Some Thoughts on Today’s Shootings

I’ve done a technical post on mass shootings before. Specifically what simulations and simulated recreations can tell us in terms of potential outcomes. And as the author of the US Army report on Soldiers who commit mass shootings (authorized by the Office of the Provost Marshall General and US Army Corrections Command via my office at USAWC), I’ll most likely have another technical post on the subject in a few days. And I’ve done numerous posts here on stochastic violence and terrorism – domestic, international, right wing extremist, religious, etc. And it is the stochastic element that I want to talk about right now.

As numerous others have referenced today there is a lot to unpack behind today’s events. Both the shooting targeting Republican members of Congress in Alexandria and the active shooter/mass shooting in San Francisco. And we’ve seen a variety of calls for comity and a reduction in heated and divisive political rhetoric and pointing of fingers as to who is responsible for what. I’m not linking to all of it as I don’t feel like going to dig up the different reporting, but we’ve seen it all day. All of it misses the point.

The real reason we see so much stochastic violence and terrorism in the US is because it is part of our foundational myths and ethos. We rightly, as a point of pride, celebrate our revolutionary success against the British. We turned the first verse of a hard to sing song based on a poem about a slightly obscure battle against the British in a subsequent war into our national anthem. And we have carried through the decades a mistaken belief that citizen militias, still often considered or referred to as the hallmark of American civic pride and engagement, were actually an effective force during the American revolution. As opposed to the actual professional army that General Washington required his aides and lieutenants create – two of whom weren’t even American, because the militia was absolutely useless for his needs in stopping the British forces.

We have a deep seated tradition of civic engagement that refers back to and is rooted in political violence. The first use of stand your ground as a defense was from the 1790s in Philadelphia. It was related to and rooted in this tradition. In this case a radical localist – an extreme, minority offshoot of the anti-Federalists –  member of a citizen militia decide to use his firearm in self defense while posting political handbills. His defense argument – that he had an enumerated right to self defense through using his firearm – was rejected by the court. The actual coverage of the event and trial from one of the local Philadelphia papers at the time is attached as a pdf at the bottom of the post.

The reason we have so much stochastic violence and terrorism is because we’re Americans. We have a civic inheritance that includes the justifications for it. Including that of the radical localist offshoot of the anti-Federalists that teach us that all government above the municipal level is always potentially tyrannical and the purpose of the armed citizen, as part of the citizen militia, is to provide a check on tyrannical government. We are the inheritors of a revolutionary state and society. And the inheritors of political traditions that are rooted in the revolutionary politics of the Founding – the Federalists, the anti-Federalists, and the radical localists. Each had different understandings and views of the citizen militia, of the proper role for an armed citizenry, but each were reflections of and responses to the revolutionary ethos that led to the split with Britain and the founding of the US.

And we have stochastic violence and terrorism because Americans just aren’t joiners. Despite Putnam’s Bowling Alone, which makes the mistake of understanding American social interactions through the forty to fifty year window between the end of WW II and the late 90s/early 00s, and ignore everything that came before the 1940s, Americans just don’t like to belong to groups. We self atomize. We don’t like to associate. And while modern technology has made it easier to form new associations, it also makes it easier to isolate ourselves into groups that are insular and insulating.

What happened today, and what will happen next week with the next mass shooting or terrorist attack or hate crime, isn’t an aberration. It is pure Americana. It is at our core of who we are as a people. If you spend enough time promoting the idea that one’s political opponents aren’t really even human or that the 2nd Amendment exists to prevent governmental tyranny, then you’re going get what happened today in both Alexandria and San Francisco. It doesn’t matter if the people making the assertions were just being hyperbolic or really didn’t mean it. Nor does it matter if you were actually and only messaging to the people who you identify as your side. All that matters is that someone hears the message over and over and over again, internalizes it, and then acts on it.

What happened today has happened many times before in the US. The ideas and messaging that promote and produce it have a long lineage in the US. And it will all happen again. The saying that “G-d made man, Samuel Colt made all men equal” doesn’t just apply to people that look like you, vote like you, worship like you, and behave like you. And, as a result, you get what happened on both the east and west coast today.

And all of this is why you get this type of paradox:

Versus Senator Paul today as quoted by NBC:

“We’re just like normal people, I go to the grocery store like a normal person. I buy my groceries. I go to the gas station. We practice out there and we just … we live in a country where we hope there’s not such hatred or craziness and, I don’t know, disappointing, sad.”

Here’s the pdf:

Duane 1799 – Report of extraordinary transactions at Philadelphia (1)

133 replies
  1. 1
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    Extended applause Adam. This is a great and necessary post.

  2. 2

    Thanks for this. At times like these, we need like words and expertise like yours more than ever.

  3. 3
    Trentrunner says:

    This is awesome (and frightening), Adam. Thank you.

    Since Americans are also spectacularly ignorant of history, especially their own, I’m wondering where you think American shooters get these foundational ideals/ideas that you say are behind their violence?

  4. 4
    Brachiator says:

    Good post. Sad, but reasonable argument.

  5. 5
    David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch says:

    The 2nd Amendment…is a Constitutional right to protect your children, your family, your home, our lives, and to serve as the ultimate check against governmental tyranny — for the protection of liberty.

    Ted Cruz, 2015

    If [Clinton] gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is.

    Donald Trump, Aug. 9, 2016

    Angle: I feel that the Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms for our citizenry. This not for someone who’s in the military. This not for law enforcement. This is for us. And in fact when you read that Constitution and the founding fathers, they intended this to stop tyranny. This is for us when our government becomes tyrannical…

    Manders: If we needed it at any time in history, it might be right now.

    Angle: Well it’s to defend ourselves. And you know, I’m hoping that we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems.

    Sharron Angle (R-NV), June 16, 2010

  6. 6
    Jeffro says:

    Then perhaps the reverse is true: the repeated (and repeated, and repeated) airing of this info, this history, this long-established mind set…coupled with asking Americans, “Do we want this to continue? Is this – in all its aspects – how you want your family and community to live?”…perhaps that is the beginning of a way out.

    Background info, current data, and a question or two. We might as well put it in the citizens’ hands to take it from there.

  7. 7
    lollipopguild says:

    Certain people deplore violence when it is directed at them or their group. They have no problem with violence as long as it is directed at people they do not like. Will we have cons and GOP”ers talk about 2nd Amendment solutions? Of course not! 2nd amendment solutions are only for all of the people that they hate not for them. I am not advocating that we kill people here, OK?

  8. 8
    Jeffro says:

    @David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch: Dems should go ballistic (sorry) on this kind of rhetoric every time, until the Reps get the message. They’d certainly do it to us.

  9. 9
    Lurkypants says:

    Nothing about domestic violence and fragile masculinity?

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Trentrunner: All three of the major political philosophies from the Founding have never gone away. They’ve adapted a bit to each era, but you can find examples of Federalism, anti-Federalism, and radical localism throughout American history. I’m not a historian – I’m a strange practitioner hybrid of political scientist* and criminologist, but my reading of American political, economic, social, and religious development over the past 75 to 100 years is that there has been a concerted effort to revitalize and reinject radical localism back into American politics and thought. I find it to be one of the consistent, undergirding themes of what we now call movement conservatism. It has been grafted on to religious, economic, and political conservatism in the US. During the 1970s, rooted in a response to the Civil Rights movement and its victories in the 1960s, there was a series of successful takeovers of American political, social, economic, and religious institutions. The Southern Baptist Convention went through a purge where conservatives/ultra-conservatives took over the Convention. Similar thing happened to the NRA. How organized or directed or concerted this was is not something I can say.

    * I had a history professor who once stated that political scientists are simply historians who focus on the past 75 years and use statistics.

  11. 11
    jl says:

    Thanks for a thoughtful and informative post on the tragic incidents that took place today.

  12. 12
    khead says:

    And all of this is why you get this type of paradox:

    If by “paradox” you mean IOKIYAR, then yeah – it’s a paradox.

  13. 13
    jl says:

    And for the pdf of the first ‘stand-your-ground’ defense, I’ll download it and give it a close read.
    One thing though, they fure did talk funny back in thofe dayf, didn’t they?

  14. 14
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Lurkypants: It is definitely in there too. But it isn’t an inherited political philosophy that runs back to the founding of the Republic.

  15. 15

    Agreed it’s necessary.

    I don’t have the time to read the threads that were ongoing while I was asleep today, so I have no idea whether this has come up. Violent politic rhetoric has to stop. That includes a lot of right wingers, but also some on the left. This site has several commenters who are notorious for over the top incitement to violence. I have no idea whether they are serious or not, but it must come to an end. It is one of the things (the ridiculous conspiracy theories are another) that has caused me to spend less time here.

    If they continue to be a regular thing, I will probably stop coming here altogether. Calls to murder our political opponents or various and sundry others are things that I no longer wish to be associated with in any way.

  16. 16
    Brachiator says:

    @Jeffro:

    . “Do we want this to continue? Is this – in all its aspects – how you want your family and community to live?”…perhaps that is the beginning of a way out.

    Australia had a horrible mass shooting years ago, and the people recoiled in horror and passed reasonable laws to control weapons. In the US, even when children are murdered, the response is to create elaborate fantasies to justify buying even more weapons, furiously rejecting any suggestion to even consider gun control.

  17. 17
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch:

    they intended this to stop tyranny. This is for us when our government becomes tyrannical…

    Sharron’s AR-15 ain’t shit vs a Bradley or a 155mm howitzer. Let alone a battalion of either.

  18. 18
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    Adam – thank you for this very thoughtful post.

    The rush to simplistic solutions (that just so happen to align with one’s policy preferences) is really counterproductive at times like this.

  19. 19
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @khead: Notice which doctor at that ball field didn’t run to danger to help his wounded colleagues and which one did.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: And yet regulating firearms is a good idea.

  21. 21
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: There has been a lot of rage and despair around here – also some newish folks whose bona fides I doubt. Let the storm pass. We need reasonable voices even if they are Gopher fans.

  22. 22
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Some serious shit is happening. MSNBC has taken over the local NBC affiliate in my area. Talking about the Trump under investigation story. That’s good. Lots of people watch local news at 11.

  23. 23
    Adam L Silverman says:

    BTW: I highly recommend the Saul Cornell book that I linked to in the post if you want to get a real good understanding of what the Founders and the Framers were actually concerned with in regards to the 2nd Amendment during the founding period. Especially if you want to understand radical localism and how it fits in. Cornell is a constitutional historian and has done several articles and books on this topic. He’s not polemical.
    https://www.amazon.com/Well-Regulated-Militia-Founding-Fathers-Origins/dp/0195341031/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1497496334&sr=1-1&keywords=a+well+regulated+militia

  24. 24
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Hope you don’t mean me Omnes. I know I was out of line recently with some of things I’ve said here. Today made me reexamine all that. We need more positivity around here.

  25. 25

    @Omnes Omnibus: Sorry, but it’s inexcusable. It isn’t newish people I’m mostly noticing do this. VDE and TenguPhule are old hands, they are doing it calculatedly, and they are doing it constantly. If the blog’s proprietor decides that he is fine with his site being used for incitement to murder, that’s his call. But he can do it without me.

  26. 26
    cain says:

    Now that Republicans congressman have gotten a taste of what being in a shooting situation is like, I wonder what they are going to do about it. I mean, as I understand it was pure terror for them. I wonders if they will look at some of those bills again… nyah, probably not.

    BTW, I hope some of you will join me at http://mastodon.social/ and others, it’s been gaining traction as an alternative to twitter especially with all the crap that has been going on it. If you do, add me at sri@mastodon.social. Also it has a much better anti-discrimination policy than twitter (eg no nazis and haters)

    Please don’t advocate violence towards anyone. It isn’t cool, and I know that we need to let the rage out, but you know pull up a dictionary I bet we can find some really great way to let it out with some really good words. The british do insult so well, we can do the same.

  27. 27
    Another Scott says:

    What happened today has happened many times before in the US. The ideas and messaging that promote and produce it have a long lineage in the US. And it will all happen again.

    Yup. There have been 16 other mass shootings in the USA just this month.

    I’m optimistic that things can and will change (reasonably) quickly once they do start to change. (Look at the rapid change in SC after the Emanuel AME Church Massacre.) But I have no idea what horrible event will finally get Congress and the courts to stop fetishizing part of the 2nd Amendment (while ignoring the rest)… :-/

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  28. 28
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷: As far as the bona fides? No. You are weird, but that is par for the course around here.

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: VDE has had his schtick for years. Tenguphule adding to it with the conviction that civil war is gleefully inevitable is a different thing. I do draw a distinction between the two. YMM reasonably V.

  29. 29
    sharl says:

    The following tweet thread might have fit better in Betty’s post earlier today, but I just saw it, and in any event I think it works here too:

    Alex Yablon @AlexYablon

    Mass shooting experts say past violent conduct & access to weapons, not specific ideology, are biggest risk factors
    Anger Is the Shared Fuel of Mass Shooters and Everyday Murderers. Here’s What Might Stop Both.

    In two years I’ve covered guns, have seen mass shootings committed by white supremacists, jihadists, anti-abortionists, BLM supporters…

    …veterans, disaffected community college students, MANY disgruntled employees, an Uber driver, failed business owners, teens, old men…

    They have a few things in common: except in San Bernardino, all men acting on their own with history of violent or other antisocial behavior

    They are usually socially isolated, alienated from family and peers. They often make threats before carrying out attacks.

    Duke psych prof Jeff Swanson told me shooters’ beliefs are as illuminating as what video games or music they enjoy. That is, not at all.

    ORGANIZED violence committed by/within groups is a different story. People in terror networks, prison gangs, etc don’t fit that profile

    Perhaps San Bernardino had more in common with those kinds of attacks, more common in Europe, than mass shootings like the one in Alexandria

    Also, another caveat: ideology or belief may guide choice of target, if not likelihood one will actually decide to commit a shooting

  30. 30

    @Omnes Omnibus: I agree with your distinction. The two aren’t the same. VDE has also never made personal attacks.

  31. 31
    Mary G says:

    Hows about some good news that may yield some incoherent tweets between 4 – 5 a.m.

    Future shock: In @QuinnipiacPoll Trump job approval 19 positive 74 negative w/NJ Millennials. In Gov race, Dem Murphy leads w/them 56-15.— Ronald Brownstein (@RonBrownstein) June 15, 2017

    Chris Christie has some rancor coming his way, I’m sure. I’m imagining him called to the golf club this weekend to be raged at.

  32. 32
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Great post Adam. Over at Wikipedia, there’s a list of school shootings in the US that go back to colonial times. Nothing new under the sun like you were getting at.

    What I take away from this is that problems facing America today extend much deeper than just access to firearms; it’s a cultural problem that is fundamental to who we are as a people. I don’t know what the solution is to people isolating themselves or believing that all government is tyrannical, etc.

    I suppose all we can do is to try to continue to fight these ideas and replace them with better ones. Tighter regs for firearms would help though

  33. 33
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’ll take that as a compliment I guess

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷: It wasn’t intended as an insult. Let’s leave it as an observation for now.

  35. 35
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Notice which doctor at that ball field didn’t run to danger to help his wounded colleagues and which one did.

    It seemed clear from news reports that R. Paul ran and hid (and hell, so would I have done!), but I couldn’t find any reference to another doctor running onto the field until emergency services arrived. What did you see/read?

  36. 36
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷: We are often a highly historically illiterate society. Especially in regard to our own history.

  37. 37
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: One of the other GOP members who was a doctor gave medical assistance from the reporting I’ve seen.

  38. 38
    Tom says:

    @David Canadian Anchor Baby Koch: Sounds like they’re reaping what they sowed.

  39. 39
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Tom: So are we.

  40. 40
    Sab says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks for the book suggestion.

  41. 41
    J R in WV says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I haven’t heard about this in detail, Which Dr ran to help, and which Dr ran away, run away, run away?

    Thanks for this, great coverage of terrible news. Which is why I haven’t seen much detailed coverage. I was running errands most of the day, eye doctor for a pressure check, I’m borderline glaucoma, not medicated, so checked often. So far so good!

  42. 42
    BBA says:

    I can see no reason, because there are no reasons. What reason do you need to be shown?

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BBA: Tell me why?
    I don’t like Mondays.
    Tell me why?
    I don’t like Mondays.
    Tell me why?
    I don’t like Mondays.
    I want to shoot
    The whole day down.

  44. 44
    khead says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    I’m assuming Adam is talking about Brad Wenstrup.

    Not really sure why it’s relevant though. I was talking about why it’s (somehow) ok for Republicans to use violent rhetoric – and, well, violence. No matter who saves the victims.

  45. 45
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @J R in WV: Paul hid behind the dugout. The other one ran to help Congressman William’s aide.

  46. 46
    Jay S says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: There was a GOP doctor interviewed who render assistance, but he was not rushing into the field by his own account. R. Paul is an eye doctor, probably not the best at field treatment for gunshot. Not to support that weasel.

    khead has the name Brad Wenstrup, I believe that is correct.

  47. 47
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Ain’t that the truth

  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @khead: For some reason I get emails from Paul about threats to the 2nd Amendment and the need to send him money to protect it.

  49. 49
    Damien says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym:

    I was ready to turn down the rhetoric back when Gabby Giffords got shot in the head, but at this point, it’s on the right wingers to take the lead, since they’ve been taking the lead on the violent stuff too.

    I have yet to see the kind of acceptance of violent rhetoric in mainstream left-wing dialogue as I have in the right, let alone bullshit like violently occupying public lands. It’s always, ALWAYS, going to be wrong to incite violence.

    But Trump supporters literally beat a homeless Hispanic man to death, assaulted a reporter and threatened the lives of Democrats to the point of withdrawing from public service.

    Fuck. That.

    Let them tone it down and acknowledge the humanity of their political opponents, but until then, I don’t give a fuck if every Republican voter gets shot in the dick. They’ve brought it to this point, it’s time for them to walk it back.

  50. 50
  51. 51
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    Here’s the Dr. to whom Adam refers: http://www.cincinnati.com/stor.....395757001/

  52. 52
    sharl says:

    Adam, in case you’re interested, there was a recent podcast interview with historian William Hogeland that addressed some of the history that led to the creation of the U.S. Army. It’s based in part on Hogeland’s book Autumn of the Black Snake: The Creation of the U.S. Army and the Invasion That Opened the West.

    That episode of Radio War Nerd was “unlocked” by the podcast proprietors so non-subscribers could access it. I’ve only heard part of it so far, and I’ll also note that the entire episode is quite long – as they usually are – though I doubt the entire time was devoted to the Hogeland interview (those guys usually discuss the latest war news and whatnot during part of their podcasts).

    I’m a satisfied subscriber to that podcast, though I’ll note that those guys are hardcore anti-interventionists, so YMMV.

  53. 53
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Missed one!

    A lockdown at Travis Air Force Base on Wednesday afternoon, following a report of an active shooter, has been lifted.

    But a California congressman told The Associate Press that a mistaken report of a shooter led to the Travis Air Force Base lockdown.

    U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, who was briefed on the situation, told The Associated Press there was a training exercise underway at the base at the time and “someone took that to be an active shooter.”

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sharl: Thanks for the recommendations. I may check out the book. When I get a chance…

  55. 55
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    a historian

    Well done. This is why you are a front pager.

  56. 56
    gene108 says:

    @David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch:

    I really wish someone would point out to Republicans that the shooting today is what a Second Amendemnt solution would be like.

    There was a lot more mob violence in this country, prior to the 20th century. You think someone is guilty, you get a mob, storm the jail and hang them. A lot of people died because of this.

    But I think for a certain group of white folks, this was viewed as a basic way to insure the proper order of society; they viewed it as th duty of those folks to maintain the social order. It is the ultimate expression of white privilege to think you can and should bend society to your way of thinking by violence.

    Whether it was violence against abolitionists, blacks, Native Americans, etc,, or for profit, by taking someone else’s land, violence has been used by people for what they feel is their right to have society conform to their world view.

  57. 57
    Jay S says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Hey, I am sure that if there had been life threatening eye injures R. Paul would have been on the case:). As it was the combat veteran Doc who did help also waited for the bullets to stop flying, first.

  58. 58
    Mary G says:

    I started to tweet something to Rand Paul six times today about his fault in using loose talk like that tweet and other gun-humping rhetoric in his campaigns and maybe he should tone it down in future now that the shoe’s been on his other foot, but ended up deleting them all, which is probably a good idea. I don’t really blame him for hiding. I imagine I would too.
    @Amaranthine RBG: Henstrup has been trained by serving. Your article from the Stars & Stripes says:

    WASHINGTON — Rep. Brad Wenstrup compared the scene Wednesday morning at a Republican Party baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., to a battlefield.

    “You never expect a baseball field in America to feel like being back in a combat zone in Iraq, but this morning it did,” tweeted Wenstrup, a 58-year-old congressman from Ohio who served as a combat surgeon in 2005 and 2006.

    He and the Capitol police, who kept shooting even after being hit, are the best of American heroes.

  59. 59
    Adam L Silverman says:

  60. 60
    efgoldman says:

    @Brachiator:

    In the US, even when children are murdered, the response is to create elaborate fantasies to justify buying even more weapons, furiously rejecting any suggestion to even consider gun control.

    Yup. And i certainly don’t expect any change in what remains of my lifetime, or my daughter’s (36 y.o.) or probably my granddaughter’s (<4 y.o.) .
    The other great tradition in this country, besides the frontier legend bullshit, is: money talks. And nobody has more to spend than the NRA.

  61. 61
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mary G:

    He and the Capitol police, who kept shooting even after being hit, are the best of American heroes.

    I won’t criticize what anyone there did. I wasn’t there. I don’t know what I would have done. OTOH, Wenstrup and the two cops behaved bravely.

  62. 62
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Huh?

  63. 63
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Just shows that socialist government police have crowded out free enterprise armed citizen rescue.

  64. 64
    Gretchen says:

    According to Talking Points Memo, today’s shooter had a history of domestic violence. This turns out to be true of most of the shooters in this kind of thing. http://www.newyorker.com/secti.....ve-scalise
    That’s an actually policy point we could pursue.

  65. 65
    gene108 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Sharron’s AR-15 ain’t shit vs a Bradley or a 155mm howitzer. Let alone a battalion of either.

    Doesn’t have to go up against a tank or artillery. The AR-15 just needs to be able to find government officials and shoot them.

    Imagine hundreds of Gabby Gifford shootings, whenever government employees poked their head out in public, without a security detail.

    Imagine relatives, spouses, children, etc. of government employees being gunned down to send a message to the “tyrant”.

    That’s probably what a sustained campaign of Second Amendment remedies would be like.

    We went through this after the Civil War, when the U.S. started to settle the Kansas territory and people could not agree between slave holding or not.

  66. 66
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: There is a fight over “a historian” vs “an historian” simmering here. I am mildly “a historian” but strongly pro-Oxford comma (to reference another simmering argument).

  67. 67
    J R in WV says:

    @gene108:

    This! How many lynchings were because someone wanted that farm those black scalawags had somehow stolen>??? Someone white and powerful in the community. Same for Native Americans, kill them, take STEAL their land.

  68. 68
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Okay, thanks. All the pedantry gives me a headache.

  69. 69
    efgoldman says:

    @cain:

    I wonders if they will look at some of those bills again… nyah, probably not.

    By next week they’ll pass a budget resolution authorizing capitol police protection wherever they go.
    Cynical? Nah, not me.
    What i don’t understand is, why didn’t some of the gun humpers who claim to be strapped all the time, fire back and rush the shooter.
    It couldn’t be because they are hypocrites and cowards, all big talk and peeing their pants, could it?

    Fuckem

    [And apologies to Adam and the time and effort he spent on a very thoughtful and informative post. The rage I feel against these assholes about every fucking thing they do and say requires an outlet. Balloon Juice is way cheaper than psychiatric help and way less bad for me than alcohol is]

  70. 70
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @gene108: In that case, the response from the establishment would be harsh and brutal.

  71. 71
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I have been mocked here for my campaign to purge the offensive term “an historian” from the vernacular. It’s nice to see a front pager backing me up (even if unaware and unintended)!

    Does one live in an house? No, and similarly one is not an historian. As SD shot back, think about that for an hour and get back to me!

  72. 72
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @J R in WV: We had this problem during Operation Enduring Freedom. We put bounties out for Taliban and al Qaeda fighters. Someone would get some buddies together, scarf someone up, bring him in, make a claim he was Taliban or AQ, collect the bounty. The rub? The guy was just a farmer and the lead bounty hunter wanted his farm or his wife or whatever and the bounty. So we had a lot of folks in detention who had done nothing. All because we were really stupid in how we conducted ourselves and the various Afghans we were dealing with where able to manipulate us into paying them to settle their own scores.

  73. 73
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    strongly pro-Oxford comma

    There is no other way to be. That is a hill to die on! And not “an hill.”

  74. 74
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @efgoldman: One of them already floated a Federal carve out so they can carry in DC or wherever they are regardless of state or local laws.

  75. 75
    efgoldman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Tenguphule adding to it with the conviction that civil war is gleefully inevitable is a different thing. I do draw a distinction between the two.

    Also, unless my memory is faulty – always possible – VDE was here before i was (2007-ish?) and Tangofool didn’t show up until after the election.

  76. 76
    Suzanne says:

    O/T, but also tragic and important.

    More details are coming out about the London fire, and how the cladding material (not the curtain wall, as was originally reported), turned out to be combustible AF. AAAAAAND the landlord was doing renovations to the interior, leaving the residents with only one exit enclosure. I am not familiar with U.K. building codes, but in the US, that would likely be grounds for involuntary manslaughter, not to mention a civil suit with such an ungodly payout. European buildings are often deficient in opening protectives and vertical fire control.

    Perhaps it is just because I deal with this shit all day, but please….PLEASE….always know where the nearest two exits are located in every building ever occupy.

  77. 77
    JWR says:

    @gene108:

    I really wish someone would point out to Republicans that the shooting today is what a Second Amendemnt solution would be like.

    Not that it would do any good, but probably a good line to take, esp. when dealing with individual gun fetishits. (Just thinking about a relative and how I’d react to this person should it ever come up.)

  78. 78
    sharl says:

    Welp, with the assistance of some less-than-honorable members of Congress as guests, Hannity did his usual Hannity thing

    Hannity, w/ five GOP Congressman on show, pushes them to link today’s shooting with liberal rhetoric (Kathy Griffin, etc.). No pushback.

    Rep. Jeff Duncan used the moment to rip Indivisible for “dominating” town halls and yelling.

    And none referenced the outpouring of bipartisan sentiment on the Hill today, including warm side-by-side speeches of Ryan, Pelosi.

    Hannity acknowledged Sanders wasn’t to blame for actions of a single supporter but slammed Griffin, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, “Caesar” production

    On a more immediately urgent matter, a dog that was at or near the park where the Alexandria VA shootings took place got spooked and bolted (smart dog). If you are in or near the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, please keep an eye out for Daphne. Here’s a tweet with a photo of the pooch.

  79. 79
  80. 80
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Suzanne:

    please….PLEASE….always know where the nearest two exits are located in every building ever occupy

    I do this out of habit, but from fear of union thugs rather than fires

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suzanne:

    One of the nice things about working for the particular Giant Evil Corporation that I do is that they are HUGE on safety. Biannual fire drills, all buildings with sprinkler systems, etc. The building I work in even has a non-water fire suppression system (though I’m blanking on which specific non-toxic inert gas it is that it uses).

  82. 82
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Whatever. No harm done

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: VDE has been here forever. Not sure when Tenguphule showed up.

  84. 84
    Jay S says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: What about an ‘istorian? Cockney Kosher?

  85. 85
    Suzanne says:

    @Steve in the ATL: That’s not a bad idea, for whatever reason. I specialize in healthcare architecture, and one of the biggest fears my clients have right now is what happens in an active shooter situation in a hospital. Those have already happened, and nurses are among the most frequent victims of workplace violence. Hospitals are designed to be defended in place, not evacuated, but in an active shooter situation, that is insufficient.

  86. 86
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Suzanne: Contact me offline. I have a sub-specialty in security (crime and terrorism prevention) through environmental design. I have published on the topic.

  87. 87
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gretchen:

    Seconded (or maybe thirded). It seems like the vast majority of these guys have a history of domestic violence, so maybe some of these murders could be prevented or mitigated with better domestic violence prevention and prosecution.

    I mean, the history is great and all, but there seems to be a direct connection between mass shootings and domestic violence that no one is comfortable discussing.

  88. 88
    Suzanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: Sprinklers and drills are great, but they are insufficient to stop what happened in London. Most buildings, even ones with no combustible construction, do not have fire-rated exterior walls. And typical sprinkler systems are not designed to douse walls, they’re designed to cover interior space. That metal insulated cladding shit is a disaster, and it’s everywhere. But the crux of the problem is that the exiting system was insufficient—and that is common, even in the US.

  89. 89
    Wag says:

    disappointing, sad.”

    Well, Rand got part of it correct, anyway.

  90. 90
  91. 91
    Suzanne says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Will do. We have been doing a great deal of hardening projects on hospitals.

  92. 92
    efgoldman says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    maybe some of these murders could be prevented or mitigated with better domestic violence prevention and prosecution.

    Sure, we could spend some money on it….

    Oh, wait. Who am I kidding.

  93. 93
    sharl says:

    @Suzanne: I thought of you when I first read of the London tower fire, and am glad to see you weigh in on it. Your own schedule permitting, I hope you will be willing and able to follow that story as more details come out, and comment accordingly.

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym:

    I got into a huge spat with Martin today over this article in the Nation that the writer decided to mar with a particularly dumb attempt at tarring Hillary with the same “violent rhetoric” brush as Trump.

    However, I think the overall point that even mildly violent words and imagery like “fight” or “battle” can trigger some people into violence is well-taken. I just got annoyed at the writer’s pulling a both sides do it! equivalency out of his ass.

  95. 95
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Suzanne: I also have done consulting from large (Disney University) to small on this topic.

  96. 96
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suzanne:

    I would be curious to know what the codes are here in California — we have stricter ones than most states since we sit on thousands of fault lines and one of the big post-earthquake dangers is from fire.

  97. 97
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    If I wanted to, I could take an online active shooter class as part of our disaster prep coursework. I haven’t wanted to do it, though.

    We have pretty good defenses if the shooter is someone without badge access to the building, not so good if it was one of my fellow employees that I work with day-to-day.

  98. 98
    SgrAstar says:

    Great, informative post, Adam. Thank you.

  99. 99
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: The online courses aren’t bad.

  100. 100
    efgoldman says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    from fear of union thugs rather than fires

    I know what you do for a living, but even so, “union thugs” might not be the best way to describe people on a liberal/Dem blog. Just sayin’

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    People I know have gotten nightmares from the active shooter course. That doesn’t mean it’s not good, but it has earned a bit of a reputation.

  102. 102
    Gretchen says:

    @Adam L Silverman: which doctors ran to and from danger? I didn’t see that reporting.

  103. 103
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suzanne:

    Also, FWIW, I work in a one-story building, so my last-ditch escape route through a window is easy-peasy once I break the window.

  104. 104
    Suzanne says:

    @sharl: Sure, I’d be happy to. I’m not very familiar with building codes in Europe, but I can interpret through the International code series, which uses many of the same concepts.

    So far, from what I’ve read, the building was built in the 1970s, and was recently renovated, including the façade renovation that included the insulated metal cladding. This material is used all over the world in high-rises, public buildings like airports and courthouses, stadia, performing arts centers, etc. Depending on the specific product selected, the stuff isn’t cheap. However, it is incredibly energy-efficient and easy to install. Buildings from that time period are notorious energy hogs. Energy was cheap at the time, and building science wasn’t that sophisticated, so building envelopes were not very well-designed or constructed. Both the US and Europe have dramatically increased requirements for energy efficiency, so buildings now have to be continuously insulated, meaning that there are no “breaks” in the insulative layer at studs, mullions, bricks, fasteners, etc. The metal systems have these proprietary parts that usually make them compliant with these requirements, and they can go over many existing façade materials. So they’re popular. But the insulation materials can be meltable or combustible, and the metal can melt, too, so if the panel catches on fire, it can burn and spread like none other. This London fire apparently started somewhere in the interior, which is typical. If it had stayed interior, it would have burned the nonstructural parts of the building, which probably would have given eneryone enough time to get out.

    They apparently only had one functioning exit enclosure. A building that size in the US would be required to have likely three.

  105. 105
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: There are several. I’ve never taken the online one. I’ve been through an actual, live simulation we had to do at work.

  106. 106
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suzanne: You do realize that at this time of night you just did a tl;dr, right?

  107. 107
    LesGS says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I read it….

  108. 108
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LesGS: Exception that proves the rule.

  109. 109
    Suzanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: Codes differ by municipality. Most of CA uses the International Code Series with some specific alterations for seismic design, and this is called “California Building Standards Code”, but it is written by the ICC, who writes the International series. Certain types of facilities are also required to follow the NFPA codes, as well. Most of CA has fire requirements similar to the rest of the country, in terms of construction type, occupancy types, load factors, travel distances, etc etc etc. There are actually some seismic requirements everywhere in the country, depending on the “seismic importance factor” of the building type.

  110. 110
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    Gotta take issue with you re the National Anthem:

    We turned the first verse of a hard to sing song based on a poem about a slightly obscure battle against the British in a subsequent war into our national anthem.

    The “slightly obscure battle” in question was the bombardment of Fort McHenry, guarding the approaches to the port of Baltimore, by a British fleet that had the month before landed troops that burned Washington DC. The successful resistance of the garrison prevented the squadron from entering the harbor & burning down the town with Congreve rockets (which had destroyed over a thousand buildings in the 1807 bombardment of Copenhagen).

    The beauty of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is that it commemorates not an aggressive, chest-thumping war of conquest but the dogged defense of home & hearth against a foe bent on laying them waste. It’s the attackers hurling rockets & bombs at the fort that raises its flag to defy them. And as such you really should not be citing the National Anthem as if it were some bloodthirsty gun-heavy screed. Because it’s not.

    OK? Still friends?

    (PS I spent my childhood years on the far side of Baltimore harbor from the Fort, about 2 miles from the farthest advance of General Ross’s invading British force. Which, FTR, was frustrated by the Maryland militia.)

  111. 111
    dimmsdale says:

    If anyone has recommendations for an online active-shooter course, I’d appreciate it. Forearmed is forewarned. (er, ‘Forewarned is forearmed?’ ….. ‘Four of a kind beats….’?)

  112. 112
    Suzanne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Sorry. It’s really sad. A shit-ton of people died because of this, and it was entirely preventable. Building fires still kill a lot of people.

  113. 113
    sharl says:

    @Suzanne: Thanks! This general area meshes with my interest in materials science/technology/engineering, so I tend to get into it. Although as you noted, the lack of sufficient exits appears to have been a major (non-materials) contributor to this particular disaster.

  114. 114
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: I try not to argue with hometown pride.

  115. 115
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @dimmsdale: I know several people who have taken the A.L.I.C.E. course.
    https://www.alicetraining.com/about-us/

  116. 116
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    We have a specific one at the GEC offered by our security department as part of our overall first aid/emergency preparedness curriculum.

    One can choose to get pretty deep in the weeds, up to and including triage and body bagging courses. The GEC takes this shit very, very seriously.

  117. 117
    Suzanne says:

    @sharl: I’m literally working on a project right now in which we are reskinning a masonry building with similar insulation, though not the metal cladding. One story. Many exits.

  118. 118
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suzanne:

    Someone posted earlier that the residents’ association had been complaining about electrical problems (including sparks and shorting out) in the building since at least last year, but the management company was not responsive.

    The management company decided to save money by ignoring the safety problems in the building, and residents paid for that with their lives. I hope multiple people go to jail for this, at a minimum. Fines are not enough.

  119. 119
    LesGS says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Did you read the article about the care unit Suzanne designed? I’ll read anything she writes.

  120. 120
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: I know. It was one of your VP’s of Security that had me do a course at Disney University.

  121. 121
    Suzanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: This happens allllll the time in housing units for poor and working-class people. Maintenance problems, lead, asbestos, mold, etc. You end up with situations like the Oakland Ghost Ship, which was a combustible building with all kinds of non-compliant nonsense (one stairway, made out of wooden pallets; furniture and rugs being used to subdivide space; use of a storage occupancy as an assembly occupancy without adequate exiting capacity) because it’s the only thing people can afford. It’s fucking shameful.

  122. 122
    dimmsdale says:

    Oh, and Adam–thanks for the link to your other article on shooting simulations; somehow I missed it when you first posted it. I’ve spent a fair amount of time on CCW chat boards and Youtube channels, and watching the ABC News videos on your other post makes it clear what delusional idiots most of the CCW types are.

  123. 123
    dimmsdale says:

    ….and thanks for the link to Alicetraining. checking it now.

  124. 124
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @efgoldman: I’m not saying all union people are thugs! And many of the union executives I deal with refer to themselves that way. I like to think they’re making a joke about the stereotype..,.

  125. 125
    Sab says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Jeez. It’s been weeks. I realized that the problem, such as it is (insignificant) is that you are so young. I bet you also want to drop the h at the end of Pittsburgh.

  126. 126

    @Mnemosyne: I should emphasize that I don’t think both sides do it, at least to anywhere near the same extent. But I can’t threaten to boycott right wing sites where it happens, since I already refuse to go there.

  127. 127
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym:

    I reposted the link to the Nation article because I think there’s some good information there that it takes a lot less rhetoric to move someone to violent action than we used to assume. Given how many lurkers there are here who never post, it’s worth keeping in mind.

    But I still want to punch Beinart in the throat for that bit of knee-jerk anti-Democrat rhetoric he couldn’t stop himself from including. And, yes, I realize that I just violated my own rule.

  128. 128

    @Mnemosyne: I think you’re reading way too much into Beinart’s piece. Today was the day that a left wing loon shot a Republican congressman. Of course he’s going to mention that. It’s also natural that, by publishing in The Nation, he isn’t really talking to, or even about, conservative loons. It’s a piece about what we need to consider and do. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially when placed at a publication that unequivocally takes the position that both sides don’t do it.

    We aren’t juveniles. We shouldn’t need a pro forma “Republicans are worse” lede to every essay we write amongst ourselves.

  129. 129
    Booger says:

    @Jay S: R. Paul is a self-certified eye doc, so best he left things to real docs, other than first aid which everyone should know.

  130. 130
    DHD says:

    This is fascinating and I think has implications even outside the US:

    The real reason we see so much stochastic violence and terrorism in the US is because it is part of our foundational myths and ethos.

    Everybody here probably knows, thanks to Michael Moore, that places like Canada and the Nordic countries have a lot of guns (mainly used for hunting) and yet quite a lot less everyday gun violence per-capita and per-gun than the US. On the other hand it doesn’t mean that Canada is immune to stochastic violence (although mass shootings seem to happen more like every decade than every year).

    The right wing in English-speaking Canada occasionally likes to point to the fact that the vast majority of the mass shootings in Canada have happened in (French-speaking) Quebec as some kind of evidence of deep dysfunction in Quebec society, with all the usual suspects to blame: a large, bureaucratic welfare state compared to the rest of Canada, strict and occasionally annoying language laws, the independence movement, etc. All this is very ironic given that Quebec is, on a daily basis, significantly less violent than the rest of Canada – Quebec City, site of the latest shooting, has recently had years with no murders at all, in a city of 750,000 people. This everyday non-violence is most likely the result of, rather than despite, the strong welfare state, cohesive national and linguistic identity, etc.

    But the random and political violence that seems to pop up specifically in Quebec actually does make sense in the light of a founding myth deeply soaked in the glorification of violent rebellion, either in the form of the resistance of Canadian militias against the British and their Haudenosaunee allies during the New France period, the Patriote rebellion of 1837-1838 and subsequent border wars, or the Red River and North-West rebellions in Manitoba under Louis Riel (which people in Quebec saw, not unreasonably, as the extension of their previous struggles against English-speaking and Protestant hegemony).

    Despite the Harper Government’s best efforts to hype up the war of 1812, the Rest Of Canada has nothing like this. Uncharitably, one could say this is because the Rest Of Canada has always been firmly on the winning side, and its violence has always been directed at the weak. It’s easy to believe you are a uniquely non-violent society when you enjoy the protection of the world’s largest empire.

    I’d wager that you see the same kind of paradox in Finland (as opposed to the rest of the Nordic countries), where there are also lots of guns and a national identity based on having defeated the Russians through guerilla warfare…

  131. 131
    Jonathan Holland Becnel says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    “I’m not a historian – I’m a strange practitioner hybrid of political scientist* and criminologist, but my reading of American political, economic, social, and religious development over the past 75 to 100 years is that there has been a concerted effort to revitalize and reinject radical localism back into American politics and thought. I find it to be one of the consistent, undergirding themes of what we now call movement conservatism. It has been grafted on to religious, economic, and political conservatism in the US. During the 1970s, rooted in a response to the Civil Rights movement and its victories in the 1960s, there was a series of successful takeovers of American political, social, economic, and religious institutions. The Southern Baptist Convention went through a purge where conservatives/ultra-conservatives took over the Convention. Similar thing happened to the NRA. How organized or directed or concerted this was is not something I can say.”

    So 75 years ago was basically post WW2, and ur saying the great unions of the time, the great movements of the 60s like civil rights and anti Vietnam protests, and the myriad associations we’ve made with each other over common interests is bullshit?

    You singlehandedly dismiss one of the greatest political scientists ever, Robert Putnam, in one sentence. Bravo!

    We all know the successful divide and conquer AGITPROP out there trying to get Americans not to trust each other over bullshit straw people, so why are you falling in the trap, Silver?

  132. 132
    sherparick says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Very astute. Rick Perlstein’s histories of the Rise and Triumph of the Conservative Movement picks these out. However, it is not just an American phenomena. John Lukacs, who is really an historian of Western Civilization in the 20th Century, through out the Western World, in response to modernity, many people become attracted to mass movements built on force of a populist nationalism—the cult of the people and of the military power of the nation,”

    There have also been mass shooting incidents in Australia, the U.K., Germany, and Norway, to name a few, these last 30 years. The reasons they don’t have more is not because they have less nuts, but because they make much harder for the nuts to get firearms.

    A bit of a quibble about the role of the militias in the Revolutionary War and the Continentals. They were actually both essential to ultimately winning Independence, along with the French Navy. The New England states and Virginia basically kept a portion of their militias on full time duty during the war, and these troops were essentially regulars. But they only fought the British in or near their particular State. The New England militia deployed against Burgoyne and destroyed a substantial part of his Army at Bennington in what was to become Vermont in 1777, but that was because Burgoyne was a direct threat the region and nearby. The New York and New Jersey militias were pretty useless at the beginning of the, but by Monmouth in 1778 and they were very efficient and tough fighters. (Also, one could say that the militia fighting with Washington in the New York campaign of 1776 showed better military sense then Washington about fighting in place where the British had all the advantages provided by their fleet). In 1781, the militia were the forces that kept the British occupied in New York during the Yorktown campaign. Overall, the Americans were essentially amateurs at the beginning of the war and had become professionals at the end, both Continentals and militia. This is really a nice argument to have over a beer in good bar.

  133. 133
    sherparick says:

    @DHD: There has also been a huge fall in U.S. everyday violence the last 30 years, which may be result of both cultural changes and reduction of lead exposure.

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