Borrowing the frankness James Carville brought us in the 1992 presidential campaign, one thing stands out when you examine the string of recent mass-shootings... The faster first responders arrive at the scene, the sooner the killing stops.
What follows are some grim statistics, followed by commentary:
Virginia Tech April 16, 2007: Seung-hui Cho commits two separate attacks over a span of two hours(!). He takes his own life after the second attack, after his position is surrounded, and he's (finally) assaulted by a police entry team.
Omaha Dec. 5, 2007: Robert Hawkins opens fire in a shopping mall, then takes his own life. Police take about an hour(!) to respond, find shooter dead of self-inflicted wound. His suicide note reads "sorry for everything," "Now I'll be famous."
Northen Illinois University Feb. 14, 2008: Steven Kazmierczak shoots up Cole Hall at my Alma mater. 5 die, 16 are wounded. 5 minutes after the shooting begins, a police entry team (lead by the police chief, the shooting was about 400 meters from the campus safety building) secures the shooters dead body, with 55 unfired rounds remaining. Compare and contrast with the previous two, where the shooter either ran out of ammunition, or had time to reload and strike a second target!
Binghamton, N.Y April 3, 2009: Jiverly Voong opens fire in the American Civic Assn, a center which helps recent emigres study English language and civics exams. 13 people die, 4 others are wounded. Police arrive within 2 minutes, shooter takes his own life when they arrive.
Ft. Hood, Texas: November 5 2009: Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan opens fire at a Soldier Readiness Processing Center. 13 die, 29 are wounded. While this happened at a major millitary base, it's worth noting that soldiers do not routinely travel under arms, especially at a medical clinic, where the shooting took place. Shooter fires about 214 rounds of ammunition, and is stopped by civilian police responding 10 minutes later.
Tucson, Az Jan 8 2011: Jared Loughner opens fire at one of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords meet-and-greets. 6 die, 11 are wounded before the shooter is stopped by others closeby (some of which were wounded). In this case, the first responders are other people nearby, and the response time is under a minute.
Aurora, Co July 20, 2012: James Holmes open fire at a crowded theater, 12 die, 58 others are wounded. Police apprehend the shooter outside by his vehicle minutes later.
Oak Creek, Wis Aug. 5, 2012: White supremacist Wade Michael Page opens fire at a Sikh temple, killing six. Withing minutes he's wounded by a first responder, he then takes his own life.
Happy Valley, OR December 11, 2012: Jacob Tyler Roberts rushes a crowed mall. Kills two, wounds a third before Nick Meli, licensed for concealed carry, draws on the shooter. Shooter ducks into a stairwell and takes his own life. This time, the first responder is a civilian.
Newtown, Cn December 14: Coward Adam Lanza opens fire on an elementray school after killing his own mother. 20 childeren die, 8 faculty die, some of which try to rush him unarmed. Shooter takes his own life when first responders arrive.
All of these tragedies have a few things in common:
-Shooter is a White or Aisian, 20 something male.
-Shooter targets a location where victims are known/believed to be unarmed, and crowded together.
-Killing stops either after the shooter runs out of ammunition or working firearms, or when first responders arrive.
While its tempting to cry for gun control as the solution, we're missing the obvious... first responders are the heroes. They're the ones who stops the carnage. They are the ones who's mere presence usually causes the coward to kill themselves. Usually this means law enforcement. Occasionally, this has been either armed civilans, or unarmed civilans in close proximity swarming a gunman while reloading/clearing a malfunction. Instead of demanding more gun laws, we need to be demanding more first responders where they're needed most.
How we pay for that is another matter. Perhaps if we stopped the ineffective war on drugs, we'd free up additional law enforcement resources to help protect obvious soft targets like schools and malls. Perhaps concealed carry isn't such a bad thing after all (I live in Illinois, I wouldn't know).
This approach also has key benefits:
-The NRA won't get involved when the call is for more first responders instead of more gun laws.
-Preserving the 2nd amendment is a core issue attractive to both the Republican base AND a lot of Democrats. This is just what they need now, an issue to rally around after losing baddly in two presidential election cycles. Do we really want to hand them a chance for them to gain more Congressional seats, or the White house?
To me, calls for gun control while noble and well meaning looks like a trap. I don't think asking for more resources for law enforcement to be where they're most needed is going to give Republicans anywhere near the traction a gun control fight would deliver. And unlike calls for more gun control, having more first responders where they are needed shows results.