Fort Hood Shooting – 2014


I know that some in the media have focused on the shooting at Fort Hood as a military thing. This is a veteran who had a screw loose and that’s why the shooting happened. Horse hockey. We have a problem in this country. For some reason, some young men believe that the only way that they can express their feelings is to grab a gun and shoot some folks. This isn’t a military problem. This isn’t a postal worker problem. It isn’t an “I just got fired” problem. This is an American male problem.

From Mother Jones:

It is perhaps too easy to forget how many times this has happened. The horrific mass murder at a movie theater in Colorado in July 2012, another at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that August, another at a manufacturer in Minneapolis that September—and then the unthinkable nightmare at a Connecticut elementary school that December—were some of the latest in an epidemic of such gun violence over the last three decades. Since 1982, there have been at least 67 mass shootings across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. Thirty of these mass shootings have occurred since 2006. Seven of them took place in 2012, and another five occurred in 2013, including in Santa Monica, California, and at the Washington Navy Yard. We’ve gathered detailed data on the cases and mapped them below, including information on the shooters’ profiles, the types of weapons they used, and the number of victims they injured and killed.*

Weapons: Of the 143 guns possessed by the killers, more than three quarters were obtained legally. The arsenal included dozens of assault weapons and semi-automatic handguns with high-capacity magazines. (See charts below.) Just as Jeffrey Weise used a .40-caliber Glock to slaughter students in Red Lake, Minnesota, in 2005, so too did James Holmes, along with an AR-15 assault rifle, when blasting away at his victims in a darkened movie theater. In Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza wielded a .223 Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle as he massacred 20 school children and six adults.

The killers: More than half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (12 and 20, respectively); the other 30 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, and religious and government buildings. Forty four of the killers were white males. Only one of them was a woman. (See Goleta, Calif., in 2006.) The average age of the killers was 35, though the youngest among them was a mere 11 years old. (See Jonesboro, Ark., in 1998.) A majority were mentally troubled—and many displayed signs of it before setting out to kill. Explore the map for further details—we do not consider it to be all-inclusive, but based on the criteria we used we believe that we’ve produced the most comprehensive rundown available on this particular type of violence. (Mass shootings represent only a sliver of America’s overall gun violence.) For a timeline listing all the cases on the map, including photos of the killers, jump to page 2. For the stories of the 151 shooting rampage victims of 2012, click here, and for all of MoJo’s year-long investigation into gun laws and mass shootings, click here, click here

The only other thing that I would mention is that many of the shooters have had some sort of mental illness. This brings up the question – are we taking care of the mentally ill? I think that the simple answer is no. Hell, no. We have forced families to simply deal with it. In some cases, families without enough money simply can’t get their loved one taken care of. Even iff you can get treatment for a loved one, once there are any signs of your family member getting better, the person who needs the most medical help can make “their own medical decisions.” It happens exactly at the time when they are the most confused.

My solution is to limit guns and to get mental health services up and running and fully funded. We need more psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health workers. We need more psychiatric drugs and much better research. Finally, we need to remember that we are terrible at predicting an individual’s behavior.

Airliner confusion

So, this Malaysian Airliner jet has been missing for about three weeks. Here’s what I don’t understand. Why are we still using black box technology? Wasn’t that developed in the ’50s? I’m confused. Can’t we do better in the era of the internet, wi-fi and bluetooth? Couldn’t Airbus and Boeing equip all of their planes with something that pings a satellite? Information like direction, speed and altitude can be relayed. If my cellphone can tell me where I am within 50 feet or so using Google Maps, I can’t understand why we are still using Black Box technology from an era that was before CT scanners and open heart surgery.