Worst Mass Shooting in U.S. History

If initial reports about the number of dead are correct, last night’s massacre in Las Vegas was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Via The Washington Post:

At least 50 dead, more than 200 injured in Las Vegas shooting

Gunman in a high-rise hotel on the Strip opened fire during a country music festival

In one of the worst mass shootings in modern U.S. history, the sniper-style gunfire rained down from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on Sunday evening, police said. The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, is believed to be a “lone wolf” and was killed after authorities confronted him on the 32nd floor of the hotel, police said.

If the gunman’s name were “Satam Panjwani” instead of “Stephen Paddock,” the attack would be deemed “terrorism,” and America would find deep national resolve to address the scourge. But the shooter was a 64-year-old white man, so it’s a “lone wolf” incident, and “thoughts are prayers” are activated instead:

Nothing will change.








Moral Clarity and Vanilla ISIS

Heather Heyer’s mom isn’t interested in talking to Trump:

Ms. Bro says she received “frantic messages” from Trump’s press secretaries during her daughter’s funeral (these fucking people!) and later that day; she was willing to speak to Trump at that point but simply missed his calls since she was occupied with burying her child, who was murdered by a Trump-supporting Nazi. But after seeing a clip of Trump drawing equivalence between her daughter and other counterprotesters and the white supremacist mob, Bro is no longer willing to speak to Trump. Good for her.

On the lighter side, Tina Fey has a suggestion for how sane people might respond to heavily armed white supremacist goons descending on their towns — eat cake:

And speaking of heavily armed white supremacist goons:

I am not a lawyer, and I realize the NRA has its bloody fingers wrapped around the throat of legislatures at the state and federal level. But doesn’t Omidyar have a point here? Wasn’t it a public safety issue when these militia goons swarmed through the center of Charlottesville?

Governor McAuliffe said the local cops were outgunned by the militia goons. Sounds like a public safety issue to me.

We may not be able to roll back these bugfuck-crazy open carry laws any time soon, but can’t cities and towns require unarmed participants as a condition of issuing permits for marches and demonstrations? I know when the RNC held its 2012 convention in Tampa, people were not allowed to bring concealed weapons into the convention zone, even though an NRA representative personally writes every piece of legislation that affects firearms, which our governor then rubber-stamps.

If gun-free zones are good enough for Republican Party delegates, by God, they should be good enough for city centers when homegrown Nazis assemble to spew hate speech. It won’t solve our Nazi problem, obviously — Vanilla ISIS can run people down in the street, as one of their number did in Charlottesville. But it’s a start.








Trump Administration Reverses Course; Supports Massive Funding Increase For Performance Art

A sidelight on yesterday’s Tomahawk raid on a Syrian airbase.

1:  Fifty-nine Tomahawks fired.

2: Targetting:  “The targets included air defenses, aircraft, hangars and fuel.”  For good reason (IMHO) the strike avoided stored chemical weapons.  Personnel at the base were warned of the impending attack and as of now, no casualties have been reported.

3: Results: some shit got blown up. All of it can be repaired or replaced with out, it seems, significant difficulty.

All of which is to say that this was what most kindly can be called a warning shot, and rather less so, performance art.

Which gets me to my point.  The price tag for fifty nine Tomahawk missiles runs a little bit shy of $90 million.

For scale: that’s roughly 60% of the $148 million the to-be defunded National Endowment of the Arts received in 2016.

I believe Donald Trump’s grant was titled, “Very Expensive Holes In Concrete.”

Image: Adrian Hill, A British Mine Exploding, sometime during World War I.








Overnight Open Thread: Shocking!

Here’s an actual Tesla coil rifle to shock you awake on this early Sunday morning/late Saturday evening. If you want to build your own, the details are here. I’m going to bed, amuse yourselves!








Stupid/Evil Venn Diagram

Not sure how complete the overlap would be on this one, but if we took a solar eclipse as our diagram generator, I’m pretty sure you’d see a corona around this guy:*

The shooting in Baton Rouge took place as protesters and Republicans were arriving in Cleveland for the party’s national convention. Steve Thacker, 57, of Westlake, Ohio, stood in Cleveland’s Public Square on Sunday holding a semiautomatic AR-15-style assault rifle as news broke that several officers had been killed in Baton Rouge.

After the shooting in Dallas, Stephen Loomis, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, urged people not to take their guns anywhere near Cleveland’s downtown during the convention because officers were already in a “heightened state.”

When asked about Mr. Loomis’s comments and the Baton Rouge shooting, Mr. Thacker said despite the shooting, he wanted to make a statement and show that people can continue to openly carry their weapons.

“I pose no threat to anyone. I’m an American citizen. I’ve never been in trouble for anything,” Mr. Thacker, an information technology engineer, said. “This is my time to come out and put my two cents worth in, albeit that it is a very strong statement.”

Schuttersstuk_Ferdinand_Bol

Dear Mr. Thacker,

Let me see if I can explain this in words which even an information technology engineer can understand.

Just because you say you are not a threat doesn’t make it so.  To everyone but you, you are a guy with a tool for mass murder standing in the street for no apparent reason…which makes you, as seen from outside the eternal sunshine of the inside of your head, a threat to every person in your line of sight.  That you think you are a good person puts you alongside just about every self-justifiying shooter.

We do know that the best possible gloss on your actions is that you’re a bully. Guns are tools of intimidation as well as physical violence. That you would show up heavily armed in public spaces suggests you think it’s part of civic life to scare your neighbors.  There’s a word for people like that, or rather many, of which the most mild is “asshole.”

And, forgive me for being so blunt, but you’re not just an asshole.  You’re an imbecile too.  Guns are, of course, both weapons and target designators.  Anything goes wrong during the convention  — anything — and you’re a man with a gun in a chaotic situation.  How is the federal sniper on the rooftop to know who you might be aiming at?  Dumb is as dumb does.

Here’s the kindest advice I can muster: go home.  Put your freedom-wand penis-extension away.  With rights come responsibilities, and one of the most often ignored is the duty not to be a putz.

Try it.

*Yeah, that’s a ridiculously tortured metaphor, but it’s that kind of day.

Image: Ferdinand Bol, Archer Unit, militia led by Colonel Govert Suys, 1653