Category Archives: Mass shootings

What happens when “fake news” stirs up an unsettled person with a gun

“The fact of the matter is what I did is so minuscule to what they’re doing to white people every day, all the time.”

— South Carolina mass murderer Dylan Roof, quoted in “Jurors Hear Dylann Roof Explain Shooting in Video: ‘I Had to Do It’ by KEVIN SACK and ALAN BLINDER, New York Times, DEC. 9, 2016

Keep guns out of hands of dangerous people

Daily Local News, 9/8/16

To the Editor:

I read with interest your Tuesday, Sept. 6th article about the depressing ‘New Normal’ where public buildings, local governments, schools and just about any place where a large number of people can work or gather have to deal with the reality that some unhinged person with a gun can show up anywhere and start firing away.

After the Sandy Hook shooting, there is a serious effort being done to make our public spaces safer.

Your article wrote extensively about the millions of dollars that are being spent on safety measures, such as bullet proof glass, active shooter drills, updated alarm systems, buzzing people in, and even high tech drivers license readers in an attempt to thwart the chances of the unthinkable… a mass shooting here in Chester County. This new reality is really depressing.

I refuse to accept the fact that we have to live in a world where we will have to spend millions of dollars upgrading our public buildings because there are so many unfit people in our country with easy access to guns. I also refuse the image of the NRA and gun rights advocates that the only solution is to arm every American to ‘protect’ ourselves and loved ones in a dystopian view of gun shoot outs with citizens protecting their loved ones by blazing away at the ‘bad guy with a gun.’

The best solution is not to deal with the aftermath of dangerous people having guns, it is to do everything to prevent that person from getting the guns to begin with! That is why gun violence prevention groups talk prevention at the most basic level:

*Universal Background checks for all gun sales-public and private

*Strengthened Background checks- loss of gun rights for all domestic abusers, and anyone with a mental illness

*Cracking Down on Gun Trafficking and Gun Fencing with effective measures such as lost and Stolen reporting and one gun per month

The states that have measures like these in place have half the gun deaths of other states. Take for example, New Jersey, which has strong gun laws to prevent the unfit from getting a gun. NJ gun deaths per 100,000 is 2.8 Contrast that with PA gun deaths per 100,000 is 11.2. The National average of gun deaths per 100,000 is 10. Compare with Canada- 2.3 and Great Britain- less than 1 gun death per 100,000, and you can see that the best safety measure is not bullet proof glass, or active shooter drills. It is doing everything you can to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

Tom Buglio
Chester County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

Mass Killings May Have Created Contagion, Feeding on Itself

By BENEDICT CAREY, New York Times, JULY 26, 2016

The horrifying rash of massacres during this violent summer suggests that public, widely covered rampage killings have led to a kind of contagion, prompting a small number of people with strong personal grievances and scant political ideology to mine previous attacks for both methods and potential targets to express their lethal anger and despair.

The Iranian-German who killed nine people at a Munich mall was reportedly obsessed with mass killings, particularly the attack by a Norwegian that killed 77 people in 2011. The Tunisian who killed 84 people at a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France, also researched previous attacks, including the mass killing in Orlando, Fla. The Orlando gunman had reportedly researched the San Bernardino, Calif., attack.

read more and see links at New York Times

Munich, US, and mental illness

excerpt from “Munich Killer Was Troubled, but Had No Terrorist Ties, Germany Says” by RUKMINI CALLIMACHI and MELISSA EDDY,” New York Times, 7/23/16

…Klaus Hurrelmann, a professor of public health and education at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, who wrote the introduction to the Germany edition of the academic study found in the gunman’s room, said the book examined 10 school killers in the United States. It found that they had mental illness, had been exposed to violence and had access to weapons — all of which appear to be the case for the Munich teenager.

“It bears noting that the perpetrator had an academic book at his home,” Mr. Hurrelmann said. “He appears to have recognized a familiar suffering among the 10 men in the book, who were in a similar situation.”

How the AK-47 and AR-15 Evolved Into Rifles of Choice for Mass Killers

By C.J. Chivers, New York Times, 8/5/16

Time and again it’s the same. A lone gunman or a small group of killers with rifles commits spectacular crimes that seize the attention of the world.

The list reaches back decades: the killing of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972; the school takeover in Beslan, Russia, in 2004; the attacks in Mumbai, India, in 2008; the mall assault in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013; the killing of more than 100 people in Paris in 2015.

Often the rifles are variants of the AK-47, the world’s most abundant firearm, an affordable and simple-to-use assault rifle of Soviet lineage that allows a few people to kill scores and menace hundreds, and fight head-to-head against modern soldiers and police forces.

In recent years they have also been descendants of the AR-15, the American military’s response to the Kalashnikov’s spread. Semiautomatic versions of the AR-15 were used by sympathizers of the Islamic State in San Bernardino, Calif., in 2015, and a Mini-14 and an MCX, rifles that fire the same cartridge as the AR-15 and compete with it for market share, were used in the mass shootings in Norway in 2011 and in Orlando, Fla., in June….

read more at New York Times

Powder Keg of easy access to Guns, mistrust = Police-Public Violence

The terrible actions this week of two black men gunned to death in a seeming unjust and overreaction of police in Louisiana and Minnesota, followed by the sniper fire that shot 11 police, killing 5 of them during a peaceful protest in Dallas, are the latest examples of the terrible results of unstable people using a firearm.  It is important to remember that the vast majority of black men and the vast majority of police are good and decent human beings, and we have much dialogue to stop this latest cycle of violence.  We back the statement that follows from States United to Prevent Gun Violence:

We as a gun violence prevention organization decry the cycle of gun violence in America, with African American communities too often bearing the brunt. The police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge — followed by the shooting of Philando Castile outside St. Paul — are abhorrent examples of the routinized use of violent, deadly force with guns as a first rather than last resort.

It is important to note that that we value law enforcement as allies in working to keep communities safe. They are understandably concerned about the number of guns on our streets and their increased firepower. The escalation of the civilian arms race — with more and more people carrying more and more high-powered guns — is indeed alarming and dangerous, but that can never be an excuse to violate the rights of the civilians they are vowed to protect or to justify disproportionate force.

The arms race on our streets is making our communities more dangerous — not safer — and it is past time to end political posturing and come together to discuss and rationally address all forms of gun violence and its many causes.

Sincerely,

Julia Wyman
Executive Director – States United to Prevent Gun Violence

Dozens gather to remember Orlando victims in West Chester

By Candice Monhollan, Daily Local News, 6/22/16,

WEST CHESTER >> The tragedy in Orlando on June 12 sent shockwaves across the nation. Those ripples of sorrow, anger and cries for change have even reached West Chester.

On Wednesday night, people of all religious faiths gathered on the steps of the Chester County Historic Courthouse to remember the 49 lives lost in that unfathomable act of terror and violence.

“As a society, we need to come together to end the continuous cycle of violence based on bias and hate,” said state Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19, of West Whiteland, in a statement for the memorial. “Members of all faith traditions must play a leading role in promoting the understanding, service and responsibility necessary to build strong and safe communities.”

Though it was organized by the Chester County rabbis, the memorial was made to be multi-faith, with several clergy coming from other places of worship from around the county, including the Rev. Joseph Heim, a retired Catholic priest, Abdul Mughes, of the Islamic Society of Chester County, and Alyce Denver, of the West Grove Friends Meeting, among many others.

Also in attendance was Mayor Carolyn Comitta.

“West Chester stands in solidarity with the victims, the families and the friends and all people of Orlando and, indeed, across our country,” she said to the crowd. “We are heartbroken (and) shocked…as we suffer the consequences of yet another mass shooting in America. This should not be a part of our American vocabulary.”…

read more at Daily Local News