. Where to do we draw the line a social inputs that can encourage violence and personal responsibility for individual action? Consider this as well: do we have the same duty to mitigate when the violence perpetrated by sociopaths and psychopaths is economic (as in the banking industry shenanigans that birthed the OWS movement), is purely psychological (as seen in pathologically verbally abusive spouses) or is purely political (as in the religious far right attempting to trample history and the Constitution to institute theocratic laws if not outright theocracy)?

Perfection is not possible. Evil cannot be eliminated in the world for without it we have no definition of good. The perfect removal of error from complex systems is a mathematical impossibility. Does that mean we should not try?

What do you think?

Source(s): (1, 2), (1, 2), Huffington Post (1, 2, 3)

~ submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

UPDATE: The names of all the victims have been officially released by the Arapahoe County coroner’s office. These are the names it is important to remember. Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6, Jessica Ghawi, 24, Alex Sullivan, 27, Jonathan Blunk, 26, John Larimer, 27, Matt McQuinn, 27, Micayla Medek, 23, Jesse Childress, 29, Alexander Jonathan (AJ) Boik, 18, Alex Teves, 24, Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32, and Gordon W. Cowden, 51.

A Personal Note to the Aurora Victims and Their Families and Friends:

My sincerest condolences. May your loved ones lost live on in your memories and may your memories be long, robust and full of happiness. May the wounded heal and take every advantage of their good fortune at surviving this senseless act of violence. May this harm done to you and yours not keep you in the depths of lament, but transform to a celebration of life – both theirs and yours. Peace, love and long life.

Gene H.

NOTE: For those of you waiting for the next Propaganda installment, I’ll either publish it tomorrow or publish next weekend depending upon time constraints. I thank you for your patience in the face of breaking news.

270 thoughts on “The Reality of Violence

  1. Gene H:

    my question is was he on any mood altering drugs for depression, anxiety, etc.?

    This is a very big problem in our society, parents drugging their children to control them. The end result is sometimes suicide and sometimes mass murder.

    If he was on some mood altering drug like Paxil, the question is do we keep drugging our children so they sit still in class?

    And more to the point why do we feel a need to drug our children? These drugs are very powerful and take away the need to learn to control our moods and recognize when we are down in the dumps. Drugs should be reserved for especially hard cases and certainly not children unless all other avenues have been tried.

  2. Bron,

    I’ve seen no indication of whether he was getting any mental health treatment or not, although I think at least his parents were aware something was wrong with him by his mother’s reaction when told: “You’ve got the right person.”

  3. Also, I agree in general with your statements about over-medicating children and extend it to psychological treatment in general. Pills can aid the right people, but without therapy their effectiveness is usually marginal.

  4. Thanks for the article; I was hoping to see it since early Thursday morning when I heard of the rampage. I haven’t ironed out my thoughts about it yet, of course, even to the point where I feel like I can comment intelligently, except for one thought: this present Aurora shooting rampage is, in the quality of bizarre-ness, TO the past shooting rampages, in the quality of bizarre-ness, as

    This present Batman movie is to _______________________ [what]?

    This “equation” is fascinating me for the moment.

    I remember walking down a street in Manhattan with my friend’s two children, for whom I was baby-sitting. They were maybe 7 and 10 at the time, and they saw lots of the current movies of the moment (at that time, which was probably about 1995 or so). I had just taken them to some movie, at their mother’s request. I couldn’t follow the movie. I didn’t understand why the hero in the movie was being targeted by “them” and why “they” wanted to kill the hero in the movie (who ultimately killed “them” as it turned out).

    I asked a few questions and the two boys gave me their answers. But their answers did not answer my questions. Finally, I said, very emphatically: “But I do not understand why THEY wanted to kill HIM in the first place!”

    Both boys fell silent. They hadn’t even THOUGHT OF IT.

    Finally the older boy said, “I dunno.” I checked out the younger boy. No expression on his face. Discouraged, I said: “Oh. I thought you guys would know.” Neither one looked particularly uncomfortable. They didn’t know of any motive for a nefarious murderous intent on the part of the bad guys!

    Could we have gotten used to that, as a society? Random extreme well planned out murderous intent and extreme violence and no known underlying motive?

  5. In Nabokov’s “Speak, Memory” (I believe) he speaks about pornography and he observes that as the pornographic texts proliferate, the sexual liaisons have to become more extreme, more bizarre, and more populous. He mentions, with his typical acerbic wit and unsubtle show of disdain, that at one point the participants become so bored with ordinary multi-party orgiastic sex, that they have to “call in the gardener” to add to the scene. I have thought this was a sort of applicable principle to the violent scenarios we see set up on TV and in the movies. First there is a building blown up and a bunch of folks involved in a public shoot-out; then we need several blown up buildings and multiple shoot-ups; then shoot-ups from tops of buildings and into swimming pools and involving high speed car chases with trucks and vans; then buses full of nuns and blown up cars blowing up buildings simultaneously in three states; then some building blowing up or car going off a cliff every 90 seconds; then…

    …and finally, simultaneous building blowing up with mayhem in a movie theater while showing mayhem in a movie theater and blood and popcorn all over while…

    and ladies and gentlemen in the third ring…

    and it’s all in such bad taste to comment on it when it really happened and ladies and gentlemen…

    It really happened. Pinch me.

  6. They are terrorists who want to burn in Gods light that is hot enough to dry up all of the water on the earth. Danger as a risk is devils in the soul of a human calling it good.The hero as we se him uses the same method of overcoming evil as seen in the movies as the villain. EWE need to have a different roll model.That roll model overcomes evil with good being kind ,and forgiving patient long suffering slow to anger, never rude or never speaks down to anyone..Has self control..The hero would not be dumb or act stupid.. The hero would be cunning, and smart knowing the weaknesses of his enemy, knowing when the enemy is having a problem of whatever not doing what humans in war would do. The enemy would have physical needs,you know all of the things humans needs to live. physically, and emotionally. ,and instead of taking advantage to harm his enemy he would use them to hopefully win his enemy over to not have an enemy Thjat is the kind of role model we needs to have. The hero is a risk taker to put himself in harms way to do good not to do harm.overcoming evil with goodness, and kindness when every fiber of your being says no don’t do it.

    People have made the evil human look invulnerable to the needs of life.That is not how it is..

  7. They are terrorists who want to burn in Gods light that is hot enough to dry up all of the water on the earth. Danger as a risk is devils in the soul of a human calling it good.The hero as we see him uses the same method of overcoming evil as seen in the movies as the villain. EWE need to have a different roll model.That roll model overcomes evil with good being kind ,and forgiving patient long suffering slow to anger, never rude or never speaks down to anyone..Has self control..The hero would not be dumb or act stupid.. The hero would be cunning, and smart knowing the weaknesses of his enemy, knowing when the enemy is having a problem of whatever not doing what humans in war would do. The enemy would have physical needs,you know all of the things humans needs to live. physically, and emotionally. ,and instead of taking advantage to harm his enemy he would use them to hopefully win his enemy over to not have an enemy Thjat is the kind of role model we needs to have. The hero is a risk taker to put himself in harms way to do good not to do harm.overcoming evil with goodness, and kindness when every fiber of your being says no don’t do it.

    People have made the evil human look invulnerable to the needs of life.That is not how it is..

  8. GeneH,

    Hope you will accept my compliments as genuinely meant.

    A VERY difficult task done very well. Two sentences were not understood.

    The only 100 percent prevention would require psychological monitoring not possible now and not desireable in my view.

    I was reminded by the mother’s words of the case of the banker in Nigeria who got through to the Embassy there, but to no avail.

    One can wonder if this mother had tried and also failed, or simply had not tried due many possible reasons.

    Families can’t always detect, nor friends, neighbors, etc.

    Am glad you mentioned the causation ackknowledged in the general populations reaction to violence and/or viewing films etc on violence. Why this is less certain in the individual case is not understood by me.
    Of course the multi-factor causal aspect diffuses the causal chain.

    Lastly, let me cite a typo, which I can say I wish were true, literally:

    “statements from “our leaders” about this tragic event and all of them in some way self-severing.”

    Think if if would SEVERE them.

  9. Gene,

    I don’t believe we have the ability to mitigate such behavior, simply because as you’ve alluded there is a percentage of all humans with violent sociopathic and psychopathic predilictions. Science is not yet at the point where they can grasp what triggered Holmes’ behavior. I’m not sure if he even knows himself, despite what he may eventually explain.

    What is clear to me is that we and our media tend to focus on the violence that is overt directly resulting in pain and death. Too often the economic and sociological violence caused by corporations is ignored because the destruction caused is slower in taking effect.

  10. “Could we have gotten used to that, as a society? Random extreme well planned out murderous intent and extreme violence and no known underlying motive?”

    I don’t know about “used to it” but desensitized to violence to the point that any restraint to violence prone individuals may have eroded. To be clear, I don’t blame the entertainers here. I think the underlying question of one of individual psychology. Were society is failing is in enforcing the barrier between fantasy as reality though education. I find that people who are sane and really understand violence – in particular those with martial arts training – are very reluctant to engage in violence themselves because they know the reality of the consequences. To others less educated and/or mentally maladjusted, violence is an abstract game or a simple means to an end. You don’t need to give kids MA training (although it certainly doesn’t hurt) to impart an understanding of the reality versus the fantasy of violence, but you do have to honest and upfront about the long and short term consequences of violence as to both victim and attacker.

    In this particular instance though, the seeming randomness (we don’t yet know the shooter’s motivation and we might never know) is part and parcel of the character of the Joker as established in the comic books. Even when he has a “rational” motive, it is often only logically formal but completely insane. For example, one of the tales Health Ledger used to build his Oscar winning performance as the Joke in “The Dark Knight” (which was indeed truly extraordinary and worthy of the award) was from a graphic novel written by Alan Moore (of “Watchmen” and “V for Vendetta” fame) called “The Killing Joke”. In this book, the Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum and kills a lot of people in doing so – all to get the attention of the Batman. Why?

    He wanted to tell Batman a joke.

    If we ever find out the shooter’s motive in this case, don’t be surprised if it is just as nonsensical. But if we as a society failed this person? It was in allowing the barrier between reality and fantasy to weaken so that when combined with underlying mental defect, failure was inevitable. In the end though, despite this fact, the ultimate responsibility rests with him. Even if his family did know there was a problem, there is only so much a concerned “other” can do in dealing with mental illness. The impetus for treatment must come from the afflicted to both start in earnest and stand a chance at being affected. That so many mental defects come with a form of anosognosia (where the patient doesn’t realize they have a problem) makes for a vicious circle in treating mental illness.

  11. A couple of thoughts :
    Bron asked my question. What drugs was the guy on?

    And here comes more of big brother. Is this another opportunity for TSA ?


    TAMPA —

    Some theaters in Tampa plan extra security this weekend, and some plan to scan patrons with metal detectors, following a deadly shooting at a Batman movie premiere in Colorado.

    Channelside Cinema 10 normally has security on staff, owners say, but they’re calling in reinforcements throughout the weekend, including more off-duty police and U.S. Marshals.

    “We’re hiring extra police the whole weekend to help people feel more secure,” said Howard Edelman, owner of the Channelside Cinema in Tampa. “Anyone with a package or pocketbook will be wanded … It’s the safest thing we can do under the current situation.”

  12. They are terrorists who want to burn in Gods light that is hot enough to dry up all of the water on the earth. Danger as a risk is devils in the body of a human not wanting to die.knowing one day it will be eternal death.The hero as we see him uses the same method of overcoming evil as seen in the movies as the villain. We need to have a different roll model.That roll model overcomes evil with good being kind, and forgiving, patient, long suffering, humble, meek, slow to anger, never rude, never speaks down to anyone. Is not boastful or full of false pride having self control. The hero would not be dumb or act stupid.. The hero would be cunning, and smart knowing the weaknesses of his enemy, knowing when the enemy is having a problem of whatever not doing what humans in war would do. The enemy would have physical needs. You know all of the things humans needs to live physically, and emotionally.. Instead of taking advantage to harm his enemy he would use them to hopefully win his enemy over to not have an enemy That is the kind of role model we needs to have. The hero is a risk taker to put himself in harms way to do good not to do harm.overcoming evil with goodness, and kindness when every fiber of your being says no don’t do it.

    People have made the evil human look invulnerable to the needs of life.

  13. Malisha,

    Magnificent. Only one word needed. Your description the crescendo…..and it ending in the ultimate motiveless massacre.

    I will only cite these words by you:

    “Could we have gotten used to that, as a society? Random extreme well planned out murderous intent and extreme violence and no known underlying motive?”

    And I refer to our “wars” which do these same things, and we are aware but do not take responsibility for that which we dislike (or can control? Are the drones motivated? I will not drive that longer. For you all to consider.

    Jusr for comparison:
    the murders at Fort Hood—-motivated in his eyes.
    the murders in Oslo and the island in Norway—-ditto
    other terrorist murders—-ditto
    Timothy Veigh—–ditto
    VA murder by oriental student—-ditto

    Here, in Aurora, I think we have the same problem as in Norway, although in Norway a motive was given. I believe it was a matter of hunger to assuage his nothingness in his own eyes and his lack of acknowledgement. Maybe this was partly a factor here. Particularly as he waited quietly to be taken by police, hoping to see himself on TV during his trial days in his cell’s TV. Hope he is denied the pleasure.

    Someone mentioned mentioned Tarasov to me. Is it relevant here?

  14. Mike,

    “What is clear to me is that we and our media tend to focus on the violence that is overt directly resulting in pain and death. Too often the economic and sociological violence caused by corporations is ignored because the destruction caused is slower in taking effect.”

    A very astute observation. That is the insidious nature of the “death by a thousand cuts”. A feature of cognition all too often exploited by sociopaths.

  15. As usual I wish to take a step back. GeneH did very well in putting this is a wide context, so no fault there or anywhere. Just bear with me.

    We are concentrating on this for many reasons, as are

    the media, our political, religious or whatever leaders who feel they are so.

    Spectacular, insane, motiveless as to who the victims are, fate of which movie you went to that night, etc.

    There are many factors which make this special.

    And in a way, it is a cathartic release for us (idea cited by GeneH) from the everyday headlines
    (if headlined) of the latest murder at your neighborhood gas station for reasons of who goes first; on to the quietly insane who doesn’t know it and one day flips after his rage at society builds to the point of booby trapping his apartment and this deed in Aurora.

    Why do we swallow the daily murders and NOT seek the solution to them? In a concerted, organized and funded way? And has the fact of Columbine murders helped in CO? Apparently not.

    GeneH says, rightly I feel, that it is society’s failure to clearly, in our education process, show the real effects of violence.
    Does that mean that children to be able to look at violent TV games must wear helmets that give them a painful shock at each death on the screen?
    Will this innure them or cure them? Apparently they are innured already today by our current process.

    Is there a difference from a society which produces lynchers of blacks, and murderers in Aurora, and ones piloting drones, and ones sitting in the President’s chair?

    I think not.

  16. The reason I did not watch the Batman movie with the Joker in it. the man who played that role ended up killing himself, so it was a model of pure evil. We know what that is, psychotic evil, but I do not need to see it realistically depicted on a huge screen.

    But then I cannot watch any of the current genre of horror movies. Alfred Hitchcock and black humor is fine. The slasher movies, the chainsaw movies, the crap they make now.

    If you want a good review of this current Batman move, go read Rex Reed:

  17. I don’t know about mood stabilizers, but the proliferation of booby traps and other gadgets in the apartment, plus the apparently sudden drop in the quality of his schoolwork, makes me wonder if there wasn’t meth (or some other stimulant) involved.

    I wouldn’t read too much into the mother’s “You have the right person”– we don’t know what qustion she was responding to. They may only have asked if she was a family member, or something like that.

  18. “The reason I did not watch the Batman movie with the Joker in it. the man who played that role ended up killing himself, so it was a model of pure evil.”

    You are ill-informed on that point, shano. Heath Ledger’s death was an accidental interaction of prescription drugs. “Toxicology tests have now confirmed the cause of Heath Ledger’s death. He was killed by a deadly combination of FDA-approved medications prescribed to him by his doctors. The drugs found in Ledger’s system were OxyContin (a painkiller), Valium, Xanax (an antidepressant), Restoril, Unisom and Vicodin. This toxicology report ends any speculation that Ledger might have been killed by taking recreational drugs. The cause of death is now clearly FDA-approved pharmaceuticals.”

    Now go watch the movie and enjoy one of the truly great cinema performances of our time. ;)

  19. Gene, once again you have hit it out out of the park.

    Excellent post. My concern is the same as yours, and the hue and cry has already started. No matter where you turn on the internet or the TV, all you can find are pitchforks and torches. Drugs. Not enough drugs. Ban guns. Let people carry sidearms for self defense everywhere, bring Jesus back, it is the fault of the religious extremists. Damn!

    We don’t know the motive, and in view of the fact the perp is being uncooperative, gathering information from him may turn out to be impossible. He apparently is brilliant in terms of IQ, but clearly troubled in some way. This may very well be another Ted Kaczynski. Based on the MO, I doubt he has motivations similar to Eric Rudolph or Timothy McVeigh, but without a LOT more data points, we may never know.

  20. Gene, a minor nit to pick. Both Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam) are benzodiazepines. Both are anxiolytics (anti-anxiety). Neither is an antidepressant. Restoril (temazepam) is an hypnotic; that is, a sleeping pill, but also in the class of medications called benzodiazepines. This combination of medications will have the effect of depressing respiration. He just went off to sleep and his breathing got more and more shallow until respiration stopped altogether.

  21. Analyze all you want, but there is not much one can do about such situations, other than be more vigilant and tip off law enforcement. The other thing, as has happened in the past in similar situations, is for someone at the scene to attempt to stop the perpetrator in situ…and thus limit the damage.

  22. I went to the link posted that had a review of the movie, and this sentence leaped out at me:

    “When all else fails, Bane threatens to destroy the human race in 23 days with one brash act, and Bruce ends up flat on his back, in more ways than one.”

    I would hope that the FBI get busy trying immediately to determine whether there is some larger violent attack brewing to be conducted 23 days after the movie theater attack, but I don’t know if there is a way to do that. Surely on TV it could be done, if criminologists thought there was a reason to try..and on that point, I am completely ignorant as well. Jess sayin…this guy may live in a fantasy world.

  23. I believe, though, that if Arlene Holmes had said “You have the right person” referring to herself, the news outlets that had reported these words would have already been advised to correct their statements to reflect her actual intent. I cannot imagine that the family’s public statement, issued to the media the same day Arlene Holmes was located by the press (and later by the law enforcement authorities) would not have included a correction, as well. I believe she probably meant, “They have arrested my son; he probably did this.”

  24. Has no one considered (and I am only doing so in jest) the effect of trying to complete a PhD. in neuroscience? Writing a dissertation can unbalance anyone.

  25. We had a neuralgic here in Sweden which had to be taken off the prescription list.

    Combined, although expressly forbidden, with a light beer it would result in respíration depression and death. The effect did not depend on sleep, but occured in conscious individual.

    I was one, who survived fortunately. 3 ounces of beer was enough and one tablet.

    I was awake. Taking it for a bad back.


    How tragic for Ledger, How can anyone give so many different drugs to anyone? Different doctors?

    I stopped using a sleeping pill (hydroxisinhydrochloride?) which was bad for me. Since a check showed it to be a neuroleptic, I discontinued it for that reason also. It had given me a hangover effect which encouraged to new use even during the daytime, uncomfortably similar effect to benzodiazepines, although it was said to not be addictive.

    Watch carefully whatever you are taking is my user advice.

    As for this guy, do we know what he had in his blood at the time? Or in his prescription list? Or in his illegal consumption? Or will they bother finding out?

    And will the pitchfork gangs go the big pharma HQ or to the Congress.

    (Nixon was on something I forgot the name of, but a billionaire buddy had said it was great, and he thought so too. 25 years of use/abuse.

  26. Here is an article my son, Evan, posted today:

    Evan Mascagni
    I am an attorney living in San Francisco, currently working on a documentary film, Toxic Profits: (

    Batman Shooting: Why Praying Will Not Be Enough to Avoid Another Aurora Theater Massacre
    •Evan Mascagni

    Batman Shooting Why Praying Will Not Be Enough to Avoid Another Aurora Theater Massacre

    Being from the religious state of Kentucky, my Facebook news feed has been flooded with people praying for the victims of this week’s terrorist attack in Colorado and praying that something like this never happens again.

    These are the same people that prayed Columbine and Virginia Tech would never happen again, that Fort Hood would never happen again, and that the Arizona attack on Gaby Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) would never happen again. Yet, this week’s terrorist attack shows us that simply praying doesn’t really do anything to prevent these types of attacks in the future, which is why America must take concrete steps to diminish our fetish with guns and violence.

    Before I dive deeper into this, I want to clarify something. I call this week’s shooting spree in Auora a terrorist attack because, by definition, that’s what it was. However, in the United States, it’s nearly impossible to be called a terrorist if you don’t have brown skin and you’re not a Muslim. Since 9/11, there has been nationwide anti-mosque activity reported in over half the states, including several instances of arson, fire bombs, and attempted attacks of mosques here in the U.S. Yet, never do you hear these attacks being referred to as “terrorist” attacks, which is exactly what they are. Instead, Americans have co-opted the word and refer to anyone who acts against U.S.’s interests in pursuit of our failed “war on terror” as a “terrorist.”

    Now, what concrete action can we take right now that makes sense? Renew the Assault Weapons Ban. This ban on assault weapons wouldn’t be the first time in the United States such measure is implemented. In 1994, Congress passed a 10-year ban on assault weapons, but that law expired in 2004 and efforts to renew it since have failed. It should come as no surprise that before he flip-flopped, Mitt Romney used to support a ban on assault weapons saying, “I believe the people should have the right to bear arms, but I don’t believe that we have to have assault weapons as part of our personal arsenal.”

    Now, I understand that the killer used other guns that were not assault weapons; but I don’t think that undermines the necessity of prohibiting the use of such weapons. I would go into many more ways of how we could strengthen our gun control laws in this country, but that will have to wait until we can all agree with the 2004 Mitt Romney that we don’t really need to be legally buying and owning assault weapons (although I don’t think I’ll ever agree that we need personal arsenals – in the words of Kurt Vonnegut on guns — “I wouldn’t have one of the motherfuckers in my house for anything”).

    As Americans, we have made light of what guns actually do: kill people. Instead of “praying” that gun violence stops, it’s time we actually do something about it.

  27. Jan Briggs,
    “Has no one considered (and I am only doing so in jest) the effect of trying to complete a PhD. in neuroscience? Writing a dissertation can unbalance anyone.” Jan Briggs———–

    Well, my psychologist in 1963 said that after interviewing job candidates that most of the seekers were sicker than the patients. Ed Boyle was his name and he was serious, although expressing himself with levity.

    Maybe our qualified therapists have some views on this. I, of course, find it natural that troubled persons seek help, consciously(?), by their choice of studíes and careers. How about Sigmund? (levity again)

  28. If nature had in its randomness hurled a 5 lb. meteor through the roof of the theater, killing 12, injuring 59 this would be a natural and equal tragedy of loss, pain and whying. The perpetrator was not a whim of nature, but a human being, which we are all related too. (This is not over reach in the grandiosity of existence) One of our own, one of 7 billion people on the planet did this horrid thing…. on purpose and with forethought.
    I shiver inside and soulfully. We are all related to him. In the deep dark of me I realize, in the chance of circumstance, some human spirits act beyond group human understanding. This is the boogeyman of myth, the monster of nightmares. The reality that a pinch, will not wake us from our terror.
    Somehow there is he, … does that not raise the question..Somehow there is not me. What neurons in me work that don’t work in him? What series of events and circumstance placed this action in his mind and not mine.
    I as an atheist do not choose to search for Gods master plan to find reason. I as an animal, human in nature, do not comprehend this malice.
    I as a conscious human, the highest life form on our planet, struggle with understanding.
    I am finite, I am simply 1 of my 7 billion brothers and sisters. I know this is true, but this also is beyond my comprehension. How easy and human it is to abandon my reason and accept myth to explain or create a “place” for his actions. My personal weak and meager “place” of reason for this; he was a human meteor that struck indiscriminately and randomly for no reason.
    He may have a reason, but it is not reason. It is the terror of myth personified. Monsters and Angels dwell within us all. His monster was terrible, his monster was master.
    This is a story of the human race, and when I dwell on it …it scares the crapola out of me. But for the grace of my nature there walk I or anyone of us. Hug the people you love, practice kindness, and be rewarded.
    Practicing, preaching hate is its own hell.

  29. OS,

    Thank you and I have no issue with you nit picking my posts let alone the postings from Natural News. :D I bow to your superior pharmacological knowledge and it sounds like they owe you a tip of the hat as well.

  30. As Gene has identified it the problems we face from the attack of the 24 hour news cycles feeding frenzy in this tragedy is overanalysis. To be honest once I learned the simple facts about the dead and the injured I tuned out. This was not the result of lack of empathy, but of disgust with the overanalysis of pundits of various stripes. I don’t have to read or listen to the analysis to discern it.

    Pro- gun people will proclaim that if everyone in the theater was armed, he could have been stopped sooner. They of course forget that if people were so armed there might have been even more horror.

    Anti-gun people will bemoan the violence engendered by lack of gun control. This ignores the fact that a crazy man like Holmes could have bombed the theater, or set fire to it.

    Realgious zealots will see it as God’s message that we are not following his commandments. This begs the question of why God would choose to inflict such pain on innocents?

    Law enforcement types will call for greater security measures everywhere, failing to mention that they will profit from the institution of these measures.

    What will be overlooked except for some closeup interviews with survivors and bereaved, is that those affected will feel the pain for the rest of their lives, having learned the harsh lesson that to be alive is to be subjected to unforeseen and life threatening happenstance, and we humans can’t legislate against it.

  31. As for Heath Ledger, a great actor, the mixture of drugs he took indicates a young man in psychic pain. Benzo’s, hypnotics, vicodin and Oxy don’t mix well and he was smart enough to know it, but perhaps didn’t care. Within two days after three different major chest surgeries in 2010, I discontinued my painkillers, not because I didn’t like the buzz, but because I didn’t like the disconnect I was feeling from my emotional self. I’m sure Ledger wasn’t in worse pain physically, but felt he needed to escape his negative emotions. Doing that rarely works out well.

  32. Mike and Gene,
    I tried to watch some of the TV news coverage, but my poor stomach can only take so much abuse before rebelling. Blech! Some of the coverage reminded me of some of the news coverage of aircraft accidents where the reporter on the scene does not know the difference between a Cessna and an Airbus. If they cannot get it right, then they should just day they don’t have a clue and fade to black.

    I spent part of the day today trying to get through to someone who insisted all self loading guns were automatic weapons, despite the fact I linked repeatedly to the ATF web site where the difference between semi-automatic and automatic weapons were defined. If they cannot tell the difference between a Glock pistol and a machine gun, they have no business commenting.

  33. What bothers me in the news on the Aurora massacre is not so much the “gun control versus non-gun control” debate, but the premature analysis of the shooter and what “made him snap.” We do not even know that he actually “snapped.” Yet I have heard conjecture that: (a) He had failed for the first time in his life because before this May he was academically excellent; (b) He must have had a failed relationship and when rejected, he must have thought his life was over; and (c) miscellaneous crap like that.

    How offensively idiotic! We have ZERO information about his motive so far and people are already analyzing it! Maybe he hated movies!

  34. Malisha, I should have included that in my comment above. You are right. And to “snap” implies sudden impulsive actions with little or no forethought. From the little bit of what may be accurate information released, this was a complex operation, complete with booby traps, body armor and a well stocked armory. This was not something he thought up on a Thursday and carried out on Friday.

  35. I have chosen to ignore it after the first facts were presented.

    Analysis? Isn’t that another word for propaganda?

    I came here direct after getting an email tip, and checking the headline articles. No discussion. Things as usual. No spontaneous OT thread.

    Did all know that GeneH was preparing his blog? And were thus waiting in abeyance?

  36. Sensational journalism at its very heights….. Create news coverage…. Create a need and validation for a job….. This is sorta like Nancy Grace but without the yelling……

    Soon someone will pander its the parents fault…. The mom a nurse and the dad I recall is an engineer…..

    These people inside and outside the theater have lost a great deal….. As has been pointed out…. Both political parties are going to play it to the max to push eachs agenda…… This is where I quit listening……. Great posting Gene….

  37. The NRA owns the republican party and many democrats are afraid of them including Obama although they are waging a 40 million dollar campaign against him. Unfortunately there will be very little discussion of gun control among the politicians and the gun violence goes on. It is waged in the city of Chicago nearly every night.

  38. The American public has been treated to new and ever increasing levels of fear over the last 10 years and the attacks on home soil on 9/11. Much of it is deliberately manufactured and serves to defeat conversations that could lead to productive problem solving. The home grown fear mongering by fundy religious groups, privately owned and self serving news-media and the draining economics blah blah blah has compounded the unease. Who hasn’t been affected? I am so amazed we haven’t seen more of this young mans generation go on the offensive. They are being taught this violence as it is being capitalized on while they are victimized.
    I would also really like to know what other pressures he was battling in his life, if there were prescribed or non-prescription meds involved, what caused him to drop out of University so close to completing….so many questions…..

    I would also like to know what medications my Congressmen and Congresswomen take, the Senators, the Lobbyists, the Military leaders. I want it all out on the table…..these so called leaders who cannot even work together without name calling and finger pointing. The Palinesque mentalities and the creepy worshipping of all profit no matter the exploitation factor.

    I also now believe, full heartedly, that the sale and manufacture of weaponry should be massively de-profitized…… and criminalized. That oughta keep your prisons occupied and profitable for a good long time……

  39. Gene,

    Excellent post! That said, isn’t it at times such as this that advocates of gun control would question how easy it may have been for someone like this mass murderer to procure all his weapons and ammunition?


    Colorado Shooter Likely Got Guns With Ease
    George Zornick on July 20, 2012

    This morning, as the country digested the terrible events that unfolded in Aurora, Colorado, overnight—where a gunman killed twelve people and wounded 59 others in a packed movie theater—New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg immediately called for a renewed conversation on gun control. “You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country,” he said. “There are so many murders with guns every day, it’s just got to stop.”

    The usual suspects raked Bloomberg over the coals for “politicizing” the shootings, which is nonsense. When there are plane crashes, we talk about flight safety. When there are wildfires, we talk about fire prevention. Terrorist attacks beget huge (often over-reactive) conversations about security measures.

    So when one person is able to shoot seventy-one people in rapid succession before police arrive, it’s sensible to talk about whether it should be so easy. Guns aren’t exclusively to blame for the tragedy, but they sure did help make it possible, and multiply the destruction.

    However, the White House quickly made it clear it would not listen to Bloomberg’s plea. Aboard Air Force One this morning, Press Secretary Jay Carney said that “the president believes we need to take common-sense measures that protect the Second Amendment rights of Americans while ensuring that those who should not have guns under existing laws do not get them.”

    The problem is that, thanks to years of dedicated lobbying by the National Rifle Association, “existing laws” are simply inadequate. The existing laws in Colorado likely allowed the shooter, James Holmes, to obtain these guns—including an assault weapon—with ease.

    We don’t yet know the details of when or how Holmes purchased the guns, but consider these scenarios:

    If Holmes bought the guns in Colorado, he did not have to register them. The state prohibits gun registration.

    Holmes reportedly drove up to the movie theater with his arsenal. That too was entirely legal in Colorado—as long as the guns are visible, you don’t need a permit. Permits are only required for concealed carry.

    The assault weapons ban that expired under George W. Bush allowed Holmes to purchase the high-powered weapon that he reportedly used, an AR-15. President Obama campaigned on renewing the ban, but quickly dropped it from his agenda and “won’t even talk about” renewing it.

    If Aurora had decided prior to this shooting that it wanted to enact tougher gun control laws, it wouldn’t have been allowed to. Since 2003 it has been expressly illegal for any local government or law enforcement agency in Colorado to “enact an ordinance, regulation or other law that prohibits the sale, purchase or possession of a firearm that a person may lawfully sell, purchase or possess under state or federal law.” (Nearby Denver has been contesting this law in court).

    Holmes was arrested with an assault rifle, a shotgun, and two pistols. But authorities could have never noticed he was stockpiling weapons during his short time in Colorado, because it is prohibited for any law enforcement in the state to build databases of gun buyers or gun owners.

    If Holmes bought the guns outside Colorado, there are no laws restricting bringing them into Colorado.

  40. I agree in part and dissent in part with the comments above. Woosty has a point in that I would like to know what my members of congress are taking. Maybe random drug screens with the results being made public would be a start. Not only release tax returns, but a printout from the pharmacy as well. I recall after GHWB was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease. Frankly, that scared hell out of me, because a runaway thyroid can and will cause psychiatric instability. The later, I saw he was taking a hypnotic drug for sleep. That did not cause me any peace of mind either, because those drugs impair cognitive function. In fact, just taking them will get your FAA medical certificate revoked if you are a pilot.

    As for controlling guns. Prohibition did not work, and the drug wars are not working. The worst kept secret in the world is the fact there are still illegal moonshine stills, meth labs and “agricultural projects” in the mountains of Appalachia. As someone said last night on another blog, we should severely amend or revoke the 2nd Amendment and confiscate all guns that are not single shot as they were at the time the Constitution was written. I told that writer that if that happened, I would make sure they were offered a job to be the first one to go into the backwoods of Appalachia to tell the local residents you had come to confiscate their guns. The way I figure it, the agent assigned to do so would not make it through the first day, and the body would never be found. As part of there training, seizure agents should be required to watch Deliverance and the Discovery Channel documentary about the Hatfields & McCoys. Step right up here folks to sign up for a good job with benefits. What? No takers. Now how are we going to enforce the law on guns if we cannot find people to seize them?

  41. FWIW, every liberal or progressive gun owner I know hates the NRA with a passion. I gave up my lifetime membership more than thirty years ago when the right wing extremists took over. As far as I am concerned, the NRA has one single thing going for it that they do right. Their firearms safety course protocol is excellent and the certified trainers do a good job of teaching classes on firearm safety–as long as they keep the RW propaganda out of the lessons.

  42. Gene,

    This is the first truly worthy report about the tragedy I have read. Thank you for offering us the opportunity to discuss this matter without hyperbole.

    I particularly liked Mike’s musings posted yesterday (July 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm) and supported by similar writings from other posters.

    “I don’t believe we have the ability to mitigate such behavior, simply because as you’ve alluded there is a percentage of all humans with violent sociopathic and psychopathic predilictions. Science is not yet at the point where they can grasp what triggered Holmes’ behavior.”

  43. I have to wonder if the FBI or Department of Homeland Security would have been keeping an eye on the alleged killer James Eagen Holmes if he had been a Muslim or had “foreign-sounding” name.

  44. Elaine M.,

    I think you’re on to something…….. No Hijad this day…… That’s the American Way……

  45. OS,

    ” … every liberal or progressive gun owner I know hates the NRA with a passion. ”

    I’m not a gun owner, bow and arrow are my hunting weapons of choice, but I despise the NRA.

    As to your comments about “backwoods of Appalachia” … yep, it’s a whole ‘nother culture back in the mountains.

    At this particular point in time I’m not going to jump on the guns are at fault bandwagon. Holmes chose guns but could just as easily have used a bomb or a pyro device. However, the same society that produced this freak of nature named Holmes, also produces guns for citizens by the boatload. It’s the “Go ahead, make my day” mentality that worries me.

  46. Gene,

    I think if we wanted to do everything possible to minimize the amount of senseless violence, we would live in a true tyranny, and would ironically increase the amount of violence in the world. We would have no free speech, no right to privacy, we would be personally monitored 24/7, we would have no right to possess any weapon of any kind or anything that could be used as one. For example we would have to outlaw martial arts training, wouldn’t we? I personally know three martial arts teachers I truly believe could kill a roomful of people bare handed, if they turned their skills to ruthless murder (or to hijacking a plane). But I think if we outlaw the teaching of martial arts in order to decrease violence, we would increase violence and rape by refusing to teach men, women and children how to defend themselves against criminal assault.

    I think every act of regulation incurs a cost in terms of freedom, and it is a legitimate “good law” (to reference a previous posting of yours) when, in our rational analysis, the benefits delivered by deterrence exceeds the cost to us in freedom. So outlawing fraud is obviously a good law, it does help prevent fraud, and the costs to society are almost nothing in terms of what we believe we should be free to do.

    However, for a different example, outlawing pot is more of a borderline case. In recent decades the analysis of benefits and costs to society were overly influenced by negative propaganda (to reference more of your work) and lies, but in recent years that influence is fading and a thin but increasing majority of Americans have come to see the outlawing of pot is doing much more harm than it is good.

    As it relates to the Colorado Theater, I think society has to formulate laws with the presumption that citizens can exert rational control over their actions at some point, and then when a few citizens prove they cannot, provide facilities to separate them from the rest of society and truly enforce maximum protection and safety: A prison.

    Most laws prescribe punishments that are intended to deter people from crime, and when the laws are enforced and punishments are severe enough, that really works. People with rational control of themselves restrain themselves and the incidence of the outlawed activity drops. People really do refrain from crimes because they fear the punishment, financial or otherwise.

    However, that system breaks down when we encounter people that lack rational control, like the Colorado shooter. Under those circumstances laws of punishment are meaningless, the only thing that could have prevented this would be laws of preemptive restraint of people that are innocent of any crime.

    Speaking as a person that has lost two siblings in two separate murders, and as a person that knows the pain of losing family members that have barely begun their adult lives, I think incidents like this one in Colorado are just inevitable in a free country.

    What we can prevent with “good law” is the “crimes of the sane,” meaning people that can exert rational control over their actions. If we start outlawing what fantasies people can weave in fiction, we engage in preemptive restraint of everybody so that a few insane people will not be exposed to fiction they might mistake for reality.

    I think that is a fool’s errand, because I do not think it will stop the insane. If the perpetrator had not seized upon the idea that he was the Joker, he would have latched on to some other idea; perhaps that he was the Angel of Death or Satan himself (as other insane killers have done in the past). Shall we outlaw the Bible for inciting that violence?

    The same thing goes for those that believe outlawing his guns and weapons would have prevented his crime. If the perpetrator had no access to guns, he could have prevented the exit doors from opening with a few strategically placed nails in the push bar mechanism, and then set fire to the theater, or found some other way to kill the people, like with a lethal gas. Shall we outlaw building materials and common cleaning compounds and bathtub chemistry? I will note the perpetrator was a PhD candidate, and could easily have learned the chemistry needed to make a lethal gas; shall we outlaw chemistry books and the Internet?

    I believe we in the USA could do a FAR better job of investigating and prosecuting and punishing the crimes of the sane, including those by banks and corporations in addition to those by individuals. I truly believe that the threat of punishment when combined with the demonstration that we are willing to implement those punishments is a deterrent to crime, including crimes by sociopaths. Most sociopaths are deterred by the likelihood of punishment (in fact, nothing else works).

    But I think that is as far as we should go, no level of consequences will deter the insane that cannot process consequences. To stop the insane I think we would have to surrender the majority of our freedoms and all of our privacy, and I think that is too high a price to pay. Thus I accept the distasteful truth that maximum safety means maximum restrictions, it would look and feel like prison, or absolute dictatorship.

    So a balance must be struck between risk and freedom, and even the ideal environment will contain lethal dangers, including insane people that have heretofore done nothing illegal and are therefore presumed innocent. I think the Aurora incident is an example of the type of irreducible risk we would have even in an ideal environment. I do not claim the USA is that ideal environment; I think we are very far from doing all we could do in order to deter crimes by sane people. I am saying that even if we did all we could to minimize the crimes of the sane then lethal dangers would still remain, and being exposed to them is essentially the price of freedom.

  47. Apologies to those (Blouise) whose thoughts I may have replicated; I wrote my response to Gene without reading any other comments.

  48. Tony C, why not replicate? All good studies get replicated; I look for good replication wherever I can find it.

    Recently I read about a case in which a truly crazed person (hearing voices) committed what WOULD HAVE BEEN murder had not some bystanders and first-responders been absolutely outstanding. He only got one victim; he was not able to distinguish right from wrong and now, after years in a well-credentialed hospital for the criminally insane, he STILL doesn’t get it and has no inroad into rational thought. And he did his crime with a kitchen knife. Had he had a gun he would have killed half a dozen people at least, probably. But he COULD have gotten a gun, because he had no criminal record!

    In the long run, we are not able to predict behavior and we are certainly not able to pre-detain people who may be dangerous in the future. But whenever something like Aurora occurs, it makes me angry to think about how much money our government wastes doing things that are not only unnecessary but that are frankly culture-destructive (the drug war, the corruption, the government cover-ups, the millions spent on bending state court judgments to satisfy personal, special interest, or agency official agendas), rather than providing some framework for addressing problems of the would-be mass murderers.

    One comment about James Holmes came from a student who went to high school with him. It was a chilling comment, in a way. The guy said that whenever someone “teased” Holmes, he would “just smile.” He did not respond, just smiled. No one defined what “teased” meant. I wondered, inevitably, “Was Holmes thinking, ‘just you wait, a55hole, I have something for you — I will deliver it in the future”?

    We will never know the answer to this. It would play like a scene out of one of Stieg Larssen’s books, and who cares, in the final analysis. But the sentence alarmed me, made me consider how bent out of shape our society is, and how much more it is being bent as I write.

  49. There is one sentence in Gene’s post about yet another epic event in our society that caught my interest.

    That sentence is (“As a species, we are wired to find this entertaining“) which seems to be controversial.

    It reminded me of the Mike S mythology post last week or so, not because of Gene’s sentence, but rather because of a quote I recently shared here.

    I will do so again so you don’t have to look it up:

    The concept that humanity has a violent and evil core is widespread; it is one of the oldest and most resilient myths about human nature. From historical and philosophical beliefs to current popular and scientific beliefs, the view that a savage and aggressive beast is a central part of our nature permeates public and academic perceptions. Given this view, it is a common assumption that if you strip away the veneer of civilization, the restraints of society and culture, you reveal the primeval state of humanity characterized by aggression and violence.

    While there are many reasons for the resilience of this myth, the most powerful one is the simple fact that humans today can and do engage in extreme levels of violence and aggression.

    (Bully Worship: The Universal Religion – 2, quoting the book “Race, Monogamy, And Other Lies They Told You“, by Agustin Fuentes of Notre Dame). He is a long-time professor of Anthropology.

    Over the past decade various scientists / professors have found that behavior changes genetic makeup, i.e., genes do not determine behavior, it is closer to the other way around.

    We learn violent behavior, or the enjoyment thereof, from our society around us – it is not hardwired.

    In fact, very little is permanently hard wired in that sense.

    I will try to add a short video that discusses these discoveries:

  50. “That sentence is (“As a species, we are wired to find this entertaining“) which seems to be controversial.”

    There is nothing controversial about that statement at all unless you are making the assumption (again and wrongly I might add) that it comes from a strict genetic determinism standpoint. Wired by genetics, wired by environment, wired by a combination of factors (which is the reality of the situation)? Wired is wired. There is absolutely no controversy that humans find dramatic arts entertaining. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. However, that’s a nice straw man you’ve got there and a fine example of context shifting.

    But thanks for taking this opportunity to pimp out your own scientifically ill-informed pet theory instead of addressing the issue as framed, Dredd. Really. How utterly . . . predictable.


    Get a new act.

  51. Tony C.,

    Great post and I have no substantive disagreement with any of those observations.


    To Woosty of the Persistent Felines, Blouise, Elaine, et al.

    Thank you for the kind words. I’ve gotten good feedback on FB as well. Apparently there is an itch to discuss this matter without the political grandstanding and opportunism that this article is scratching for some. If I have aided? I am honored. As the persistently green one used to say, “one lives to be of service.”

  52. @Dredd: Apparently you either misunderstand the quote or it is the closest thing you can find to (once again) engage in your self-promotion.

    Gene’s quote has nothing to do with an evil core of humanity, people ARE wired to be entertained by heroic stories, and heroes require villains. The greater the villain, the greater the hero that stops them, and in modern fiction we have had some degree of “villain inflation.” It is probably a fad that has to reach a level of ridiculousness before it collapses, but our heroes (and villains) have in recent decades been getting ever more magically endowed with super powers.

    Even on staid, non-SciFi shows; on many shows the computer hacking and forensic analysis long ago strayed out of the realm of scientific plausibility and into the realm of pure magic behind a veil of nonsensical jargon.

    Nevertheless, witchcraft and magic are not verboten for the purposes of story telling, and Gene’s reference to hard wiring is real; our minds are built to tell stories and understand stories, I think there is a good argument to be made that consciousness itself and the understanding of other minds is really about formulating a plausible narrative of one’s own actions and the actions of others.

  53. A bit touchy Gene? Why does scientific realty insult, repel, and bother you?

    Society is the source of social influence, individuals are the recipients of that influence.

    In a Wartocracy, one should expect violence.

    No need to soil your knickers over reality.

  54. Tony C,

    Gene’s quote has nothing to do with an evil core of humanity, people ARE wired to be entertained by heroic stories, and heroes require villains.
    Actually, Gene is the one who raised the question I answered:

    This presents the issue of instances like this where the line between fantasy and reality have clearly been crossed in some meaningful manner. Does this problem exist in the individual or in society itself? I submit the answer might be “a little of both”.

    The professors, physicians, geneticists, and the like I quoted point out that Gene H is wrong.

    I did not want to go there, but you did, so I respond to your going there.

    The fact is that society is greatly responsible for the problem, and the individual is less responsible.

    We are not taught in our educational system how to counteract what has been done to us before we “become of age.”

    We are grabbed by societal institutions such as the military before we can sort things out, and are ruined.

    There are more suicides and rapes in the military by far than in the population at large, yet we have a religion with its dogma about the military.

    Which has violence at its core.

    Society is where your irrational anger, as well as Gene H’s, comes from.

    You should shake it before it shakes you.

  55. Cops shoot into crowd of women and children and set attack dogs on crowd. If this ammo was real, there would be multiple dead bodies. Funny, the crowd was protesting an eariler police shooting that was unjustified. Babies in strollers no longer stop the police from shooting:…637.5397.0.6063.…0.0…1ac.b2Yy6qrZTFg&ytsession=EyEIlXlfDx4s9Lha2B7uNbNDhKQchyAEgAo0OjsJEvG0yak1etSEoBOjl_UcEx5Lys6ajxZ0FUR4m8AP1OXNC5Z5SbeBBRLnov4vqDjmjuJC6p1dCLc0uqGKGcpBxDxYpQzqfPhkOVPZ4MIzVR1GLQkEulm8DKSAp9igTjfYZZGRRuf8N77RiwTEkmjvYUFKNXZUSMBQt8-tMM22EjPjjkMBu9mlReZqHJmmIvglUiOYKs_KiOt-fbLXtW0otUi9p1rnrncFOOF_7razcbMx_qofEZx3cQ1trX2rQVZztZc&has_verified=1&has_verified=1

  56. Police shot little kids, shot at strollers, etc. Trying to buy the video people shot. Tell me the difference between this and a psycho opening fire in a theatre. The only difference is the rubber bullets. And they had a dog attack peaceful people.

  57. Great article Gene on a very sobering topic. I have waited to respond to your post because of my past gun control articles and comments, but I could not wait any longer.
    One problem that I have when people in the NRA and others have when the term “gun control” is uttered is that they tend to scream that we are taking away their guns. I don’t know if it is a language problem, but gun control is not about abolishing all guns. It is about common sense restrictions to prevent people like this alleged shooter from being able to obtain guns and weapons that go above and beyond what a normal person exercising his/her 2nd Amendment rights would normally own. Why is our society so different from other Western democracies that our murder rate by guns is in some case 2 and 3 times as great?
    My answer is the out of control NRA and the greed of gun makers continues to push for the situations like Colorado’s lax gun control laws so that they can sell more guns. What sense is there that the state has no permit law at all? I would guess you have to have a permit or license to own a dog in Colorado, but guns are exempt from reasonableness?

    The young Navy man that was killed in this horrific shooting was from Crystal Lake, Illinois and as a young boy, he went to the middle school where my wife still teaches so this tragedy goes far beyond just the Aurora, Colorado community. I join Gene’s comment to the families directly impacted by this tragedy by honoring the service and life of Petty Officer John Larimer who was killed in this senseless massacre. The next question is , When will this madness end?

  58. Not touchy at all, Dredd. That you don’t understand what you’re talking about let alone reading vis a vis biology is well established at this point. No, I’m more like revolted that you’d make a straw man and shift contexts (both logical fallacies and forms of lies) to inappropriately take this particular opportunity to promote yourself, your ridiculous blog and your own scientifically ignorant agenda.

    My knickers are just fine.

    You mistake disgust on my part with some other emotion.

    Your posting shows all the empathy and appropriate socialized emotional response one would expect from a narcissist and/or a sociopath. You’ve once again taken a situation that has nothing to do with you personally and tried to make it all about you and your pet theory.

    I do, however, think that you’re as big an opportunistic self-promoting jackass as Rep. Gohmert though.

    Good show.

  59. rafflaw,

    The next question is , When will this madness end?
    When society overcomes the madness it infects young individuals with.

  60. Gene H. 1, July 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Not touchy at all, Dredd. That you don’t understand what you’re talking about let alone reading vis a vis biology is well established at this point. No, I’m more like revolted that you’d make a straw man and shift contexts (both logical fallacies and forms of lies) to inappropriately take this particular opportunity to promote yourself, your ridiculous blog and your own scientifically ignorant agenda.

    My knickers are just fine.

    You mistake disgust on my part with some other emotion.

    Your posting shows all the empathy and appropriate socialized emotional response one would expect from a narcissist and/or a sociopath. You’ve once again taken a situation that has nothing to do with your personally and tried to make it all about you and your pet theory.

    I do, however, think that you’re as big an opportunistic self-promoting jackass as Rep. Gohmert though.

    Good show.
    If you are so competent, why not drop the ad hominem and comment on what the scientists, who are fully competent, said to show you are wrong?

    Your “guess” that our society is “a little” to blame for the massive violence within it is shown by them to be a wrong guess.

    Our society is substantially to blame.

    Oh, and who are you promoting with your blog posts (if posting is ipso factor self promotion as you errantly conclude)?

    Talk about straw men.

    Your 18th century logic is failing you again.

  61. Dredd,
    it is not that simple. It isn’t society that is infecting the masses, it is corporations and organizations that have as their goal, to sell and promote as many guns as possible. They even claim in their PR campaigns that Obama is trying to steal their guns, with absolutely no evidence to back up their hysterical claims, all in an effort to sell more guns. The last statistic I saw was that there was over 250 million guns in private hands in this country. Isn’t that enough?

  62. Dredd,

    Please do continue to prove my point that you are incapable of processing what is inappropriate and wrong with your comments on this tread.

    I don’t stop opponents in the midst of making a mistake.

  63. rafflaw 1, July 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    it is not that simple. It isn’t society that is infecting the masses, it is corporations and organizations that have as their goal, to sell and promote as many guns as possible.
    Those are functions of society … allowing that to happen is not an individual behavior, it is the behavior of the society around … government is a function of society.
    They even claim in their PR campaigns that Obama is trying to steal their guns, with absolutely no evidence to back up their hysterical claims, all in an effort to sell more guns. The last statistic I saw was that there was over 250 million guns in private hands in this country. Isn’t that enough?
    I do not think guns are the problem, except “a little”, the problem is the ideology of our society.

    It is a bully with violent proclivities that it is acting out around the world and at home.

  64. Gene H. 1, July 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm


    Please do continue to prove my point that you are incapable of processing what is inappropriate and wrong with your comments on this tread.

    I don’t stop opponents in the midst of making a mistake.
    I am an opponent because I quote more competent people than you, who disagree with you because you are wrong, and you can’t handle it because it dampens your self-promotion.

    There is no need for that, you are becoming irrational.

    I try to stop those who see learning as an opponent, and urge them to get rid of the old brown textbooks and join today’s science.

    You should join me, not oppose me, because …

  65. Dredd,
    Society wants people to have 6,000 rounds of ammunition and high capacity rounds? It is corporations and the NRA who want them to have those weapons and ammo. Corporations are not part of society. They are entities trying to sell to and control society. There is a difference. Unless of course you agree with Citizens United.
    People want to hunt and target shoot, but how many actually use a semi-automatice rife to hunt? Unless of course they are hunting people.

  66. shano,

    No one is immune from the “crazy” gene mutation. In law enforcement we hope to weed out the so inclined through pre-hire testing and stringent training however we continue to fail miserably and even promote some of the sickest ones to command positions. I am not preaching “hopelessness” for I agree with Tony C when he writes …

    “Most sociopaths are deterred by the likelihood of punishment (in fact, nothing else works).

    But I think that is as far as we should go, no level of consequences will deter the insane that cannot process consequences.”

    Cops who shoot at toddlers in strollers and the commanders who order them to do so along with those in adjacent positions of responsibility who “justify” such actions as necessary are all in a special classification of sociopathy. The knowledge that certain and swift punishment will be applied for such inhumane actions no matter what the justification, might be a deterrent. We should try it.

  67. this has nothing to do with society or guns. it is the result of a brain which malfunctioned, nothing more. Had guns not been available he would have used soda bottles filled with gas or some other weapon.

  68. OS and Bloise,

    I wonder where you both get your facts about Appalachia.

    “The worst kept secret in the world is the fact there are still illegal moonshine stills, meth labs and “agricultural projects” in the mountains of Appalachia.” OS

    “As to your comments about “backwoods of Appalachia” … yep, it’s a whole ‘nother culture back in the mountains.” Blouise.

    Personal studies there? Internet searchs?

    Since Appalachia stretchs from Georgia to western Pennsylvania, then conclusions emcompassing the whole area can be questioned as to on what basis they are made.

    I have spent some time there. They walk on two legs, had one head only. And believe, although have no facts, that they do less mass killiings than in equally populated areas.

    But that may be only a surmise. I don’t follow the news so closely. It as OS said, enough to be scared of George. He was obviously deranged and I am obviouly professionally capable to make the diagosis.

    Here we give, with good reason I feel, the people of Aurora a clean bill of health.

    But the people of Appalachia are worth distrust, it could be said that you are supporting.

    I have offered no defense, just calling into question your accusations. Can you defend them?

  69. WAIT WAIT — Here’s some news that should win the prize this year.

    Some probably well-meaning people have formed a “movement” called “Bale Out Aurora” whose purpose it is to have Christian Bales come to the hospitals where the wounded children are — IN BATMAN COSTUME — to bring them a little cheer!

    Guys, tell me this isn’t happening, tell me this isn’t real, PLEASE!

  70. There are disturbed people who are put on meds that exacerbate their problems without getting to the real underlying problems. They create tragedies that we respond to with horror and sympathy for the victims and their families. Although it hasn’t been demonstrated in this most recent case, I wouldn’t be surprised if is eventually and it will be covered up b/c big pharma is making too much money from these meds.

    We have the right to our weapons and I don’t advocate disarming “we the people” as long as there are those who steadfastly advance oppression by their use of an increasingly militant and brutal police force. There are lots of daily lots, e.g. stop and frisk of young Black and Latinos in NYC and individual events, e.g. Anaheim CA cops opening up on men, women, and children with rubber bullets and an attack dog, the OWS roustings. The spying on our every move with cameras everywhere and our words with warrantless intercepts of all phone calls, emails, internet use.

    But I also think of the destruction of infrastructure, the massacres, the devastating pollution, the killing of innocent people that we are inflicting on communities around the world. Consider the trauma felt by those directly affected by what happened in the movie theater, or any of the schools that have had similar incidents. That kind of trauma is being felt by so many people because of “our” official actions against.them every single day. Lone gunmen do a certain amount of damage for their own reasons that we may never understand, but our culture allows us to sanction similar actions against whole countries on a daily basis.

    The problem is bigger than wholesale availability of weapons to all comers.

    I wish I had some answers but I don’t know how to deal with sociopaths and psychopaths who have the power and money to destroy those who oppose them. A good start would be the pulling of corporate charters. And when the corporations appeal the pulling of their charters we need judges in the courts that believe in the real flesh and blood people of this country rather than the corrupt no-blooded corporations. We have a long way to go but I think this would help move us in the direction of a country where people, not money, count.

  71. They have been traumatized at a Batman movie so they are to be confronted by a “real” Batman? Diabolical.

  72. Bron: “this has nothing to do with society or guns. it is the result of a brain which malfunctioned, nothing more. Had guns not been available he would have used soda bottles filled with gas or some other weapon.’

    Yea we all hear this argument but it does not fly. The people in that theatre were extremely lucky that his big gun the semi automatic assault rifle JAMMED. and he had to use another not so powerful gun. The carnage would have been worse if this gun of his had not stopped working.

    Lets see, if he went in there with a BB gun would 12 people have died? A hand gun? A hunting rifle? there is something about the fetish of gun worship that is more akin to a religion than anything else.

    Today we have the President of Mexico again calling on the American Congress to put in some common sense gun control laws covering these weapons of mass destruction. they even made a billboard with the letters made of confiscated automatic rifles, 140,000 weapons seized since 2006 in a nation that has sensible gun control- all coming from the USA. Killing 50,000 people so far.

  73. Bron,

    “this has nothing to do with society or guns. it is the result of a brain which malfunctioned, nothing more. Had guns not been available he would have used soda bottles filled with gas or some other weapon.”

    I agree in part. The availability of guns is largely irrelevant to a determined violent sociopath or psychopath. They will find other ways to kill people in their absence. But I think society does have something to do with it. Nature and nurture both play a role. When discussing the actions of violent socio- and psychopaths, unless they are known to have the conditions and keeping guns away from known threats, the gun control issue is really beside the point. We already have background checks and in this case, it wouldn’t have caught the shooter beforehand. He had no history. Beyond background checks and possibly some reasonable limits (like restricting the sale of high capacity magazines), anything else is just a political football that runs the risk of running afoul of the 2nd Amendment (and as you know, I’m a pro-2nd liberal).

    However, if you look at the work of neuroscientists like Dr. Kent Kiehl, there are clearly structural differences in the brains of psychopaths, but when you consider the work of psychologists like Brad J. Bushman and Craig A. Anderson quote above, there is also seems to be a social/environmental component involved in turning a “functional psychopath” into a “violent psychopath”. Kiehl even goes so far as to argue that psychopathy should be equated to a form of diminished capacity in law and should mitigate (or at least inform) using death penalty sentencing.

  74. Maybe it has more to do with the complete lack of mental health outreach and help for people who are suffering.

    And the fact that while these people get no mental health services they have complete and easy access to military style, powerful weapons that are designed to kill as many as possible in the least amount of time and effort.

  75. @shano: I am seldom on the same side as Bron (no offense Bron) but he is right; if the shooter had no guns he could have used fire, as I said in my post he could have blocked the doors and used a lethal gas.

    The fact that his gun jammed is just good luck, in fact if he had not had access to guns he might have creatively thought of something far more lethal, like an improvised explosive device. The report says he left by the exit and surreptitiously disabled the locking mechanism behind him, and brought in the guns from his car by way of that blocked exit. He could as easily have wheeled in an improvised suitcase bomb and killed three times as many people, and permanently deafened all of them.

    Gun control would not have prevented this insanity, it might have exacerbated it. If the shooter had considered a route to mayhem without guns that also accomplished his escape (as the fictional Joker presumably would), he might have succeeded to kill again.

    I won’t argue with the notion that better gun control would save American lives, I believe it would, but it would not mitigate this kind of insane violence for the sake of violence. If somebody goes insane and becomes intent on killing strangers, they will find a way.

  76. Lets allow as many muskets and black powder guns as they want, but keep a tight control over these military weapons. The weapon he used would have been illegal under the old gun laws that ‘expired’.

    And sure, he could have set the place on fire, but most public buildings have sprinkler systems. In fact it is required. We regulate indoor fire suppression systems more than we regulate guns. It is a religion.

  77. When we get sick and tired of our gun laws, our bank laws, our governance, THEN we can look for reform. Until then, we are stuck with the crap we have allowed to continue. I’m not blaming Obama. I’m not blaming Mitt. I’m not even blaming the NRA. The NRA has not sucked our brains out of our heads and the issue is not as complicated as credit default swaps. When Americans are really sick of the killing (for longer than 48 hours), we will get up and vote and all the propaganda the NRA throws at us will be for naught. Until then we are going to get what we deserve.

    And spare me those teddy bear and candle displays. Are we so easily comforted when 70 people are shot? Those displays are as pathetic as our willingness to elect a Louie Gohmert or Michelle Bachman to Congress.

  78. here is a comment from the intertubes:

    ” I see the Gun Thugs are out in force today. The point you cretards seem to be missing is this: the gun in the Aurora shootings was used for the exact purpose for which it was designed. You gun-nut ldiots who talk about all the “law-abiding gun owners” miss one important point: even WANTING to own a murder weapon makes you kind of a d-bag.

    Let’s say that your hobby was make-believe rape, instead of make-believe murder, and you collected bondage gear and read “Rapist Weekly” instead of collecting guns and subscribing to Guns and Ammo. Would you really expect the rest of us to care that only a few of you ever go through with your rape fantasies?”

    And this is what I say too, anyone who feels the need for one of these weapons of mass destruction has something really wrong with them to begin with.

  79. well said shano. The claim that we are hearing is just a refurbished, guns don’t kill people, people do. Gun control that can make it more difficult for people like this alleged shooter to get serious and dangerous weapons can prevent tragedy’s like this one. We regulate dangerous animals and drugs and chemicals, but for some reason, guns that are used to kill thousands every year are immune to societal control.

  80. id707,

    “I wonder where you both get your facts about Appalachia.

    “The worst kept secret in the world is the fact there are still illegal moonshine stills, meth labs and “agricultural projects” in the mountains of Appalachia.” OS

    “As to your comments about “backwoods of Appalachia” … yep, it’s a whole ‘nother culture back in the mountains.” Blouise.

    Personal studies there? Internet searchs?”

    In my case, id, relatives … lots and lots of relatives dating from the early 1700’s up to present times.


    “But the people of Appalachia are worth distrust, it could be said that you are supporting.”

    … it could be said?! …That’s your take, your spin on my words. I was referencing the place guns have in the Appalachian culture. As to Moonshine and Meth Labs and other “agricultural projects” … no comment ’cause I ain’t exactly stupid … no sunburn on my tongue.


    “I have offered no defense, just calling into question your accusations. Can you defend them?”

    I ain’t no vote seeker and why would I need to defend an attack I never made?


    “I have spent some time there. They walk on two legs, had one head only. And believe, although have no facts, that they do less mass killiings than in equally populated areas.”

    Do tell and back attcha … Trust to the lord and keep your powder dry.

    Go ahead id, make a law that strips the men and women and children up in them thar’ mountains of their guns then go for another walk in the pines enforcing your law.

    Now skedaddle briggity britches.

  81. I used to hunt white tailed deer on my farm with a Remington model 7. I used a hunting rifle. I certainly did not need a semi automatic high powered gun with a 100 round clip. If you need that to hunt, better go back to the shooting range and practice because even hunters hate a55holes who wound animals instead of dropping them with a clean shot.

  82. Blouise,

    It was a mistake to write a letter asking for proofs of the contentions of two different persons.

    That there is a different culture there is patently true.

    So am forced to apologize for that damnation based on your congenial assent to OS contention by defining it loose terms which can be said about any part of the USA.

    As for relatives, I come from that stock, although mine were closemouthed about their heritage. My maternal grandfather was the first chiropractor in Tennessee (Knoxville). Scotch-Irish all. Or black-Irish as some said.

    Many studies have been made of the feud and fun group.
    I have read of a short modern one, where college students at Harvard were subjected unwittingly to an personal affront test. Our gang went sky-high in their hormonal responses. Proof’s value? Your choice.

    Knowing my mom, you must be related to her. Small tongue, sharp as a knife. Glad you don’t carry a gun here. Don’t need to of course.

    I could suggest a program, in fact several different ones to get them out of those hills. None of them legal unless we call them terrorists. None of them involving boots on the ground. I remember one which brought them out. And if your memory or contacts are good enough you’ll know what I’m talking about.
    Of course getting out the last ones would call for several Rambo, but drones might do it. Let’s see first how it goes in Pakistan NWTA.

    Guess our folks have a lot in common with the Afghanistans and the Kurds. Only the mountains are their friends. So say they about the Kurds anyway.

  83. “Residents, protesting what they say is an increased police violence against them in the community, started the near riot after the shooting on nearby La Palma”
    . _yea, after the police attacked them and shot at babies and let a trained attack dog LOOSE to attack a mother holding her baby.

    Crystal Ventura, a 17-year-old who witnessed the shooting, told the Register the man had his back to the officer. She said the man was shot in the buttocks area. The man then went down on his knees, and she said he was struck by another bullet in the head. Another officer handcuffed the man who by then was on the ground and not moving, Ventura said.

    “They searched his pockets, and there was a hole in his head, and I saw blood on his face,” she said.

    (They executed this man in cold blood in public in the daylight.)

    Dunn said he could not comment on these allegations because the shooting is under investigation.

    (of course)

    Residents told Jackson that police overreacted and created the disturbance.

    One man said, “They just started shooting.”

    Police also set a K-9 officer on one woman and a bystander they said were agitating the situation.

    Said Susan Lopez, “I had my baby with me. My baby! The dog scratched me and then grabbed me.” She added, “They shot at me while I was holding a baby!” Another woman yelled, “They just shot at us, they shot at a little kid, too.”

  84. Blouise, ID ought to look up my username. It is the Cherokee name for the Blue Ridge Mountains. My family was one of the first to settle these hills well before the American Revolution. Major Patrick Ferguson found out the hard way there are consequences to coming into these hills and threatening people. The culture back in the hills has not really changed very much since the Watauga settlement got Ferguson’s nastygram back in 1780.

    I do not know a single family, and I mean absolutely no one (convicted felons excluded), who does not have at least one firearm in the house. The majority have multiple firearms. You might as well be the guest of honor at your own hanging as go back on our backroads and tell people you have come to get their guns.

  85. @rafflaw: The claim that we are hearing is just a refurbished, guns don’t kill people, people do.

    No, it isn’t. The claim is that if the insane wish to kill people, they will find a way. That is not the same logic at all.

    In fact I subscribe to the idea that readily available firepower results in the deaths of more men, women and children than if guns were better controlled. I freely admit that, and I am an advocate of gun control, waiting periods, mandatory safety training and the prohibitions on military grade firepower.

    However it is STILL true that if the insane wish to kill a lot of people they will find a way. Guns are the most convenient method at this point in time. Take away their guns, and they will use something else. Including fire; and there are forms of chemical fire in which the sprinklers would be ineffective; in fact sprinklers are often ineffective if the fire is large enough, fast enough. They could use a homemade binary gas grenade; two liquids separated by a thin glass sheet that shatters upon impact to initiate mixing. If personal killing is the goal, use the gas to knock them out and then slit their throats.

    Proper gun control could help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally incompetent, it could help reduce the number of emotional homicides or gun accidents in the home. Unless you outlaw guns altogether, you could not stop this particular guy from owning them or buying thousands of rounds of ammunition. You could not stop a garage machinist from modifying a legal gun into a fully automatic gun. Even with just a backpack full of standard hand guns with standard clips, this guy could have opened fire from a protected corner with a gun in each hand and squeezed off a few hundred rounds before he was stopped.

    I see no reason to believe this kind of insane mass murder could have been prevented even a complete ban on guns. The insane would find a way. Mechanically speaking, it is not very difficult to kill people.

  86. OS,

    How much you wanna bet my kin knew yours way back when? The Johnson (Org. Johnston out of Scotland and Protestant) brothers were a vicious lot who liked taking politically incorrect actions against anyone not part of the clan. Guns and dogs, man, guns and dogs.

  87. He would have been limited to ten 10! bullets under the old law, oh the horror of the thought of that!!!!!:

    One of the guns that suspect James Holmes used in the Colorado theater massacre of at least 12 early Friday morning is quickly reigniting the gun-control debate.

    The AR-15 is a semi-automatic assault rifle that is a civilian version of the military’s M-16. According to CNN, it’s capable of carrying up to 100 rounds. It shoots one bullet at a time that can “may go through two people” at once. And it’s legal in the United States.

    After the Aurora Police Department revealed that this was one of the guns Holmes used, outrage ensued online, mostly because the gun would have been a lot harder to purchase under the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that expired in 2004. Congress has not voted to replace the bill, which was enacted in 1994 but had a “sunset provision” that let it expire.
    Here’s a breakdown of some of the more harsh restrictions it would have faced under the 1994 bill, via The Guardian:

    The manufacture and import of AR-15s and similar weapons, such as AK-47s, were banned in the US in 1994. There were also limits on the size of magazines that could be fitted, limiting them to holding no more than 10 bullets.
    Those prohibitions fell away 10 years later, and attempts to revive them have failed in the face of objections from the powerful National Rifle Association allowing Holmes not only to purchase the powerful weapon but also to fit it with the magazine drum holding a large number of bullets.

    Read more:

  88. That high capacity magazine probably saved a few lives. Those things are heavy, and have to have heavy springs to move the rounds forward. The mags jammed in the Aurora shootings as well as the Gabby Giffords shooting. If either of those criminals had been using normal capacity magazines, the carnage would have been worse. High capacity magazines have been jamming since they first started being used on fighter planes in WW-I.

  89. OS and Blouise,

    You are pitiful using Blouise to communicate your bonafides with me. Your openly professed ostracism of me is despicable behavior from a professional therapist. Or anyone who regards himself as a gentleman.

    I called you both for facts. You both delivered none. And you both claim roots and claim qualification thereby. What right does that give to cast aspersions on a folk in the whole of Appalachia, as you did OS.

    Get them outod the hills? Would not take six months to get them out and into a FEMA camp. And Obama could do it by calling a federal emergency, calling them rebellious and terror supporters. This would open for various unpleasant measures. Like I said, no boots, no drones needed.

    How many Cherokee relatives do you have in your direct lineage. No french traders? And I am scotch-irish protestant who came there very early. Mine did not express pride over it however, nor keep brag records. Boo hoo.

    You remind me of the DAR and DOC folks. Damning the residue left there and bragging about your roots.
    Kind of a conflict there.
    Next we’ll hear they came over the Bering Straits.
    When did you do your last potlatch?

  90. Blouise & SwM, I am related to practically every living soul in Perry and Hardin counties. As a matter of fact, most of the roads and bridges in NE Tennessee are named after either my wife’s relatives or mine. Those who would suggest confiscation of privately owned guns have no idea who or what they are dealing with.

  91. OS, have been doing extensive genealogical work lately. My newly discovered cousin is the former head of the Ohio genealogical society. I just got the results back from the DNA testing that he recommended. That was very interesting. Lots of lines and names go through Hardin County.

  92. Agree with shano and rafflaw on gun control.The laws are continually being loosened not tightened.

  93. shano:

    a good many people on this blog enjoy shooting sports, Gyges, Bob Esq and Otteray Scribe are 3 who come quickly to mind. And none of them is a d-bag nor would any of them attack helpless, defenseless people in their normal state of mind.

    It is easy to say guns are the reason why those people died but the reality is that guns are tools and have no will of their own.

    If we really want to cut down on deaths then we will have more transparency in medicine, eliminate swimming pools and restrict driving to people within the ages of 25 to 65 and permanently take away a persons ability to drive after being caught drunk driving one time.

    Finally the founders werent thinking hunting when they wrote the 2nd Amendment, they were thinking armed rebellion against government tyranny if necessary.

  94. shano:

    and a hunting rifle with a 30-06 or almost any other caliber would have done the same thing at that range.

  95. bron, Don’t think the founding fathers were thinking about assault weapons in the hands of deranged people.

  96. First time outside of the Middle Eastern countries that I have heard anyone bragging on belonging to inbred clans. The bridges and roads bit must be a laugh. Do they still shoot each other over the nominations?

    You must be making it up. I guess all the ag projects are in the family too. Are you and ýour wife unrelated? First cousins? My arab friends say it is completely OK genetically. Just a few visible defects. The others don’t count, they say.

    Ever visited Moulin Rouge in Paris? Nearby is a quarter with visibly inbred families in the prostitution business for many years. Fun to look at.

    Similar problem there in Hardin? I guess you’d need genealogical records for obvious reasons. Ever heard of heterozygotism? Good stuff.

    You don’t get to attack poison gas, biological weapons, Agent Orange, etc, as a defense of yourselves. Good luck with your guns.

    Do you remember when polio made you carry your kids down the hills. I do-
    Well this will be a repeat experience. Sad fate for resisters.

  97. Bron, the typical 150 grain 30-06 hunting rifle has a higher muzzle velocity (2,910 ft/s) and impact power than an AK-47 (2,350 ft/s). Either one will kill you at close range. Otherwise there is not much difference. Civilianized AK-47s and similar rifles are NOT assault rifles under the legal definition. For those not familiar with them, an assault rifle has a select fire lever which converts from single shot to automatic fire. If it does not have that, it is just an ugly rifle. Ugly is not illegal, fortunately, or a lot of us would be in real trouble.

  98. swarthmore mom:

    no, they probably werent. But they probably understood that there are deranged people in the world and they figured an armed citizenry was worth the risk to preserve individual liberty if necessary.

    I doubt the people who wrote this would agree with you on restricting the ability of “peaceable” people to purchase rifles of any kind:

    “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms.”
    (Richard Henry Lee, Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer (1788) at 169)

    “What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty…. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.”
    (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment [ I Annals of Congress at 750 {August 17, 1789}])

    “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive. ”
    (Noah Webster, “An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution,” 1787, a pamphlet aimed at swaying Pennsylvania toward ratification, in Paul Ford, ed., Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States, at 56

    “The right of the people to keep and bear…arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country….”
    (James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 [June 8, 1789])

    “…but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights…”
    (Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist 29.)

    “As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”
    (Tench Coxe in ‘Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution’ under the Pseudonym ‘A Pennsylvanian’ in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789 at 2 col. 1)

    “The Constitution shall never be construed….to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms”
    (Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 86-87)

    “The great object is that every man be armed” and “everyone who is able may have a gun.”
    (Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution. Debates and other Proceedings of the Convention of Virginia,…taken in shorthand by David Robertson of Petersburg, at 271, 275 2d ed. Richmond, 1805. Also 3 Elliot, Debates at 386)

    But it is pretty clear they wanted the average man armed and proficient in the use of arms. I have a feeling the people in Syria would disagree with you as well as they are now undertaking the task of relieving themselves of a tyrannical government.

  99. Today, the community mourns the shooting & killing of an innocent young man and the subsequent violent attack on peaceful protesters. The people are gathered at the Anaheim Police station, including the family of the victim.
    The naming of the dead, shot and killed for no reason, this is in Orange County, the people eventually storm the police building:

  100. Swarthmore mom,

    Actually, the founding fathers were quite specific in the Militia Act of 1792 that President Washington signed into law. Each male citizen between the ages of 18 and 45 was required to:

    “provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball…”

    The second amendment provided for militias, not individual ownership, and this law was intended to spell out the specifics of what was expected of each adult man and potential militia member.

    I don’t own a gun, but I’d be more than happy to be required to go out a buy a flintlock if every one else were required to do so…. and limited to just that.

    Gun manufacturers would be placated with expected orders of a hundred million new weapons to sell and the rest of us would be a whole lot safer.

    Sounds kind of silly, but so far as rights go there it is spelled out pretty specifically by the founders. High capacity cartridges aren’t in there anywhere….

  101. Just a reminder, McVeigh killed over two hundred with a lot of fertilizer and 19 people with box cutters killed many more on 9/11. To want to kill a bunch of people you don’t know is psychotic even if you want to couch your actions in political terms. What ever this guys stated reasons he is crazy as a loon and my guess is that in any society, anywhere, perhaps .01% are just as disturbed. In America for instance that would work out to about 35,000 people.

  102. Today the people were chanting “the cops, the courts, the Klu Klux Klan all a part of the master plan” “the cops and the Klan go hand in hand” “No justice no peace” etc etc

    What happens when the police are immune to the law unlike ordinary people. When the police are the violent armed and dangerous actors in society.

  103. “The cops represent the 1%” “You never beat up the rich, you never kill the powerful” “We need to defend our own communities from the police, they are killing us” “Murderers” Also chanted today “Shame shame shame”. “you don’t defend us, you represent the rich”
    Telling of all senseless deaths from police violence in Anaheim…

  104. City councilwoman tries to justify ignoring 7 police murders by shooting in the district. People had been complaining since January. Then over 100 people complained about police viciousness again in March. And now another murder by the police. And after that, a gang attack using weapons and firearms against unarmed citizens.

  105. Frank Lakeman:

    so by that analogy we can shut down the Internet because the Internet doesnt appear in the Constitution?

    I dont see flintlocks mentioned in the 2nd Amendment.

  106. Mike, you are absolutely right. Hypothetically, let’s suppose we gather up all those bad old guns and force the craziest of the crazies to find alternate methods to pull off their mass murders. Right off the top of my head, four names come to mind:

    Ted Kaczynski
    Timothy McVeigh
    Eric Rudolph
    J. B. Stoner

    There are a lot more where those came from.

  107. Mike S. & Otteray,

    Just because people can use other means of killing people, I don’t think that we should discount all the people who comitted mass murders with guns.

  108. Elaine, of course not. However, I have been thinking about this for years, ever since I first met J.B.Stoner. If we take guns, then the truly bad people like Holmes may very well go the route of bombs or poison gas, to name just a couple. If Holmes had set off an aerosol bomb, the death toll would have been vastly higher. From what I can determine, he probably had the expertise to construct such a weapon. In case you do not know what an aerosol bomb is, they are also called thermobaric bombs. A mixture of ordinary explosives and an explosive aerosol. This short video is an excerpt from a documentary on The Military Channel. I will not link to any videos on how to make one, but they are out there, and can be made by a chemistry student with basic materials.

  109. Otteray Scribe,

    I’m not suggesting that we take all guns away from people. To be sure, many would be still able to acquire guns illegally.

    Are you assuming that a person who could not get guns would then use bombs to kill people? Maybe…maybe not. I don’t think we should make it easy for people to acquire assault weapons easily. That’s just my opinion.

  110. Malisha,
    As part of my work. Met him in Atlanta. It was all I could do to stay in the same room with him. He exuded evil, and that is a word I seldom use.

    I will not discuss the circumstances, even though he is now dead. Sorry.

  111. Elaine, an assault rifle is a combat weapon with a “select fire” switch. An assault rifle can be converted from single shot semi-automatic to automatic fire by pushing a small lever. An automatic fire weapon is defined by the ATF as a firearm that fires two or more rounds with a single pull of the trigger. Automatic weapons may be owned by private citizens, but only after a deep background check by the FBI and ATF, then there are huge fees to pay. That has been the case since 1934 when sub-machine guns were outlawed. What are often referred to as “assault rifles” are nothing more than a simple semi-automatic rifle dressed up to look like a combat weapon. They are good for target shooting and varmint hunting but that is about all. I would not go deer hunting with an AK-47 because it does not have the knock-down power of a modern deer rifle, and besides, it is not as accurate at longer ranges.

  112. rafflaw 1, July 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    You forgotGeorge W. Bush who killed thousands of Iraqi citizens.
    and Obama who is killing thousand in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia. And anywhere else he is allowing the CIA send the drones. Oh, yes, let’s not forget his personal kill list.

  113. bettykath & raff, my focus was on the domestic civilian sector and not overseas. Military weaponry such as Hellfire missiles are not a factor when we are talking about lone wolf assassins in movie theaters and restaurants.

  114. FOX NEWS COMMENTATOR: DEMOCRATS ARE ‘BEING FOOLISH,’ SHOULD PROPOSE GUN CONTROL LAWS | Conservative commentator Bill Kristol today on Fox News Sunday said that Democrats are “being foolish” by not proposing sensible gun regulations. “People have a right to handguns and hunting rifles,” Kristol said, “I don’t think they have a right to semi-automatic, quazi-machine guns that can shoot hundred bullets at a time. And I actually think the Democrats are being foolish as they are being cowardly. I think there is support for some moderate forms of gun control if they separate clearly from a desire to take away everyone’s handguns or hunting rifles. …President Obama on this one is just unwilling to take a strong stance.”

  115. Elaine, Bill’s concern is so touching. Excuse me while I get my kerchief and go lay on my fainting couch.

    They would like nothing better than to have more talking points that Obama is a “gun grabber.” It so discombobulated them when he said he had no such intention, the NRA got the vapors and tried to twist it into just the opposite of what he said. Those mental and semantic gymnastics ought to be taught in logic classes as how many logical fallacies can be crammed into one paragraph.

  116. Raff, I think it is a myth that the purpose of the NRA is to advance gun sales. Their mission now is a combination of money and power. They have duped the majority of their membership into supporting the aims of the 1% and are using fear as a tactic. The NRA is now no better than the US Chamber of Commerce in their unabashed politicking for the well to do.

    I dropped my lifetime membership more than thirty years ago when the RW nutcases took over leadership and started sending me stuff that made the swiftboat crowd look like Sunday school teachers.

  117. OS, Raff and I were thinking along the same lines: mass killers. Different weapons, different victims, but mass killings all the same.

  118. bk & raff,
    I understand, but your reasoning falls into the trap of the fallacy of false equivalence. One cannot equate a military or paramilitary operation to a domestic terrorist or hate group that might enable them. As far as we can tell, Holmes was a lone wolf. The truly frightening thing about him was the fact he had the education and means to kill and wound a lot more people than he did. I suppose that it did not occur to him–he was focused on firepower rather than ordnance. Thank goodness.

    This brief video of a simple thermobaric bomb was prepared as evidence to be presented in a court case. If he had used this instead of his gun that jammed (large capacity mags tend to jam), how many would he have killed?

  119. OS,
    I wasn’t equating a military operation to this shooting. I was merely adding Bush to the list of killers. George W. was intent on invading Iraq within hours after 9/11.

  120. OS, I think there are parallels, especially when looked at from the perspective of the victims families. My point doesn’t negate yours, it just broadens the sphere.

  121. I understand your point completely. Dead is dead. It does not matter whether is it some sheep herder halfway around the world, or the kid next door. As for our being in Afghanistan, it did not work for the British in the 19th century; it did not work for the Soviet Union in the 20th century and is not going to work for us in the 21st century. Afghanistan: where empires go to die.

    I want to bring them home. Now. It is time. It is past time. Did you know we lost a couple more in the past few days, one of them a woman soldier? IGTNT means, “I Got The News Today,” referring to that terrible knock on the door.

  122. When do we start selling personal grenade launchers? Anti aircraft guns? After all, you might need to blow up a plane before it crashes into a crowded theater.

  123. OS,
    That is a horrible feeling for a parent or loved one who has a child or spouse deployed with the military to not know if your loved one is alive or dead and to get the call or the knock on the door. So sad and such a waste.

  124. Gene H:

    I meant to comment earlier on your topic but it’s just so damn depressing. Thanks for showing us the “monkey see” in all of us. Sad but true.

  125. Mespo, this Aurora thing will last right up until the next shiny object comes along to distract the MSM. Maybe Paris Hilton or some starlet we never heard of shows some side boob or scandalous cleavage and the news will be all over it. And I see that a celebrity couple I never heard of are getting a divorce that promises to be messy.

  126. MikeS.

    Crazy as a loon, is a good description. But does it cover the legal aspect?
    In a private comm:
    “If in fact Holmes was NOT CRAZY but was a narcissistic psychopath (and by definition SANE)……”

    Would he be tried as a sane person, temp dement, or
    what is your take.

  127. Shano,

    Thank you greatly for bringing the smell of life into this salon. It is needed.

    ! 117 shano
    1, July 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm
    Today the people were chanting “the cops, the courts, the Klu Klux Klan all a part of the master plan” “the cops and the Klan go hand in hand” “No justice no peace” etc etc

    What happens when the police are immune to the law unlike ordinary people. When the police are the violent armed and dangerous actors in society!

    Thank God the people live yet.

  128. Someone mentioned Paris Hilton as the next headline grabber. TRUE.

    But I was thinking instead of how we need our spice, our dose of entertainment. The need to expand the envelope to obtain the same chock effect. And our willingness to drink the concoction over and over again.

    My point???

    In the meanwhile we ignore far greater killers, caused by far greater evil, and do less to remove the pootential cause of statistically certain future deaths at random.

    What is that? Industrial pollution. It is causing cancer deaths of unusual types, traceable to working or living in the vicinity

    It is an old story, centuries old but still with us and still deadly. If that branch of your kin lived there they are effected. Listen to youu family and friends.

    Not very entertaining. The guilty are skillful at hiding. Their defenders too. And for us it is kind of like playing russian roulette, by all.

    Cleanups are cosmetic. Just as EPA has become. And FDA too. Agencies to protect the criminal from suits.

    Why now? A frinds relatives have all got bile duct cancer diagnoses. And like all cancer patients they ask why me. In some cases we can get a general answer, but in this case no one to sue. And god can not be sued nor the EPA (I guess).

  129. Suspect Bought Large Stockpile of Rounds Online

    DENVER — Unhindered by federal background checks or government oversight, the 24-year-old man accused of killing a dozen people inside a Colorado movie theater was able to build what the police called a 6,000-round arsenal legally and easily over the Internet, exploiting what critics call a virtual absence of any laws regulating ammunition sales.

    With a few keystrokes, the suspect, James E. Holmes, ordered 3,000 rounds of handgun ammunition, 3,000 rounds for an assault rifle and 350 shells for a 12-gauge shotgun — an amount of firepower that costs roughly $3,000 at the online sites — in the four months before the shooting, according to the police. It was pretty much as easy as ordering a book from Amazon.

    He also bought bulletproof vests and other tactical gear, and a high-capacity “drum magazine” large enough to hold 100 rounds and capable of firing 50 or 60 rounds per minute — a purchase that would have been restricted under proposed legislation that has been stalled in Washington for more than a year.

    Mr. Holmes, a graduate student in neuroscience with a clean criminal record, was able to buy the ammunition without arousing the slightest notice from law enforcement, because the sellers are not required in most cases to report sales to law enforcement officials, even unusually large purchases. And neither Colorado nor federal law required him to submit to a background check or register his growing purchases, gun policy experts said.

    A few states like Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey, and cities like Los Angeles and Sacramento, have passed restrictions on ammunition sales, requiring permits for buyers or licenses for sellers, or insisting that dealers track their ammunition sales for law enforcement.

    But in Colorado, and across much of the United States, the markets for ammunition — online and in storefronts — are largely unregulated, gun-control advocates say.

  130. @Otteray: (Re thermobaric bomb) This was precisely my own point earlier. Chemical explosives have been getting invented for a hundreds of years and the recipes are everywhere; anybody with enough money to buy the weapons Holmes had could have used that money for equipment and raw materials needed to build a bomb.

    It may not be C-4, but it could be as powerful as dynamite (nitroglycerin) or black powder.

    I do not believe this particular incident could have been prevented by legislation. Legislation creates consequences; but people intent on killing no matter what the consequences will find a way to do it.

  131. These krazies pop up unexpectedly every now and then…is there a
    Manchurian Candidate ….component to these mass killings…Are there
    Krazies in society that are subject chemical and mind altering drug manipulation…by some unkown entity?????

    Remember the Manchurian Candidate Hollywood movies…with Frank(Sinatra),
    Lawrance Harvey, and more recently…Danzel Washington…and the numerous books that have been written on the subject of mind control by the communist and ower own government…????

  132. Woody, put your tinfoil hat away. There are walking mentally ill all around us and the mental health care system is well neigh broken. Many local mental health centers are oxymorons. When a mental health problem is diagnosed, the medications are often not covered by insurance, and are too expensive for people on fixed incomes to purchase. Additionally, there is no way to force people like Holmes and others like him into treatment.

    I read a news article last night that said Holmes tried to join a local target shooting club, but was turned away because the club admissions people realized he was mentally unstable. Some are mentally ill due to a brain malfunction. Charles Whitman, the Texas Tower shooter was found to have a brain tumor pressing on the part of the brain that controls feelings of rage. Some mental illnesses are hereditary. Some occur for no reason we can determine epidemiologically, but with enough digging, can sometimes find grandparents or cousins who had similar mental problems.

  133. Elaine,
    very interesting article. It is amazing how easy it is to buy this dangerous stuff without a hint of law enforcement interest, but if I mention the word bomb online, I could have agents visiting me.

  134. Elaine, there has been a lot of talk of the volume of ammunition. I bought a box of 500 rounds of .22 long rifle ammo at a local gun show–in one box. I can shoot up that much in a day at the range and have time left over. Holmes had about 1K rounds in his possession. He might have that much on hand, but there is no way he could have reloaded that much into weapons before being stopped. Kind of like having six cars in your garage. You cannot drive them all at once.

    Another thought. When filling out the paperwork to purchase a weapon from a dealer, you have to certify that you are not mentally ill or have been committed to a mental institution for treatment. How are they going to know if you are lying or not? Lying on a Federal form is a crime, but with HIPAA laws, there is no way to check and HIPAA prevents names from being in a database.

  135. OS,
    I would think that the HIPAA laws could be amended to allow for a computer search for any medication used for mental health issues if Washington was serious about trying to prevent these kind of madness with guns. Washington and the states could make it mandatory that in order to purchase guns or ammo, you have to waive your HIPAA rights. I know that people will be afraid that the government will misuse this information, but isn’t there a sane middle ground that would work to prevent mass killings? Even though 1,000 rounds may not be unusual for someone who is using them for target practice, it is a lot of firepower when used to hunt humans. I have to buy my decongestant at the pharmacy in limited quantities to prevent people from misusing the ingredients, but I cannot limit the amount of ammo and guns that can be purchased? Restrictions can be made that will help prevent murders. Nothing can prevent them all, but shouldn’t society attempt through reasonable methods to prevent mass murder?
    The next story I expect to see is the NRA and its supporters using the calls for gun control as more “ammo” to fuel the drive that Obama is trying to take away your guns. Heck, the Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann’s of the world might claim that Obama was behind this murderer so that he could take away the guns.
    This spiral of nonsense has to end somewhere.

  136. raff, HIPAA regulations have draconian penalties. Medical facility computers have to be secure and encrypted. You cannot even fax something to a computer legally unless you know it to be a secure computer; it has to be to a real fax machine. Medical records have to be under double layers of lock and key. Each violation can carry up to a $50K fine. Your suggestion would stand zero chance of implementation. As it stands now, if I try to get the psychiatric records on a person charged with a felony, it often takes forever and many phone calls, and occasionally the judge has to issue a court order with threat of sanctions on the keeper of the records before i can get them. And that is even when I produce a valid release signed by the inmate. One medical records clerk did not want to comply because the signature on the release form was “obtained under duress” (her opinion) because the former patient is in jail. HIPAA is a firewall of epic proportions.

  137. Guys, this is what we are dealing with from a purely political perspective. My friend “Kestrel9000” put together a compilation of stuff he gleaned from around the internet last night. In real life, Kes is a liberal/progressive radio personality in New England who writes under the pseudonym.

    This is on top of the feeding frenzy by the right wing–notice the comment by Bill Kristol on Fox who was so concerned that he suggested the Democratic Party start making more efforts at gun control. I did not fail to notice Mr. Kristol was not so concerned that the RNC and Mitt Romney also pursue that course of action.

  138. OS,

    Kristol is generally a dumb, partisan bulb, but you have to admire his “chutzpah” in this statement, even if its intent was so obvious.

  139. OS,
    I didn’t say it was going to be easy! :) But the only place to begin at is the beginning. If we say we shouldn’t discuss it or deal with it so close to the event, I understand that. But when do we discuss actually making changes?
    Mike S.,
    Kristol is only making the claim so that he can attempt to make the argument that the Right is willing to compromise on reasonable gun control. If the assault weapons ban was still in force, this semi-automatic rifle would have come under the ban and he might not have had it in his arsenal.

  140. Here is a list of quotes, together with their time location on the video I posted up-thread:

    00:00 – “One of the most crazy making yet widespread and potentially dangerous notions is ‘oh that behavior is genetic‘” (Dr. Sapolsky).

    01:00 – “nothing is geneticaly programmed” (Dr. Maté).

    01:30 – “the whole search for the source of disease in the genome was destined to failure before anyone even thought of it” (Dr. Maté).

    02:24 – “some of the early childhood influences … affect gene expression, actually turning on and off different genes to put you on a different developmental track” (Dr. Wilkinson).

    02:45 – “[childhood] abuse actually caused a genetic change in the brain” (Dr. Maté).

    03:28 – “a few thousand individuals were studied from birth up into their twenties, what they found was that they could identify a genetic mutation, an abnormal gene which did have some relation to the predisposition to commit violence, but only if the individual had also been subjected to severe child abuse” (Dr. Gilligan).

    05:30 – “run with the old version of ‘its genetic’ and its not that far from history of Eugenics, and things of that sort, and it is a widespread miscoception and a potentially dangerous one” (Dr. Sapolsky).

    05:44 – “one reason that the sort of biological explanation for violence, one reason that hypothesis is potentially dangerous, it is not just misleading, it can really do harm, is because if you believe that, you can very easily say ‘well there’s nothing we can do to change the predisposition people have to becoming violent, all we can do if someone becomes violent is punish them, lock them up or execute them, but we don’t need to worry about changing the social environment that may lead people to become violent, because that’s irrelevant'” (Dr. Wilkinson).

    06:28 – “the genetic argument allows us the luxury of ignoring past and present historical and social factors. In the words of Louis Menand who wrote in the New Yorker very astutely:

    “It’s all in the genes”: an explanation for the way things are that does not threaten the way things are. Why should someone feel unhappy or engage in antisocial behavior when that person is living in the freest and most prosperous nation on Earth? It can’t be the system! There must be a flaw in the wiring somewhere.”

    … which is a good way to put it. So the genetic argument is simply a cop-out that allows us to ignore the social and economic and political factors that in fact underlie many troublesome behaviors” (Dr. Maté).

  141. UPDATE:

    HuffPo is reporting the following vis a vis the previously reported statement of the alleged shooter’s mother:

    “In the hours after news of the massacre broke, ABC said that it had spoken exclusively to Arlene Holmes in her California home:

    The woman, contacted at her home in San Diego, spoke briefly with ABC News and immediately expressed concern her son may be involved in the shooting death of at least 12 people overnight.

    “You have the right person,” she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. “I need to call the police… I need to fly out to Colorado.”

    But on Monday, a lawyer for the Holmes family read a statement by Arlene Holmes to the press, saying that she needed to “clarify” the comments attributed to her:

    “I was awakened by a call from a reporter by ABC on July 20 about 5:45 in the morning. I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time. He asked if I was Arlene Holmes and if my son was James Holmes who lives in Aurora, Colorado. I answered yes, you have the right person. I was referring to myself.

    I asked him to tell me why he was calling and he told me about a shooting in Aurora. He asked for a comment. I told him I could not comment because I did not know if the person he was talking about was my son, and I would need to find out.”

    If Arlene Holmes’ comments were indeed mischaracterized, it would be another black eye for ABC’s coverage of the killings in Aurora. The network was forced to climb down from an unverified claim by reporter Brian Ross that Holmes might have been affiliated with the Tea Party.

    UPDATE: ABC News stood by its account of the conversation. It said that producer Matthew Mosk had called Arlene Holmes, and that she had only said “you have the right person” after Mosk had informed her that her son was identified by police as the lone suspect in the Colorado massacre. The network also said that Holmes’ lawyer had asked before holding her press conference if there was a recording of the conversation. ABC News responded that there was no recording.”

    HuffPo published the little girl’s name before her mother is told about her death and now ABC can’t seem to keep their own collective foot out of their mouth.

    Between those bits and the MSM giving the political grandstanding a platform, I’ll have to say that the high pitched whirring sound I keep hearing must be Murrow spinning in his grave. Did any of you actually go to journalism school? I mean, I can understand it coming from HuffPo. What they did wasn’t wrong, merely tasteless and unnecessary. But ABC? Come on, guys. When Disney bought you, did Goofy take over the news division?

  142. “When Disney bought you, did Goofy take over the news division?”

    What news division? Isn’t all entertainment?

  143. bettykath,

    Sad, but true. I have a friend who is a Journalism prof in the Midwest. His theory is that the First Gulf War was the death knell of serious journalism on television because that marked the first taste of serious advertising profits for the industry. I think he may be on to something there.

  144. Two points:

    ABC is blatantly lying. Before you touch the phone, the record funchtion is ON, preferably with backup.
    De we need a law on it? Can we get one?

    That the gulf war was profit for news was news to me.

    I always wondered why it was so well produced. Now I feel that I know why. Did the networks coordinate with Saddam so that the rockets against Israel did not come at break time and rather at “network” times?

    Matrix anyone?

  145. One of the things “government” has been accused of is using “chock events” in their panoply of tools. 9/11 has been given as the modern event unleashing the use of trauma weapons. Some have accused the FBI of using enticement and cooked cases to show not only their anti-terrorist detection skills, but even like booster shots keep the psyche prepared and on edge for fear of similar events.

    I’ve only talked briefly with USA contacts about Aurora, they being the ones bringing it up. There I see the same fear as after 9/11. Speculation of course, as to how wide spread the effect is now.

    But were it true that government has a finger in the spell of trauma events, then we would wish to investigate it.

    One can take the Nigerian banker father who tried by contact with the American embassy to get his son under supervision as a possible “bad guy” in the terrorist scheme of things. Many factors revealed by sources other than the security forces, I believe, support the idea that it was an operatiion steered by a security force. The ineffectuallity of the explosion, the handover at the airpost and then through the checkpoint there. etc.

    The key to these ops and the key to the answer on Aurora as being a psy op, is the procurement of a suitable operative from the terrorist groupies in one case, and the finding of unstable types such as Holms. They are clean of traceable links to the mannipulating agency. There are channels to test them and guide them, some indeed exotic.

    I won’t take time with more development. Just loose speculation anyway, as I have not studied the Nigerian case with the son with the hot pants thst did not explode.

    But having having seen how the trauma from 9/11 persist one wonders of the effecs of every event which shares the sam characteristics. And relatively small Holm events which leaves us feeling helpless to shield ourselves give the effect a great boost apparemtly. Studies will come.

    Can 2000 years of persecution and Holoaust have caused the same effect on the Jewish people?

  146. Wow! It surprised me that the HOlmes family lawyer didn’t correct the news report when she made the first family statement, but here we are, it is being corrected now. I guess I had way too much faith in the media and I have no idea why I did THAT considering I have known about their slipshod sensationalism for so long.

    But the next question, of course, is what else in the “tea party story” was manufactured, or distorted on purpose, and which part of the “OCCUPY” story is being manufactured or distorted.

    Meanwhile Holmes is being silent. What did Joker do after he was arrested in the third Batman movie? Should we look there for clues?

  147. An article by a columnist ended with:

    There but for the grace of God, genetics, misfiring neurons, and random happenstance, go all of us.

    (Huffington Post). The myth of mystical control of behavior, including genetic control “in the wiring” is propagated even by a prolific writer who does not read widely enough to understand that:

    06:28 – “the genetic argument allows us the luxury of ignoring past and present historical and social factors. In the words of Louis Menand who wrote in the New Yorker very astutely:

    “It’s all in the genes”: an explanation for the way things are that does not threaten the way things are. Why should someone feel unhappy or engage in antisocial behavior when that person is living in the freest and most prosperous nation on Earth? It can’t be the system! There must be a flaw in the wiring somewhere.”

    … which is a good way to put it. So the genetic argument is simply a cop-out that allows us to ignore the social and economic and political factors that in fact underlie many troublesome behaviors” (Dr. Maté).

    (from my video link upthread). If we continue to spread the “it’s in the wiring” propaganda nothing will be done to counter that myth with the real story.

    The behavior of society impacts every citizen from conception, to birth, to eventual death:

    As you read this, a menagerie of chemical pollutants is coursing through your body. What you do and how you live doesn’t matter. You have inhaled them, you’ve eaten them, you’ve absorbed them through your skin. You’re doing it right now.

    If you are an average American, your personal chemical inventory — embedded in your blood, your breath and your bones — will include an alphabet soup of phthalates, mercury, perfluorinated compounds, bisphenol A, and assorted chemical flame retardants.

    If you are a new mother, you are passing these chemicals to your child through your breast milk. If you are pregnant, you are delivering them through your umbilical cord.

    More than 80,000 chemicals currently used in the U.S. have never been fully tested for their potential to harm humans or the environment, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    Pingree also knows, as did [Rachel] Carson, that a rapidly developing fetus or child is particularly vulnerable to the effects of those chemical exposures. Childhood cancer may be one tragic consequence. Carson pointed out that “more American school children die of cancer than from any other disease.” A statistic that holds true today.

    (Chemistry Lessons, emphasis added). Society has known of these things since Rachel Carlson pointed them out some 50 years ago, but having done nothing, “that [still] holds true today” and young kids continue to die of cancer.

    In fact, the business as usual meme that ignores the ongoing mass murder of society:

    07:25 – “addictions are usually considered to be a drug related issue, but looking at it more broadly, I find that addiction is any behavior that is associated with craving for temporary relief and with long term negative consequences along with an impairment of control over it so that the person wishes to give it up or promises to, but can’t follow through” (Dr. Maté).

    08:10 – “The addiction to oil … at least to the wealth and to the products made accessible to us by oil … look at the negative consequences on the environment we are destroying the very Earth that we inhabit for the sake of that addiction. Now these addictions are far more devastating in the social consequences than the cocaine or heroin habits of my … patients. Yet they are rewarded and considered to be respectable. The tobacco company executive that shows a higher profit will get a much bigger reward … doesn’t face any negative consequences legally or otherwise … in fact is a respected member of the board of several other corporations … but tobacco smoke related diseases kill 5.5 million people around the world every year. In the United States they kill 400,000 people a year” (Dr. Maté).

    09:05 – “And these people are addicted to what? To profit, to such a degree are they addicted that they are actually in denial about the impact of their activities, which is typical for addicts, is denial. And that is the respectable one. It is respectable to be addicted to profit no matter what the cost. So what is acceptable and what is respectable is a highly arbitrary phenomenon in our society. And it seems like the greater the harm the more respectable the addiction” (Dr. Maté).

    (my video link up-thread). I say it is bully business for the strong international chemical and oil corporations to force their will on the weak, the citizenry, and I am not alone in that appraisal:

  148. …. continued ….:

    But what all these climate numbers make painfully, usefully clear is that the planet does indeed have an enemy – one far more committed to action than governments or individuals. Given this hard math, we need to view the fossil-fuel industry in a new light. It has become a rogue industry, reckless like no other force on Earth. It is Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization. “Lots of companies do rotten things in the course of their business – pay terrible wages, make people work in sweatshops – and we pressure them to change those practices,” says veteran anti-corporate leader Naomi Klein, who is at work on a book about the climate crisis. “But these numbers make clear that with the fossil-fuel industry, wrecking the planet is their business model. It’s what they do.”

    (Mass Suicide & Murder Pact). The purveyors of mass killing are respected and extolled, which is a form of bully worship.

    Those who tend to hang with bullies also tend to blame the victims, not the bullies.

    Very sicko.

  149. Gene,

    First of all thanks for that update on Holmes ‘ mother. That original snippet about her saying that’s him just didn’t ring true to me. In discussing what happened to TV news journalism I would go farther back then Iraq 1. TV news began to degenerate when Ed Murrow left CBS, Bill Paley died and the News Division was placed under the aegis of the Entertainment Division. The networks recognized that rather than being a public service, the “News” could be a profit center. As such the emphacis on making the news entertaining took precedence. “If it bleeds, it leads” is first an entertainment decision, even though that decision also affects bothe the people’s fear’s and bigotry.

    Secondly, some have suggested this act might have been the work of a conspiracy. Even though I have not been loath to postulate conspiracies here in the past, see some of my guest blogs, in this terrible act Occam’s Razor suggests a simpler explanation. As I wrote in a comment above my belief is that 0.01% of the population is capable of such acts, which would play out to 35,000 people in the U.S. and 7,000,000 worldwide. In all but the most oppressive venues in the world, the means to commit such acts are available. See the mass murder in Norway. This act really serves little from a macro-conspiratorial perspective and that was true for Oklahoma City as well. This is in contrast to the effects from, for instance, the murders in the 60’s beginning with JFK.

  150. The “out of it” kids who go over the edge have been barraged by a society that has also been put “out of it” by way of its own self deceit:

    One of the most important comments on deceit, I think, was made by Adam Smith. He pointed out that a major goal of business is to deceive and oppress the public.

    And one of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public — and they’re very conscious about it, the public relations industry. Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries—in Britain and the US — roughly around time of WWI, when it was recognized that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force. So modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control

    (Noam Chomsky). Inundated with chemical poisons and propaganda, poison ideas, and constant violence in every form of media, one wonders how any of us can “maintain our sanity” sometimes.

  151. I view Auroroa as just another “let’s scare the people into obedience and silence, as a way of dealing with the terror they experience from our trauma causing deeds.”

    Another booster, at intervals after 9/11.

    Finding and guiding the human tools is no problem. That they are lone wolves I find significant.

  152. I don’t think we know enough about James Holmes to figure out anything about his motivations or his mental state. HE may not know enough, either. I found his “look” remarkably vacant; he looked “out to lunch.” I only wish he had gone to lunch sooner, and gone farther FOR his lunch — like a deserted area where they test nuclear weapons.

  153. Having been deeply depressed by OS’s argument being repeated about 100 times on NPR today that we have guns and we are always going to have guns and if we eliminate guns the determined will switch to IEDs or fire or nuclear bombs, I think I have come up with something of a solution and have moved from depression to acceptance.

    First, do we all agree that given our situation we are bound to have another massacre in a school, hospital, sports event, McDonalds, church or movie sometime relatively soon? Some damn fool is going to bring his (or her) Glock and start pumping holes in us. Well, not to worry! Here is the answer….I call it the Louie Gohmert Solution.

    As we pass through the lobbies of our public buildings, there will be bins of Glocks. Everyone must take one. In Florida and Texas, everyone needs to take two. (I’m pretty sure there is no law against this and the NRA will be thrilled about the rise in gun sales.) We can all now be reassured that while the crazed killer may kill two or three of us, THERE WON’T BE A MASSACRE! (You have to kill at least four adults, or three adults and one child before it is classed as a massacre. Smaller numbers are just classified as “incidents”.) He is sure to be brought down by one or another crack shot in the audience. And who knows…maybe your grandma could even be the one to get off the lucky shot.

    You know what I’m looking forward to? When they implement the Louie Gohmert Solution at the next joint session of Congress.

  154. Gene H, while I appreciate the focus of your debate, and find it quite a fascinating one to have, I think it is the wrong (less important) debate to have. I think this is a great opportunity to have the gun control debate regardless of which side you are on. Unfortunately, true debate in this country (i.e., lengthy discussion supported by facts from various perspectives, without degrading, insulting, or despising one for his/her point of view) on complex issues is nonexistent.

    IMHO, no civilian should be allowed (or needs) a firearm that is capable of shooting 60 bullets per minute.

    I like how Jon Stewart addressed the focus of the debate last night:—gun-control.

  155. Juris, automatic weapons came under Federal control in 1934. If a civilian hobbyist wants a machine gun, they have to undergo a deep background check by the Feds, a lengthy waiting period, and if approved, pay a hefty tariff for the privilege of burning up a lot of very expensive ammunition in no time. The ATF defines an automatic weapon ; e.g., machine gun, as a firearm that shoots more than one round with a single pull of the trigger.

    As for being able to unload sixty rounds in a minute, that can be done with an ordinary six-shooter revolver, given enough practice. Here is a short video of Jerry Miculek using a revolver to get off twelve rounds in three seconds. Jerry can do this all day, btw. The revolver he is using is not much different from those seen in old western movies. Anyone who is not a complete klutz can learn to do this. It just takes LOTS of practice.

    Here is Cpl. Travis Tomasie demonstrating speed reloading with a normal capacity magazine.

  156. @Juris: 60 per minute? That is one per second, and a forced delay of one second between shots would severely limit the defensive value and purpose of the gun in the first place; a second would be an eternity when under attack.

    As Otteray Scribe showed, hand guns have been firing faster than that for over 150 years. Using a normal hand gun a normal person can learn to fire four to six rounds in a second with minimal training, just see how fast you can tap your finger on the table within one second.

    I do not think controlling the timing of rounds would help in the least to forestall this kind of incident. I would not object to banning the sale of fully automatic weapons and limiting legal weaponry to semi-automatic (the trigger must be pulled for each shot), but the trigger can be pulled pretty fast, and I see no plausible way without electronics to limit the firing rate without introducing electronics or something. I would prefer, for defensive purposes, that my guns work without batteries.

    The destructive power of the gun is both its value in defense and its value in offense. Limiting one limits the other. I do not think we can limit the power of people to do harm with guns without simultaneously limiting their power to defend themselves with guns.

    I think that if you believe people have the right to firearms for self defense (as I do) then you are forced to accept that firearms will be used in crimes and for murders (as I accept).

    One reason I accept that is I subscribe to the notion that some products and activities cannot be successfully outlawed; the worst elements of society are going to be users no matter what the cost. We saw that to be true for prohibition of alcohol; we see it is true for other intoxicants like pot, we have seen it true for sex (e.g. homosexuality, prostitution, pornography). Heck, we have seen it true for copyright laws; most people find those draconian and unfairly enforced.

    I believe the same thing would be true for guns.

    The law is just not an effective deterrent if too many people disagree with the law. It costs too much, citizens do not cooperate with enforcement, if they can get away with it they will thwart the police, and the law ends up pitting the government against the people it is supposed to be serving, it makes it an oppressor instead of a champion.

    Guns are too easy to make, any control mechanism on them will be hacked in hours. They will not be controlled any more than pot is controlled. Just like you have a vast underground pot economy, you would have an equally large gun economy, impossible to stop, run by violent criminals, and putting people in greater danger than when guns were legal (just as pot users are in greater danger than they should be).

  157. Some background on Holmes. from

    It has also been revealed that Holmes spoke at the Salk Institute at the age of 18 on temporal illusions. Holmes explains that a temporal illusion is an illusion that allows one to change the past. One of slides shows the name of Terrence Sejnowski, Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the director of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory. In 2008, Sejnowski wrote that since early brain research conducted by the RAND Corporation in 1980, “we now know a lot about the brain, perhaps more than we need to know.”

    July 23-24, 2012 — Aurora massacre: several links between James Holmes and U.S. government research

    James Holmes, the 24-year old suspect in the mass shooting of Batman “The Dark Knight Rises” movie goers in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 people dead and 58 injured, has had a number of links to U.S. government-funded research centers. Holmes’s past association with government research projects has prompted police and federal law enforcement officials to order laboratories and schools with which Holmes has had a past association not to talk to the press about Holmes.

    Holmes was one of six recipients of a National Institutes of Health Neuroscience Training Grant at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver. Holme is a graduate of the University of California at Riverside with a Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience. Although Holmes dropped out of the PhD neuroscience program at Anschutz in June, police evacuated two buildings at the Anschutz center after the massacre at the Aurora movie theater. Holmes reportedly gave a presentation at the Anschutz campus in May on Micro DNA Biomarkers in a class titled “Biological Basis of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders.”

    Initial reports of Holmes having an accomplice in the theater shooting have been discounted by the Aurora police. However, no explanation has been given by police why the Anschutz campus buildings were evacuated after Holmes was already in custody in the Arapahoe County jail.

    The Anschutz Medical Campus is on the recently de-commisioned site of the U.S. Army’s Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and is named after Philip Anschutz, the billionaire Christian fundamentalist oil and railroad tycoon who also owns The Examiner newspaper chain and website and the neo-conservative Weekly Standard. The Anschutz Medical Campus was built by a $91 million grant from the Anschutz Foundation.

    In 2006, at the age of 18, Holmes served as a research intern at the Salk Institute at the University of California at San Diego in La Jolla. It is noteworthy that for the previous two years before Holmes worked at the Salk Institute, the research center was partnered with the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Columbia University, University of California at San Francisco, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Wake Forest University, and the Mars Company (the manufacturers of Milky Way and Snickers bars) to prevent fatigue in combat troops through the enhanced use of epicatechina, a blood flow-increasing and blood vessel-dilating anti-oxidant flavanol found in cocoa and, particularly, in dark chocolate.

    The research was part of a larger DARPA program known as the “Peak Soldier Performance Program,” which involved creating brain-machine interfaces for battlefield use, including human-robotic bionics for legs, arms, and eyes. DARPA works closely with the Defense Science Office on projects that include the medical research community. Fitzsimons was at the forefront of DARPA research on the use of brain-connected “neuroprosthetic” limbs for soldiers amputated or paralyzed in combat.

    According to his LinkedIn profile, James Holmes’s father, Dr. Robert Holmes, who received a PhD in Statistics in 1981 from the University of California at Berkeley, worked for San Diego-based HNC Software, Inc. from 2000 to 2002. HNC, known as a “neural network” company, and DARPA, beginning in 1998, have worked on developing “cortronic neural networks,” which would allow machines to interpret aural and visual stimuli to think like humans. The cortronic concept was developed by HNC Software’s chief scientist and co-founder, Robert Hecht-Nielsen. HNC merged with the Minneapolis-based Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), a computer analysis and decision-making company. Robert Holmes continues to work at FICO.

    It has also emerged that Holmes, when he was 20, worked as a camp counselor at Camp Max Straus of the Jewish Big Brothers and Sister of Los Angeles. According to the Jewish Journal, among other tasks, Holmes helped to teach boys between the ages of 7 to 10 archery. In another unusual detail, the car Holmes used to drive to the Aurora movie theater had Tennessee plates. Holmes is originally from San Diego.

    James Holmes is the grandson of Lt. Col. Robert Holmes, one of the first Turkish language graduates of the Army Language School, later the Defense Language Institute, in Monterey, California. Graduating from the Turkish language class in 1948, Holmes spent a career in the Army, which likely included more than a few intelligence-related assignments. Typically, U.S. military officers conversant in Turkish served with either the Defense Intelligence Agency or the Central Intelligence Agency at either the U.S. embassy in Ankara or the Consulate General in Istanbul, or both.

    Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the director of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, in an interview with Cognitive Science Online in 2008, had the following comment about recent studies of the human brain: “Alan Newell [cognitive psychology researcher at the intelligence community-linked RAND Corporation] once said that when AI [artificial intelligence] was founded not enough was known about the brain to be of any help and in the early 1980s, symbol processing was the only game in town. That has changed and we now know a lot about the brain, perhaps more than we need to know [emphasis added].”

    More than we need to know!

    The links between the younger and elder Holmes and U.S. government research on creating super-soldiers, human brain-machine interfaces, and human-like robots beg the question: “Was James Holmes engaged in a real-life Jason Bourne TREADSTONE project that broke down and resulted in deadly consequences in Aurora, Colorado?” In any event, if the Batman movies are now serving as a newer version of J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” subliminal messaging triggering mechanism, — Salinger’s novel was of interest to a number of American political assassins — keep in mind that August 10 is the opening date of The Bourne Legacy. It may be wise to skip that film in the theater for a while.

  158. OS and Tony C, thank you for pointing out my wreckless typo. My prior post should have stated “no civilian should be allowed (or needs) a firearm that is capable of shooting *600* bullets per minute.

    And thank you OS for the videos – that is fast!

    Tony C – your comment is exactly the sort of debate I think we should be having – well reasoned and rational thoughts on the issue of gun control.

    Although the incident itself may have not been forestalled by controlling the rate of fire, it may very well have been a different outcome in number killed and wounded. For example, if he was using an assault rifle, as opposed to a handgun, I think it could make a whole lot of difference. Could he have killed 12 people and injured 57 others with a handgun? Maybe so, but not as easily and in the short amount of time as with an assault rifle capable of shooting more bullets per minute than I can comprehend. Also, we have heard of many heros as a result of this incident. Maybe one or more of those heros would have had an opportunity to tackle the gunman if he was shooting a handgun? Anyone know if it was reported which firearm he was using? All speculation of course, but I do think it can make a difference.

    I do agree that fully automatic weapons should be banned, but am open to some reasonable exceptions. I think a ban all automatic weapons should also be discussed, but would again be open to some reasonable exceptions. Where that line would be drawn is a whole other debate.

    As to your point of successfully outlawing certain products and activities, I agree. However, does the fact that we may not be able to stop all such activities and/or products mean we should not attempt to do so? We cannot stop all individuals from committing the activity of murder but I think we can all agree that we should still prosecute murderers. Sure, if there were a ban on all automatic weapons, the black market may increase and people will still own them illegally, but if that prevents just one massacre such as Aurora, I think it is well worth it.

    Your points as to costs, enforcement capability, and ease of bypassing control are all well-taken. Those points go to the question of whether cost/benefit of more control is worth it? To me, saving innocent lives is the ultimate benefit and one I think would be accomplished.

    For the record, I do believe in the right to own and possess firearms, but am for tougher regulations and more uniformity in control. I know nothing about guns but have numerous friends who are owners of all variety, even the 600 per minute rate of fire ones. I have shot some handguns and shotguns over the years and have kicked the idea around of purchasing one to protect the home, but would never conceal and carry. The horror stories of children finding mommy’s or daddy’s guns and shooting themselves or others always prevented me from pursuing ownership. Even if I could get past that, I would have to convince my wife to allow it, most likely a losing battle.

    I also don’t know much about current gun regulations, but my very superficial understanding is that each state has its own regs and there are numerous loopholes in control (gun shows?). Pointing out my ignorance in these respects, or any other for that matter, are welcomed.

  159. And OS, thank you for pointing out my ignorance in federal control of automatic weapons. I have not had any time to devote to researching the issues myself, but apparently I have a lot to be learned. I did briefly search about the so-called “gun show loophole.”

    If I didn’t have to bill hours I would have a lot more time to help solve all the world’s problems. (sarcasm).

  160. BettyKath, thank you for that research. I need to read and re-read your last post. I need to draw several diagrams, too — wow, so much information! It’s like trying to follow the family trees in HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE — can’t be done w/o pencil and paper.

    This confused me: In any event, if the Batman movies are now serving as a newer version of J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” subliminal messaging triggering mechanism, — Salinger’s novel was of interest to a number of American political assassins — keep in mind that August 10 is the opening date of The Bourne Legacy. It may be wise to skip that film in the theater for a while.

    I have to figure out what all these movies are! Of course I read JD Salinger’s CATCHER but don’t remember the reference to the subliminal messaging triggering mechanism — my memory is more shot than a movie theater!

  161. Juris, I was asked a question (sarcastically) by someone why they could not own a B-2 bomber or a tank. Actually, one cannot buy a B-2 because it is one of the most highly classified weapons systems in the world. It is possible to buy a bomber, however. Back during WW-II, the B-29 Superfortress was also a classified aircraft. Now at least two are in private hands. Somewhere around here, I have a photo of myself at the controls of the B-29 FIFI, owned by the Commemorative Air Force. There are a lot cheaper bombers out there as well, such as the B-25 Mitchell, the type that bombed Japan on the Doolittle mission. The B-25 is a lot cheaper to operate than a B-29, which costs millions to replace worn out engines. BTW, these are all fully operational bombers, with working bomb bays. The machine guns have been disabled.

    Did you know you can buy a Sukhoi SU-25 Flanker on the open market? This is a fighter plane the equivalent of our F-15.

  162. Speaking of fighter planes on the open market, I once came close to buying a replica of a WW-1 SE5a. This was a British design and the airplane was the WW-1 equivalent of the P-51 Mustang of WW-II. It was fast, maneuverable and had a significant fear factor for the enemy. My wife had a fit because it only had one seat, and she could not go with me in it. BTW, the thing on the top wing is a Lewis machine gun. Disabled in order to make it legal. For the most part, only replicas are available on the open market,, because the small handful left in existence are national treasures and very fragile. This is a picture of an SE5a like the one I wanted. Keep in mind this is a fighter plane, and like all fighters, designed with the sole purpose of being a killing machine.

  163. Juris, the “gun show loophole” is a myth. Any reputable gun show only allows vendors with proper Federal Firearms Licenses (FFL) to sell at the show, and they are required to run the usual background check before letting you walk off with a controlled firearm.

    However, note the article refers to “unlicensed dealers.” That could refer to you or me. I can sell you a firearm perfectly legally out on the sidewalk near the gun show in almost any state. No difference if I ran an ad in the paper and you came over to my house to buy it. Inside the gun show, I cannot sell you a firearm. In fact, the way most gun shows operate, I could not sell you a soft drink or stick of gum, because it would be cutting into the sales of vendors who paid to have a concession stand.

    The so called “gun show loophole” is one of those hyperbolic phrases developed in focus groups to scare hell out of the public who does not know better.

    BTW, before anyone asks, I am not a member of the NRA. I gave up my lifetime membership well over thirty years ago when I started getting over-the-top right wing literature from the extremists who took over the organization. IMHO, the NRA is no longer about gun rights as it is about raising money and electing right wing people to office. This includes both Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats.

  164. BettyKath,

    Re Madsen report. Very interesting. Do we have a Strangelove here in Holme?

    Minor point.
    Chocolate was mentioned as improving soldier performance.
    Chocolate could for heavy users cause blood flow
    complications, particularly in older persons.

    If I recall correctly from my military education, the Army carbine, used in WWII had a firing rate of 600 per minute.
    Strictly short range and a personal defense weapon.

  165. Malisha,

    As usual you’re ahead of me. I tried twice over the decades to read Catcher in the Rye. Found the hero boring, distressingly preppy, and not a person who meant anythigg of worth to me. That might have been the author’s intent in making him so. Who knows.

    Catch 22 was better.

    I think buddying with Holm would have been interesting. Just as a source of ideas to examine and
    Not in any other way.

    Re his temporal illusions. Don’t we all re-do the past to suit our wishes afterwards?

  166. @Juris: Your hypothetical about whether we should outlaw murder does not fit my description, because for all practical purposes 100% of people believe murder should be outlawed, and anybody that doesn’t is probably mentally unstable.

    My point relates to the government passing laws that perhaps 70% of people agree with, and 30% disagree with (which was the case with pot laws at one time, but it is now about 50/50). This is one area where “majority rule” fails us, when you have something like 30% disagreement with a law. That is so much disagreement that the law can become unenforceable.

    Virtually nobody objects to the police investigating a murder, rape, armed robbery or beating because it is hard to find somebody (unrelated to the perpetrator or case) that wants the perpetrator to go free.

    Yet when people think a law is just wrong, that a crime has been defined that should not even BE a crime, then they do object to the police investigating those crimes, and exercise their right to not cooperate, plead the fifth, and be unsure of what they remember. It is not the same as thieves protecting thieves, it is a moral stance of somebody that is committing no crime to see the police investigating such a crime as the enemy, as the oppressor.

    For example, in my youth I was a dishwasher, and in that job I doubled as a barback, which was technically illegal because I was too young to be in the bar (16 vs 21), much less behind it. Although I would say it was obvious I was too young to be legally doing that job, both bartenders and cops just ignored it. Not because they were also underage workers, and not because they were making a profit off of me (I was paid minimum wage like most workers in the joint). They just did not agree with the law, they knew I was on my own and I needed that job.

    If too many people disagree with a law, it should not BE a law. Even some cops will look the other way, if they can, and not enforce it. In fact I think having such laws can harm society, because it can become a vehicle for harassment and discriminatory enforcement.

  167. From Crooks & Liars:

    Mayors Against Illegal Guns today released the findings of a survey by GOP pollster Frank Luntz showing that NRA members and gun owners overwhelmingly support a variety of laws designed to keep firearms out of dangerous hands, even as the Washington gun lobby prepares to spend unprecedented millions supporting candidates who pledge to oppose any changes to U.S. gun laws. The poll also dispels the myth among many Washington pundits that there is a lack of public support for common-sense measures that would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and keep Americans safe. Among the survey’s key findings:

    87 percent of NRA members agree that support for 2nd Amendment rights goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.

    There is very strong support for criminal background checks:
    74 percent support requiring criminal background checks of anyone purchasing a gun.

    79 percent support requiring gun retailers to perform background checks on all employees – a measure recently endorsed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry.

    NRA members strongly support allowing states to set basic eligibility requirements for people who want to carry concealed, loaded guns in public places. By contrast, the NRA leadership’s top federal legislative priority – national reciprocity for concealed carry permits – would effectively eliminate these requirements by forcing every state to allow non-residents to carry concealed guns even if they would not qualify for a local permit.

    NRA members support many common state eligibility rules for concealed carrying:
    75 percent believe concealed carry permits should only be granted to applicants who have not committed any violent misdemeanors, including assault.

    74 percent believe permits should only be granted to applicants who have completed gun safety training.

    68 percent believe permits should only be granted to applicants who do not have prior arrests for domestic violence.

    63 percent believe permits should only be granted to applicants 21 years of age or older.

    The NRA rank and file also supports barring people on terror watch lists from buying guns (71 percent) and believe the law should require gun owners to alert police to lost and stolen guns (65 percent).

  168. @Shano: I disagree with the terror-watch-list, actually. That is open to abuse, people can be put on that list with no review or right to appeal or any way of getting off of it.

    Here is an ACLU Article on the topic; the terrorist watch list is bloated to over one million names.

  169. HILARIOUS NEWS, GUYS: Keith Ablow, of the Fox News “Medical A-Team,” wants our colleges to start testing students for mental illness — says that all students should be “screened” when they register, because so many students have been mass murderers presumably.

    He does not, however, suggest that psychiatric forensic tests should be administered to those who want to purchase guns!

    Why not?

    He says that if Holmes couldn’t shoot a bunch of people, he could have done plenty of other things:

    He could have blown them up with makeshift bombs;
    he could have sprayed gallons of acid into the faces of children;
    He could have ignited “an inferno in a hotel” —

    WOW, Dr Abelow has a lot of really creepy, dangerous, horrible, disgusting ideas, doesn’t he?

    I wonder if they tested him wherever HE went to college.

  170. There is apparently a furore over testing of pre-schoolers. Can this be due to that they are potential college students?
    And do they really need college ed to become terrorists?

    Even kids in Congo’s jungles can do that. Who needs education. The Republicans are right. On with the Ryan budget. On into his r****m.

    PS Thanks Malisha for the grounds I love to poach on.
    Malisha, is that anything connected to Malicious? How many have already asked that? Ma a lish!

    All said in peaceful intent.

  171. TonyC.

    “If too many people disagree with a law, it should not BE a law. Even some cops will look the other way, if they can, and not enforce it. In fact I think having such laws can harm society, because it can become a vehicle for harassment and discriminatory enforcement.”

    I think that is what jury nullification is for. You technically break the law but it’s a case where there is no harm. It is left for the jury to decide if the law is applicable in this particular case. The laws are written (sometimes poorly) to cover the general case and many specific instances just don’t fall within the intent.

    In your specific case, working in a job where you’re underage, the intent of the law is to protect those underage from exploitation. In your case, you were being helped, not exploited. Sometimes wise heads prevail or turn the blind eye.

  172. Malisha & raff,
    I only test thieves, murderers, rapists, child molesters, serial and mass killers and purse snatchers.

    The Fox staff is above my pay grade.

  173. OS/Malisiha/raff,

    Science fiction writer Greg Bear has a series of effectively police procedural novels set in the future revolving around a character named Mary Choi. What is interesting about Bear’s future is that testing (and therapy) are mandatory which has the net effect of making serious crimes rarer but it does not eliminate them altogether. One of the consequential costs of this more peaceful society, however, is an increased stratification based upon mental health. While I admire the goal, the methodology of removing choice from the equation of treatment is troubling and totalitarian. I think a world like Mary Choi’s may get marginal benefit, but ask yourselves at what cost? For surely a man like Van Gogh would have been prevented from or at least interfered with in converting his personal pain into arguably some of the finest paintings created in all of human history. And who knows what would happen to a Kafka forced into therapy? This again brings up the subject of do we as a society have a duty to mitigate all risks? Or perhaps merely a duty to provide the option of mental health help to those who want it (but have otherwise not broken any laws that would merit compulsory treatment)?

  174. bettykath,

    I firmly believe it is a valid humanist duty of society to provide health care – including mental health care – to all citizens who need it and want it. The “and” being as key as the provision. The choice to pursue health care of any sort should be left to the individual absent mitigating circumstances where compulsory treatment might make legal sense. This way no one is forced to act against their desires and are also allowed to follow the dictates of their conscience/religion of choice, but they have the option to get said treatment if they should change their minds.

  175. As a former mental health professional I endorse the points Bettykath and Gene were making. Just who gets to decide who is crazy? Many of the mental health practitioners I’ve met, mostly psychiatrists, seemed crazy to me. In fact to some I seem crazy. I don’t trust society to make the judgment as to who is crazy when no criminality is involved.

  176. OS, interesting stuff on the bomber, jet and plane. I am guessing not too many people can say “I almost bought a fighter plane.”

    I will reserve my opinion on the “gun show loophole” until I can learn more about it.

    Shano, thanks for that vid link to Bill O. I haven’t watched him in a while. He does seem to be getting milder in his old age.

    Tony C – I sort of see what you are saying, but must disagree. “[30%] is so much disagreement that the law can become unenforceable.” Marijuana laws are no less enforceable in my neck of the woods.

    “If too many people disagree with a law, it should not BE a law.”

    So a law should not be a law if it is unpopular? Surely you are not saying that the Civil Rights Act should not have been a law just because many southern folks disagreed with it (Jim Crow). Or that laws providing equal rights for women (at one time unpopular) should not have become a law. Or that laws providing equal rights for LGBT (currently unpopular depending on where you live) should not be laws. ObamaCare? Income taxes? I think your brush is too broad.

  177. Tony,

    I must agree with Juris vis a vis law and popularity. Justice isn’t about popularity nor should it be. It is about equitable outcomes and mitigating the damage of anarchistic self-help in lieu of a judiciary. This is why an apolitical independent judiciary is critical for democracy (and part and parcel of why the now blatantly politicized SCOTUS is suffering from a record and well-deserved case of public dissatisfaction and distrust that is undermining the function of the judiciary). The reason the drug war and prohibition laws are failures has nothing to do with popularity and everything to do with economics and human psychology making them futile and damaging to society because they are addressing what is essentially a public health issue as a legal matter (wrong tool for the job), but popularity is ancillary to the issue other than as a political driver to force those with a vested economic interest in continuing the drug war to stop.

  178. Here is the test I propose we use for doing the testing on who can buy a gun, get married or have a child:


    Answer true or false.

    1. I salivate at the sight of mittens.
    2. If I go into the street, I’m apt to be bitten by a horse.
    3. Some people never look at me.
    4. Spinach makes me feel alone.
    5. My sex life is A-okay.
    6. When I look down from a high spot, I want to spit.
    7. I like to kill mosquitoes.
    8. Cousins are not to be trusted.
    9. It makes me embarrassed to fall down.
    10. I get nauseous from too much roller skating.
    11. I think most people would cry to gain a point.
    12. I cannot read or write.
    13. I am bored by thoughts of death.
    14. I become homicidal when people try to reason with me.
    15. I would enjoy the work of a chicken flicker.
    16. I am never startled by a fish.
    17. My mother’s uncle was a good man.
    18. I don’t like it when somebody is rotten.
    19. People who break the law are wise guys.
    20. I think beavers work too hard.
    21. I use shoe polish to excess.
    22. I like mannish children.
    23. I have always been disturbed by the size of Lincoln’s ears.
    24. I always let people get ahead of me at swimming pools.
    25. Most of the time I go to sleep without saying goodbye.
    26. I am not afraid of picking up doorknobs.
    27. I believe I smell as good as most people.
    28. Frantic screams make me nervous.
    29. It’s hard for me to say the right thing when I find myself in a room full of mice.
    30. I would never tell my nickname in a crisis.
    31. A wide necktie is a sign of disease.
    32. As a child I was deprived of licorice.
    33. I would never shake hands with a gardener.
    34. My eyes are always cold.

  179. Otteray Scribe: That was the best. I want them to administer it to George Zimmerman. My bet on his answers:

    1. I salivate at the sight of mittens. NO SIR.

    2. If I go into the street, I’m apt to be bitten by a horse. A DARK ONE.

    3. Some people never look at me. BECAUSE THEY ARE PUNKS.

    4. Spinach makes me feel alone. AND SHOULD APOLOGIZE.

    5. My sex life is A-okay. RIGHT AFTER A RIGHTEOUS SHOOT.

    6. When I look down from a high spot, I want to spit. OR PEE.

    7. I like to kill mosquitoes. NO SIR BUT AT TIMES I AM FORCED TO.

    8. Cousins are not to be trusted. BUT ARE TO BE MOLESTED.

    9. It makes me embarrassed to fall down. AND PUNCHED MMA-STYLE.

    10. I get nauseous from too much roller skating. [SIC]

    11. I think most people would cry to gain a point. BUT NOT ME.

    12. I cannot read or write. SO IT WASN’T ME WHO SAID THAT.

    13. I am bored by thoughts of death. OF PUNKS OR A55HOLES.

    14. I become homicidal when people try to reason with me. I DON’T KNOW; NOBODY DOES THAT.

    15. I would enjoy the work of a chicken flicker. OR MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE.

    16. I am never startled by a fish. UNLESS IT WEARS A HOODIE.

    17. My mother’s uncle was a good man. AND PREYED A LOT.

    18. I don’t like it when somebody is rotten. SO I HAVE TO KILL THEM.

    19. People who break the law are wise guys. BUT I’LL PUT AN END TO THAT.

    20. I think beavers work too hard. BECAUSE MEXICANS STEAL THEIR MONEY.

    21. I use shoe polish to excess. NO SIR. THESE DARKIES DO.

    22. I like mannish children. EVEN MY OWN, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE NOT BORN YET.

    23. I have always been disturbed by the size of Lincoln’s ears. BECAUSE THEY WOULD MAKE IT EASY TO SMASH HIS HEAD ON THE CEMENT.

    24. I always let people get ahead of me at swimming pools. JUST TO SHOW HOW HARMLESS I AM.

    25. Most of the time I go to sleep without saying goodbye. BUT I PRAY DAILY.

    26. I am not afraid of picking up doorknobs. YES, SIR. MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME THAT.

    27. I believe I smell as good as most people. I DID UNTIL A THUG BROKE MY NOSE.

    28. Frantic screams make me nervous. UNLESS THEY ARE MY OWN HELP HELP SCREAMS.

    29. It’s hard for me to say the right thing when I find myself in a room full of mice. SO I PRAY.

    30. I would never tell my nickname in a crisis. BUT I WISH IT WAS JORGE.

    31. A wide necktie is a sign of disease. WORN BY THUGS.

    32. As a child I was deprived of licorice. AND TAUGHT TO BE GOOD TO ALL PEOPLE WHO WERE LESS FORTUNATE THAN I.

    33. I would never shake hands with a gardener. BUT I WOULD SHOOT HIM.

    34. My eyes are always cold. BECAUSE IT IS GOD’S PLAN.


    “Voters are already turning off their televisions. It’s getting harder and harder to find a message that cuts through.”

    FRANK LUNTZ, a Republican pollster, on the heavy rotation of negative political ads in battleground states ahead of the presidential election.

    Source: NYTimes today

    How many still watch?

  181. Shano brings us news from Anaheim where folks are protesting police murders of citizens.

    Now it has reached the front section headlines of the NYTIMES.

    “Protests in Anaheim After Police Shootings

    Demonstrations against two fatal shootings by the police in Anaheim, Calif., turned violent over four nights, leading to two dozen arrests.”

    I did not watch too carefully but the only violence I
    was contiuous provocative actions by the police, described a peppar projectiles, beanbag ditto, etc. And ONE cast bottle from a spectator. (He missed the re-cycle bin?)

    Not meant to summarize but to give us a smell of tear gas, we turn to the NYTIMES for a summary.

    It is the usual, done by any “journalist”. Standard pattern: fill in name of Mayor, fill in name of deceaseds mother, police is sufficient reference for all other facts given; “two-thirds were from outside Anaheim, although arrestees were all from Anaheim”, the latest two men were said by police to be gamg members with police records (hard to get in such a ghetto???).

    Feds ready to consider “civil rights” investigation. A sick police system lies outside their jurisdiction!!!

    The mayor turns to the corrupted state police system for an investigation to paint over his problems.

    Any real news? Only that after many years of abuse and murders, the people got together and protested.

    PS The police murder techniques (I don’t call them killings, executions is better) seem to be aimed at having no LIVING defendant who might be able to give testimony. And a little terror tactics goes a long way, they learned that in Iraq. Even the little brown kids know to avoid all contacts, say the adults.

    Great country. Land of the free. How long?

    Do I defend looters and other criminal who use the occasion? No. Just defenseless serfs and borgfolk who are suppressed by castle knekts.

  182. @Juris (& Gene & Rafflaw): I think your brush is too broad.

    Okay, that is true. But the brush needs to be trimmed, not thrown out. I was hasty, what I really believe is that some things should not be defined as crimes because they are non-violent human nature done by mutual consent, and are not going to be really stopped by anything short of dictatorship; that is what I mean when I say the cost of prohibition is too high. (Just like we decided the cost of Prohibition was too high).

    The examples where my hasty statement is completely wrong are those in which some identifiable group of people are being systematically harmed by others or oppressed by others. Blacks, women, LGBT, Muslims.

    The examples where I think I am right involve mutual consent. Pot, alcohol, and many other drugs are have willing buyers and willing sellers, and enough people think that is a mutual choice that I do not think it should be against the law to buy, sell or use those drugs (something like DUI can certainly be against the law, however, that is endangering people, so can hypnotics and date rape drugs that are designed to basically enslave a person).

    The same goes for prostitution, or homosexuality, or pornography. People may not want to think these are human nature, but they have been practiced for all of recorded human history, both in cultures where these were considered legal and unremarkable and cultures where there were severe penalties.

    (The same could be said of murder and slavery, but those do not have mutual consent).

    I was trying to pull a thread that is hard to define (wide practice throughout history and many cultures, mutual consent, a fairly large percentage of people that doesn’t think it is any of their business, etc) and I overreached.

  183. TonyC,

    It was a good try. Nothing to go in mourning for.
    More like it is welcome. You reason the way we need to hear it, just as BettyKath said previously.

    Just an observtion on mutual consent. We agree to abide by the laws of the land.
    However what we talk about is whether our constitution should be modified to restrict guns—our favorite means of killing. Don’t feel that I gave that my
    consent to, but some things come with the package, but are modifieable.

  184. @Idealist: I know it is rare to admit one is wrong in a venue such as this; but I am not in mourning, I am just a scientist, we admit when we are wrong. Non-scientists often see that as a sign of weakness, scientists see it as both an honorable act and a sign of strength and integrity. A large reward for admitting what others already know. Juris proved his point.

  185. Tony C, I assumed you didn’t mean that and did not mean to “call you out” in a negative sense – merely was trying to point out by example that your conclusion was overly broad in my opinion. Intelligent discussion is all we had. I think of it more of an opinion thing than a right or wrong thing. This is an opinion blog, and if we all agreed on everything it would be boring as hell.

    In hindsight, we had more of a deeper discussion of the philosophy of the law – when should we have one and when not. I do not claim to know the answer, and therefore am not “right” in any way, but I do get a kick out of discussing it.

    Regardless, well said. And I agree that the trimmed brush is applicable to some situations. I enjoyed having the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.

  186. @Juris: On the point of taxation, however: I really think taxation should be implicit in the passing of any law; to me the agreement to legislate (by representatives or by citizens directly) implies the authority to pay for enforcement, and therefore the authority to collect the money needed.

    I think every law (city, county, state, or federal) should be coupled to the financing of enforcement. This very thing is one of the persistently frustrating and friction causing things even within corporate governance, when I ran departments or a division: Unfunded mandates that cost time, money, and produced delays, with no provision of resources to cover those costs.

    I really do not think there should be budget fights in Congress. I think the budget should be entirely derived from the cost of the legislation passed; and every law passed should include an explicit source of funding, and if a Congressman wants to reduce the budget, repeal a law and that will repeal its tax.

  187. “• Aggressive, unnecessary and excessive police force against peaceful protesters,
    bystanders, legal observers, and journalists
    • Obstruction of press freedoms and independent legal monitoring
    • Pervasive surveillance of peaceful political activity
    • Violent late-night raids on peaceful encampments
    • Unjustified closure of public space, dispersal of peaceful assemblies, and kettling
    (corralling and trapping) of protesters
    • Arbitrary and selective rule enforcement and baseless arrests
    • Failures to ensure transparency about applicable government policies
    • Failures to ensure accountability for those allegedly responsible for abuses

    These practices violate assembly and expression rights and breach the U.S. government’s
    international legal obligations to respect those rights. In New York City, protest policing
    concerns are extensive and exist against a backdrop of disproportionate and well-documented
    abusive policing practices in poor and minority communities outside of the protest context. “

  188. TonyC,

    I meant the jest not in reflection on you and your ethics. Your retraction, was such a model of humility that I wondered if it would unduly restrain you however.

    Well, I am not a scientist in any way. But I wish more scientists (and others) did follow your code.

    The acid which is often seen in academic circles and journals, conferences etc would seem to erase all our prideful achievements over the years.
    I need give no examples to you.


    TonyC thanks for thinking outside the taxation box.

    Shano, now you come bearing a bomb. How do we get it to explode?

    Do we petition Russia to bring it up in the Security Council?
    The problem with the UN is two-fold. We are there but we are not there; and it essentially produces laws that others have to enforce. Good luck with both.

    Based on past abuses, our chances domestically seem little.

    Where the hell is ACLU hiding? That should burn up a years budget for them, adversaring those problems.


    The legal case brought by Hedges et al against the NDAA is being fought on these grounds: Defendants Barack Obama,Leon Panetta, and the Department of Defense (collectively, the “government”) respectfully submit this memorandum in opposition to plaintiffs’ request for a permanent injunction against the operation of a portion of section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, Pub. L. 112-81, 125 Stat. 1298 (Dec. 31, 2011) (the “NDAA”), and in support of the government’s request that the Court enter final judgment in its favor.

    Plaintiffs present a truly extraordinary claim in this action. They seek to enjoin the operation of a statute enacted by Congress and signed into law by the President, a statute that codifies a longstanding Executive military-detention authority that has been upheld by the courts, and therefore enjoys the endorsement of all three branches of the government. While that alone would be an ambitious endeavor, plaintiffs reach even further, and claim that they, as journalists and activists, may obtain an injunction to invalidate the statute on its face, to apply worldwide, and, most unusually, to prohibit certain uses of the military detention authority exercised by the United States and the Commander-in-Chief during an ongoing armed conflict. Any one of those facts should cause extreme hesitation by the Court; taken together, they require the most exacting scrutiny to ensure that if the judicial power is to be exercised in such a far-reaching manner it is clearly within the Court’s jurisdiction to do so. Yet plaintiffs cannot come close to establishing that jurisdiction, as they cannot carry their burden of demonstrating even the basic elements of standing. They claim they fear military detention, based on an erroneous interpretation of the statute that would extend its scope in direct contradiction of the statute’s words, and with no regard for the context that gives it meaning. They persist in asserting that interpretation even though it is contravened by over a decade of history; they cannot point to a single example of the military’s detaining anyone for engaging in conduct even remotely similar to the type of expressive activities they allege could lead to detention. And they continue to seek unprecedented injunctive relief despite already obtaining assurance from the government in this case that based on their allegations they are not detainable under this statute. Plaintiffs therefore have fallen far short of meeting their burden to show they have been injured by the statute; their complaints are the types of generalized grievances of allegedly unlawful government conduct that have been repeatedly held insufficient to support standing.

    Even if plaintiffs had some cognizable injuries, those harms would not be redressed by an injunction against section 1021; as plaintiffs themselves acknowledge, such an injunction would have “nil” effect, for the government would continue to possess the identical detention authority under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force. Plaintiffs thus would achieve no meaningful relief from the injunction they seek, and lack standing for that reason as well. Because plaintiffs lack standing, this Court need not (and must not) unnecessarily decide the constitutional questions plaintiffs present.

    If it were necessary to reach the merits, plaintiffs’ claims would fail. Their facial and overbreadth challenges, if even appropriate in this context, founder on the indisputable fact that section 1021 has a plainly legitimate sweep that dwarfs the purported infringement on free expression; indeed, the statute is not even aimed at speech or expressive conduct. Nor is the statute unconstitutionally vague: it does not prohibit any conduct and therefore is not even subject to vagueness analysis. Even if it were it would still be valid, as its meaning as informed by context is more than clear enough to meet constitutional standards. All of plaintiffs’ claims on the merits fail, but in particular none of their theories can come close to justifying the invalidation of the non-punitive war-time authority that Congress affirmed in section 1021.

    For all those reasons, the Court should enter judgment for the government

  191. I can’t imagine anyone here not knowing about Hedges, et al’s challenge but a quick paragraph anyway.


    The NDAA implodes our most cherished constitutional protections. It permits the military to function on U.S. soil as a civilian law enforcement agency. It authorizes the executive branch to order the military to selectively suspend due process and habeas corpus for citizens. The law can be used to detain people deemed threats to national security, including dissidents whose rights were once protected under the First Amendment, and hold them until what is termed “the end of the hostilities.” Even the name itself—the Homeland Battlefield Bill—suggests the totalitarian concept that endless war has to be waged within “the homeland” against internal enemies as well as foreign enemies.

  192. the A the A,

    “Statistics don’t lie….” And lawyers don’t make justice. At times neither do judges.

    “Nor is the statute unconstitutionally vague: it does not prohibit any conduct and therefore is not even subject to vagueness analysis.”

    That and the rest is just qualified lying.

    If memory serves: the conduct mentioned was supporting the enemy materially. And if that was not
    enough vagueness as to conduct, the definition of enemy was slso vague to the point that one would be left guessing as to whom one could support as well and in what manner.

    Catch 22 modern style.

    You are guilty, as soon as we feel the need of incarcerating you without trial.

    Is it crazy? It was pioneered two time previously. Patriot act, and the AUMF.

    What next?

    Showing my lack of shame for ignorance: Who is Hedges and who is paying the freight for the plaintiff?
    And in which cinema is it playing?

  193. How long will the people take this kind of abuse and violence from the police? Seriously, when does the tipping point come into play in America?

    Yea, idealist, things are crazy here right now:

  194. We are supposed to get protected by this?…… I was over here getting a caramel apple from Coney Island and you slam me on the floor.”

  195. 707,

    Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent. He in joined in the lawsuit by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg; Noam Chomsky; Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, Kai Wargalla, an Occupy London organizer, journalist, activist and author Naomi Wolf and Alexa O’Brien, an independent journalist who founded US Day of Rage, a group that coordinated a day of protests on Wall Street last September against the use of corporate money in US elections,

    The law is written such that Hedges, or any journalist, who does their job by contacting involved forces in any altercation, foreign or domestic could be subject to military detention. The administration can identify any entity as an enemy and then detain anyone who has had contact with them for any reason, an icy shower for those whose chosen profession is to report the story.

  196. Shano, You have been posting disturbing clips. Don’t stop. Amazing. The cop rousts a kid who’s alone, minding his own business, The kid cooperates but jumps when the cop grabs his genitals, then gets violently thrown to the floor. I’m surprised the cop didn’t go for the video, but he was outnumbered and their was more than one camera. The people are organizing.

  197. Two other outcomes possible: third rail or letting him go to then shoot—–all stopped by the cameras there.

    I know enough spanish to hear what the camera man said at the last: “Don’t say any more”. No diga

    mas, And “hear me!” or “Do you hear?” Oité!

  198. Is this what they mean by “Stop and Frisk”? Because if it is, then no wonder the community is freaked out.

  199. We saw an exemplary show of police correctness. His reason for the arrest can not be judged from this.
    The young cop had been well coached what to do with cameras on him.

  200. And yea, idealist , he was lucky the cameras were there. The cop looks like he is having a rage on for no reason.

  201. Shanon.

    What can we do and how long etc.

    You tell me. You are doing your bit here. You bring in reality, to a stage with mostly set pieces for the select to amuse themselves with.

    But if you and others need to influence at other places is not my call at all.

    The idiots here tried the “Reclaim the streets” here and got quashed—-fully by the police. They disappeared. But there is little need for protest here. So most of our stuff is aping USA model movements, as we did the Paris stuff in ’68.

    Sure, Power rules here. but not as much as there. We let the USA secure our oil, or count on begging it from Norway. And parliaments by nature sit looser than Presidents. We don’t even have personal parliament elections. We choose a party in a district, and all candidates on the list go in. Weird.

  202. So, Halliburton et al have won all over the world. No escape from the ‘security state’ ?

    Anyway I have a theory why this cop attacks this attractive, fit young man. A simple gay crush. Notice how he grabs the young mans balls, oh! a pinch too! And then tries to fold his youthful head head into his own groin while demanding the boy put his hands behind his back.

    . Yes, this is a highly erotic film, no doubt!

    And then the mild embarrassment on film, the dropped badge in his ardor, the fumbling with the phone. He only has a few precious moments with his catch before he has to let this nubile youth go. You can see him thinking about letting him go, oh, so fleeting. Looking forward to the ride to the station with him, though. Ah, what we do for love.

  203. So Fox News started a rumor that there was an insider in the FBI who described to Fox News that James Holmes sent a notebook to a psychiatrist at the university where he was studying, and that the psychiatrist didn’t get the notebook, because of some delay or something, and as a result, the carnage did not get interrupted, but went forward, and so it is all the fault of the psychiatrist/university. Now stories fly around reporting on the report and all the reports reference only “it has been reported” and that things happened “reportedly” and the speculation gets piled on top of the speculation. What is this? It is a well planned out attempt to deflect attention from the guns/ammunition issue onto the “psychiatrists must protect us from crazies” idea. Now it is not a gun that kills, and not even a person who kills WITH a gun, but it is a doctor, and a university, that kill by ignoring a person who can then get a gun.

    Fox’s personal psychiatrist has now come out saying we should test all students at universities to find the crazies and report them before they kill.

    So what we have is: Our protectors are killing us; our corporate and governmental structures are brutalizing us and denying us any protection; and on top of that all, whenever something happens, our doctors have done it by not turning us in if they thought we were not “normal” enough.

    We will end up with preemptive prisons and no civil rights at all, and still, nobody will be safe from the Holmeses or the Zimmermans or the private security forces.

    Be very careful.

  204. ah Malisha you made me even more depressed. All true. So, here is a spot of some frightening levity on drones for you:

  205. Moving two comments here does not rate as jacking I feel.
    Here are late comments from a defunct thread which I feel have value in the reality of who rules the nation.

    Jt is watching out, as every parent does for his, and for our country. But what happens to the majorities’ kids educations in the meanwhile?
    And when do we beccme the democracy which we are now in name only?

    1, July 27, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I dont know if populism leads to fascism but Mussolini, Hitler and Huey Long were all very popular and appealed to the masses.

    So while populism may not lead to fascism, I think it is OK to say that the 2 largest fascist movements in recent history, Germany and Italy, were populist movements by charismatic leaders who appealed to the masses.

    It seems all dictators come to power by populist movements, Lenin, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Min, Castro so maybe the correct statement is that populism gives rise to dictatorships/totalitarian regimes of all stripes.

    So while populism doesn’t necessarily lead to dictatorship it is a necessary condition for the potential dictator to come to power.

    I think you are on the right track.

    55 idealist707
    1, July 27, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Thank you for your considered thoughts.

    Of course my concern is with America. And the realization that we are many, but the moneyed have power to manipulate us.

    Mostly they try to create 50+ oercent populistic support. I hoped that the percentage favoring the “corporates” would have to be much higher before populism (our version of democracy) would advance towards fascism.

    This hope is in vein, as is shown by the measures now taken on several fronts:
    —–denial of voting rights
    —–denial of assembly to petition, protest, and demonstrate
    —–denial of free speech, setting up of free speech zones
    —–threatening with indefinite incarceration through the 3 most recent acts which prescribe so for those suspected of material support to those listed as terrorists.
    Where free speech is thus hindered, actually or implied.
    —–denial of ones right to your own person (contraception and fetal material)
    Etc etc etc

    Having increased their police powers restricting our rights, and militarizing our police, a culture which thinks, in self-confession, “there are police and there are A**holes”, which can be heard here.

    Thank Shano for that one with a retired police captain from Philadelphia, who said what was the attitude found in the corps.

    We have a big battle ahead.
    And while some may make academic quibbles about what I said, it would have been better for the discussion to simply say: “Populism is a state which can lead to fascism.”

    I am for my part concerned with the heart and spirit of the attacks on us and democracy, as opposed to aristocracy.
    DEM means simply “the common people”, ie us. And democracy means as some have said here, that we the people are to appoint our leaders and give them guidance.
    Given that premise and goal, then it behooves the elite, who think themselves so, to elevate the understanding of the plebes, not oppose education, as is popular now, especiallly among Republicans.

    Whew. Lots more to go

  206. “Populism leads to fascism.”

    Utter nonsense. Populism can lead to nationalism and/or scapegoating and nationalism is a key feature of fascism, but fascism in any of its forms is inherently anti-populist as it is an oligarchical form of government in all its varieties. However, populism without the nationalism or scapegoating is not inherently dangerous. People very often reject the notion that their political ideology might be populist in part because argumentum ad populum is an informal logical fallacy and perhaps they don’t want the association of the value loaded word, but in its definition “populist” means a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people (especially often capitalized) and/or a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people. This is in effect what a democracy is, which is defined as government by the people; especially rule of the majority and/or a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

    For comparison, you can see this in the Nazi Party which co-opted the language of populism to put fascists in to power. The message of the Nazis on their rise was a populist promise of socialism, but tightly bound to nationalism and scapegoating of the Jews. Once the Nazis gained power, they quickly abandoned any pretense to a populist ideology, purged the party of true socialists during the Night of the Long Knives, and let their fascist nature be known freely. Contrast this to the populist movements that led to the American Revolution, the fall of Apartheid in South Africa and to Glasnost and Perestroika in the former Soviet Union. All populist movements with non-fascist endings. No. Populism doesn’t necessarily lead to fascism any more than wheat necessarily leads to bread. Populism is simply one of several paths to political power – gaining the consent of the people by claiming to give them what they want. A means to an end but not an end of itself unless you are looking to form a democracy.


    You should really be complete in re-routing comments instead of cherry picking.

    The topic of this thread IS NOT the “reality of who rules the nation”.

  207. GeneH,

    I acknowledged the moved comments being off topic.

    And I added that which was new, not the old.
    So it is not cherry picking. It IS complete.
    Those who want to read the old stuff can go there.

    As usual you can’t see anything but your bias against me.
    Thanks for the attention. Meeting me again with BS.
    No news.

    And you’re still quibbling about populism leads to fascism.

    Which as I said to Bron, could have been taken care of with one sentence instead of a “I can best–you can least” rant which your comment is.

    Bron and I INSTEAD talked about essentially is the subject of ruling America. And this was the most active place to move it to.

    Am wasting time on you—-again.

    Ho hum.

  208. The picture shown in this article is one of the strangest, to me surprisingly non-evocative, yet disturbing pictures I have ever seen. I don’t even know why it affects me that way. I was looking around for either confirmation or refutation of the Fox News report that claimed to know what was in the notebooks allegedly sent by Holmes to his psychiatrist and when I called up this article and saw this picture, I got the strangest “hit” from it.

    What do you think?

  209. I didn’t know whether this should go on the propaganda thread or here. To me, this billboard presents an issue.

    First of all, I believe (and there is no way to test this theory, none at all) that they would not have put this billboard up featuring a white president, any white president, no matter what his or her foreign policies were. Second, the obvious gravamen of the attack is what we would expect to see from anti-American and/or transnational radical Islamist terrorists, not from chartered American political organizations. All mamby-pamby mealy-mouthed subtle post-poster apologetics aside, this says that a crazed gunman committing felonies in a public theater in a state (Colorado) that is neither at war nor experiencing massive civil unrest is essentially equivalent to Commander in Chief of the American Armed Forces using the military branch of his government to execute acts of war or warlike activity on foreign soil. It is only equivalent in that the poster (a bunch of libertarians who make their own rules about what is true or false) wants people to donate some of their outrage and hatred from James Holmes to President Obama.

    It says (and pictures are worth thousands of words): SEE HOLMES, HATE HOLMES; SEE OBAMA; HATE OBAMA.

    Not that hard to “interpret.” My my, how much “we didn’t really mean that” falls short of the mark.

  210. From another blog: The court order on James Holmes information forbids anyone to talk to the press and does not mention whether or not they did a drug test on him after the shootings. Very mysterious indeed. No information is to be leaked out to the press. He mentioned the drug scropolomine.
    Holmes is claiming amnesia. He seems to have no idea why is being held.

    Drug Turns Crime Victims Into Zombies
    By Phil Stewart

    BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) – The last thing Andrea Fernandez recalls before being drugged is holding her newborn baby on a Bogota city bus.

    Police found her three days later, muttering to herself and wandering topless along the median strip of a busy highway. Her face was badly beaten and her son was gone.

    Fernandez is just one of hundreds of victims every month who, according to Colombian hospitals, are temporarily turned into zombies by a home-grown drug called scopolamine which has been embraced by thieves and rapists.
    Colorless, odorless and tasteless, scopolamine is slipped into drinks and sprinkled onto food. Victims become so docile that they have been known to help thieves rob their homes and empty their bank accounts. Women have been drugged repeatedly over days and gang-raped or rented out as prostitutes.

    In the case of Fernandez, the mother of three was rendered submissive enough to surrender her youngest child.

    Most troubling for police is the way the drug acts on the brain. Since scopolamine completely blocks the formation of memories, unlike most date-rape drugs used in the United States and elsewhere, it is usually impossible for victims to ever identify their aggressors.

    “When a patient (of U.S. date-rape drugs) is under hypnosis, he or she usually recalls what happened. But with scopolamine, this isn’t possible because the memory was never recorded,” said Dr. Camilo Uribe, the world’s leading expert on the drug.

    Another aspect:

    On 9/11/2001, there was a massive drill involving the military, FEMA and other agencies dealing with multiple aircraft hijackings that caused confusion as to whether or not there were real hijackings happening.

    Verint provided the closed-circuit television surveillance system for the London Underground when the system was hit by terrorist bombs on July 7, 2005. A company called Visor Consultants was conducting a training exercise in which dummy bombs were used to simulate a terrorist bombing of the London Underground as the actual bombs were detonated.

    An emergency medical drill in nearby Douglas County, on the outskirts of Aurora, that dealt with a gunman shooting up a movie theater, was being conducted during the actual shooting at the Batman movie in Aurora. Police chief of Aurora: Oates, Safir’s one-time intelligence chief.
    Aurora Police Chief Oates retired from the New York Police Department in 2001 after a 21-year career. He served as safety services administrator in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the home of the University of Michigan, designated by former CIA director Richard Helms as one of the five top CIA-Advance Research Projects Agency (ARPA) [now known as the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, or DARPA] “behavioral science” research campuses, along with Yale, M.I.T., U.C.L.A, and the University of Hawaii. In 2005, Oates left Ann Arbor to take up his present position in Aurora.

    Oates’s last job with the NYPD was as the chief of the intelligence division. As a member of Police Commissioner Howard Safir’s executive staff, Oates’s prepared, according to The New York Daily News, a daily intelligence briefing for Safir, which lasted some two hours. Safir was on the Board of Verint. Could be a coincidence. Or not.



    Maryland concealed carry permit rules to relax next month
    Judge’s order comes amid national gun debate in wake of Colo. shooting

    By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun

    9:47 p.m. EDT, July 24, 2012
    It will become a lot easier to obtain permits to conceal and carry guns in Maryland as of Aug. 7 under a court order filed Tuesday by a federal district judge.

    The order signed Monday by Judge Benson E. Legg gives state officials two weeks to implement his March ruling striking down a requirement that concealed carry applicants show a “good and substantial reason” to transport a firearm.

    The requirement prevented many from applying for permits, according to gun proponents who expect tens of thousands of state residents to seek — and be granted — such licenses. There are about 12,000 active carry permits in Maryland.

    The shift comes amid nationwide concerns about access to guns, after a well-armed shooter inexplicably opened fire in a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colo., last week, killing 12 people and injuring 58.

    Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler’s office is appealing the change and could, before Aug. 7, ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., to delay it until its case is decided.

  212. But even before Judge Legg made his order, it would have been just as easy to get a conceal-and-carry gun in Maryland, just put down: “Intend to travel to Florida”

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