59 dead. Hundreds maimed. And we still can’t get real gun control

How many more will have to die before the NRA and its allies are finally discredited?

The best analysis I’ve seen so far of the horrific killings in Las Vegas is from Adam Gopnik at The New Yorker, who notes:

If the author of the at least fifty dead and more wounded—the word “wounded,” of course, fails to capture the extent of the maiming, just as the blank word “dead” fails to capture the dawning of grief for so many families—was someone who had, even once, communicated with or been radicalized by Isis, no matter how remote or long-distance that radicalization, or if he was merely a Muslim from a Muslim country, then a massive act of terrorism would have been committed and a militant response, including travel bans and broad suspensions of rights, would be essential. If it was just one more American “psycho,” then all we can do is shrug and, as the occupant of the Oval Office put it, send “warmest condolences and sympathies…” 

Oh, that, and set up a crowdfunding program to pay the huge medical bills of the survivors, since we don’t have universal health insurance in this country.

An AR-15 style assault rifle was among the 20 guns found in the shooters hotel room

Local politicians are issuing statements. Rep. Nancy Pelosi is calling for a Select Committee on Gun Violence

But as President Obama has said, repeatedly: We have been here before. Mass shootings of school kids aren’t enough. A mass shooting in a church isn’t enough. A mass shooting in a nightclub isn’t enough. A man shooting of members of Congress isn’t enough.

And now the worst mass shooting in modern US history won’t be enough.

Instead, Congress wants to legalize silencers. 

The idea that “the best response to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” never made much sense, but less so today: Among the dead were two off-duty cops. Even team of military snipers who happened to be ready wouldn’t have been able to stop someone shooting, at random, with no warming, from a high position above a large crowd, before a lot of people were dead.

As far as we know, the shooter had no history of violence, crime, or mental illness. Tougher prison sentences wouldn’t have stopped him because he wasn’t in prison. 

What would have stopped him? Gun control laws that kept such powerful, rapid-firing weapons out of his hands. 

Nothing else. 

The crazy thing is, we know how to stop mass shootings. We’ve known for years. And yet, thanks to the gun lobby, we can’t get it done.

At some point, the NRA is going to become for national politics what the SF Police Officers Association is becoming for local politics: An embarrassment, an endorsement you want to avoid.

Until then, I’m afraid this is going to keep happening.


  1. As long as the Republicans control Congress that won't happen. Consider this: Steven Scalise, the Majority Whip from louisiana was shot in the stomach with an exploding bullet by a random shooter, and ended up hospitalized for weeks in a coma near death. Since recovering he has not changed his view on gun rights. If that doesn't change someone's opinion nothing will.
    The only good news about the Congressional leadership is the fact that SCOTUS might change the rules on gerrymandering since they are so highly skewed at this point that the country is not really a democracy which reflects the will of the people.

  2. After the Newton Massacre of 20 children led to not even a single gun control measure, I became aware that sensible gun control is almost impossible in Amerigun. Credit The DiFi for showing some real backbone on this issue.

  3. The Times reports the gunman used a 'bump stop.' This means the butt of the gun would act like a pogo stick against his shoulder and would use the inertia of the gun recoil to fire about 10 rounds a second. Bump stops are legal (as are the equally deadly trigger cranks).

    He fired 90 shots in the first 10 seconds. That likely means he emptied three 30 round clips (legally purchased). Doesn't take a genius to figure out we could be in big trouble on this one.

  4. Since we lose 30k+/year to gun violence, the answer to the question "how many more" is either tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions. We have a cultural problem with guns. Owning 30+ guns is considered normal, but taxing those guns to help defray a portion of the costs of the carnage is a crazy. It took us a while to fall into this rat hole and it will take us a while to crawl back out. No better time than the present to get started. No to the Share Act. No to silencers. No to armor piercing bullets. No to forcing Nevada's gun fetish down our throats. No to the NRA.

  5. We are a truly doomed species. The best thing would be to allow us to fail so the planet can heal without us.

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