Saturday, December 21, 2013

138.4 - More gun profits, more gun deaths

More gun profits, more gun deaths

Here's another edition of Everything You Need to Know, in this case Everything You Need to Know in two headlines, which appeared sequentially on my news aggregator:

The first:

Sandy Hook Gun-Maker Profits Up 52 Percent In Year Since Massacre

The second:

Arapahoe High School Shooting Leaves At Least 1 Dead, 2 Injured

And that is Everything You Need to Know. But in this case I'm going to do some backfill.

In the first article, the grossly-misnamed Freedom Group, also known as the Remington Outdoor Company, reported that its profits have gone up by 52% in the year since one of its death machines, a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, was used to slaughter 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Cerberus Capital Management, a private-equity firm that owns Freedom Group, said in the wake of the massacre that it was going to sell its interest in the company. It never did.

Remington is not the only death-dealer smiling. Sturm Ruger, the largest US gunmaker, predicts its earnings will be up 52 percent over last year. Its profits for the first three quarters of the year were 66 percent above the same period for the year before. In the first half of this year, Smith & Wesson saw its profits jump more than 70 percent over the same period in 2012.

Meanwhile, it has actually gotten easier to get a gun in this country. Since Newtown, there have been 70 state laws passed weakening gun controls and only 39 tightening them. You can carry more guns more places and every state in the nation now allows you to carry a concealed weapon.

And so now there is another school shooting, this one at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado, which is just eight miles from Columbine High School and 17 miles from Aurora.

Arapahoe was the 25th school shooting since Newtown - that's roughly one every two weeks. At least 18 people have died in those attacks.

And what's the answer to this we hear, we hear over and over? We need more guns! We need more people packing heat! We need teachers, administrators, janitors, walking the halls of schools armed. In 2013, 80 bills were introduced in 33 states to arm school teachers or staff. In eight of those states - Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas - those bills became law.

All because, in the words of Wayne LaPepeLePew, head of the Nutzoid Rabbit-brains of America, "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

It's all a sick superhero fanatasy. A couple of years ago, the TV show 20/20 did an experiment. It took a group of college students of varying familiarity with guns and gave them professional training exceeding that required in most states for getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Then the producers recorded the students reacting to simulations in which an aggressive, active gunman entered a classroom. In every simulation, every single time, the student failed to stop the aggressor and was badly or fatally wounded; in one instance, the student narrowly missed shooting a victim of the assault.

Weapons experts will tell you that only professionals who drill continuously in live shooter simulations can hope to succeed in such chaotic situations. Even cops who go a month or two without drill start to lose the training.

In fact, a New York Times study from a couple of months ago revealed that even highly trained New York City police officers who discharged their guns in public hit their intended targets only 34 percent of the time. Put differently, the police missed their targets and hit something - or someone - else two out of every three shots.

But according to the gun freaks, what we need to stop more Columbines, more Newtowns, more Arapahoes, is thousands of semi-trained people carrying guns in our schools, ready to play Batman. Terrific. Which, I expect, is more than you needed to know.


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