Tag Archives: 2d Amendment

Worst shootings

Two nights ago (October 1, 2017), Stephen Paddock, a retired accountant, son of armed robber and companion of Marilon Danley, opened fire on a crowd of over 200,000, who were in Las Vegas for (or attending) a country western music festival.  Fifty-nine have died thus far, with over 500 wounded, making this the worst mass shooting in US history.  Evidently at least one of the  23 weapons Paddock brought to his room had been modified to fire on automatic.  The Islamic State has taken credit for the incident, but there is no indication that Paddock had any ties to that organization or was a practitioner of Islam.

The text between the below banner and map images is from a CNN article published on June 17, 2017.  49 killed – June 12, 2016 – Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, opens fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando. At least 49 people are killed and more than 50 are injured. Police shoot and kill Mateen during an operation to free hostages officials say he was holding at the club.

32 killed – April 16, 2007 – Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. A gunman, 23-year-old student Seung-Hui Cho, goes on a shooting spree killing 32 people in two locations and wounding an undetermined number of others on campus. The shooter then commits suicide.
27 killed – December 14, 2012 – Sandy Hook Elementary School – Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza, 20, guns down 20 children, ages six and seven, and six adults, school staff and faculty, before turning the gun on himself. Investigating police later find Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother, dead from a gunshot wound.
23 killed – October 16, 1991 – In Killeen, Texas, 35-year-old George Hennard crashes his pickup truck through the wall of a Luby’s Cafeteria. After exiting the truck, Hennard shoots and kills 23 people. He then commits suicide.
21 killed – July 18, 1984 – In San Ysidro, California, 41-year-old James Huberty, armed with a long-barreled Uzi, a pump-action shotgun and a handgun, shoots and kills 21 adults and children at a local McDonald’s. A police sharpshooter kills Huberty one hour after the rampage begins.
18 killed – August 1, 1966 – In Austin, Texas, Charles Joseph Whitman, a former US Marine, kills 16 and wounds at least 30 while shooting from a University of Texas tower. Police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy shoot and kill Whitman in the tower. Whitman had also killed his mother and wife earlier in the day.
14 killed – December 2, 2015 – Married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik open fire on an employee gathering taking place at Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, killing 14 people.
14 killed – August 20, 1986 – In Edmond, Oklahoma, part-time mail carrier Patrick Henry Sherrill, armed with three handguns kills 14 postal workers in 10 minutes and then takes his own life with a bullet to the head.
13 killed – November 5, 2009 – Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan kills 13 people and injures 32 at Fort Hood, Texas, during a shooting rampage. He is convicted and sentenced to death.
13 killed – April 3, 2009 – In Binghamton, New York, Jiverly Wong kills 13 people and injures four during a shooting at an immigrant community center. He then kills himself.
13 killed – April 20, 1999 – Columbine High School – Littleton, Colorado. Eighteen-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold kill 12 fellow students and one teacher before committing suicide in the school library.
13 killed – February 18, 1983 – Three men enter the Wah Mee gambling and social club in Seattle, rob the 14 occupants and then shoot each in the head, killing 13. Two of the men, Kwan Fai Mak and Benjamin Ng, are convicted of murder in August 1983. Both are serving life in prison. The third, Wai-Chiu “Tony” Ng, after years on the run in Canada, is eventually convicted of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault. He is deported to Hong Kong in 2014.
13 killed – September 25, 1982 – In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 40-year-old George Banks, a prison guard, kills 13 people including five of his own children. In September 2011, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns his death sentence stating that Banks is mentally incompetent.
13 killed – September 5, 1949 – In Camden, New Jersey, 28-year-old Howard Unruh, a veteran of World War II, shoots and kills 13 people as he walks down Camden’s 32nd Street. His weapon of choice is a German-crafted Luger pistol. He is found insane and is committed to a state mental institution. He dies at the age of 88.
12 killed – September 16, 2013 – Shots are fired inside the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12. The shooter, identified as Aaron Alexis, 34, is also killed.
12 killed – July 20, 2012 – Twelve people are killed, and 58 are wounded in a shooting at a screening of the new Batman film in Aurora, Colorado. James E. Holmes, 24, dressed head-to-toe in protective tactical gear, sets off two devices of some kind before spraying the theater with bullets from an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and at least one of two .40-caliber handguns police recovered at the scene. On July 16, 2015, Holmes is found guilty on all 165 counts against him, 24 first-degree murder, 140 attempted murder and one count of possession or control of an explosive or incendiary device. He is sentenced to life in prison without parole.
12 killed – July 29, 1999 – In Atlanta, 44-year-old Mark Barton kills his wife and two children at his home. He then opens fire in two different brokerage houses killing nine people and wounding 12. He later kills himself.
10 killed – March 10, 2009 – In Alabama, Michael McLendon of Kinston, kills 10 and himself. The dead include his mother, grandparents, aunt and uncle.
9 killed – October 1, 2015 – Gunman Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer shoots and kills nine people, injuring another nine, at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The shooter dies after a gun battle with police at the college. Six weapons were recovered at the school; another seven were recovered at Harper-Mercer’s home.
9 killed – June 17, 2015 – Dylann Roof, 21, shoots and kills nine people inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina. Eight die at the scene; a ninth dies at a hospital. Roof is arrested the following day; according to police, he confesses and tells investigators he wanted to start a race war. Roof is convicted of murder and hate crimes in federal court and a jury recommends the death penalty. He would be the first person executed for committing federal hate crimes.
9 killed – March 21, 2005 – Red Lake High School, Red Lake, Minnesota. Sixteen-year-old Jeff Weise kills his grandfather and another adult, five students, a teacher and a security officer. He then kills himself.
9 killed – August 10, 1991 – Six monks, a nun, a monk in training and a temple worker are found shot to death at Wat Promkunaram, a Buddhist temple in Waddell, Arizona. Johnathan Doody, 17, and Alessandro Garcia, 16, are later convicted of the crime and receive multiple life sentences.
9 killed – June 18, 1990 – In Jacksonville, Florida, 42-year-old James Pough, angry about his car being repossessed, opens fire at a General Motors Acceptance Corp. office, killing nine people. Pough takes his own life.
8 killed – October 12, 2011 – Eight people are killed during a shooting at the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, California. The suspect, Scott Evans Dekraai, 41, of Huntington Beach, is arrested without incident as he is trying to leave the scene. The eight victims nclude Dekraai’s ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, 48. He was armed with three guns — a 9 mm Springfield, a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum, and a Heckler & Koch .45 — and was wearing body armor during the shooting rampage. He pleaded guilty and was formally convicted in 2014, but has not been sentenced because the trial court judge ordered the district attorney’s office recuse itself from the penalty phase amidst allegations of misconduct
8 killed – August 3, 2010 – Manchester, Connecticut – Omar Thornton kills eight co-workers at Hartford Distributors before turning the gun on himself. Thornton had been asked to resign for stealing and selling alcoholic beverages.
8 killed – January 19, 2010 – Christopher Speight, 39, kills eight people at a house in Appomattox, Virginia. He surrenders to police at the scene the next morning. February 2013, he is sentenced to five life terms plus 18 years.
8 killed – March 29, 2009 – In Carthage, North Carolina, 45-year-old Robert Stewart kills a nurse and seven elderly patients at a nursing home. In May, the Moore County district attorney announces she will seek the death penalty. On September 3, 2011, a jury finds Stewart guilty of second-degree murder. Stewart is sentenced to 141 to 179 years in prison.
8 killed – December 5, 2007 – In Omaha, Nebraska, 19-year-old Robert Hawkins goes to an area mall and kills eight shoppers before killing himself.
8 killed – July 1, 1993 – In San Francisco, 55-year-old Gian Luigi Ferri kills eight people in a law office and then kills himself.
8 killed – September 14, 1989 – In Louisville, Kentucky, 47-year-old Joseph Wesbecker armed with a AK-47 semiautomatic assault rifle, two MAC-11 semiautomatic pistols, a .38 caliber handgun, a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol and a bayonet kills eight co-workers at Standard Gravure Corporation and then kills himself. He had been placed on disability leave from his job due to mental problems.
8 killed – August 20, 1982 – In Miami, Carl Robert Brown, 51, kills eight people with a shotgun at a machine shop. Brown, a teacher, was reportedly angry about a repair bill from the shop. After fleeing the scene on a bicycle, he is fatally shot by a witness who pursues him.

 

Common Sense for Veterans

Congress has been working on a law to prevent the Department of Veterans Affairs from adding a veteran to the National Instant Criminal  Background Check system without involving a judge or other “due process” step.  A group of senior officers from all services (united in an organization called “Veterans Coalition for Common Sense”) oppose the bill.

Officers like the ones testifying thought it was too risky for many contractors to carry a firearm in Iraq in the mid-2000’s.  DOD hadn’t done a good job of establishing a status of forces agreement, so there was no legal response for a contractor misusing a firearm.  Rather than fix the status of forces agreement, many contracts  simply denied employees access to a weapon.  Problem solved, except for the contractors who were seized and beheaded due to this policy.  I worked under such a contract and  chose to return to the US after spending six months “at risk.”

The generals and admirals are asserting that a concerned mental health professional or VA bureaucrat should have the authority to revoke a veteran’s 2d Amendment rights, in the event the bureaucrat thinks the veteran can’t manage his own finances or is otherwise mentally unstable.   The argument:  such issue reveals a veteran is “mentally defective” and shouldn’t be allowed a firearm.

I have been witness to senior officers talk about “priviledges,” not “rights,” in many cases addressing activities that private citizens cannot  be denied without due process.  While I agree a health professional who believes a patient is at risk to  him/herself  or others, should be able to initiate an efficient process to remove such risk, revocation of a right isn’t a trivial step.  A magistrate MUST be involved, whether the patient is a veteran or not, whether care is received from VA or not.

I’d argue the reason for our high suicide rates among service and former service members isn’t ready access to firearms.  What is the reason, you ask?  The existing law (called Uniform Code of Military Justice) gives too much authority to the military bureaucracy, much as these officers are suggesting for the Veterans Affairs here.  Due process means people are treated with an objective of  fairness under the law, not bureaucratic convenience or “needs of the unit.”   Common sense does not cavalierly disregard hard earned freedoms for the very men and women who gave up many of those freedoms to defend us.