Friday, March 08, 2013

High-powered automatic rifle not used

A California newspaper editorializes:

That's what could happen to the growing national consensus that gun laws need to be significantly strengthened to prevent the kind of carnage exploding around the country over the past decade, as deranged gunmen use high-powered automatic weapons with high-capacity ammunition clips to mow down innocent victims.

Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass shootings across the U.S. -- and 25 of these have occurred since 2006. Seven took place in 2012.
No, none of these used used high-powered automatic weapons. Check the List of rampage killers. In the recent CT school shooting, Adam Lanza used a low-powered semi-automatic rifle. Maybe you could call it medium-powered, but not high-powered. It was lower powered than nearly all of the World War II rifles. And he had to pull the trigger once for each shot.

Lanza used a civilian (non-automatic) version of the M16 rifle. The M16 was designed for the USA military during the Vietnam war. Gun buffs joke that it was designed to be a lightweight rifle more suitable for the smaller Vietnamese soldier. VP Joe Biden has repeatedly recommended a 12 gauge shotgun for home defense, and that is a higher powered rifle.

Last year's killer, James Holmes, used a 100-round drum magazine (not a clip), but it jammed and he switched to another gun.

I post this because gun control laws should be based on facts. We still don't know the psychiatric histories of Lanza and others.

The paper also reports:
SAN JOSE -- Some U.S. military officials "looked the other way" rather than aggressively pursue rape charges against a sexually troubled soldier who ended up killing two Santa Cruz police officers last week, former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at the officers' funeral Thursday. ....

Jeremy Goulet, whose 2006 Army court martial in Hawaii for two purported rapes of military officers ended with a plea bargain in which he accepted an "other-than-honorable" discharge, shot and killed two officers investigating a new groping accusation against Goulet on Feb. 26. Had Goulet been convicted of the two rapes, he probably would have landed in a military prison for life.
No, the officials did not look the other way. The prosecuted him. Most cases are plea bargained. It is possible that he got off easy, but it is just as likely that the evidence against him was thin.

There is a movement, led by people like Fox News O'Reilly, to make all sex crimes have draconian prison terms. This trend has a lot of bad consequences, and shows a blindness to the huge variation in the severity of the sex crimes, and the sufficiency of the evidence.

Goulet did turn out to be a bad guy. He shot and killed a couple of Santa Cruz cops. Other cops hunted him down and killed him.

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