Clackamas Town Center

Just when you think you can enjoy America’s gun culture in all of its abstract glory, some asshole decides to go and shoot up the mall where you spent a substantial portion of your teen years:

The Town Center remains on lock-down status while SWAT teams are making systematic sweeps of the stores and corridors. The mall’s theaters have been evacuated and several TriMet buses have arrived to take witnesses away for orderly interviews.

The shooting rampage cut short the holiday atmosphere at the mall, instead spreading a pall of horror and shock.

According to preliminary reports, a man with a semiautomatic rifle opened fire near Macy’s around 3:29 p.m. The man, who may have been wearing body armor and camouflage clothing, also was seen near the mall’s food court.

John Canzano, sports columnist for The Oregonian, reported that as many as 60 shots were fired while he was shopping at the mall. Canzano said he first noticed people “running out of the mall kind of crying and upset.” He stopped a person who said “somebody has an automatic weapon and is shooting.” The man called the scene “not good, not good.”

Let me be the first to refrain from politicizing this tragedy by pointing out that if all those people running and crying and upset had been armed with handguns, this kind of tragedy could have metastasized been avoided.

163 comments on this post.
  1. Amanda in the South Bay:

    Not a good thing for my native state to be in the news for.

  2. McKingford:

    Remember that there ought not to be a waiting period on the purchase of guns.

    But there most DEFINITELY is a waiting period on discussing gun violence.

  3. Ed head:

    Another shooting in a public mall that has a no firearm policy. They don’t seem to be working

  4. Cortney:

    Grew up a mile from the Town Center, spent many hours there as a teen. My parents still shop there weekly; they are standing on their porch in Happy Valley watching the newscopters circle the mall. But yeah, let’s not make this about gun control or mental illness or anything…

  5. joe from Lowell:

    Large places of public accommodation should have armed security available if needed – perhaps police overtime details. We make arena owners have police details for crowds as large as the population of a mall.

    Not patrolling necessarily, but there to be called.

  6. Erik Loomis:

    WHY ARE YOU POLITICIZING THIS TRAGEDY, YOU’LL PRY MY GUN OUT OF MY COLD DEAD HANDS!

  7. Steve:

    I agree, but I’d take it one step further. If some place is going to make me give up the most effective means of defending myself, they should be implicitly agreeing to handle that defense for me, and liable if they fail. The “security” at my local mall on segways doesn’t give me a lot of confidence though…

  8. Jeremy:

    Yes, because the most effective means to defend yourself against someone firing a gun in a crowded mall is to get your own gun out and start doing the same…

  9. anonymous:

    Yeah, if you had been there, this wouldn’t have happened.

  10. MAJeff:

    But only after you’ve randomly shot three people not involved in the incident.

  11. Anonymous:

    I think that you are missing the point that you shouldn’t need a gun to protect yourself in a public arena like this. I think it is also not very well publicised over there that this doesn’t happen in countries where there is gun control

  12. joe from Lowell:

    If you think walking around with a gun on your person in the mall is “the most effective means of defending myself,” you have appalling judgement and a remarkably poor understanding of personal safety.

  13. Steve:

    I don’t know what you mean, it obviously couldn’t happen anyways. It was a gun free zone. Totally unpossible.
    But if I were there, I would have gotten the F out of there unless there wasn’t any other option. Then I honestly have no idea what I would have done, nor do I ever want to have to find out.

  14. DrDick:

    However, in countries like England, Japan, and France, where there are strict limits on who can own a gun and how they have to be handled, these kinds of things almost never happen. Almost makes you think that there might be a relationship there.

  15. Steve:

    Countries with strict gun control like Mexico and Venezuela? Or somewhere more “civilized”, like Norway?

  16. joe from Lowell:

    If some place is going to make me give up the most effective means of defending myself

    But if I were there, I would have gotten the F out of there

    So, the mall is making you give up the ability to “get the fuck out of there?” With its gun-free policy?

  17. arguingwithsignposts:

    Communist!

  18. Joshua:

    There is nothing anyone can do about these mass shootings in public places; they are just something that happens, like earthquakes.

  19. Keaaukane:

    And Switzerland, where people are required to keep a machine gun in their home, also has very little of the crazy ass shoot up the mall/cinema/restaurant shit we have. It’s not just guns, which is too bad. It means the problem will be harder to solve.

  20. Keaaukane:

    I refuse to accept that.

  21. sparks:

    There is nothing anyone can do about drunk driving accidents, it’s just something that happens, like tornadoes.

  22. Dr. Waffle:

    “Countries with strict gun control like Mexico and Venezuela?”

    You don’t believe the availability of guns has made the drug/gang wars in those countries infinitely worse?

    “Or somewhere more “civilized”, like Norway?”

    We’ve probably had more mass shootings in the last six months than Norway has had in its entire history (excluding war).

  23. TRG:

    Most people are not street savvy tough guys like you.

  24. Linnaeus:

    While I don’t agree with this in principle, I do think that’s become the cultural attitude about these things in practice (which is what I think you are actually getting at, unless I’m misinterpreting your comment). I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. Americans have simply decided to accept it.

  25. Dr. Waffle:

    http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/switzerland

    Ah, the Switzerland fallacy. Next we’ll hear how unsafe Chicago is despite its restrictive gun laws.

  26. Gone2Ground:

    I think we should start sending tasteless congratulation cards to the NRA en masse when these things happen.

    “Thanks to the NRA, Mass Murder is the Price for FREEDOM!”

    “Thanks, NRA! Because of you and your fearmongering, some more innocent people DIED today!

    Maybe since Americans are waking up to the fact that other RW ideas are obvious BS (like “let’s give all the monies to the rich people so’s we’ll all be RICH!”), they will finally start to question the ridiculous idea that MORE GUNS = LESS VIOLENCE.

  27. Joshua:

    Yes, exactly. It’s simply become accepted practice and nobody can dare speak up about it. Utter madness.

  28. brandon:

    A mass bombing, however, and you gotta get your army together and invade somebody somewhere!

  29. Keaaukane:

    I’m not sure what your point is. The Swiss do have a militia system, and militia members do keep their rifles and pistols at home. The problem is not just guns.

  30. brandon:

    As I recall Bowling For Columbine had a pretty interesting tangent towards the end about this precise issue, though Moore was comparing gun use in Canada vs. the U.S.

  31. Brutusettu:

    Check out the “annual homicides by any means total” and the “annual firearm homicides total”

    Most homicides in Switzerland are done with guns it would appear.

  32. James E. Powell:

    You refuse to accept it, but what can you or anyone else (including me) do?

    Any regulation of any guns or gun owners is out of the question. Neither the supreme court nor elected officials are going to allow anything like that.

    And no one is going to agree to have the government pay for mental health care for every person. Even that wouldn’t rule out incidents like these because they are not always predictable in advance. (NB – In retrospect, they are almost always predictable.)

    So, what do we do?

  33. sparks:

    Unless said bombing is performed by white Americans, of course.

  34. Dr. Waffle:

    @Keaaukane

    I don’t disagree. But easy access to firearms certainly exacerbates the problem.

  35. Sly:

    And Switzerland, where people are required to keep a machine gun in their home

    A machine gun with no bullets.

    Funny how that part is consistently omitted.

  36. Linkmeister:

    I approve of this idea.

    NRA mailing address:

    National Rifle Association of America
    11250 Waples Mill Road
    Fairfax, VA 22030

  37. GFW:

    See if you can’t find some way to send them postage due.

  38. Linnaeus:

    Ammunition used to be issued (in a sealed box), but the Swiss government stopped that when someone loaded his required weapon and shot his family with it.

  39. ironic irony:

    Just another reason why I do most of my shopping on the internet.

  40. Jay:

    In 1919, we declared a war on booze, and we won.

    In 1968, President Nixon declared war on drugs, and now drug addiction is virtually unheard of.

    In 2001, the U.S. declared a War on Terror, and now the Muslim world is full of Pro-American, free-market democracies.

    Clearly, it is now time for the federal government to follow in the footsteps of these great victories and declare a War on Guns.

  41. Bexley:

    Guns don’t kill people, guns and ammo kill people!

  42. wengler:

    The firearm and ammunition is issued to reservists participating in national defense. It’s not for rec shooting or personal defense.

    Requiring military training before people receive their weapons allows Switzerland to weed out crazy people unlike in the US where you don’t have to demonstrate any knowledge or training to buy deadly weapons.

  43. wengler:

    There are so many facets of the gun issue that I don’t understand. We have a Constitutional right to semi-automatic handguns, but not fully automatic AKs without an expensive ATF license? Why the fuck not?

    If I had a M249 while walking around the mall, I could’ve sawed this guy in half lickity split. But noooooo, I have to settle for shitty personal defense weapons like a 9mm that I can only push out to 30 rounds with an extended mag.

  44. Dr. Waffle:

    *sigh* Yes, because what gun-control advocates are clamoring for is the outlawing of all firearms. Not sensible restrictions which prevent criminals and crazies from obtaining weapons with which they can massacre their fellow citizens. That would just make too much damn sense!

    Oh, and by the way buddy: us libtards were opposed to the “wars” on drugs and terror long before libertarians decided it was cool.

  45. Davis X. Machina:

    Never been to Lowell, I see….

  46. Malaclypse:

    Reading the above, I’m sure of one thing: no topic proves Poe’s Law as effectively as gun violence.

  47. johnk24a:

    If the world went the way the NRA would like, then Clackamas Town Center would not have been a gun-free zone, shoppers would have had the option to be armed, and the shooter would have known that he may have to contend with people prepared and ready to defend themselves.

    However, outfits like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence have led to the banning of firearms from many places frequented by the public. In those gun-free zones, people are virtually defenseless. Did you ever notice that the vast majority of cases of mass shootings occur in “gun-free zones”?

    So, send your congratulations cards to the Brady Campaign: “Congratulations! Because of you, a bad guy didn’t risk getting shot by an innocent bystander! Because of you and your fearmongering, some more innocent people DIED today!”

    In Virginia, the number of guns purchased increased by 73 percent from 2006-11. The total number of gun-related crimes decreased by 24 percent during the same period.

    http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/local/central-virginia/gun-related-violent-crimes-drop-as-gun-sales-soar-in/article_54cca13a-35ee-11e2-83f0-0019bb30f31a.html

    More guns don’t necessarily lead to more violence, and fewer guns necessarily means that people are less able to defend themselves.

  48. Hogan:

    In Virginia, the number of guns purchased increased by 73 percent from 2006-11. The total number of gun-related crimes decreased by 24 percent during the same period.

    How many of those guns stayed in Virginia, and how many traveled to DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia (where we’re seeing another 300-homicide year) and New York?

  49. Fluffytuna:

    I see that somehow the Israeli’s have been omitted from this discussion. Why?

  50. Joey Maloney:

    What, exactly, do you think we have to contribute?

  51. Dave:

    Leave. Find a sane country. There are quite a few to choose from.

  52. Dave:

    Since many of these shooters clearly have no intention of surviving their act, I cannot see how the additional of further crossfire would improve the overall situation.

    But, y’know, fuckin’ logic, how does that work?

  53. bradP:

    However, in countries like England, Japan, and France, where there are strict limits on who can own a gun and how they have to be handled, these kinds of things almost never happen. Almost makes you think that there might be a relationship there.

    The relationship could be a common cause, not cause and effect. The same factors that made it more likely that England, Japan, and France would have stricter gun control enforcement are very much the same factors that would lead to less gun violence.

    You can look at it another way, Japan, England, and France would likely have much lower gun crime rates even without the laws.

  54. Snarki, child of Loki:

    There’s nothing that anyone can do about NRA talking points. It’s like flatulence.

  55. Snarki, child of Loki:

    Are not most enclosed shopping malls privately owned?

    Can the owners set rules for the public to enter their private property? After all, I don’t think you get to run a protest rally at the mall, 1st amendment doesn’t apply.

    Why do you hate private property? Communist.

  56. bradP:

    If you think walking around with a gun on your person in the mall is “the most effective means of defending myself,” you have appalling judgement and a remarkably poor understanding of personal safety.

    I would say that, with good training and a level head, having a gun on ones person is as effective defense as one can find.

    However, if the mall were to assume that all who might carry a gun does have the necessary training and preparation, they would be far more negligent of shopper safety than they are under the current no gun policy.

  57. Snarki, child of Loki:

    You left out the “War on Poverty”.

    But in that case, I think we just declared VICTORY! or maybe “Peace with Honor”, and beat a hasty retreat.

    And, except for a thousand or two unjustified tasings and a few million evictions, it’s been working about as well as Nixon’s peace plan.

  58. BigHank53:

    Having been much much much too close to a couple national scale events, I treat most shooting threads like they’re filled with Ebola.

    The single solitary bright spot in the entire DC sniper case was that the NRA gun-fetish crowd* had fuck-all to say about it. When your murderer is 200 yards away your handgun might as well be on the moon.

    *There are members of the NRA who aren’t Second Amendment absolutists. I used to be one.

  59. bradP:

    I’ll start by saying this is hardly conclusive evidence, but the murder rate in DC has been dropping steadily and are at their lowest levels for half a century.

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/d.c.-murders-fall-below-triple-digits-first-time-since-1963/article/2515584#.UMdCHYN6qSq

  60. bradP:

    You left out the “War on Poverty”.

    Another failure!

  61. Malaclypse:

    The single solitary bright spot in the entire DC sniper case was that the NRA gun-fetish crowd* had fuck-all to say about it.

    True accounting story: the most loathesome client I ever had was a company that designed and ran online sales sites for mom-and-pop gun stores. That gun was a sniper rifle, bought in WA, and only 4 stores sold it. Two were their clients. And for weeks, everybody was really, really subdued over the thought that they had a hand in selling it.

    But then it turned out it wasn’t one of their stores, so back to business as usual.

  62. Dr. Waffle:

    Actually, the War on Poverty has been more successful than not:

    http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/business/Screen%20Shot%202012-09-13%20at%205.49.41%20PM.png

    Even Reagan adviser Martin Anderson conceded this in 1978: “The ‘dismal failure’ of welfare is a myth. There may be great inefficiencies in our welfare programs . . . But if we step back and judge the vast array of welfare programs, on which we spend billions of dollars every year, by two basic criteria–the completeness of coverage for those who really need help, and the adequacy of help they do receive–the picture changes dramatically. Judged by these standards our welfare system has been a brilliant success. The war on poverty is over for all practical purposes.”

    But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good narrative.

  63. jadegold:

    Gun fetishists see photos of Israeli citizens carrying around military assault rifles and assume Israel is a gunloon utopia. Like the Switzerland fallacy discussed above, Israel has some pretty tough gun regulations that include licensing, medical and psychological clearances and a zero tolerance attitude toward any criminal behavior, alcohol/drug abuse.

  64. Anderson:

    I want that T-shirt.

  65. Gone2Ground:

    Oh Really?

    Here’s a stat showing that states with more guns = higher deaths from gun violence.

    http://www.vpc.org/press/1006gundeath.htm

    You know, the NRA used to be about training in gun safety and GUN CONTROL. Then sometime around the same time the RW adopted the Southern Strategy, the NRA decided to be All GUNS ALL THE TIME with no eXCEPtiONS.

    The NRA doesn’t care about individual gun ownership or firearm deaths. They are a lobbying arm for America’s Other Big Export – weapons.

    But, you know, facts and logic again.

  66. Truth Speaks:

    Next we’ll hear how unsafe Chicago is despite its restrictive gun laws.

    I think you’ve already said what needs saying.

  67. Truth Speaks:

    I would say that, with good training and a level head, having a gun on ones person is as effective defense as one can find.

    Brad, you are correct, Sir. that’s why police use guns. They’re portable and effective.

    And the most interesting part of concealed carry laws that vary from state to state is the most conservative states seem to require more training to be licensed and the more liberal states that have “shall issue” laws the most lax.

    For instance, Texas has some of the most extensive training in safety, proficiency and applicable law about use of deadly force. Vermont, on the other hand, has nothing. You just carry. No license required.

  68. bradP:

    Get back to me when that gap between income and consumption comes back down.

    Until then you aren’t beating poverty, you are papering over it.

  69. Truth Speaks:

    Autos kill a tremendous amount of people, but those who are unwilling to further regulate their ownership and use because of public danger feel that way because they believe the traffic deaths are a necessary price we all pay for the important service autos provide.

    What’s not discussed by the other side is the important role that guns play…important enough that they’re specifically enshrined in our constitution.

    It’s always easy to call for more regulation and restriction on something that is not woven into the fabric of your life and you feel has no value.

    It’s not your ox that being gored.

  70. Malaclypse:

    Get back to me when that gap between income and consumption comes back down.

    It did. Then 1980 happened.

  71. John Protevi:

    Shorter Brad: give a child a meal and you’re fostering dependency. STOP PAPERING OVER POVERTY11!1!!!! ADEQUATE NUTRITION HAS NO EFFECT ON SCHOOL PERFORMANCE!!!

    p.s. I am not a crackpot. Why is everyone looking at me?

  72. Truth Speaks:

    I remember the shooter in New York outside the Empire State Bldg.

    The police shot pretty much everyone except the shooter. I think they shot like nine people before they got him.

    Gun crazy bastards

  73. Truth Speaks:

    Clearly, it is now time for the federal government to follow in the footsteps of these great victories and declare a War on Guns.

    Thanks Jay….I got a real chuckle out of your post.

    Well said, Sir….Well said.

  74. John Protevi:

    Autos kill a tremendous amount of people, but those who are unwilling to further regulate their ownership and use because of public danger feel that way because they believe the traffic deaths are a necessary price we all pay for the important service autos provide.

    PUBLIC TRANSPORT IS SOCIALISTICAL. I HEARD THEY HAVE BUSSES IN KENYA. WHY DON’T YOU LGM GUYS JUST MOVE TO FRANCE HUH? THEY HAVE TRAINS THERE!!!111 TRAINS THAT SERVE WAFFLES ON THEM. EXCEPT THERE THEY’RE CALLED CREPES. WAIT, WHAT WAS I TALKING ABOUT? OH YEAH GUN CARS. BONNIE AND CLYDE WERE REALLY COOL, AND THEY HAD GUNS AND CARS! NO TRAINS FOR THEM!!!111!!!

  75. Malaclypse:

    The police shot pretty much everyone except the shooter. I think they shot like nine people before they got him.

    Clearly, things would have gone better had we just added 30 or so civilian shooters into the mix.

    Fucking JenBob, how does it think?

  76. joe from Lowell:

    that’s why police use guns.

    Nope.

    Self-defense is not why police carry guns. Thanks for playing, have some Turtle Wax.

  77. Malaclypse:

    I HEARD THEY HAVE BUSSES IN KENYA.

    SURE, IGNORE GHANA, WHICH IS PARADISE ON EARTH, JUST LIKE LGM ALWAYS IGNORES GHANA. GHANA IS AWESOME, AND J OTTO LOVES IT, EXCEPT COMMUNISTS HAVE KEPT HIM FROM TEACHING IN THE UNITED STATES, AND HE’S NOT BITTER AT ALL ABOUT THIS, BECAUSE GHANA IS GREAT, SO JUST SHUT UP, YOU STALINIST YOU.

  78. joe from Lowell:

    I would say that, with good training and a level head, having a gun on ones person is as effective defense as one can find.

    Really?

    Better than being aware of what’s around you and knowing where the exits are?

    Better than having good judgement and knowing better than to try to be Mr. Tough Guy?

    It’s funny how a certain variety of people defined “defense” as “the ability to kill people when they need it.”

  79. Malaclypse:

    You say that now, but as soon as you leave the safety of the pasty-white exurb of Lowell, you will be urinating yourself with fear just like JenBob.

  80. John Protevi:

    Man, this thread would be e.e. cummings’s idea of hell! ALL CAPS RULE, COMMIES DROOL!

  81. sharculese:

    Well, fuck me then, I guess it’s too bad that we can’t have a conversation about maybe the state of regulation we have now is the wrong one and we should make adjustments to that, it can only be the sort of screechy all out assault that resonates in the minds of the sad, dumb, and terrified.

    Oh, you mean that’s not true, and adults can have a conversation that doesn’t involve plumbing the depths of your panic-addled id? Thank fucking god.

  82. Njorl:

    While I would like to see many fewer guns in private hands, I think this is more of a mental health issue. We need mental health care to be more available and less stigmatized.

  83. spencer:

    Another shooting in a public mall that has a no firearm policy. They don’t seem to be working

    You’re absolutely right. Clearly, more stringent measures should be taken, preferably by an entity that has some sort of meaningful authority to enforce its policies.

    Like, say, some sort of federal gun control policy. That might do the trick – since clearly some unbalanced gun owners cannot be trusted to obey the various “no firearms” policies in place throughout the country.

    That is what you were getting at, right?

  84. Left_Wing_Fox:

    I went shopping at the Clackamas Town Center whenever we’d visit grandparents.

    Tragic.

  85. spencer:

    Kind of tough to prevent guns from sneaking in over the city limits unless you’re installing roadblocks for car-by-car searches.

    Much better instead to widen the geographic scope of restrictive gun laws.

  86. BigHank53:

    JenBob lives in Chelmsford?

  87. Uncle Kvetch:

    MOTHERFUCKER, I WANT MORE MAPLE SYRUP!

  88. spencer:

    You can look at it another way, Japan, England, and France would likely have much lower gun crime rates even without the laws.

    Interesting hypothesis. Have you given any thought to how such a hypothesis might be tested?

  89. spencer:

    What could *possibly* go wrong?

  90. bradP:

    It did. Then 1980 happened.

    Poverty levels based on income alone shot up in early 80s likely due to the recession, but it dropped steadily in the later 80s, and tracked consumption extremely well.

  91. spencer:

    with good training and a level head

    Think of all the people you know.

    Then ask yourself how many of those people have both of those – particularly in a high-pressure, confusing environment – or would even be likely to seek “good training” in the first place.

  92. Malaclypse:

    Poverty levels based on income alone shot up in early 80s likely due to the recession,

    Interesting that you have chosen not to look at after-transfer poverty rates. Nothing at all dodgy about that choice, considering we were discussing the effectiveness of transfer programs.

  93. bradP:

    Shorter Protevi: It doesn’t matter whether someone is living off of sustenance-level welfare or earning a living.

  94. BigHank53:

    That’s…depressing. Most of the people I’ve met in the firearms industry have been genuinely nice folks*…with a blind spot. I imagine that the blind spot is required if you want to stay sane.

    *The anti-semitic pamphlets I encountered in Palestine**, Texas prompted an immediate departure.

    **Yes, really.

  95. John Protevi:

    Shorter Brad: I don’t understand the difference between “someone” and “a child.”

  96. spencer:

    The comparison between guns and cars is idiotic, and if you need me to explain why that is, then so are you.

  97. jadegold:

    It’s really a simplistic argument to claim Prohibition failed and the War on some Drugs failed and equate it to gun control. Nobody is talking about banning all guns.

    The standard gunloon tactic is to claim any reasoable gun regulation is the first step to the gulags. Of course, campaigns to limit drunk driving failed because of better education/enforcement. And driving deaths have soared because of seat belt laws and the mandated auto safety features like air bags and crash standards. All ’cause the Govt declared a War on Driving.

    Aside from the emotional costs of gun violence, there are significant economic costs. I’ll bet the store owners in that Clackamas Mall really appreciate having to shut down for a couple days in the middle of the XMas shopping season.

  98. Malaclypse:

    Is Chelmsford even really a place? Because I’ve lived near where it is supposed to be for two decades, but I’ve never actually seen it, as near as I can recall.

  99. bradP:

    Interesting that you have chosen not to look at after-transfer poverty rates. Nothing at all dodgy about that choice, considering we were discussing the effectiveness of transfer programs.

    What I am seeing is transfer programs that keep people from starving, but are doing nothing to raise the percentage of people who are earning a quality living wage.

    If protection from starvation is a sufficient measure of success for you, great. I want to see signs that all people are having more opportunity and acting upon it.

  100. bradP:

    They don’t. That’s why I said it would be absurd for malls to assume gun-carrying patrons would somehow be a safe addition to the shopping environment.

  101. spencer:

    Fucking freeloading kids.

  102. Malaclypse:

    If protection from starvation is a sufficient measure of success for you, great.

    Well, it certainly beats not being protected from malnutrition, at least in my humble opinion. But I suppose if you are Libertarian, opinions may differ,

  103. bradP:

    Shorter Brad: I don’t understand the difference between “someone” and “a child.”

    If we are talking about child achievement and welfare’s success, then why are official income poverty rates at their highest point since the mid-60s and rising?

    If our welfare programs were improving child acheivement, one would expect official income poverty to be decreasing steadily, as an ever greater portion of children are finding greater mobility and opportunity.

    That isn’t happening. The next generation of children is just as likely to need government assistance to maintain a basic standard of living. Maybe more according to that chart.

  104. DrDick:

    All three countries have thriving criminal undergrounds and gang cultures which are notoriously violent. I think you might want to reconsider that position.

  105. Malaclypse:

    If our welfare programs were improving child acheivement, one would expect official income poverty to be decreasing steadily, as an ever greater portion of children are finding greater mobility and opportunity.

    Actually, given that we’ve been cutting at welfare for thirty years, no, we would expect that, given the actually effectiveness that we saw back when we still thought of ourselves as a commonwealth, that cutting these effective programs would lead to back outcomes of exactly the sort that we are seeing.

    And please, for the love of Cthulhu, don’t fall back on using numbers that are not adjusted for inflation or population growth to argue that spending has gone up. Because fuck me, that is a tiresome strategy.

  106. DrDick:

    And both of those people US might well be safe. For everyone else, however, the statistics paint a very different picture. Science and facts are not your friends here.

  107. muddy:

    This is entirely wrong. In Vermont you have to take the hunter safety course in order to get a hunting license. The hunting license allows you to carry your guns.

    I wish people would quit saying there is no license required in Vermont, or maybe you were the one saying this wrong shit the last time too.

  108. DrDick:

    Fucking JenBob, how does it think?

    I think you are assuming facts emphatically not in evidence.

  109. Hogan:

    Maybe they’re just reverting to the mean, but good news in any case.

    D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier attributed the drop to a focus on guns, more tips from residents and new technology as well as the city’s Gang Intelligence Unit.

  110. John Protevi:

    How is it, Brad, that you propose that children in poverty now “find greater mobility and opportunity” other than with better welfare programs? People gotta eat, dude, while they go to school.

    Besides, the whole poverty comes from bad human capital story is falling apart anyway. I mean didn’t you see that even Paul Fucking Krugman of the New York Fucking Times is off the skills train and onto the capital train? http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/human-versus-physical-capital/

  111. muddy:

    It’s always easy to call for more regulation and restriction on something that is not woven into the fabric of your life and you feel has no value.

    Yeah! Imagine if they made people register their cars and carry liability insurance! And have driver’s licences that can be readily taken away if they fuck up.

    It’d just be crazy! Who would submit to this tyranny??? You will have to pry my cold dead hands off my steering wheel!

  112. SP:

    Guns don’t kill people, lack of a universal health care system kills people!
    Oh wait, that’s true.

  113. PSP:

    Vermont’s Act 250 more or less bans indoor malls, thus preventing similar episodes without implicating gun laws at all.

    More evidence (along with electing Bernie Sanders) that Vermont is the only sane state.

  114. mpowell:

    Yes, the critical function that guns play in allowing certain individuals to feel more manly. Gravely critical.

  115. BigHank53:

    There’s an exit for it, so it must be somewhere. Unless it’s another 250-year-old Massachusetts in-joke, which I have to admit is possible.

  116. Brandon C.:

    Lol, I remember reading on CNN that they actually had better than average accuracy for Police too. They shot three people through the guy, and five via ricochets.

    I couldn’t think of better proof against the more guns argument than that. They police were on the scene, and even with better than average shooting still couldn’t avoid shooting 8 more people than intended…

  117. bradP:

    How is it, Brad, that you propose that children in poverty now “find greater mobility and opportunity” other than with better welfare programs? People gotta eat, dude, while they go to school.

    I’m not against better welfare programs. I have expressed support on here for guaranteed basic incomes and a subsidized public option in healthcare.

    We are discussing whether the war on poverty has been a success, and I say it hasn’t because we are not seeing an increase in the people who do not need to rely on welfare.

    Besides, the whole poverty comes from bad human capital story is falling apart anyway.

    While I do believe poverty is in part caused by behavior that isn’t a result of poverty, I sincerely hope that I have never been in the “bad human capital” camp.

    If anything, I am generally accused of being panglossian about the relative value and power of human and physical capital.

  118. bradP:

    Actually, given that we’ve been cutting at welfare for thirty years, no, we would expect that, given the actually effectiveness that we saw back when we still thought of ourselves as a commonwealth, that cutting these effective programs would lead to back outcomes of exactly the sort that we are seeing.

    Here’s what I get from that chart:

    The % of people who are in poverty following taxes and transfers has been steadily dropping. The people who are in poverty because their income is insufficient to support a basic livelihood has gone up.

    To me that says that we are treating the symptom and not the illness.

  119. witless chum:

    It’s probably a vicious circle, the NRA’s extremism drives out the members who might restrain the extremism. It’s like a snake shooting at its own tail.

  120. Malaclypse:

    To me that says that we are treating the symptom and not the illness.

    We’ll make a Marxist out of you yet ;-)

  121. bradP:

    Well, it certainly beats not being protected from malnutrition, at least in my humble opinion. But I suppose if you are Libertarian, opinions may differ,

    This libertarian agree with you on that, but I wouldn’t call that winning the “War on Poverty”. I would call that papering over it, or applying a bandaid, if you prefer that metaphor.

  122. Greco:

    Only bad guys get hurt in a shootout. Don’t you people watch teevee?

  123. Malaclypse:

    Fair enough, but if one does find oneself wounded, a bandaid is a remarkably useful thing. And while bandaids may technically only treat symptoms, they also inhibit gangrene.

  124. Malaclypse:

    Could be that one needs to take the Cape Cod Tunnel to get there…

  125. bradP:

    We’ll make a Marxist out of you yet ;-)

    The thing is that I have been a libertarian, and most of my reading and discussions come from a libertarian perspective. My favorite political writers tend to advocate the ways in which free markets can help promote social justice.

    While there are going to be a lot of shared goals, we are going to have a lot of disagreement about how to acheive those goals.

    But to me, its the values and goals that are important, and that’s why these discussions don’t implode.

    And finally, despite some truly hard headedness, I do not come away from these discussions completely unswayed.

  126. bradP:

    I would need to see more, as those results could be a reflection of people knowing when their risks of getting shot are going up.

    Although this:

    Virtually all of this risk involved homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance.

    does seem to make sense, as it would make “crimes of passion” also “crimes of opportunity”.

  127. Njorl:

    I think this is indirectly a possibility. I think the gun nuts themselves are politically solid for the conservatives.

    I don’t think gun hysteria is ever enough to decide an election, but it can be enough to put a conservative over the top. Chip away at the racism, the misogyny, the fear of sociamalisim, homophobia and soon, the gun nuts won’t be critical.

  128. J R in WV:

    Without looking at all the posts, I want to reply to one by BradP:

    “If protection from starvation is a sufficient measure of success for you, great. I want to see signs that all people are having more opportunity and acting upon it.”

    His wish to see signs that people have opportunity and are acting upon that opportunity is not something that any government program can provide. I had every opportunity a person can have, I’m bright, my parents were achievers with means and worked st to try to motivate me. When I first went to college I majored in Bridge, the card game.

    The second time I went to college I was more interested, and studied Appalachian history, labor history, and wrote some barely interesting papers, but learned nothing that would yield a career.

    The third time I went to college I was 30, and I went after consulting with an advisor who guided me into a course of study that – surprise – brought forth a career I could do something with.

    But the will to stick with courses I didn’t like came from within – even with government aid in the form of VA advice and the GI bill, I had to summon the drive to spend hours in study of subjects that in the abstract I despised.

    What I learned in those classes was mostly directly helpful in my profession, which I was pretty successful in.

    But no one person or agency can provide ambition or gumption to a person who would rather eat commodity cheese and cook meth in the bathroom.

    And there are a significant group of people who, even though reasonably bright and capable, can’t get to work every day on time, won’t cook food that is not appetizing to them personally, won’t do things they don’t like to do to make money.

    Then there are those who are absolutely incapable of doing anything that someone will pay them for; the group of people who are off the rails, mentally incapable or disturbed. People who can’t stand to be with other people all day, like hermits.

    I know people who are gifted with monster skills, but who can’t bear to touch another person for fear of – something. How are they to work and use their skills?

    So, Bradp, I’m sorry, but you can’t have that perfect world, where people who have opportunity will take advantage of it. There are people who are born confidence grifters, or thieves, or drug addicts, hooked on something, anything.

    People who can barely talk coherently. People who can’t manage money they win in a lottery or at the casino. People who cannot succeed at anything but misery. That’s sad, isn’t it…

  129. joe from Lowell:

    the safety of the pasty-white exurb of Lowell

    I don’t remember if it was here or at another site, but I once had a racist wingnut tell me that I didn’t really understand the challenges of being an inner-city teacher, because I was teaching Asians.

    Grimly humorous, if you know anything about Lowell.

  130. joe from Lowell:

    Comparing guns to cars is a really, really terrible way to argue that there should be fewer regulations on guns.

    Good lord, do you have any idea how heavily regulated cars are?

  131. bradP:

    Some points:

    1) There is quite a disconnect between how you describe the events of your own life and how you describe the pitiful existence of others.

    “The third time I went to college I was 30, and I went after consulting with an advisor who guided me into a course of study that – surprise – brought forth a career I could do something with.”

    That is juxtaposed with this:

    “People who can barely talk coherently. People who can’t manage money they win in a lottery or at the casino. People who cannot succeed at anything but misery. That’s sad, isn’t it…”

    Have you considered the possibility that it was incompetence and not your choice of majors that lead to your slow start?

    2) I never said I was looking for perfection. I would be fine with improvement to start.

    3) You throw drug addicts in with theives which is problematic, but if you can’t see how drug laws are making things exponentially worse for people prone to drug abuse, there is no point in pushing into more subtle behaviors and policies.

  132. bradP:

    Mandatory liability insurance on guns would be one regulation that I think should be shared by the two types of ownership.

  133. Dr. Waffle:

    @BradP

    No one’s arguing that the War on Poverty has been perfect, or that it’s over. But what genuinely perplexes me is the tendency among libertarians to hold certain programs (especially if they’re initiated by liberals)to standards so impossibly high that failure is all but guaranteed.

    It’s not enough that the WoP has mitigated some of poverty’s worst features and substantially improved the lives of millions of people; it hasn’t eliminated poverty completely, so therefore it should have never happened.

    It’s not enough that the New Deal reduced unemployment, spurred economic growth, and prevented countless citizens from falling into utter destitution; it didn’t end the Depression in the abritrary time restraints we’re retroactively imposing, so therefore it was a failure.

    And so on and so forth.

  134. Dr. Waffle:

    This.

  135. CaptBackslap:

    Reminiscent of a classic exchange from Don’t Be a Menace:

    ASHTRAY: Dewrag, the real power isn’t in the guns. You know where the real power is?

    DEWRAG: In the BULLETS!

  136. redwoods:

    Yeah, that’s just the Virginia guns-to-various-Northern-population-centers pipeline rumbling back into operation. Do you not remember the 80′s (lol, course not troll!), something like 2 out of 5 homicide-related guns in NYC came from Virginia!

  137. CJColucci:

    Many years ago, Playboy published what was probably meant to be a humorous piece on what to do about guns. The proposed solution: a federal license that would say, in effect, “Jim-Bob here is a decent, law-abiding citizne, and can have all the guns he wants.”
    Relying on the self-interest of licensees, who, like doctors, lawyers, etc., want to make their licensed status even more privileged, the author expected that the licensees themselves would up the ante on things like background checks, training, registration, and the like, making the licenses more and more exclusive, and more of something they could brag about having.
    Eventually, we would have strong gun safety and control laws because the licensees would insist upon them to make themselves feel special.
    Makes as much sense as anything I’ve heard.

  138. J R in WV:

    1) I don’t think incompetence is something you get over. I think it’s usually a complex combination of factors that I lack. The evidence of this is that I wound up a successful software developer and project manager. My major was philosophy, technically, but I mostly played cards, as I was not motivated to study.

    I’m obviously talking about people who are capable but don’t succeed AND people who will never succeed because they are either not capable or too ill to attempt to be capable.

    2) I too would settle for gradual improvement, as perfection isn’t humanly possible very often. I think the lack of political support for helping the under-classes probably slows down improvement, and that we are obviously better off than we were in 1932. But we have a long way to go.

    One of my best friends worked for the Human Services folks until she retired. She was assigned to elder support, people who were losing their abilities due to age or abuse of some kind, and she tried to protect them and provide what support the welfare structure allowed. Too many sad stories, often with no one individual really at fault.

    Having been on Grand Jury and Petit Jury several times, I’ve seen just a little more misery than people who have avoided jury duty, maybe that improved my empathy, or maybe I came with a larger helping than some.

    3) How you can derive my lack of insight into drug law and it’s execution from anything I wrote escapes me. I was trying to list characteristics common to people who can’t take advantage of opportunity; there are plenty of others, but I’m not a professional social worker and so can’t really list syndromes from a testbook.

    I think 3) is just another personal attack, just like “incompetent” was. Way to have a conversation on the issues!

    Is that from being a libertarian, or do I have the horse/cart/relationship backwards?

    My biggest failure is an inability to starve a troll. I keep trying to learn, but I get fooled so often it’s depressing. Here I go again…

  139. John Protevi:

    Sorry, Brad, you’re right, you have made those statements here. In this case, I was arguing against a straw libertarian, not you. My bad. No waffles for me today!

  140. DrDick:

    Given the available data, the burden of proof is on those who say it makes you safer.

  141. bradP:

    I think 3) is just another personal attack, just like “incompetent” was. Way to have a conversation on the issues!

    Perhaps.

    If you are trying to prove to me that not everyone is capable of providing for himself or herself, you can stop. That much is obvious.

    If you want to prove to me that the vast majority of the problem isn’t on the part of social and legal restrictions on opportunity, and is rather on incompetent individuals who just can’t help but screw up their lives, the Drug War is the worst possible example.

    Also, the incompetence you describe in other people is far more related to what lead you to major in bridge than actual incompetence.

  142. hunter:

    The DC killer didn’t actually use a “sniper rifle” or even a scope. It was a .223 at under 100 yards. There are millions of hunting rifles floating around that could be used by a psychotic to kill at long distances if equipped with a decent scope.

  143. Gun Nuts R Us:

    That’s OK. We have a Damascus just a few miles from Clackamas Town Center. It’s all starting to make sense now…

  144. BambiB:

    In that case, they would be six times more negligent in allowing law enforcement personnel to carry firearms in the mall.

    After all, COPS KILL THE WRONG PERSON AT THE SCENES OF CRIMES SIX TIMES MORE OFTEN THAN ARMED CITIZENS.

    Then there’s the fact that these mass-casualty whackos tend to gravitate to gun-free zones. Ever hear of one shooting up a police station?

  145. BambiB:

    You can’t stop an earthquake with a handgun.

    But you CAN stop a mass shooting with a handgun.

  146. Anonymous:

    While your use of BOLD CAPS is indeed persuasive, could it be at all possible that police are more than six times likely to be armed? Do we really want civilians to be as likely as police to shoot? Are we (and I use the term loosely) completely fucking insane?

  147. Anonymous:

    Examples needed.

  148. Truth Speaks:

    Dr. Wiffle:I don’t disagree. But easy access to firearms certainly exacerbates the problem.

    Yeah…..Mmmmmm…NO!

  149. Truth Speaks:

    The rifle pulled it’s own trigger!!!

    We all saw it

  150. Truth Speaks:

    Science and facts are not your friends here.

    The Constitutional *individual* right to keep and bear arms, as recently affirmed by the SCOTUS, are what counts….unless you don’t wish to consider the law.

    Nice…

  151. Truth Speaks:

    Ever hear of one shooting up a police station?

    Yes, that happens quite frequently as does mass shootings at gun ranges and NRA conventions.

    There’s no forethought…they just SNAP!!

  152. rea:

    I gather that people leave Lowell and move to Boston to get away from violent crime . . .

  153. Rhino:

    The problem is of course, loaded guns. The Swiss militia are issued firearms but no ammunition.

    Idiot.

  154. Truth Speaks:

    heh….

    I knew it would be a racial issue at some point…I just didn’t know when.

    All posts here at LGM eventually become a racial issue.

    fun stuff!

  155. Dr. Waffle:

    Yeah…..Mmmmmm…NO!

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18170761/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/unremarkable-sale-gun-student-killer/

    Ummm .. . Yeaaaaah

    Moron.

  156. Dr. Waffle:

    @Truth Speaks

    Also.

    But hey, whatever. Massacres and assassinations are nothing compared to slightly restrictive gun regulations. Right?

  157. Dr. Waffle:

    I like arguing with you, because you’re stupid.

    Here’s a question though: if American society is inherently violent, why would you advocate for virtually unrestricted gun ownership?

    Am I missing something here? Please, help me understand. No more one-sentence ripostes. I want you to thoroughly explain your position.

  158. RedSquareBear:

    If you got a bad enough paper cut from it? Sure, why not?

  159. RedSquareBear:

    Perhaps for Virginia law makers a couple more dead darkies (or at least dead urbanite-sodomites) was a feature, not a bug?

  160. ajay:

    Then there’s the fact that these mass-casualty whackos tend to gravitate to gun-free zones. Ever hear of one shooting up a police station?

    Er, yes. And there’s video. Guy walked into a police station in Detroit in January last year with a shotgun and shot four police officers.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41320219/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/detroit-police-release-graphic-video-precinct-shooting/

  161. Henry:

    And cops also wear uniforms and generally are coordinated and/or in communication with each other.

    The worst thing that having a shooter in the mall, is having a bunch of armed idiots brandishing their weapons trying to be heroes, you see an armed man how can you tell if this is the shooter or not? Worse, he sees you with a gun and turns toward you, are you sure he won’t confuse you? Better be safe than sorry and you shoot him, and that has a chain reaction effect in all the morons that took their guns to the mall to be “safe”.

  162. steverino:

    I believe it was Will Rogers, commenting on a shooting in NYC where some innocent bystanders were shot by police, who praised their accuracy since it is hard enough to find anyone innocent in New York, much less hit them with a bullet.

  163. Z:

    The shooter was confronted by a concealed carrier who ignored the “no guns” signs posted.

    Shortly after, the shooter killed himself. This matches up with the historical behavior of mass shooters, who fold against armed opposition and kill themselves on-site about 90% of the time.

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